Sunday, March 2, 2014

CLEAR AS MUD

Coffee can be so confusing.

The uncertainty started with the last sentence of Daniel’s message, confirming the meeting time and place:  “Looking forward to this long anticipated intercourse.”

Okay,…what?

These are not words to drop on a sexually frustrated single guy. Yeah, I get that “intercourse” can refer to a conversation, but why not choose its less provocative cousin, discourse, or something plain and simple? Chat. Talk. Hell, how about “conversation”?

Intercourse?!

I had to go through the whole manscaping routine. Just in case.

Actually, I should rewind. There was some earlier confusion as well—just not as scintillating. When Daniel suggested we correspond off match.com and use our personal emails, I had his full name right there in the email address. How could I not Google him? By golly, he even came up in Google Images. His online dating images appeared but so did a photo of an older Daniel bearing a remarkable resemblance. Still, it was the kind of older image that indicated his best days were a generation ago. Instant disappointment. Why do people post dated photos of themselves? It creates a certain letdown upon actual meeting. Aren’t there enough in-person letdowns as it is?

I refused to look again at the Google evidence. Maybe, just maybe, these were entirely different people who coincidentally had the same name, eyes and nose. After so many go-nowhere dates, I deserved a solid maybe.

A solid maybe with a possible alternate definition of intercourse.

Trekking to Vancouver for the coffee encounter, I tried to repress the nagging thought that I’d be meeting Old Daniel. I refused to brainstorm possible excuses for an early exit. As well, I tempered any notion that the impressively articulate and handsome Younger Daniel would walk in the cafĂ© and be instantly smitten by me—dark rings under the eyes and all. (FYI, none of those miracle eye creams work. Still, I keep slathering them on just like I continue to make my weekly donation to the provincial lottery. Sometimes I can be hopelessly hopeful.)

Just go and see. No expectations. Be in the moment.

I arrived early so I could stake out a table and shed all the wintery layers that make me look like a rejected defensive end for the B squad of a minor college team in Lichtenstein (which I am assuming is not a football hub). Nice to shed the appearance of fifty extra pounds with a few zipper pull-downs. I pulled out my iPhone and pretended I was socially connected to gazillions of people sending me texts and tweets. In truth, I checked the weather.

Daniel walked in after I’d surveyed the present conditions in Montreal, Honolulu and Boise. (Yeah, Boise. Why not?)

Younger Daniel! Whew. He charmed me in an instant with a “hello” that revealed his Scottish accent remained intact despite having moved to Vancouver twenty years ago. I wonder if my Canadian accent would be as alluring if I moved to the United Kingdom. I suppose it would be trying too hard if I moved there and packed four “eh”s into every sentence.

Over the next three hours—which included a walk along the Stanley Park seawall—we connected, at least from my perspective. Lots in common in terms of experiences and ways of viewing the world. Still, as I have learned from so many coffees that failed to lead to a second date, a lively chitchat means diddly squat if there is no physical connection. I found Daniel attractive with his slim build and enticing blue eyes, but what did he think of me?

I decided to be bold. Why sit around a day waiting for an email and blaming the lack of any message on what must surely be an overzealous spam filter? Why let confusion linger?

I put it out there. “I’ve enjoyed this afternoon. I find the physical attraction hard to come by, but I feel that with you. Do you have any interest in another date?”

Perhaps I caught him off guard. Daniel gave the desired response—or some semblance of it: “I’d like to get to know you more.” And then the conversation died. Suddenly, the wintery air felt even cooler. (Oh, to be in Honolulu!) Daniel walked me halfway to my car, then escaped up a side street.

End of intercourse.

What happened? In a flash, everything became clear as mud. Sure, it was sludge dredged up from a charming, wee loch, but mud is mud.

Boldness is overrated. As it turns out, being meek and left to check email forty times the day after isn’t such a bad thing after all.

While writing this, I received a text message from Daniel. While the last pre-date message referred to some “long anticipated intercourse” this one veered down a much different path, ending with “Hope your week goes well, my friend.”

Ouch.

No more mud. Add clarity to the overrated heap as well.

2 comments:

Rick Modien said...

RG, I don't blame you for taking a more direct approach near the end of the date. Let's be honest. Both of you were looking for something in the other. You may have found it or not, but I think there was no point in waiting around to see if one or the other would call. Forget the games.

I don't know if this helps, but I would have done the same thing. You're not children. You can both deal with honesty and directness.

By the way, how would you have felt if he'd said to you what you said to him? Just curious. That might indicate if you did the right thing or not.

Thanks for sharing.

Rural Gay said...

Hi Rick,
I like the question you pose. I'd welcome any direct questioning. I like to know where things are at. Communication is key to a relationship, even at the beginning stage. I would find it refreshing to be asked what I think. It is true that things are awkward if I don't feel the same as the other person. I recall an occasion when I was cowardly noncommittal when asked about seeing a guy again and then I emailed ASAP afterward so as not to leave things hanging for a day. Not my proudest moment.

Perhaps Daniel was dealt the same situation--too nice to let me down in person.

I do get it. The frustrating part is that he probably knew upon saying hello that I was not a possible match. Still, we spent three hours together. He could have ducked out with an excuse before we went on our walk.

I suppose I expected a clear yes from him, indicating that he was interested, too. I misread the situation. In truth, I may not have been as daring with my question if I'd known there was more than one possible answer.

Like I said at the outset of my post, coffee can be so confusing.