Monday, February 9, 2015

CONFLICTING SIGNALS


Now I’m getting dating advice from traffic signals. Everyone—everything!—has an opinion.

I pressed the knob to trigger the pedestrian WALK message and Mr. Button blurted, “Wait! Wait!” 

It was stating the obvious, but this was a traffic signal after all. In real life, we can’t expect to go deep like the electronic freeway billboard that sagely supported Steve Martin in “L.A. Story”. (I’ve tried but the electronic sign closest to me is one-track minded: BUCKLE UP. IT’S THE LAW.)

At least Mr. Button was on point. It’s true. I absolutely should wait. In two months, I’ll back in Vancouver. There will be other single gay men. I may be interested in a few. And there’s always a chance that one might be interested in me.

It could happen. And that’s a thought I’ve never been able to reasonably think in the ten years I’ve been under rural arrest.

But I was still feeling the sting from a latest Seattle coffee date that went bust. Yeah, yeah. It should not have been a surprise. I’ve been going on these meet-and-greets for years, with no lasting luck. Seattle men, Vancouver men. It’s getting to the point where I can’t keep blaming them. I’m starting to think it must be the coffee. Yeah, that’s it. I should switch to tea.

I tried not to get too excited in anticipation of meeting Steve. Sure, his online profile was impressive, as were his messages. The guy could communicate in whole sentences, even paragraphs. Such a rare find! And, on a shallow note, his photos revealed a handsome, fit 52-year-old man—most notably in his shirtless selfie. Woof!

He did not disappoint when I met him in person. If anything, he dazzled more. I’m not a beard guy but the look suited him. And his blue eyes hooked me every time I gazed at him. Simply put, Steve was stunning. Even better, he could carry on a conversation. My profile jokes, “Save your monologues for Letterman” and he took it to heart. It was a very natural back-and-forth. I laughed and smiled without force. He made me feel completely at ease. Without a doubt, I knew this had been a great first meeting.

Early in the conversation, Steve startled me, saying I was “genetically blessed”. As we hugged and went on with our separate plans for a Sunday afternoon, he referred again to my biceps and my chest. I shrugged it off. “I’m a late bloomer. The bulk has only come in recent years.” He ogled away. Flattering, not creepy.

And yet I left and formed an adversarial relationship with a traffic signal. Something went wrong. Really, nothing.

Except for one fundamental, immutable factor. Steve had made it clear that he wanted to pursue a relationship with a local guy. In his messages, he’d mentioned passing on a man who lived but an hour away. Vancouver, with a border wait, well, it was never going to be.

Too far. And I knew this was as far as it would go. Within an hour after coffee, he sent me the crushing confirmation:

It was so nice to meet you. Sincerely, I enjoyed my conversation with you and my time. You are a beautiful man and I mean that both inside and out...nice to come across and yes, if you were in Seattle, I would definitely have gone out with you. ;-)

If.

Location, location, location. Steve is all too rational. Somehow I’d hoped. If I were somehow dazzling, he’d be border blind. Whatever happened to Anything for You? Alas, one coffee cannot dazzle, no matter how buzzed one might get.

No dazzle; just fizzle. This is a hard one to take. I’ve had many a coffee date where I thought I clicked with a guy and then he vanished. And I’ve had many more where the lack of clicking was indisputable. But here we did click. It was not a twisted figment of my imagination. It was real. It was mutual. And it was not enough.

And so, as Mr. Button advises, I must, “Wait! Wait!” Not for Steve. My visa application with U.S. Immigration will not be processed for years. Instead, I have two months to go until I move back to civilization. Maybe there’s a guy in Vancouver.

I wait because I have to. It’s already been eleven years since I’ve been in a relationship of any significance. What’s two more months? I should be accustomed to the loneliness and the complete lack of affection or intimacy. Of course, I’m not.

For now, I’ll head back home to the land of solitude. There are no pedestrian traffic buttons to offer further advice. I shall appreciate that silence at least.

And I shall spend the next day or two ruing what might have been if I lived in Seattle.

If only.

2 comments:

oskyldig said...

People are full of "if" statements. If you lived closer... If we went out... If I found an nagging incompatibly... If you were this/that... If... If... If...

Too many variables; take this experience as a reminder that you have something to offer and others appreciate it. If nothing else your move to Vancouver might bring to light a new way of meeting people instead of using online profiles.

I think people meeting in person and not on dating sites or apps fare much better in the chances that at least multiple dates or hangouts can happen. After all, going on dates puts pressure on compatibility, where if you just hang out with groups of friends you're more able to see what kind of a person is like in their element.

Just something to think about.

Rick Modien said...

The messages are all there, RG, as I'm sure you've figured out.
It's not a coincidence you picked up on the message of the walk signal. Things like that happen around us all the time.
And your wonderful experience with Steve should send the message you're a catch for a quality man, which should build your confidence for the new beginning you'll soon have in the city.
You know I'm rooting for you.