Wednesday, January 12, 2011

shitty date, and it really IS me. But that's okay.

So I had a date Friday night. Nice guy. Everything on paper says I should like him. Friends vouch for him.

"He's awesome! I've known him forever and he's a REALLY GOOD GUY." He's polite. Funny. Opens doors. SO ready to be into me. Gave me his undivided attention. Intelligent. Worldly. All sorts of things that are important to me.

But I stiffened at his touch.

He tried to put his arm around me and I twisted sideways unconsciously. It was like a graceful dance move practiced for the thousandth time: step and reflexively twist into door.

We got food. He got up to get napkins and leaned over to kiss me on top of my head. I involuntarily shrank under his lips turning the gesture into an awkward air kiss. He never made contact with any actual strands of hair.

Despite the negative reception, he kept trying.

I wrote him an email later. "Listen," I said, "I was uncomfortable with the physical aspects of our date" and said that if we went out again, that I wanted the boundaries of friendship to stay intact. He said "yeah, I figured I was just a more affectionate person than you."

I didn't respond but that really irked me. I can be the warmest fucking person on the planet if I'm comfortable around someone. Just, I dunno, roll with that, okay? Most people take time to warm up. I was also irritated at myself for not "feeling" it but thought okay, don't decide just yet. Give it time.

Good friends AND my counselor pointed out that this guy's lack of perception despite my strong signals was a red flag. Also the callous response was accusatory. "I'm okay, you're not" was the implicit message.

I don't think I'll go out with him again because I just can't seem to want that right now.

This is part of learning though, this giant classroom of the heart. I should stop trying to MAKE myself feel something and just let it flow. Either it's there or it isn't.

I've been mulling over in my head how divorced this whole process is from the other person.

YOU see what's in my head because you follow my blog -- my frailties do not signify this guy's worth. That's so clear, isn't it?

Not to him. He will feel rejected.

When it's me on the other end, being rejected, I will feel the same.

DateMeDC wrote a whole blog post on this: How to Reject Someone Like an Adult.

I agree that people should be straightforward. But I disagree with the notion that it's personal. It's not HIS fault that we just don't have the chemistry/comfort level, I'm the limiting factor.
I don't want to hurt anyone. I would like to know love again someday. I don't know how to reconcile these things, but the hope inspires me to keep on. Even if that means I only fall in love with my sketchpad.


  1. I've had "everything on paper" dates before that were, ultimately, nothing. "Perfect" matches sometimes doesn't leave a lot to talk about; what is there left to learn from each other? (I could attach a long story here, but I'll spare ya.)

    I can see where the head-kiss thing would unnerve you. It's a little forward on a first date, and could easily be considered condescending to you as an adult woman (i.e. a father kisses his daughter on top of the head, not an adult on a date). So, yeah, weird.

    I can see where his comment would irritate you as well. Your personality exudes warmth and passion... for the right person. If there's no chemistry, there's no chemistry (which he obviously didn't see), and you communicated that with your physical reactions. Or maybe I'm just old fashioned. (Remember, I'm the guy who is still genuinely surprised when I hear female friends tell tales of "he bought me dinner, so he expected me to sleep with him".)

    I do kinda disagree with your title, though. It ISN'T you. It's neither of you. Or both of you. It takes two to tango, as they say.

    And I firmly believe you will know love again. You're too awesome not to. :)

    (p.s. - did you draw that picture? I am in awe of your talents!)

  2. I have to say thank you, thank you for writing this down. The discomfort you felt was real and well founded as 'your date' may (and this is speculation) have felt that you are a friend of a friend and made assumptions that he may never have done with a stranger. Also, he seems a bit 'impatient' with the time it takes to get to know you, be with you, which includes your personal space, and with you in conversation.
    I could say that as adults, we should know these conventions, but many do not. There is no 'standard' for dating behavior today as there stereotypically used to be. I have to say that there are many man-children that are functional on many levels, but immature in others.

    Imagine, even a divorced father of two, that has been in a long term relationship (obviously) that is so used to the woman that he was once married to, 'that' is what he is programmed for. To return to dating, he may be a little 'socially retarded' or the more PC 'emotionally immature'.

    Love, in my opinion, is an ability, or I should say, exists as a belief in others like faith in a 'higher power'. . . It is a relationship separate from rational thoughts, with a thing with no physical substance, that we have to be open (hearted) to to feel it for ourselves.
    - B

  3. Yes-- what your friends and counselor said. This seems like serious boundary issues for a first date. Kissing you on the top of the head is a very intimate thing-- I'd be appalled to try that on a first date.

    And his comment is annoying, if not offensive. I once had a male friend who tried to help me out of my coat as we were driving. It felt creepily paternalistic and I said, "I can do it" a little gruffly. Some time later he made some comment about how I don't like people touching me. It's not that, I love being touched. But in the right context.

    I don't think this was all about you. He has a responsibility to read the situation and act appropriately. He didn't, and then got defensive about it when you were clear about what you wanted. This is not an illustration of your frailties, but just a typical lack of a connection. Happens all the time. If you're not feeling it, you're not feeling it. You will someday with the right person.

    I really like that drawing!

  4. He's socially inept.. Move on. "Next time, we'll have to keep our friendship boundaries intact? What?"

    Snap Snap Girlfriend. Next!?