Saturday, August 11, 2007

miss match 9

Here comes a big question...and it's not just about me, but it starts with my experience...what the hell happened to just dating? I'm not talking about "casual dating," which I think of as a euphemism for anonymous sex, or the dating of the 40's and 50's when it didn't matter who you went with as long as you went out. I am talking about a friendship between a man and a woman that is not a committed relationship but that involves pleasant social activities and may ultimately lead to a more serious relationship, but does not guarantee one. One is under no obligation during this phase to stay monogamous, and basic etiquette and social graces still apply.

After the tremendously attached style of the previous suitor, I most recently have experienced the warmth and glow of a five-minute courtship. This consisted of the gentleman in question rolling up to my place of evening employ unannounced and expecting to sit down with me for a chat. Mind you, this is *after* I had specifically stated that I thought another evening would be better for meeting. Now, I know that it isn't all that busy in the evening at the library, but I still don't see this as an ideal setting for a first date - especially if I am on someone else's dime. Would you do this to a nurse, show up to the hospital and follow her around while she did rounds? I hope not. (But it's happened. My sister has moved in with her newest beau, a guy she met while he was a patient. Don't even get me started about the boundaries that got violated there.)

Well, he was actually a nice enough fellow and call me a fool but there was a chill in the air that night and, Western New Yorker that I am, cool weather makes me feel romantic. So I allowed him to buy me an ice cream and we talked a while, and I left after that, since I needed to go home and tend to poor old Harry's diabetus. And do you know, not 15 minutes after I got home, he called me up from the car saying he was lost. I think he was angling for an invitation to my place. Which he didn't get, by the way.

We had dinner another night that week. I chose the Afghan place I'd been meaning to try. The food was fine - what wasn't fine was having the fella start a loudish protest over the house policy of charging customers to share. There was a misunderstanding - we had two entrees we wanted to split and merely wanted extra plates - but I was embarrassed by his tone. I concentrated on my food for the rest of the meal. He made amends with the waiter by starting up a conversation with him, at length, about why he should buy a Mac and even what model to buy. There was nothing for me to say, so I sat captive and mute and waited until he noticed me not saying anything.

We went back to my place and I had yet another episode of "Who said you were staying over?" which unfortunately didn't end with me in my own bed alone (see April 06 and the Brit). At least to my credit this time nothing really did happen, and I did make my feelings known about overnighters happening early on. But it's not that he didn't try to wake me early, if you know what I mean. (Boys, here's a friendly tip! Where you wake up all horny and ready for love, I merely tend to wake up needing to pee really really bad! Don't attempt to detain me on my mission with sweet, sweet lovemaking - you might get an eye put out!)

So we get to "date" #3, which consisted of him calling me 5 minutes before I got out of work at the library asking if I wanted to hang out. I explained that I was driving up to Buffalo early the next day and that I hadn't packed yet, and he promised to get out of my way at a decent hour. So he came over and we watched videos. Now, I liked these videos (a BBC comedy called "Black Books" - do watch it). I do a fair amount of watching videos on my own. But what happened next is where it went a little funny to me.

Upon my return, after a suitable interval, and after I had dealt with my rental car and all that persuant nonsense, I spoke with the fella and in the course of the conversation he asked what my schedule was like. For what, I asked, because I didn't feel as though my whole schedule was his business. (I'm a cautious one.) Why, for getting together, he said. What did he have in mind, I asked. He said he hadn't planned anything because he didn't know when I was free. Well, I was seeing a friend early in the evening that night and I was free the next night.

"Call me tonight when you get done with your friend I'll come over," he said. Tonight? I asked. What for? Hanging out, he said. Or watching a video.

I know that it's cozy and nice to be this comfy with someone, and we all crave this. But in this case, I hardly know the guy, I'm not sure that's where I want to end up with him, and oh, by the way, who said you're welcome to invite yourself over?

"I think I'd rather plan an activity," I said. "I'll cook something up for tomorrow night then," he said, sounding a little miffed, and rang off shortly thereafter. I went on with my life and didn't hear from him for several days, and when I did, he acted as though nothing had happened.

I don't get attached quickly. I don't spend hours on the phone with a new guy. I don't "call to check in." I haven't connected that way in a long time, certainly not with any of the Match crowd. I understand this doesn't happen every time and sometimes chemistry develops later, which is why I see laying a groundwork of standard social conventions as helpful. But in this case I was baffled by someone who wanted to assume that going on two dates made me his girlfriend. Nice try, and hey, we all get lonely, but it takes me more time and more interaction to get to that point. Oh, and having a conversation about it to see if we're both on the same page helps too. Funny thing is - he didn't really try too hard to make his case - so I guess being his girlfriend would consist of me thinking up places to eat out and a lot of hanging out at my house. Fancy! He pulled out all the stops, right?

I made an important realization not long ago that I alluded to earlier when I said I wasn't sure how much time/space I had for another person. I am not so much looking for romantic excitement - or a life partner - as much as I am companionship, or someone to do stuff with. So I think I may need to rewrite my profile and make that very clear, and maybe that will weed out some of the couch-dwellers.

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