Datehazard’s Blog

On dating, singleness and adjusting to being 30ish.

A boyfriend’s friends May 21, 2009

Filed under: Comedy,Dating — datehazard @ 8:25 pm
Tags: , , ,

What do you do when you meet your boyfriend’s friends for the first time, and you don’t like them?

It’s a situation I’ve often felt uncomfortable about: a negative opinion has tended to suggest that I have less in common with the person I’m thinking of dating than I initially imagined. Generally when I feel as though I probably would not have anything to say to a partner’s friends, it’s meant that I’ll eventually have nothing to say to my partner.

I met Camera Technician’s friends at a live music show a few weeks ago. We happened to be on a date, and they happened to be there. I wasn’t terribly impressed by the caliber of the interaction; it felt that they were interested in partying and having a drunken good time, and the level of conversation wasn’t particularly stimulating. I know, not everyone’s an academic — nor should I expect them to be. There are really some ways that working in this field has made me socially unsuitable for smalltalk and ordinary contact. My level of patience for superficiality has decreased rather substantially in relation to the amount of specialized knowledge I’ve accumulated. It’s an attitude that’s generally associated with elitism, an ascription I both loathe and yet, it’s also a position I am loathe to relinquish.

So when I met his friends, an ad director, a filmmaker, and a television producer, all of whom hold rather sparkling, intriguing jobs, I felt very ungenerous when I struggled to find some common ground. They didn’t want to talk shop outside of their work hours, and the cultural capital they had was of a more mainstream variety, which left me rather bored. And so we eyed each other warily, superficially, scanned each other quickly and surmised that we swam in very different oceans, and that we’d probably best give each other respectful, if nevertheless wide berth.

Last night, I had my first “we are a couple” dinner party at my boyfriend’s apartment. We’d invited over two of my current boyfriend’s friends, a couple who paint sets for movies and tv shows. We quickly found that we shared a knowledge and passion for organic gardening, so the evening went along pleasantly enough. But it was a strange space to be in, to be talking about mulch, compost and keeled potato slugs with interest and vigour long into the night. They smoked, I tried not to cough, and we smiled at each other.

Then we talked about bikes, riding, and the summer. The conversation was punctuated with questions about my stay in New York and my summer plans to be away. In the silence broken by the sounds of inhaling smoke, Camera Technician’s friends cast sidelong glances at him and at me, gauging our estimations of each other.

 

Random thoughts about adjustment May 16, 2009

It’s funny. When you’re looking so hard for something, sometimes you don’t know what to do when you get it.

Things are going well with the Camera Technician. In fact, they’re going really well. So well that it’s freaking us both out a little bit. So well that everything is flying along at a breakneck pace and we’re suspending decision-making and rationality and living in an alternate universe where utopia is possible, unicorns are sighted with common-enough frequency that sightings aren’t worth comment, and where love and romance rule the day.

It’s that heady time at the start of a relationship.

And it’s also that time for the hard light of reality to shine, just a little, onto this utopia.

I had made summer plans before meeting this guy, so that I would be out of the country. Meeting him put a wrench in my plans and made me reconsider my options. Was there some way I could remain in New York? Should I forego my summer plans? Can I work around them somehow to include this guy? What are my options?

I started to look around for other opportunities in New York, and he did too. And we both realised that what was available was pretty slim and rather bleak. New York is an expensive and hard place to make a living, especially if you’ve just arrived. It’s not the kind of place that allows you to simply plug into some setting and hit the ground running. Eventhough there are expectations and pressures to do exactly that. Which is also what adds to the toughness of living in this city.

Meanwhile, back in utopia, CT offered me the chance to stay in his apartment, over the summer, as an option.

At first glance, it seemed like a great idea — here was the problem of space answered, I would sublet my apartment as I’d intended to anyway, and we could spend the summer getting to know each other. What could be more perfect?

But slowly the cold light of reality has started to creep in. I have a lot of catching up to do professionally and need to do some uninterrupted research — which I was planning to do this summer. I also had some plans to include some fun activities. And an expectation of feeling a little more grounded by being in familiar surroundings, amongst friends.

All of this means I’m probably going to go ahead with my summer plans and be out of the country after all. Which doesn’t bode well, necessarily, for a burgeoning relationship. Most relationships are rather fragile at the beginning. Adding stressors and qualifiers from the start tends to break a relationship, or handicap the necessary gentle space.

Once again, the chaos of my life gets in the way of sustaining a meaningful relationship. It would be tragic if it weren’t so banal, and so common. I can see it now, the next blockbuster Hollywood film titled, “The Tragedy of Timing.”

Right.