Datehazard’s Blog

On dating, singleness and adjusting to being 30ish.

With my luck, I should definitely not buy a lottery ticket April 23, 2009

Filed under: Comedy,Dating,Drama,frustration — datehazard @ 11:53 pm
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… because with my recent luck (if this is any indication), I will definitely not win anything. In fact, if my most recent dating misadventures are an indication of my current (un)lucky status, I will most likely find out that the lottery is fake. And that I’d just participated in some kind of elaborate scam.

Like what happened last night.

I was out at one of my usual networking events, and bumped into one of my colleagues. We generally never hang out at work, so it was really great to see her. I had also brought one of my new friends along — my roommate’s friend, in fact — because he is thinking of getting into my field of work, and figured he might appreciate being given better access to some of the more business-related sides of what I do.

After he left to another event, my colleague “Stylish Beret” and I stayed behind, looking at some of the work, making a few connections, and preparing eventually to leave and get a drink on our own. We were having a great time chatting, and we walked to a bar nearby to continue our conversation in more convivial settings.

After about an hour of a stimulating and lovely discussion, a group of rowdy men and a few women decided to sit at the table next to us. They decided to invite themselves over, and, as usual, I started getting hit on by the alpha male in the group, while my friend attracted the eye of a kind-looking, jovial guy. The man who introduced himself to me was the President of the company, and the rest of the people there were his employees. He proceeded to tell me about his bisexual wife, and how they have an open relationship. His manner was one of bragging, essentially, but it shifted rapidly to one of fear when he, after a pause, asked me not to reveal this information to his fellow colleagues. It was clear that he’d had quite a bit to drink and was feeling entitled to the liberties he was taking, particularly to an attractive stranger.

I struck up a conversation with one of the women of the group, too, who decided she’d take it upon herself to set me up with someone in the group. She (ever so kindly) shouted jovially at me, “You’re going to pole tonight!!”

I’d never heard that expression before, and honestly, started laughing. It was just absurd. And a little of the usual human comedy/drama.

The rest of the evening was then spent with me talking to a guy who was trying all of his moves on me, while I gently teased him. It wasn’t that he wasn’t good looking, it was that he was trying too hard. And he was definitely approaching me as someone who might help him scratch an itch. Generally, this is not a recommended strategy for complimenting a woman. Guys, take note: spend the time to try to get to know someone, and treat the interaction with a light touch. Leave the hammer and mallet at home. Especially when you realise you’re talking to someone who is intelligent and strong-willed. Cheesy pick up lines are just going to give her so much fodder for comedy. At your expense.

After “Clumsy Conversationalist” eventually made his exit, it was then time for the third act of the evening.

As with all plays, the third act is generally the one with the most promise: the scene has been set, the characters established, and the situation is now ripe for exploit — either comedic, tragic, or a combination of both. In my case, I decided to treat the eventual outcome as a complete joke, and an opportunity for instilling a little fear. Call it vigilante justice if you will, call it delicious, call it whatever you want.

But I get ahead of myself.

As I’m preparing to leave, feeling not particularly inspired by the evening and missing my earlier conversation with my friend Stylish Beret (who is still deep in conversation with the same guy with the twinkling eyes and kind face), another of the party comes over and sits across from me. This is a man who is considerably older than I am, with gently sagging cheeks, but with a smile that lights up his whole face. It is really his smile which is spectacular: it rearranges his time-worn, serious eyes into dancing sapphires of boyish invitation. His gaze is steady and consistent — engaging, but soulful. There is something warm and inviting about this man, something deeply reassuring. He is generally directing his comments to the clumsy conversationalist sitting beside me (who is no longer trying to hit on me), but makes sure he catches my eye, too. Soon, though, we are left alone, and he turns to talk to me. The clumsy conversationalist had been trying to find his way out of the conversation, and out of the bar, and Sparkling Eyes had provided just that convenient interruption.

Sparkling Eyes turns to me, asks, “What is it that brings you to New York?” I look at him, and, based on the brief fragment of conversation he’d just had with the conversationalist, replied, “Work.” I felt compelled to ask, “And, by the way, are you a writer?”

A look of surprise registered on his face, and he said, “Well, actually, I used to write quite a lot. How– how did you– ?”

I replied, “Because I’m a writer, too. Something about the way you put your sentences together gave you away.”

I smiled at him.

I continued, “And, by the way, is Jack Kerouac one of your favourite authors?”

He looked wordlessly at me, even more surprised.

“How– Well, yes– I love Jack Kerouac– How did you know?”

I smiled again. “I don’t know. It was a hunch.” I continued, “I get the feeling that your approach to life is one of a journey — that the metaphor of the road trip and travel — is something that resonates with you.”

I continued, “And yet, you’re still searching. Why are you searching? What are you looking for?”

He looked, amazed, wordless at me. I heard the words tumble out of my mouth, and I was surprised, too. They didn’t feel like my own thoughts, or my own observations — they seemed to be more of verbal manifestations of instinct. And for once, these manifestations were coherent. And so they seemed magical.

At around this point, I expected him to change the subject; attempt to cover up, try to reach for some kind of privacy, however much he’d have to wrestle for it. I am not usually this straightforward or blunt with someone I’ve just met, but with this man, I was much more intrusive than I’d ever remembered being. Even when I’m my diplomatic straightforward self, it results in younger men generally straining to escape, change the subject, or do what they need to do to avoid being so open.

But not this man.

He just kept looking at me in wonder, mesmerized by my words, his curiosity and his attention entirely held.

And so we kept talking. He told me about himself without restraint or edit, calmly, unhurriedly. As he talked, he struggled to be clear, to be concise, and to be precise. His hands formed rounded shapes in the air as he tried to articulate his feelings of vulnerability. He looked, with furrowed brow, at me as he spoke, choosing his words carefully. And interspersed these moments of seriousness with that brilliant, transformational smile.

I found myself smiling in response to him, easily, unthinkingly, each time he smiled at me.

There was a naturalness to the conversation, and a depth that I found difficult to quantify, and even harder to identify. And even more strangely, that I had no desire, whatsoever, to do any of the aforementioned analytical things. Analysis operated on a different level last night, when it came to him. The world dissolved and we were left in a self-contained sphere. He reached out to hold my hands; his hands were surprisingly warm, and reassuringly rough. He pressed my fingers between his palms, smiling in wonderment at me during those frequent, happy silences.

We parted on a subway platform, he trying to insist on me coming home with him, or coming home with me. I reassured him, telling him not to worry, and not to try to be deterministic. Every time he asked, I smiled, and made no promises. He seemed to understand and he listened. Even at that late hour, even with the heady intoxication of our long, intimate conversation.

We kissed, and we laughed as we kissed. I don’t remember being so happy during a first kiss as I was then. I felt, somehow, that I knew him, on some kind of essential level, and that he did of me, too. I knew it wasn’t possible: I knew the feelings were really strong and were most likely based in the cold science of organic chemistry. And I went home, floating on a cloud.

And this morning, I wondered, smilingly, about this mysterious stranger with the sparkling eyes and the brilliant smile.

And found out that he’s married. With three kids.

And so, when he texted me asking to see me again, I replied simply, bluntly, “No, I don’t think so. Cowards and liars are so boring. Give my regards to your wife.”

He replied in kind, by text message. But I haven’t checked it yet. I’d imagine it’s some paltry attempt at an apology.

And so, life goes on, and dating continues its own twisted journey. And I’m left with yet another amusing, if bittersweet, experience.

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The Stand-by February 20, 2009

Filed under: Dating,Desire — datehazard @ 12:16 am
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Corporate Lawyer and I had dinner this evening, much to my surprise. It was a last-minute thing.

I’d had to go to a networking event after work, and met him after the event. During dinner, we’re having a good time, and I realised how much I’d missed talking to a sane person, after the last week spent obsessing over The Charmer. We talked about the Oscars, and he let slip that he has an old friend staying with him right now, a fellow lawyer. He’s dropped her name a few times and mentioned her casually in conversation enough for me to ask for clarification on their relationship.

I immediately felt guilty that I’d asked. I mean, it’s not like I have been completely truthful with him.

But it’s so weird. I get the feeling that he likes the freedom he has to date other people, but we both don’t really like the feeling that both of us are dating other people, and would prefer to make it exclusive. But neither of us is really prepared to be in that space right now.

He has a lot on his plate. Corporate Lawyer is applying for work and constantly sending out his resume. He’s worried about the downturn in the economy and, as a junior lawyer, expects to have the axe drop on his neck at any time. I can see the worry and concern in his face, and I like knowing that hanging out with me, even if we’re just casual partners, makes him feel good. I also like hanging around with him because we come from very similar places, even if our politics don’t agree. His spending habits are not exorbitant, there’s nothing flashy about him, and he’s a genuinely decent guy.

Basically, he’s the opposite of The Charmer.

And that’s why I find him so uninteresting. The Charmer expresses concern, by habit: asking me to text the minute I get home, so he knows I’m safe and sound. Texting me first thing in the morning, at 6:30 a.m., and doing this consistently each day until it’s a habit; then abruptly stopping the practice. It’s a classic behavioural psychology move: he makes a gambler out of the other person. No wonder he leaves me breathless with anticipation: a critical intellectual is transformed into a cell phone text-watching junkie.

I respect the Corporate Lawyer quite a lot. I think he has integrity and is able to make a good partner. But I also see that he doesn’t feel as though he’s in the right space to have any kind of serious relationship at the moment. And so I don’t press the issue, and I keep dating.

And really, it’s not so bad. For now.

 

Why do guys do that? February 11, 2009

Filed under: Comedy,Dating,Desire,Drama — datehazard @ 8:51 am
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I dated a guy briefly: let’s call him Non-Profit Guy. He seemed like a really nice guy, we got along great, and I started to develop a real crush on him. I’ll always remember the way he lit up when he first saw me: if he had a caption above his head, it would have read, “WOW!”

He also seemed to really care about ethics. So I didn’t expect him to be juggling two women at once. Especially not if the other woman was someone he’d been pursuing for a year.

Shortly after I met him, he went on a trip with his “friend”, who lived just down the street from him. He’d mentioned her name a few times before, and I was a bit curious to know what her relationship was to him. It was way too early to be having “that” kind of a conversation, though, and I figured he’d let me know if there was something for me to know.

When he came back from his trip, he wanted to meet up with me again, and we went out on another date. There was some fooling around, some kissing, nothing much (we were in public), but I sensed that the openness he had to me before he left was not there. When I suggested we hang out at his house after our plans fell through (we were going to see a show but arrived too late), he laughed nervously. The thing is that I’d already seen his apartment, so it wasn’t as if we were going there for the first time. The last time we were in his apartment, I’d had to put the brakes on, since it was only date #2, and I didn’t really want to jump into bed with a stranger. So his behaviour this time around made me wonder what happened.

We finally had a talk, and he fessed up: he’d known her for a year and been pursuing her romantically during that time. She finally said yes when they were on their trip, and they were going to try dating.

To be honest, I wasn’t surprised; but I was a bit surprised at how upset I was by the news. I really felt dumped. It made no sense: I really had just started to get to know the guy. We’d known each other for maybe a total of a month.

Worst of all, instead of expressing my disappointment, I counselled him as a friend. I told him that I was happy for him (BS: anyone who says that after you dump them is lying through their teeth, and clinging onto their last shred of dignity), I told him that I was taking myself out of the equation (I actually said, “far be it for me to stand in the way of someone’s desire.” ACK). And that I, as his friend, was suggesting that he concentrated on his relationship and cherish the fact (yes, those exact words) that this woman who he had been pursuing for a year finally said yes to him.

He bleated something ridiculous like, “Well, but it’s all so new, I’m really not sure what’s going on right now.” I pushed aside my revulsion and said, “well, that’s the wonderful thing at the beginning: it’s fragile, and exhilarating, and tenuous and scary as hell.” Meanwhile, a part of me wanted to say, “Why don’t you grow a pair? Oh, and get away from me.” Maybe I should have.

Because, after that grand generous speech I gave, I ended with “well, I wish you and your friend the best of luck, and I hope that we can still remain friends.” To me, that is the kiss of death: “friends” in this context means: If I happen to see you on the street, I won’t ignore you, but will say hello and introduce myself to whoever happens to be there, including your date/gf/mistress/whatever. I mean, come on, it’s not like we work together or have to ever see each other again.

And so I was surprised when he e-mailed me. He asked how I was doing, and I figured it was a guilt-inspired e-mail. He apologized for not being upfront about his friend, and I thanked him for his apology. I figured that was that.

Weeks go by. Then yesterday, he e-mails me to ask whether we can hang out “as friends.” And so I’m now at a loss for what he is possibly thinking. If I were his new gf, I’d be furious.

Why do guys do stupid shit like that?

PS: And by the way, I said cheerily, “sure!” as if we were “just friends.” Mainly because I have a perverse sense of humour, and mainly because I’ll probably put on the “I’m so great without you” front and be an idiot like that.

 

More reasons to celebrate singleness February 10, 2009

Filed under: Dating,Exes,Singleness — datehazard @ 10:43 am
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A good cure for feeling blue: http://shine.yahoo.com/event/frangela/the-down-and-dirty-guide-to-dating-jerkiest-guy-moments-362993/?pg=1#comments. Read ’em and empathize. Then count your lucky single stars.