Datehazard’s Blog

On dating, singleness and adjusting to being 30ish.

Possibilities March 16, 2009

I spent the night at the Analyst’s apartment on Saturday. He lives all the way out in Brooklyn; it took almost two hours on the weekend trains to get to him. That was not fun.

I like his neighbourhood, though. It’s a quiet, family-oriented one, and it’s close to the sea. It was lovely to stand at a pier near his apartment, watch the waves and feel the strong cold breeze from the ocean. That alone made up for the 2 hour epic journey to get there.

I really like him. He makes me laugh. I make him laugh, too. I’m constantly making fun of him — which is an easy thing to do. He’s quite naive in some ways; he assumes that I don’t know very much (like when I deliberately horribly mangled the pronunciation of “rendezvous” to be “Ren-des-vohs”), and I play along, drawing out the “Please educate me” experience to its absurd extreme, until he notices that I’m smiling, or he has a “wait, this can’t possibly be true” skepticism. And then I start laughing, and he laughs too.

I suppose it isn’t the kindest way to joke with someone; I’d always be a little guarded around someone who I knew was going to make fun of me, or find an opportunity to joke at my expense. I have told him on a few occasions that he should tell me if he ever gets tired of me being silly in this way, and he laughs and says, “no, it’s fine.” I have a feeling he means it. I spoke with my friend Kind Ninja and she remarked that he probably appreciates being around intelligent people who can challenge him.

After we walked around the neighbourhood, ate at a local restaurant and had a drink at his neighbourhood bar, we went back to his apartment. His apartment is cluttered and messy, with books in various spots, and the strange sight of two shedding feather pillows on his living room floor. He explained that he left them there from when friends would come over and he needed extra seating. It seemed an odd explanation, but I didn’t pry.

I would go into some of the details of our intimacy, but a sense of privacy and tenderness prevents me from disclosing too much. I will say that he enjoys playing as much as I do, and doesn’t shy away from a challenge. He seems to understand as well as I, how provocation quickens the pulse, and heightens desire. He pinned my arms behind my back at one point when I was getting the better of him in a tickling match, and I found myself suddenly not struggling and not laughing. Instead, my body reached for his, and we kissed with hungry mouths.

He has a lovely, long body, smooth, soft skin, and hair in all the warm places: over his heart, his groin, a soft covering over his firm rounded bottom. I’ve never been a fan of hairless men. And frankly, I think shaving is overrated, and waxing as something that should be reserved for practices of torture.

The night ended in a tangle of limbs and blankets. We slipped from exhaustion into a broken sleep. I kept waking up to get water, go to the bathroom, or to simply lie, disoriented, checking the time and gazing crookedly at his poorly hung blue curtains. I would wonder where I was, recall, listen to his surprisingly rapid breaths, and drift off into a fitful slumber.

The night before, we had talked about the sea, and the waves. I told him about the time I lived in a little house by the sea, how the fierce wind would scare me when I first moved there, and how I would hear pine cones drop on my roof at night. And how these initial anxieties eventually became sources of wordless joy, reminding me simultaneously of both qualities of my frail existence.

I don’t think I’d ever felt more alive. And I had almost forgotten the experience. As the years went by and I moved away, it had become buried under all of the pragmatic toughness and hardness one needs to deal with the hustle and bustle of big city living. That little house by the sea seemed almost to exist in another lifetime. It was good to be reminded of it.

He’d listened with shining eyes and a faint smile of understanding while I talked; he also loves the sea. He told me about growing up amongst olive trees and harvesting ripe olives by hand. He talked about the back-breaking labour involved, but I could see his nostalgia in his eyes. He seemed far away, existing for a moment in the bright sun, the aroma of ripening olives rising around him.

Something about this man makes me both so incredibly happy, and so grounded at the same time. I am able to breathe deeply and slowly in his presence, and my worries evaporate.

 

Back on the dating scene (again) March 10, 2009

Tonight I’m going out for date #2 with The Analyst (same guy I had the Best First Date Ever with). We’re going to meet at a public monument, then meander and figure out what we’d like to do. Basically take it easy and wander around. It sounds like a lovely way to spend an evening with someone.

I know this will sound like I’m jumping the gun a little bit, but I’m not sure whether The Analyst and I have all that much chemistry. When we spoke on the phone last night, he was really hesitant and quiet. It made me think about the fact that I thought he seemed pretty depressed when I first met him. I mean, he laughed at all my jokes, and he seemed to really appreciate my sense of humour, but it seemed to be because he was really in a sad space and needed cheer, rather than that he was really genuinely appreciative. There wasn’t the witty back-and-forth or the one-upmanship that one would expect from someone who was really following.

Then there’s another guy who I’m meeting up with on Friday: let’s call him Hedge Fund Trader. Yes, yet another finance guy. He is hilarious and sarcastic, and seems pretty high-energy. We’ve been texting back-and-forth, and the jokes keep flying. I haven’t yet met him, so I can’t tell for sure, but he also seems like he might be a bit self-centred and maybe a touch of an asshole. The kind who would do something to someone else and not apologize, because as far as he’s concerned, it was funny/amusing. And his opinion is all that matters in this situation. He reminds me a bit of my good friend the Computer Programmer, who would also never intentionally set out to hurt someone, but who also has that “I’ll do what I want, thank you,” attitude, at times. We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, the Charmer called. He called yesterday, and we had a brief conversation. He sounded guarded in his language and mannerisms, but said he’d like to meet up. He wasn’t sure about timing for this week, but wants me to text or call on Wednesday or Thursday in case he can meet up.

I spoke with my friend Kind Ninja (yes, she really is that fantastic), and I told her about how I’d reacted to The Charmer and everything that happened. She told me that she thinks I should just follow my heart and seize my desire with both hands. I said that I really just didn’t want to be heartbroken — that the problem I have with the Charmer is that my reason and logic are completely overtaken by a kind of senseless desire when it comes to him. And that I have no idea what to do with those emotions, let alone how to handle it if things go badly.

And then she said the sweetest thing to me that I have possibly ever heard: she said, “DH, listen to me. If things don’t go well and you’re heartbroken, I will come to you, and I will pick you up. Really.”

I am so lucky to have a friend like her in my life.

And today, I am feeling happy and confident, and optimistic.

 

The Topography of a breakup (III) March 4, 2009

Filed under: breakups,Exes — datehazard @ 9:02 am
Tags: , , , , ,

So, my examination of the emotional processes involved in a breakup continues (part 1; and part 2 here).

This time, my case study is myself.

My ex just called this morning to wish me a happy birthday. It was premature; my birthday isn’t until later this week. But we managed to have a conversation anyway, and he told me he’d started seeing someone and things were getting a little serious. Honestly, I wasn’t that surprised. His patterns are familiar to me, and I thought he’d rush into someone’s open arms after the last conversation we had, when he once again declared his undying love and said he’d like to give us another shot. At that time, I’d replied that the only way that was going to happen was if he embarked on some major work on himself. I wanted him to demonstrate to me that he would do what it takes to really show me how he could take the initiative on a regular basis. When we were together, I’d put all of the work into the relationship, from making all of the meals to arranging all of our outings, and despite my repeated complaints, then surly silence, then depression, he never lifted a finger. Instead, he’d started to ignore me, and then started to belittle me. Even while he actually admitted to me that he agreed with my assessment of the relationship. And so eventually I decided I’d had enough. Between struggling to focus on my work and plan the next steps in my career, I had very little time, energy or patience to devote to acting like this guy’s mom.

And so we come to stage 3 and 4 in the breakup. Stage 3 is where you still miss your ex, but you start to think a little more clearly about what happened. The good times are still there in your head; the bad times don’t seem so bad. You still want to get back together with them, and decide to call.

Oh no!

You’re reminded all over again of what the bad times were, and realise, “right… this is why we broke up.” It’s a good thing, but it makes you sad. Nevertheless, the thought of them dating someone else is really horrible, even as you do want them to be happy. You hope that you find someone else before them, and maybe even go on some dating sprees, like a crazed sniper, trying to make a connection with as many people as possible. A few more bouts of sadness and/or depression ensue when your targets don’t really pan out. You blame your ex and revert a little bit to stage 1 or 2.

Stage 4 is what happens when you don’t even notice. It’s when you realise that you genuinely want the other person to be happy. When it doesn’t matter whether you’re seeing someone else, or what’s happening in your life. When your ex calls, and you’re actually encouraging them, genuinely, to pursue their own happiness. When you remind them that looking into the past is just so much of an invitation to self-pity. When you tell them that horrible cliché that life is for the living. And actually mean it.

And that’s what happened this morning.

I think Stage 5 is when you actually see them again, and realise, after some rapid and pretty superficial back-and-forth between Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4, that you actually do mean stage 4. And that you might even want to enjoy their company again, from time to time.

As the friend they always were.

 

On the benefits of getting enough sleep February 24, 2009

Last night, I went out with my roommate and his friend The Actor, to watch some improv comedy.

It was freezing cold and a fierce wind was whipping through New York. We were all hatless in our “it’s hip to be cold” way, all clenching our teeth and gripping the edges of our coats in a futile effort to stay warm.

We ate cheap, hot, fresh tortillas; The Actor gobbled his down in two bites or less, and I clutched them in my hands and drew out the eating experience for as long as the tortilla maintained its heat. Lovely, cheap impromptu hand-warmers! We hopped anxiously from one foot to the other while we waited in line. We told each other silly jokes in an attempt to distract ourselves from the stinging cold, and to generally celebrate each other’s company.

Then we were inside, and the show began. And we laughed at the distracted actor, the botched lines, the awkward moments. We laughed at the high points, the moments when the timing was just right. We doubled over, shaking silently, wiping the tears from our eyes, when our favourite actor ruthlessly exploited a line or staged a perfect moment.

Then we went home. And I slept, without interruption, for the first time in weeks.

 

Nasty news February 21, 2009

Filed under: breakups,Drama,Exes — datehazard @ 2:15 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Well, I just had a rather unexpected update from my friend The Artist about what exactly happened on the night she got really drunk and ended up at The Grad Student’s house.

Apparently it wasn’t just that she’d gotten drunk, but that she and the Grad Student had kissed. He’d been putting the moves on her, and he’d also said to my friend, “What shall we tell DH? Don’t tell her something happened. Maybe we can just tell her that you stayed over because you were really drunk?”

And just yesterday, The Grad Student was telling me how he thought I was beautiful and incredibly desirable. Which I’d laughed off and dismissed as so much loneliness. We’d spent the entire day talking about his problems, and I’d been sympathetic about his breakup, trying to encourage him to keep moving on.

And now, once again, I feel used. Once upon a time The Grad Student and I had a thing — a long time ago when I was on the rebound from my ex and had just moved to NYC. We’d managed to work through it, but there had always been that tension, which I generally ignored or pushed aside. After our attempt to date, I realised that he wasn’t the right person for me, and I told him that. And kept dating other people.

And now I am stuck in this awkward situation where I had to promise The Artist that I wouldn’t reveal the fact that they’d kissed. And I can’t act on my anger and ask The Grad Student to explain his actions, and why it was at all important to hide this information from me. And I can’t warn The Artist about this guy, who is clearly playing the both of us, because she would think it’s so much jealousy on my part. And I feel personally responsible for making sure she doesn’t get hurt. Especially when she’s in this particular state. And I’m the one who introduced them to each other.

Men are pigs. Seriously. And clearly I am ridiculously naive.

 

The Dating Tutor

Sometimes, when you don’t know what you’re doing, you need to talk to someone who’s been there, done that.

Like one of these fictional ladies.

Been There, Done That

And that’s exactly what I did last night. I ended up having a 3.5 hour conversation with my friend The Toronto Journalist. We haven’t spoken in months, and I figured it was time to give him a call. Especially since he’s from New York and lived here for most of his life.

The hours flew by and I dished to him about my most recent adventures, and my current fixation with The Charmer. He, in turn, told me about his current dating woes and the problems he’s having with his long-term girlfriend, The Box. The Box works in the medical field, and she Does Not Like Many Things. She’s also apparently super-private.

When The Toronto Journalist told me he’d never even met The Box’s friends, in the 1.5 years that they’ve been together, I was shocked. The Box liked to tell my friend, by way of explanation, “I’m sorry, but I’m just a private person.” Uh… Ok?

She also does not like taking photographs, and until The Journalist maneuvered her into a compromising situation (friendly to normal photography), with her brother and her family members’ help, he did not have a single photo of her. When he’d try to explain to her that it was important to him to be able to see her face while at work, or just to have a memento of her while she wasn’t around, she would reply, “Well, you can always just see me in person.”

Trouble in paradise. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, he gave me the same advice I’d been giving myself: when it comes to The Charmer, the only way for me to be in this situation is to step back and see what he does next. If he’s really interested, he’ll let me know.

And he gave me an earful of information about men in New York City — the way most of them do indeed play the Seduction Game and string women along, and that most New York women understand this and also have their own game of manipulation. He did say, though, that when these men recognize or realise that they’re dealing with women who aren’t from the city, they usually drop their game and try to be real.

I wonder if it’s really that easy. I mean, if you always play a game, it becomes second nature. You don’t even know you’re still doing it.

Meanwhile I really do have to tell Corporate Lawyer that I am no longer dating just him. I know he’s dating around, and assumes I am too, but that doesn’t mean I have no responsibility to him.

And Non-Profit Guy and I are going to a play today. Purely as friends. In that “WTF??” way. I will keep you posted.

 

What to do when you’re lonely February 15, 2009

Filed under: Adjusting,Desire,frustration,Singleness — datehazard @ 10:48 pm
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One thing I’ve found that works really well is to do some work. Work that is intellectually stimulating but also possibly brings you into contact with other people. This evening, after feeling blue all day, I met up with a group of fellow writers for our regular get-together. We discussed the assigned writing for the week, went through what worked, what needed help, and ate some lovely snacks.

It was exactly the kind of push I needed to stop wallowing and fixating on my upcoming conversation with the Charmer. He is out on a date, and offered to call me at the end of his evening. I suspect that would be some time early next morning, if at all. Why do guys make offers that they have no intention of keeping? He’d also let me know that last night he’d escorted his “colleague” (his quotations) to a work-related get together, and ended up sleeping at her place as a result of “too much wine.” Right. I’m sure the wine played a very small role in the reason why he slept over.

I want to talk to him to tell him that I’m not interested in having a casual relationship with him. But at the same time, I’m really wondering whether that’s a good decision. I remember how attracted I was to him, and it confuses me. When my feelings override my reason, I always become confused. And probably spend too much time thinking about what I should do next, instead of making a prudent decision.

In any case, the point is moot, since he hasn’t called, and I’m starting to feel more inclined to giving Corporate Lawyer a chance. We’ll see. At this point it’s too difficult to make a decision one way or another. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to starting my next writing assignment. I offered to submit my work for the next meeting, in a genre I haven’t practiced in over 10 years. It’s an excuse to practice that form, and I could use the challenge. And the excuse to shift my focus from something I have little control over.