#106

First of all, I want to thank everyone who shared their two cents regarding Email #104. I feel rich in perspective, if not in pennies. The consensus was that it’s normal to not feel crazy chemistry or partner pings on the first few dates. You all voted for a slow burn vs. immediate sparks, and reminded me that the only question I should be asking myself after a date is, “Do I want to see this person again?” It warms my heart with reassurance to know that many of you initially felt meh about the love of your life. 

Update on CWFFF:

We chatted on the phone in late October to get on the same page. It was a good convo and we talked about hanging out again. However, our November availability never lined up and I’m out of town for all of December. We haven’t texted in a few weeks (but he’s also not much of a texter, which I don’t mind) so I’m unsure if it’s officially fizzled or he just knows I’m not around. There have been a few moments where I’ve been tempted to reach out, but I don’t know if that’s because I want to talk to HIM or if I just want some attention. TBD for the foreseeable future.

Update on Fellow Solo Diner:

We met up the following weekend for food and drinks (I got a virgin Hot Toddy, aka a Hot Fraudy). He was cuter than I remembered (phew!), but despite talking for ~3 hours, I was confused if we were hanging out romantically or platonically. He was recovering from a hangover, but it also seemed like he wasn’t that interested. He suggested we hang out again as we walked to the subway, but, to my severe disappointment, there was no kiss. (I’m basically a born again virgin at this point.) We made plans over text to do something the following Sunday, but I could tell something was off. On Saturday, he texted to say he wanted to cancel because “I kinda have been feeling like I need a break from dating to focus on other things going on in my life right now, and feel I shouldn’t get like too involved with someone else.” I told him I was getting that vibe and wished him the best. I was mildly disappointed, but mostly because the chance to lock lips with a human man had eluded me yet again. Due to both of our current circumstances, I knew there wasn’t long-term potential with him, but had decided he could be a fun fling. While I suspect the Universe doesn’t want me taking slutty detours along my treacherous Husband Quest, I still intend to try at my friend’s wedding this New Year’s Eve. 

Another barely-worth-mentioning update:

Months of isolated misery got the best of me and I had a FaceTime date with a Hinge man from my childhood bedroom (at least my mom wasn’t home). He’s really smart and we had fun, but I haven’t heard from him in over a week so methinks that’s that. Plus, I think I need to consider it a Red Flag of Incompatibility that he doesn’t believe we have souls; it leads me to believe he would scoff at my various spiritual interests.

Speaking of soulful insights:

I’ve been so concerned with making sure to present the “real me” to potential suitors, that I’m starting to question who/what that even is. Maybe my authentic self is really just a messy mish mash of contradictions; and instead of trying to dig down deep enough to uncover the most genuine nuggets of who I am, I need to just dump the whole box onto the table and let these guys sort through the clutter until one decides he’ll take the whole lot.

Happy Solstice and, I guess, cheers to the emotional rummage sale I’ll be hosting in 2022. I encourage you to invite any and all qualified shoppers.

#104

For your appetizer, please enjoy a few minor updates that I forgot to mention:

Back in March, on my first date with Not My Husband, the bartender turned out to be none other than Alabama Boy. Despite him being masked the whole time, his incredibly unique first name sparked my memory and led me to creep on IG, where I confirmed he is not only the bartender, but owner of the bar I’ll obviously never revisit. 

In August, near my old neighborhood, I was sitting outside a coffee shop with my friend, when I saw Neighbor Boy in line for a coffee of his own. Reluctant to be recognized myself, it was challenging to confirm his identity—but I am 97% sure it was him. He has a dog now, which I sincerely hope is boosting his mental health. 

In July (I’m aware this is out of chronological order), one of the Zoom dates I had in April resurfaced, apologetic for never following up and asking if I’d like to meet in person. Our Zoom interaction, while less than memorable, had been perfectly enjoyable, so I agreed to an in-person version. Despite a small red flag pertaining to how he basically chugged 4-5 beers while I nursed 2 (granted, I’d come from client drinks and had told him to catch up), the IRL conversation was equally enjoyable. Nonetheless, I told him I felt called to spend my energy elsewhere.

However, in the words of Carrie Bradshaw, “I couldn’t help but wonder…” Was the lack of sparks a sign of a healthy, comfortable connection, or am I simply a charming conversationalist who can have a pleasant time with anyone? What’s the difference between feeling comfortable and at ease with a guy, and feeling not romantically interested? Where’s the line between being OTL and “settling” for any decent human?

Now, for your main course:

I was recently set up with my cousin’s wife’s friend’s fiance’s friend (CWFFF) for a blind date. He was given my phone number and we texted to make plans. I informed him that I’m taking a break from alcohol and don’t mind if he drinks, but he was surprisingly into the idea of a sober date and we planned to get dinner at Via Carota. Though he came highly recommended, the idea of meeting a complete stranger for a booze-free, cloth-napkin dinner made me nervous. I was going to have to be my metaphorically-naked self—which is historically scarier than being my literally-naked self. Knowing I wouldn’t be chaperoned by alcohol, it felt like I was going on my very first date again. Thankfully, he turned out to be kind, funny, and smart and we talked for 5 hours. We hugged goodbye, confirmed we both had an enjoyable evening, and made plans to hang out again in two weeks. We texted occasionally, casually, and I experienced zero anxiety (likely because I’ve been too distracted by work anxiety).

Last night, for our second sober date, we got pho (I paid this time!) and then made the spontaneous decision to snag the last two spots in a nearby escape room (and smoke a tiny bit of weed). Afterwards (we all escaped), he walked me to the subway station and told me he had a great time and would like to see me again. I told him I had a good time too, but was only feeling a friendship vibe so far. In an unprecedented display of honesty, I shared what I assume is my unkind habit of continuing to date someone while I wait to see if my feelings might change or grow. I told him I didn’t want to waste his time, but he was very understanding and said he still wanted to invest more time in getting to know each other. Mildly stoned and trying very hard to find the right words, I’m not sure how I came off. When he asked if I wanted him to stop contacting me, I said no. But when he asked if I wanted to hang out again soon, I said I didn’t know. We obviously didn’t kiss, but hugged goodbye before I got on the train. 

I rode home feeling confused and sad. I thought about the chemistry and excitement I had with Sauce Man in the beginning. I’ve only ever followed that feeling before—and look where it’s gotten me. When confronted with a communicative, emotionally available man who seems to really like me, I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. Are those qualities more important than flirtation and fun? Are passion and peace of mind mutually exclusive? Am I reflexively rejecting the very thing I’ve been trying to manifest? Or is he just the first good example of what a quality partner can look like, a green flag that I’m on the right path? 

In trying so hard to break my old patterns, I feel like I can no longer trust how I feel. Is placid contentment how we’re supposed to feel in a “healthy” relationship? Or does passion still count for something, and I just need to learn to balance it out with substance and communication? How am I supposed to know if someone is a great match, or just a great person? I am truly confused, so I invite any of you in strong partnerships to reach out with your thoughts.

In the meantime, I suggested that he and I cut to the chase and discuss (over the phone or in person) what we’re looking for in love and life. While I don’t have a very good handle on how I should be feeling in love, I’ve at least gained recent clarity on where I’m headed in life—back to the west coast, in a year. If we can see whether or not our visions align, maybe that will help confirm what I am, or am not, feeling.