Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bad Date 101

Bad dates. What can you say about them that haven't already been said? I'm still going to try. I wasn't aware that when I made plans with a "friend" that he had other notions. We had expressed a mutual attraction last summer. On my part, far more tentative. There were things I liked about him--- in the abstract. He was my age, educated, a New Yorker, involved in the community, professional, a single parent. Last summer, I went out on a date with him and immediately wanted to be somewhere else.

From the moment he walked in, he invaded my personal space. Pulled his bar stool way too close to mine. Put his arm around me to massage my back. WTF? I hardly knew him. As a good girl who came of age in the mid-west, where there had been no revolution, I moved my bar stool further away. I didn't say a word. I wanted to be polite. I was raised to be polite. Are all women raised to be polite, or am I just an idiot? I ordered another vodka and planned to exit stage right as soon as humanly possible. Which I did.

Yet, I tried again with him in the fall. Why? Maybe every once in awhile I need to check in with myself. Find out if my feelings are genuine or if I've just become cynical and jaded. I spent a nice afternoon with him, but it was nothing special. I wanted to like him in that romantic, sexy way. But it just wasn't happening. We drifted out of each other's lives--- I was fine with that. Disappointed, but fine. Why oh why couldn't I like him? Of course I was conveniently forgetting about his grabby, octupus-like, tentacle-like, touchy-feel-y behavior in the bar that night in August.

We connected again recently in a professional capacity. I assumed that he understood that the possibility of romance between us had flickered then failed. That the idea was DOA. Initially, he was coming over to my home. But the more I thought about that, the more I realized that I didn't want him in my home. So I made sure to wait outside for him. Again, my polite, Midwestern upbringing or something prevented me from telling him the truth. When he arrived, I just said--- let's go straight to a restaurant. I'm starving. I thought, good, problem solved. If I was wrong about not trusting him, I haven't made a scene. We can still have our professional meeting. No harm, no foul.

I enjoyed the meal. I had two margaritas. It was a bright, sunny day. I enjoyed our conversation. Then he said, I'm really looking forward to seeing your place." Duh. Uh. My mind raced furiously. Did he really not understand that when I met him OUTSIDE of my apartment, that I didn't want him in my apartment? Wasn't this a polite, diplomatic, educated, classy way of handling the situation. Or again, am I an idiot. Whatever. I could think of nothing to say. Nothing. I just hoped that I could trust him. That he wasn't going to try and resurrect a romance that had never really existed.

Initially, Molly claimed all the attention; barking, jumping, being adorable, being a pain in the ass. We partook of an herbal delight. The conversation was still good. The man is smart. He sat at one end of my leather couch, I sat at the other. I put on music. However, I did not put on smoky, sexy jazz; no Miles Davis, no Coltrane, no Monk. This was a mix CD, world music. My friend Mars made it for me. She paints to it in her studio. It's not sexy! Then I sat on the other couch, on the other side of the room. Distance. I wanted distance. I did not want him thinking that this was romantic.

OK. So maybe all of the above is ambiguous. It's possible, right? It's possible that he misread all my signals. But then out of the blue, he got up, marched across the room and sat down next to me. Again, WTF? I got up immediately. I said I was going to take Molly for a walk. I was still trying to salvage some professional equity. No hard feelings. He said fine, he was going to leave anyway. Again, I was relieved. Whew. I thought, good, he finally understands, and we can still be friends, and perhaps collaborators. I walked into the kitchen to show him out.

He pulled me close, and said, At least me kiss you. I allowed this to happen, one kiss, and pulled away. He pulled me closer again. I pulled away again. Now, its a tricky situation. We have mutual friends. We're not adolescents drunk on a six pack of Coors. We're adults. We are educated, democratic, artistic, accomplished. This should not be happening. Not in New York City, much less Brooklyn. I really should not have to fend off a man's advances anymore. OK? This is archaic. And it felt ridiculous and almost embarrassing. Boyfriend's got to write himself some new rules.

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