ITNOWIT #3: Tea for Two

Operation ITNOWIT #3

  • Independent café downtown
  • Saturday 5/19/12
  • 11am-1pm
  • Iced tea
  • $2.00
  • Served in real glass
  • Met D there

And here I thought I wouldn’t have anything to report for last week. While I was out of town, I still messaged back and forth with the two other interesting guys from OKC. One of them, D, rather than writing out a long response asked, “Would you like to get coffee sometime?” I would be getting back into town Friday, so we made plans for Saturday morning.

This time I was nervous. We’d written back and forth enough that I wanted to like him when I met him. I read through his profile the night before so I wouldn’t mix anything up and studied his pictures so I’d recognize him. When I walked up right at 11am, he was sitting outside reading the paper.

We shook hands. He had a decidedly not-firm handshake. We went in to order drinks and chatted awkwardly. Since we already knew that we are both very introverted, this was to be expected. Back outside, as I sat down I said, “Okay, we’re both introverts, so one of us has to say something.” His answer was something like, “Don’t worry, I’ve been thinking about/planning what we could talk about.” I thought that was a bit adorable to admit. We picked up where our messaging had left off and things went fine. He’s a bit more outwardly philosophical than I am, so he often took the conversation to the “meaning of things” level. For example, he told me that someone plays pranks at work. I would have left that topic at, “Wow, I wouldn’t handle that well. I tend to think pranks are mean rather than funny” and moved on. But he really wanted to explore the value of pranks in a work relationship… He was also very self-conscious of the possibility that he was rambling, and I admit that sometimes I thought he was. But I’m not immune to rambling myself.

So what did I think? Once again, I don’t know. Nice guy. Not bad looking. We had things to talk about. I kept looking at him and wondering, do I find him attractive? Can I imagine us becoming really comfortable friends? Can I see us as more than friends? I felt so objective about the meeting that I wonder if I’m inhibiting or suppressing an emotional response. Or is it simply that D seemed nice enough but there just wasn’t a strong response one way or the other? No immediate spark. And shouldn’t I be glad there isn’t an immediate spark if I want to be friends first? I think part of me wants to just know, no, there’s nothing there, or, yes, I’m attracted.

Now for the awkward ending. Last time, with T, I hugged him even though my CP makes that a potentially embarrassing thing to do (it’s entirely possible that I will lose my balance). Then I thought I shouldn’t have set that precedent. First because it might have sent mixed signals to T, and second because I’m not actually comfortable hugging and don’t want it to be expected. This time, when D and I stood up to go, my hand went automatically to the umbrella’s pole next to our table. Whenever I’m standing, I prefer to be resting my hand on something. So I stood there, holding onto the umbrella and chose not let go to hug or shake hands or anything. I just wasn’t feeling steady. I wonder what D thought, what he expected. I certainly felt awkward about it. It’s just going to have to be a conversation I have: “Look, I have almost no sense of balance. I need to hold onto things so I don’t fall. Physical interaction is just going to be weird.” But it’s not exactly a conversation to have two hours after meeting someone. So I smiled and reiterated that we should get together again soon and walked away. Then I realized we’re supposed to clear our own dishes and wondered if D stayed after to take ours inside. Oops.

 

The following day, Sunday, I was going to a concert by the local university symphony orchestra. It was a “family concert,” with three short pieces, including “Peter and the Wolf.” I’m a fan of Prokofiev and had never heard that piece live. I had messaged T and invited him, since he’d wanted to get together again but I had been out of town. Turns out he was going to the concert already (because he got credit for it in one of his classes). I responded, “Great, I’ll see you there. It’s open seating, so we can sit together.” Sunday morning, I followed up, letting him know what time I’d get there, ending with “See you later!”

It was very odd to me that I was seeing two different men two days in a row. Pretty much the opposite of my pre-OKC life. Anyway, I arrived half an hour before the start and waited for T in the lobby. At ten minutes to start, I called him. It went to voicemail and his mailbox was full so I couldn’t leave a message. At five minutes to start I finally went in and sat down and silenced my phone. It turns out that a minute later he had texted me “Hello?” as if he were answering his phone by texting. I’d already told him I don’t text. I enjoyed the concert and went home. I messaged T via OKC, “If I don’t answer texts and you don’t answer calls, we’re obviously going to have some problems! Were you at the concert? What did you think?” He messaged me back saying that he hadn’t gone because his car wouldn’t start.

Now, I’d made it clear to T that I was going to the concert either way because I didn’t want him to feel like he had to go. But when I found out he was also going, I made it clear that I was looking forward to seeing him and sitting with him. In my mind, that means T should have let me know he wasn’t going to make it. I’ve had several experiences where I thought a plan was set, but it wasn’t clear to the other people involved. I’ve tried to learn from this and be extremely specific about time, place, etc. This time though, I was deliberately casual about it. I did not state: I will meet you in the lobby at 2:30. I said, I’ll get there about 2:30. So I can see how from our messaging that T would not interpret this as an official plan. I’m not mad, just a bit frustrated. And doubt has crept in. Worst case scenario—car troubles was an excuse not to go; maybe he had a better offer. Best case scenario—an honest miscommunication.

Ah, the joys of social interaction.

 

On the upside, OKC candidate #3, B, has promised to ask me out when he’s feeling better. He had planned to ask me to coffee on Saturday, but had gotten sick. How crazy would that have been? Two coffee dates in one day. I’m kind of shaking my head at the whole thing and wondering where it’ll all end up.

 

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