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Jul. 19th, 2010

Cartoon

Why Romance Novels and Chick Flicks End When They Get Together

Because an actual relationship is boring to read about!  Ha.

I have gotten a few nudges from my long lost LJ friends recently (thank you!) and figured I should check in.  To alleviate any suspense, the Looker and I still together on pretty much the same terms we agreed on when he became my boyfriend last year, which is that I go to his place during the week and he comes to my place on the weekend.  When I am not obsessing over the fact that we are not married yet and OH MY GOD WHY ARE WE NOT MARRIED YET, things are very good.  It is hard for me not to obsess on this.  On a completely related note, I turn 36 next month.

I stopped writing for several reasons, so I will probably still be posting very, very sporadically!  First, as mentioned, an actual relationship (assuming it is not a bad and/or middle school relationship) is not interesting for the reader.  "We went to dinner.  The End."  "He rolled me over in my sleep because I was snoring.  The End."  "We walked through the blazing heat to a Peruvian chicken place where I watched him eat 1/4 of a chicken, and then we walked through more blazing heat to El Charrito Caminante where he watched me eat two pupusas, and then we had a big discussion about our relationship.  In the blazing heat.  The end."  Well, I guess the last one could be interesting to read about.  None of those things are euphemisms, by the way.

The second reason is more the real reason.  I don't want to get myself into the habit of compiling a dossier of All The Things He Has Done Wrong--yet I don't have enough self control not to if I'm writing about our relationship!  Also, you may have noticed that I am a *wee* bit crazy and insane, and also have had a really hard time making decisions about this relationship.  While writing is a very enjoyable activity for me and can sometimes be therapeutic, it doesn't always help me crystallize my thoughts and can instead foster my tendency to let anxious thoughts circulate on an endless tape loop.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, if you were all like, "Thank god that girl stopped writing her long-ass boring entries"), in this relationship it tended toward the latter.


The Cycle of Our Relationship

Like many things, such as the phases of the moon and the length of hemlines, our relationship goes through cycles.  When I am feeling pessimistic, I describe the cycle as such:  We have a discussion about our relationship wherein he makes a grand pronouncement regarding his lack of intentions to marry me.  I am really sad and consider breaking up with him.  But it is always an inconvenient time to break up (his birthday, he has already bought a plane ticket to Texas to visit my family, etc.) so I don't get around to it.  Then slowly I forget how devastated I was and start to feel confident and happy, because we are a good match and really enjoy each other's company and are important in each others' lives.  Then I get so confident that we discuss our relationship.  He makes a grand pronouncement regarding his lack of intentions to marry me.  Repeat.


The Good Things I Hold Onto, Sometimes for Dear Life

(1)  He contacted me on OKCupid in the first place.

(2)  He asked to get back together after we broke up.

(3)  For Christmas, he made me a photo album of our trip to Spain with little handwritten captions in his horrifying, serial killer handwriting.  Most of the notations are in black, except for two in red.  One for "scary scary fish" for me (I am really creeped out by fish.  and birds.) and one for "scary scary height" for him for a ledge-like balcony that terrified him.

(4)  For Christmas I made him a pair of boxer shorts (and got him a cassette iPod adapter for his car), and then another pair for his birthday.  When he does laundry he always makes sure they are on top of the clean pile so I know he wears them.

(5)  When I am reaching the breaking point of needing to talk about The Relationship he always picks up on my passive-aggressiveness (I am horrible!) and proactively asks me what is going on.  He does his best to participate in the conversation, even if he does end it like a belligerent toddler backed into a corner flailing his arms and making Grand Pronouncements about how he is never getting married dear god that is the worst thing that could possibly ever happen to a person.

(6)  He really wants to be with me.  Even if it is only for right now this very second and not even one second into the future, he wants to be with me.

(7)  Although I initiate pretty much all of the rest of our physical contact, when we are going to sleep he is the one who kisses me goodnight.


Momentous Events That Have Occurred

(1)  He went with me to a friend's wedding.  I guess it wasn't really that momentous, except that he was forced to admit that marriage exists.  He wore a suit and even danced.  Sort of.  Or else that was a seizure.

(2)  I met the rest of his family.  His youngest sister (daughter of his dad and stepmom) and her high school orchestra were playing at Carnegie Hall so the whole gang converged upon New York.  I met his dad, stepmom, youngest sister, and older sister (same parents as him), along with a dozen other assorted relatives.  They were nice.  His stepmom and youngest sister came through town twice this summer and so I got to spend more time with them. We went to South Carolina Memorial Day weekend.

(3)  He came to Texas with me.  I offered to use credit card points on his ticket, but he paid for it himself.  I won't say he's cheap, but he is economical (as am I), so it was kind of a big deal, I thought.  I had been terrorizing him with tales of my parents since we met, so he was kind of a little let down when they turned out to be nice, normal people.  We met my middle brother and his wife and four kids in a mall that has an oil derrick in the parking lot.  We ate Tex Mex twice.  My parents didn't say boo about us staying at a hotel.  It was extremely successful.


Where We Are On the Cycle

Our last discussion where he made his Grand Pronouncement re: no intentions to marry me was around March.  It was bad timing in general because my Gyn had sent me to an oncological gynecologist for recurring bad pap smears.  I went and saw him, he said it looked fine and to come back in four months.  Then he called and left me a message saying come back in one month.  Then he called and left me a message saying to come back as soon as possible.  This was somewhere in between "as soon as possible" and getting the results of the biopsy (negative, thank goodness).  So I was really focused on my fertility or lack thereof.  So it was about time for our quarterly existential crisis.

He has gone to Germany twice this year for work.  The first time he was stuck there by the volcano and OMG he was so unhappy.  It was kind of pitiful.  It did convince him to get a computer with a webcam so we could skype in the future, though.  The second time he went to Germany his car was completely destroyed by a drunk driver (along with nine other cars, not counting the drunk driver's car) while parked on the street.  He is not into the whole Deutschland situation.

Anyway, he went through his insurance company and got a very reasonable settlement for his totaled car, but of course it is never replacement value.  I floated the idea of "buying into" his new car.  I have not had regular access to a car since January and am going a bit crazy about it.  I don't want a whole car but would LOVE a share of a car.  I said that he would have the option to buy me out any time if he felt it wasn't working.

His response:  "Even if we were 60 years old and still together I would never share a car with you."  Upon further probing, he said that if we were 60 years old and still together at that point he would agree to drive me to the fabric store once a month.

Oooookay.  I took that as a no.

We had previously discussed money.  It went similarly poorly.  His older sister does not make good life choices and I mentioned something about us supporting her in the future.  He agreed, but said I wouldn't have to be involved in it.  I was like, "Well, at some point it would 'our' money."  Lord.  Out trots the Grand Pronouncement about how there will NEVER be an our money ever ever ever.  That even if we get married one person will just have to write a check to the other person at the end of the month and not one dime of our funds shall ever commingle, not even as change on the bedside table.

So after the car discussion I realized that even if we did, by some miracle, get married (I'm not religious, so I don't believe in miracles), it would not be the partnership that I have envisioned for myself.  We wouldn't be allowed to share money or a car.  We would just be freaking roommates, for god's sake.  We'd probably have to have separate groceries!

Thus precipitated the discussion in the blazing hot sun.  After that epiphany I was to the point where I was inventorying his house to try to figure out what all I needed to gather up and take with me after breaking up with him.  As per usual, to his credit, he realized that something was gnawing me.  So I told him that there were three issues.  First, it is time for our annual review (he became my boyfriend around the 4th of July last year).  Second, we will never get married.  And Third, even if we did by some miracle get married we would just be roommates (as explained above).

We discussed point number three and it turns out that we are not as far apart as it first appeared.  As to money, he said it would be fine to have a shared account for expenses.  Now, I suspect that we differ vastly in what percentage of income we think should be contributed to a common fund and how much to personal accounts, but I don't think any couple would automatically have the same idea.  As to car, he said the main thing is that he wants to be able to choose the car all by himself without anyone else having any input, but that I could drive it if I needed to.

I felt much better after our talk.  He walked me to the metro and I said, "There are still several points unaddressed, but thank you for talking to me and I feel much better."

He said, "I am working on the other things."

I tried not to get my hopes up.

He didn't keep me in suspense too long, as this weekend he made very clear that he still does not intend to marry me.  This time he actually initiated the conversation, and said he was feeling that our relationship was stagnant and he didn't know where we were going.

I said that, obviously, I was very interested to know where we were going.  I wasn't sure what he meant by "stagnant," but in further conversation I think he meant more routine and humdrum.  I go to his house on Wednesday nights and we hang out, and then on Saturday nights we go to dinner and the farmer's market on Sunday morning.  Sometimes we see friends, but we rarely do anything else.  I was a little frustrated by this because (1) well, life *is* routine, and (2) I often suggest that we do things, like go to Teddy Roosevelt Island or the zoo or a museum and he rarely agrees.  It is, admittedly, too hot to do anything outside this summer, but he doesn't like movies or plays.  I don't know what it is that he wants to do.

At any rate, the conversation was not good.  He wishes we had 10 years to date.  We don't.  Or at least I don't.  Even putting aside the issue of children (a big issue), I am not willing to wait until I am 45 or 46 to live together.  This conversation could have been the beginning of the end.

Why Are You Even With That Guy, Anyway?

I know.  It does not seem clear why I would be with someone who refuses to spoon me no matter how much I beg, who is emotionally prickly and hasn't said that he loves me, and who will not live with or marry me.  He is not everything I am looking for, but of course nobody is.  But the thing is, we are really good company.  He cracks me up.  He is smart and he reads and we have interesting stuff to talk about.  We can discuss our career and job issues because we're both lawyers.  I am really comfortable with him and either can't or don't need to hide things about myself from him.  I just like him as a person.  (Plus, he's hot.)  If I were just looking for a boyfriend I would look for someone easier to be with, who likes going to nicer restaurants and movies and who will cuddle me.  But for the long term, the company part is the most important one to me.  And he's it.

I have never been that girl.  I've never had a hard time walking away from someone who is not right for me.  It is possible that sometimes it's been too easy for me.  But now I am that girl, who is always talking about her relationship and agonizing over whether it's right and whether I should leave and never making any decisions so that inertia makes them for me.  It's annoying to be that girl and I am sure my friends are sick of it.  But I still don't know what to do!
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Dec. 2nd, 2009

Cartoon

Meet the Parents and Our Song

So I went to South Carolina with the Looker for Thanksgiving. After the dramz/non-event of my invitation to the family Thanksgiving, I was kind of let down. But then, as is typical for the Looker, once he has agreed to do something out of his comfort zone and has a little while to get used to the idea he starts to get excited about it. I was a little nervous and kept asking him questions and finally he was like, "They are just glad I'm bringing home a girl. They will love you."

He was a bit vague about how long the drive is, which is a good thing because it turned out to be 9 hours!!!! I was expecting somewhere around 6. I'm not saying I would have changed my mind had I known it was 9 hours, but I would have thought twice! I had considered putting some audio books on my iPod (I should actually use the damn thing now that I've finally bought one), but when I mentioned it he looked like a sad puppy dog and said he thought I was going to keep him company. I had assumed that he would create all sorts of CDs and playlists of music I wouldn't like and would be content to listen to that, so I was touched that he was looking forward to spending time with me and didn't get any audio books (and still haven't used the damn iPod; also, I got blue but I wish I'd gotten green).

The 9 hour drive went surprisingly quickly. We got NPR talk most of the way, and we chatted about the news of the day and random things. I only slept half an hour, even though we'd both woken up around 4:30 and left at 6:40, because I didn't want him to get lonely. We didn't get on each other's nerves. He had been firm about not stopping, but I wasn't worried because he has to pee more often than I do so I didn't think I'd be in acute physical discomfort (I wasn't).

I grew up in the LA area and we moved to the Dallas area when I was in high school, so I don't really have a sense of place. I don't feel like I'm really from anywhere and the places I'm from are big. He grew up in a small town and his dad still lives in the house they lived in when he was born. I totally cannot relate to this! I always forget that he's from a small town because he doesn't fit my stereotype (obvs there's a problem with my stereotype), but there we were in a small town in South Carolina.

His mom's house is cool, sort of a Frank Lloyd Wright-ish house with lots of airy open spaces and vista windows of the woods behind the house. His stepdad, a sub-contractor, built it 20-odd years ago. His mom likes baskets. They are everywhere. I accidentally caused a basket avalanche by brushing against a coat rack of baskets, but this wasn't until the third day so I wasn't too self-conscious about it.

His parents are nice and welcoming. The mom is chatty and likes to ask LOTS of sometimes inappropriate questions and made a couple of weird comments about my eating (on Thanksgiving, when I got a second small sliver of pie a couple hours after the first round, "Oh there she is, eating again"), but obviously has the best intentions.

Luckily, the Looker was (allegedly) a vegetarian for 10 years, so it didn't freak her out that I am and she made spinach lasagne for dinner the first night and there was plenty of veggie food at Thanksgiving, though I had to tell her that I'm allergic to walnuts and couldn't eat the nut loaf she'd intended as the vegetarian main dish. Oops.

I also got to meet his middle sister, who is (as far as I can tell), the person in this world whom the Looker loves the most. I was more nervous about her than the parents, I think! She's 25, ten years younger than us, and much cooler than I ever have been. I think she might have thought I seemed a little square at first because, well, I am and also I like to wear cute dresses, but we seemed to get along well. I liked her at least! And we had fun ganging up on the Looker to tease him.

In the evenings we went to the local dive bar. The first two night his sister was there and the second night he arranged to meet a couple of high school friends (both girls, hmmmmm). I never know how to act when people are reminiscing. I can't really participate in the conversation. I'd be perfectly happy to tune out and stare into space, but I think that makes other people uncomfortable. But it's hard to pay attention when you have nothing to say and you're really tired on top of it! The third night I had him to myself, which I enjoyed. I think he was disappointed that he didn't spontaneously run into anyone he knew well (there were plenty of nodded acknowledgments). I had to remind him that we've lived away from home for almost half our lives.

His dad, stepmom, and youngest sister were out of town visiting the stepmom's family. He was disappointed I wouldn't get to meet them. I would have liked to have met them, but it was kind of nice to only have to deal with one set of parents at a time. Anyway, he took me by the house so I could see it. It blows my mind that he had lived in that same house from birth!

There was a magnet on the fridge of his mom's house that said "World's Greatest Grandpa." I assumed his stepdad had kid(s) from a previous marriage. But no, his stepdad has only one daughter, the Looker's favorite sister. When she saw the magnet she was like, "Um, dad? What the hell is this?" He said, "Well, if I *was* a grandpa I'd be the world's greatest!" So I seriously doubt his mom and stepdad would have cared if we had been conceiving their grandchild in our shared bedroom, but ew. However, since nobody was home at the dad's house the Looker was feeling a little frisky.

Unfortunately, we didn't have any condoms. I was like, "I'm on the Pill." He said that he needs to have multiple layers of protection. I was totally disappointed. Giving him a blowjob is not the same thing as having sex, even if he went down on me too. Oh well, it was still fun.

On our drive home we were in one of the NPR dead zones and were listening to the classic rock station. The song "Patience" by Guns n' Roses (Why only one apostrophe in their name? As there are two letters missing from "and" it should merit two apostrophes) came on. I am sure I had heard this song before, but was not familiar with it. He said, "This is our song." So I listened to the lyrics and is it ever. I think it was written for us. When we got back I found this video on YouTube and requested that the Looker serenade me in those shorts. So far, he has not complied.
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Nov. 15th, 2009

Cartoon

Making Milestones out of Molehills

I'm sure I've written in the past about my Judge's annual reunion dinner. Every year all his past clerks (22 years' worth now!) are invited to gather together to catch up with each other and check in with the Judge. It's a really nice thing to do every year, and it's awesome to have the opportunity to maintain our connection to the Judge. It also, every year, has been my "Yep, Still Single" check moment for brooding depression. For some people this is New Year's Eve or Valentine's Day. I don't love those holidays as a single person, but you can avoid Valentine's day (especially when it's on a weeknight), and hanging out with friends on NYE is a perfectly fun thing to do, even if you don't have someone to kiss at midnight (I'm not saying it's not funner if you do). For me, it was the Judge's reunion. I have missed the occasional dinner because of travel, but never once in the past 6 years have I had a date.

The Looker was intrigued by the idea of having dinner with a federal judge. He didn't clerk and so it seems like a special thing to him. Which it is, and I appreciate him giving me tha perspective. I told him months ago that he should be my date to the dinner, even if we weren't dating at the time. Happily, we are still dating and so last night he accompanied me to the Judge's Reunion Dinner.

I had planned to wear my cute sweaterdress, but then global warming ruined my plans and I had to find a substitute outfit. I went with a silk wrap blouse and a lace skirt. It took me a few minutes to figure out my outfit because I had settled on a green silk dress but then remembered I had worn it to Leilani's engagement party, which the Judge had attended, and didn't want to reuse it. But really, it only took me a few minutes and once I settled on the outfit it was the only one I tried.

The dinner was out in Virginia, so we planned to leave from the Looker's place. I got there and it was like a hilarious scene out of a movie. He could not decide what to wear. He was wearing wool pants and blue shirt, but he hates wool pants (homeboy needs to invest in some lined pants). Then he tried on cotton pants but decided they weren't dressy enough. Then he put on some pinstripe pants, but he feels they are too tight and make his head look too large (I am serious). Then he put on a brown shirt, which I ix-nayed with black pants. Then he put back on the original wool pants and complained they were too tight. Then he put on some suit pants and I told him to just stick with them.

Then there was the issue of jacket. I asked him if he had a tweed jacket. He said he had a corduroy jacket but it made him look like a Jonas Brother. I think it's a cute jacket but he hated it. Then he put on a tweedish textured deep charcoal jacket, but I said he had to wear pinstripe pants with it because black pants made it look like not-quite-a-suit in an awkward way. Then he threatened to wear the brown shirt again.

Finally we got his outfit chosen and he was like, "I have to take a shower. I got too sweaty changing clothes too many times." We had to leave in like 10 minutes! His entire wardrobe was strewn over his bedroom, so I hung up pants while he showered.

He got out of the shower, put on the chosen outfit, and we headed out the door with his hair wet.

We had dinner a couple months ago with Leilani and her fiance; she is also one of the judge's former clerks, so this way the Looker would at least know people there other than me (also they are fun and I love hanging out with them). We had agreed that we'd sit together at the reunion. When we got there, only the current clerks were there so we chatted with them for a while until eventually other people showed up. The Judge arrived. He had his knee replaced only a month ago and this was only his second time out of the house. He looked good, and he was happy to be there. He kissed my cheek, which I thought was sweet.

We sat with Leilani and her fiance as agreed at a table for four. When it came to the speech portion of the evening the Judge decided to introduce all the clerks and tell a little something about them. He introduced Leilani and "her intended" and said he was looking forward to performing their wedding in April. Then he introduced me and to the Looker was like, "I've already forgotten your name." The Looker stated his name and the Judge said, "And where are you?" He meant, "Where do you work?" but the Looker was like, "Um, I live here?" It was hilarious. The poor Looker, he was so nervous!

After the dinner the Judge invited everyone to his house and we had a few minutes to chat with him, and the Looker told him where he works and what he does, so I hoped he felt better after that.

I always knew I'd wanted a date to the reunion dinner, but I didn't realize it was such a big statement to bring someone. Gulp. It was kind of like a combination of introducing him to my dad and having him be my date to the debutante ball. I felt a little weird about that. People were congratulating me, and we were associated with the engaged couple, and it seemed like everyone assumed that we are very serious. I really hope we do get married eventually, but I don't know that it's safe to say that we will and I don't want to make that statement on behalf of The Looker.

Angst aside, however, it was a lovely evening and the Looker enjoyed it too.

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And then there's the issue of Thanksgiving. I never go to Texas for Thanksgiving because it's too far and too expensive to buy tickets in both November *and* December, so I just stay in the DC area. The Looker is from South Carolina, and for him it's a drive. So it would be easy for him to include another person, i.e., me, in the car.

I started bringing it up about a month ago in the hope that he'd get the hint to invite me, asking what he was planning to do and talking about how I wasn't sure what I was going to do.

He didn't get the hint.

So last weekend he was driving me to a baby shower (which is sweet) and Thanksgiving came up and so finally I was like, "So, am I going to South Carolina for Thanksgiving?"

He was like, "Um, uh, I don't know, I mean, I don't know what we're doing for Thanksgiving and I have to talk to my mom and, uh, I don't know."

OK. I didn't press it further at the time, knowing how long it takes him to get used to ideas that seem ludicrous or abhorrent when I first bring them up.

We both talk to our parents on Sundays, and on Monday he sent me an email at the bottom of which said, "Mom says hi." I didn't know how to take that. I mean, on the one hand it seemed very good. He and his mom were talking about me, and the mom is seeking some sort of connection with me. So in that sense it sounded like he had brought it up and the mom was excited for me to come at Thanksgiving. On the other hand, it could be a consolation prize, like Mom says Hi, but she didn't invite you to Thanksgiving.

He, of course, said nothing about Thanksgiving.

Everyone told me not to bring it up again. In fact, they thought I shouldn't have brought it up in the first place. But the thing is in our relationship if I don't move things forward they won't move forward. That frustrates me and makes me question whether there is a future for us, but it is the way it is.

So last night at the Judge's house we were in casual conversation (I had unsuccessfully tried to recruit Leilani to casually ask at dinner, "So what are you guys doing for Thanksgiving?") and he mentioned Thanksgiving and said that his little sister won't be there, which bums he out, and his older sister probably won't be there (she's semi-estranged) so it was just going to be him and his mom and stepdad. Ugh, so casually he says this.

When we got home I was strategizing about how to bring it up. It felt like the Fourth of July all over again, where he was all casually like, "These are my plans, you're not included." So my instinct was to make it a big deal and have a big heavy talk and blah. But then I was like, OK, don't jump to that unless it becomes necessarily. So I did the best I could.

I was on the couch with a book and he was at the computer, and we were occasionally chatting about what we were reading. Finally I said, "So Thanksgiving. Yea or nay?"

He was like, "Huh? Oh yeah, I totally forgot you asked. Yeah, you can come if you want."

That was it. It was freaking anti-climactic. I thought it would be either (1) a huge step or (2) a huge fight, but then it seems like kind of neither.

I was like, "Well, I'd love to come."

He was like, "OK. We'll be leaving early in the morning but you can sleep in the car."

I asked what I could bring and he was like, Don't bring anything.

So who knows. Maybe it is a big deal, maybe it isn't. Maybe it means something, but more likely it means nothing. I'll admit that part of the reason I was hung up on it was that he said (a long time ago) that when he broke up with his last girlfriend his parents were disappointed because they really liked her. Which I assume means they met her. So I felt like I should get to meet them too, and if I didn't it was because he wasn't as serious about me as he had been about her. I am not naturally jealous or competitive, but that little tidbit had rankled a bit with me and I wanted to stand on equal footing (kinda ditto Spain, because he went on a big trip with her, too). I definitely don't feel like I'm competing with the Ghost of Girlfriends Past; she's not The One Who Got Away and their relationship wasn't so great. But I don't want to fall behind her, either. So now we'll be even and that's really the only intel I have on her so I'll be done with that, I suppose.

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In general, things are still going well. I am neurotic, as you well know, so sometimes I freak out and have doubts. We're approaching approximately 8 months of dating (I really don't know how to do the reckoning, but I think it was in approximately April that we started seeing each other most every week). I've had three significant relationships; two lasted for 8 months and one for a year and a half. So we're getting to my natural breaking point. I don't see any reason not to go over the hump, but it is a psychological thing.

My biggest issue is "Where Is This Going?" or, more bluntly, "Are You Going to Marry Me for God's Sake?" I know rationally that it's too early to be asking the second question but seriously, I want to know. He still has his obsession with moving in to the District, but because of complications in a case they won't be getting a big bonus this year. So now he's saying in 2011 he'll move to Logan Circle. But I'm thinking, "Dude, if we're not living together in 2011 it will be because we are not together at all." I just don't think he thinks about these things, which makes me wonder how much he thinks about me at all, and what the implication is for our relationship. Is it enough for him to be happy with me right now as things are? Is that what it takes for a lasting long-term relationship? Or does he need to be looking into the future, anticipating moving in together, getting married, having kids? Is foresight a sign of commitment, or just a personality thing? I don't know and I don't know how to find out and I hate not knowing the future.
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Sep. 27th, 2009

Cartoon

The Looker in España

Sorry for not providing any updates! 

Things have been going really well with The Looker.  I was concerned that he had agreed to be my boyfriend only to get back together and stop the hurting of breaking up, but I decided to give it a shot.  Well, I guess he just needed a nudge because since then he has been all in and hasn't looked back.  He is totally my boyfriend for real.  He stepped off the cliff into the abyss and found that he likes it there.  He takes me when he goes to parties, we keep the schedule we agreed to (I go to his place during the week, he comes to mine on the weekend), and he really does think in terms of a we.  It is amazing.  I really didn't expect it, and it's glorious.


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VIGNETTE #1:  The Looker Feels Like He Has Done Something Right

When he asked me what would change if he was my boyfriend I said nothing, really.  But what I didn't anticipate is that when he became my boyfriend I would relax.  I hadn't even realized I was so anxious, but I was.  As soon as he became my boyfriend, I felt so much more secure.  Not too long after he had become my boyfriend I was sitting on the couch reading while he was on the computer.  He is undoubtedly ADD and is always making a circuit between the computer, the couch, and the kitchen.  Before he was my boyfriend I kind of followed him around; I think I sort of unconsciously felt like it could end at any minute so I should spend as much time with him as possible.  But after he became my boyfriend, I felt comfortable just sitting on the couch reading while he did his circuit.

Anyway, he looked over at me and said, "You look so content!"  He sounded very proud.  And I was content.  And he should be proud.

VIGNETTE #2:  The Triumph at Dulles

In July I went to Asia for work (I know, don't hate me).  I was really hoping he would pick me up from the airport because that is the ultimate.  Coming home from a long trip when nobody knows or cares that you have returned is one of the real pits of being single.  Anyway, I was considering hinting but before I got around to it he spontaneously offered!!!!!  It was so exciting.

Then it turned out that he had to go to LA for work; he was going for a hearing on Friday, and I was set to arrive back in DC the next day on Saturday.  He said he was thinking of making a weekend of it in LA.

I was all breezy and said, "Ah, too bad we'll miss each other then, I'll be back on Saturday."

He was like, "Hang on."  His secretary gave him a list of flights that came back to Dulles on Saturday, but none of them landed at the same time as mine.  A few minutes later I get another email saying that she had only been looking at one airline!  OMG!  So then he managed to find a flight that landed at Dulles at the exact same time as mine.  I mean, could you die?  It is the cutest thing ever.

So we each had our blackberries (I can check one out from work when I'm on official travel).  I flew from Tokyo to San Francisco, and so while I was in SF and he was in LA we were emailing each other status reports.  My flight was a little delayed, but his had been scheduled to arrive a few minutes after mine so it was going to be ok.  I had already gone through customs at SFO but had checked a bag.  He hadn't checked a bag from LA.  So we arranged to meet at my bag claim.

Our pilot made up the time in the air, so when we landed I felt like I had time to go in the bathroom and brush my teeth and primp a little (I had been traveling for a million hours).  I was so excited, picturing our meetup at the bag carousel.  I would run over to him and throw my arms around him, just like in a movie, while my suitcase went around and around the carousel.  

It didn't happen quite that way.  If you've ever flown through Dulles you're familiar with the moon landing vehicles you have to ride around in (though apparently they have finally deployed the pedestrian tunnels?) to get from the check in place to the actual terminals.  I got in a moon landing vehicle and as I was exiting to go to bag claim and act out my own personal rom-com, he spotted me.  We were in the same people mover.  I was disoriented and discombobulated and was just kind of like, "Hey."  So much for romantic reunions, LOL.

The whole episode was SO SWEET.  And he was so incredibly proud of himself.  He had even planned ahead and bought two frozen pizzas so we could go home (to his place) and cook our frozen pizzas and not have to go anywhere to get food.  He was high off his Triumph at Dulles for weeks, and still brings it up occasionally.  Not only was I absolutely fucking thrilled to be picked up at the airport, especially under such dramatic circumstances, but I am so happy that he feels successful.  Based on the raw emotions expressed in our breakup conversation, I think he feels like a useless screw-up much of the time.  I am happy that he can alter that self-image in the face of contrary evidence.


=========================================

And now we've just returned from a week together in Spain!  I first brought it up months ago and he hemmed and hawed on it forever.  Finally, I was like, "I am booking my ticket tonight at your house."  He said, "You go first."  And after mine was booked, he booked his.  I was gone for two weeks and spent the first week in Barcelona with my bff/neighbor.  We've traveled together several times and had a blast as usual.

The Looker landed in Madrid on Friday, and I was taking the train from Barcelona on Saturday.  I was nervous.  Although we have been dating for quite a while now I'm not certain we'd ever spent 24 continuous hours together, much less an entire week.  I didn't know his travel style.  I didn't know how he would deal with his ADD without a computer (turns out his blackberry has a data plan).  Nervous.

His first task was to meet me at the train station.  When we were emailing to set up our meetup plan he had asked if I wanted to meet him at the hotel or the train station.  Although I could certainly have made my way to the hotel eventually,* I thought it would be nicer if he met me at the train station so I decided to ask for it.  He scoped it out in advance and arranged a meeting place and a backup meeting place and when my train arrived he was right there by the giant baby heads as he said he would be.

*My lack of navigational skills is apparently acute.  As we were getting ready to leave Barcelona Katya was like, "You need to let The Looker be the navigator on your trip.  You are terrible at it."  LOL

Although anyplace catering to tourists has enough English to accomplish a transaction, Spain is less English-forward than other tourist destinations I've visited.  For me, this is awesome.  Before going to Italy I worked my ass off to learn enough Italian that I could speak it exclusively while there.  But once I got there, I'd ask a question in Italian and the answer would *always* come in English.  It was discouraging.  But in Spain, they don't do that to you.  They let you work on your language skills and feel a sense of accomplishment.  The Looker, however, speaks no Spanish and he was really happy when he realized I could accomplish basic life needs in the language.

His quote of the trip arose from the language barrier.  It had been his idea to arrive the day before I was going to, so he could get settled and oriented.  However, I think he regretting this when he realized it would be a little difficult with the language issues.  A co-worker had told him about a sandwich chain in Madrid called The Museum of Ham (well, actually, Museo de Jamón).  As a good Southern boy, The Looker loves him some pork.  On his birthday he had a "three pork day," with bacon at breakfast, a ham sandwich for lunch, and some sort of Vietnamese pork dish for dinner.  So he went to the Museum of Ham and pointed at a ham sandwich.  However, after he was done eating it, he was still hungry.  In telling me the story, he said, "I didn't want to just sit around all day pointing at ham sandwiches, so I left."  Of course, then he went to another place and pointed at a different ham sandwich.  I could not stop laughing when he told me this.

Once we got together, the trip went so well.  We didn't get on each other's nerves, we didn't get sick of each other, and it definitely brought us closer together.  It got to the point where he unironically held my hand for moments at a time in public.  There are some crazy-ass drivers in Spain and when he was concerned he would put his hand on the back of my neck and interpose himself between me and danger.  He schlepped my suitcase.  He took a million pictures of me.  The last night, I'm pretty sure he called me honey.  Only once, but that's definitely a new one.  We didn't always have a lot to say, but the silences were comfortable (at least for me).

In Spain it is nearly impossible to find a big bed.  Everyplace it is two beds pushed together.  He is always complaining about me cuddling him so he was mock victorious about the beds, but I woke up one morning to find his knee on my bed.  Mmm hmmm, thought so.

We were on different flights coming back.  He had a direct flight, I had to connect through Miami.  So my flight left at 11 and his wasn't until 4.  He was supposed to land 10 minutes before me, but at Dulles, whie I was landing at National.  He kept saying he wished he were on an earlier flight, I assume because he didn't want to be without my language skills, but I think it also had a little to do with my company.  He rode with me to the airport to carry my luggage through the metro system and have breakfast with me.

My flight out of Miami was delayed so by the time I got home he had already sent me an email bragging about arriving home first.  I was like, "Screw this email business, I'm calling him."  So I called, and we talked on the phone for a good 10 minutes.  We have never just chatted on the phone, but he was super chatty (and he is not naturally a chatty person by any stretch).  We both missed each other already.  Even he acknowledged it would be sad to go to bed alone.

It was a magical trip.  I think it will be a little hard to readjust to our real lives.  Seeing each other only two times a week will be a bummer.  The topic of him moving in with me sort of came up a week or so before we left and he was horrified by the prospect.  I hadn't meant to bring it up so early, but it was a natural opportunity in the course of conversation.  So that bummed me out a little, and also made me determined to make sure we are more equitable in who visits whom.  I've been going to Virginia more often on the assumption that he will eventually move in with me so it will all even out.  Although it takes him a while to get used to ideas, the moving-in thing sounded like it was not going to happen anytime soon (as in the next couple years).  Maybe the trip softened him up a bit.  It certainly took a bit of the edge of fear off for me.

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Jul. 13th, 2009

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Guess Who Has a Boyfriend?

That would be ME. Can you believe it?

So I met up with the Looker on Friday with extreme skepticism and pessimism. I thought there was pretty much a zero percent chance we were getting back together. I even went home in between the gym and meeting up with him to grab his little bag of toiletries I was so annoyed with myself for forgetting when I had broken up with him on Tuesday so I could return it to him rather than agonize over whether to mail it to him or throw it away.

We met outside the Smithsonian station, because I wanted to have our talk while walking around outside rather than attempt to have an honest, emotional conversation in a bar or restaurant. Horror. We started walking and chatted a little bit of small talk. I didn't understand how he could do small talk under the circumstances, but I figured it was his meeting and I'd let him do it his way.

Then we started the real discussion.

Him: I don't understand what would be different if we were boyfriend/girlfriend. What would we do that is different?
Me: Nothing we *do* would change. It would the intention that would be different. There would be an idea that if there were an issue we would work it out instead of parting company. There would be a "we." There would be an idea of possibly moving forward.
Him: But isn't this discussion working things out?
Me: It's just not the same if there's nothing backing it up.

I was very empowered by having broken up with him, and I boldly said things I have *never* considered saying to a man before.

Me: I want to get married. I'm not saying to you and I'm not saying soon, but I do.
Him: OK
Me: Well, what do you want?
Him: I want to get married too. Several times.
At this point I punched him in the arm.

I also said,

I want someone to perform the public functions of a boyfriend. To go to parties with me and that sort of thing.

And

I am sad that we broke up, but I was getting a little excited about the possibility of maybe meeting someone who offers me what you don't. Someone who likes holding hands and being the outside spoon.

I told him that I was concerned about the girl before me, who he dated for two years. I said, "You wanted to break up with her but you didn't. You made her do the dirty work. I don't want someone to be with me just because of inertia. I want to be chosen."  He said that he had been so relieved when it ended that he learned his lesson.  He should have broken up with her sooner.

He was receptive and thoughtful to all these comments, but not in an overeager, obviously insincere way that was aimed solely at us getting back together. Maybe he really did need to time to absorb what I'd said on Tuesday, and to understand that I was serious about it. I don't break up with someone for the dramz. It's for real.

He also voiced a few of his concerns, such as that I'd rather break up with him than fight with him (absolutely true).  He needed to hear what it is that I like about him:  smart, funny, not into sports, reads, informed about the world, and I can't hide how I feel from him the way I can from most guys, plus gorgeous.  He disputes the gorgeous and says he's average, just very much my type.  I assured him that although he is, indeed, very much my type, he is also objectively attractive.

=========================

After we had hashed out what each of us had to say, he proposed that we go get a drink. We went to Asia 9 where I ordered a lychee martini and then berated him for allowing me to order a martini on an empty stomach. He was amused by my semi-drunkenness. There was a documentary about cheese on the Food Channel on TV. Holy cow. I would subscribe to cable if there were documentaries like this all the time on the Food Channel. It was fascinating, even in all its schlockiness (Cheez its! Foam cheesehead hats!), even with the sound off.

Then we went to dinner at Momiji, site of our second date

At dinner he said, "OK, so you're coming back to Virginia with me?"

I said that I needed some time to think away from his hypnotic presence.  He said that we could walk around some more and he would turn his face away from me.  Heh.

So when we left the restaurant I laid out my three conditions:
1.  You will break up with me if you don't want to date me anymore.
2.  You will think in terms of "we"
3.  You will be my boyfriend.

He agreed.  I asked him if he wanted any terms.  His condition is
1.  I will go to Virginia once a week.
He later added,
2.  Doggie style.  Heh.

=========================

We went home, had good make up sex (the sex is steadily improving), and just generally enjoyed each other's company.

My biggest issue* all along with him has been that I felt anxious and insecure all the time.  I felt like I liked him way more than he liked me and that I wanted to be with him way more than he wanted to be with me.  It didn't seem like he felt anything for me at all, except that he liked the company and the sex in a generic way that had little to do with me personally and whatever I may have to offer.

*And of course there are other issues that remain, such as the difference in our physical affection levels and tolerances and the fact that we don't talk on the phone.  I'm happy but realistic.

Now I know he wants to be with me, and that he is willing to make an effort to make that happen.  I feel chosen.  Now I can act on the assumption that he wants to be with me, instead of perpetually asking the question, "Do you like me enough?"  I feel like there is a balance of power within the relationship, whereas before I felt it was entirely in his hands. 

Dudes, I am happy.  And I have a boyfriend.
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Jul. 10th, 2009

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The Ghosts of Douchebags Past

So to add some levity to my past two posts, here is something amusing for you.

Several weeks ago I went with the Looker to his farmer's market, the home of the Pork Chop Guy.  One of the stands is a berry farm and I was seeing all these people walk through the farmer's market with these long boxes of three quarts of strawberries side by side and I was seized with some sort of fever and bought one of these boxes, which was like 10 pounds of strawberries.  It was insane.  I had strawberries and cream for dinner the entire week and froze the remainder.

Anyway, so I take these 10 pounds of strawberries onto the metro with me to go home.

I think I was reading a book, or at any rate I was not paying attention to anything when I hear my name and some guy walks up to me.  It takes me a while to place him but eventually I realize that it is the Douche!  Frankly, I'm not certain I ever knew his name but it is long since lost in the mists of time, so he gets props for remembering mine.

He was wearing a hipster cowboy style shirt.  He probably thought I was staring at the chest hair, as he had left it unbuttoned ickily low, although I was actually checking out the somewhat interesting black topstitching and wondering if it was really hand-stitching or if there is a sewing machine somewhere that approximates hand topstitching.

Anyway, he was like, "What's been going on?"
I was like, "Not much."
He asked, "Are you going to the mall?"  Because we were on the Blue line in the direction of the Pentagon City mall.  This is an actual shopping mall, not to be confused with the National Mall.
I was like, "Um, no.  I'm going home."  I admit I probably smirked a little, because I was obviously coming off some kind of walk of shame.

He said he was meeting up with some friends at the Pentagon City Mall Food Court.  I am serious.  Are we in our 30s?  Because I think he just turned 14 and his mom is letting him go to the mall by himself for the first time.  And also, he alleges to be a foodie and yet he is going to the FOOD COURT OF A MALL.  Lordie.

====================================

This one is less funny and more WTF, and shows how the universe has an exquisite sense of timing.

So I broke up with the Looker on Tuesday night.  The next morning, Wednesday, I got a Facebook friend request.  It took me a second to put the name with a face and then I realized it was The Doctor, the guy who called me in a fabric store in NYC to say "I wish I was calling to say I'm gay, but I'm not.  I've met someone" and left me to find my own way back to DC.  You know what bothered me the most about this ridiculous line?  That he didn't say "someone else."  Granted, we were not dating at that point.  But man, it would have been more courteous to add that "else," because without it I am a non-entity in that situation.

Anyway, so out of the blue, on that day of all days, he sends me a FB friend request.  It would have been one thing had he included a little note.  Not an apology or anything, just a "Hey, enjoyed meeting you a couple years ago, hope all is well."  But no, it was just a request.  Which says to me, "Friend Collector."  To which I say, "Ignore."

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oh, eff me

So I got an email from the Looker.  When he asked if we could be friends, I asked him not to contact me for a couple of weeks, but maybe after that.  I also said, "If you ever find yourself with more to offer, I will be thrilled to hear from you."

Today he writes:

Subject: oh, eff it.

Would you have any interest in meeting tonight on neutral ground to make another effort at working out our differences?  I make no promises, but I might be a little bit more reasonable when emotions aren't running quite so high.
 
No obligation -- if you aren't comfortable with it, we don't have to see each other.  I hope me emailing you isn't out of line.
 
Best wishes,
 
-the Looker
 


I actually feel like I've already emotionally moved away from him to some degree.  Of course, since we mostly saw each other on weekends it won't really be until I am again lonely and bored on Saturday night that I will really realize it's over.

But I agreed to see him.  Don't hate me.   

I was very clear about what I want/need.  I stole Della's line during the breakup and said, "I have plenty of friends.  I want a boyfriend."   I seriously, seriously doubt that he can offer that.  But I'll listen.  If nothing else maybe I will get another chance to recommend counseling to him.  On a purely human level, I feel like it's such a waste of a life not to enjoy it.  I feel like this about my mom.  She has been sick with depression/bipolar disorder and been unhappy and self-loathing pretty much every moment of her entire life.  That sucks.  I don't believe in an afterlife; this is all you get so do what you can to enjoy it.
 

Jul. 9th, 2009

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The Mirror Crack'd, or It's Over With The Looker

So two weekends ago I actually had a great time with the Looker and was feeling happy and optimistic.  We went to a nice dinner, had drinks at a restaurant I like (Coppi's) and he was like, "We should come here sometime."  The next day he took me to lunch at a yummy Israeli restaurant.

He said things that I read as an indication of a future.

Me:  Eastern Market reopened this week!  We should go there.
Him:  Let's go when it's cold, that way you can get a grilled cheese and I can get a crab cake sandwich.

It won't be cold for five more months.

Him:  How did you get your furniture up the stairs?  [I live in a third floor walkup]
Me:  I hired people
Him:  I don't think my couch would fit up the stairs.

He's considering how his furniture will look in my place?

=====================================

Things were so good that we did our first weekday sleepover.  I went over to his place on Tuesday, and we got takeout Indian after surviving a crazy deluge and watched the news and generally acted like normal people.

There was some trouble that night, though.  On Saturday he had said I should come over during the week.  I was like, "Are you squeamish?" because it was going to be that time of the month.  He answered, "No."  

When I went to get ready for bed Tuesday night I was like, "Oooh, don't forget to put down a towel."
Him:  Um, I'm kind of tired.
Me:  WHAT??????  [Incredulous]
Him:  Yeah, can't we just go to sleep?  Isn't my company enough for you?
Me:  WHAT??????  We're not going to hike the Appalachian Trail?  [My new favorite euphemism]
Him:  Um, no?
Me:  You think about that while I'm in the bathroom.

But there was no sex.  I was so mad.  I dragged my ass out to Virginia, which involved packing and schlepping two lunches, two snacks, breakfast, toiletries, pajamas, and a change of clothes to work and I didn't even get laid?

=====================================

For the holiday weekend, we hadn't yet made firm plans.  However, he indicated that he would go to a party with me.  This would be huge, as it would be his "debut" among my friends.  I was SO excited, because, ladies, I am so sick of walking into parties by myself that I feel like I will puke the next time it happens (this Saturday, at an engagement party no less). 

Anyway, Friday I got my hair cut.  It is the cute, curly '20s 'do I had last summer.  After my haircut I decided to head down to the Mall to check out the Folklife Festival.  While I was walking, the Looker called and said his closest friends, who I really wanted to meet, had invited him to dinner at Pizzeria Paradiso, and he asked if I wanted to join.  Yay!

At first he wanted me to meet them at Paradiso, and I was like, Um, no.  I am not walking into a restaurant to try to find people I've never met if you might not even have arrived yet.  Too awkward.  So I made him meet me at the Rosslyn metro stop.  

As we were walking across the bridge to Georgetown, he casually dropped, "Oh, by the way, I'm going to Charlottesville tomorrow for the 4th."  Sucker punch.

Since we were almost to the restaurant I couldn't deal with it then.  We met up with the friends and had a great dinner.  I always forget how good Paradiso's pizza is, and the friends seemed to like me, and were happy to see him with someone.  The way he was talking was very much like we were a couple--a lot of "Oh, we like that, we did this, we saw that" kind of stuff.

After dinner we went back to his place (the friends went home). 
He said, "You seem kind of angry about tomorrow."
Me:  I'm disappointed.  I thought we were going to spend the holiday together.
Him:  Yeah, they just told me today that I could sleep on the couch.
Me:  It's not that I mind you going per se, but I would have been thrilled to have been invited and totally willing to go.
Him:  But it will literally be staying on a couch.  It wouldn't be comfortable for you.  [totally missing the point]
Me:  The issue is that I feel like you don't take me into account.  You don't think in terms of "What will we be doing?" but "What would I like to do" and then you inform me of that decision.
Him:  I feared you might see this that way [not in a judgey "you're a reading-in harpie" kind of way, rather acknowledging that I have a point].  This is an important friendship to me, and I felt like I had to accept.
Me:  OK, but obvs this is not just about this weekend.
Him: Yeah.

A long discussion ensues.  He is still not my boyfriend.  He was, in fact, quite surprised to learn we had been seeing each for 4 months.  He thought it was shorter.

Me:  At some point, you can make a decision to say, "I'm going to give this one my best shot."
Him:  But every time I've made that decision it hasn't worked out.

Him:  Do we have to define this [our relationship]?
Me:  ::rollseyes::

At least he had sex with me that night.

In the morning he said, "OK, I want to have breakfast, put my clothes in the washer, go to the farmer's market, come back, put my clothes in the dryer, and then go for a run."
Me:  Ok?
Him:  Well, these plans affect you and I want to make sure you're OK with them.
Dude, that is not what I meant.

He made me an egg and toast, which was nice.

=====================================

So I thought about it over the weekend.  I concluded that I really had to end it.  After our first discussion he had asked for a couple of weeks.  I had given him two months.  He was no closer to being my boyfriend.  Basically, he was very happy to be having sex with me on a regular basis and never intended to do anything more.

He is going out of town this weekend so he invited me to come over during the week.  I wanted to get it over with and agreed to come over on Tuesday.

My resolve softened as he sent me cute emails.  He said he had gotten new pants and offered to model them for me.  I said that I love fashion and said:
You will have to wear your shirt unbuttoned, and possibly grease yourself up like this.  Man purse optional.

He said,
I am more into comfort than fashion, and will accordingly be wearing this.
 
But I knew I had to do it.  I psyched myself up as I trod the stairmaster.  I practiced in my head as I walked from the metro to his house.  I walked in the door and exchanged about two sentences of monosyllabic small talk before saying,

Me:  We have to break up.
Him: I figured that was coming.  I thought that our time was up.
As though he didn't have anything to do with it.
Me:  You act as though you have nothing to do with it.  Like there was a big hourglass up in the sky and as soon as the sand ran out we would have to break up.
Him:  [neutral]

I am very bad at having emotional conversations and conversations about emotion, but I had been practicing what I wanted to say and said most of it, like

I feel like I'm a supplicant all the time.  Every few months I say, "Are you my boyfriend yet?  Am I good enough yet?  Am I worthy yet?  Do you like me enough yet?"

and

When you said that making the decision to try had not worked out for you in the past it frustrated me, because obviously it hasn't worked out for me either.  But I am willing to see you as a new person who is separate from the people in my past who have disappointed me.

and

I was annoyed when you said, "Why do we have to define this?"  If I was willing to accept that I wouldn't have met you, I would be crying about one of the many guys who have tried to hand me that bullshit in the past.


He was basically like, "I have problems.  I have issues.  I can't imagine any future.  I am an optimistic person.  I do not enjoy life at all.  I am dissatisfied all the time.  I believe I will be happier in the future.  I want to start over [with his life, not with me.]"

I was like, "Um, dude?  The words you are saying are textbook depression.  They can treat that."  Although I did acknowledge that they weren't successful in treating mine with medication.

I will give him that he had a shitty childhood.  And apparently he did dumb things in his early 20s, but who cares?  Yet he is filled with shame over them and can't stop obsessing.  He apparently has been to counselors and psychiatrists in the past, but acknowledged that he stopped counseling earlier than he should have the last time.

Anyway, at one point he said,
"Is it ok that we're talking about this?  Do you want to go?"
Me:  I am hoping that magically you will say, "You know what? I will give this a shot.  I will make an effort.  I will be your boyfriend."
Him:  [changes subject]

We talked for about two hours.  He insisted on making me a frozen pizza.  He alternated between talking about himself--wallowing somewhat--and trying to make the mood more lighthearted.  I don't know if he was trying to distract me from my intentions or just can't handle serious emotions.

And now, a digression.  My very first boyfriend, when I was in college, was a terrible, terrible boyfriend.  He was clinically insane, and also jealous and possessive.  He was obsessed with "suffering."  As though the privileged child of upper middle class who'd never had to work a day in his life because of a trust fund from an accident (admittedly, the accident left him with one leg shorter than the other and probably was quite painful to recover from) is in touch with suffering.  Puh-lease.  I would not presume to know what suffering is, and he surely did not either. 

I met him in the first week of my freshman year when my new freshman girlfriends and I went to the introductory meeting of the literary magazine.  He was the editor, and he had this gorgeous shoulder length curly hair and was generally dreamy.  We called him Sex On Legs.  And one day he miraculously asked me out.  A few weeks after we started dating he cut off the hair, because his therapist was having a mastectomy and he somehow felt that he was suffering along with her.  (Dude, it's called "pulling focus.")  I was so annoyed because, as much as I despise long hair on men in a general rule, he was not as attractive without it.  So now I had a crazy boyfriend who was not living up to his attractiveness potential.

Anyway, the suffering, oh wait, I mean "suffering."  This was perhaps the most annoying of the Terrible First Boyfriend's traits.  And I got a whiff of it while breaking up with the Looker.  If I can associate him with the Terrible First Boyfriend in my mind, I will get over him a lot faster.

I asked about his romantic history.  The last girl he dated lasted for two years.  He didn't like her much after a while and "wanted" to break up with her, but didn't.  He waited until she did it.  I assume after two years she realized they were no closer to moving in together or getting engaged and finally decided if she ever wanted more she'd have to find it with someone else.  At least it took me less than two years.

He asked if we could still be friends.  I said I didn't want him out of my life, but that we couldn't break up and still date.  He said he was a better friend than...whatever he had been to me.  Certainly not my boyfriend.  He actually seemed relieved that we had broken up.  It confirmed his self image--at one point I had said to him that his "self image of woundedness" was more important to him that actually getting past it--and absolved him of all responsibility.

I think he was genuinely surprised when I retrieved my pajamas from his closet and said I had to leave.  I think he thought that I would stay over and we would commence the dating after the breakup thing I told him I wouldn't do.  He walked me all the way down to the metro, which was sweet.  I gave him a hug, but it was very unsatisfactory.  I gave a genuine hug; he let one arm hang limply and awkwardly patted me with the other.

=====================================

This was a hard thing to do.  Of course he never looked more gorgeous than he had that night.  But I was mostly unmoved, except to observe in an aesthetic sense how beautiful he is.  I really do like him as a person and wish he would value himself and the people in his life (me) enough to get back in counseling and at least try to learn how to have a full life (actual relationship).  He is so much of what I'm looking for--smart, funny, informed, well-read, has interests, independent, not to mention tall and gorgeous--but he isn't willing to offer what I'm looking for *with* such a person.

I must give a shout out to my peeps, Della who is always there to talk me down and Kimberly who brought me cupcakes and my lovely co-worker who brought me hydrangeas from her yard and my bff/neighbor who made me popcorn and made me watch "So You Think You Can Dance."  Everyone has been so nice to me.  It really helps.

=====================================

I know this was the right thing, as much as it sucks and I hoped I wouldn't have to do it.

During my long weekend I headed out to Joann fabrics for the pattern sale.  While leafing through the book I found a basic but well-designed men's shirt.  The Looker had complained that come summer he is stymied in his closet.  He doesn't like wearing t-shirts, but there are no good-looking short sleeved button shirts. 

I knew things had to end with him but I didn't want to have to do it, so I bought the pattern with the idle thought of deliberately invoking The Boyfriend Sweater Curse.  The Curse states that if you knit a sweater for a man who has not publicly committed to you, you will break up.  There is debate as to whether marriage is required to deflect the curse, or if the affianced may conjure a sufficient Patronus by the Power of the Engagement Ring.  The prudent advise waiting until after the I Do to begin.  

In the end, I didn't need The Boyfriend Sweater Curse.  I ended it under my own power.  But I'm keeping the pattern in my back pocket just in case I should need it in the future.

Tags:

Jun. 24th, 2009

Cartoon

Another Weekend with The Looker

Two weekends ago I went to NYC.  I came home very late Saturday night, but was home nevertheless.  He had been traveling for work (and had to do it again last week), but was home nevertheless.  Despite my suggestion that we get together on Sunday, we didn't see each other last weekend.  I was already unpleased with him because I had emailed him Thursday before I left town, and he didn't email me back.  I had said in that email that I'd let him know when I was home, so Saturday at 1:30 am I just said, "Yay!  I'm home!"  He wrote back immediately, as he had also just arrived home from going out.   So it's not like he didn't have computer access

We got together Saturday, but I wasn't going into it with a good attitude `

==============================

So a few weeks ago the Looker and I planned to go to Art-o-Matic after dinner, but he wussed out and said he was too tired.  We agreed that if we were to be successful on such a mission, we would need to go to Artomatic before dinner.  So I suggested that we do that Saturday, meeting there at 5 and then having dinner after.  He asked for 6 and we agreed to meet on the platform at the Navy Yard stop.

He didn't help my aggravation by texting me when I was already on my way and it was too late to do anything about it that he was running late.  I had made an on-time departure so I I was just going to have to sit around the metro station.  

He was more like 20 minutes late.  The Nationals baseball stadium is also at Navy Yard and there was a game so hordes of people streamed through the station every time a train came.  I sat on a bench and read The Onion, assuming that he would actually look for me once he arrived.  After the third train or so to arrive I pulled out my phone to check the time and saw I had missed his call.  I tried to call him back but it wouldn't go through.  Then I looked up and saw him taking the escalator up out of the station!  Again, very annoyed.  We had agreed to meet on the platform so he should have waited there.

I snuck up behind him and said, "You aren't a very observant person," scaring him half to death.  At least that was some satisfaction.  He alleged that he had walked the entire length of the platform and not seen me.  He said, "Sorry for being late."  But I was annoyed and didn't want to say, "Oh, that's all right."  So I said, "Metro delays?"  To his credit, he didn't try to blame it entirely on metro.

Neither of us had looked up exactly where Artomatic is in relation to the metro stop, assuming there would be signage and crowds of hipsters to point the way, but in fact there were neither.  We wandered down the block, but it didn't look promising so we turned back.  It turns out that Artomatic is located in the building the metro stop is in, we just had to walk around the corner from the escalator. 

He took a map from the front table and then tried to get me to carry it.  He had previously told me of one of the greatest triumps of his life, in which he was walking with a friend and asked her to hold a bag he was carrying for a second.  He then allowed her to carry the bag the entire walk.  So I have to be vigilant!  I told him he had to carry the map.

We started with the Peeps dioramas on the 7th floor.  They were awesome as usual.  I love the creativity in the Peeps medium.  I always think I should come up with an entry for the Washington Post's annual contest, but I cannot compete with the Peeps heavyweights.

Then we went up to 9 and worked our way down.  Artomatic is HUGE, 8 floors this year.  Each artist gets a small amount of wall space, maybe six feet on a room divider.  So you must have a plan.  Either you have to breeze through everything, or go several times and visit a few floors each time.  Luckily, we were breezers of about the same pace.  Unsurprisingly, we have different taste in art.  He would spend a few extra seconds in front of complicated, angry, punk rock art.  I would linger at brightly colored glass pieces and collages of found ephemera.  I love collage.  But we did a good job visiting together and really enjoyed ourselves and the art.  As a bonus, I ran into some friends in the lobby so I was able to show him off a little.  Heh.

==============================

As we were leaving I was like, "We need to have a serious discussion...about where to go to dinner."  When we were making plans I had suggested maybe going up to Columbia Heights to try something there, since we'd be on the Green line already (I live on the Green line but we just go someplace walking distance if we're starting at my place).  He was neutral and said maybe Chinatown, which means Chinatown Express to him.  I don't like Chinese food under the best of circumstances, and greasy divey Chinese food is a big no. 

I opened:  No Asian.  I want Indian or something with cheese.
Him:  I had Indian last night.  What would have cheese?
Me:  Pizza or Tex Mex.
Him:  I don't like pizza.  Where would we get Tex Mex?
Me:  In Texas.  Where can we get Indian?
Him:  In Northern Virginia.
Me:  I kind of want Heritage India, but now that I know the small plates are half price at happy hour I can't pay full price.  [Seriously, this is the best happy hour deal in town.  If you're in DC you must go.]
Him:  I guess Thai counts as Asian?
Me:  Yes.  I could maybe do Japanese.  It's not greasy and I love seaweed salad.  Ethiopian?
Him:  Meh.  I don't want Ethiopian.  Middle eastern?
Me:  That would be OK, but where?  You don't want to go to Zaytinya and Cafe Nema was not good enough to go back.
Him, only half joking:  Moby Dick?  [this is basically fast food; good falafel, but fast food]
Me:  What about Skewers?
Him:  I've never been there.
Me:  [a bunch of convincing]

At this point we have been discussing this issue for so long that we missed the transfer point to take the Orange to McPherson Square, which is closer-ish to Logan Circle where Skewers is located than the Convention Center, but it's not *that* far from the Convention Center stop.  However, he whined as though I was flogging him all the way to Bataan.

==============================

Luckily, when we got to the restaurant there were plenty of tables indoors and out (I would have preferred out, but he really wanted inside and I didn't feel strongly) and we were seated right away, got our water, got our drinks, and ordered our food.  He had agonized, as per usual, over what to order, and felt remorse over his choice.  So when the waiter came back to confirm with him he changed to the other thing and was pleased.  

We ordered hummus to start and it was delish.  I always feel like I'm going to get kicked out of the vegetarian club for not liking hummus, but I think it's mostly that I don't like grocery store hummus.  This was garlicky and topped with olive oil and I could stop eating it.  Then the belly dancer started.  It was a very quiet night in the restaurant, only three tables had people in our section so I felt sorry for her.  He didn't seem unduly distracted, which was nice.

Our food was good.  I got something with grilled eggplant and it was superb.  He had something with lamb.  He was very happy with the restaurant choice so points to me.  

==============================

After dinner we walked up 14th to see if we wanted to have a drink anywhere.  I suggested we try 9th because everywhere on 14th would be too crowded and 9th has a bunch of interesting divey new stuff.  We passed by Portico Restaurant and the owner, an extremely skinny Ethiopian man, said he had just opened a bar and invited us to come inside.  

We went down the stairs and sat at the bar, which had Ethiopian pop music and an enormous television showing a soccer game.  The Looker ordered a beer.  I asked to see the wine list.  The man put three bottles in front of me: an Ethiopian red (I've tried several; they all taste like Manischevitz), a pink wine, and a riesling.  I ordered the riesling.  He took the other two away.  It felt a bit like the shell game.  The riesling would have been pretty good if it was chilled, but sweet wines don't do well at room temperature. 

The vibe in the bar was pretty cool.  It was mixed race, mixed income, mixed culture, with gentrifiers and immigrants sitting only feet apart.  Though we all live in the same neighborhood, we rarely patronize the same businesses.  When we left, the Looker predicted it would be a hipster bar in 6 months.  I predicted it would be closed in 6 weeks.  But I hope he's right.

Somehow we got on the topic of the autism spectrum (?) on the way home.  I really don't remember how.  Wait, maybe we were talking about Augusten Burroughs and how his brother is Asperger's and wrote a book about it?  Anyway, he then accused me of being Asperger's.  I was actually fairly upset at this.  I think because although I am very empathetic person (I think), I am also very insecure about my social skills.  I have all this intellectual knowledge and understanding of people and how they tick, and yet sometimes I am stymied in my actual interactions.  I feel like I have a huge handicap because I didn't even *start* to learn social skills until I went to college.  I come from a family with four kids and was active in my parents' church, but both of these are very specialized worlds with little application to my current life.  Anyway, eventually he could see that I was pretty upset about this and apologized and said he only said it because it was such an easy joke, which is true.  My reaction was a little disproportionate to the joke, so I appreciated that he took me seriously, rather than telling me to chill out.

==============================

We came home and sat on the couch in our usual places, at opposite ends, he with his beer and me with my wine.  He put his feet on me and told me to rub them.  I don't mind giving a foot rub so I complied.  He said he was joking, but that he was enjoying it.  He has very soft feet, almost creepily so.  I later realized it's because he doesn't believe in sandals for men, and he always wears socks and shoes even at home.  My feet are all hardened and hearty from being exposed to the elements whenever possible.

After I finished his foot rub he gave me one.  It was quite good.  Then I told him that if he really wanted to relax he had to let me give him a scalp rub.  So he lay down on the floor with his head on my lap.  At first he wasn't relaxing his neck/shoulder muscles enough and was holding his head a bit.  I kept telling him to let go.  I said he wasn't very good at relaxing.  He agreed.  But eventually he did let go of the muscles all the way.  I think he liked it.
 
Eventually we went to bed.  He likes to talk dirty a bit, which I think is fun (not like with TBD, who couldn't come without it, but as a garnish).  Skewers' restrooms are in an alcove at the end of a little complicated hallway, completely shielded from view of the restaurant and as secluded as a public restroom in a public restaurant can be.  He said it was all he could do not to drag me into the bathroom when we had gone back there before our long walk home.  It's so funny because he often expresses such fantasies, but he would NEVER EVER actually touch me in public.  Maybe someday I'll have to force him to act on them, but then it would spoil the fantasy for him so maybe not.

He was legitimately, if ineptly, snuggly all night.  I think he actually missed me.

==============================

In the morning he made his coffee at home.  My home, that is.  While we were walking back from the restaurant he kept saying stuff about "going home" but then would immediately correct himself to say, "your house, I mean."  I consider the coffee a small victory, though he complained that I don't have a travel mug.  Then we went to the farmer's market, where I got some lovely cabbage and cauliflower and strawberries.

We dropped off my produce at home and then headed up to Adams Morgan to the street food market (apparently called Mi Tierra).  It's not so much veggie friendly, but I was heading across the hall for lunch with V so I was covered.  We scouted the market for a bit and the Looker settled on tacos.  He is such an independent person, and yet he becomes helpless when we enter this market.  He doesn't speak any Spanish and the vendors speak little English.  I helped him order two pork tacos (different porks).  Then I went and got an ice cream cone.  Coconut, yum.

He finished the tacos and then the agonizing began.  Ordering is even more traumatic for him than it is for me.

Him:  *sigh*  I chose poorly.  I'm still hungry.  But all the other vendors have more substantial plates of food.  I should have gotten one of them.
Me:  Well, why don't you get one?  You can take the rest home.
Him:  *sigh*  I'm not sure I want to carry leftovers around.  Maybe I don't want anything else.  But I do.  I'm still hungry.
Me:  OK, well, why don't you get another taco?
Him:  *sigh*  Well, I feel like I should try something new.
Me:  OK, well, there's plenty to choose from.
Him:  I'm too scared to order without you.
Me:  They want to sell you food.  They want your money.  You will find a way.
Him:  I'm scared.  Can you come with me?
Me:  I am dripping ice cream like a mofo.  I can't move until I'm done [I was holding the ice cream off to the side so it would drip on the ground and not on me]  Why don't you look around?
Him:  [skulks around]
Me:  OK, I'm done.  What do you want.
Him:  I don't know.  I can't figure out how this works.
[Someone walks by with what looks like an arepa.  He thinks it looks good.]
Me:  Well, get an arepa.
Him:  How do you say it?
Me:  [Pronounces]  I think that's what it is, but I might be wrong.
Him:  Let's just sit here and watch all the other people order.
We:  [skulk around staring at people, determine it is a pupusa]
Me: [Orders him a pupusa]
He:  [eats it]

As we walk home, he continues to bemoan his poor choice.

Me:  [laughs]  Everything in your life is so SERIOUS!  And you are always filled with painful remorse about all your tiny choices!  It's not like this is your last meal on earth.
Him:  But there are a limited number of meals.
Me:  Sort of, but not really.
Him:  Remember when I said it was hard to be me?  This is the kind of thing I used to hide from you, but now you get to experience it with me.

I want to give him two of my mantras.

First Mantra:  There is no such thing as magic.

I made this one up in my mid-20s.  I had gone out dancing with girlfriends and hadn't met anyone and I was really bummed about it.  It had been a while since I'd met someone.  (If only that girl knew how long it would be and she'd still be waiting...but she'd probably have slit her wrists so it's best she didn't know then.)  I got home and realized I had forgotten to put on mascara. 

My first thought was, "Damn!  If only I had remembered to put on mascara..."  Where points of ellipsis stand for "i would have met someone and we would have gotten married and had lots of babies."

My second thought was, "Get a grip, woman!  There is no perfect magical combination of hair, makeup, and clothes that will magically make your perfect partner appear and instantly recognize you as his soulmate."  Which is too long for a mantra.  So it became, "There is no such thing as magic."

I feel like he thinks if he makes the absolute perfect Platonic ideal of a menu choice he will magically feel great and live happily ever after.  Seriously.

Second Mantra:  Oh well.  Whatever.  Oh well.  Whatever.  Repeat as necessary until you have calmed down.

Self-explanatory.  This isn't so much effective at helping me get over things as a way to discharge negative energy and uncomfortable feelings so that I can reach the point of thinking about them rationally and *then* getting over them.


I had mentioned on our way to Adams Morgan that I wanted to check out Hana, the little Japanese grocery on 17th and U.  He stopped in with me and it is adorable.  I bought miso paste (hoping it keeps in the freezer so the next time I'm sick I don't have to leave the house to get some for my veggie comfort soup (since I don't eat chicken noodle) and some gummy candies.  Yum.

We parted at 14th so he could walk down to Som for records (he is such a junkie).  I had decided I would hug him the next time we kissed goodbye.  He usually puts his hands behind his back when we kiss goodbye in public.  I'm not kidding.  It worked out well.  He even kind of hugged me back.

==============================

We started off shaky in this one. I was annoyed at his lack of contact and plus I am just not a person for whom absence makes the heart grow fonder.  It makes the heart grow first annoyed and then indifferent.  By the end I was mostly won over again.  I think.  I'm still having fun and I feel like I'm still growing/learning/working on asserting myself.  And so it continues.

Jun. 11th, 2009

Cartoon

Some Sweet and Some Awkward Moments with The Looker

So the Looker didn't respond to my brunch non-invitation with an unequivocal no, which surprised me. It was certainly not yes (and to spare you the suspense he did not attend), but I think he is softening up a little. He said he'd probably have to work and would need to stay close to home, but appreciated the invitation. Then he asked me out for Friday night.

Friday nights he usually gets Indian takeout from Delhi Dhaba and drinks beer. I had been running around in the rain all day. Well, more like plodding because I had my granny cart and went on a major run to Trader Joe's for my brunch. It was hilarious/sad. I stuck my (opened) umbrella into the cart to cover the groceries and wore my sporty raincoat with the hood up. My cart was full of sparkling wine. I looked like a high end bag lady. At any rate, I was not raring to go out and plus I like the intimacy of eating a meal in a home, a barrier we had not yet reached. So we decided to get takeout.

We did the pre-meal quickie. I hinted that although I enjoy the quickie, I also like the occasional longie. We decided that we would "take the edge off" with the quickie, but he alleges that he is not capable of more than once a night (which I doubt; I think it's just a complex) so alas, that was it. But it continues to improve. Then we went and got Indian food. He paid the last two times (although I paid for drinks last time so maybe it evens out?) so I was ready to pay. He almost insisted in paying, and in retrospect maybe I should have let him. But it was nice. I'll let him pay next time.

SWEET MOMENT #1

We got back to his place and he bustled around getting me a plate and utensils and a glass of water and putting it all on a tray. He has no dining table, I'm just now realizing, so we were eating at the coffee table. He looooooves the coffee table, from Crate & Barrel, and is vigilant about coasters and trays. It was really sweet, the way he served me dinner. I felt a little spoiled.

We watched a bit of the political talk shows. I am so not that person. I read the Washington Post's Express newspaper most days, but that is the extent to which I am informed. If it doesn't happen in the sewing blogosphere or the world of crafting message boards I don't know about it, and mostly don't care. I have strong political opinions, but do not enjoy the talking heads and the endless debate. He LOVES these shows. I'm sure he'll add it to the list of Huge Giant Ways in which We Are Different, along with coffee, beer, and music. But we had passed "the good part" of these shows (his words) so we turned off the TV and just talked.

We were both beat and went to bed fairly early. I fell asleep right away, which is very rare when we're in the same bed.

===============================

In the morning we woke up kind of early (8:30) and he had big plans to eat breakfast, go to the farmer's market, go for a run, and go to a barbecue at 3:00. He had a strict schedule planned out, because he had to eat lunch early enough that a 5:00 dinner at the barbecue wouldn't be problematic. This is all part of it being hard to be him. I don't know if he has a touch of OCD or not in the clinical sense, but he is pretty strict about schedules and routines.

SWEET MOMENT #2

When I had teased him about refusing to eat my cooking, his response was that I had never eaten his cooking, either. I said I'd be happy for him to cook for me. So in the morning, he offered to make me breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. He was kind of nervous, which was cute. He asked me all kinds of questions about how I like my eggs. He was skeptical that I have only pepper but no salt. Of his own accord he offered me hot sauce, because he'd seen me eat hot sauce on my eggs at home. The eggs were good.

Since we had our talk three weeks ago I have made no allusion to the Talk or its subject matter. However, as we were walking out the door to the farmer's market, site of the infamous Pork Chop Guy issue, I said,

AWKWARD MOMENT #1

"All right dude, are you prepared to say 'yes' to the Pork Chop Guy?"

His answer?

"I'm not buying pork chops today."

It is comical. Yet sad. Yet comical.

We did not have any contact with the Pork Chop Guy. One of the stands sells eggs and they had brought some hens to show how happy they are. I said that birds creeped me out. He was like, "What *aren't* you scared of?" I dared him to pet the hen. He didn't take my dare. He made me carry his tomatoes because he didn't want them to get smushed. I bought like 10 pounds of strawberries.

We went back to his place and I was feeling pretty frisky. We sat on the couch and resumed reading the newspaper, which he had started over breakfast. He pulled out the Post Magazine and said we should look and see if there were any reviews of restaurants we might want to try. Which is kind of funny, considering we only to to dive-y type restaurants. Which the Post sometimes reviews, but not as often as fancier restaurants.

SWEET MOMENT #3

I took this as an excuse to snuggle up to him so I could read the Magazine at the same time as him. He managed not to walk away for a good 10 minutes. Did you see Lars and the Real Girl?  The main character says it hurts when people touch him, and he and the doctor work together, with her laying a finger on him for longer and longer periods.  I feel like we are doing this kind of conditioning training.

After he shook it off for a while and ended up back on the couch we did some making out. 

At some point in our kissing I accidentally tickled him a little.  He giggled.

I LOVE tickling and I told him I was shocked I didn't know he was ticklish before.

He said I'd tried to tickle him in the beginning but he had taken it like a man.

I said, "Now that I know you're ticklish, you're in big trouble."

He said, "Don't even try.  I know how to be annoying.  You can never be as annoying as me."

I was like, "Wanna bet?"

He said, "I am the middle child.  With three sisters.  I know from annoying."

I said the oldest child always wins and I am an oldest child.

He disagreed.

Later I was sitting at the computer and he threw a shirt at me that he had run in on Thursday.  It was still soaked in sweat.  I gave him the requisite "ew" and threw it back at him.  I missed.  

I said, "Well, I guess I better go so you can get your run in...."

Alas, he took me up on it.

SWEET MOMENT #4

As he was taking off his dress socks to put on his sports socks he threw the dress socks at me.  I threw them back.  We chased each other around with the socks for a while.  It was so fun.  We hadn't had that element of playfulness so much before and it felt very comfortable to have it.

He told me he was going to a show, The Hold Steady, at the 9:30 Club the next day (Sunday).  I said to stop by.

I was happy but agitated as I walked to the metro.  I feel like we are getting closer, but are still very tentative.  But meanwhile I am starting to like him like him, in a deeper way than just liking him.  It worried me.  I also didn't like that he wasn't inviting me to the friend barbecue.  It was three couples and him, so it's not like it would be weird to have a date.  I decided I might casually ask to come along next time one of these barbecues occurred.

===============================

On Sunday afternoon he emailed me to see how the brunch went, and to say that he had two tickets for the show that night.  He thought he only had one.  He invited me to join.  And said I'd meet two of his friends.  Well, well.

I said that sounded great and invited him to stop by beforehand.  I have been spotting pretty much continuously for 45 days (with two periods in there, too) but on Sunday and Monday was not.  This was making me horny.

Alas, he showed up with a sandwich.  Della said this was like the episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza tries to combine his three great loves: sex, sandwiches, and sitcoms.  

On Saturday he had teased me about the eating my cooking thing.  He said he didn't have any objection, but now it was a thing and he was going to try to keep it going.  I told him he better not.  When he sat down to the eat the sandwich, there was a bowl of peanuts on the table leftover from my brunch.  He told me to pass him the bowl.  He ate some peanuts and said, "There, now I've eaten something you've prepared."

I said, "All I did was open a bag from Trader Joe's.  That doesn't count."

He insisted it counted. 

When he finished the sandwich he said he didn't think it was going to be enough to carry him through.  I offered him leftover quiche.  He asked if he could have the apple sitting on the counter.  *sigh*

SWEET MOMENT #5

I asked him what I should wear.  I was wearing a "happy hour" type dress--black lace over an aqua underlay, casual fit, spaghetti straps.  I thought it might be too preppy for an indie rock show.  I said I didn't want to embarrass him.  He said what I was wearing was fine, but I changed into a denim skirt and a black tank top.  It seemed more apropos.  He said I shouldn't wear sandals because sometimes the floor is sticky, or somebody might step on my toes.  I asked if I should wear steel-toed boots.  He said that was a good idea.  So as not to undermine him, I wore clogs.  All the other girls were in sandals.  I thought his concern for my toes was sweet.

AWKWARD MOMENT #2

So Leilani has a friend of her fiance's that she wants to set me up with.  Since the Looker is Not My Boyfriend I felt like I should probably make a token effort to go out with other people.  She gave him my number and relayed that the friend said he'd call mid-week.

The week passed and he didn't call, which was fine.  I feel weird about it, both because it feels unfair to The Looker (who agreed, at any rate, not to sleep with other people and said he wasn't meeting other people either) and because if I do end up liking the guy I'm not really in the place to appreciate or act on it.

So as the Looker and I are about to walk out the door the phone rings.  I misread the area code as 443, which is either Della or the 400 lb man, who continued to call me on a regular basis after our dates though he hasn't in about six months now.  I never pick up in case it's the latter, so I just let the answering machine get it.  This is where my insistence upon clinging to The Old Ways of having a landline and an answering machine instead of a cell phone and voicemail gets me in trouble, because the message started off:

Hi sgda, this is ____, I'm a friend of Leilani's and her fiance's.  This is probably the most awkward phone call you're going to receive all week but Leilani gave me your number and..."

And I leapt for the phone.

I was impressed with his technique because he immediately asked me out.  I was like, "Yeah, great, sounds good, I'm on my way out, I'll call you tomorrow."

I said to the Looker, "Um, planning an engagement party for Leilani."

I think he wasn't fooled.  SO AWKWARD.  Most people are of the opinion that it's a good thing he heard this, that he knows I'm not just waiting around for him to decide whether he wants to be my boyfriend.  But I don't think he's the kind of guy who is spurred by competition.  I think he would rather bow out than compete.

We walked over to the 9:30 Club to meet his friends, a couple, early for a drink.  The guy at the door took the Looker's ticket in a no-nonsense way, but was a little special friendly to me.  The Looker was standing in front of me (god forbid we appear to be a couple) so it wasn't immediately obvious that we were together.  I think the Looker noticed the door guy's interest.  That kind of thing I am wholly in favor of.  He should see that other men think I'm cute.  I think I could totally kill in the indie rock crowd, if I had any inclination to do so.  They like smart girls in glasses.

The friends were nice; the girl is one of his law school classmates.  They just had a baby and this was the first time having a non-family babysitter.  When the Looker went to the bar to get drinks, the girl asked me how we met.  I said I wasn't sure he wanted me to tell, but that we'd met on the online.

She said, in the manner of people who met their spouse when they were 23, "Oh there's nothing wrong with that!  I have a friend who was looking on Match through another friend's account.  She came across a profile of this guy and thought he was pretty cute.  So she joined Match only to meet him.  And now they're married!"

I was like, "That's sweet."

AWKWARD MOMENT #3

But then the Looker came back from the bar.  And she repeated the story.  I figured it out pretty quickly and tried to head her off at the pass by picking up on a small, non-dating related detail in the story and asking her to elaborate on it, but she was determined to finish the story, she didn't want to miss out on the "And then they got MARRIED!!!!!" punchline.

Lord.  So I'm sure the Looker thought that as soon as his back was turned I was like, "OMG I like him so much!  I saw him online and knew he had to be mine!  We are going to get married and have lots of babies!"  When in fact, I was just making polite conversation.
 
We headed upstairs when the show was about to start.  It was sold out so we just stood in the very back.  Everyone was concerned that I couldn't see anything, but it's a music show.  I didn't care!  The couple wasn't unduly PDA in any way, but they did act like a couple, occasionally touching each other.  The Looker stood about three feet behind me.  Oy.  The show was a good show--the band obviously loves what they do.  I am not converted to live music or indie rock, however.

The show had started at 9:30 and we were home around 11.  He drank a beer and read the newspaper online and checked his Facebook page.  I was like, "Don't worry, I won't look at your page."  He was like, "It's ok.  You can look at my Facebook page."  He has recently friended a girl he doesn't really remember from High School.  She has just joined Facebook, I think, because she is doing all sorts of quizzes.

One of them was a simple yes/no thing, with questions like, "Have you ever cried in public?  Have you ever cried yourself to sleep?  Have you ever thrown up in public?"  We kind of did the quiz together, and discussed our answers and exchanged stories.  He said that he always maintains his dignity, even when throwing up in public.  I said I never felt dignified while crying myself to sleep.  He said that anything you do by yourself is automatically dignified.  When we'd had The Talk he said we were still getting to know one another.  It felt like this was an effort on his part to move the "getting to know each other" process forward(s).

Finally we went to bed, where we commenced the kissing.  He said, "If I'd known this was on offer, I wouldn't have spent so much time messing around on the internet."  So I guess next time I'll have to be more explicit and tell him to come to bed now to get laid.

It was a longie.  And a goodie.

===============================

In the morning I made coffee while he was in the shower, rather than asking him first.  When he came out I said, "I made coffee.  You can drink it or not.  Your choice."  He drank the coffee while I ate my oatmeal.  I was sitting at my computer at the bar.  He sat at the table (which I had cleared of my cutting board and piles of fabric for the brunch).  We talked like that for a while. 

Then he asked if there was any of that quiche left.  I brought him a piece.  He didn't want it heated.  He ate it, and said it was good.  The cooking barrier is officially broken.  I brought my oatmeal to the table and said I'd sit with him.  He joked that he was going to move to the computer at the bar.  I said I wouldn't put it past him.  He stayed at the table.

When we went our separate ways--he toward the metro, me toward work--we parted with a kiss.  It felt like we were normal people.
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