Sunday, 7 July 2013

Pride, Part 1

Today I volunteered in my very first pride event! Over the last month, I've been getting involved with one of the bigger LGBT centres in Vancouver, which offers a long line of services and groups to queer-identified people, young/old, of different ethnicity, different sexual identities and more. They needed a few people to man their booth for the Pride festival this afternoon, so I happily obliged.

Now, this event, Surrey Pride, was interesting. Surrey is a large suburb about a forty-five minute drive outside of downtown Vancouver. It's a suburb, first and foremost, which means there's a lot of families and it's probably a little less liberal-minded than say, right downtown. Surrey is also home to a wide range of different ethnicities, many of which get a rap for having some pretty traditional cultures values when it comes to the LGBT community. So I was really happy to see lots of families with kids getting rainbow flags painted on their faces, and people of all different cultures, ages and walks of life coming up to the vendors and community groups to ask questions and see what everyone had to offer. It's comforting to know that so many people are curious and willing to reach out to the community, and that there's a generation coming up that will be exposed and understanding of queer people.

It was an experience that helped me keep in check too. We had a lot of social/youth workers, nurses, teachers and counselors looking for help or resources for clients or their students, many of whom are closeted, scared and uncertain of where to go and who to connect with. In the last few months, I feel like I've taken coming out for granted, now that I've got an army of support behind me, so it's kind of a reality check to hear the struggles the loved ones of these people are going through and looking for support. We also had a few people approach us with ideas for different social and community groups that they would like to see (Playdates for LGBT parents and their kids, a social club for young adults, among other things).

I really liked that this was a smaller event too, especially where an LGBT presence isn't quite as strong. I know a lot of people ask why pride events still exist and what the point of them are, but I think this event was a great example why we still need them. As much as the big Vancouver parade and celebration in August is fun, I think these smaller, grassroots events are important to reach out to populations where the knowledge might not be there and the resources for LGBT community is a little more limited. We had one gentleman from Chilliwack, a more rural city even further outside the city, approach us for help in starting their own pride society and needed help connecting to our organizers to see what needed to be done and what could be offered out there. And the amount of straight-supporters that came to us looking for groups and services to help their friends, loved ones, clients, etc. spoke to this need too.

In all, a very insightful experience. It's a different experience, but I'm looking forward to the big celebration in a few weeks. One of the events going on is a huge street party on Davie St., Vancouver's gay neighbourhood, which should be a blast. It'll also give me an excuse to wear this out more...

Congrats to you guys in the States! Hopefully this shirt won't make sense in the near future!

Friday, 21 June 2013

What's the consensus on Jack'd?

Just curious. It's sitting on my phone unused right now, and I'm wondering if it's a useful dating tool. If I'm more likely to be solicited for hookups, I'll pass, but if not...maybe I'll set up a profile. Maybe. Let me know!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

What Doesn't Kill Me...

Hey. Long time, no see :-) Let's dive straight into it.

Adam has been a bright spot lately. After a bit of a stretch of not hearing from him, I ran into him leaving work one day a couple of weeks ago. He immediately apologized for not getting a hold of me (sweet, but I felt guilty considering I hadn't made much of an effort either) and offered to go watch a movie during the weekend. We had a great time, but even better was the conversations we had after the movie. We both seem to have the same apprehensions about being tied down by a job, since we have so many places in the world to see and things to do, neither of us feel particularly close to the gay community and wish we both had more gay friends. It was interesting when we came to chat about our love lives (or lack thereof)...poor Adam seems to be resigned to the fact that, at 30, he'll be single forever and says he isn't actively looking for anything. So, instead, he got to live vicariously through me, as I went down the list of guys I had on the go. After that day, I didn't really have the feeling Adam was actively chasing me, he legitimately was looking for another gay friend that he could connect and find something in common with. And honestly, that's what I also felt towards Adam; I felt I could trust him as a friend...he offered me advise and empathy in terms of my job/education, family, friends. And when it came to dating, it didn't seem as if he was asking to pry or scope out the competition, he legitimately wanted to know (if maybe a little in that gossipy, stereotypical gay guy kind of way). Although, since then, we've gone out for a couple more lunches, movies, even biked the Seawall in Stanley Park together, and it's felt a little more date-like. He's paid (to my dismay) for meals and other things, and it's always just us hanging out one-on-one. I'd like to invite him out to something with some of my friends, so they (I've asked Britney WHO IS PROBABLY READING THIS in particular already) can offer a second opinion on what's going on between us. I'm hoping I'm just making too much of this in my head, because he seems like a really approachable and trustworthy guy, but I'd really just want friendship from him and nothing more.

As for Alex, I lost touch with him a couple weeks ago. Prior to that, we hung out when he was back in town, and the mood was a little odd. I guess the infatuation of our first two dates wore off, because one, he was still making the occasional pass at me which I wasn't really okay with, and two, we seemed to run out of conversation topics pretty quickly. I talked to Britney about and she seemed to say that maybe we aren't a good match after all. Aside from our families and talking about work, we really didn't have much to talk about. That's all fine and dandy (my family is pretty damn important to me and I like my job), but we needed more in common than that...I'm just looking for something more. Alex is supposed to be returning to Vancouver a bunch more times this summer, but I'm not holding onto any idea that I might see him again. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. If I'm perfectly honest, Alex showed me that I sort of like the chase in dating (at least to an extent). I kind of enjoyed being centre of attention and being waited on hand and foot; having the door held open for me, being offered a coat if I was cold walking around outside at night, having a hot coffee brought to me. Nice guy, but I don't things will work out.

I also had a couple of hangouts with the 21 year old I met off of OKCupid. He doesn't seem to be going anywhere, so I'll call him Chris. Not too much to say here, I enjoy Chris' company, although he's a bit quiet and still seems a bit nervous around me. He mentioned on that first date he was still in the closet to a bunch of people, which I imagine has a lot to do with it. He seems to be pretty eager to go out hang out with me though, which is cool. I can always use a few more good friends around.  

And the last word on Shane. I let things go after my last post, and didn't dwell on why Shane left things like he did. I had a brief little moment a couple weeks back when I got a text from Nate telling me not to be disappointed, but Shane had been accepted into a school elsewhere in the country and would be moving soon. I ended up explaining that Shane had accepted my invite for coffee and then ignored me when I tried to follow up and make arrangements, and perhaps a little upset by the lack of empathy shown by Nate about the situation, I asked him if he had known Shane wasn't into me and purposely kept this from me. He assured me he hadn't, which both sucked and was a relief, since at least his efforts to set us up were sincere, but left so many unanswered questions about the invite to Shane's birthday and the texts saying he liked me. I've got closure now, knowing that Shane's out of the province and that Nate knows what happened and that he wasn't holding out on me, so everything's done and over with.

Anyway, onto what I really wanted to write about tonight. I've been MIA for over a month now and it's because my mental health was less than stellar for a while. Not to say it's perfect now, but at least I've had the motivation/inspiration to write. It started shortly after the whole Shane situation blew over; again, not a world devastating event in any stretch of the mind, but I had my dear confidant Britney leave the country, had to make some important decisions about returning to school (which I am) and other fears abou work. Despite the interactions with Adam, Alex, Chris and everyone around me, everything seemed to compound, and I just started to shut the world out and withdrawal from everything and everyone. I felt empty inside, not really motivated to do much, although I did manage to function (just.). I just went to work, came home, ate, spent a few hours on Youtube or reading, and started the whole process again. That's when the overthinking and being over-critical of myself started to come in. I started to come back in touch with emotions and began to deal with the overwhelming amount of things I had to do at work, my disappointing social life over the past few weeks and trying to motivate myself to participate in the world again. And it all blew up when I attended a suicide prevention workshop to prepare me for a volunteer position at a local LGBT centre I'm planning to take (yes, I'm following through on a goal!). I guess it just drew out my own insecurities and fears about my own mental health and life in general, and that caused a couple of anxiety attacks. I don't know if it's just my natural shy and introverted character, or if it's from being in the closet for so long or something, but I've gotten so good at ignoring and suppressing my feelings, I really only talk about them until it gets really bad (unless it's with Britney or sometimes my mom). I think part of it is because I feel that my problems are so "first-world", I've been blessed with a lot of great things in my life, and there are so many worse things that I could be stressing about, so I figure I should be able to manage these things on my own. I definitely feel better talking about things, but I also feel as if I should have some of my own coping mechanisms that don't involve other people. Painting, yoga, running, something I'm passionate about, and I can't say I really do. It's something that bothers me a little when I'm around people, especially groups of new people. I feel as if I have nothing to talk about, nothing to get excited about. Anyway, I'm still a work in progress, but I've weathered those sort of storms before. Hopefully this will be a short bout of whatever is dragging me down.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Airing my Grievances

Let this post be a bit of a catharsis and the beginning of something new. I'll get straight to the point: Shane's not interested.

The writing was on the wall from his second reply back. After his original message saying he'd be interested in coffee, I had messaged him back on Tuesday, asking him if he had plans for Sunday afternoon. And he replied back pretty promptly, saying that he didn't have his work schedule for the next week, but he'd keep me posted and asked for my schedule that next week. Okay, I had thought, there's a lot of time between now and Sunday, and he couldn't offer another time after I was done work during the week or on the Friday or Saturday...? But I let it slide despite what my gut was telling me, and I told him I had time after work to meet him downtown or later back in the 'burbs, and that weekend was open as well in hopes that maybe he'd take another time. Fast forward to this past Tuesday (a week later), and he still hasn't replied back, despite his quick replies the last few times. I'm really losing hope now, but I couldn't really leave it where it was, so I sent him one last message asking him if he was still interested in that coffee. Still no reply.

I'm no doubt disappointed, but I'm proud that I actually sucked up my pride and did something outside of my comfort zone. If there's nothing else I can take away from this experience, at least it's that. In some ways, I'm glad he didn't flat-out reject me and give me something to dwell on (I haven't had a particularly good week in the self-confidence department, so I'm a little relieved). I thought about why he would lead me on like that, since he didn't really seem like the type to do that; I could've sworn he was a little more mature and assertive enough to at least give me a "Sorry, I'm not really interested", but I guess I was mistaken. I mean, c'mon, it's the internet...! He didn't even have to say it to my face! I kind of wonder why he also didn't at least give me a shot. It wasn't like I asked him to marry me, all I asked for was a coffee. He could've friend-zoned me and I would have been okay with it (eventually), but I didn't even get a chance at that. It also made me wonder about those messages and things from Nate and Cara, were they just over-exaggerating his interest and maybe THEY were the ones that led me on? Or maybe Nate's lack of attempts to set us up was just a sly way of helping me avoid rejection. I don't particularly want to know. I also have to wonder now if/how I should deal with this between Nate and I. I may just very well leave it until it happens to come up in conversation, and though I'm not particularly happy with this situation, I would never want things to be awkward between Nate and Shane, so I'd rather not bring it up and "air my grievances" to him...

If in the off chance I did end up seeing Shane somewhere, what would I say to him? Part of me wants to be a bit of a petty bitch and tell him that that was a dick move and that he needs to grow a pair if he really wants a boyfriend. In reality though, I would probably be polite about it and tell him that I would have appreciated his honesty in telling me that he wasn't interested and that I'm a big boy, I can handle the rejection, or at least heal after it. Sure, part of me would have loved for things to work out between the two of us, but I would have never wanted to be with a guy that couldn't be honest and express his true feelings with me. 

Anyway, that's that. I did the best I could and put myself out there, and I have no regrets doing it. I did all I could with Shane, and even though it didn't work out, at least I can say I tried. I'm ready to stop wondering about whether this guy likes me or not, and trying to set us up and hint to Nate. It's all over now and I'm ready to move on and put this behind me. Whether it's onto the next guy, or to take a break from dating (which I'm considering, it's been a decent run the last couple of months!) and going back to just making plain old friends, I'm good. I feel better having these feelings and thoughts out of my head, and if this post was a piece of paper, I'd be tearing it into shreds or lighting it on fire, because that's the last I'm ever going to write about Shane. Tomorrow's a new day, we'll see what it has in store for me...

Sunday, 28 April 2013

The Shane Saga

Ugh, you would not believe what a long time coming this post has been. Pretty sure it's been sitting as a draft in one form or another for at least 4 months. For the last few months, I would get a little glimmer of hope that Shane and I will get a chance to meet and/or hang out, and keep adding to this post, only to have things fall apart. The problem, I realize now, is that I never took control of the situation and let my crazy, irrational fears get the better of me. But that's the case no more. First though, let me start back at the beginning:

Shane is Nate's cousin, who Nate had mentioned in passing a few times before. Even before I was out to him though, it was established that Shane was gay. Even after I was out to him and his girlfriend Cara, his name would only pop in to conversation every so often (including that one time Cara suggested I be his FB...). It wasn't until I actually got to meet the guy in person back at the end of last summer that I really started to develop a bit of a crush on him. We've met once, at a (gay) club, where he impressed me with his cheerful personality, friendliness and talkativeness, and by turning down a hookup from a dude there alone without his boyfriend. That's where the saga begins: I never really got a chance to see him after that. On our way down to PAX in Seattle last year, I made it clear to Nate that I thought Shane was a good guy and that he should bring him to more things because I wanted to get to know him better. I wasn't sure if Nate got the hint (things like this sometimes go over his head), but I left it. Fast forward to Thanksgiving long weekend, and Nate and Cara (perhaps coincidentally?) had made plans for the four us to enjoy a nice dessert and coffee shortly after the Seattle trip. That fell apart, and somehow he and Nate managed to meet up, and I ended up running into him at the door as he was leaving and I was arriving to drop off some supplies for the vacation Nate, Cara, myself and others were taking the next day. Shane had also bailed on plans to go clubbing again with us, and he couldn't make a Halloween party that I had maybe too-subtly-suggested to Nate that he should invite Shane to. Then more teasing: I got a text from Cara while she, Nate and Shane had been hanging out, talking about possibly arranging a trip to Vegas for a bunch of our friends, and apparently Shane had said he was kinda into me. Of course, none of that materialized into anything (and I suspected Cara exaggerated a bit).

By now, I was starting to lose a little hope and patience (thus starting this post's journey as an everlasting draft), but then one night, things started to get interesting. One night shortly after I signed up, I hopped on OkCupid, deciding to finally make a move and check out the site a little more closely. So I fooled around with some of the features and other things, including the "Quickmatch" buttton. Maybe because it was a little late and I wasn't thinking straight, but at the time I didn't realize it would randomly pull up anyone's profile. And the first profile it pulled up? Shane's. Of course. Browsing the site before, I had noticed a profile that looked suspiciously like Shane, and this just confirmed it. I was a little horrified at first, since OkCupid tracks who views your profile, so Shane would see that I viewed/creeped his profile, which I found a little more than awkward at the time. After that, I shut down my computer, accepting the fact that I would have to deal with the awkwardness of Shane knowing I saw his profile, and went to bed. I lay there for a bit, slowly falling asleep, until I got an idea: why not make this odd situation an icebreaker? Just log back in, and message Shane saying how awkward and ridiculous this happened. And so I did exactly that...he responded back a little while later, although he kept his reply pretty short. I tried my best to keep a conversation going, but he really wasn't responding to it, keeping his responses pretty succinct...odd for a guy who seemed pretty chatty upon first meeting him. I left it on a note that we could hopefully get things together with Nate and some other friends in the future, which he seemed pretty agreeable to.

So thus came the next round of poking Nate to set us up. By now, Alex had wandered into the picture and I wanted to make SURE Nate understood that I was into Shane so I could get my chance before anything with Alex arose. I was at a Tim Hortons with Nate and Brian when I decided to try once again: I presented the whole Alex situation, and how I wanted to play the field more before and message other guys before I settled on anything, which lead me to tell him about the exchange between Shane and I on OkCupid. I really made it obvious this time: I asked him to bring Shane around AGAIN, told that I'd willing to find out if Shane was a little dramatic in his relationships like Nate suspects and I wanted to give other guys, LIKE SHANE, a try before I went ahead with Alex. I had REALLY hoped Nate got it that time, and he may have since he started texting Shane to say hi right afterwards. Nate even made the comment while he was texting that "he wished it was summer, so we could have a bbq or something, and (he) could just text Shane saying "Hey, we're having a bbq, and you should totally come!". Promising, but I wasn't going to hold my breath.

Of course, more time goes by and things don't come to fruition AGAIN. I really started to lose hope again, and considered calling it quits. And sure enough though, another glimmer of hope: I get a text from Nate, saying Shane "really wants me to come" to the club for his birthday party on the weekend. Great! Let me know when it is and I'll be there. The weekend comes and a few hours before the evening arrives, I text Nate...and nothing. Apparently he fell asleep after playing touch football and didn't get up till the next morning. By now, I'm so exasperated that I don't even care that we missed out; I even start to wonder if Nate is just bullshitting me on some of the events and texts he's sent me over the last few months out of pity or something. I make one last attempt myself at taking a bit of action by inviting Shane to my birthday, hoping that Nate will pass on the message and things will finally work out. Nope. Shane's twisted his ankle and he can't make it.

I went back to counselling last week, and the topic of my dates happened to come up. We talked about my apprehension about dating Alex and his advances, and why I'm uncomfortable and worried about leading him on. Of course, part of this has to do with Shane, I'm still wrapped up on that first meeting and the things I've heard about the guy to commit to Alex just yet. I need to give other guys, including a try first, before I even consider settling down with Alex. We slowly talked about what I had to lose in terms of me making a move on Shane (Just about nothing, it's the internet and I hadn't seen him in person yet, at least if I was going to get rejected, there's no chance of me seeing him in person) and what that meant for me (nothing - I won't embarass myself in front of Nate because FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I had told him a million times now...I hope he knows I'm into Shane). I basically ended up my counsellor the entire story you see here, and yet I must've been still been gushing about the guy quite a bit because at one point, when he asked me about why I wasn't making a move on Shane, I answered that "I wasn't quite sure if he was worth it" and he just laughed. Total lie...he's worth it.

Which bring me to the other night. With the work on the topic from counselling still fresh on my mind, and perhaps with a little prod from a fellow blogger (thanks bud =) ), I decided to do it. I sent him a quick message on OkCupid:


Sorry I missed your birthday bud! From what Nate's been telling me, it's been a comedy of errors trying to get together.

Now I know it's a long time coming, but would you be interested in meeting up for a coffee or something? You seem like a cool guy and it'd be nice to get to know you somewhere outside of a club. =P

Let me know!


Felt awkward as all hell writing it, and I couldn't help feeling like I was sounding a little desperate, but I went for it anyway...what did I have to lose? Well, apparently nothing, and everything to gain too. Shane sent me back a message a few hours later after I was asleep apologizing for missing my birthday too (Awwww, what a sweetie =) ) and that it sounded like fun. He said sure! How about that. Plans are in the works =)

Writing this back, I realize how silly this whole saga has been, my friends (minus Nate and Cara) have been saying the same thing all along. I did let my fear get in the way of things, and hoped that things would just fall into place through Nate. I always rationalized as asking him directly would seem as if I was looking for more than friends, which goes against that "friends-first philosophy" I've been touting the last couple of months. But as I realized in counselling, Shane is definitely worth me "making an ass of myself" (says my head) and it paid off this time. All it took was a simple message, and now there's definitely a good chance we'll get the hangout I was after all along. I won't beat myself up for it though, now's the time to take in the rewards of me putting myself out there.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Invite your "Friend"

As far as coming out goes, it's almost a non-issue...more and more of my co-workers are starting to find out as I fill them in on my weekends and share little tidbits of my life. It's getting easier and easier each time, and there's a pretty large audience that knows. Despite that, there's still times that I get reminded that I'm a SEMI-out gay guy. Case in point: my grandparents.

My actual birthday was on a weekday this year, so I saved my celebrating and partying for a weekend. To celebrate the day of, my mom made a nice dinner and invited my grandparents over to join us. Not wanting to celebrate alone with just my family, I invited my dear confidante Britney over too. We sit around the table, me next to Britney and her next my grandparents. And of course, being the polite, cordial, sweetheart that she is, Britney offered to serve my grandparents, talked with them when she could and was just her usual awesome self. We all finish dinner, and my grandparents leave so my grandfather can catch the end of the Canucks game, and Britney and I make our way to play the new Tomb Raider (which is awesome BTW).

Fast forward a week or so later, and I come home from work to my mom who reminds me in an unusually serious voice that we have a large family dinner this coming weekend. I could already tell by the tone of her voice where this was going. She continues on..."We might have given your grandparents the wrong impression the other night. They asked for you to invite your 'friend' along".  I just laughed in my head, of course they would make that assumption; everybody does when they see Britney and I together. My mom's tone lightens a little and she tells me that they thought Britney was very sweet and polite, and that she's a good girl.

Now sure, maybe they were just being polite by praising Britney and inviting her to dinner, but in my mom's side of the family, bringing a "friend" to a large family gathering sets a precedent. Every single one of my cousins' "friends" that got invited dinner are still coming to dinner. My sister's "friend"? She's living with him. My oldest cousin's "friend"? Father of her kids. Second oldest cousin's "friend"? Married him then got divorced (she's the only "friend" that doesn't show up to family dinners anymore...). So naturally, I had my mom graciously turn down the invite for Britney, or otherwise risk giving my grandparents a complex down the road.

I found the whole situation pretty funny, it feels like a huge inside joke now when somebody isn't aware, but maybe not so much for my mom. I know she'll do it, but I don't think she's exactly counting down the days to when she has to explain things to my grandparents. It'll happen sooner or later, two of my single, older cousins catch flak from my grandmother as to why they aren't married yet, I'm probably immune because I'm still in school, but give it a couple years...I'll get it too. I almost wish I could do it myself, but unfortunately I don't speak Taishanese or Cantonese, it's on her. I could make out with a dude in front of my grandparents, but since I don't speak the language, I won't understand anything that come my way; all the questions/concerns/fallout will have to be taken by her. I remember my mom and I had a brief conversation in the days following me coming out to her. She thinks that my grandparents may not understand and will be concerned (for my mom, of all people...), but they'll accept it. They like tradition, but they're not about to let that get in the way of the family's happiness. They've accepted the fact that my aforementioned cousin with kids will not get married after being together for 20 years and the fact that my other cousin got divorced and the fact that my sister is living with her boyfriend. So what's a gay grandson? If there's a reason to be worried, it's about the stress coming out is going to bring on my mom. And even that, she'll live =P

But don't let me get ahead of myself, I still need to find a boyfriend to bring to family dinners first...

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Social Butterfly

I had an impressive run a couple weeks back: two dates in one day. How about that?

Date #1 was with a 21 year old I had met off of OKCupid. We sent a few messages back and forth, and when it seemed like we had a few interests and values in common, I suggested we meet for coffee. He seemed a little surprised that I wanted to meet so early (sidebar: I think we had sent about 5 or 6 messages each when I asked...for those of you who do the online dating-thing, what's your procedure?). But he agreed, and on a sunny Easter Sunday we met up down at the Quay in New Westminster to enjoy the first nice spring day. He was a nice kid; polite, grounded and hard working, and by the sounds of it, just in the beginning stages of finding himself and enjoying life (like a certain someone...). It was a bit of a role reversal from Alex, as I took the reins to organize where we were going, what to do and doing the chivalrous things like holding doors asking if I could get him anything else, etc, which wasn't really a problem because that's what I'm used to anyway.

What I'm not used to is being the chatty one in a group. I'm a pretty shy guy, and unfortunately I wasn't given the gift of gab, but I can definitely make conversation and talk my ass off sometimes. It's just not something that comes naturally though, and it takes me a lot of focus and energy to do, so normally I'm the one listening and giving my input every so often rather than driving the conversation. When I first met him, he definitely came across as a shy guy, and he was definitely nervous, which probably didn't help. He seemed a little apprehensive and avoided eye contact with me initially, politely giving me some short anecdotes, but not much else, so I tried my damndest to be friendly, cordial and chatty. It seemed to slowly pay off, since by the end of the date, I could tell he was getting more comfortable; he's a TA and research student and he more than willingly offered pieces about his research and hobbies without my prompting.

Overall, not a bad date, I think most importantly I proved to myself I'm not as socially inept as I think I am and I can be a pretty talkative, confident guy. As for a second date, maybe...? I like how he's down-to-earth and from what he told me, he's got some neat hobbies and tastes (astronomy & star gazing? Awesome!), but I really need a guy whose more open and chatty than I am. I can't constantly be the talkative in a relationship, otherwise I'll exhaust myself. =P We have been though, chatting on Skype every time I see him online and he seems pretty chatty there, so there may be hope. I also left it open with him and offered to give him a shout when I get a hike together with friends so he can join us. Hopefully maybe he'd warm up a little bit more as we get to know each other better. 

Date #2 with Alex however, was a different experience. I went into it with a different mindset than I did the others, after he rather blatantly hit on me over text the last time I had messaged him ("I'd enjoy Netflix a lot more if I had someone to watch it with me..." "If you come down to San Fran, I'd give you a ride in my Scion..." Uh huh...). I wasn't comfortable with what he was saying since it made it seem like he had some expectations for where we were supposed to being going, so I decided I needed to put the brakes on things. Over dinner, he made a few comments about coming to visit him and hang out in San Francisco, but at least it was much more casual and low pressure compared to the texts he was sending. After dinner, we took a walk to enjoy the last of the daylight, and conversation was much more like it had been the first couple of dates. We talked about what was going on in our lives, plans for the rest of the weekend, our future careers, everything and anything, and it all came so naturally. I started to find myself forgetting about the texts that had left a sour taste in my mouth and the worries I had about leading Alex on.

We walked a bit more before deciding to get dessert at a nearby coffee shop. But before we did, I decided to be bad and put Alex on the spot. I straight up asked him where he imagined he would be, relationship-wise, in one year. His answer? As I expected, he wants to be in a long-term relationship, but he wouldn't be upset if it didn't work out; he just wants to find the right guy to settle down with. Naturally, he threw the question back at me and I answered honestly. I told him that, while I'm more geared toward a long-term relationship, but that I'm still new to the dating scene and I just wanted to meet new people, make new friends and see what I'd want in a guy, and if that's where I was in a year still, I'd be okay with that. He tried to start a bit of a conversation about already knowing vaguely what I should want in a guy, as if it was a vague, weak attempt at saying I shouldn't be ignoring what's right in front of me, but I shrugged it off and told him that may be true, but that I'd want to test and see what I like and might not like for myself. By then, I was relieved that I had my feelings about where we should be going off my chest, so much so that I may have overlooked the magnitude of the question "Have you been hanging out with any other guys?". And being bad, I mentioned the Meetup group and how Adam and I had been meeting up for lunch; he seemed a little alarmed, but quickly dropped it as we arrived at the coffee shop.     

It's a bit of a shame that his not-so-discrete hitting on me makes me feel uncomfortable around him, because he truly is a nice guy to talk to. I'll be honest when I say that I'm still a little worried about leading Alex on, but at least now it's not like he doesn't know what he's getting into. He didn't run screaming when I said I was only looking for friends right now or when I implied I was seeing other guys, so... And at least now, I feel like I'm back in control of where things are going with him. But now, post-date is where things are getting interesting. Maybe now that we're a little more transparent with what we're both looking for, we're both still somewhat interested and we're back up to texting almost everyday.We're keeping up with what's up in each others' lives (I know he was at a Giants game last night...) and it's nice to be involved in someone's life like that. But for now, all is good and I'm happy (and sane...for the time being.)