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.)

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