Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Dove and the Dragon

So, I want to tell you about two guys I recently dated. Their occupations were not a dove and a dragon, of course. I remember hearing something one time about how it is best to balance the submissive energy of the dove with the courageous fire of the dragon. While I was dating these two men, one brought out the dove in me while the other summoned the dragon.

First Date: I went out with the general contractor first. We met at a local coffee shop. I didn’t know much about him yet and we’d barely spoken over the phone before meeting up, but he seemed fun-loving and I thought I could use a healthy dose of laughter after the last dude I dated.

Before I even get to the coffee shop, we’ve already sent several text messages back and forth because he’s having trouble locating it. He calls to say he’s arrived just as I am coming in on my bike. I notice he’s a pretty big guy, not super tall but more wide than most of the guys I have dated recently. He has dark sunglasses on and I can’t see his eyes.

We go inside and order and then head back out to a table on the patio. I’ve brought my art supplies and plan to do some artwork and maybe hang out with my friend who lives next door to this coffee place after our date.
We begin The Interview (i.e. the typical conversation that happens on a first blind date). He speaks at length about how he was as a child and teenager, the times he got in trouble at school and how he weaseled his way out of it. I don’t know if he’s hoping to impress me with these tales or doesn’t know what else to say. Just as a side-note, I recently read an article about the most annoying first date conversations that one should avoid. Reliving glory days from the past was third on the list. I myself wasn’t annoyed by this, but it didn’t help me feel like I knew him or could connect to him any better either.

He talks a lot and very loudly. He asks some questions of me so it’s not just a one-way conversation which I appreciate. I get the sense he’s not really listening to me though and this is annoying. Also, after about 10 minutes into our “interview”, I have to ask him to remove his sunglasses because it is really disconcerting to be talking to a faceless stranger. (The eyes tell a lot, at least in my book).

After about an hour or two, I’m getting tired and want some time and space to myself. Also, my friend from next door has already walked past us once and I’d like to catch her before night falls. I let my date know that I would like to start working on some art now and he asks if he can watch. I let him know that I wouldn’t be comfortable with that and offer to walk him to his car. He gives me a nice kiss and tells me I’m hot. I appreciate this. I also have the feeling we’re not right for each other and have too many differences.

Fast forward to the second date with the General Contractor: we meet at the Museum of Nature and Science. My mom had two free tickets and I was the lucky one to get to use them. The date is one-third fun and two-thirds exhausting. The man talks too much and too loudly. I appreciate that he seems to appreciate me, and I think I got a little too caught up in the idea that it was nice to have some attention. Eventually, I realized that I also need to be honest and considerate of his feelings, so I let him know that I didn’t think we had enough in common. He did not respond to this in any way. I can’t say that I blame him or that this approach was wrong, but it was also hard for me to settle into the sudden silence left behind.

In the middle of the General Contractor dates, I was also getting to know another man. We too had just two dates. For the first date with the Software Developer, we meet at a Rockies game. This is quite a long time to spend together on a first date. We didn’t know each other at all yet, so what if we really didn’t like each other? Lucky for me, he turns out to be totally cute and very laid-back. We never run out of things to talk about and I feel really comfortable around him. He has a 9-year-old son, so a good bit of the conversation revolves around that which is OK by me. I appreciate that he’s such a proud papa and good father.

I feel better about this guy than I have about anyone else I’ve dated so far. But, I also realize that after just one date it is easy to overlook a lot of things that might jump up and bite me on the butt later on down the road. I’m cautiously optimistic.

We meet up for another date about two weeks later. It’s been difficult to connect our schedules, and several times I’ve contacted him he hasn’t responded at all and I’ve had to send another message before getting a reply. Still, I’m a little hopeful that he’s just not good with managing his time and actually does like me. We meet up for sushi in his neighborhood. Again, the conversation and the food and everything about the evening is wonderful as far as I’m concerned. We make tentative plans for the weekend-just a couple of days later.

I contact him, don’t hear from him, contact him again to say that I’m wondering if he’s interested or not, and never hear from him again. I won’t lie and say that I’m not at all hurt or disappointed by this. I realize that he’s a stranger still and that I would much rather be with someone who really wants to be with me, but it was nice to think that I might have found someone I could really easily get along with. It was conversely a little crushing to see that once again that dream got squashed right under my nose and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

I am reading a book at the moment (Tales of the City) wherein every person wants what they don’t have and has what they don’t want. There’s the married couples who have affairs hoping to gain what they’ve lost in the marriage; there’s the single lady who picks up on the gay guy in the supermarket; the straight guy who just wants to get laid and is thwarted from every direction. The book was written in the ’70s but the concept seems to ring as true today as ever before.

I myself wonder if I’m ever going to find someone to date long term ever again. The more times I try and fail, the more doomed I feel my love life has become. I wonder if it will just get worse and harder the older I get. Lastly, I wonder if it’s worth continuing to try. Maybe I am fated to be alone. I wish I knew for sure if that were the case. Then I could stop fighting against it, trying so hard, and spending precious time and money on what very well might be a lost cause.

When should I throw in the towel, and what dream can take the place of this one? I feel I must have something, otherwise I could get very depressed. For now, I will live with these questions and hope for some answers to come to me one day.

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