Much Ado About Dating

So I’ve been hinting things are a little complicated recently. Well here’s why…

You might be surprised to learn I haven’t actually been on what I’d call a proper “date” since I first had dinner with Jane. True we unexpectedly ended up in bed that first night, but at the outset it was still just a date. BD wasn’t exactly in control of such situations back then you see – what I mean is I treated these things a little more formally and hardly had any expectations as to what might result thereafter.

Having got to know me a bit (well through what I ‘let’ you know anyway) you might find this revelation surprising. I mean what with everything I say you probably think I ‘date’ all the time. But to be honest whatever I’ve got up to over the last few years, and however I’ve got up to it, I somehow I don’t count all that as dating as such. I’ve met people in a social setting over drinks, dinner etc since Jane yes, but I think there’s always been an underlying agenda of some kind that didn’t really involve a “getting to know you” of any real depth, even though I might have thought otherwise, and even though I’ve always preferred there was at least a little mental chemistry in play for the more superficial (and dare I say it, shallow) encounter too.

Anyway, still set upon the butterfly’s third act, I thought I should try out a date of a different sort recently. And here’s where I immediately found myself out of my depth, hence why what followed was certainly very un BD-like in more ways than one.

I’m not going to go into detail about who she was, suffice to say she would be an older woman to some, and a younger one to others; to be honest that bit’s not as important in this instance. We met at a social gathering prior to the recent festive season (it was a friend of a friend type thing) and, I guess, you could say we supposedly ‘clicked’ somewhere mid-conversation. Okay now that’s nothing new with me given all the stuff I’ve told you previously, neither is the disclosure I found her attractive in a sparky sort of way (particularly her brand of rapier-like wit which I’m sure you know is always quite the draw for me). But strangely I wasn’t clear within myself as to what my intentions actually were here. In other words this wasn’t the usual encounter where I knew I could push the BD flirt mode button to ‘on’ and subsequently find myself on one of my more usual escapades. Instead I was, well, wrongfooted I suppose; just like when I interviewed that green-eyed Dane some while ago, the one who’d ‘rattled’ me because I’d actually just liked talking to her.

In the end what I did was this. I simply asked her out for a drink sometime. And you know it felt really odd doing that because I’m sure I came across like someone out of an old movie. In fact I’m also sure I actually stuttered when I asked her, and I ‘never’ do that these days. Still she smiled (and looked really pleased I thought) and said yes, and even added a “hope to see you soon” once we’d exchanged numbers. I walked away that night all light headed and somewhat excited myself, but I couldn’t work out why.

The trouble really began with the “when to contact her next” bit. All those old rules that I’m usually so scornful of now came into play. Was it cool to contact her the day after, shouldn’t I wait etc (I mean did I really want to give myself away too quickly and risk losing her interest)? In the end I compromised and dropped her a text the “day after the day after”, keeping it simple (i.e. along the lines of “it was nice to meet you” and the logisticals re when and where for that drink). And then I waited, and waited, and waited for a reply. And I didn’t like that bit. I didn’t like being bothered about the time dragging before my phone made a noise. I hadn’t gone through stuff like that in a LONG time and it unsettled me. Still at last (hours later) her reply came and it seemed just as positive as her parting smile, and from there we arranged that drink (and I got less bothered about the textual time delays in between).

Let’s now fast forward to the ‘date’ itself. So we met in the West End for a drink and chat, and got along really well. In fact we simply continued from where we left off really, with a bit of story sharing at the same time. Turns out she’d been involved in the past, but that had been a long-term relationship which she was now well and truly over. Meanwhile although I didn’t divulge too much detail, I was honest enough to just talk about years of flings that hadn’t really gone anywhere and a long ago person that could have been someone but due to diverging circumstances wasn’t. To be fair she didn’t press me on this, and I equally didn’t push on her stuff either; according to the old rules you’re not supposed to do that on first dates anyway.

Time passed, the bottle of wine became two, the words continued to flow, and yet… and yet there was nothing to it at the same time. I was on my best behaviour, and she seemed equally so. I could tell we felt easy in each other’s company, but I wasn’t sure about anything else. Did I like her? Yes. I think. Did I still fancy her? Erm… maybe. Here I wasn’t sure. Did she like/fancy me? Couldn’t tell that one in the slightest. I guess it was just a nice evening; and at the appropriate time I walked her to the tube and, just before she got her train, we sort of fell into a kind of snog. You know what though, even that seemed almost obligatory on both sides. Still it felt good all the same. So maybe I ‘did’ like her then. And we both did the “great evening/home safe” texting, so perhaps this might go somewhere too – I mean I even asked to see her again, and she had responded by suggesting I give her a call on that.

Okay, thing is, the following day I was at a loss what to do next. I didn’t want to call or text her. Why? Well for one that old rulebook also says don’t crowd her and scare her off. But two, I didn’t feel that compelled to either. And yet sometimes when the chase is on, well as you know I’m far more proactive shall we say. But here I found it dead easy to wait a few days before I in fact texted about meeting up again (I don’t know, I really just didn’t feel an urge to actually call instead).  And that’s when I got back, “You know I’ve done a lot of thinking and…” – well you can guess the rest.

Face bovvered? Well yes, and well no too. I’ve talked about rejection before haven’t I and I think in this instance I was merely “bovvered” in a pride sense; I mean that hadn’t happened since… well for quite some while. But was it because I hadn’t been BD during that encounter? Was that who she’d really wanted; had she somehow picked up on that side to me when we’d first met even though I’d purposely kept him quiet? I mean thinking about it, I had been my far more unassuming ‘Before’ self second time around hadn’t I. And in retrospect I knew I’d purposely done that as an unconscious reaction to the whole “dangerous” thing. On the other hand had it in fact been that slight hint of my/BD’s inconsistencies that’d actually put her off, because that could suggest I knew nothing about having a ‘proper’ relationship (something I’ve warned about before) and she might prefer someone who ‘had’. Anyhow, either way I hadn’t wowed her after all. And that, I must admit, was a weird throwback to an unhappier era.

Geez I’m thirty-five going on sixteen here. Except it’s not even that I want her, I just want to finally know how to really be ‘me’ with someone…

By Bastian Dash, read more of his musings on life, love and lust on your personal home page

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