Dating is a funny game

I was not going to publish this. It’s been quietly sitting on my desktop for nearly two NYEmonths, but lately it’s been getting restless. I’ve shared it with a couple close girlfriends, and it’s a story that’s not only mine. If you’re still in the dating game, you’ll be able to relate.


Dating is a funny game. I wish I was a mind reader, and could just speak my mind, but this game is one of subtle moves – a tentative look, a coy smile, a flirtatious text, strategic emoticons, and long emails. Admittedly, I am out of practice, and perhaps, I have divulged too much in just a simple text message. Dating was so much easier before cell phones….and the internet.  Okay, let’s back up.

About a month ago, I decided to throw together an online dating profile. Yes, throw together. I did it in an afternoon of frustration, in a moment of “I-can’t–believe-he’s-already-dating” disbelief. And to make matters worse I knew her, and he had met her the very same way he had met me – online. Yes, we’d been officially over for a long time, and he kept encouraging me to date, but I couldn’t move on. He was that old sweater, the one that had started to unravel, that I refused to part with. I wore him on cold nights to keep me warm. That was over. I knew it would do me good to get out there again, no matter how cold it was. So, I strung together some witty sentences, and posted my most flattering pictures, and in the first week I found myself with several pen pals (email pals?), and two dates.

Coffee dates are lame. A coffee date is a way to invest minimal effort (a t-shirt and jeans will suffice), time (no longer than two hours), and money (no more than $5) in order to see if a real date is worth pursuing. Coffee dates somehow seem like interviews, and neither person is showing their true colours. Not surprisingly, nothing started brewing on my coffee dates. Don’t get me wrong, they were both nice guys, but the caffeine was missing.

It’s funny how quickly I got sucked in. Initially, I put up my profile just for the heck of it, but then I found myself checking my profile visitors and matches a little too often. However, the welcome distraction soon turned into cynical disillusion. Friendly_Hellos, OnceInAlifeTime, I’mAllThat, Chasing2Rabbits….really? And then there was a married couple that thought we would hit it off. There were so many peacocks, and long lists of winning attributes. I wasn’t buying it, and the one-liners trickling in weren’t worthy of responses. Then there was an unassuming knock, and short essays followed. And he asked me out on a proper dinner date.

Over butter chicken and goat curry, we talked about the paths we’d traveled, and how we ended up in Victoria, a home that was still in the making for both of us.  The sparkle in his eyes, the sweet dimples that lit up his smile, his runny nose, the way he spoke of his family and community work, and the openness in which he talked about his past, captured me as my food became cold and time ticked on. I think both of us had lost interest in our meals, and when his watch stroked eleven, we both relented, and I accepted his offer of a ride home. In the chilly air, he assured me that he wasn’t trying to impress me with his sports car and heated seats. He had already impressed me. As we said our goodbyes, I knew we’d see each other again; it was just a matter of when.

Before the when, the emails started to pour in again, and with each email I learned something new about him, and the more I found out, the more I wanted to delete my online profile. I’m a sucker for a good writer with a big heart; this guy had me spellbound! So, it was on Saturday that we met again. Although the meeting was brief, the dormant butterflies in my stomach began to wake with his warm embrace, and I felt a nervous glow inside me. We spoke about football, something that does absolutely nothing for me, and getting together for the Monday night game with my best girlfriend, a big 49er fan.

It seemed like Monday took forever to arrive. We didn’t watch much of the game after it became obvious the 49ers were going to win. Over pub food, the three of us talked sports, politics, and personality types. And my friend managed to strategically mention that a guy was interested in me at dance, but that I had my eye on someone else. Shortly after this disclosure, my date made a trip to the restroom, and my friend slipped me a piece of gum, and went on her way. (I’m sure you have a friend that screens your love interests, and gives you a helpful nudge, too.) Then it was just the two of us. He leaned in and we talked a lot, but I only remember him saying, “I’m happy to spend time with you.” And there was this moment…..a kissable moment that was filled with silence and eye contact. And once again, it was with regret that we decided it was time to say good night.

As we pulled up to my place, I didn’t want to take my seat belt off. I felt so warm and cozy. We continued to talk, I unbuckled, he reached over for a hug…..and maybe it could have been more, but that’s what it was. Was it me? Did I make it awkward for a kiss to take place? Was it too soon? Was this a friend connection? I made my way inside wishing I had been able to speak my mind or read his. After all, I had swallowed my gum just in case.

After some pondering, I sent my date a text message.

 Me:  Hey! I had a fun time tonight. And just to clarify…when my friend said I was interested in someone else, she meant you.  🙂

My date:  I had a lot of fun, too! And I did interpret it that way, but appreciate the clarification. ; -) Sleep well!

Oh, that wasn’t the response I was hoping for. I was thinking of something along the lines of…..

My date: The feeling is mutual ;-). Actually, I forgot something.

Me: 😉 What did you forget?

My date: To kiss you tonight. Is it too late?

Me: Hmmm….no, it’s not too late.

And then he would arrive and we’d press the rewind button, and I’d be sitting in the passenger’s seat. He’d unbuckle my seat belt, and I’d swallow my gum just as he placed his lips on mine.

Okay, this is the real world and not 90210. And I would have settled for, “The feeling is mutual. I’m looking forward to seeing you again. Good night!” (Sans winky emoticons) I just wanted a little bit more than what I got; I wanted to know that I wasn’t the only one that felt a spark. So, I wondered if I had divulged too much in a simple text.


Trick Eye Museum

 Although my date wasn’t sealed with a kiss, my voice came back that night, and my fingers started tapping away. I decided to let all those words inside me come to life – I was inspired to write. The majority of this blog post was born after that date. What inspired me? It was the connection – it was the possibility. It was meeting someone who wasn’t afraid to move beyond the coffee date and show his true colours. After all, isn’t that what dating is about —making connections.


14 thoughts on “Dating is a funny game

  1. I can so relate to your great post. Personally, I had so many of these moments back in my online dating days that I decided that I’d weave them into a storyline for full length novel about the train wrecks and fairytales that can only come from contemporary dating. eloves me, eloves me not, is a work of fiction, but it was born out of moments and insights just like the ones you’ve shared.
    You are not alone!
    LA Johannesson

    1. Thanks so much! Always happy to hear someone can relate to my posts. eloves, eloves me not sounds like a fun read. I’ll have to delve into it 🙂 I’ve often thought about tying together and publishing my Thai dating stories. Maybe 2014 will be that year!I’ll keep you posted.
      Wishing you and your Aussie all the best in the year to come!


  2. I just stumbled across your blog while I was searching around “connecting and dating for introverts”, and was glad I did – your thoughts around coffee dates really sum up a growing feeling for me based on my own experiences, and a desire to find my own way to connect which might work better.

    But anyway: I like that the comments above relate to storytelling, because I wanted to say that after reading this post and a couple of others, I think you’re a great storyteller, and that from what I’ve seen I think you’ve got a lot of stuff to say which, as well as being beautiful to read, could make great learning for people interested in hearing perspectives on stuff around “doing relating”. I feel stories have taught me many helpful things over the years, like “sandworms are attracted to a regular gait” and “superglue vapour raises latent friction ridges”.

    Concrete example from your post above: for myself, I know that one of my default tendencies is to Make A Plan And Stick To It in my own head, often to the exclusion of awesome new opportunities. When I read your description of when you sent your date a text message, and his actual response versus how you’d have wanted it to be, I imagined your date as doing that same thing I could easily imagine myself doing – deciding that the date was over for that night and sticking to that plan, following those self-imposed rules, not even seeing the opportunity of “oh, actually I can ask to rewind a bit…”

    So the really nice learning point for me was to see an exemplar of someone changing the “predetermined plan” (“Is it too late?”). I love being reminded “there can be another way” and having examples of that pointed out to me for me to remember – even if only imagined. And your storytelling illustrated that memorably in a way I found very warm, human and gently moving.

    My friend showed me her copy of “Slow Sex” by Nicole Daedone and it has really interesting chapters about “what women need to know about men” and “what men need to know about women” – quite stereotyped by necessity but still dead useful – and seeing you share your perspectives on what you desired reminded me of that and made me think you could convey a lot of really excellent insight in the context of delicious-to-read stories.

    Executive summary:
    1) thanks for that;
    2) I look forward to reading more of your blog;
    3) I have the feeling you could do a really interesting semi-factual semi-fictional book which could give people a lot of great insight into relating;
    4) eek, long reply, soz.

    1. This comment deserves so much more than a thank you. It made my morning….and my day! Sometimes I wonder why I write this blog, and then I receive a reminder like this. I write to share my stories and to connect with others. I write to get to know myself better, and hope that in the process others can take something away…….a new perspective, a valuable reminder, a glimpse of themselves. I’m glad you could relate to my stories, and that I’m not the only introvert stumbling along trying to make connections. Sometimes this stumbling means deviating from our plans and being open to new possibilities! Thank you for pushing me to revive my blog, and revisit my childhood dream of writing a book.

      Do you also write/blog?

      1. You’re very welcome 🙂 I don’t write or blog really – I’ve started keeping a kind of offline wiki scrapbook and part-journal, more to record some of the things which seem to be important/interesting to me at the time, and keep track of personal plans. I’m seeing how quickly I forget and there’s stuff I don’t want to forget so easily. But I’ve never felt that pushed to blog things somehow – the stuff I write for myself feels more like an internal thing, if that makes sense. Anyways, I hope you’re able to keep sharing your talent in whatever way works for you!

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