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Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Saturday after the awkward hug episode, I slept in late and when I got up, I grabbed lunch by myself at a local deli, then headed downtown to do some work on my computer at a cafe. I stayed an hour or two, then packed up and headed back to my car. I didn’t feel like going home, so I tucked my laptop under the back seat, locked my car and wandered along the boardwalk.

“I feel like being on a boat”

I am very much a water-baby. I love being near water, in the water, on the water. Especially the ocean. As I meandered, I felt a strong desire to be on a boat. It was just past 6:30, so the majority of the boat tours and river cruises had already departed, but I came across one that had a starlight cruise at 9:00. I decided to wait it out at a French café down the boardwalk a little ways.

Paris-perfect

As I approached the French bistro-style tables and chairs outside the café, I noticed a woman, mid 50s or so with fading red hair pulled into a frizzy ponytail, sitting alone drawing with oil pastels. I paused to take a picture of the awning and the Paris-perfect setting. The woman looked up and smiled at me from under her visor. I smiled back, then took a seat at another table, ordered a cappuccino and pulled out my notebook.

Lately I’ve felt as though all my creative juices have backed up inside my head. My job has acted as a stopper to my artistic voice, preventing the overflow onto paper and other media. But sitting in that bistro chair at the French café, watching the sun set over the water from underneath the blue-striped awning, I felt words take the shape of poetry inside my head, and they flowed down my arm to my pen.

But something stopped me before I could transcribe the feeling onto paper: my ears caught the lilting cadences of the French language – spoken by the red-haired artist to one of the waitresses. Having spent some time in both Paris and Montreal, I am fairly fluent in the language. And I miss it. I miss it so much.

“Vous êtes française?”

After the waitress left, I caught the red-haired woman’s eye and said to her in French, “Excuse me, ma’am, but are you French?”

“Yes,” she said, surprised, “You are too?”

“No, no,” I said, “but I did live in Montreal for a while.”

“It’s so funny,” she said, “I just jotted down in my notebook about this pretty girl who smiled at me and sat down to order a coffee. You have a very European look, you know.”

I smiled again, blushing a little bit, “Thank you.”

We spoke in French a while longer, she complimented my accent, and I got flustered and mixed up a couple of words. Turns out she has lived here for the past 18 years, and she is a part of a French meetup group that gets together once a month to speak in French and do French things. When she left, she gave me “bisous” (an air kiss on each cheek), and we exchanged contact information.

Alone again

My new friend hung around for a little bit, taking pictures of the sunset, and I got the feeling she might be waiting for me. I didn’t make the connection until after I’d ordered another coffee, though, so after a minute or two, she waved and walked down the boardwalk.

After I finished my second (decaf) cappuccino, I paid and walked down to the boat tour kiosk. The girl at the desk told me the tour was canceled due to lightning. Bummed, I followed the sound of music to a deck party of some kind, then noticed a sign for a basement bar underneath. I wandered down to the door – it looked like the back entrance to somebody’s apartment – and tentatively pushed it open. A friend had told me about this place, and I felt like checking it out – especially since I hadn’t planned on going home so early.

The bar was small – only a handful of tables, all empty, and about 8 or 9 patrons around the bar. A couple of fratty-looking guys played fussball in one corner, and the large, red-bearded bartender (so many red beards!) kept changing the music (which he operated from his ipod) in the middle of songs. I took a seat at a far corner of the bar, pulled out my book, and began to read.

Reading in a bar?

A friend of a friend told me that she makes a ton of friends just going to bars with a book, and this method seemed to have worked at the wine bar, so I thought I’d give it another shot. I must have looked very engrossed, though, because I ended up just finishing a chapter and a beer before closing out and leaving (actually I tried to close out, but there was a $10 minimum on cards, and I didn’t have any cash. I told the bartender just to put $10 on my card, but the couple beside me insisted on buying my beer. Talk about awkward).

Acting neighborly, for once

I called my friend M (remember her?) on my way home to see if she was up to anything. She was already in her PJs. Defeated, I drove back to my apartment and walked through a handful of my college-age neighbors smoking in front of the building. I waved, but didn’t break stride.

“Hey, we’re playing some poker if you’re not doing anything,” one of them called after me. I stopped and looked back at them, considering.

“Well alright,” I said, “not like I’ve got anything else to do.” A few hours later I plodded home, tired, slightly drunk, and $8 lighter. It could have been worse.

Sunday parties – bluegrass, food truck et al

Sunday I found myself working at another cafe, then packing up and meeting M and her boyfriend (who is also M…together they make M&M…ha) at my favorite bar for Sunday bluegrass and a food truck that sold delicious veggie hotdogs. First person I notice is beautiful look-alike drummer man from the week before. I quickly turned tail and headed to the bar. Because that’s what I’m good at. Avoiding people I’m interested in.

Z’s bartender was working; I managed to catch his eye, and I guess he recognized me because he served me right away. Then M&M and I headed outside where it was a little less crowded. We were standing there nursing our beers, when this very intoxicated lanky guy with crazy curly hair down to his shoulders staggered up to us.

This seems to be a theme in my life

“Hey!” he said to me. I looked up, startled. “I remember you!” he said, holding out his hand.
I looked at it, a little confused, before giving him mine to shake.

“Wait, what?” I said, my surprise temporarily overriding my sense of tact.

He looked more and more uncertain, “We met…the other night…” each word grew quieter, and he shrank away, eventually staggering off, leaving the three of us standing there, confused.

“What just happened?” I asked M.

“I have no idea,” she replied. We both looked at M’s boyfriend. He just shrugged and sipped his beer.

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So there’s this guy at work (not this guy) who I thought was cute and interesting when I first met him, and we were kind of instantly friendly with each other. Partly because he seems to be a very touchy-feely/flirty kind of guy. In a cute way, not a douche-baggy way.

Funny thing is, I was attracted to him at first, then we ate together at lunch, and it was super awkward. Like first date with someone you have nothing in common with awkward. Normally all I want to do during lunch break is sit and eat and stare into the middle distance (middle-distance staring seems to be my favorite activity lately), but I found myself in a situation where I couldn’t do that. And that frustrated me.

In any case, I found that by the end of the day, I was more just annoyed with this guy than interested anymore. And now I have a problem: I’ve established this flirty relationship with him, and so he keeps acting cute with me at work. Which is especially annoying when I am trying to do my job (ie all the time because I’m at work). But I don’t want to be mean and give him the cold shoulder or make a big deal out of nothing. Ugh, it’s so difficult treading that fine line between friend and boyfriend.

Before I forget, let me tell you about the awkward hug.

The Friday before last, I had a hard day at work. At the end of the day, my boss walked me into the tiny “office” that is hardly bigger than a closet, closed the door and bitched me out. By the time I left (“You need to take your job more seriously,” she said, after I failed to complete a near-impossible task in the hour she gave me to do it) I really needed a beer, and I was ready to go to bat by myself if need be.

Still questing for friends

I figured I may as well text the three friends I have here and see if they were available for commiseration. But I texted in vain. There was no response from anyone, positive or negative. As I prepared to drink alone, I remembered my friend that I had bumped into a few weeks prior. I texted him to see what he was up to.

“Nothing,” he said, “what are you doing tonight?”

“Going to a bar, drinking a beer and staring into the middle distance,” I responded. For some reason he thought that sounded like a good time. “Is there a sketchy pool hall around here?” I asked.

“I’m just really feeling pool”

We ended up at a small local bar that had a total of about 7 patrons, a juke box, and a pool table. It was a little awkward at first, as hanging out with people you haven’t seen in 8+ years and were never really close with anyway tends to be, but then we got to playing some pool and chatting about le home town and the conversation flowed easily.

Everything changes when you grow up

When I was in elementary school, I had been best friends with his younger sister; I practically grew up at their house. I remembered them as a happy family that always put up 3 trees during Christmas and on Saturday mornings ate blueberry mickey-mouse shaped pancakes that their dad made. Sometimes, I’d wished I’d been born into their family instead of mine. Especially when their mom let us eat in the playroom instead of at the table and ride bikes without helmets. I also have a distinct memory of him as a ten or eleven year-old running up the stairs with marbles in his mouth. I think he may have swallowed one or two of them. Funny the things we remember about people.

“My sister’s become the kind of person I hate – really pretentious,” he said, “I always have to remind myself that she’s family when I see her.” I wasn’t too surprised to learn this, but it was still a little sad to hear him say it. Then he told me his parents just got divorced 6 months ago, and that his dad is already remarried. They don’t talk anymore.

Sometimes I forget how lucky I am that my family is still intact and that we all love and support one another unconditionally. “You guys always seemed like a close-knit family,” he said. It had never really occurred to me until that second that there are plenty of people who grow up as strangers with their family. In fact, my family’s tight bond is probably more of an exception rather than a rule. That’s a little depressing to think about. I can’t imagine what I’d do without my family there to support and encourage me. Life would be very depressing. Much more so than it already can be at times.

So, new friend, right?

After a couple rounds of pool and one or two beers, we were both yawning. We paid our tabs and walked out to the parking lot. Where we proceeded to chat for another 30 minutes or so. Course, I kept thinking how attracted I was to him, but I didn’t know how to convey that. So I just sat around, listening to him tell humorous stories and simply not leaving until he made a move to go home. I was standing on the passenger side of his truck, and he walked around to me.

Awkwardness ensues

I deduced that since he walked around to the passenger side, he was going to try to make a move, because otherwise he would have walked directly to the driver’s side. I kind of had a minor panic attack and flashbacks of a similar past situation popped into my head. As he approached me, I went in for a hug and ended up clinging to him like a baby koala clings to its mother. I think I caught him off guard, because his arms hovered over my back for a second, then patted me lightly. I took that as a cue to let go.

“Umm, I’m gonna go,” he said, “I think my dog probably misses me.” Hmm, lame excuse…nice touch. I looked away as he walked around me and around the front of his truck to the driver’s side. “I’ll call you,” he said, as he closed the door. I got in my car and left.

The verdict

In retrospect, it’s a good thing he’s super tall. If he had been closer to my height, I may have tried to kiss him and knocked skulls or fractured a cheekbone or something. So it could have been worse. Maybe he realized that, too, because he actually got in touch with me this past weekend, and we hung out. But more on that later.

so remember what I said about that angry, frustrated look I keep getting from guys that I wrote about in my last blog? Yeah, well, now I’m getting that look from one specific guy at work. But I don’t get it. Majorly don’t get it.

and you say he’s just a friend

This particular guy has been very nice to me from day one. Not creepy at all, just friendly in a friend way. I thought he was cute, but I wasn’t overly attracted to him. Suddenly, on Tuesday, he started acting strangely toward me – he seemed angry with me for some reason. Which is bizarre because I don’t interact directly with this guy very often. In fact, I’d barely interacted with him at all that day.

But I noticed around lunchtime, when we both happened to be waiting in the same spot for a couple minutes, he seemed reluctant to talk to me. I tried to make conversation like we normally would when we found ourselves together, but he answered me coldly and then turned away. At the time I was a little taken aback – completely surprised by his attitude change. Then later I thought that perhaps he was just preoccupied with something else, and I shrugged it off.

But his behavior to me was consistent throughout that day and the following day – avoiding eye contact and unnecessary interactions, not making small talk like we had before, just being generally cold to me. To be fair, he could have just been preoccupied with something else going on in his life, and it’s not like I’ve monitored his behavior with people other than me, but it does almost seem like he’s angry with me.

I think too much

I’ve thought about some things that could have affected his opinion of me, and all of them sound pretty unlikely.

1) I did have a fight with my boss within sight/earshot of him. I was trying to stick up for a girl that my boss had made cry, but it’s entirely possible that I came off as an ingrate. I did eventually back down and apologize.

2) I made an off-color joke at lunch that fell flat. This happens to me more often than I’d like it to; if friends judged me harshly for this sort of thing, I’d have no friends left.

It’s also possible that he is somehow suddenly embarrassed around me. Maybe he has a crush on me? But that doesn’t make much sense either because we’ve worked together for over a month now, so why would it be a sudden change like that? I mean, the only thing to support that hypothesis is that I was working on set all day, and I received a lot of compliments about my work on both days.

the D’Arcy complex

The funny thing is, now that he has become a perplexing individual to me, I find him much more attractive. By ignoring me, he’s making me crave his attention even though I didn’t really give him a second glance before. Sigh. Now what?

I went to my favorite bar again last night (2 more check ins and I’ll be the mayor…no really), and awkward date guy was there. Everything was going swell at first – there was a good crowd, a decent band, and I had a posse! I have to admit, I have been getting a lot better at making friends. I’m actually quite good at it. It’s just the whole making friends with guys I’m interested in thing that is difficult.

But before I continue with the bar story, let me back up a bit.

Friday, I worked almost all night because the film I’m working on is doing night shoots this week. I got home very late, and was feeling a little drunk on exhaustion (yeah, one of those kinds of days). By 5:30 I was considering driving to the beach to watch the sunrise. Then I found out that this guy I’ve been crushing on for a little while has a girlfriend. Which was kind of depressing. So then all I felt like doing was moping. So I went to bed instead (like a normal person).

When I got up, I found that I was very homesick. I called my dad, and he didn’t answer. I called my sister, but she was busy. I’m not normally the kind of person to sit around and mope, so I went to a yoga class to lift my spirits. During the class, I concentrated my energy on other things going on in my life – things that didn’t involve men. After the class, I decided to spend a little time alone, so I grabbed a book and headed downtown.

Making friends on a “don’t give a fuck” kind of day

It was a very “don’t give a fuck” day, so I figured a glass of wine would be more soothing than a cup of coffee to go with my book. Strangely enough, when I put on my “don’t give a fuck” attitude, I have a tendency to meet more people. Funny how that works. At the wine bar, I ordered a glass and sat on the couch to read.

There was a girl already sitting there working on her computer. She struck up a conversation, and we chatted for a good 30 or 45 minutes and exchanged contact info before I left. See what I mean about making friends? Now if only I could get over my “cute guy jitters” and be as comfortable and relaxed when I’m talking to guys I’m interested in.

At one point, she mentioned her boyfriend who she met while helping autistic children. “He is just gorgeous and so sweet!” she said, “let me show you a picture of him.” She whipped out her smartphone and showed me a picture of a super-buff model-type guy with his arm around an autistic kid.

Is this the key to meeting guys? Working with autistic children? Did I mention I have an irrational fear of mentally handicapped people? (It’s terrible, I know, but I had a bad experience when I was a kid…don’t judge me.)

Fantasy bookstore

After the wine bar, I shopped a little, then stopped in this adorable used bookstore that was like something out of a fantasy. (Or maybe just my fantasies). I’ve always dreamed that when I get old enough to retire, I’ll open up a book/gift store with nooks and crannies and bookshelves spilling over and cute hidden corners in which to sit and read. I wandered to the end of the store – only to interrupt a couple making out in a corner. I turned around abruptly and found another nook to sit down in and finally read my book and be by myself, only to find that I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open!

I dozed off and on, read a chapter or two, bought “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (because I haven’t read it yet, and it’s been on my list for ages), then headed back to my car to go home and indulge in some Dawson’s Creek while eating a Subway sandwich.

So, the bar

I was so comfortable in my big green chair and so tired from the week, that I wasn’t feeling very enthusiastic about going out. But my friend Z is leaving this week, and I wanted to hang out with her before she leaves, so I waited to see if she’d call me. Eventually, she did, and I got my lazy butt out of my big green chair and headed to the bar.

One of my friends (who I’m kind of interested in) brought his girlfriend along last night (she lives out of town and was here for the weekend). Z told me she wasn’t impressed (that’s what girlfriends are for, right? To tell each other that the competition doesn’t measure up). Apparently my friend, his girlfriend, and their two friends had all taken molly before coming. Which doesn’t make any sense at all. Who takes molly and goes to a bar? Needless to say, they were a little bit off all night. Eventually, they left to go to some house party rave thing.

Awkward times with awkward people

Z and I stuck around and watched the second band. Some guy told me he liked my dress, and I struck up a conversation with him. A couple more guys came up (I think they were guy 1’s friends…or something), and we made weird conversation. At one point I said something totally awkward, and there was a moment of silence. Then I looked around and said, “Umm, yeah, that was awkward. Sorry about that.” And life moved on.

Then a girl walked up to our group (she was friends with some of the guys). I introduced myself, and we chatted for a sec, then this guy walked up behind her and put his arm around her waist. It was awkward date guy! I smiled tightly and said, “Hey”, as he said, “Good to see you again.” Then I turned back to the guy that had complimented my dress and we started talking about cartoons. As you do.

Unavailable look-a-likes

Meanwhile, I kept catching the eye of this beautiful bearded man, but he was giving me a confused, almost angry look – the look you might give an ex that you haven’t seen in ages but who showed up unexpectedly at the same party. Not sure why, but this seems to happen to me a lot. Does anyone have any ideas what this look might be about? Cuz I’d love to be clued in. Funny thing is, he looked almost identical to this man that I had a thing for way back when. I stared a little too hard at his tattoos to determine if it was the same guy. Which is weird.

Turned out beautiful bearded man was in the second band. And he decided to play his instrument with his shirt off (see what I did there). Which was a little too hot.

After they finished playing, he gave some girl an intimate hug – where your arms slide comfortably around a person to pull them into the kind of hug where you’re touching head-to-toe. It was a little depressing.

Z’s successful ballsiness

Z and I walked outside with the smokers. She turned to me and said, “I think I’m going to give my number to hot bartender guy.”

“The tall skinny one?” I asked, “because I’ve been trying to catch his eye for weeks.”

“No, no, the beardy one that smells like patchouli,” she said. I gave her a look. “What? I freaking love patchouli.”

I laughed, “Whatever, I’m not judging you…but you should definitely give him your number.”

When we were ready to hit the road, Z paid her tab and slipped the bartender her number as well as a little note saying she’s leaving the city this week. He texted her an hour or so after we left.

What am I doing wrong?

Sometimes I feel like my life is some weird ass simulation where I’m a character and whoever’s controlling the world around me finds humor in causing pain and embarrassment. Around every corner there seems to be a couple holding hands, or sharing a discreet kiss (or not so discreet), or somebody gloating about their hot boyfriend. Beautiful look-a-likes are placed just within my grasp, only to be snatched away at the last minute. My friends get lucky when they’re ballsy, but when I do it, people think I’m creepy or coming on too strong.

Maybe I’m just having one of those days where it seems like I can’t do anything right. Or maybe I need to stop waiting to “have a connection” with someone and just go for it. In the meantime, will someone please explain the weird “angry and confused” looks I keep getting? Thanks amigos.

Early last week, I got home from work feeling a little disgusted with my male coworkers. I by no means wear provocative clothing (growing up in a conservative family cured me of any inclination I may have had to show even the slightest amount of cleavage), and yet there were a couple of instances at work where I felt the need to cover myself up. It’s incredible to me how completely unabashed some men are when it comes to how they treat women. It absolutely disgusts me when a man stares unashamedly at my boobs or my butt (just because I don’t have eyes in the back of my head doesn’t mean I don’t know you’re looking).

Creepy guys, keep your eyes to yourselves

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to judge a guy for glancing at my chest (accidentally or otherwise). It’s the guys who outright stare and make no attempt to disguise that they’re staring that disgust me. It makes me feel completely defenseless in the worst way possible. It’s an unwanted sexual advance that you can’t really do anything about.

Trying not to give the wrong impression

It’s this type of man that puts me immediately on the defensive when meeting someone new. I’m extra careful not to give anyone the wrong impression. I tried to explain this to my roommate, but I don’t think he quite got it. Eventually, I got a little frustrated with him and told him he couldn’t possibly understand because even though he has sisters and has had a lot of female roommates, he’s never experienced it firsthand.

Our conversation went something like this:

“There are so many dirty old men at work!” I complained to my roommate the other day.

“Go on,” he said.

“Well, I was leaning over to tie my shoe, with my foot up on a chair, and this man walked behind me and stopped way too close to my ass, even though there was plenty of space to go around or to stand elsewhere. Actually, he started to walk past me, did a stutter-step as if changing his mind, then stepped back a little behind me and stood there. For no apparent reason.”

My roommate laughed, “Well it’s actually way worse if you had your foot on a chair.”

“What? Why?” I asked.

“If I told you, you’d be embarrassed.”

“Hmmph. Well, there’s also this other older man who keeps trying to chat me up. And at one point I leaned over to get a closer look at something, and I swear he whistled under his breath.”

“How do you whistle under your breath?” Roomie said, forcing his jaw into a double chin and screwing up his lips as he tried it. “That’s not even possible.”

“Whatever, he walked over to me right after and showed me like 18 pictures that he’d taken of the sunset over the weekend.”

“Ok, yeah, that’s a little weird,” Roomie consented, “but I still think you might be a little too sensitive.”

“Idunno -”

“Well are you looking for it?” Roomie interjected, “because if you’re looking for it, you’ll start to see it everywhere, regardless of whether or not guys are actually being creepy.”

“I still think it’s better to assume guys are attracted to me than to deal with the consequences of being overly-friendly,” I said.

My roommate shook his head, “Guilty until proven innocent? That doesn’t seem very fair.”

“But I’d rather not take the chance,” I continued, “because it’s a lot harder to back-peddle once you’ve crossed the friendship line.”

“So you just live your life on the defensive? That sounds pretty terrible.” He was silent for a minute, then said, “So how do you switch to the offensive when you’re actually interested in someone?”

“Yeah, idunno, that’s the hardest part, and I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I’ve gotten one too many awkward confessions of love not to want to make absolutely sure I’m not leading someone on.”

Roomie ruminated on this. Then he said, “I still think you just shouldn’t think about it. Just be friendly with everyone.”

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