Sunday, May 21, 2006

Good progress...

Currently listening to: Basement Jaxx

Just one kiss will make it better
Just one kiss, and we'll be flying high...

It was a good dating weekend for brunette babe - hallelujah!

Friday night I met up with Rex, who's a guy I've been exchanging emails with pretty much since I first signed up online, so well over a month now.

I wasn't sure about how this one would go. My impression of him via email was that he's quite reserved. His emails were slightly formal, he'd sign off with 'regards, Rex' which, I don't know, just felt more professional than personal. And the fact that we'd been emailing for ages and he still hadn't asked me out struck me as odd.

He called me once a couple of weeks back and we had a brief, slightly stilted conversation during which he still didn't ask me out. The next day though he emailed saying it was nice to talk to me, and that he hoped he hadn't sounded as nervous as he was. I thought that was kind of cute, so a couple of emails later I signed off with a playful "so are you EVER going to ask me out...". Time to meet and move on one way or another.

And so, on Friday night, I met him at a cafe after work. We had a pleasant time talking over drinks and a mezze platter and I was pleased with how it went. It was quite relaxed and while I didn't feel immediately attracted to him in that "oh my God I wish he'd touch me" kind of way, I could see the potential for him to grow on me. We said goodbye with a kiss on the cheek and I went home quite content.

The next day, I got a lovely email from him. He said it was really nice to meet me and that I lived up to what I wrote about myself on my profile, that he thinks I am indeed smart, cute and funny (yup, I'm really humble about myself in my profile ;). He also attached a photo of his cat he'd told me about, who he rescued as a wild kitten. You gotta love a man that cares about animals so that was a nice touch. But most of all I found it generous of him to give some good affirmation so soon after our date that he liked me - you always wonder how you came across and what people thought, so it's a relief to know right from the outset.

However, probably unfortunately for Rex, my mind has been mostly on Matt, he of the fun impromptu date last Thursday (and who had illicited a bit of an "oh my God I wish he'd touch me" reaction from me).

Our first date had been really enjoyable for me, plus I'd fancied him which is always a good sign - but since then, I hadn't heard from him and I wanted to.

I started to worry that I'd gone about things the wrong way and made things too easy for him. You see, I went to the library recently and loaded myself up with books on relationships and dating - I figure a little advice could only help in the process. And one of the books I got was The Rules for Online Dating
, written by the same women that wrote the original book The Rules.

Now, to be sure there's a good part of me that thinks their 'play hard to get' approach is so much hooey, but there are elements that I tend to agree with, one of them being that it is far more effective to let the man do the pursuing. Sure, I'm a feminist and believe 'girls can do anything' and all that, but there have been several times in my life when I've gone after a guy I've been interested in and not once - not ONCE - has it been successful.

So after reading this book I realised that I'd broken all The Rules with Matt. I made myself available by instant messaging (too casual, too little effort required by the guy to make contact) and I'd accepted a last minute invitation (showing I had nothing better to do). And since I hadn't heard from him, I wondered if I'd come across too eager. Not good, instigate damage control procedures immediately!

Step 1: To make myself a touch more unavailable. I stopped logging into instant messenger every time I was online. I signed in just once last week and let him initiate a chat which I kept fairly short.

Step 2: To move things from IM to the phone. I knew that Matt went to see The Da Vinci Code on Thursday, so I decided I'd send him an easy breezy text to find out what he thought of it, and see if that might spark something. I waited until early Saturday afternoon and sent it off and it had exactly the desired response - he told me what he thought of the movie (okay, not bad but not that great either) and then asked me if I wanted to watch a DVD that night. Success!

How about that, sometimes over-thinking a thing actually works! Okay, so it's still totally against The Rules to accept a last minute date, but frankly, I was okay with that. There was no way I was going to turn down a Saturday night date with a guy I know I like (So there, Ellen & Sherrie!)

He said he'd bring a DVD round at 8pm, I said I'd get us some Thai takeaways to eat. I was excited!

As the evening rolled around I gave my house a jolly good tidy up and hid all romantic self help books from sight. Had a good long shower, shaved my legs (in direct contradiction of Charming But Single's Single Girl's Law #1) and generally got myself all sexy'd up (in a staying at home, watching DVDs kind of way - not too dressy). I was looking forward to this!

I think the single male population of NZ detected this as well. As I was getting ready I got a bunch of texts from two different guys - Angel Boy was one, telling me about his day and a last minute invitation to meet for drinks from Paul, this random online guy who texts or calls occasionally and then disappears for a while. He's done the last minute invite thing before and with him I'm quite good at playing by The Rules. I reply back, 'sorry, got plans. Haven't you learned? I'm a busy girl, gotta book ahead". Pretty blunt, but you can do that when you don't really care about the outcome. We agree to meet up for drinks on Tuesday.

8pm rolls around and I'm quietly fizzing with excitement. Finally I hear him pull up and knock at the door and I welcome him inside. He's still cute - in fact he's shaved off the touch of a goatee he had last week which makes him look even better in my eyes (I'm not big on facial hair).

We settle down with our Thai food and end up watching the movies that are playing on TV. Quite a selection in fact, we watch Minority Report (Oh Tom, why did you have to jump the couch?), Say It Isn't So (lame Heather Graham/Chris Klein number) and The Rainmaker (Matt Damon circa 1997, nice).

It was such a nice night. Matt's just easy to be with, I felt so comfortable with him, just totally at ease (very unusual for me with a guy). He won some good brownie points too by letting my cat curl up on him - love me, love my cat!

So we were watching all these movies (and it started getting pretty late), and as nice as it was, I wonderd if/when he was going to make a move. We'd been sitting casually side by side all night, and like I said - it was getting late. Well, my cat helped move things along. (Okay, that sounds weird - better explain fast). I reached for my drink suddenly which startled her and made her jump off him. He made a comment about how he'd get cold now (still pretty icy here in Auckland, even with the heater on at full blast) and how I'd better take her place, so - this is embarrassing - I jokily pretended to curl up on his lap and purr (I told you I'm a dork). Not the smoothest move, for sure, but he took it as a good sign and moved in to kiss me. Several minutes of passionate kissing ensued (cheers! applause from the audience! finally!) and significant plot points in The Rainmaker passed us by unnoticed. We came up for air, watched the end of the movie and finally he dragged himself off home at about 2.30am with one last kiss for the road.

And I slunk upstairs and went happily to sleep, content with the knowledge that at last I'd had that ever elusive thing, a successful second date!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Good Date / Sad Date

Currently listening to: Everything is not broken by John Mayer

Everything is not broken
If everything's not fine

I've had two dates last week, and as you might gather from the title they were quite different from each other.

The Good Date

Thursday was an unexpected, spontaneous date with Matt, someone I've shared a couple of emails and instant message chats with. I was all set to spend the evening in front of my PC, blogging away for you good people and he IMd me when I logged on. We 'talked' for a bit, and when I asked him what he was up to, he said he was bored and asked if I wanted to do something. I was like, 'Tonight? Now?!' (spontaneity's never been my strong suit). I decided it wasn't a good idea, I had a quiet evening at home in mind and once I'm settled on doing something it takes a lot to get me to reconsider. So I told him I needed an early night, that I had a lot to get done at work the next day (bearing in mind it was already nearly 9pm).

So we continue chatting, and then:

Matt to BB: Not to be the little devil on your shoulder... but you sure we can't go for coffee or a drink somewhere. We could have you home well before you turn into a pumpkin..
Matt to BB: Isn't Thursday night the new Friday anyway???
BB to Matt: Thinking about it....

BB to Matt: Oh all right...

Matt to BB: Ha!

You see, when I thought about it, I figured there was absolutely no good reason to stay at home. Better to blog about my love life or go out there and create more material to blog about? Definitely the latter!

So we arranged to meet in half an hour at my old favourite date spot (good dates, bad dates - SPQR's been there for them all!). A quick make-up touchup and a spritz of perfume later and I'm out the door. The novelty of meeting someone on short notice has me kind of excited.

I plan to stay for just an hour or so, but Matt turns out to be cute (very cute!), nice and very easy to talk to. He's definitely a chatty guy and it's refreshing - the first date where conversation hasn't been a struggle. Some of our talk is a little deep too, touching on love, life and family - it's nice to delve beyond small talk.

The super low lighting of SPQR is working for me - he looks really good and I wonder if he'll kiss me - I hope so. Some slinky house music is on in the background, the gay waiters are all having fun and judging by the clientele it's clear that all the cool people are out hanging in Ponsonby on a school night. I almost feel like one of them except having referred to Thursday as a 'school night' automatically kills any coolness that might have rubbed off on me...

We end up talking over drinks for a couple of hours, long after I'd intended to turn into a pumpkin and go home. We leave SPQR and walk down Ponsonby Rd, he walks me to my car and I stop by the door so we can say goodbye. We have that awkward little pause where you don't know how you're going to do it and in the end I give him a kiss on the cheek and a semi-awkward hug. Darn it.

Nevertheless, clumsy goodbye notwithstanding, a very good date...

Fast forward to Saturday: The Sad Date

I've arranged to meet Joseph at The Whiskey, just down the road from SPQR. (I figure I can't bring every guy I meet to SPQR - the waiters will start talking - and this place looked like it had a similar cosy atmosphere when Matt and I walked past it).

I don't have high expectations going into this date. A) he's wearing a floppy gardening type hat in his profile photo and b) some of his emails have been a bit weird. The first one was good. The second one was completely kooky in ways that I can't really put my finger on. I decided to overlook that (and the hat) and agreed to meet him for drinks at 7pm - while inferring that I had plans for later on in the night so would likely be brief.

As I walk up to the bar, there's a lone man sitting at one of the outside tables. (To set the scene: Auckland has gone into full-on winter mode - it's icy and the rain has been thumping down all day. Town's not going to be busy tonight). I think it's him but my first thought is 'nah, he's too attractive'. I take a second look at him and say 'Joseph?' - and it is him. He's well put-together, wearing a trendy leather jacket with some casual sneakery type shoes, I like his face

And then my flicker of hope is promptly extinguished as he struggles to bring himself to look at me and say a simple hello. Something in the way he carries himself tells me right then something's up. I warily move up to the bar, thinking it's going to be a long evening, and we look at the wine list in silence. We order our drinks, he gives the bartender some money and she hands him change, telling him it's $3.50. As she does this, he says 'I'll pay for both'. She looks at him and says 'That was for both'. It's a touch odd.

We take a seat and I start the conversation - it's clear that I'm going to have to drive this one. As we talk, I'm trying to suss him out. At first I think he's just extremely, painfully shy. He hardly looks me in the eye and he struggles to put words together. But over the course of the evening I start to think it's more than that, I think he's experienced some kind of brain trauma. He's not unintelligent at all - he's creative, shoots time-lapse photography, knows arty films I've never heard of - but there's a noticeable disconnect between his thoughts and his ability to articulate them. He tells me he had to give up his job as a video editor. I think I see a scar on his forehead. The place is candlelit, it might just be a vein, but I fixate on it - I learn early on that his mother died in a car accident 10 years ago. Maybe he was in it too?

I feel tender towards this man, not because of romantic feelings blossoming, but because I fear that he's a fraction of some other version of himself. I've seen people who've been affected by strokes and aneurysms and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. When something happens to your brain, it changes who you are and what your life is going to be. I fear this has happened to Joseph and it makes me sad. It makes me wonder what he might have been like before, if there is a before. Of course, it's all speculation on my part. He's not forthcoming on any mental problems. But I think I'm right.

We talk for an hour or more and I decide it's time to call it a night. I tell him I'd better head off - I lie that I'm meeting friends for dinner. I ask if he drove here - I'm guessing no, and I'm right. He was dropped off by a flatmate, so I offer to drop him home since he lives in a nearby suburb.

I don't know the way to his place and he points out turns I should have taken just as I pass them. I'm ready for our date to be over now. After a few u-turns, he tells me where to pull over. He asks if I want to go out to dinner sometime. I'm feeling kind of flat and I'm beyond bullshitting. I say something along the lines of 'hmmm, maybe'. He kisses me on the cheek and makes a gangly exit out of my car.

I drive home feeling sad for him and sad for me that I couldn't have a Saturday night date with someone I like in that way.


Last night I sent Joseph an email, telling him thanks, but that I don't see romance on the cards for us. I do say that if he wants to do something as friends, I'd be up for that. I partially mean it (but if I'm honest, I mostly don't).

Mere minutes later, I see an email from him come in. He's thanking me for our 'hot date' and asking me out to dinner and a movie later in the week. I look at the time I sent my email, and then the time he sent his - they're a couple of minutes apart. Oh the horror, the awkwardness of it! My rejection was winging its way to him just as he was pinging an upbeat and hopeful second date invitation to me...

Will the uncomfortable dating situations never end?!!

Monday, May 15, 2006

I am a dating dork

There's a lot of good information out there on the interweb if you take time to look. Too bad I didn't find Dating Monkey's site before I went online - could have saved myself from some major embarrassment.

You see, I'm ashamed that I was that girl that needed closure from a one date relationship. (Scroll down to 'Know when to give up'.)


More conversations with God

Following on from the, uh, interesting texts I shared with Angel Boy last week (hereafter referred to as Gabriel), we've been IMing a bit lately. I don't see him as a love prospect in the slightest, but I have to admit, I'm still intrigued by all the angel talk and curious to hear more.

I tried to find out just what this $2000, 7 day intensive course on enlightenment involves but he was vague to say the least, said it was 'hard to explain' but that it blew his mind. When I asked him what he got out of it, he said
"an understanding of life, why we are here and what and where we are meant to go and do". Well hey, that's all stuff I want to know so I asked him to share just what that all is - which he of course completely side stepped. No answers forthcoming here!

This weekend just been I was online and he messaged me and sent a webcam stream. Now frankly, I'm new to instant messaging and either I don't get the etiquette or people just suck at it. I've had some of the most boring conversations in all history on IM, and Gabriel is no exception. He'd write these short little sentences which left me little to respond to, and didn't add anything o
n that would prompt me to say something back. So we sat at our keyboards quite a bit not doing very much, yawn!

He asked me my plans for the weekend and I told him about some errandy things I needed to do - buy a winter duvet, get a mother's day present. On reading that, he answered thus:

winter duvet ?? you need a man :)

First of all: well, duh!

Second of all: is Angel Boy actually flirting with me?! This is different to our standard lofty spiritual speak...
Thirdly: not sure if the Stateside people know what a duvet is (it's a comforter)

I wrote back saying a winter duvet's less trouble than a man - after a moment's delay I could see him laughing on his webcam. That's kind of fun, makes the technology seem more human.

Today I got more text messages from him while I was at work. Kind of annoying, I don't have a whole bunch of time to write texts while I'm working. He asked me for my address, says he wa
nts to send me something. I'm not averse to gifts so I gave him my work PO box number. Then another probing question from him:

How open are you to
your mind and spirit?

Good lord man, I have work to do! Plus I don't know how to answer that within 160 characters on a text message... I think I'm open, but at the same time I won't dumbly accept something when you can't tell me what it involves.

He writes back recommending some resources on Funnily enough, I actually know this stuff, I have a deck of 'well being cards' from them, and actually I like the sentiment.

When I tell him this, he gets pretty excited, telling me he likes me more and more, and that I should definitely do the intensive course!

Still dubious.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I've seen your picture and baby, I'm ready to move in!

Over the weekend I got a new email from someone on the dating site, it was a short and simple one that said they liked my profile and how I looked and that they hoped to hear from me. Nothing to set the world on fire, but then I click to go through to his profile and see he's an African living in Switzerland.

Normally I wouldn't respond, but I'm still curious as to why people in other countries look for people overseas, so I sent an email back saying as much and asking why they wanted to talk to someone in New Zealand.

This is the email I got back:
Happy to hear from you. You made my day. According to your question : my first interest is not your country but yourself : you cought my eyes (beautiful girl, charming smile...)and i liked your profile... Then, i saw you live in New Zealand, it's a nice country . My msn is : *&^

We can have a chat and you can see me from my webcam

So really that didn't shed a whole lot of light on the situation. And by the way, I couldn't be less interested by the thought of interacting with this person over webcam!

I replied and thanked him for answering my question, and let him know that I'm only interested in meeting men in my own city. I didn't think I'd hear back from him again, but I got another email from him today saying, in essence, that he'd be ready to move to my town 'if you need' and that he hopes to hear from me 'sooner'.

Sheesh, I mean I know I'm kinda cute and all, but that's taking it to the extreme. God knows where I'd end up if I was the kind of person that would think that sounded like a good idea and had some random African Swiss person turn up on my doorstep!

Non, merci.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Calling all angels...

So I had an interesting text exchange with one of my online 'suitors' this morning.

We've had very limited contact by email, this guy and me. I've had a couple emails from him telling me I seem interesting and that he'd like to talk to me, and then giving me his email address and mobile numbers.

Because I've been a busy little internet dater lately, and I've had lots of emails from people who have actually started a conversation rather than just saying they'd like to talk to me, I never got around to responding to him until a week or more later, at which point I gave him my number and told him to feel free to call. (I believe in letting the guys take the lead when it comes to making contact).

This morning my alarm (my cellphone) went off at 7.30 but I snoozed it a couple of times. Next thing I know I'm woken up by the new text message bleep, I reach for my phone and see it's almost 8.30. Fuck! I was going to try and get into work by nine - that's not going to happen. I look at the message and it's him saying he's online now if I want to chat. I reply and tell him I can't right now - I've just realised I've slept in, but thanks for waking me.

He texts back:
No worries have nice
day and talk soon just 1
question how spiritual
are you (angels) x
Hmm... I know why he's asking this - on my profile I listed myself as being 'spiritual' instead of listing a particular religion. I text back telling him that I like to believe in angels, which is true.

This is the reply I get:
When you feel them
rush into your body you
can do nothing but believe x
Riiiiiiiiiiiight... I think about this as I have a quick shower and try to get ready as fast as I can. There's quite a difference between our positions. I said I like to believe in angels, as in, I choose to think they might exist despite not having any experiences that would constitute something resembling convincing evidence that this is the case. He says that angels rush into his body on a regular basis... The sceptic on my shoulder is muttering a quiet "Sounds like bollocks to me!" in my ear.

He also sent me a link to the website of the retreat he works for - I can't wait to get to the office to take a look. I check it out as soon as I get in and find that it's lead by a couple who claim to offer a process that is "one of the most powerful transformational, consciousness-raising programs in the world". There are pages of information containing buzzwords like enlightenment, divine energy, miraculous healings, spiritual detoxification but nothing that gives me any clue as to what they actually do to achieve this.

I have to admit, the talk of enlightenment interests me, while also making me extremely dubious about their claims. Mostly I'm just curious though, so I'm going to get in touch with this guy and find out more about this place, and also what he does.

Don't worry though, I don't think I'll be shelling out two grand any time soon so I can go there and work on becoming enlightened...