So last night I went on a date. A date that I was really excited to go on with a person I was looking forward to seeing. It was the third time we had hung and I had really started to like him. But now, instead of feeling happy and a little infatuated, which was the way I started out the evening, I feel deflated. Like I need to retreat back into myself for a bit of reorganization.
A little back story. Three months ago, I answered his ad on craiglist. It wasn’t your standard, three sentence “I’m cool so let’s hang” craigslist ad. It was thoughtful and articulate. It described the person he wanted to be with in quirky and appealing detail and I saw a lot of myself in the traits he delineated. So I wrote back. And he wrote back and I wrote back again and crazily enough, soon it was two months later. Over the course of more than 80 emails we established that we had a great deal in common, saw the world through a similar lens and generally would probably get along pretty darn well.
And we did. We met three weeks ago in Rittenhouse Square and spent over five hours talking, laughing, eating and wandering the neighborhood. He walking me home at ten minutes to midnight and I skipped into my building, infused with that inner music that only a good first date can leave you hearing. It’s almost a physical sensation, when your vibration meets another with which it hums in harmony and I thought I had felt it. The following week we met up for a beer and ended up sitting in the Square again, talking until I was too sleepy to keep talking anymore. He came up to my apartment briefly that night on my invitation. Looking around, he commented on my mission style rocking chair and a blue enamel pitcher that hangs in my kitchen, two of my favorite objects.
Last week he was on vacation and out of communication and I was aware that he was gone and that I was looking forward to his return. And tonight, we met up in the same spot in the Square that we had several weeks ago and started another evening together. We got into his car and headed out to Chestnut Hill to go to dinner and then wander over to the Wednesday night concert in Pastorius Park. Dinner was terrific (sushi, how I love thee) and I felt like things were going well.
But the conversation we had while sitting in the park has left me feeling frustrated. He admitted to having a problem opening up and then proceeded to open up about that problem (and little else). We talked about relationships, and whether it’s worth it to have them at all, knowing how difficult they can be. Is it better to just be alone?
My conclusion is that it is not better to be alone, but neither do I want to be with someone because just for the sake of not being alone. I know that relationships are hard, but in the end, to me, they are worth it. There is value in building a history and store of common experiences with someone you care about. After that I asked, “So, what are we doing here?” I didn’t really get an answer.
He quoted back to me something I had written in one of my emails months ago about recovering from my break up, which said
The thing I miss the most is the talking when you get home, after you’ve been out with friends on a Friday or Saturday night. Debriefing and deconstructing the evening and experience with someone and then falling asleep with them. The sense of being allied with someone.
He said that this was something that had stuck with him as a reason to be in a relationship.
At one point he warned me off of him, saying something like “I’m trouble, in appealing packaging.” When I’m with him, I feel like he’s working to keep distance between us. We have not kissed and he doesn’t call me randomly just because he wants to, I guess because he doesn’t want to.
So why do I care? I don’t have a whole lot invested in this. But I was feeling hopeful and excited about him. Finding someone with whom I have a lot in common with, who I like enough to get a little excited about, isn’t all that easy. Finding someone who loved “What the Bleep do We Know” is even harder.