Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Ghost of Hook-Ups Past

Last autumn I met a guy while out with some friends. No, not in a bar, thankyouverymuch. This was in a club. Yes, it was one of my patented meet-and-make-out-within-ten-minutes encounters. We stayed at the club until past 4:00am with his friends, dancing, chatting, having an all-around great time. He asked if I wanted to get breakfast, so we had an insta-date at a nearby diner, not leaving until the sun came up. He tried to get me to go home with him, but I refused (yes, it is possible for me to refuse sex with a hot guy; also, I didn't want to do the walk of shame in fishnets, high heels, and a mini-dress). He said he'd call me. He did, asking me out for that night.

Despite being tired and hung over, we went out again (no alcohol this time) and had a lovely date in the west village. After making out in a doorway on Cornelia Street for ages, I decided, yes, I would go home with him. This is even after being mildly disturbed that he looked like a young, attractive Tony Danza with much better hair (I never had any lustful feelings while watching Who's the Boss, but I'll never look at reruns the same). Anyway, even though I made my usual mistake of hopping into bed too fast, Tony Danza-ish did call me again. We played phone tag for a few days and when we finally spoke, the dynamic was different. He was tired, the conversation was awkward. The initial spark that we had seemed to be lost. He didn't ask me questions about my life and gave me brief answers when I asked him about his.

I don't know what happened, but I decided to cut my losses. He continued to call and email. Not frequently, but once in a while. It would have been just the right amount if it was someone I was still interested in, but we all know Murphy's Law of Dating: the ones you aren't into are the ones who call.

The last I heard from him was in December, when he gave me his new number. I saw him at a concert a few weeks later, but did my best to avoid him and doubt that he spotted me.

Last week, while I was out with Polly, Elle, and Snob, I ran into Tony Danza-ish. It was after a few drinks, and I don't know what possessed me to do it, but I called out his name and said hello (wait, I think what might have possessed me starts with an "al" and ends with "cohol"). He was naturally surprised, but friendly toward me--much friendlier than I deserved.

"So, I, uh, tried to call you a few times." He laughed an ironic laugh.

"I know. I'm sorry."

The conversation was brief, strained, and I was happy to return to the girls.

He emailed me a few days later, gave me his new number, and ended with you looked great the other night, by the way.

I decided to be completely honest. I apologized for blowing him off last year, told him how awkward I found our last conversation, how he seemed so tired and listless, but that yes, it was still rude of me to ignore him. Hey, I always like a shot at righting my karma.

He replied in a similar spirit of honesty and said he was going through a rough time back then, which is why things became strained. He said he's better now and expressed interest in seeing me again. I wrote back and told him,

I'm going through a kind of rough time right now, and am actually taking a break from dating for the time being. I am still single, but in all honesty, I'm not looking. I have been keeping my male interactions purely platonic lately...

We'll see if he writes back. I don't see potential for anything, and I'd be willing to see him as a friend, but that might not be enough for him.

Here's a quick wrap-up of the other guys:

Arty Adam: I think we're doing a mutual fade. It's my turn to write, but in his last email, he said he's busy with a new work project and said it might take him longer to reply. Message received, loud and clear. Actually, more than with Tony Danza-ish, I could see us being friends, so I'm not going to sever all ties, just go quiet for a bit.

Coldplay Guy: Still emailing me. Has hinted at asking me out, but hasn't done it yet. Which is fine, because I'm still fighting the last vestiges of this cold, and am pretty indifferent at the moment. Also, I think he lives in New Jersey, which would not be a dealbreaker, but wouldn't be as convenient as, say, someone who lives a few blocks away from me. Speaking of whom...

TV Tyler: I decided to come clean. Well, a little. He wrote at the beginning of the week (he also hasn't been feeling well; he's always considerate about letting me know why he hasn't been around). Asked me how I was. I decided to really tell him. I told him about my five minutes as a pseudo-cyber-celebrity (though I didn't mention the blog specifically), mentioned being sick and the strain of work recently, and even spilled my guts about my depression. I wasn't all self-pitying in my email, just matter-of-fact, saying it was something I'm dealing with right now. He wrote back a few days later, starting with,

Jesus, I'm sorry things have been so stressful & difficult for you recently. Depression is never fun (it's stalked me a good portion of my life), so I feel for you for having to combat it.

Very nice and compassionate of him. I wasn't expecting that, or anything, really. I haven't written back. I don't know if I will.


Shangrila said...

Don't they say insanity is doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result?

Dolly, it seems like you can get it when ever you want? But what do you want?

When I'm single...I strive to be authentic, you know, that "integrity" kind of thing and nada in the lovin' scene. But if I am set on hooking up and emotionless about the whole thing...the reverse is true.

Can you ess-plain to a confused boy?

Hope the depression has lifted. Try some quiet time and listen to what your heart is telling you.

I was just reading something on depression, this it what is said...

DEPRESSION demands that we reject both the religious and the scientific, and instead learn to embrace mystery, something our culture resists. Mystery surrounds every deep experience of the human heart: the deeper we go into the heart's darkness or light, the closer we get to the closer mystery of life and love.

Embracing the mystery of depression does not mean passivity or resignation. It means moving into a field of forces that seem alien but is in fact one's deepest self.

CoatMan said...

"I decided to be completely honest. I apologized for blowing him off last year, told him how awkward I found our last conversation, how he seemed so tired and listless, but that yes, it was still rude of me to ignore him. Hey, I always like a shot at righting my karma."

If only more women were like you, it'd be so much easier. If a fellow's being rejected, he needs to know clearly so that he knows not to waste any more time and effort in the pursuit of the unattainable.

I once knew somebody who said that she always found it difficult to tell somebody that she was breaking up with him because, she said, she's "too polite". I actually ended up going on a couple of quasi-dates with her at one point (Eloquent E-mail Girl, to whom I make passing reference in my 'blog), but it didn't work out from her end, and, unsurprisingly, she was infuriatingly ambiguous about it.

Dolly said...

I love that quote about depression. I do think there is an element to it that has to do with accepting the uncertain and mysterious forces in life.

I wish both men and women alike would be more unambiguous. This honesty was inspired by all the times I liked someone I went out with and never heard from him again. I mean, I realize silence is a form of communication, too, but it would be even better if more people took the time to nicely let each other know where they stand.

pookalu said...

dolly, i think i have bad dating karma. i haven't called a guy back (but in my defense, he used the word "desperate" on our first date and meant it) he sent me a snarky email.

BUT i don't want to write him back, or call him, because he SCARED me (stalker kind of scared). but because of reading this post, i feel like bad dating karma is gonna haunt me until i clean out my skeletons.

thanks for making me feel guilty. really.

and reading coatman's comment, now i feel even guiltier. thanks a lot coatman.

ok, you're right. the shoe is on the other foot. must come clean.

pawlr said...

Honesty is great, but dropping it early often has the unfortunate drawback of quenching attraction. By contrast, withholding information, telling narratives, and creating mystery are all necessary elements of seduction, but to a greater or lesser extent, not honest.

Balancing the two approaches during courtship is tricky business for both sexes, I wish there was more of a roadmap for how much to mix in at what times. I guess most couples just feel their way through.

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