While things with the Moroccan are all still for the most part glowy and goofy and good, there is a part of me that knows that this is all still very precarious. The part of me who has seen this all before knows that, historically speaking, this happy, swoony europhic feeling is usually what comes right before the part where I start feeling really, really bad. Pessimistic? Maybe. Realistic? Definitely.
This is usually the part where I lose all interest in dating other guys and turn all of my attention towards what I think will be (though inevitably never is) the beginning of a promising new relationship. Right around this time, the remaining POF or OKC prospects start looking even worse than usual (and that's saying something), and the desire to actively search out new people to meet dwindles down to practically nothing. But, in the interest of learning from my mistakes, and not putting all my eggs in the same basket, and all manner of other cliches, I decided that until a conversation was had dictating otherwise, I would actively try to continue dating other people. Which is easier said than done (as I mentioned, the POF prospects are looking particularly sad as of late). But when a French gentlemen I met over the course of a couple French meet-ups began e-mailing me, I thought, well, why not. I had already met him and conversed with him, so I knew the date couldn't be that bad. When he suggested a museum one Sunday and I shot him down due to not enough notice and a full list of errands already planned for the day, he backed off. So I figured, what the hell, and a few days later, I asked him out for sushi. He quickly accepted, and so we met in Chinatown after work one night.
I cannot express to you the dull awfulness of this date. The awful dullness. The tedium. The drear. I had thought, you see, that since we had already met and had a perfectly fine time, we were in the clear, but apparently having other people participating in the conversation was a key factor, and one that was sorely lacking this time. It was just awkward, from beginning to end. The conversation dragged, he talked softly, the happy hour crowd was raucous, and it just wasn't good. After dinner he proposed going somewhere for a drink, but I declined, saying that I had a lot of translation work to do. (Bonus points for being true!) He offered to drive me home on his motorcycle, and I again declined. But after about the third time that he asked, and again mentioned that be had brought an extra helmet with him, I thought, You know what, Rachel? Maybe live a little. When was the last time you were on a motorcycle? How bad could it be? (Famous last words.)
If it is possible for something to be both awkward and terrifying, it was. It was awkwardly terrifying, and terrifyingly awkward. With my work pants riding halfway up my shins, and my helmet (no visor) that I realized too late I hadn't tightened enough slipping down the back of my head, I held on for dear life, the cold wind causing tears to stream down my face. At every red light I thought I was going to pitch over his shoulders, and every time we accelerated I thought I would fly off the back. I held on with one hand behind me, as he had shown, and the other I placed hesitantly and uncomfortably on his waist, prompting him to tell me not to "squeeze" him. "Not that you are," he said, "it's just that some people do. They squeeze hard!" Not particularly wanting to be touching him at all, I didn't really have any other choice in the matter, since my quickly formed goal for this trip was to make it home alive and in one piece. My fingers ached from my death grip on the handle behind me, and all my muscles tensed as I concentrated on not "squeezing" him, while bracing myself to not go flying into the back of him every time we slowed down. Half a mile from my house I got a foot cramp. It was the longest six miles of my life.
Once I had said goodnight and was safely inside my apartment, I laughed a bit at the sheer awfulness of it all, and thought, well, at least we gave it a shot. Can't win 'em all! But then who, I ask you, sent me an e-mail not two days later, asking if I'd like to watch a French movie with him sometime that week? Was it Mr. I-don't-see-the-problem French guy himself? It was. I hedged, not particularly wanting to see him ever again, but thought, well maybe I could go see a French movie in an indie theater somewhere, as long as I made it clear that I would be taking the Metro home after. I asked him what movie he had in mind, and he sent me an IMDB link to some French movie from 1973. So, clearly what he had in mind was a dvd home-viewing situation, and hellllll no, that was not at all what I wanted to do, was this guy kidding? Had he not been on the same, terrifyingly awkward date as me? Guys---I do. Not. Get. Them.
So, fast forward to the very next day post-terrifying sushi date. The bearded Canadian scientist (who had already put me in the just-friends zone) texted me, asking if I had plans for dinner. It was a Thursday night, and I didn't, and so he picked me up and we went to a little Burmese restaurant that he had picked out. The food was good, but the conversation was...rough. He had always been a bit difficult to draw out of his shell, but at least when we had gone out previously multiple beers had been involved, perhaps slightly aiding conversational efforts. He did have a beer with dinner, but it didn't seem to help. He is just generally a very quiet guy, and I found myself straining to ask him questions, and yet thinking, Even as a friend, I'm just not sure if I can do this... I mean, it's not usually so hard to talk to your friends, right? It just felt like maybe we were forcing something that wasn't meant to be. After dinner, he offered to take me to Whole Foods, knowing I don't have a car and can't often get there. I jumped at the chance, and loaded my cart down as quickly as I could with all manner of things my local Safeway doesn't carry (hello, red lentils!) After this, as we headed back, he said he didn't know what else I had planned for the evening, but would I maybe want to watch a movie or something? A bit stunned, I gaped for a minute and resisted my initial reaction, which was to say, "Oh, um...no," and instead fumbled around for an excuse (translations, again!) The fact of the matter was, 1) it was a Thursday night, 2) we had already done two activities (dinner and Whole Foods), on a weeknight, which as far as I was concerned was already more than enough, 3) we had only ever hung out in public venues before, 4) he was supposedly dating someone else, and 5) now he wanted to watch a movie on the couch together?! It just didn't add up.
Safely home, I shook my head and marveled at the mysterious thought processes of men, which come to think of it are probably not all that mysterious at all, and go something like: Penis Boobs Penis Penis Movie Penis Couch Penis Boobs Penis.
So far I'm 0 for 2 in this trying to see other people thing, and I'm running out of options, so for the moment it seems that I still have all of my eggs in one precariously held basket. Let's just hope someone doesn't get hungry for an omlet.