Undateable?

Being newly single always makes me antsy and fills me with self-doubt.  I start believing that I’m totally weird – just completely damaged and idiosyncratic and fucked up – and sure, I’ve had people who somehow fell in love with me in spite of it all, but that was all a fluke.  Obviously I’m never going to find another person who would be willing to put up with me.

These feelings are compounding double for me right about now.  I mean, seriously…I have social anxiety, I get freaked out in crowds and hate going to unfamiliar places, I dislike calling people on the phone and I have a bunch of baroque dietary needs that make restaurant dining extremely difficult*.  How the FUCK am I supposed to go on dates?  Why would a date – who presumably doesn’t know me well enough yet to have seen my many sterling qualities – put up with all my limitations when he could just go out with someone normal instead?  I know I have a lot of good things to offer someone but I don’t think those things are so obvious and upfront that they’ll necessarily cancel out my immediate and horrible downside.

I mean, fuck, the only kind of “first date” I really feel comfortable with is having coffee with someone, and only if we go to a certain chain (because it’s familiar and I like their decaf coffee) and only if it’s a branch of the chain where I’ve been before (so I don’t feel lost and freaked out).  I’d be okay seeing a movie with someone, too, except that’s a lousy way to get to know someone and also I’d have to reveal a certain amount of my anxiety issues (I always have to use the washroom before seeing a movie, just to make absolutely sure I won’t have to pee during.  And this pit stop has to be before we go into the theatre and stake our claim on some seats because it freaks me out trying to find my way back again.  I need my movie partner to wait outside the bathroom for me).

And food, OMG food.  Sushi places usually have things I can eat.  Some restaurants carry a salad-with-grilled-chicken-on-top type deal that’s probably safe.  If there’s an all day breakfast, I might be able to score an omelet.  And that’s…basically it.  That’s all that will work for me.  Unless we go to a place that’s specifically gluten free, in which case half the time their shit has soy in it so I still can’t have it.

The Doll, as I’ve mentioned, has asked me out a second time.  The plan is to go to a cafe that has board games, but he told me he’ll “research local eateries” as a backup plan in case the cafe is full (He’ll be meeting me right after work, so he will be in need of dinner).  And my stomach went all wobbly with terror.  I feel like I could get away with just ordering a beverage at the cafe, since the main focus there is playing the games.  Nursing a beverage in a restaurant opposite someone eating a full meal?  That tends to make the one with the meal uncomfortable.  Not to mention it kinda sucks watching someone else enjoy food when you can’t.

I didn’t want to seem all bossy and shit, so I finally wrote The Doll back telling him that I have complicated dietary requirements and will eat before I leave the house – that way if appropriate food presents itself I might partake, and if it doesn’t I’ll still be fine.  And I parenthetically mentioned what my issues actually are (well, the main ones anyway) and which dishes are usually okay for me so that if he’s super keen to accommodate me he has the tools.

Just…fuck.  I like when someone else plans an outing.  I actually hate doing research and figuring out logistics; I only do it out of necessity.  My dream is to one day have a submissive boyfriend to whom I can teach my food needs and my food likes and he’ll actually understand them, and he’ll figure out places for us to go and I can relax because I trust him not to poison me.  In the meantime, all I can do is eat before I leave the house, carry almonds and oranges in my purse, and hope the person I’m with doesn’t see me as some kind of food Nazi for not being able to kick back and enjoy a pizza like a normal person.

The Doll, at least, is lactose intolerant, which in theory will give him a certain amount of sympathy for my plight.  He also writes articles for medical journals so maybe he’ll catch on to what “gluten free” entails faster than the average bear.

I hope the slight awkwardness between The Doll and I dissipates and we get to a point where we can talk comfortably and effortlessly – because once that happens I’ll bypass all this formal “dating” shit and just invite him to hang out at my place.  That would make things much easier.

 

*I didn’t realize I had celiac disease until I was already dating Minx.  So now I’m single and have full knowledge that I can’t go for pizza with someone, or go get an ice cream cone with them, or even eat wings in most places because they tend to have flour in the coating.  Also my anxiety issues seem to be closing in on me and making social interaction harder than ever.  Hence my being doubly self-doubtful now.

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Undateable?

  1. Fnord

    Picnics have the advantage that you preparing your own food is normal. Sort of the wrong time of year for those, though (likewise for a lot of other out-doors activities that otherwise might work).

    Museums, perhaps, or art galleries? Doesn’t really work for the “just after work, need dinner” problem, but for a weekend date, something like that might be a way to do a more-or-less conventional date while avoiding food and crowds (at least to the extent you’re likely to see at a club or similar).

    Or you could try to move up into the “invite over and hang” stage somehow. Having a specific plan might make an invitation feel more “date-like” than a simple invitation to hang out, and hence less uncomfortable while you’re still getting to know each other. Rather than a board game cafe, a plan to play a specific board game at one of your places, or something like that.

    • All good suggestions. And yeah, if I have him over it’ll be to watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which he somehow has never seen before. I’ve become fixated on being the one who introduces him to it. 😛

      But I still think our conversations thus far have been a little too strained for me to want him in my apartment, plan or no plan. Somehow there’s less pressure in public, probably because there are more things to look at, comment on, etc.

  2. uncommonmurre

    I always have to use the washroom before seeing a movie, just to make absolutely sure I won’t have to pee during. And this pit stop has to be before we go into the theatre and stake our claim on some seats because it freaks me out trying to find my way back again. I need my movie partner to wait outside the bathroom for me.

    This actually seems quite normal to me, maybe because I do it. Not that it freaks me out trying to find my way back, but I (and all the men in my family) always go before going in to a theatre or driving a ways or anything like that. I think this is something where you can just act like it’s normal and it’ll be normal.

    My dream is to one day have a submissive boyfriend to whom I can teach my food needs and my food likes and he’ll actually understand them, and he’ll figure out places for us to go and I can relax because I trust him not to poison me.

    Hmm, this one reminds me of the sort of planning and control female submissives tend to want from their doms (male submissives not so much). I’m not sure how to use that to better find the right submissive boyfriend, though.

    • “My dream is to one day have a submissive boyfriend to whom I can teach my food needs and my food likes and he’ll actually understand them, and he’ll figure out places for us to go and I can relax because I trust him not to poison me.

      “Hmm, this one reminds me of the sort of planning and control female submissives tend to want from their doms (male submissives not so much). I’m not sure how to use that to better find the right submissive boyfriend, though.”

      This comment struck me as really funny, because I had exactly the opposite reaction. I found it a very appropriate thing to fit into a relationship with a submissive man, and similar to things I’ve daydreamed about myself. How is being someone’s personal secretary a dominant thing? XD

      • Meh, any act can be dominant or submissive, depending how you frame it. It could be “Please tell me exactly where to go and what to do” or it could be “You. Boy. Plan me a delightful afternoon out. Ensure that we won’t encounter excessive noise and that there will be gluten-free, soy-free food available.”

        You can guess which way I’m intending it. 🙂

  3. I was actually going to comment on the bathroom problem in the movies, but Uncommonmurre got there first. It’s completely normal, and most of the people I know do it just to be prudent.

    I do feel for you PC! The caeliac condition is a bitch. I found out about mine almost 6 months ago, and I just now realized how incredibly strict I have to be. I can’t even eat all oat – it has to be pure out.

    But if your anxiety doesn’t stop this kind of thing you can usually negotiate with the waiter or even the chef. I’ve noticed that they are really keen to fill your needs when they find out you have a serious allergy. (It’s not really an allergy but an auto immune disease, but that’s the way I explain it to people who have never heard of it.) Do you eat any meat? Fish? Steak you can eat without sauce. Fish is almost always coated with flour in cheaper places (where I tend to eat my lunch) but they have always made me one without the coating when I’ve asked. It’s harder to take flour out of the sauce, but they usually let you swap for free, because you have an allergy even if they normally charge for that. You can ask for boiled potatoes or a salad on the side, if the servings don’t suit you. Just think about it this way – they are there to serve *you*. You’re not being difficult, it is their job to fill your needs. (If they can that is.)

    I think it’s best to let your date in on this, like a conspirant, so they can support you when you ask for the changes to the menu. I’m sure you just need a couple of positive experiences, and you’ll see how you’re not really a burden at all. I have to say I’ve been surprised by all the waiters and some of the chefs on how thoroughly they want to make sure I get what I need. They even switched a tapas for me because they mayonnaise had soy sauce in it. And I didn’t even know soy sauce had wheat in it! (But it turns out it’s okay, becaus the wheat dies in the making process of it.)

    Maybe you could google if there are places that are gluten aware near you. There are even cafes that serve gluten free pastries where we live (although they are few and far between).

    I think it’s a really good sign that the Doll is lactose intolerant. He knows all the hardships and how people sometimes treat it as a crazy determination to diet and not a disease. The only person (or the first) at my workplace who brought gluten free pastries to a party was actually a woman who has the same problem with lactose. She just said that it was obvious for her that she needed to make something that *everyone* could eat. It made my eyes teary, I tell you that. 🙂

    Also also! Did you know that most caeliacs have lactose intolerance at first because of the condition, but it fades away after their stomach has healed with the right diet? I’m actually allergic to the milk protein, so I don’t expect to be healed from that, but it is possible… How long have you been on the right diet? The doctors say that the healing takes at least a year.

    • But if your anxiety doesn’t stop this kind of thing you can usually negotiate with the waiter or even the chef. I’ve noticed that they are really keen to fill your needs when they find out you have a serious allergy.

      My anxiety does make this difficult, yes. Especially since 99% of the time that I’ve actually tried to inquire about things, my server just looked confused. And continued to look confused even after I explained that gluten basically means wheat. And remained slack-jawed and drooling when I further explained that wheat is where flour comes from so mostly I just need to know if this goddamn dish has any flour in it (I wasn’t actually that rude but jeez, it gets frustrating!).

      People are astoundingly stupid about where food comes from. I will say that big chain restaurants usually have a gluten-free menu or a chart that shows all the possible allergens in each dish, so I have a couple of places I can go and be safe.

      The only person (or the first) at my workplace who brought gluten free pastries to a party was actually a woman who has the same problem with lactose. She just said that it was obvious for her that she needed to make something that *everyone* could eat. It made my eyes teary, I tell you that.

      The store where I”m renting a booth had a pot luck dinner thing for all the vendors…I wasn’t planning to participate because I’m accustomed to food things never working out for me, but I was there fixing up my booth and people kept inviting me to go get some food. So I went to the food table just to see what was there, and one woman had brought a gluten-free dish. I teared up, too. I try to overlook it and not make people feel bad, but I almost always feel excluded from food-related get-togethers. Having stuff there I could actually eat – a main course, even, not just potato chips – was AMAZING. The lady who brought the dish cooks for a living so I guess she thinks more about food allergies than other people do.

      Also also! Did you know that most caeliacs have lactose intolerance at first because of the condition, but it fades away after their stomach has healed with the right diet?

      I had heard this, yes. Although I’m not lactose intolerant as far as I know. Or at least, I eat tons of cheese with no issues…although The Doll mentioned that cheese actually doesn’t have lactose. The fermentation process changes it into something else, or something.

      How long have you been on the right diet? The doctors say that the healing takes at least a year.

      It’s been over two years now – possibly close to three. I’ll admit that my diet isn’t 100% perfect (at home I’m probably 99.9% gluten free. In restaurants I won’t order obviously tainted things but I don’t usually ask for the ingredients of, say, the salad dressing). I would guess that my intestines have healed by now (with a slight setback every now and then). Certainly my health is far better than it was when I was eating bread and whatnot: I sleep better, think more clearly, heal faster, and have more energy. 🙂

  4. Andy

    Ahhh, this really hits home for me. It hasn’t been a particularly urgent concern because there isn’t really anyone on the horizon I want to date (I don’t know how you manage to find all these cute, feminine-type boys you seem to find. I never manage it) but if I did, I have no clue how I’d manage a date given my evil stomach issues :S

  5. jnakabb

    Personally, I’d prefer to know more about my potential date, especially being entrusted with knowledge that might prevent them regretting the whole outing by throwing up or writhing around in pain for 30 hours.

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