There was a student at one of the colleges where I work who I always thought was cute. Nothing unusual there; plenty of the guys who draw me are cute.
We friended each other on Facebook; quite a few work-related people have friended me or vice-versa.
And he recently asked if I wanted to hang out over a beverage or something. That, I didn’t expect. I recently joined a poly-dating-oriented group on Facebook and he turned out to be a member already, and the invite came soon after we interacted there, so I figure he realized we had more than just art in common and decided he’d ask me on a date. He’d dropped out of college by that point, so we won’t be working together, so I said okay.
Dating gives me such a headache sometimes; that whole thing of trying to figure out if I’m into a guy or not, or into him for the right reasons or not.
When I first met up with the new guy (I guess we’ll call him The Artist) – he came to his ex-school as my shift there ended, and we headed out to dinner together. Right from the getgo he was so talkative I could barely get a word in edgewise – just volleying his personality and opinions at me. I hate when guys do that (and yeah, a lot of them do). It’s like it doesn’t occur to them to be curious about me at all; they’ve decided they’re interested in me for whatever reason and now it’s time to force-feed me their entire brains and see how I react.
So during that first five or ten minutes of hanging out with The Artist, I thought “Ohhh shit this is not working for me but I still have all of dinner to get through.” I mean I suppose I could’ve just been like “NOPE” and walked away and gone home, but that would’ve felt pretty awkward and insulting.
I guess The Artist was just nervous, though. As time went on, his constant stream of chatter eased up a bit and sometimes he asked me questions about myself. Overall the conversation still skewed in his direction.
God, I guess at this point in my life I’m just suckered in by guys who are ready for a relationship and clear about their intentions. The Artist spent a lot of time talking about video games he enjoys, and they weren’t the typical first-person-shooter type things that I think of when I think of “gamers” but I still couldn’t get that interested in what he was saying. But he also spent a lot of time not-so-subtly laying out potential relationship groundwork: talking about his attitudes toward dating and what he’s looking for in a person and stuff like that. When I said I have two cats he said maybe he could meet them someday. He talked about his emotions to a larger extent than most guys do – even the ones I’m currently in relationships with. And, I mean, he is really cute. And I found myself slipping into relationship audition mode, myself; dropping hints or saying outright what I want in a partner and asking him pointed questions about things to figure out if he’d be suitable for me. We seem to have compatible attitudes so far.
Also…he accompanied me to my door after, which meant taking a bus fifteen minutes out of his way and then taking it back again alone to where we’d just been so he could go home. On the bus, I commented that he was nice and warm (I could feel his body heat from where our thighs were touching) and he said (not in a lascivious voice or anything) that I could feel free to warm myself up on him however I wanted. I burrowed one of my hands under his long hair to the back of his neck and kept it there for a minute or two. A bit later on our bus ride he explicitly told me that he asked to hang out because he thinks I’m cute (I guess just in case I thought it was strictly a friends-hangout). I said I thought he was cute, too. At the front door of my building he gave me a tremendous hug: warm and long and sincere-feeling. When we finally pulled apart I was sorta monitoring his face for signs that he wanted to kiss and I didn’t see anything obvious so I didn’t make a move. Neither did he. I like this, though. I’ve been having a tendency lately to kiss someone I’m interested in at the earliest possible time, and it’s starting to feel kind of boring and routine. Nice to draw out the tension for a bit.
When I got home he messaged me on Facebook requesting pics of my cats, which I provided. I thanked him for accompanying me right to my door like that and said I really liked that. He said “you’re welcome” and that we ought to hang out again soon and maybe he’d even take me out on a more formal date. So I guess he sees some potential here.
Then the next night at like 2am I was on Facebook and he messaged me asking at what point he ought to perceive my being up as a sign of procrastination/anxiety and tell me to go to bed (on our date I’d mentioned how sometimes anxiety keeps me up all night). Some might interpret this as presumptuous (and upon reflection I wonder if it is in fact coming from a presumptuous place) but TBH my initial reaction was “Holy shit, he’s striving to understand my anxiety and help me with it. He’s trying to customize himself to my needs.” And my knees went all wibbly.
(I am very into the idea of people I like customizing themselves to me and vice-versa. Like not compromising our actual personalities but learning the other person and adjusting to what they need. Almost every day I’m asking The Dandy stuff like “are you a person who needs to be alone for a while to decompress after work, or can we immediately start watching Netflix together?” or “when you’re sad, do you need distraction, snuggles, alone-time, someone to talk it out with, or what?” He doesn’t ask me those things back, though. Neither does The Pedant. If I tell them what I need in various situations they try to remember to do it, but they don’t actively try to figure my shit out so they can adapt to it. And sometimes the one-sidedness of that makes me sad.)
So this is what it’s come down to: I’m thinking of dating a guy who doesn’t share a lot of my interests and who is sometimes a bit boring and who talks over me, but who is cute and openly interested and seems relationship-ready and is making an effort to impress me. I can’t tell if my standards are too low or if I’m thinking outside the box in a good way. For a long time I thought common interests were the holy grail of relationship compatibility, but my longest current relationship is with The Pedant, who seems to come from a whole different planet. Maybe the only real criterion to bother looking for in a relationship is someone who treats you well and actively works at making you happy.
The Artist just turned 27, btw. I turn 45 soon. The hilarious thing is, 27 doesn’t seem that young to me – it feels like “Ehhh, well he’s definitely a grown-up and he’s probably had some failed relationships and other key life experiences by now, so I don’t feel like our age difference will be too big a deal.” Then I did the math and realized he’s eighteen years younger. That…is a lot. But oh well.
Incidentally, the day before my date with The Artist, I met up with a 21yo from Fetlife who’d put up an ad a while back as a sub looking for a dominant woman. I really need someone to give me massages on a regular basis – someone with far, far stronger hands than The Dandy or The Pedant – so I wrote to him asking if he might like being my massage-slave. He said that sounded very much relevant to his interests.
The 21yo was cute and personable and I enjoyed talking to him. Midway through our coffee date, when I changed the direction of our conversation from small talk to a pointed question about his massage skills, he said “…Actually I just realized that I don’t really have time for anyone new right now. I already have a dominant I see a couple of times a week plus some play partners plus I’m dating vanilla, too, so…” I thanked him for his honesty and said that I enjoyed meeting him anyway and if his schedule ever clears up, to get back in touch.
But yeah…earlier in the convo that kid also made some pretty red-flaggy statements implying that D/s to him was a dirty secret and he’d never want an actual relationship with a dominant, especially not one with an age gap (referring to that dominant he sees a lot, who is in her 30s) because what would people think?!? …I forged ahead with our date anyway because I just wanted some massages, not a life partner, but I felt some trepidation; a guy that conflicted and Madonna/whore-y is a guy who’ll probably drop out of my life the second a vanilla chick wants to date him. And then he said the thing about how actually he didn’t have time for me anyway.
So that bizarro-rejection and general lack of commitment may have primed me to be smitten with The Artist, who seems to like me and want to make time for me.
The Artist doesn’t know yet that I’m dominant, mind you. Statistically speaking, he’s probably not submissive, so I likely won’t get any D/s needs met with him. Still, though – if he continues doing stuff like accompanying me all the way home just to make sure I get there safely, he’ll probably push a few of my buttons anyway. (And yes, I will tell him I’m dominant. I just don’t want to do it unless it seems like things are going somewhere.)