Saturday, October 29, 2005

the verdict

Okay, not being one to ever like suspense, even in fiction but much less in my own personal life, I had to clear my mind of all this torment about the "date" with G. I sent him an email to say that I am looking forward to an evening of drinks/dinner/conversation but that people are telling me it's a date, and I'm just not ready to date, and asked him to put my mind at ease. I remarked that if he were a woman, no one would have anything to say, but then you get into the whole "is he paying? am I going to put out?" line of questions and I begin to lose my cool.

Much to his credit (and my embarassment at having to put him in this situation) he replied that he didn't see it as a date. That because he invited me he would prefer to pay my way but he wouldn't insist on it if it pissed me off. That he fully understands my situation and my anxiety. That he's a guy and as such enjoys talking about sexuality and flirting with a woman but lets her make the first move and makes no assumptions. And that maybe we'd meet up with a few of his friends and just have a normal enjoyable evening.

I feel stupid for listening to people tell me that this is something my instincts say it's not. But I'm glad I put it out there for him that the thought that this is something more than I'm ready for has me ready to cancel and hide under my bed in an anxiety attack.

Critics will say that a guy will say or be whatever he wants in order to get what he wants. I think that may be true for some men but I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt and move cautiously. At least I think that I have a right to indignation if he makes a bold and crass move after we've discussed all the gloryholes. But I feel pretty comfortable that he won't or I wouldn't go.

I think that if I feel uncomfortable with the "obligation" implied by his taking me to dinner but enjoy the evening, I will simply offer to cook for him another time. I know it could be misconstrued as a more intimate setting, but I speak plainly about my financial situation and would express wanting to return the favor and not being able to afford to.

I also think that what people don't understand are the conversations that he and I have had. Some of it is reminiscing about people we knew in school or growing up. Some of it is asking those get-to-know you questions about our jobs or the college years. But a lot of it is discussing my current situation as far as marriage, separation, commitment in general, failed relationships, and so on. Anyone who talks to me for any length of time can see I'm really not ready for anything approaching a healthy relationship. Some of my colleagues may think I have it all together, and some of my friends may think I'm sexually raring to go get out there again, but neither is really the truth. I'm just better at hiding being a basket case than most people in my shoes.