Different but the Same Match #2: The Motorcycle Chef

I know. I was beginning to exit through the dating door and leave The Chef behind because I didn’t think he was attracted to me. I swear to you, he had given me no signs whatsoever on our first date. No obvious body language, no touching me anywhere (I actually wanted him to touch my elbow), no walking me to my car. The last time I heard from him was through a late-night text apologizing for not calling. All I thought was, oh, he didn’t have to do that – he could have simply faded quietly away into the woodwork. Four days after the text, I got a phone call and we set up Date #2. I can’t believe I made #2! (this poo poo joke is dedicated to my more sophisticated reader. I love you bunches, you one person reading this post.) Two days after that, I got another call to change the time of our date. We ended up talking for over an hour. But I’m hesitant to take this as a sign. I think we just get along, you know, buddybuddy-like. It’s not my place to understand the minds of men, so I’m not even going to try. I say that, but since I’m a woman, the urge to know what they’re thinking is incredibly seductive.

“How about a hike?” He asks after telling me he can’t get together for dinner.

“Hiking makes me grumpy.” Every hike I’ve been on has been hot, dusty, and strenuous.

“How about a walk in the woods?”

I take this as a completely different suggestion and happily say yes. He laughs. Wait – did he just trick me?

“Or we could go for a ride.” He offers.

“Ride?”

“On my motorcycle.”

“M-motorcycle?” My voice cracks. YesNoYesNoYesNo! Good Japanese girls don’t get on the backs of motorcycles! 

But I’m not a girl anymore and good is a relative term, isn’t it?

“Ever been on one?”

Now I have.  

I didn’t become Asian roadkill like I thought I would. Images of me tumbling off the back of his bike flashed through my mind during the first few 45 minutes of the ride, and I wondered if I would be able to tumble onto concrete skillfully enough to survive. He told me I could hold on to the rack behind me or hold on to him. Uh, yeah, like I’m going to sit away from you and reach back to hold on to two skinny little handles while we’re going 50 mph? I prefer to hold on to your handles, thank you very much. As soon as we sped up the hill from his place, I was like a suckerfish. A suckerfish using a Thighmaster. I haven’t been that scared since…well, I can’t remember. I don’t verbally freak out when I get frightened. I get quiet. And I was very quiet.

After a while, I realized that it seemed wrong goodjapanesegirl to be clinging to him like a baby chimp. My thighs and crotchal-area had become way too neighborly with this new man’s behind. I didn’t even know his last name. But what a thrilling, beautiful ride. We had a nice lunch at an outdoor cafe with a spectacular view, and we lingered there for a few hours before we had to head back. I was much better on the ride back. Less chimp-like, but my legs refused to stop clamping on to his no matter how much I told them to relax. I proudly call this “survival flirting”. Did I see any signs from him? No, unless I’m incredibly dense. I clung to him like brown on rice and he didn’t touch me once, although I suppose I did enough touching for the both of us. No flirting from him, no innuendo, nada. I thought I felt him looking at me when I was glancing at the menu, but he could have been looking at my chin hairs or thinking about Chihuahuas. How am I to know? And how can I compete with an adorable Chihuahua??!!

When we got back to his place, we stood on the sidewalk talking. I told him that I had to go to the local farmers’ market for work the next day and he said he would drop by. We made more small talk, and I started to get the distinct feeling that we were eyeing each other like two gun slingers – who was going to move first? How were we going to end this date? I finally went in for a hug, he kissed my cheek, and then HE over hugged ME.

Finally. A sign I can sink my teeth into. Now we’re getting somewhere.

Postscript: I texted him from the farmers’ market. He wasn’t coming. He didn’t want to fight the cold, windy weather to get there.

I’m beginning to hate signs.

“Dear Mr. Golden Heart…”

Im nice person dear, golden heart and generous. Im confident can be good friends. It would be honor. Please can you respond me if interested? All the best

Uh oh.

I’m not sure if he’s calling me dear or himself. No matter, because I don’t have the confidence that he has in our future friendship. By the way, that’s the second email he’s written to me. The first one was also grammar-challenged and equally troubling. I had taken a friend’s advice with his first email:  “If you’re not interested at all, don’t write back. Even a friendly rejection could give him some hope.” But maybe saying nothing still leaves the door open?

I’ve learned something from my date with The Chef. I think my nervous energy took over and I tried too hard. I really just need to calm the hell down. Perhaps I will meditate before my next date, assuming there will be another one. With someone. Anyone. During my post-date analysis, I thought about the fact that even if I had been the perfect amount of me, it still doesn’t mean The Chef would have been attracted to me.

Dating sure can play with your self-confidence. No wonder those Bachelorettes weep, go mad, turn on each other. They’re like lab rats in a Hollywood maze designed to make their insecurities bubble and rise to the surface. I’m surprised they don’t eat each others’ faces off. In my own very quiet reality, I tell myself that I have to learn from whatever I experience and keep moving. Besides, The Chef isn’t the only Bachelor out there to show interest in me. There is a guy in Chicago who has contacted me. That’s not too far from CA, right? I’m perfect for him because I fit into the age range of women he’s searching:  21-63 years old.

My love affair with Match isn’t looking so good.

The Dating Jitterbug: The Final Lesson?

After almost a week of not hearing from WG after our coffee date, I decided to take the lead (I’m having deja vu) and made one more good faith effort.  So I called him and left a message saying that I was going to the farmer’s market on Sunday and would he be interested in going?  He called back the next day.  This was his message:

“…yes, Sunday would be pretty good, I think.  I’m not sure…someone’s moving into the house for a few days and they’re coming on Sunday, but I’m not sure when.  Plus, I’m working on Sunday, but a little later.  And I’m transporting a friend to and from [more talking, details not important] and all of that happens on Saturday night, which probably won’t be an obstacle.  To make a long story short, Sunday might be tight for me.  If I can do it, I would love to do it.  And if not, [mumbling – sounds like: ‘I can shoot your way some time.’].  Anyways, I’ll call you real soon and we can discuss it further…thank you…bye.”

Hm.  Nervous rambling?  Perhaps.  Not that into me, but not quite sure how to tell me?  Could be.  I thought I asked a simple question, yet his answer turned into a big corn maze – I tried to follow him, but eventually, got lost.  A friend of mine said, “Seems like he wanted to see you, but didn’t know how to do that AND keep all of his other obligations.  I think he still wants to go out with you.”  Girlfriends are troublingly good at coming up with complex explanations for male behavior.

After consulting with my friend, I called him back.  This action, by the way, was not endorsed by my friend.  She told me not to call him, but I went rogue.  I left a message suggesting we go out another time when his schedule was more free, and that it would be fun to go out before I went out of town in a few weeks.

There’s attraction – that spark that sets off the whole thing – and then the rest is up to you to figure out.  And I’m figuring it out, despite the confusion.  I just didn’t think I would meet a guy who is, quite possibly, more scared of dating than I am.  But I don’t want to speculate on what he means, is thinking, or what he’s going through.  That would be a fruitless exercise in guessing what his truth might be.  Unless he tells me, I’ll never really know.  I left that message because I wanted to give him my truth.  What he does with it is up to him.

Whatever happens, it’s all a learning experience.  At least dating isn’t such a foreign concept now.  Not that it’s simple, but at least I can see the possibilities…

The Dating Jitterbug: Lesson Two

I went on my date with WG.  I still have my liver!!

Did you know that I initially met WG on Valentine’s Day?  Well, we met with our eyes.  As noted in a previous post, the way he stared at me was a little alarming. After I thought about it, I decided that he was either attracted to me or very, very frightened by me, which is completely understandable.  I honestly didn’t think much about it until three weeks later, when I went back to the store.  And look where I am now…it only took two months to get a date with him!  At this rate, I’ll have gone through menopause before our second date.

WG has mentioned that he sometimes has social anxiety, but I didn’t get a sense of a real disorder, at least not during the date.  Apparently, he’s one of those people that likes to fill their time doing stuff and can exist on four hours of sleep.  I, on the other hand, don’t always have to keep busy and wish my body would allow me to get more than six hours of sleep a night.  And I noticed that he seemed a little critical of himself, so maybe he doesn’t always feel comfortable in his own skin.  Who hasn’t been there?  What he doesn’t know about me is that I have a large capacity to accept quirky energy as long as the person doesn’t cross that fine line into, for lack of a better term, the truly bizarre.

I’ve told myself in the past to be open to dating all types of guys, even though I might not feel an instant attraction. But I have my limits. One of my tests for physical attraction is to think about the guy touching me in a very neutral place. For example, I might imagine him touching my elbow, where the wrinkly skin has hardly any nerve endings. If I react badly to this dead spot, I know I don’t want him touching me anywhere else and we probably shouldn’t date.

WG lightly touched my arm, shoulder, and back at different times during our date.  He got some game!  Well, he still seemed a little tentative, especially after I slapped him in the face.  Nooo…I didn’t do that.  In truth, I reacted…very well.  Of course, I wondered to myself if it was true attraction or effects of the man drought I’ve been experiencing, but that’s that damn over thinking thing I do.

Other stuff I noticed?  He seemed gentlemanly and polite.  Ate with his mouth closed.  Was willing to get hit first in a crosswalk.  Suggested we walk in the sun as opposed to the shady side of the street because he thought it might be too cold for me.  And I think he only looked at his phone once.  He said he recently got texting capability for his dinosaur of a phone, so I knew he wasn’t obsessed with needing to stay in contact with the world, i.e. Facebook, Twitter.  As you can tell, I like good manners, especially the getting-hit-first thing.  But he didn’t ask me many questions about myself, nor did he counter with his own when I asked him questions.  I think a good conversation has a nice back and forth to it, but I can’t fully weigh in on this yet until we talk more.  The date didn’t last that long – I think he fit me in between doing his other “stuff”, which yes, could be taken as a bad sign.

I have a question.  Is it a female faux pas to pay for something during the date?  I mean, I was the one that asked him out.  He paid for coffee and dessert, and then we also ended up at Pinkberry, so I insisted on treating him.  The guy shouldn’t always pay, right?  I’m realizing that I’m not a big fan of trying to understand the rules of dating.  It takes my brain into overdrive, and I can already tell that it could lead to mental exhaustion.  Nothing good can come of it.  To break it down, if I am myself (within reason, at least in the beginning) and he doesn’t like me, then I have to move on and find someone that does.  It helps if you can learn to not take it personally, as pointed out by thelovemanifesto.  That makes sense to me.  And besides, I think that’s what Tina Fey would do.

When WG walked me to my car, he asked if I would like to go wine tasting some time.  He used the Proactive, Yet Vague move on me.  Hey, that’s my move!  But it worked and I said yes.  When we hugged goodbye, I couldn’t have predicted that I would experience one of the best hugs of my life.  I may not have dated all that much, but I’ve hugged a lot of guys of differing shapes, sizes, and heights.  I’m like the Hugging Bimbo. Do people still use the word bimbo?  Remember Huggy Bear? That would be a cute nickname if you’re into that sort of thing, which I’m definitely not.  Where was I?  Oh, yes.  I’m pretty short, so my face constantly gets smashed and my neck wrenched against a guy’s chest.  I’ve damaged guys’ windpipes because they leaned down too far at the same time I was lifting my shoulders to reach up as high as possible.  I like a solid and warm hug (unless it’s with the aforementioned creepy elbow toucher).  When WG and I embraced, my brain told me to let go after a few seconds, but my body and his unforeseen talent as a HuggyBear kept me from moving.  I literally could not let go even though my brain was saying release! release!!  To his credit, he didn’t call the cops on me.  Come on…I’m not saying I kept my claws wrapped around him in a five-minute death grip.  Or did I?  No, I’m pretty sure it lasted about five seconds.  Try it on someone and let me know if it feels a little too long.  But find someone willing.  A thrasher doesn’t make a good hugging experience.

By the way, other than the over hugging incident, I have no idea how I came across on the date.  He could very well think that I’m the weirdo.  And let’s face it, I am, but in a you-might-not-like-this-but-it’s-good-for-you kind of way.  Will there really be a second date?  I have no idea.  It’s been five days, and I haven’t heard from him.  But I’ll tell you this much: the next guy I hug is going to have some huge shoes to fill.

The Dating Jitterbug: Lesson One

After a few days of silence from WG (Wine Guy), I took the lead last week and followed up on our previous agreement to meet for coffee.  I left him a message one morning, asking when he might be free, but didn’t get any response from him that day.  After telling myself not to over think the situation, I realized that it might be a good idea to try and date different guys so that my neuroses would spread out a little more evenly rather than concentrate its full power on one person.

But how to find more dates without going the online dating route?  I don’t exactly appeal to the masses.  How would I describe myself?  I’m like Tina Fey’s Asian cousin – not exactly Tina in all her brilliance, but it’s as if we share some of the same genes.  Mm, that made more sense in my head.  Anyways, I do wear smart glasses like she does, so it means I’m pretty much just like her.  How about this:  I’m an ice cream flavor that appeals to very specific, sometimes odd people.  A scoop of vanilla with basil and chicken liver, anyone?  Hello?  And as I’ve mentioned before, every few years a guy comes along and thinks that flavor combination is intriguing.  When that happens, it’s in my best interest to take a critical look at his tastebuds.

Recently, a friend tried to jog my memory about the time we took a screenwriting class together when I was 19 years old:  “Remember that older guy in the class who was interested in you?  You said he wanted to build a home under the ground and that he only had the best of intentions for you.  You didn’t want to go back to the class after that.  Remember?”  I thought it was a little cruel of her to try and make me remember such a horrifying moment in my past.  Luckily, my memory was gifted enough to have blocked the whole thing and now I can use it as part of my ice cream analogy.

While I was in deep contemplation over all of these issues, WG called me the following day and left a message telling me which days he was free.  I made my friend listen to it.  She said, “He sounds nervous.”  So I gave her his name and number just in case he went mental on me and decided that my liver would taste pretty good, too.

No one eats my liver and gets away with it.