October 11, 2011 § 22 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
A few days ago, I went on a date with a man I have been seeing – in the literal not emotional sense – for a year or so now. We have a project in common and he sends me emails which make me laugh out loud at my desk even though I am all alone in my house so I feel like a prat when I do. He is a couple of years younger than me; clever; warm and cheerful; not exactly handsome but a really friendly face, full of humour and vitality. In the summer he asked me to go and stay with him. I would have loved to but I couldn’t go the week he suggested. I hinted I was free at another point, only he didn’t get the hint. In fact, he never even emailed back to say he was sorry I couldn’t come.
I thought that was odd and disappointing, and rather gave up on him in my mind. Then came the end of the summer and he was back in the neighbourhood and in touch. Last week he asked me to join him at a cafe. We needed to discuss the project, so I went. I didn’t feel quite the excitement I would have felt some weeks before at the prospect of being with him. Very unlike me, I didn’t bother to put on make-up, even. That was quite telling.
We passed a pleasant enough couple of hours or so, sitting in the sweating sun. We talked easily but I felt a certain flatness. There was the odd word or gesture that grated, slightly. He made me laugh, but not as much as before. While holding a perfectly coherent conversation, my head was a riot of questions. Do I fancy you? Could this work? Are you the man for me? Do I want to see you with no clothes on? I have no reason to suppose he wasn’t asking himself exactly the same. The space between the surface and the subtext on a date is riddled with such disparity it could fill several novels.
Perhaps I was just tired, but for me the beat had gone. Maybe a glass of wine might have kick-started it again, but I didn’t really feel like having one, and so stuck to a cup of coffee. All the time, in my head, I was thinking, shall I try to get this into gear again? Maybe he is keen, after all, in which case, why not? Certainly, our conversation went joyfully off-piste, from the project to more personal things, and that was promising but I think the moment has passed. I am not sure I am in need of someone who is off and on; hot and cold; who sends mixed messages.
I suppose I was unwittingly wafting out the famous “wrong vibe” and, surprise, surprise, he hasn’t contacted me since but, then, why would he? Weirdly, though, I know that he will.
Only, then what?