Out of Practice
November 22, 2011 § 26 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
I have been out of the dating loop for almost two decades and I think I am so out of practice that unless someone actually makes overt declarations, I haven’t got a clue what they are thinking. I like to think I am a good judge of character, but when it comes to whether or not someone fancies me, I am, fittingly for a plankton, completely at sea. I seem to have lost the language of subtle signals – that someone is interested or not interested. They can come thick and fast but do I pick up on them? And, if I do, am I reading them correctly?
It wasn’t easy when I was young but we were more in tune and braver then, in some ways. Might feel a bit embarrassed for a day or two if we took someone’s attention or friendliness to be something it wasn’t, then move on to pastures new. In middle-age, perhaps because of all the baggage so many of us carry, we are all more hesitant and confused and scared of making asses of ourselves. More to lose? The humiliation of planktonhood is bad enough as it is, without the further humiliation of misinterpreting someone’s intentions.
After many a lingering cup of tea or coffee in a cafe, I now have a crunch date with Smidgen – or at least what I suppose is going to be a crunch date. We are going out to a restaurant with some friends for supper, and my feeling is that if things don’t progress a little – words spoken, actions taken – then they never will. There again, maybe quite nothing will happen because, for all I know, the idea hasn’t even entered his head? Have we been singing from entirely different hymn sheets all this time? I wish to God I knew.
Some friends have said, nonsense, a man doesn’t contact a woman, let alone spend so much time with her, if he doesn’t fancy her. They say, think of When Harry Met Sally, but I am not so sure. Is that not the same as saying men only bother to make an effort to enjoy a woman’s company if they think they are going to get her into bed? What of straight-forward friendship between the sexes? I have a great many close male friends. We are affectionate and intimate but sex has never entered the equation because they are mostly married. The difference is that Smidgen and I are both single, but does that guarantee that, because he has chosen to hang out with me occasionally and goes in for a bit of body language, he is interested?
From where I am sitting now, I haven’t got a clue. I suppose I just have to go out for supper and desperately try accurately to read the signals – or lack of them? I just wish I hadn’t forgotten the vocab.