Thrills and Chills

Our second date is planned for this weekend at Cedar Point. I’ve never been before, so this will be great.

Here’s the thing, though: I like roller coasters, but I am a giant dork when riding scary ones for the first time. I have been known to lift my shirt collar up over my eyes, as if squeezing them shut wasn’t enough. It’s been a few years since I’ve done that, but still.

The other thing is that it is “Halloweekend” time and that means haunted houses. I am not a big fan of haunted houses. I distinctly remember going through some sort of horror movie wax figure display at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, my friend Christy and I clutching to each other for dear life. And those figures didn’t move. Now, I did walk through The Walking Dead haunted house at Universal, but I did it strategically — at the back of the group so that the scares were revealed before I had to experience them. And the people didn’t touch me. If they grab me, I don’t think I’ll take it well.

I am a bit concerned that my date hasn’t felt well this week. I am tempted to tell him that if he gets a sense of dread about going on the date rather than a sense of excitement, we can postpone… buuuuuuuut… I am selfish and I want to see him. I mean, I don’t want him to go out of a sense of guilt, but I also don’t want to traipse around a theme park with someone who would much rather be in bed. We’ll see. He’s still on-board and his not feeling well is not contagious.

Still, I’m trying to maintain my cool, good egg and cute leaping notwithstanding.

Last Friday, he was supposed to go somewhere with a buddy, but his plans changed at the last minute. We texted through the evening and he said he regretted not trying to hang out with me after his change of plans.

Oh, you know I heard “change of plans” and was thinking how he could have asked me to do something. I played it cool instead, continuing to work on my manuscript, then going grocery shopping.

But when he brought up the regret, I admitted that I had the same thought, but didn’t want to come across as pushy or desperate. Or “thirsty” as the kids would say.

He explained that one of the reasons he is reserved and cautious is because he got out of a long relationship a little over a year ago. He said I wasn’t raising any red flags and didn’t seem desperate, but he asked for me to have patience with him.

I should note that I have been clear from the start that I am seeking a relationship, but that I am cool with dates and seeing where things go. He said he was also open to dates and seeing where things go.

It’s funny – I was watching tonight’s Broad City¬†and Abbi is just wrapped up in her new boyfriend, even to the point of ignoring Ilana. I don’t want to be that. I know my blog has turned a bit into “The Him Show,” but that is a pattern, is it not? This is my space to overindulge, especially in one or more facets of my life.

I don’t want to be one of those women who is like, “Oh, well, he says this” or “He did that” in my real (read: non-blog) life. I think I might do that enough by bringing up my dogs, especially when people talk about their kids.

But I digress. I don’t necessarily mind the pace at which whatever we have is going. It’s different and refreshing.

I have had two boyfriends in my adult life. Both of those relationships went far too fast too soon and I will admit now, in hindsight, that there was desperation there.

I didn’t have my first boyfriend until I was 21. I had already completed my BA and started work on my Master’s at that point. He showed a real interest in me, although he was a pathological liar who told me lies even about the most basic things. We lasted three (?) months, but those months were intense and included him moving some of his crap to my place. Uggggggh. I got my first kiss on the first date with my first boyfriend. I was devastated when I broke up with him. I ended things once I found out the extent of his lies. My mom came over and listened to me bawl and howl in the shower. I thought that was my only chance at love and happiness and I blew it all because I couldn’t stand pathological lying. Geez.

My second boyfriend was when I was 22 or so. He was okay at first. I should have known that there would be issues when, in our first conversation on the phone, he put his phone down to the side (essentially putting me on hold) while he helped a co-worker. This hold lasted about ten minutes. Yet I thought this was acceptable. We had our first date and his taking me to Sears so that he could pay down his Discover card was, in my rose-colored glasses, mere quirkiness. I brought him home to my apartment. He spilled red koolaid on his khaki cargo pants and I offered to wash them. He stayed the night in my bed. I slept on the couch. Oh, and I forgot to mention that my sister was living with me at the time. She reported these things to my mom. My mom flipped out, exclaiming that “people thought Ted Bundy was a nice guy, too!” My sister has slept with a knife under her pillow, I think.

I was ashamed of myself, plus I did have that aforementioned desperation. I wanted to prove that I hadn’t made a mistake by letting him come over. He was really into me. But things added up, including that he annoyed me. Our relationship was mostly long distance. When he lost his job and moved in with me, it was too much. When he went to his folks’ house in a different state and started spending his unemployment money in thoughtless ways, that was a last straw. I was going to go meet his family, but the thought of getting in even deeper with him by taking that step felt very wrong. I shipped him his stuff. We had been together for nearly a year.

Both of those men loved me a lot. I thought I loved them, too.

I haven’t been in a relationship since April or May of 2009.

And while I have sought out dates and potential relationships, I am not desperate to be in one. Nor is my self-esteem as shitty as it was in my early 20s. I know I am capable of so much more than I thought I was, including moving across the country and starting my career by myself. I know that I bring a lot to the table. I have higher standards than just “he likes me and thinks I’m pretty.”

It’s like, I’ve done a lot of the work that I wanted to or would have liked a partner around to support me while doing it. Writing a thesis. Writing a dissertation. The job market. Getting a house. Moving. Travel. Surgery. Yes, there are still milestones and hurdles to cross, but I did those things on my own, with my family and friends behind me. A boyfriend at this point would be icing on my cake — not part of the cake itself. It’s a completely different perspective.

I also know that I’m at least appealing to men, whereas early 20s me was very much doubtful of that fact. I thought I had to just take what I could get as a sort of penance for being fat and nerdy. Not so much! Turns out men are attracted to me. Not a ton of them, but enough.

All of that rambling to say that, yes, I like this guy. I like that we haven’t rushed in to sex and that we don’t center our talks around that (aside from me telling him that I drew genitals on the board and discussed flaccid penises). I like how nonchalant it was at the beginning and how it took about two weeks of intermittent texting for us to consider meeting for a date.

And I don’t want to fuck it up somehow by placing some sort of undue pressure on it just because I am smitten. I don’t want to scare him away by turning into Elmyra from Tiny Toons.

I worry that my flirting is too much or that I say too many inappropriate things. He’s not very flirty (at this point). I’m still feeling him out.

I know that this isn’t high stakes. I know that he has autonomy and could just decide that we don’t have the right chemistry. I know that I might decide that we don’t have the right chemistry.

Basically, I just hope we have a good time.