I’ve been blogging a bit about past loves. I left off at college and I might return to that story, but right now, it’s current dating I’m thinking about. So, at 36, I’m finally dating again. I’ve met men over the last year and had a sorta relationship for a few months, but this is different. This is old school nervousness, sweaty palms, and general stuttering. You’d think that with all my ‘life experience’ I’d be a pro at this.
Okay. If you read my blog, you probably would not think this at all. The truth is, I’m just as awkward at this as everything else in my life. The only difference is that now I can laugh about it.
So, the guy’s name? Biff Turlington. Yeah, that’s right. Biff. Turlington. (No way is that a pseudonym, is there?) He’s not my usual type. I tend to be drawn to dark, short Italian men for some reason. And they’re usually stocky, like they could probably lift dead bodies over their heads and drop them off at the wharf. This guy? He’s tall and thin and equally awkward. A little neurotic. Sometimes pretentious. Funny. (And I know you’re reading this. I’ll expect a list of return compliments.) I won’t go on with the list, but I will say I feel really comfortable with him. Even when I totally make an ass of myself.
Apparently, there are all these hidden dating rules that I’d either forgotten or was just never been clued in to. Take for example the night when we were acting like teenagers (do I need to go into detail?) and there was a pause and I said breathlessly “You could stay over if you want.”
Biff said, “I’ve really got to go. I have to work early in the morning.”
I thought, oh, okay, so I did the most natural thing. I quickly walked him to the door, told him good night and then shut the door firmly so that no passing marauders could bust in to my house.
Days later, I was at dinner with a girlfriend, a lovely red-headed vixen who really could be my sister. (I don’t mean we look alike. She’s cuter than me, but we’re so similar it’s possible our parents dated.) Biff then tells her the story and she bursts out laughing. “What?” I asked.
“Tanya, he didn’t really want to go to work.”
“No. You were supposed to convince him to stay.”
“Or at least walk me to my car and give me a long kiss,” Biff interrupted. “Not shove me out the door.”
Really? “But you said you had to work. I was being respectful.”
Apparently, in dating, you’re not supposed to be respectful. See, you make an offer, the guy tries to be polite, and then you attack him. I get it now. Really.
It took me a couple of tries to understand though.
On the day of my potluck, Biff came over to help set up. He yawned and said, “Boy, I’m tired. I think I’ll go upstairs for a nap.” Then he just sort of stared at me.
“Okay. Enjoy!” I said, then I happily went about making my pavlova.
Later I find out that here again was another subtle ploy. He meant to say: “I’m going for a ‘nap’.” Subtext: come upstairs with me now.
Subtlety just doesn’t work for me. I’ve talked to him about it. We now have a secret signal that when he’s following these unwritten dating rules of not saying exactly what he means, he’ll give the signal and I’ll know “Okay. This is flirting.” and/or “It’s time to attack him”.
I can do this. I can totally learn this new way of flirting. And if not, then he’ll just have to spell it out for me. Literally. He might have to write it down, and then I’ll understand it. I told him last night that there was a Lover’s Lane when I was growing up. I never went there but I did give other people directions on how to get there.
Maybe now, I’m hanging out there. I don’t know quite how it happened or what to do now, so I’m sort of just stumbling my way through it, sweaty palms and all.