I finally met with the Vancouver guy in person. We've been exchanging e-mails and a few phone calls for more than a month. I really appreciate his effort in coming to visit me. Fortunately his sister lives in the area which makes the trip a little less complicated.
He came to me door promptly at 11:30am. I didn't make a big deal or ceremony out of our first meeting. He looked like his pictures - not handsome but not unattractive. I must admit that I find part of myself going through the motions more for the sake of my parents than out of my own desire. Dating is not what is used to be. The whole process has taken on a sense of duty rather than excitement and curiousity. I find it sad to even think or write this opinion.
We hopped into his rental car and talked about where to eat lunch. I gave him several quick, local options. I left the decision up to him and we went to the local Hawaiian barbeque. I can't recall any specific conversation. It seemed fine. He was very direct about using our time together to learn more about each other. It's usually this unspoken thing about the early dates, but given our limited time it was fine to be honest about the purpose of the day.
After lunch we drove to Pacifica for a hike around near Montara. The hours of walking proved a good way to have many little conversations be it about childhood, family, work, career, and current events. He implied with many of his comments that he had done a bit to try and plan out the day's activities. It was clear he wanted to make a good impression given that he had sought out advice from friends about his dress and manners during our date.
(I find myself becoming distressed and emotional from writing this. Obviously there are other issues I need to discuss and think through. Clearly, I've been surpressing some issues and need to confront them. I imagine much of it is related to my mother and to my dear Tim.)
Afterwards we drove over to San Mateo to eat popsicles as Whole Foods. He seemed quite happy and pleased with our time together. He hinted he had no plans for the evening and asked what I wanted to do. I felt like it was fine to have dinner as it gave us more opportunity to get to know each other. See how open-minded I was.
At the end of dinner, Alan was very direct. He asked about next steps and I had no idea how to respond. Frankly, I think I finally realized how complicated and inconvenient a relationship this would become. It would be so slow going seeing each other *maybe* every 6 weeks. Where can this go when you barely know each other? I also realized that to Alan's previous comments, I think having so little contact with each other would grow his perfect and unrealistic image of me. The whole things would be headed for disappointment and that expectation grew into someone I am not. I've seen enough times how having only weekends to spend with each other avoids the bad moods and serious intimacy that must be forged between two people. When you don't see each other regularly, you fail to observe the "bad" days. Everyone has them, you have to know you are okay with them.