Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Four heads

So in the pursuit of a best response to KT, I vented to a few co-workers. We now refer to him as flakey boy.

Basically everyone thinks this is odd. What a non-surprise. How to approach this varies a little. I'd say half think the Thursday meet is okay with some caveats. Otherwise deferring to Friday is another option to subtly hint that this was not enough notice.

In the meantime, Im still waiting for my friend to get back to me about watching the game. The one time I need him to respond promptly and I can't tell if he's alive. Doh! So, to tie over the time, I sent back a very short reply saying I'd call later. Hopefully he'll understand my comment about a painful wrist to mean that I can't type today so I have to use the phone. That'll also give me a chance to figure out Thursday. Would it be weird to have him sit with me and Ig? Probably yeah and I don't know that Ig would like that either.

(BTW it's damn hard to type with just the left hand because my wrist really is hurting.)

Diary of a Pissed-Off Asian Woman

Diary of a Pissed-Off Asian Woman: BAAAWK-bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk

Awesome... a kindred spirit in the mysterious, annoying, and awkward quest of life.

Murphy again

I stupidly still hope this morning when I checked my e-mail. What is it with me? My e-mail has been rather quiet today in general. It's just one of those days when I needed a little human interaction. I sent out an e-mail about the upcoming Asian American Film Festival. I missed it last year, so I'm eager to attend at least one showing this year. I even offered to volunteer, though it's a bit late. We'll see if I get a call about helping. It'd be fun and I might meet some interesting people.

So just before noon, I refreshed my e-mail. A new e-mail appeared, but I was surprised to see the headline, "Dinner?" from KT. He babbled a little bit about basketball and the upcoming games before asking if I'd "be interested in dinner that day."

Just imagine me slamming my head into the desk because that's about how I felt. Next comes the hair pulling as I try to figure out whether or not to respond. Do I want his attention because I like him or because I want him to like me? It's all kind of a blur at this point. I'm so confused.

Honestly, when I saw the sports news on Sunday night I really thought about watching Thursday's game. I just haven't asked my friend because I know I'll see them tonight. Technically my Thursday is still open, but really my mind was on reserving that time to watch basketball. Had KT asked over the weekend, it would have been fine. Now I have to decide what's the right way to go. Why should I change my plans when he asks so late?

I don't want to play games, it's not in my nature. But apparently playing it straight doesn't get you anywhere either. I need time (and help) to figure out what to say.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Premature heartbreak

I can't take it anymore. How much of this is my own fault? I haven't heard from KT since Friday. Does he think I'll meet him for dinner with less than two days notice. Egads this is ridiculous.

What's even more ridiculous is how hurt and disappointed I feel over the whole thing. I set myself for this by thinking I'd actually found a decent guy who not only I was attracted to but who my parents might actually like. Add on top of that some small world connections and a funny tension over our college rivalry and it seems like good chemistry. Boy was I mistaken.

I feel angry, frustrated, cheated, deceived, unappreciated and just all over miserable. His lack of urgency should be a bright neon sign to me that he's not that interested. This can't possibly be a case of miscommunication. I don't think I played hard to get nor did I jump at any work he said. I thought we had a reasonable level of communication. There's just no excuse for waiting this long to contact me after making the gesture to meet again for dinner. He'd have to of had an accident or family emergency for me to understand this.

How is it that I pick such losers? What is it about me that says you can walk all over me?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Tennis with friends?

Wow, so I received a quick reply this morning. I wrote back to KT saying I was busy next Monday through Wednesday but was available otherwise. Less than two hours later I found a reply in my inbox which caught me off guard. Turns out he was inviting me to join him and two people for tennis in Upin.

Well, I'd already agreed to go hiking tomorrow morning. Even though it wasn't confirmed I'm not going to drop my friends at the last minute for a (and here I was about to write "date") meeting with people I don't know. It's a nice gesture and I certainly like to play, but it's a little too short of notice.

I sent back what I thought was a friendly and light reply. I made fun of myself a little saying that he might not want to embarrass himself by bringing me along. I added that I've pegged people with my uncontrolled returns. Now that I reread it, I hope it doesn't sound like I'm putting myself down in a negative way. I meant it to be playful and funny. Oops, probably over did it. This must be why people think I'm lame. I did explain that I'll probably be busy hiking with friends.

At least this would have been a nice, casual way to get to know him. I can't help in the back of my mind still think he's chicken to be alone with me. At least he thought of me sooner rather than waiting until the end of next week. What's weird is that he said he's meeting a friend for tennis and they could use a 4th player. So who's the 3rd person?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Backup dating

I can't help be suspicious. The lack of a sense of urgency makes me think that he's got other big things going on. That may seem rather benign but not in terms of my theories.

CC once described to me the goings on when she and Rg were first dating. Both of them had a fairly active dating queue. Even a couple months into seeing each other, it was not necessarily exclusive. She told me she had a guy or two on the back burner. It seemed like a perfectly rational thing to do until they became more serious. About seven months in was when Rg expressed his interest in getting married.

I've never worked that way. Being older, I understand and have less issue with the concepts so long as both people are somewhat open and honest about it. I'm not saying I want to know who and when, but just to acknowledge that it's going on.

In this case it's too early for me to expect any frank conversation. I'm just writing today to vent my frustrations and confusion. I feel like I'm going to explode at some point.

On Tuesday, I responded to KT's e-mail saying that another meeting would be nice and suggested he give me a call. He replied late last night asking what my schedule looks like next week. I don't know what's going on in his life right now, but I find these biweekly evenings to be rather annoying. Part of it is my own anxiety. I don't perform well in these undefined situations. I'd like to know now rather than drag it out. He's not doing either of us any favors acting like this. I suppose I could be more patient, but I find that most of my friends are on my side in this matter.

The other thing that still makes me suspicious are the little things he mentions. I know he went to Monterey with a friend. I'm reading a lot into it but I'm still bugged by the fact I don't know the gender of the friend, nor did he address a question concerning his friend from my e-mail. And today, his e-mail thanked me for mentioning a couple housing developments. He added that he and a friend had went to look at one of them. Now I try and put myself in his shoes and ask why he bothered to mention going with a friend. I know I'm overanalyzing, but I personally would have simply said that I saw the house and not mentioned another person.

Who knows... I'm just going to drive myself crazy. I'll reply to him tomorrow - maybe. :p

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Playing the rules

Am I impatient? Usually when I've sent KT an e-mail he replies around 6:30pm. Well, nothing from him since I replied yesterday morning. If he's interested I need to see some more effort. That's just how I am, I don't want to constantly drive this. I think I expressed enough interest to show that he needn't be afraid to ask me for a date.

I threw the situation out to a group at work this morning over bagels. Most everyone thought it was odd. Everyone laughed as we joked about whether he'd bring his friend on another date. One comment was that his vague requests for meeting up are a way not to seem to aggressive. Don't guys understand that that's a good thing in the beginning? (Being pushy when the girl has said "no" is not appropriate, but that's another story.)

It's all on KT this time. I've told him that I'm interested in seeing him again. He needs to call me or offer a time and place in an e-mail.

Compared to him, I have to give my ex's credit for being good daters and pursuing me. Given all my other distractions this week I don't know that I'm processing this all appropriately. Perhaps I should be more annoyed, perhaps I should be more understanding. But yeah, no.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Coffee or tea, again?

Yes, that's right, just when I didn't expect to hear from KT, I found an e-mail in my mailbox last night. Although there was a part of me that hoped and was excited for a response, the rest of me is still perplexed. Can you blame me?

The other thing that's driving me crazy that comes with all this excitement is my racing mind. I couldn't sleep last night because I think I lived through the entire courtship in an hour. I can only wonder if I've done that same thing with other men I've dated. How much of my future have I imagined each time? Last night I was imagining conversation we'll have about dating, getting married, having children. I imagine looking for bridesmaids dresses and deciding who to have as the flower girls. This is nuts! I barely know the guy!

The amount of time wasted on daydreaming is probably one of the most elating and distracting parts of the early dating process. I don't get anything done. I am so worried about creating the wrong expectations and setting myself up for disappointment.

So KT's e-mail was another very friendly and light conversation. He described a few of the things he did in Mty and mentioned my team's loss this weekend. I think he's probably as intrigued as I am by the sheer coincidence that my dentist is related to him. Serendipitous events created very compelling emotional connections (don't I know).

His final comment was about traveling and how much he'd like to start traveling more. He is looking to me for ideas and listed out a few places he'd like to go. To follow that up, he asked if I would like to meet up again for dinner or coffee/tea. Yes, he's still being vague. It's just so unappealing to throw it out there like that without a plan. He seems like a sociable enough guy that you'd think he'd know better.

(banging my head against the desk) What does he want?!! What can I say to push him to be more direct? I could have responded last night, but I put it aside until this morning. I wrote him being friendly and ended with a reply that another meeting would be nice and suggested he call me to arrange a place and time.

I hate this part... waiting for the phone to ring. I want to pull my hair out and scream... . And if he brings Larry or some other guy friend for the next "date" I'm done with this.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Got religion?

I went out with my new friend, Chi, for the evening. She was invited to a karaoke party in SJ. So I met up with her and we went together.

On the drive down the freeway, she mentioned that she had coffee with the guy she'd hate a date with last week. I happily asked her how things were going between the two of them. Last week she had been concerned about a difference in age between them. This time she started by implying that it had worked out. Then she revealed that the concern was traded in for a bigger quandary. It turns out that he's Mormon.

Geez I felt like we were walking parallel universes. I couldn't help think about my own religious question. Chi didn't know much about Mormons. I told her that I knew many in high school and some notions of their beliefs and practices. I tried not to reveal too much as I didn't want to negatively bias her, but my comments did confirm her own limited knowledge.

Who would guess that a Korean-American would be Mormon? His father attended BYU and converted. Her date completed his mission, which explained why one might think he's younger than he actually is. She's very perplexed by the situation. After all, if someone's is traditionally religious, why would one choose to date a non-religious person? When Chi asked this, my rationale was that perhaps he is having trouble meeting someone within his own groups and is trying to find someone who would be open-minded. What needs to be determined is how devout he is to his religious principles and what his expectations would be of his non-religious spouse.

It was so bizarre to talk through this since I had been asking this myself. She was really frustrated and confused. He clearly is interested in her as he makes sure to talk to her on a regular basis and arranges the next date before the previous one ends. He invited over to his place for dinner this Tuesday. She was pretty honest about it, besides the other "rules," she wants to know his stance on pre-marital sex. I said it for her, people want a test drive before they buy the car. Maybe it's early to talk about, but these are things to keep in mind.

In the end, I think we both agreed to let it go for a little while. She has every right to say no and slow things down if he initiates more physical contact with her after dinner. Since it's not clear yet that anyone wants a relationship, you might as well just be yourself and get to know each other. I suggested that if in a few more dates the question do not resolve themselves, then it's fair to have a direct conversation about it. That seemed to be reasonable for Chi.

I didn't get long to share my experience, but I had to ask for her assessment. She knew about the three-person dinner. I think she was a confused as I am about the "wingman." She thought that perhaps this was KT's way to explore a few things in a casual way. I gave her a quick synopsis of the evening to demonstrate that it was a normal, get-to-know type of dinner. She did encourage me to still pursue communication with him regardless of any action he takes. Her opinion was that it wouldn't hurt to try and won't change the outcome.

I gave her an example of the e-mail I planned to write, to say that I enjoyed the dinner and wanted to know the name of the restaurant that he mentioned. Chi said that wasn't enough and if he replied that I needed to follow up and suggest that we go eat there sometime. I griped that I just wish men would try at least for a little while. Her explanation is that women have always needed to do the work because men won't.

On the way home, we briefly also talked about dating preferences - the big question about dating white men. It's interesting talking to Chi because I feel like our heads have been on the same track. She's positive marriage will happen, but she also acknowledges that children may not happen the way she imagines in. Adoption is a viable option if marriage comes late. The question is whether to be open to more options in order to find the right man.

Dating is so tiring yet we all want to find that happy place. What makes this such as hard goal? Why are there so many of us, women and men, who are good people but can't find the right connection?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Sorting out the facts

Okay, so the last entry was more factual than analysis. I've been revisiting a book that I have about dating. Yes, I own one of these books. I, like most girls, can't help read these. It's because after years of failed relationships and being single, one can't help question if you're missing something.

I'm still thinking through it all. I don't know what to think. I'm trying to figure out what I learned about KT and how that applies to what I want.

1) He's Chinese. Culturally, it is such a plus because I want that in my life and for my children. It's such a contrast from the way I grew up. Even though everyone around me was white, I never felt that I fit in. Look at my friends now, they're predominantly Chinese and certainly mostly Asian. As much as I think of myself as American, people who don't "look" it will always be outsiders.

2) He's intelligent. The jury is still out on this one. Clearly he is good at academics considering his qualifications and profession. The question is whether his mind and mine have similiar speeds, levels, and interests. I have a problem of feeling intimidated by some of the men I've dated.

3) Personal responsibility. He gives the appearance that he can handle himself. His church retreat is a good example of being given a responsibility and following through to complete the job. Also, buying a house means many more responsibilities in the future and he appears willing to take them on.

4) Cares about his career. I would have liked to ask him more about his job and what he thinks of it. I admit that's probably one thing I held back on since it was not a date. It was interesting, now that I think about it, because none of us talked about work. At least he recognized the importance of staying to earn seniority. Given the chance I'd ask him more about how he feels about his work.

5) Healthy family relationships? At least there seems to be respect at home and he mentioned talking to his sister. I think it's natural that he is closer with his sister and still developing a relationship with his much younger brother.

6) Religion. It's a double-edged sword for me. While I feel that you are more likely to meet a good person with excellent values, the level of devotion to God is what could be a dealbreaker. Though I find some peace in praying I can't say that I believe in a being that looks over us. I feel the principles of good living are good for people who need guidance. I don't count this as something I must have, I just list it here because it's a BIG question mark with someone like KT.

7) Integrity. Given his cultural background, profession, and religion I give him the benefit of the doubt at this point. Obviously this is a difficult trait to assess and comes with time.

8) Financial responsibility. His profession would help you assume that he will have a stable income. Buying a house would indicate that he is prepared to manage his money.

9) Emotional maturity. Unknown. From this situation with setting up the dinner I can't say my assessment is positive yet.

10) Ability to communicate. We've had some good discussions. We have some things in common to talk about and he has been good at both sharing his personal opinions and seeking out advice.

11) Affectionate. Unknown. His demeanor so far would indicate that he's reserved. I suppose this is something you'd have to assess further in a relationship and perhaps watching him interact with family and his nieces.

12) Understanding. It's very tempting to pair this with patience because I know the person I need is someone who can be there through my mood changes and insecurities. He needs this for work and seems to understand the needs of his family.

Overall, he's doing well so far. I really think that if he were interested in getting to know me better, he would have used our time in the car as an opportunity to set up a future date. He could just be a very deliberate type of person (though that might drive me nuts). I still can't believe that my dentist is his brother-in-law. Could he check up on me that way too? ;)

I'll give it until Tuesday. If I don't hear from him then I know it's just a friend connection. I will write him regardless since I want to know about that Malay-Singaporean restaurant near the BART station.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Nice but huh?

So I went to dinner with KT and Dave. I had no idea what to expect so I did my best to not think about it.

I arrived at the cafe right on time but did not recognize anyone walking between the aisles of books. I found myself feeling a bit anxious, a little excited at seeing KT again but also frustrated not knowing the context.

I positioned myself in an aisle that had a clear view of the cafe entrance. I picked up a book that only had one copy left. It is a book about a woman who disguised herself as a man and lived that way for six months. I had read a brief description about the book in Time magazine a few weeks ago and it sounded fascinating. Her conclusions were that men are caught in traditional expectations that force them to be confident than they are prepared to be.

Anyhow, as I skimmed a random page in the book, I eyed a pair of khakis walking towards me. I didn't look up at first because I wanted to be sure they were coming at me rather than walking by me. Sure enough, the pant legs paused just behind me. When I looked up I saw Larry. He was hesitant but fairly sure he recognized me. We had just enough time to greet each other when I spotted KT coming the the door.

We started chatting there on the spot. I can't recall but I think we could have stood there for sometime. I felt I had to interject and ask about dinner because my stomach had been growling ever since I circle the streets for a parking space. KT quickly suggested Spice Malay, and I happily concurred. I don't think Dave was familiar with the place.

I must walk fast because I always seemed to be in the lead as we walked the three blocks to the restaurant. Mostly, KT and I conversed as we walked. The first question I recall him asking is where my friends live. We also discussed the different Singaporean-Malay restaurants in the area. He brought up that I work in Fmt and guessed that I drove across the bridge. I say yes and added that the commute is fine since it's reverse. I then added that Gry was a far place to drive to and he responded similarly about it being a reverse commute. He further shared that he had considered transfering to a closer location but he wants to wait until he gets his seniority. It takes three years at Kr. The night air was definitely a sign that winter had returned after the two weeks of spring the area had had.

I'd like to think I was myself most of the night. There were times when I paused and questioned myself, but that was more about etiquette, such as when I reached the door first. It would have been nice to have the door opened for me but it just didn't seem like that would happen. I also took the lead on telling the host to seat the three of us.

It was a typical, rectangular table with four seats. As the first person to reach it, I took the seat against the wall. KT followed by seating opposite me while Larry sat next to him. Don't you just love the fear of proximity between the sexes.

The night lasted about 2.5 hours in total. We covered a multitude of topics and it would be unrealistic for me to attempt to review them all in detail. The best I can do is write out my thoughts as I recall them.

- sports, coaching changes and performance of EB and R teams
I mentioned the firing of the R mascot.
We discussed watching basketball games live, the success of basketball coaches, and the series of football coaches at both schools since our undergrad days.
Reminiscing about rivalry games and watching from the Hill

- ordering and food
What's the difference between Singaporean and Malaysian cuisine?
I knew the neighborhood restaurants well, but not because I eat out all the time
He said there's a good Malay place near the UC subway, so I'll have to get the name from him sometime.
KT has to remember to call home so his parents don't expect him for dinner
I cook when friends are around so the food gets eaten

- eating habits
Eating leftovers, saving half of lunch for dinner
I mentioned that I have eaten tatertots in the past as dinner. KT commented that's not a bad meal. But then I added it is when you eat them with mayonnaise

- housing, living where the single people are
Larry had seen some article on Match that said the ratio of men to women in Sunnyvale is reverse compared to most of the Silicon Valley
People had asked why KT didn't buy a place in MH, but he wants to be near single people.
Everyone he works with is married.
He hates all the high-density housing and recognizes he'll likely have to buy an older place to get the land. He still wouldn't really reveal what or where he's looking. At least I got him to admit he actually lives in Upin even though he keeps saying Syl. Larry lives on Hmtd so Upin is basically across the street.

- dating in LA versus SF
Female friends of KT's say that Bay Area guys are anti-social and LA guys are jerks
He's attended two C2A events in LA. They are much bigger than the ones here. The groups are split by geography.
He once chatted with someone he met through the event and she mistook him for someone else she had met. She started asking him about his travel to London. He said he never traveled much, only to Taiwan.
I joked about the awkward "Dead People in the Elevator" guy I once met.
Mentioned that a friend of mine is getting married to someone she met a speed dating. They seemed impressed.
KT laughed and said, "I don't know what older women talk about but I have 50 and 60-year old men who come to my office. They ask if I'm married then they tell me "don't ever get married!" He laughed because the men just seemed so unhappy and grumpy. My response to that was to tell them about this traing session I once had at a company. One of the charts explained how you shorten life expectancy depending on your choices. You know, smoking decreases life by a few years. I told them how a woman not getting married decrease their life by a year or two. On the other hand, men who don't get married lost seven years. We all laughed. I mentioned how one of my co-workers, a single guy in his mid-30s was really disturbed for a couple days. It was funny. KT, with his logic, agreed it made sense because women keep on their husbands to eat healthy.

- learning languages
KT took intermediate level Mandarin. His class included many foreign student from Asia who used chracters differently than for Chinese.
Larry joked "Do you need a tutor?" as he pointed at KT.
His parents are originally from P. His grandfather emigrated there. They tend to speak Mandarin with a Taiwanese accent though they speak another dialect at home.
He critiqued how Taiwanese are lazy when the pronounce Mandarin and how "z" and "zh" sound similar. He doesn't seem to like that his mom pronounces Mandarin with a Taiwanese accent but can't really complain since she speaks it better than him. What is it with the snobbiness about speaking correctly?
I mentioned learning French for five years when I talked about going to Europe this year for vacation. I mentioned how I try and take a vacation every year and hope to go to Asia next year. I think they nodded their heads.
He took a little French but never really kept it up. He learned Spanish on the fly and took medical Spanish at Sdo.
We all talked about how it's odd that when we can't think of a word in one language, we switch to another foreign language rather than revert to English. How does this have to do with how the brain compartmentalizes learnings?

- organizing church activities
Most of KT's time last year was consumed by leading the coordination of an annual retreat for the church. The retreat including LA sister group. They are both Chinese Catholic.
He got suckered into the job by a friend trying to pass on the responsibilities. It also meant he put off house hunting.
He had to help with fundraising and many trips to Costco.

- East Coast vs SoCal vs NorCal
LA grew on him after living there for six years. He got tired of clubbing but likes how easy it was to find places open late at night. Even SF is not as good. He admitted that LA grew on him towards the end of his years living there. Sdo was never a fond place for him. He complained that it was always brown and conservative.
KT moved to the BA from Rch when he was 12. He was old enough to recognize the cultural differences. He still feels more like an East Coast person in terms of his speech and views though he probably is more casual now. I think he likes the Bay Area and sees no reason to leave.
I explained that I'm technically a midwesterner since I was there until the age of six. KT joked, "so you enjoyed routing for the Badgers when they played the R in the Rose Bowl." He smilled as I gently cheered at the thought. He's got good humor about the whole rivalry thing. I think that mostly because of his sister.
- living at home (parental relations)
I changed subjects and said, "So you must get along well with your parents to live at home?"
KT's reaction was had to described, it was a little skeptical and a little bit of disbelief. He seemed to try and phrase it properly stating simply that he's the only child that they don't currently have issues with. He said that he's also probably somewhat of a buffer between his parents since his dad seems to like control?.
His mother still works. His dad is retired but keeps busy doing things like voluntering to teach driver's ed for AARP. His dad is also active fighting growth and construction projects in Upin.
I mentioned how my dad keeps busy with orchestra and other hobbies he's tried over the years. He asked how old my dad is. Thought about the math but say much about it.
His sister has a tough relationship with Dad because I guess he has standards. I can imagine what things must be like for her as the oldest.
Overall they're pretty good, they let him come and go as he pleases and don't constantly check on him. He's tried to offer to pay for things but he says it's probably a matter of pride that they won't accept anything from him.
He's lived at home ever since he came back to the Bay Area. He didn't expect things like the church retreat to take away all his househunting time.
He was very intrigued by the fact that I'm from Cd. I guess there are family who live in that area. He was wondering if my parents might know them. I wonder if he's as intrigued as I am about our six degrees of separation?
Somehow I mentioned my school and that four people went to R. KT immediately popped up and asked who they were. I had thought about this previously but figured he wouldn't not know them. I rattled off three names but nothing rang a bell. I added that they are all now attorneys and he agreed that they wouldn't have known each other. The fourth person did not actually end up attending R until grad school.

- siblings (dentist)
So I knew previously KT has a sister. I guess she is older because of the EB thing. It just seemed like if she nagged him about it, she had to be older. KT also has a brother.
I mentioned I have a significantly younger brother. KT asked by how much and I told them nine years. I then turned the question back on him and asked about his siblings.
His sister is two years older. They have a pretty good relationship.
He and his brother are separate by more years than me and my brother. It definitely sounds like an accident, but he couldn't get his mother to admit it.
The relationship with his brother has improved as they've gotten older. I can definitely agree that getting past college has added more common understanding of life. Still he doesn't see much of his brother because when he visits home he goes out with friends the whole time. KT was funny in recalling changing his brother's diapers and how weird it is to think about that now that he's grown up.
Somehow I mentioned that I previously lived in Blt. KT mentioned that his brother-in-law has a practice there. He then elaborated that he's a dentist. Alarm bells went off in my head but I simply figured there's a lot of dentists in Blt. I acknowledged my dentist is there. Then KT said his first name... . I immediately knew and admitted that that is my dentist. Wow, what a small world. KT continued to describe a few things about Dr.'s personality and I could totally imagine it. We talked about their kids and the office staff. He told a story about once being on the phone with his sister and hearing the girls playing in the background. A few minutes later he could hear the girls fighting. His sister turned away from the phone and complained to her husband, "S, I asked you to watch the girls for a few minutes... ." Kind of odd hearing about your dentist outside of work eh?

Larry is an only child. KT said that he doens't have middle child syndrome since his brother came so much later. I offered my perspective that my brother and I are like only children who are related. In the midst of the conversation, I reinforced how much I still appreciate having a brother because I always wanted a sibling. I risked offering my personal belief that if I have children I have to have two. I think they both were nodding their heads in agreement as I explained that I think it's important because they learn to socialize and shared.

- snowboarding
Talked a little bit about skiing and snowboarding. KT simply explained he guessed I was a snowboarder because most of his female friends are boarding these days. He's only tried twice and not recently.
Larry asked me for tips on how to be prepared for learning snowboarding. I told him there really wasn't much to say except be prepared for some frustration and a lot of sitting. That's when I remember to warn him to buy waterproof pants. KT agreed and also mentioned wearing a jacket with an inner gaiter to prevent snow from getting up your clothing.
I asked whether the church had ski trips they could join. KT looked at Larry and joked, "You're going to organize one, right?"

- Mty weekend
Towards the end of the evening, KT asked what folks were doing for the three-day weekend. He is going with a friend down to Mty for a couple days. I could never determine whether it was a man or woman because he always referred to the person as "my friend" and avoided the use of pronouns. It made me very curious. He solicited my suggestions for things to do while they were down there. I mentioned Sq, Pcg for butterflies (though it's likely too late in the season), the aquarium area, and 17. I also recommended Cream for dinner. I honestly haven't been down there in almost three years. Even Dave was wondering why I knew the area so well. I didn't think I did. Honestly, since KT is the long-time resident I was surprised he was asking me. That's why I couldn't help wonder if he was going with a girl and wanted a female perspective.
Larry is hoping to get the guys together to play tennis on Monday.

So there's all the random conversations we had. Larry was still fairly quiet and there were times I felt I was directly talking with KT, but it went well. We started to run out of steam around 9:30pm. There were several pauses, but somehow KT always found a subject to continue the conversation. Frankly, I really wanted to go home and pee. Plus, I just didn't know where this whole dinner meeting was going.

When the bill came, Dave slid it in his direction. KT then pulled his wallet out as he continued to talk. I felt awkward and pulled my wallet out so as to match their motions. At first KT dropped a $20 on the table. Larry immediately told him "no" because he owed him for a previous time. After some quibbling, he put the $20 back down. I added $16, asking if that was about right. Larry decided to take the cash and pay by credit card. KT checked the bill and threw in an extra dollar after Larry gave him my $5 bill as change. They had me take the leftovers.

We said goodnight to our waiter on left around 10pm. Outside the restaurant we pointed to the location of each of our cars. Larry looked like he was ready to dash off. KT asked if I wanted a ride to my car since I was the only one who parked near the cafe. I paused for a minute. I usually prefer to walk, but considering it was late and cold, I told him "yes."

His car was parked just to the side of the post office. I was curious to see what car he was driving. He was driving his dad's old Mercedes. As he worked to unlock the passenger door, he commented if he didn't drive it no one would. He apologized the messiness and placed some items in back so that I could sit.

The four block drive was very mellow. No one said anything for the first block. Somehow he brought back up his weekend plans. He'll stay at the Super 8. I mentioned that that might be the hotel with the nice beach location. His friend will be scuba diving so he plans to rollerblade. I showed some surprise that he was not accompanying the friend (very careful not to say he or she). I offered that maybe he could seakayak next to his buddy.

That's when we came upon my car. He just noted it was a VW. He pulled in front of it and stopped. I turned towards him, said something about dinner, and wished him a good weekend. As I shut the door, I said goodbye but don't remember seeing his face for some reason.

And that's the end of the night. Of course, I drove home perplexed. What was this evening all about?

If he had wanted a date he certainly had the opportunity with me in his car. Nothing. I'm sad about it because I do like him. He seems like a decent person. It would be nice to get to know him better and see if there's any potential. So bizarre.

Honestly I don't think I expect to hear from him again. I will hope of course, but I don't feel like I was given any indication that there would be future meetings. This whole encounter has made me question how I feel about my life, my relationships, my ability to make decisions. I experienced such elation, anxiety, hope, confusion, etc. that I haven't found in some time. I feel like it's part of me that got boxed up and put in a dusty closet this last year and some. What now?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Analysis Paralysis

So just when I thought things were going well, I was thrown a curve. KT did write back Sunday night with expected reliability. (Frankly I think he must be a very structured person.) But the e-mail included a comment that made me question the whole situation.

Basically, after he agreed to Thursday, he added that he's been meaning to meet up with Larry and asked if he could join us. That doesn't sound like a date to me. There are of course several theories people could make from this. I sent or explained the e-mail to a few girlfriends (naturally). Take your pick of scenarios:

1) He's shy and need a security blanket friend
2) It's actually his friend who wants to meet me and this is a "bait and switch" dinner
3) He wants to keep this casual (a pre-date)
4) He changed his mind but didn't have the nerve to back out
5) He just wants to be friends
6) He has little dating experience and has no idea what he's doing

Did I miss anything?

When I didn't reply by Tuesday evening, he wrote me on Wednesday morning to check that I was back in town and still available for Thursday. I wrote to confirm the plan and asked if he had an idea where to eat or suggest he call me after 10pm to discuss.

Well, he tried calling around 9:45pm but I accidentally sent his call to voicemail. His voice wasn't all that impressive. KT suggested we meet at a local cafe and decide on a restaurant then. The cafe he mentioned didn't rind a bell. I tried calling back at 10pm (when my tv show was over) but he didn't answer. I then read the e-mail he sent to follow up to the call. There he did mention that Larry will join us. I clarified that the name of the cafe in question had probably changed.

Sure enough, he wrote this morning to say that I probably had the right place. We'll see what happens tonight. I have very low expectations of the whole thing... probably better for me, but I still can't help be a little disappointed and confused.

Larry was rather quiet the time I met him. I feel like they have an unfair advantage in that they can talk to each other. It's very intimidating to try and maintain a conversation with two people you don't know. Things might be just fine. On the other hand, if one of them is quiet, I'll be spending a lot of time trying to balance the conversation (because that's how I am in group situations like this), which is not me and they will form an inaccurate impression of me.

Oh well... it's just so much easier to be single and forget about all this dating.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Murphy's law of anticipation

Do you ever find yourself ready to turn around on some rural road because you think you've missed the turn off? Do you later learn that if you had just gone another mile there would have been an obvious sign telling you that you had reached your destination? I can't count how many times I've felt like that in my life.

Monday morning I went through that with my e-mail. I was so disappointed over the weekend that KT had not asked me for a date. Why else give me his card and e-mail me? I was so frustrated. When I logged into my account this morning, I expected my new e-mails to either be photos from my weekend hike or updates on the upcoming ski trip. I wasn't paying attention at all when his name popped up. I had to look at the e-mail title and his name for a good second or two for it to register.

Happily, I opened the e-mail to see what I had been hoping for the first time he wrote. The e-mail was a light, friendly, and self-deprecating e-mail that ended with him asking about meeting up for coffee or dinner. He also provided his phone number. Ah, relief... .

It's been a fun conversation. I've learned about his living and househunting situation. Remember, I'm doing my best not to judge, but when I learned that he lives at home, a few things came to mind:

1) He's brave
2) He has a good relationship with his parents
3) He's the baby of the family and is spoiled

We've had fun harassing each other about Cal and Stanfurd. He immediately noted my "spelling impediment" and I remarked to their lovely 800 number. It's silly but it makes me smile. I should probably stop poking fun until we meet in person. It is a good, healthy way to start.

But today I find myself perplexed again. Admittedly, maybe daily e-mail are too much and we should wait for a date or talk on the phone. BUT, he hasn't actually initiated a time for the date. When he asked about dinner, I indicated that I would like to have dinner but not this week. I specifically even wrote, "next week?" It would be nice if he could suggest a day and I could respond. I guess he's waiting until Sunday or Monday to ask? Arghhhh. . . .

Nice guy, but he's needs to be a little bit more definitive in his pursuit. This would just be more evidence for my cousin's reasons why she doesn't date Asian men. They aren't assertive enough. So we'll just see what happens.

I hate playing games, but maybe the next time he write I'll wait a little longer before replying. Not only to make him realize the anxiety it causes but also to help me chill and be more patient about dating. After all, we might just be friends after the one date. I have to step back from hoping this will be it because I think that state of mind has doomed me in the past. It's time to focus on getting to know him to see if he's what I want not just about getting him to want to marry me.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Divorcee Can't Accept "No"

Come on... when you try to let a guy down easy, they think it's an opening for another chance. I clearly advised him that he needs more time to deal with his divorce. I took a year plus off from dating because I knew I still had issues. He needs to focus on making more friends first. Women don't like being mean about it, but with e-mails like this, it's not worth it trying to be nice. And what's with the comment about me being "challenging?"

"Hi, I realize that you may not have felt any chemistry the other night, but I really enjoyed talking with you. It was brief, but I think you're bright, honest, a good communicator, open, candid, interesting, challenging and more, and I feel like the conversationwas just starting when Peet's closed (I should have remembered it closed early before suggesting to changeto that Peet's :(). I was definitely reserved and somewhat avoidant (of eye contact), but I think that was because I was still warming up to the idea of meeting someone new. If we don't put too much meaninginto it, would you like to still continue to gettogether for meals/hikes/etc. I really think I would enjoy talking with you further. K"

Benefit of doubt for a divorcee

Knowing that Yahoo! Personals would cut off their free response option mid-January, I put myself on for one last attempt. Frankly, I've grown very wary of Internet dating. I know it works for a lot of people, but it's not for me. I know myself well enough to say that I'm not good about engaging with people I don't know. E-mail is fairly easy for most people. I don't think it's a good way to determine how personable someone truly is. I lose incentive to keep up the communications quickly. I did even with my last boyfriend within three weeks.

I got a handful of responses. Depressingly, most were over 40 (I'm 34) and several were divorced. I also received communications from two people who were clearly outside of the type of person I wanted to meet as described in my profile. I am still a firm believer that if I state my requirements, I'm serious about it and am not going to pay attention to people outside of that. I would never write it into my profile, but the fact is if you're white you'd better be damned good looking, sharp, and a good guy for me to want to respond. It's biased, I know, but it's my personal preference.

So I tried writing two men, both of whom are divorced. They seemed fine but as I said I was really bad about keeping up the correspondence. Joe looks like a decent guy, but the confidence he tried to convey in his writing came across to me as a little creepy. He kept reassuring me what a great guy I'd find him to be if I'd write back. Am I overanalyzing when I say that it feels a little desperate and weird to tout yourself to a stranger? So I just never wrote back. Maybe I'm being rash but there have to be some rules about proper conversation.

The second guy was a little dry but he sounded okay. When it was clear I was going to drag my feet, he suggested meeting for coffee. That's an easier way for me to get over the hump though I always dread meeting guys since it's so random. We agreed to meet on Friday night at a local Peet's.

I arrived a bit early and simply enjoyed my book. When he finally arrived, he wasn't sure if it was me. He had a goofy smile on his face which to me said, "wow, I can't believe how cool she looks," but in a stunned way. I just didn't like the look of him. There's something about big, round faces that's not attractive to me. He bought us coffee and we sat down. The conversation was slow going, I knew within 10 minutes that I just wanted to go home.

I tried my best to keep an open mind, really I did. We talked a little about his job, or lack thereof. You see, he's on leave. His friend wrote him a letter for the insurance company explaining that he is mentally unable to cope due to his divorce. I had no idea it was this recent. He laughed about how much fun he was having and maybe would try to find a way to extend his absence. Besides travel he mentioned taking several courses for professional and personal development. Unfortunately, he mentioned a class on forgiveness and added "because I need to learn how to forgive my ex." He said it with such sarcasm and an uncomfortable laugh that I had to hide my discomfort.

The small talk was fine, but it was like when you have to play nice with a random stranger. It's not like there was one particular topic where we both became invested or mutually excited. That's what makes you want to know more about someone. In this situation, I was more just trying to keep the conversation going and move from topic to topic to keep it interesting.

He liked talking about his time off. It was clear he was feeling a bit awkward and had not dated in a long time. I felt sorry for the guy, but that doesn't mean I'm going to be friends with him. He's just not someone I could imagine knowing outside of a business relationship. I'm sure he had a bad time with the divorce, but that doesn't mean you show your pleasure in avoiding emergency spousal support. It just made me feel creepy. Why would I want to date someone who's going to treat others like that? (Of course, maybe I'd do the same thing in his shoes if I hated someone enough, but you still don't volunteer that kind of information to a stranger.)

As soon as I saw the employees cleaning up the shop, I alert the divorcee that we probably had to get going. I added that I probably need to go and meet up with a friend for dinner. He was caught off guard by this and commented that he was just about to ask where I wanted to go for dinner. As we walked towards me car, he started asking me questions about who I was meeting up with, do they live nearby, and where I was going. Well, I wasn't exactly interested in sharing that information. I feared he'd try and invite himself or something.

What a relief to get out of there. Eeck. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but he's not ready to be dating people.

To make matters more awkward he e-mailed me soon after the date. He explained that he sensed things might have not been ideal and asked if there were things he should not have mentioned. He wanted my feedback on what he did wrong. This is strange, I mean I don't want to tell him who to be. He needs more friends. He also asked if I would consider him to be a dinner pal if not a date. I tried to be polite but he tried pestering me for more information and for more dates and that's just annoying. When someone says thank you and good luck, that's it. I think for me the clingy desperate plea is just very unattractive. I tried to give the benefit of the doubt to this guy because I didn't want to stereotype divorced people as bad, but this experience only ended reinforcing my fear of attempting to engage in a relationship with any of them. The baggage seems the same as any serious breakup, but somehow the obstacles end up being much larger than expected.

As my cousin and I agree, I feel sorry for the guy but given there are so many other priorities in my life, I don't have time for charity dating.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Unjustified anxiety

I feel like I haven't been excited about a date in a year and a half. By Monday I was hoping to see an e-mail from KT. You'd think he could have even sent it Sunday night. But alas, I had no e-mail on Monday, not even from friends. I thought maybe my service wasn't working.

On Tuesday, still nothing. I was very sad. I was also upset at myself for getting so emotional over a man I met for only 20 minutes. I had to ask myself why this had become so important and why I was so smitten. This guy could be anyone. When I asked JB about him, all she could recall was that he was a friendly but quiet guy in school. That right there is a concern because after my last long-term boyfriend I wasn't really sure I wanted to deal with an introvert.

I didn't know what to do. Girls like to be asked out. I also was concerned about setting any kind of precedent that I would do all the chasing. But by the afternoon, I threw the rules out the door and sent him a brief e-mail. I didn't babble or share anything personal, I simply wrote to confirm his e-mail address and wish him a happy new year.

You could say it worked, because Wednesday he wrote back explaining that he had e-mailed me but had mistyped my address, making fun of his dyslexic episode. Only this morning did he get a bounce back e-mail. He politely narrated through what he did the rest of Saturday night. But that was it. So short, and no hint of wanting to get to know me. How odd.

Again I found myself in an etiquette quandary. He didn't ask me any open questions that would require a reply. So do I let it go, or do I give him a reason to continue the communications? I went with my gut and replied. It was the most basic e-mail, just acknowledging his e-mail and commenting on what happened at the speed dating based on Twin's experience.

There was no reply. Then again, should I care? If you think about that trendy book, "He's Just Not That Into You," then the response would be to forget about it. After all, the title makes a good point, if KT had interest in me, he needs to pursue it. No sense in me trying to get him to do something that isn't worth his time (or mine). Sigh... oh well.