Saturday, April 08, 2006

Part II: 80s dancing date

(intermission is now over, please return to your seats... thank you)

Let's get hot and sweaty
Before joining the rest of the group inside, we had to stop at Will Call to pick up the tickets. I thought maybe he asked about paying his share for his ticket, but he didn't. As we walked towards the entrance, KT asked me where all the friends we just encountered live. I spewed out a list of cities and an aside that Ma had just moved to Teo which put him a little further away. As I was about to hand the tickets to the host, he asked if Ma was married. I raised my voice over the music and said, "no, they're just living together, but his girlfriend would like that next step. He's not quite ready."

The minute our IDs were checked and hands were stamped I looked towards the stage to see my friends dancing off to one side. They immediately spotted me as well and waived us over. Kata was nice enough to show us where to stash our jackets. I couldn't figure out exactly where to leave my coat and dangled it above the floor for a moment. I was a little concerned about dirt but let it go, literally just letting it fall to the ground behind a couple barstools. KT came up after me. I noticed he very nicely bundled up my coat and put his underneath mine (I would hope as a sweet gesture to keep mine clean :))

Our group was situated to one side of the stage. It was a little awkward because we had a narrow strip of dance floor which forced our group of seven to be elongated. Sh and Suna were at the opposite end, so I couldn't really introduce them to KT. The two other men there, Diamond and BlondCurl were in the middle. Kata stood to the right of me and KT on the left. This made dancing awkward because I hated having my back to Kata and friends in order to look at KT or vice versa.

Twice, when the band paused, I considered trying to get Suna and Sh's attention and introduce KT, but they always seemed to be talking or looking elsewhere. I did at least try and point out each person to Ken. He commented that he's not very good with names. Finally, during another break, they shuffled themselves over to meet him. I couldn't help think the look behind Suna's smile as she introduced herself was "hi, so, you're Mr. Flakey."

The dancing went pretty well. He seemed pretty into it except for a few times I noticed him fumbling in his pockets with his phone. He was looking around A LOT, though I'm really not sure why. This was the case most of the night. (Any ideas?) We'd glance at each other every so often and there was one song where we danced strictly face to face. My critique? Well, he's no smooth operator but I appreciate his attitude. :) His arms swung a bit widely at times, but it's nothing bad. It was really nice to be dancing along side a date.

During the intermission, KT asked if I wanted anything to drink. We went to the bar and he got us two juices. Then we joined my friends in a small alcove near the door. After five minutes, KT excused himself to make a phone call. He was probably gone for what seemed like more than 10 minutes. Sh and I talked about him a little before he returned. Her first comment was, "he looks like your type." (And a little part of me couldn't help wonder if she herself considered him attractive as we have a very similar preferences. But that's another story of my insecurity to discuss.) I'm really curious to hear what the two of them thought of him.

When KT did return, he stood between me and Sh. She immediately launched into some general questions about where he grew up and lived. When the subject of Boston came up, I mentioned to Sh their common interest in sports teams. They started reminiscing of great years such as 1986. I felt like I disappeared a little from the conversation because he was mostly looking at her when he talked. (There is this part of me that thinks that in a "competition" I would lose a man to her because she can be very engaging and has interests that might be more enticing to the sort of geeky men I date. I mean, if it's not meant to be with me, it should be fine. It's that damn catty gene we women have or something.)

We had a little one-on-one time before the band started up again. I recall talking about names. I had asked whether his parents are more likely to call him by his Chinese name or his American name. He said it was 50/50 and was more likely to be his full American name if they were mad at him. He doesn't like he full name because it's too formal. I jokingly asked whether anyone had ever called him by his name with a "y." His reaction made it very clear that he hates that name, even before it became a cartoon character. :) When he commented something about how simple the syllable's in he and his siblings names are, I commented about reading a book that advise about choosing names with syllables opposite to the name. That is, is your last name has an even number of syllables, choose an odd number of syllables for the first name. I don't know that it totally made sense to him. (Oh my dumb, random trivia...) He said he'd have to keep that in mind when he names his children.

We also observed how the frequency of certain American names runs higher among Asians. They usually are either easy to pronounce, sound like the given Asian name, or have a meaning. I told him how I once procrastinated from study for a final exam by looking through the phonebook and making a comparison between the American names of people with the last names Chen and Lee versus Smith and Johnson. It's as if Asian parents were given a list of approved names to name their children that was different from others - Albert, Edward, Eugene, Steven, Grace, Angela, Helen, etc. That or they use very old-fashioned names.

The band played until just after midnight. I'd like to think that some of the dancing and close proximity required for talking helped bridge any nervousness about touching each other. We didn't leave right away because BlondCurl's jacket was missing. It appeared that someone had taken it. Sh and Suna helped him double check the theatre for any chance of it. Kata, KT, and I stood at the door waiting. We just didn't feel that we'd add much help to the situation.

Walking back to the car
It was drizzling as we stepped out onto the sidewalk. Everyone quickly threw on their jackets except Suna who had left hers in the car. KT verbally offered up his, but Diamond put his over her shoulders. (There's a belief he's interested in her so it seems appropriate.)

Sh was walking behind the two of us for a little bit. Somehow I walked ahead slightly and they talked a little. She explained that she and Suna are roommates and live on College Ave. KT recalled that that's where Ig lives and asked to confirm his memory. When Sh asked if he had met Ig, he said that they had met when the three of us watched that disappointing basketball game where EB lost. I then interrupted and joked that it was no skin off his back since he could just say he was from R. That gave Sh reason to ask why he would watch his rival's game. He seem amused by the question and explained that he was a fan before he decided to go to R. I tried teasing him a little about that by saying he was "tricked" or "misled" into making that choice. ;)

At that moment, we came around the corner to see that Ig's car was still parked on the street. We debated calling TJ to see if the group was still hanging around at the house. I asked Ken if he was okay, and he said it was fine to hang out. But then, just as we were searching for a cell phone, a car pulled up with Wand and Ig. They had just dropped Ma off at his car. We all were sad to see that there was no after-party to go to.

We ended up standing in the middle of the street talking for another 20 minutes. The women all congregated around Wand's car. Somehow I ended up standing with the men. (This is why I wonder if I have some weird inability to associate with women at times.) We talked about a bunch of random stuff. KT seemed to fit in fine making comments and jokes when appropriate. Ig asked if I was going to be around next week. I vaguely reminded him that there was plans for Saturday evening already. When I clairied to Ig that it was a games night, KT apologized for his earlier comment about only "turbo(?) Christians" playing board games. I simply shrugged my shoulders as it wasn't a big deal to me. (Did he not believe me when I told him earlier that we like to play games?) Clearly Ig was recruiting people for a skiing trip. KT inserted his own comment that he couldn't go because he'll be in Virginia. (Well, that just deflated my hopes of seeing him next weekend. Another reason not to mention my upcoming birthday to him.) Diamond just moved here from the very town KT is headed to so they chatted briefly about it.

We finally called it a night and started walking towards the car. KT was very pleased with the evening and thanked me for inviting him. He added that he thinks I have a nice group of friends. I agreed. Then I asked him a little more about his Virginia trip. He'll be gone from Friday afternoon through Sunday for a wedding.

As we drove back to my place, it was clear that he was a little envious of my circle of friends. He talked about how he is still trying to establish a group to hang out with. He repeated his earlier comments about only having the much younger church friends and married friends at this time.

"So what happened with the house you were interested in?"

"Yeah, I decided not to put in an offer. It just didn't feel right."

"Is this something you plan to live in long-term or this something just for now?

"Something for now I guess. Since my base of friends is here in the valley, that's where I'm aiming for now. Even with the current market conditions, I figure it's still a better option with all the tax writeoffs than putting rent money down the drain."

"Do you also want to stay... within a close distance of your family?"

"No (firmly), I'd actually rather live in a place like EB or the Hills if I could. It appeals to me because I suppose I have this idea that it's more intellectual and more interesting people to meet. But since I don't know many people yet, I've put off that idea." (Wow, he doesn't want to live near mom?)

I tried to joke that he is attracted to things EB, but it didn't work.

Then KT asked, "where do you think people around our age spend their time these days?"

I shared how I enjoy spending time with my friends, but that it doesn't necessarily help me meet new people because I've met most of their friends over the years. I also added that over time people have gotten married or couples are planning to have children which will change the dynamics of our group. He definitely agreed with this and added about how married couples start hanging out together. My response to that was that it was very true and it kind of puts pressure on everyone else to catch up so that we can all be on the same level again... . I mentioned how it's rare these days for me to make new friends. Chi is probably the first de novo friendship I've developed in many years. Everyone else (for the most part) are people I've know between five and ten years now. He expressed that he really liked my group of friends.

[I can't help it. The latter part of our car conversation made me feel unsettled. Here we'd had this fun night and somehow I was mentally questioning his intent. I felt like he wanted my friends more than me. I was concerned that perhaps he was just with me to meet new people. I began to question whether these have been dates.]

A date goodbye?
As we pulled into my driveway, he readjusted the car to ensure I had enough room to get out. He had to get out of the car because my purse was in the trunk. I picked up my umbrella and KT reminded me about my keys under the seat. Walking towards the front door, he started to ask what I was up to for the weekend. Just as I was formulating an answer in my head, I stepped on a snail. (Damn, I was trying to test whether I would get to see him Saturday.) Once I heard the crunch of the shell, the conversation detoured into the numerous snails in California and the various methods of killing the plant-eating pests.

And when it was time to say goodnight, the thought of inviting him in didn't even cross my mind. I was too tired (and maybe a little to goal-oriented about getting another date - relax!).

As I hugged him he said, "Thanks for inviting me dancing."

"Yeah, this was fun. So you'll be gone all next weekend? You would have been invited to the games party."

He nodded in affirmation and looked pleased (in a shy or embarrassed way) to have been included. "I hope you'll have another games night soon. Maybe I can host one when I have my place."

[Awkward pause] I moved forward and gave him a hug. I wish I could remember if he had any reaction.

"So... if you have any time next week, give me a call so we can get together before you go?"

"Okay. Goodnight."

Should I be saying this? See why I'm so confused as to whether we're dating? I know he's shy but... why can't he ask me for a date in person? Did I miss the memo about being friends? [I'm ruining this whole date story by complaining aren't I?]

Saturday morning foolery
I managed to stay asleep for one full REM cycle but then found myself waking up periodically throughout the early morning. ARGHGHGH! By 9:30am, I pulled myself from the bed. In my half sleep state, I had been thinking back to our goodnight. I couldn't help think (hope) that he had been asking about my weekend in planning to try and see me again.

I think my boldness (and willingness to look like a desperate fool) has reached new heights. Here's the e-mail I sent:

"Good morning! Either I'm getting too old to stay up late or I really
got my exercise last night because I fell asleep as soon as my head
hit the pillow. :) I'm glad you had a good time dancing and meeting
my friends.

I couldn't help think back to the end of the night when you were
asking me about my weekend. Since I stepped on that snail, the
conversation kind of detoured. I was wondering if you were perhaps
thinking that we could do something else together this weekend? If
so, I'd be up for something mellow tonight like renting a DVD or
something. Give me a call if that's appealing to you."

I'm probably totally off base. (But my faux magic 8-ball said that this was a good idea... :p) You know I'll spend all afternoon hoping the phone will ring... and it won't. At least I think I've made myself clear that I like him and want to see him. How can that be a bad thing?

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