Saturday, April 22, 2006

On vacation...

I'm on vacation for the next couple weeks... no thinking about boys, just enjoying the sights... :D

Looking forward to new things to write about.

A sincere last note

I have to give credit to Waby's truth that "if it's not clear, there's nothing going on." It would definitely seem to be the case with KT. You'd think by this age we'd all be better able to be straight forward and deal with these situations, but maybe that's why some of us are still single at this age.

KT is not a bad person by any means, though I would dare say that he has some etiquette and boundary issues. I think we're both decent people, so it's only proper to provide him with a show of appreciation for his honesty. He wasn't intentionally a jerk. There is little chance of running into him in the future, but certainly the possibility exists. I don't want to burn any bridges and want to minimize the awkwardness of any future encounter (plus I have my dentist to think about ;)).

My e-mail was short and simple - no blame, no explanations, no expectations:

"Dear K,

Thanks, I appreciate your honesty. I'm glad we could clear this up.

Take care,

(Okay, what I wrote might be a little vague because I don't actually say I'm not interested in being friends, but I didn't want to risk adding anything that could be misinterpreted. My hope is that no mention of remaining friends and the "take care" given him enough sense of my feelings.)

There have been dozens of thoughts, critiques, and theories that have come and gone the past couple days. When I sit down to blog, however, I can't remember them, though at that moment they seemed worth mentioning. Seeing as it's all a moot point now, I'm okay with putting it all to rest.

I am satisfied that I gave this situation my fair attention and effort. I have no regrets other than maybe speaking up sooner. This was a success in that I was able to be myself, I took initiative to show interest, and I knew when to move on (well, mostly).

Friday, April 21, 2006

Closing the books on this one

So around 10:15am this morning, I reread the e-mail one last time and pushed the "Send" button. If you could read my mind at the time, you'd hear "adios, ya big loser!"

It did feel good to send it and get this huge elephant off my chest. I had a ton of work to do to since this was my last day before vacation which helped keep my mind off of it.

Hi KT,

I'm a little confused about things and need to ask your opinion. It
seems like we enjoy spending time together. There have been a couple
times we've gone out and I've had the impression that it was more of
a date - like the time we went to dinner and the movie. On the other
hand, I get signals that you think of me only as a friend.

I was wondering how you feel about us? I feel like I'm getting mixed
signals and would like to understand how you see things.


Much to my surprise, an e-mail popped up only half an hour later. I was preparing for a meeting and didn't allow myself to open it. I didn't want to be distracted during my meeting. Still, I considered that his quick response meant that he didn't need much time to compose his response. He knows where he stands.

Dear P,

First of all, I apologize for the confusion. I’ve wanted to discuss this topic, but didn’t quite know how to bring it up.

To cut to the chase, I do think of you as a friend. I do enjoy spending time together. However, honestly, I don’t think of us in a romantic sense.

I hope this is okay with you, since I do enjoy being friends with you.


Yeah... he didn't know how to bring it up... what a surprise. (Excuse me, my 3rd personality, Jaded Bitter Lady stepped into the room for a second.) I wonder how long he's been thinking about this? I'm not surprised, I knew this is the answer I'd be getting. (Thank God I don't do this in person.) At least he didn't try and squirm his way out of this with some cheesy joke. I appreciate that he seems honest. Don't you find it interesting that he used the formal "Dear" to address this e-mail? The tone has completely changed. Interesting... . I don't know what else to say.

There were some moments in the afternoon when I thought my hands were trembling. Mostly, I just felt a little glum. On the way home, I felt a huge weight lifted off me (okay, I know trite, but true). I kept thinking how I can go back to just being... alone. Does that sound sad? What I mean is that my mind can now be at peace because I don't have to fret and worry about someone else. Life is so much better without the drama (for me and everyone around me).

The one thing left to figure out is whether to reply and what to say. (The one thing I do know is that he ain't getting my friends' e-mail address... I asked them.)


"This is a very good techinique for calming yourself when you are feeling anxious."

Really, I'll be fine. The worst is almost over... I'm actually looking forward to the return to peaceful, non-dating thoughts. :) I have a good life and there's no reason not to enjoy it.

Daily Overview for April 21, 2006

Your objectivity is crucial. Luckily it's easy to not take things personally today.

Are you fully appreciative of all the love you have in your life? It's time to think about the multitude of blessings you have received and express that gratitude properly. Get out into nature and feel thankful.

F*ck'd up

So I did get a response from KT to my e-mail. Just as I left work on Thursday, he replied:

"Shoot, leaving so soon?
My vacay so far has been a good time for relaxing and catching up. Virginia [... .]

How was your games night last weekend?

Are you looking forward to Europe? Be sure to bring [.... ]

No plans for tomorrow night...let me know if you are interested in hanging out.

Too bad u won't be around next week. I met some people who are organizing a mixer in Alt next week. They are part of a group called [... . ]

Actually, maybe Ig, Sh, and Suna would be interested since they live in [the area]. Can you forward me their e-mails?

Wish you a good Friday!"


Yeah... can you guess what kind of thoughts ran through my head? Let's see... I must edit this to keep it PG-13, but basically the words "IDIOT" and "LAME" went through my mind for awhile. I felt that this e-mail was a pretty clear indication. For a moment, I thought maybe he heard my pleas from my previous blog entry to not reply unless he was absolutely clear about being JUST friends. There was a faint creek inside my heart, but it's probably just a loose nail. Seriously, I think my ego was hurt more than my heart.

Come on, you ask if I want to hang out - alone with you? And then, you mention going to a "mixer" AND ask me to give you my friends' e-mail addresses? People you've talked to for all of 30 minutes? Now I feel really duped.

Needless to say I was rather DiSTurBed last night. It was hard to concentrate. I envy the ability men have to compartmentalize things and get it off their minds. I obsess and dwell too much. Tim did his best to sympathize and console me. He didn't sugar coat everything; I wouldn't expect that of him. He was fair and reasonable in pointing out the issues and suggesting ways I could feel better about myself (despite all the ideas of torturing myself that I threatened to do, nothing crazy, just banging my head against the wall or depriving myself of sleep).

Originally, I thought I'd have KT come over and ask him my question in person, but I just couldn't accept the idea. Tim had a good point, that if I knew the answer was going to be "friends," that would make us both feel awkward and end the night. Why do it in person?

I told Tim that I was going to stay up for as long as it took to compose a neutral and non-threatening e-mail. The plan was to write it and sleep on it. (Because I've learned one too many times that heat-of-the-moment e-mails are incredibly dangerous... I have yet to determine if drunk e-mailing is worse.) He offered to help edit it with me if I wanted. He told me to call him back later and took a shower.

I then caught Is online and discussed what happened. We traded snide remarks and bitter men comments while we called KT lots of names. (Oh, that can be such good therapy.) Then I traded my first draft with her by e-mail. I did pretty well on my first go around. It was simple and to the point. We spent maybe ten minutes cleaning up the last few sentences because I guess it sounded a tad demanding or laying blame. I think it came out pretty well. There's only so much you can do to be clear since you can't control how and where people will add emphasis and intonation to your words.

Around midnight, I called Tim back and showed him KT's response plus my new e-mail. He did his best to cheer me up by criticizing KT's e-mail - the lame spelling of "vacay," incomplete thoughts, and lame attempt to sound cool. It was funny, and I felt a little calmer. He suggested a couple small adjustments to my e-mail and we said "goodnight."

When I woke up this morning, I sent it back to Is and Nvy for a last check. They both approved and wished me luck.

Mea culpa

In my frustrations last night I had some good conversations with friends. I was very needy, insecure, and self-centered, so I'm glad my friends can be patient and understanding.

No one likes to hear bad things. And I certainly take constructive criticism very hard, but I also know that I need to hear it if I'm going to make myself a better person. [exhale] I apologize to people who I unintentionally (or subconsciously) offend. (Unfortunately, I won't be seeing my therapist for three weeks, so I'm on my own to process and cope with this one.)


I had dinner with Chi last night. She was great. As soon as we met up, she asked about KT. I felt kind of bad jumping into all the details when my original intent was to ask her about Morm (especially since I had just gotten an e-mail response from KT). We always have a good conversation, full of laughs, frustration, and support. There was plenty of time later in the dinner for her to update me on Morm.

The one thing I caught myself doing (after the fact) was inserting comments that were pretty tangential to the conversation. I know I did it at least twice because I felt how awkward it was. (Bad Dobby, bad Dobby! Dobby must punish himself now.) I've been called on this several times in my adult life. It's taken me a long, long time to be cognizant of it and, obviously, it's still a difficult tendency for me to stop. I can only wonder how many men (or people in general) I've put off with this rude, self-centered style. I hope Chi understands that my bad mood probably contributed to my need to feel better by doing that.


Later, I was chatting on the phone with Nvy. She was sweet enough to collect some places and addresses for my trip to France. Eventually, we talked a little about my blog. She's one of the few friends who knows about it and has read it. I admitted to feeling bad about mentioning my blog to my friends but not telling them where it is. She called me on it in a heartbeat and scolded me for it. She knows me well - good and bad. I know she's right; we both agreed. I said it myself in a previous blog entry. I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. This is another issue I need to discuss with my therapist - why I play these little power games and why I do this to get attention. I'm sure it's a habit I developed as a child (growing up essentially as an only child) and was never corrected.


The drama continued into late night (I'll have to write about that later). I shared a copy of the e-mail I sent KT to Tim. He read through it and pointed out that it was mean of me to say "Since I haven't heard from you..." Okay, I know... you can't imagine how many times I considered rewriting that sentence before I sent it because I knew it was kind of passive-aggressive. Tim and I talked about it a little. He gave me a break about it, he recognized that I felt bad. He reasoned to me that being an only child, I lacked the interaction to learn how to react better to situations. As an only child, it was easy to simply tell my parents what I wanted and get it. (This is why I believe in having none or at least TWO children. I don't want them to end up like me.) Kudos to Tim for being so understanding and so empathetic.


Well, now that I've been paid by my company to waste some 30 minutes doing something completely unrelated to work, I should probably wrap up. It's also not a great mindset to start the day with, feeling like beating yourself up. I'm very hard on myself, I've been told that not only by people but by personality surveys. I think it comes a lot from the impossible expectations put on me by my mother growing up and because, I think, as an only child, I had the time and ability to have things "perfect."

Sorry, sorry, sorry to my friends for being so annoying. I'm trying, believe me. Baby steps...

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Pathetic or polite?

Okay, since I'm treating KT like a friend, I have sent him a quick e-mail.

"How's the vacation going? Since I haven't heard from you, I'm assuming you're off on a good adventure. Anything interesting in Virginia?"

>>> Of course what I want to add there, in classic passive-aggressive style, is "or you've decided you no longer want to talk to me, but if you felt that way you'd tell me because that's the polite thing to do."

"I'm getting ready to head out myself. It'll be wonderful to get on the plane for Europe on Sunday. :) J'ecoute beaucoup de Francais dans ma voiture... pouvez-vous donner moi d'euros?"

>>> Is this desperately silly or what? I'm giving you a hint that maybe we could still meet up once before I go (because my therapist and Tim both thought I should give you the opportunity).

"My friend sent me this link about learning Chinese through an iPod. I thought you might be interested. Maybe when I get back I'll download some of these podcasts to learn some friendly Chinese conversation."

>>> Nothing clever here, just honestly thought this was interesting and that he might be interested in using this to practice his Chinese. And it is really coincidence that the most recent lesson was on flirting.

Please don't write back unless you like me, please don't write back unless you feel like there's something more between us, please don't write back because I don't know what I want, please don't write back unless... or write me back and be VERY clear about being J U S T friends.

A husband store

My co-worker sent this sometime ago. I remember it after taking that quiz that said I want "romance." Play along as if you were really there and make your choice. ;)


> A store that sells husbands has just opened in New York City, where a
> woman may go to choose a husband. Among the instructions at the
> entrance is a description of how the store operates.
> "You may visit the store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the
> attributes of the men increase as the shopper ascends the flights.
> There is, however, a catch: you may choose any man from a particular
> floor, or you may choose to go up a floor, but you cannot go back down
> except to exit the building!"
> So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband.
> On the first floor the sign on the door reads: Floor 1 - These men
> have jobs.
> The second floor sign reads: Floor 2 - These men have jobs and love
> kids.
> The third floor sign reads: Floor 3 - These men have jobs, love kids,
> and are extremely good looking. "Wow," she thinks, but feels compelled
> to keep going.
> She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads: Floor 4 - These men
> have jobs, love kids, are drop-dead good looking and help with the
> housework.
> "Oh, mercy me!" she exclaims, "I can hardly stand it!"
> Still, she goes to the fifth floor and sign reads: Floor 5 - These men
> have jobs, love kids, are drop-dead gorgeous, help with the housework,
> and have a strong romantic streak.
> She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the sixth floor and the
> sign reads: Floor 6 -
> You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this
> floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to
> please.
> Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.


So when I read this, I thought about stopping at the 3rd floor. It seemed pretty reasonable, but I have to admit I was tempted enough to go one more floor. At the time, I was pretty content with my choice, especially knowing I had bagged myself a good looking man who would take equal responsibilities at home.

Of course, if I had read the details more carefully, I would have known to stop at the 5th floor. ;) Damn, was I disappointed to read the next floor added romance... sigh. If only life were that easy to predict.

I couldn't help wonder if this means I'm ready to settle for Mr. Right Now (or maybe I'm just getting more realistic in my "old" age ;)).

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Stand still

As I expected, my therapist wanted me to take more action. She could see I was visibly aggravated the more we discussed the current situation. I even told her that I feel like I'll be better off if I don't hear from KT this week. It seems easier at this point to forget about him than to deal with more torture.

Even she was perplexed by the behavior I described during my Tuesday dinner date. She really didn't have anything to offer. His actions are "date-like" and yet he doesn't seem to know what he wants.

We tossed around the ideas about hugging or joking about kissing me? Then she asked how I would feel about kissing him. WHAT??!!! Me? Make *the* move? Yeah, ha, now she's gone off the deep end. I don't think so! I tossed that idea out right quick.

If I'm so hesitant to ask him what is happening, she asked if I would send him an e-mail. My opinion is that these types of conversations need to be done in person to be able to see their face. I need to know, but I feel that this is a no-win situation. Asking him will make him uncomfortable, but not saying anything will keep me unhappy. I was reminded that if I don't forsee being friends with KT, then I have nothing to lose. I reminded my therapist about Waby's opinion that if the situation is not clear, there's nothing going on. Basically, at the end of the session, she cautioned that I say something before my anger taints my attitude. I nodded.

Tim says what's the harm in being friends with KT. He also reminded me of something that's occurred to me - that I'm really in love with the idea of KT but not the actual guy. (Sad but could be true... reminds me of Billy Crystal's line in "When Harry Met Sally" about Helen. The idea scares me because it makes me worry that I'll never get married because of this fixation on ideals.) Ig thinks I should just say "no" if KT asks me out again. Unless I feel that there's a real connection, he doesn't think it's worth my time. I'm kind of feeling that way. It's fine, probably better I don't date someone from that scary other school. ;p

Whatever... it's time to start thinking about what to pack for my vacation. :)

It's a mystery

I rewatched "Shakespeare in Love" last night and couldn't help think of this line. "It's a mystery" seems to describe so many things these days (but at least it's been entertaining). Every time I watch this movie I'm inspired to head down to my local library and pick up a copy of "Twelfth Night" and enrich myself, but as always, I never do it. The movie really romanticized Shakespearean plays and makes me really excited about them.

So I will soon be visiting my therapist. I didn't speak with her last week because it was spring break, and I presume she was on vacation with the family. I'm going to have to be very efficient with the 50 minutes we have to catch her up on all that has happened in the past two weeks. She knows nothing of either the 80s dancing date or the pre-birthday dinner. My big question is whether she'll encourage me, AGAIN, to be more assertive and pursue KT.

It's going to be a tug of war I imagine. I'm just very reluctant and skeptical of these things. Granted, it seemed to work out well right? Even my cousin was very impressed with my actions. It was funny to hear her so excited about my "accomplishment." (Yeah, big whoop... :p) I honestly don't feel like it's done much in the way of moving things along. The fool still won't touch me with a ten-foot pole. We'd probably have to be forced into one of those adolescent games, you know, the one where you get thrown into a dark closet together? (Okay, I've never even played spin the bottle.) I bet that'd be the only way he'd ever touch me. And you can imagine even that would be an incredibly stressful situation for such a shy guy.

I think I've managed to calm down a bit. I am resigned to the idea that he's disappeared. Maybe he decided at the last minute to get out of town for his vacation. He did mention something about a bachelor party (though considering most of his friends are church goers, it's not likely they're in Vegas putting $1 bills in some girl's g-string - what a strange picture that is in my mind right now). Does he realize I'm leaving for vacation this weekend?

I did e-mail Lips. Not sure why I haven't heard from her either. It would seem that fate is telling me to go on vacation already.

Friends and blogs

Ever since Saturday, I've been wondering if any of my local friends have found my blog. I suppose in some subconscious way I wanted them to know about it, but I don't want them to read it.

I've been very open and detailed in my writings, to the point where it would be very easy to identify people. Perhaps too easy. But I also feel like that's the freedom I should be allowed by writing an anonymous blog.

My friends seemed a little upset that I was unwilling to reveal to location of my blog. And perhaps it was a fun little way to hold some "power" over them. I honestly don't think they'd have much trouble finding it if they truly wanted to read it.

Now that paranoia has set in, I'm beginning to debate whether to edit some of the details in previous entries. I hate that I even have to be this concerned. This is exactly why I don't share this with people within a 100-mile radius of where I live. What will people think of me? How judging will they be? Will what they learn about me be that could be used against me in some way?

I have to trust that my friends will be loyal and honest with me. I have to trust they will not take offense at what I write and will understand that this is who I am and that I still love them as friends. Do they understand that no one is perfect? And, I would hope that if they have an issue with something I said, that they would come talk to me about it.

I asked Tim last night if he's tried to find my blog. His initial response was that I probably write "mean things" about him so he doesn't want to read it. I know he was kind of joking. In truth, I think he respects that I'm not comfortable with him reading it though I know that I'd be okay with it if he did.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Silence as the wind rustles the trees

I'm sitting here looking out the office windows. It's finally feeling like spring with the clear blue skies, winds stirring the tender new leaves on the trees, and the yellow of the mustard weed that grows taller than me. An old red cottage sits off to the site of the road that I can see across the street. It's perfectly picturesque.

So why do I lamely keeping wondering what KT is up to? As I went down to lunch I thought again about when TJ asked me to rate my level of interest. As I mentioned, the score fluctuates depending on my mood. Well, today, considering the dolt hasn't made any effort to e-mail or call, he gets a 5. (Mind you 5 means I could go either way, as opposed to a '1' which would indicate that "nothing could tempt me to date you" versus a '10' which translates into "I want to become one with you.") I'm disappointed, I'm upset, I'm annoyed.

I know I shouldn't let one man bother me so much. Unfortunately, I only have myself to blame. I just can't make any excuses for him barring some unforeseen emergency. If he truly liked me, he would have contacted me. What excuse could he possibly have given that he's not working this week? I'm such an idiot. Apparently I need to be hit over the head at least 5 times (and a little bit harder please, maybe add a few nails for good measure). I guess I'm still clinging to that hope that everything will work out someday. It would seem hope never dies.

Men suck (or in KT's case, geeky boys suck).

When and if to adopt

So as I mentioned before, adoption has been an option that I always thought I would pursue if the time came. Honestly, I thought I'd be married by my early 30s and wouldn't even have to weigh the matter. But here I am... .

It breaks my heart when I see children. I know they're a lot of work; it's not all giggles and smiles. But I want children. I want to be a mother. As afraid as I am of being a terrible, mean, and strict mother, I am desperate for the day to come. Life just seems like it will be complete when I have children to love and nurture.

When I am sad about being single, everyone tries to comfort me saying, "don't worry, you have plenty of time."

I hate that. I know they mean well, but it's not true. I don't have time. Being 40 and raising an infant is not what nature intended. How fair is it to a child to be already worrying about the financial stability and well-being of aging parents when they've barely finished college? I don't want to be one of those women who goes through months and months of injections and pain to do in vitro fertilization. IT'S NOT NATURAL. (I understand those who may have a legitimate medical condition that requires treatment, but if you just put off having a child because you wanted to enjoy your life or to spend some time on your career, you don't have my sympathy.)

But what happens when I'm 39 and childless?

There are two sets of questions to ask myself:

1) Can you be a single parent? Do you understand the responsibilities involved?

- Can I afford a child? Yes, I think I do okay. It won't be the dream house with the picket fence. I may have to give up living where I am now for a more affordable city or state, but it's possible.

- What happens when you get sick? No, my parents don't live nearby. I'd be on my own. This could be difficult without supportive friends.

- Will I be able to juggle my job? I understand that I may have to sacrifice my career and take a lesser job to ensure that I am able to be where I need to be when I need.

- Is it fair to the child to have only one parent? Maybe it's not ideal but I also think that being Chinese I can help them with their identity and appreciate their hertiage. I have a lot to give, and why not give that to a child who's been abandoned by her parents.

- Will I be lonely? Who wants to a date a single woman with a small child? Will I have time to date? Will having a child make up for not having a partner/husband? I don't know the answer. I know I need companionship. It may seem like I can be content alone, but in reality I need people. I need my friends around me for support, for laughter, for the tough times.

2) Should I have a child by birth or adopt?

- Being pregnant demands a great physical toll on the body. I feel that I'm healthy enough for it, but I have to admit that bearing the burden alone is scary. What if something happens and I'm alone at home? I'd also be lacking a lot of emotional support. Day to day tasks would become more difficult to manage, but I suppose I could hire a maid.

- Having a genetic connection to the child would be of great practical benefit. After all, I'd have a better idea of my baby's medical history. As an adult they might have a better idea of what health risks they need to be aware of.

- Having a child as a single women brings up another important question - who will the father be? Do you find a friend who is willing to donate or do you go to a sperm bank? Frankly, I'd prefer it be someone I know, however, that could get complicated if the friend has a wife. Surely, she would be very uncomfortable with the situation. It's also difficult to separate emotions from expected roles of responsibility. With an anonymous donor, I wouldn't have to worry about future custody suit (or you take care of it through legal contracts before conceiving but boy doesn't that take the joy out of the whole thing). But anonymous sperm also means you won't have medical history. I think it's better to know, even if there's a chance it's not all good.

- Adoption is another challenge in and of itself. The Chinese government has put in place stricter policies since 2001 about who can qualify. The one thing that works against me is that roughly only 5% of adoptions are allowed to be by single women. (If you're a single man, you are totally out of luck.) Understandably, they prefer the bulk of adoptions be by responsible, stable, married couples. One website I looked at already advised that single women cannot submit applications because requests exceed available children through 2007. From the time I want to take custody of my child, I need to plan up to two years back because that's how long the process could take. Should I decide to start an adoption application sometime next year, I probably would not complete the process until 2009.

- The costs of adoption are quite high. When I toured China a couple years ago, I happen to run into a group that had just come to meet their children. When I read up more on what they had gone through, I surmised they spent some $20,000 during the process and probably were carrying several thousand dollars on their person to pay the final government fees when they exited through Guangdong. This costs is likely just fees alone and doesn't not account for travel, training, etc.

- The concern my mother would have is what kind of history the child has. These orphanages vary widely. There's no way to know what kind of emotional trauma the children may harbor. You have no idea of their medical history and what may lie ahead. But if you love the child, it shouldn't matter right? But I have to admit, if I were a single parent, certainly I'd prefer a healthy child as it would be very challenging to deal with additional disabilities. I'm no angel, no saint. I want a "normal" child. I don't even have that guarantee if I were to give birth to my own, but somehow I guess one likes to believe that having some control in the matter improves the odds.

3) By when do I need to make this decision?

- I still feel like deciding it's time to adopt means I have given up on finding a man to marry. I know that's not necessarily true because I've seen people with children successfully remarry or get married. I simply recognize that the odds would not be in my favor. But then, getting older, the odds aren't great. Perhaps I'm being too pessimistic. I just feel like when I make this decision, I have to weigh whether having a child or having a companion is more important to feel fulfilled in my life.

So how do I make this decision? Will there be a day when suddenly everything becomes clear as to what is the best thing to do?

It's a scary thought to raise a child alone. But the thought of missing out on the joys (and challenges) of being a parent scare me more. I've been through a lot in my life, and I'd like to believe that I can suffer through and survive the worst. Without having looked at all the details yet, I am willing to make the sacrifices required for those fleeting moments of happiness. I still have some time to think through all this... time will tell.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Important element in a guy

Found this at Zerodoll's blog


Romance is most important in a boyfriend/girlfriend. You need romance in your life. You love the extra dimension that romance brings to a relationship and you tend to fall in love very quickly.

Perfect BF/GF Piechart -

Take this quiz at

Uh oh... I haven't seen any romance lately and can't say I would expect any (sad huh?). And the comment about falling in love quickly, it's fair (and a bit worrisome).

Waiting or adopting

In my random blog browsing, I came across the blog of a 33-year-old, single, white woman who recently had her dream come true. She adopted a 13-month-old girl from China. I was intrigued by all the photos. I have to go back and read more about her journey.

It arouses a lot of curiosity for me because when I was fresh out of college, I had thought that should I be unlucky to still be single when I was 35, I'd consider adoption. (Gee, that age came sooner than I expected...) Seeing her site today really brought forward some emotions and fears that I have allowed to fade into the shadows. Now, I find myself feeling somewhat alone and sad.

I still have a lot of friends who say they're not ready for children or that they don't feel that NEED yet. I never worried about it for a long time. I assumed my time would come. That is, until the past few years, as I've watched friends have start families and find them preparing for number two in some cases. The world seems to be passing me by without a glance.

Perhaps this isn't exactly a dating story. I debated whether to locate this in my other blog. But it speaks to dating in that I wonder how much longer I should keep trying to find a husband. Taking care of child will change everything. I certainly don't think I'd have time to date. And most definitely, men would look at me very differently.

To be continued...

Why I want

I can't help be harsh on myself for continually checking e-mail. Why do I constantly yearn for attention?

Why I want to hear from KT? (because I was once told we don't "need" anything)

- I need to know that I am desirable (because when I see my hair in the morning and those wobbling thighs, you need a little reassurance)
- Because I am emotionally invested and want to see him again
- I want to believe that he likes me too
- I want to tell him about "V for Vendetta" (and how I'm happy we chose to see the other movie together)
- Because if I hear from him today, that means more than hearing from him Wednesday (and maybe he's going to be a better date - turning blue now from holding my breath)
- My eggs are getting old and I hate twiddling my thumbs waiting
- I'm a pathetically needy woman
- My mother would be so happy if I brought him home
- Because I want to play hooky from work this week and have him invite me to spend a day with him (damn, I already made my birtday wishes)
- I want him to tell me about his trip (and see if attending a wedding gave him any good ideas)
- So we can have a date before I take off for vacation
- I'd like to know that someone is thinking of me in a nice way
- Because I want him to kiss me (Stop being such a chicken! I don't bite... well, not yet anyways)

Why I want to hear from Waby (or another man for that reason)?

- I need to feel special
- I want to think that I'm intriguing to men
- Because I'm tired of being single
- I want to have something else to think about
- I want another free dinner ;)
- I like meeting new people
- I'm a pathetically needy woman
- I'm suffering from a childhood of being unrecognized and thirst for attention
- It would be nice to believe that someone gets me
- Because I think that by meeting more people I can work on my social skills
- Eventually, it'd be nice to use up the condoms in my drawer
- I know eventually I'll meet someone
- It's better to do e-mail than work
- Because I like feeling happy

How to say "no"... nicely?

My friend found this and forwarded it to me:>1=7964

Just say no: Tactful turndowns
By Maria Fontoura

If you’ve ever given a guy your phone number or agreed to go out on a date simply because you didn’t want to hurt his feelings, you are a woman in need of a game plan… and a reality check. Sure, you might have saved him a moment of embarrassment by pretending initially to be interested, but now you’ve set him up for worse rejection when you blow him off later on. A better approach? Use one of these polite ways to say, “Thanks, but no thanks”—they’re gathered from relationship experts, dating gurus, and savvy single people like you.

1. Use the best policy
Telling a guy straight-up that you’re just not that into him can make even the most straight-talking woman squirm. Would it help if we assured you it’s actually more kind than callous? And it’ll spare both you and your suitor from future anxiety. Use “I” statements so he won’t think he’s done something wrong, says Susan RoAne, communication expert and author of What Do I Say Next? “For example, “I’ve really enjoyed talking with you, but I don’t feel a connection” or “I think you’re obviously great, but I’m looking for something else right now and I want to be honest up front about our chances.” It may be an uncomfortable moment, but he’ll walk away and get over it. In fact, he’ll probably appreciate your candor. “Honesty is like a breath of fresh air,” says dating coach David Wygant. “Guys will thank you for it.”

2. Reverse roles
Sure, Mom always said not to answer a question with a question, but there’s an exception to every rule. Let’s say someone has just asked for your number: When you ask for his information instead rather than giving out yours, you’re putting the ball in your court—which means you call the shots. Won’t he know it’s a ruse? Most guys say no: “All it says to me is that she likes to be in control,” says Jeff Wesson of Los Angeles, “That’s fine by me. Then I’m no longer responsible for where things go. If she calls, great. If she doesn’t, oh well. I won’t lose sleep over it.”

3. Reset his sights
If you’ve genuinely enjoyed talking with him — just not enough that you can envision turning into a twosome with him — don’t send him away empty-handed. Run through your mental Rolodex of your single pals and coworkers. Tell him you think he’d get along well with a single friend of yours, take his number or email address, and offer to set him up, recommends E. Jean Carroll, Elle magazine advice guru and author of Mr. Right, Right Now. “If you flatter him, you can’t hurt his feelings,” she says. “And he can’t not be complimented if you’re suggesting setting him up with someone else.”

4. Apologize for your unavailability
Rather than a blunt no, Wygant advocates saying, “I’m sorry, I’m actually dating right now.” “What it really means, of course, is ‘I’m not dating you,’ but at least he can focus on being bummed that he simply met you at the wrong time in your life,” he says.

5. Play the numbers game
When you and your admirer have mutual acquaintances, you can rebuff his advances by making it clear that you only want to spend time with him as a part of that group—not as a couple. New York single Jaime Costa explains how one woman used the tactic on him: “A really cute girl joined our staff temporarily, and on her last day, I said I’d like to take her out for a drink. She responded, ‘Sure, it would be great if we all went out — the whole team — to celebrate.’ I immediately got the picture that she wasn’t interested in anything more, but it was still fun going out like that.” So if someone you like (but not in that way) from your circle of friends asks you out, you can just respond by saying, “That sounds fun—I’ll ask so-and-so if they can join us!”

My thoughts, I'm probably for doing #1 or #5. #4 seems like a valid option I suppose, but I would be hesistant to use this one if I thought it was someone I was likely to run into regularly. You could be telling the truth and that's fine, but if he keeps running into you and never meets the guy(s) you claim to be dating, well... . Also, if the guy *really* seems into you, he might try again in a couple months. If you're sure there's no chance, why give him that 1% hope by saying that he should try again later.

I never thought about option 5. Frankly, most of these people aren't people I wouldn't even think about hanging around with more. Maybe I should rethink that. I guess I always thought this would still leave the door open. But I guess if you think the guy is cool, why not? (Then again, you may want to get to know the person a little before exposing your friends. I've seen it happed where the guy ends up trying to ask out a bunch of the women, and no one wants that if he's a loser.)

To train or not to train

Saturday night, I had some friends over for catching up and board games. Half the folks hadn't seen each other in many weeks. At first, there were multiple one-on-one conversations as people reacquainted themselves with little things. I put out several plates of snacks to keep everyone happy. (I'm still amazed at how much food we went through.) Eventually, we all got into a cozy circle in my living room.

It must be because the majority of the people present are married or part of a couple because the conversation steered, once again, towards my dating adventures. We all seem to enjoy living vicariously through others. I had turned to Hula joking about whether she might spot Waby the next time she and C3 go salsa dancing. Over hearing that, I was asked to summarize the weirdly honest Saturday date I had so that everyone could catch up. It turned into a funny little thing because the guys had such hilarious side comments about all the quirky details. Hula joked that should she end up dancing with the guy, she'll make sure to ask about what car he drives and how much he makes. ;) I wish I could be there to see how that one plays out. It can be entertaining when you know how to push people's buttons. >:) We're so bad.

Since TJ and Hula's husband knew little about KT, I resummarized my pre-birthday dinner. This time, I gave a more detailed description of the birthday card writing. Everyone agreed that it was a positive sign and that women probably read to much into these things. C3 even said that, now knowing he'd written more than just a signature, she felt he was interested in me since he took the time to write in the card. Still, the guys were harsh on KT and his lameness. Ja said the next time I invite him to a group event, the guys would take him aside and give him a bit of date training. That could be a very scary experience... .

So that was a big question put forth to me. Do I want to be a trainer? TJ's former girlfriend was an expert in this area. She has apparently trained many ex-boyfriend's. KT knows the little things like paying, doors, coats, etc., but he lacks vision of the greater expectations (LIKE CALLING ME OCCASIONALLY). Being somewhat clueless myself, I don't know that I could give him the proper guidance. (Besides, I'm not that great at teaching without criticizing and I fear it would give the wrong impression or turn me into some kind of MonsTeR. I just want to be me.) One of the guys said exactly what I have been thinking... that this is a chance to polish a gem in the rough. It's just hard to know if you can be successful with a 34-year-old man and whether you get to keep the prize or whether someone else will reap the rewards. I suppose I still feel burned by my ex, Ryan, and how someone else took the spoils.

Chi inadvertently started out next conversation as she approached the guest bathroom and commented, "speaking of training, someone needs to learn about toilet seats."

It was a good laugh. Ja was laying on his stomach. He is the sweetest, big and smart guy you'll meet. He turns into a big teddy bear around his wife. C3 gave him an affectionate pat on the head and said, "he still needs work in that area. That's been a low priority at home."

We laughed about how they've found a compromise in that there's one bathroom in their house where he needs to remember to put the seat back down while in the other bathroom he's allowed to leave it up.

TJ put in his own story. A couple of years ago, when he was trying online dating, he created a profile that used a Q&A to be different. Apparently one of the questions was whether he remembers to put the toilet seat down. The answer: "I've never had anyone fall in yet."

For the past year, he's been dating a younger, energetic woman, Giggles. A few months ago, she was at TJ's. I guess she wasn't paying attention and fell into the toilet. (Can you imagine if larger toilets become mainstream? I'm going to completely fall in rather than just get stuck - YUCK! ;)) TJ is now sad because if he ever has to resurrect that dating profile, he can't use that Q&A.

So back to my own dilemma. TJ asked how much I like this guy. He gave me a 1 to 10 scale. Chi added that for reference she equated 10 to wanting to marry the guy. That set off a bunch of jokes about where the sex part came in. Now that I think back to that night, I think we were using different scales. My response was somewhere between a 7 or 8, ignoring the cluelessness issue. TJ was really surprised that I would give the guy an '8.' But in my mind, I saw '5' as a middle point where I could go either way and anything less would have meant that I wasn't that interested. You'd think in my line of work I'd remember to set a proper frame of reference for the scale before providing an answer.

I think among the girlfriends who have heard me talk about this in detail, they can tell I really like him. The thing that gets me is that I don't feel like I can accurately describe why. There's still a lot of attraction based on first impression. KT and I still have many layers to peel back and learn about each other. I just know that I am willing to spend that time with him.

I have unleashed a monster called my well-meaning friends... . I had told them about KT inviting me to IM him online. I reminded them that I can't chat online at work because all communication applications are blocked. They then offered that I give them KT's ID and they could talk to him for me. Now there's a scary thought. It's all in good fun, but I can't help wonder what will slip out in conversation if and when they all meet KT. How upset would he be if he knew I'd been spilling all the details to my friends? Poor guy, just imagine, if he likes me, how concerned he is about making a good impression with all my friends. :) I can just imagine him sweating it out in his head. This will only make him more nervous (which is hard to imagine).

KT should be back from his weekend trip. I am anxious to hear from him. Why did my friends have to reassure me that he *is* interested in me? I need to find myself a distraction until then.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Taking the first one that comes along

As I mentioned, last night was all about seeing Suna and her bellydancing.

I couldn't help wonder how she's doing with dating these days. A friend of the Princeton crowd is visiting from Asia this week. Because her graduate school training was paid for by the government she is required to return and "pay back" the costs by working for a set period of time. It's either double the amount of time or three times the money. In this particular situation that apparently translates into 20 YEARS or 1 MILLION dollars (US)!

To make the situation even more complicated she still dating the man she met in grad school. Uh, they both know she can't move back here (not unless she wins the lottery or something). Suna immediately commented how she need to speak alone with her about this. "I did this long distance thing... " she said with a very cautionary tone.

Later, Suna gave me a ride over to the karaoke bar. She asked me what happened with KT and I recalled that she had left on Wednesday evening before the story began. I gave her a quick synopsis and my position on the situation. She agreed.

I then asked her about her dating situation and whether there was anything happening with Diamond. She said she's definitely interested, but that friends have been encouraging her to still get on They do want her to just accept the first boy that comes along. She joked about how it would be nice to simply date him for several years until they break up. (Aww... a little dating apprehension.) She recognizes why her friends want her to explore a little more and choose rather than take what comes. It seems like we women tend to do this more than men.

I had lunch on Friday with a male colleague of mine, Penn. I am temporarily working with him on a big project. He wanted to spend lunch with me to make sure I'm doing okay. Things are getting quite depressed at work with good people resigning and just general malaise from some bad events last year.

I told him pretty honestly that if I was more focused on my career, I probably would be trying to leave the company. But for now, I'm happy with my work and my co-workers because it's not the number one thing in my life.

As we returned from lunch, I mentioned the reason I ran out on his meeting last Tuesday was because I had a date. When he asked how it went I said that it might just be a case of friends. Penn thought back to his own days of being single. He said there was a time when he was so focused on work that it wasn't on his mind. Then he realized he just wanted to put himself out there and generally date people. He wasn't ready to get into anything serious, he just wanted to get his feet wet. It took him sometime to feel ready to be serious about someone. He once commented how his mother said, "Everyone you bring home is nice, just pick one!"

The unwanted radar

Why is it that you can always tell when people whom you're not interested in are going to try and get your phone number or e-mail?

I went out tonight to watch my friend, Suna, perform some bellydancing with her classmates at a local restaurant. At the end of the performance, a group formed to go to sing karaoke. If I wanted to go, I needed a ride because I had come with a group that was turning in early.

I hoped to get a ride with Suna, but then she implied that she'd probably want to hang out late. Fortunately, a dance friend of hers, JFBW, lived near me and could take me home. I don't think I've ever met him, but I was suspicious the minute he spoke to me. Maybe he's just got an eager personality.

We ended up at a tiki bar because the karaoke bar was packed. As we sat having drinks, he pulled out an old receipt and began writing on it. Alarm bells went off that he was trying to give me a message or something. He was putting together an e-mail list so that our group could reorganize to meet for karaoke next weekend. He also said it was so that his friend could invite us to her birthday party.

He first slid the sheet across to me. I looked at it and told him I couldn't go. He tried teasing me about it, and I explained that I wasn't going to be in town. Then he added the birthday party wasn't for two weeks. I came back saying that I'd still be out of town on vacation. Ha - no e-mail address for you. I just felt like he was trying to use this to get my info.

At just after midnight, he offered to drive me home. I hesitated, wondering if I could wait out getting a ride from Suna, but I went along with JFBW. He joked and bantered with me all the way home. Maybe I should have been quieter and uncooperative. We got into this discussion where he was asking me where I like to eat. It got me nervous because I felt like he was picking my brain about where to set up a dinner date.

As we pulled into my driveway, he started saying how we could go sometime to try this new restaurant his friend opened. When I stepped out of the car, he asked if I wanted to give him my e-mail address so that he could invite me out for a meal. I hesitated and then gave in. I fumbled in my purse for something to write on; I didn't want to give him my business card. He handed me the tattered receipt he had used to get other people's info at drinks. I wrote my e-mail address on the back.

Ughhhh, why did I do that? Now I have to find another creative and polite way to get out of this (if I hear from him). Maybe I should go just once. I can tell you right now that I'm not attracted to this guy. Remember how I mentioned that I'm not really attracted to white guys? And he's not really even cute. Sorry, the fancy sport car doesn't do much for me - and neither did his fast driving.

Why can't I get a nice guy to be this direct? Why is it always the ones we want who we can't get? How many "no's" does it take to get to give one "yes?"

Friday, April 14, 2006

It's my brother's turn today

Today is my brother's birthday. When I was about to turn nine-year-old, I remembering asking my parents if I could have a birthday party. I was told, "no," because the family was expecting the arrival of my brother. Yes, he was supposed to come on my birthday. Obviously, being nine, I was a bit annoyed and disappointed. Still, I love that I have a brother.

This fall, he will be getting married. He and his fiance have asked me to be the officiant. That means I'm supposed to stand with them, in front of 300 people and deliver an eloquent speech about marriage and take everyone through the process of being married.

ACK!!! Can you say "pressure?" I think this is actually scarier than if a friend had asked. I say that because I really don't feel like I know either of them well enough to do them justice. It's a great honor and I accept the challenge, I'm just afraid of letting them down or embarrassing myself. I'm probably putting extra pressure on myself since my parents and all of my relatives will be watching. Who cares as much if it's a bunch of relatives of friends right? ;)

I still have several months but as I've begun the mental process of trying to wrap my arms around the idea of marriage, I think this might be a really good chance for me to learn something. I hope to read ("hope" being the operative work) a couple excerpts from various sources - magazine, bridal books, religious summaries, poetry - to help me get a sense of expectations, psychology, wisdom, beliefs, etc. Perhaps from reading all of this I'll gain better insight into what I want. :) Any reading recommendations are welcome.

We shall see...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Cooks in the kitchen

My friends, as usual, came through with a great evening for me. We all met up to watch "Amazing Race." C3 and her husband, Ja, offered to bring dinner to Ig's for everyone. So the plan became to start eating around 7:30 or 8pm. Fortunately, we have the flexibility to record the show and watch it later (though it's not as good as Tivo).

While we were waiting for the food, I told Sh that the drama with KT is done. I couldn't help think she seemed a bit relieved. I know I get a bit crazy with dating stories and the need to analyze. Once we got the whole group of six together, everyone took a small part in commenting on my dates. It's just funny hearing how different people's perspectives were about certain details.

- I explained how KT told me that he was covering dinner and about the "Your Friend" signature. Ja very quickly said that it doesn't mean anything and that I'm fine. He said there's still possibilities though he's still wondering how many girls this guy is dating. Now, you also have to know that Ja is a very determined and sharp guy. He was always dating multiple women and expects different behavior from people. C3 kept having to qualify his comments and reminding him that not all guy would act like he does. Basically, I remember Ja saying, "he's not ready to date you right now but that doesn't mean it won't happen."

- The guys were funny about this. They all asked me what KT should have signed at the end of the card. The gals, in unison, agreed that he could have just signed his name. Of course we wouldn't expect him to sign "Love," because that would be interpreted as moving way too fast. Cards are are an awkward thing. I have to admit, I've been disappointed in the past with special occaision cards, so I have very low expectation.

- I mentioned that I offered to pay for movie tickets and KT allowed me to. Ig hadn't to ask me to repeat what happened as if it were something unbelievable. I tried to explain that I considered it a good gesture since the date was going well (and C3 and Sh agreed that it can be a positive). He said that he'd never let that happen. He thought KT should have acknowledge my offer but still pay for the tickets. It was rather endearing to see him so disturbed by that, but I can see that of Ig. When he meets a girl he likes, he will go all out and be the best and most romantic guy you can get. We joke sometimes that he's a bit metrosexual, but he's very stubbornly, an old-fashioned man when it comes to dating.

- Tim thinks I'm being silly. He thinks that the whole IM thing is a positive sign that KT wants to talk with me more.

- C3 and Sh had a similar attitude to me. That this seems to be a sign of either being friends or taking things slow. I'm not going to stop spending time with KT, but certainly I'm not going to go to any extra efforts. Now it's just time to continue to meet other men. If KT wants to hang out, I'll be happy to go, but it's not a priority.

I love my friends. We really are an extended family. Besides talking about AR and how we hate those damn frat boys, we get into all kinds of discussion (and make every effort to make fun of someone in the process) whether they be about computers, buying property, or politics.

At the end of the evening, they came out with a taro birthday cake from one of the good Chinese bakeries. I had told Tim last week that I wanted an Asian style cake with fruit. (He had tried to convince me that I wanted a chocolate cake.) I managed to blow out all the candles (maybe a dozen) in one breath, but boy it was close. My lungs aren't what they used to be. ;)

To end the day, Tim drove over a little later and we watch David Letterman. We couldn't be in NYC like last year, but it was a fun show to watch together. :)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Where's the sign on my back?

Okay, could someone please tell me what the sign on my back reads? I swear it says, "this is a great girl to make friends with but maybe not to date."

Waby, the weirdly honest guy from Saturday is trying to pull the last minute thing with me. I just got this from him at lunch. Why the heck would he spend so much time in my neck of the woods when he lives in the city? (Maybe he's already gone through, and scared away, all the women near where he lives. ;))

"I had a nice time and enjoyed speaking with you.

I spend a lot of time in Tain, maybe too much time. I dance
salsa and take salsa lessons at Rob's on Thursdays. I have been
going on Tuesdays as well, but I have to cut back. It's a lot of
driving for me.

I just wanted to see if you might be interested in joining me for the
lesson on Thursday, April 13. I know it's short notice, but if you
would like to go, please let me know. The beginning lesson usually
starts around 7:15 or 7:30pm."

Every thing is short notice with him (okay, I only have two data points so it's not a very solid statement :p). Eh, not really interested in salsa. Now if he'd said swing... . I know I shouldn't criticize so much. After all, it's nice to feel liked, but why can't I just find one good guy who wants to get cozy with and settle down?

Okay, so here I am the one saying real contact is lost on all the technology-dependent people and I can't tear myself away from my computer. It's time to go out and buy myself a really yummy, unhealthy slice of cake. :D

My thinking on that dinner thing

If what KT stated by his comments and birthday card are correct, then I guess I can't call last night a date right?

I pretty sure I have the answer I was looking for. While it's not necessarily what I wanted to hear, I'm satisfied that I have some clarity. Sure, I like him, but I had my reservations. Psychologically, I'm sure I will be able to rationalize this and say that it wouldn't have worked out in the long run so nothing lost.

Still, I can't helped be confused about taking me out to dinner last night and giving me a gift. Is this an act out of guilt? Oh, brother, please. Part of me can't help wonder if Three or her husband relayed a message to him to be clear or end this. And what's with the encouraging that we talk by instant message from time to time?

Next steps... just take it as it comes. If this was a guilt thing, then I don't expect to hear from him. If he wants to be friends, then maybe I'll hear from him time to time. I certainly wouldn't be averse to hanging out. I think we get along and have things in common. There's no need to throw that away completely.

I instant messaged Is this morning. We got pretty snippety about it when I told her I need to send a "thank you" message to him for the gift card.

p: ugh... I don't know what to say in this thank you e-mail
i: just keep it light and simple
i: dear ken
p: so it's okay to say "that was very sweet and thoughtful"?
i: thanks for dinner last night and the $20 gift card
i: i was hoping for something more romantic, but i guess you're too much of a clueless slug
i: hahaha
p: :)) [laughing]
p: And you really should be more direct with girls
p: I'm not letting you meet my friends ever again, get your own
i: :))
i: but seriously, i guess the generic thank you email will suffice

I'm not going to psycho on him or make any brutal statements. Taking the high road, no matter how tempting expressing yourself in the heat of the moment can be, is how you want people to remember you. And so...

"I wanted to write and say "thank you" for dinner and Borders gift
card. That was very thoughtful of you. It was a nice way to kick off
my birthday.

I'm hoping for a relatively quiet day. I'm still in my pjs but
probably need to get out and run some errands. I'll celebrate with my
friends on Saturday with the games night.

I hope you don't think I'm too weird or anything because I check up
on people. (I think it's also good to know what other people can see
about me.) I realize it might seem strange to people who don't know
me. If you're curious about the people search websites, here's one
link: http:

Have a good day,"

So here ends another dating saga. There's a small part of me wondering if he's just trying to take things slow, but I can't and shouldn't bet on that. I'm back at square one. I'd best check with Lips to find out about meeting her friend's friends. But that can wait until after my vacation - two weeks alone with Tim. (No, nothing's going to happen. We both joke from time to time, but I know there'll be nooky between us.)

Today, it's about enjoying my birthday and hanging out with friends!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Anything's not possible

So I managed to get out of my late afternoon meeting at 6:30pm. I called KT to let him know that I might be able to get to the Borders. He assured me that I needn't rush. I asked if he was done with his seminar and he said "yes." He was already, as he planned, at the Row. I couldn't help wonder if he was there to buy me something for my birthday. ;)

Just as I had predicted, forty-five minutes later, I parked in the structure near C&B. I checked in with him to get my bearings. He was at the cafe upstairs and said he would meet meet near the entrance to the bookstore. I spotted him browsing the display tables and approached him with a friendly and perky "hello."

I may have been a bit too bubbly today. I tried to explain it away by explaining how happy I was to be done with work and have tomorrow off. He listed off all the restaurants along the street. He gave me the choice. I asked him to narrow down the list. He laughed and said that they were all good choices. We decided to pick a place neither of us had been to. That left the PF Chang's-like Chinese place and the new Mediterranean place.

I chose the Greek restaurant. It had wonderful high ceilings and interesting chandeliers. At first, the waitress offered us a table just across from the hostess podium. KT asked if we could get a different table. She started to explain that they were holding most of the other tables for large groups. Finally, for whatever reason, she said she could offer us a table tucked in the corner.

There was a bit of table confusion again. I started to take the inner bench seat but then I realized the table was pressed against the bench. I mentioned to KT that the table needed to be pulled back for me to sit down. KT then suggested I take the chair and he would sit on the bench. I was fine with that. I removed my coat, held it in his direction (looking at his coat sitting beside him), and asked him, "would you mind?"

KT looked up from the menu and said, "oh, no I don't mind sitting against the wall..." I had to help him realize that I was hoping he could keep my raincoat over on the bench since I couldn't hang it on my chair. He realized he tripped up on that and took care of my coat.

The conversation was a bit slow to start. We talked a little about work. I mentioned my annoyance that my 8am meeting was cancelled after 8am when I could have been sleeping. I admitted I procrastinated on building my presentation by watching old episodes of "Gilmore Girls." He recalled watching a few episodes. We also talked about "Joey," "Friends," and "Frazier." Neither of us brought up "Amazing Race."

KT went into this whole explanation about why he went to this afternoon workshop and what he learned. He mentioned how everyone in his group has a personal web page but does not know how to maintain it. He started to explain that the web address to his page is listed on his business card. I kind of interrupted and admitted I had looking at it. He expressed his dislike for his photo, both the old and the new. I told him I thought it was a good picture.

We each started browsing the menu. I was concerned that maybe he wouldn't find anything he wanted to eat. Then KT said something that caught me off guard, "don't worry about the price, since it's your birthday I'm paying for dinner."

Uh, okay, gee thanks? Is this your way of telling me we're not dating?

After we ordered, he looked down at his lap and said that he had something for me. I had noticed that he was carrying a small Borders bag. He pulled out a birthday card.

"This is for you."

"Oh, wow, thank you. That's really nice of you."

I opened the card as he watched. He started to talk as I looked at the card, apologizing because the ink inside smeared a little. The cover was rather cute - various smileys you can make with the center one being how to make a birthday smiley "*<:-)" Obviously he had bought and signed the card in the hour before I arrived. :) I hope he didn't feel rushed since I showed up early.

He wrote a message that took up the whole page. He made a cheesy joke about the weather and then told me how to find him online I ever want to IM him. He made another cheesy joke about how, "in this short time," he knows me well enough to buy me a gift card to Borders. (Cute) It was signed, "Your friend, KT" (I guess that's a pretty clear statement huh... :( ).

I did my best not to show any confusion or disappointment. I kept smiling and thanked him again. Since we were sitting, there was no reason to try and give him a hug. The conversation continued through dinner. There were times, as he talked, I'd look at his face and confirm to myself that I am attracted to him.

The bill was relatively cheap since we didn't have any appetizers or dessert. KT was having trouble calculating the tip and commented about how his niece is currently learning her addition tables. That led into us talking about elementary school.

The one funny story he told me about himself was about when he was in first grade. He seemed a bit embarrassed and commented how surprised he was to be telling me this. There was some group competition. A girl, who's full name he still remembers, kept bragging her group was better. Of course, kids aren't good at processing emotions, so you might guess what a six-year-old boy does.

"I punched her."

"What? In the face?"

"No, in the stomach."

"Where were you guys? Standing away from the rest of the class?"

"No, they were all there. She was crying. When the teacher came over and asked what happened, everyone pointed at me. My parents still remember this because I had to give them the note from my teacher explaining that I'd hit a girl."

Kids are so funny. He was feeling a bit embarrassed, but I'm glad that we can talk like this. I tried to reciprocate with a silly story of my own, but nothing immediately came to mind. Later, I would tell him about how I broke into my own house three different times because I didn't have a house key. I also talked about getting back at the neighborhood hoodlums by planting nails in the yard to sabotage the kids who rode their bikes through our yard.

When we decided to leave the restaurant he was very gentlemanly. He straightened out my rain coat and helped me put it on. I haven't had someone hold up my raincoat for me in a looooong time. So nice.

We ended up doing a little loop around the shops along the street. Everything had just closed as it was 9pm. We stopped in front of the window of a Japanese stationery store. They had cute little erasers on display in the window. I told him how my one plan for my birthday is to watch David Letterman all week. I know it sounds strange, but we have the same birtday. And for whatever reason, I've taken to watching his shows just for that fateful week. It's also because I left everyone one behind last year and spent my birthday in NYC with my best friend. We had the best time being total toursits - standing in line for rush tickets to "Spamalot," getting 3rd row, center seats for "The Late Show," visiting the Empire State Building, eating dessert at Serendipity 3, visiting the museums, and having lunch at Jean George. That was the best.

We ended spending the rest of the evening sitting in side-by-side club chairs at Borders. The convesation turned more to relationships. We joked about miscommunication between the sexes. He learned a little bit more about my brother and his fiance. I felt like we'd reach a new comfort level. (Maybe I just didn't care any more since "friends" was now established.)

I told him that I used to page at the local library during high school. I described about how I could direct people to almost an exact shelf because I knew the books so well. Talking about books we shared thought about what we used to read as kids - Encyclopedia Brown, Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume ("Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing"), Newberry Award winners like "A Wrinkle in Time." We wondered if kids still get storytime like we did in 4th grade.

I think the subject of finding old friends came up. I jumped at the chance to tell him that he could figure out his friend's age. He seemed very surprised and curious. I explained to him that you can use people searches that will give you some information. I laid out the few details I got from him about Larry and indicated it was enough to find him. I added that I hoped he didn't think I was scary or crazy. He didn't say anything. He was too interested in learning his friend is 37. Apparently several of them have discussed and tried to guess Larry's age. He asked something, and I admitted to looking him up as well and myself.

"Was it correct?"

Pause as I collected my thoughts, "Pretty much. It showed my parents but it also listed some people whose names I didn't recognize."

"Does it show addresses and phone numbers?"

"No, you have to pay for that. I only look at the free information. You could get that stuff if the person is listed in the phone book, but it requires more work."

"Did it show my sister?"

"Yes, but not your brother or mine. I think because they don't have a credit history yet, they can't be identified."

"Credit history..."

He didn't ask, but I explained that I check up sometimes on guys I meet. I relayed the story about this guy who fibbed about his age. I established this was a couple years ago and the guy was listed as 45, not the 42 he implied. KT seemed surprised at the age difference in general but could understand why the guy might have felt a need to pad a bit.

Around 10pm, KT noted the time and we called it a night. He walked me to my car. It was quiet walk during the last 500 yards. As we came up my car, his phone rang (ugh). He pulled it out of his pocket, looked at the caller, and sent the call to voicemail. That disrupted any chance of us having a conversation. I waited a moment to see if KT would say anything. I probably got antsy again because I started to thank him for dinner and a fun evening. I tried to stand a little closer to him. The second I my thank you wrapped up, I noticed his left foot step back as if to turn away. I knew there'd be no hug. I let him walk away after we said "good night." I felt like he was running away. Maybe he was tired, maybe he was nervous, maybe he'd had enough.

A nice start to the evening

Wow, for some reason this makes me feel good. It's just nice to get a little note that's so date-like. :D

"Just wanted to confirm plans for tonight. Turns out I am going to attend a different seminar this afternoon. It's a last minute kind of thing. In any case, I will probably get out earlier than I normally would for work. If for some reason you can and would like to meet earlier, just give me a call.

See you tonight. Meet you at Border's. I may be upstairs in the cafe if you don't see me downstairs."

I hope everything goes well tonight. I'm running on four hours of sleep (oh, the consequences of procrastination), so I probably better find some caffeine around 5pm.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Chatty and mellow

Hula and C3 thought that KT's weekend e-mail was promising, ignoring the Amazing Race issue. They thought it would be nice if I could spend some time with him Sunday evening. On the way to my next event, helping to make wedding invitations for a friend, I gave him a call. Unfortunately, he did not answer and I found myself scrambling to construct the right message to leave. (Funny how later that evening there was a rerun of "Seinfeld" playing where George makes a fool of himself leaving a message on a date's answering machine.) Hopefully, I played it off well as a casual call.

Sh and Kata also happened to be at the invitation party. While we waited to start assembling the invites, I asked them if they formed any impression, good or bad, of KT. Neither said they read much from his behavior. I wasn't surprised that he displayed no outward preference towards me.

My cell phone rang and I immediately knew it had to be KT. I ducked into the bathroom to talk to him. He seemed incredibly good spirited. His tone is usually rather flat, so it was refreshing to hear more emotion in his voice. Sunday was a mellow day for him, just taking care of simple things. He said he unexpectedly received calls from two friends he hasn't talked to in some time - one guy living in NY and a woman from residency who had a baby recently. He had been on the phone for hours already, including when I had originally called.

"How's shopping going?"

"Oh, shopping this morning was fun. We spent a lot of time looking at purses. I'm sure you're real interested in that topic..."

Some mumbled comments I can't remember. "Who was there?"

"Oh, some people you haven't met. Now I'm at another gal function. We're helping my friend make her wedding invitations."

"Oh, which friend is this?"

"Another friend you don't know. Not from this morning. My circles of friends overlap but not 100%"

"I see, so they don't all quite know each other."

Maybe he was just being nice, but somehow I just wasn't interested in talking about my friends after what happened Friday. I had my paranoia helmet on with fresh batteries. We chatted maybe a few more minutes before the last person we'd been waiting for arrived.

"The last person just arrived. I should probably go and join everyone. Do you want to talk later?"

"Sure, give me a call."

Ack, I had wanted to actually see him in person. But I lost the desire to follow through. He could have suggested it. I wanted to hear him want to see me.


I called him again just after 8:30pm. I guess he was doing some work when I called because when I mentioned seeing an article about revamping his beloved college band, he tried to look up the article.

He asked me how the invitation party went. I told him that it was fun and that we got kind of silly. We made about 120 invitations that we separated into "boy" and "girl" invitations. I laughed as I explained that the difference was that the "boy" invites will be given to male attendees since they well be less likely to notice the flaws. :) I was giggling too much to remember what KT's reaction was.

I tried describing how the main invitation looked. I told him what a great job Hoku did with the design. I don't know that I'd be creative enough. KT and I kept interrupting each other's during the conversation. He was commenting that the wedding seemed small based on the number of invitations, but I explained that it could be as many as 160 with guests. Then, he started into what he thought was a good size... around 200. (You know, I honestly can't recall the last time I had a conversation about weddings with a guy... . I know it doesn't mean anything, but it was interesting.)

I told him about the Korean wedding my friend had and how she didn't know a third of the people there because they were invited by her father. They didn't follow the seating chart at all and started singing karaoke while the bride was cutting the cake. She had expected to see all her close friends sitting at the front tables, and instead they were scattered about in the back. It was bizarre because it was as if there were two different parties happening in the same room. I mentioned how when he brother got married there were some 600 people invited.

From that topic, KT mentioned how despite the gender equalities we see in America, in Asian families, there will always be an imbalance. I agreed and as an example mentioned how my brother has extra jewelry for his future wife. I understand and accept this as fact. KT then said that since his parents are both at the younger ends of the family, he doesn't expect anything since anything that might have been passed out was probably long ago given to the older grandchildren.

I asked if when his sister got married whether any family came out from the Philippines to attend. He couldn't recall anyone coming for it, not even the family in Virginia. He mentioned again how he didn't even attend those cousins' weddings. Their family, for whatever reason, is very unattached. I joked that the only reason most of my relatives are coming to my brother's wedding is because they want to visit California.

I made some comment about needing to organize my cousins for a Disneyland trip when everyone is here. There was silence on the phone and I asked if he was still there. He said he simply didn't have anything to say to that comment. That led him into this story about a friend's new "tricks" for ending conversations without having to give an excuse. I can't even repeat them because they're just lame ways to get off the phone that I have no intention of encouraging. I can't believe he was telling me because it made me wonder if he'd try it on me someday. I'm pretty sure it was just an interesting story, but it was still an evil thing.

Somehow, I managed to slip in a comment about being stressed about some presentation I needed to have done for Tuesday (procrastinating as I write this). I expressed relief that I'd have the next day off because it's my birthday. KT's reaction was, "ah, I need to put that on my calendar." :) He then said something about knowing a lot of people with birthdays in September, October, and November. I asked him when his is and he said October. I then joked about how confusing it can be to have a birthday so close to tax day because it's easy to date documents wrong. :p We joked about how when you see patterns among children you can't help wonder if some particular occasion brought the adults together 9 months back. ;) (He said it, not me.)

We talked a bit about his work. I explained I try not to ask too much about people's work sometimes because some people don't like to dwell on it all the time. KT said he doesn't mind. I simply explained that I like to hear about what it's like because it's so different from working in a cubicle, typing and making phone calls all day. He sighed and said some days he wish he had that life. So I asked him if he wasn't a doctor what he thinks he'd like to do. He said he'd like to be involved in design, be it as an architect or creating medical tools. He explained that he finds enjoyment in hands-on tasks.

There were a couple pauses. I purposely didn't immediately fill the awkward space to see how KT would handle it. I think only one time was it truly uncomfortable for more than 5 seconds. Finally, he said he needed to get back to his work. (He was working remotely to prepare for being gone for a few days.) Before saying "goodnight," he asked if I was free on Tuesday. I indicated that I would be free of my work and would be happy to do something.

Then he asked something which set off my alert, "what about Amazing Race? Is it still going on?"

I must have held my breath while I paused to think about how to answer this question. I wasn't about to have a discussion about this over the phone. I evaded the question a little bit by saying, "that's usually not planned until the last minute."

For whatever reason, he let it go and proceeded to ask me where I would be okay driving to to meet up. It sounds like I might be going to a nicer restaurant tomorrow. :) KT suggested meeting at the Borders. That way, in case someone (likely him), was running late, the other person could browse the books. I said that was fine but encouraged him to call me if he thought he was going to be late.

Well, I'm happy he took the initiative to ask. If I hadn't called, what do you think would have happened?

I have one exception to my no-hug rule. It's even been approved by C3. If KT happens to miraculously give me a flower or small gift, I'm allowed to give him a "thank you" hug at that moment. :)

Male advice

I thought these were very fair responses to age old questions... the second one is hard for me abide by even though it seems to make sense. They kind of feel like a more basic, cleaner version of Salon's "Since You Asked."

Posted on Tue, Mar. 14, 2006

Male Call: Couldn't she at least pay for the popcorn?

Q Is the guy always supposed to pay for the date? I've been out on a few dates with this girl, and she's never offered to pay anything, even though she knows I'm no moneybags.

A guy, San Jose

A A funny thing happened on the long, difficult journey toward equality of the sexes. Well, a few funny things. One is that men still make more money than women for comparable work. (Easy now -- we mean ``funny'' as in odd or lamentable, not funny as in ha ha, OK?) But another is that a few quaint Elizabethan-like customs have endured, like the practice of men paying for everything. Oh, and also dueling. But maybe that's just the crowd we roll with.

Sure, there was a short period in the late '60s and early '70s when you risked being slapped upside the Fu Manchu for attempting to pay for dinner or open a door for your date. But those days passed as quickly as patchouli oil and unprotected sex. Along with the eminently laudable idea that it was OK for women to be both strong and sexy came the more dubious notion that guys should finance the dates. (Just for the record, we think the trade-off -- a Ph.D in a push-up bra vs. us springing for dinner at Tico Taco -- was, like, totally worth it.)

So the answer to your question is a qualified yes. Guys are expected to pay, at least in the initial phase of the courtship. But contrary to what you might be thinking (``I could be spending this money on a new Xbox 360!''), the girl isn't out to fleece you. She's simply trying to get some insight into an important aspect of your character: Are you a cheapskate? To her, your insisting on going Dutch for your first few dates means that later on she'll probably be getting a Swiffer for her birthday. And everyone knows you should save that gift for Valentine's Day.

But it gets trickier after you've been dating a while. If she has a decent job and still never offers to pay for so much as the Junior Mints, you are allowed to question her motives. Which doesn't mean that if she does offer, you have to accept. Often, the correct response is ``Thanks, hon, I've got it.'' Of course, for all you know, she's got nothing but a can of Mace in her purse anyway. But at least she offered.

After a month or so of dating, you should know each other well enough to say, ``I'll get the tickets if you get the popcorn,'' or ``Do you mind picking up the lunch tab? My wallet is in Chapter 11.'' That should be enough of a hint for her to dust the cobwebs off the Gucci. And if she still manages to head to the restroom to freshen up just as the check is arriving, well, maybe you should be looking for a new Ph.D candidate. Or a dueling partner.

Posted on Tue, Apr. 04, 2006

Male Call: Honey, are we what you'd call a couple?

Q I've been out on a few dates with a certain woman, and everything is going fine. We really enjoy each other's company. But when do you know you're an item, so to speak, or ``going together,'' or actual boyfriend/girlfriend? I don't want to bring it up in those terms for fear of being too pushy and scaring her off. Thoughts?

A Ah, things were so much simpler in sixth grade, when ``going together'' meant acknowledging, through some complex elementary-school shuttle diplomacy, that you ``liked'' a girl. Then maybe you'd share your Lunchables with her (though not the bite-size Snickers), and to cement the relationship, slam into her a couple of times during recess tetherball.

Romantic times, certainly, but these days things are more complicated. As with so many modernities (computer literacy, hip-hop dance moves, the availability of prescription drugs), there is a generational divide, and the chasm is particularly wide in regard to relationships. For example, this ``friends with benefits'' phenomenon, meaning, we assume, that you hang out with a gal, and she lets you use her power tools. We figure this is what's meant by risky behavior.

And on college campuses, the preferred way of dealing with the stress of academic rigor is no longer to attend sorority mixers or burn down the ROTC building, but rather to ``hook up'' with other ``hotties,'' having no intention of ever seeing them again because you're too busy with homework. As Mom and Dad say, school comes first!

But we sense that you're a bit more old school. Dinner dates, amusing e-mail exchanges from work, PG-13 make-out sessions on her couch. What does it all mean? Simply that you both are enjoying the unfolding of your potential togetherness. Nothing more, at this point. So don't screw it up by trying to ``define the relationship.'' (Which is good advice for women, too -- that phrase being one that will seize up a guy's heart faster than running a V-8 engine with no oil. We speak from experience. The truck, not the girl. Well, OK, both.)

So your best bet is to let the thing you have, whatever it is, develop organically. In the fullness of time it will become apparent that you either are or are not a couple. And if that is too Zen for you, take three deep, cleansing breaths and open another beer. In the meantime, here are some signs that you might be heading into BF/GF territory:

• You accidentally call her ``Honey'' and the color doesn't drain from her face.

• She skips her Bikram yoga session to accompany you to your Renaissance jousting practice.

• She tells you about her psychotic family, and rather than sprinting for the door, you're oddly intrigued.

• You use her name by mistake when flirting with someone else.

Male Call answers questions from men and women on etiquette, relationships, men's style and more, at Also check out our forum at

Retail therapy

I caught up with C3 and Hula on Sunday for some much needed retail therapy. We went to the local, upscale mall. The main focus of the day ended up being purse shopping. We scoured Macy's extensive accessory department and debated the need to upgrade to "better" purses and the cost-per-wear of the more expensive ones versus buying something fun at Target. We three have probably all been pretty comfortable with a simple and inexpensive bag that can be abused and still look decent. It's also a challenge to get out of your comfort zone and try styles and colors that you wouldn't normally pick up off the displays.

Over the course of 2.5 hours of shopping I detailed my date with KT, with various detours in the conversation as the topic necessitated. We ended up standing in the INC section at Bloomie's for what must have been a solid 20 minutes wrapping up the date and deciding on my next moves.

I had warned them that I spotted one red flag as a result of the date but didn't identify up front what it was because I wanted to see if it set off their warning bells as well. C3 did pick up on the whole "want to be friends with all your friends" concern. She relayed her concern that he might confuse his interest in me with his desire to build a network of friends. They cautioned me not to invite him to any more group events in the near future. I acknowledge that I probably got a little to lax about maintaining boundaries at this stage of dating. It could be awkward to pull back the reigns without disappointing or confusing KT.

The one big thing they both scolded me for was initiating the end-of-the-date hug. They said I should have just kept talking or stood there until he did or said something. They don't think I'm going to get a clear sense of his feelings unless I force him to take some initiative. I'm making it too easy for him. Gosh, I hate the end of dates. I *never* know what to do. When I was younger, I basically dashed off in nervousness. Now, I tend to make a move the minute the awkward pause rears its ugly head. I need to start practicing counting to five or something when these moment start to learn to see if/what the other person does.

C3's younger brother works for the same HMO as KT, though in a different location. I guess after last Thursday's dinner, C3 and Hula looked him up. C3 then asked her brother, Lawu, about him. She confirmed that they both have the same responsibilities and work hours. I guess it's pretty standard fare. Lawu doesn't know of KT, and without any background from C3, his comment was, "Run from this guy, all us family practice guys are mama's boys." Great to get such a shinning endorsement on dating doctors eh? ;)

My "homework" assignment from them? They suggested that I casually reveal to KT that my birthday is next Wednesday and add that I don't have any plans. Originally, I had not wanted to tell him to avoid putting too much pressure on him. After all, we're still getting to know each other and I certainly don't expect him to make a big show of it. C3 and Hula laughed as they gave me advice because, of course, they said it's easy for two married women to dish out advice when they don't have to do anything. Still, they think that if he truly likes me, he should know and want to do something special for me.

Now to put the ball in his court... uhch, I hate this antsy, unsettling feeling. I suck at dating. :p

I have to at least say this... I feel like (despite all my craziness - no comments from the peanut gallery ;)) that I'm approaching this dating situation better than before. In the past, I don't feel like I really I thought through why or why not I liked a person, I just did. I'd like to think I'm really trying to learn who KT is and thinking about whether he is someone compatible with me. It's easy to want him because he looks great on paper and we have mutual acquaintances. I am doing my best to walk into this with eyes wide open and senses in tune. :)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Am I jumping to conclusions?

I never heard from KT yesterday which wasn't a surprise. Frankly, I just sat at home watching a couple old episodes of "Gilmore Girls" and writing in my blog. It was a very simple, peaceful night.

I raised some concerns about the date because KT's questions and comments made me feel like he was more interested in my friends than me. It's really hard to determine how serious this is or whether my imagination and paranoia are getting the better of me.

Well, now some louder alarm bells are going off. I'm feeling really sick to my stomach. He replied to my e-mail from yesterday late last night. Judge for yourself:

"I JUST checked my e-mail tonight. Video was/would have been a good idea. I hope you had a good night anyway. Got a chance just to relax today. Had lunch with a friend, looked at an open house, went to church (Palm Sunday mass on saturday). Tomorrow looks like a good open day for me to just be kinda random. I understand you have some "retail therapy" to catch up on ;-)

Are you and your friends still planning to meet to watch amazing race? It looks like from the website that the show/season might be over. Guess I'll have to wait until next season...

By the way...I apologize if I offended anyone regarding my comment about board games. I thought the comment my friend made about board games and the Christian Right was pretty funny at the time he said it, but then after retelling it last night I realized that it sounded like I was putting down board games and/or Christianity ( and that some of your friends may be Christian). Hope I didn't step on anyone's toes. And seriously, yes, I do have fun playing games and I would be interested in a games night. Ok...just wanted to get that off my chest.

Have a good Sunday, and feel free to give me a call."

I feel like he now, all of a sudden, thinks he's been accepted into our group. I mean, see, he's inviting himself to our regular Amazing Race gathering??? These are my really close friends and I consider it pretty significant to add someone to our cozy little group.

Would you believe I'm getting upset right now to the point I feel like crying? Does this make any sense? I don't understand how hanging out with my friends for one night, and mind you mostly dancing not talking, makes him feel like he's now part of the group? We've never even held hands or kissed!!! I'm not even clear how he feels about me. He hasn't even asked me out for another date!!! What the hell is going on here? I feel like a fool. I hate being taken advantage of. (One of my insecurities is that people always want something from me rather than actually want to be friends.) My God, could this be one BIG and PAINFUL misunderstanding?

[So to be fair, let's try and think about the potential, opposite perspective... . He thinks that it must a good sign of our relationship that I want to get my friends' approval of him. Hence why he seems to be so worried about saying something about our board games. It sounds like if I had called yesterday he would have come over last night. He's showing that he'd like to see me today if possible. (I don't think I have time.)]

Am I jumping to conclusions or do I have a right to be suspicious?

Indian buffet lunch date

Setting up this date was a rather odd process...

Friday, I e-mailed Waby about meeting up on Saturday. I had indicated my day was open. He e-mailed back asking when I wanted to meet. My initial reaction was to establish this as lunch date given we don't know that much about each other. But then my co-workers suggested I put the responsibility on him to set the time. I wrote back but hadn't heard from him by the time I left work. I asked him to set a time and that I'd confirm with him in the morning (after 9:30am).

I called pretty much sooner after the time I estimated. There was no answer, so I left a message. Almost two hours went by and still no word from him. I called a second time but did not leave a message. I started to think he bailed or something came up. So I then sent an e-mail saying that I tried to call and that if we couldn't arrange a meeting today that it we could try next weekend.

Ten minutes later, he called. I think he was asleep until late morning. He asked me what kind of food I was in the mood for. He suggested a place in downtown Teo after I said I wanted some Indian food. Then he asked when I wanted to meet and I suggested in about an hour or 12:30pm.

I gave myself about 20 minutes to get ready. I just threw on a pair of black jeans and a blue cable-knit sweater. My hair was an absolute disaster. I just pulled back the sides into a black clip. It makes me look girlish but cute. Whatever... ;) I love not worrying about my outfit.

Traffic was heavier than I expected for Saturday noontime. Still, I managed to arrive before Waby. I actually tried to sneak back to my car to grab the paper and he appeared at the restaurant in the two minutes I was gone. He was dressed much more casual as well. His face looked as I remember though less tan. He had on a jean jacket that was fading at the shoulders. Underneath, he wore a pink and striped shirt that looked quite long on him since it was untucked.

The place was packed. We ended up at this little two-person table tucked between two four-person tables. Since it was a buffet, we just put our stuff down and helped ourselves to plates. I noticed the class ring on his finger said "92" which I assume must be his college graduation year. (I checked on the Internet. It does reflect his correct age. This is where Tim would tease me - STALKER)

The conversation with Waby was day and night from how I talk with KT. I recall Waby was very unwilling to provide a lot of specific details about himself during the speed dating. That held true today as well.

1) Talking about living in the city and commuting. He complained about how many of his dollars go towards paying for gas. He would only say that he drives an older car that he bought when gas wasn't so expensive. I only know it's not an SUV.

2) I asked him what he thinks the differences are between the Midwest and West Coast. Socially he think people here are too intense and have a different sense of priorities. He doesn't like the falseness of people here. For example, he hates that people say things like, "oh, we should play golf together sometime," and then never hear from them. He said he purposely doesn't carry around his business cards for that reason.

3) First I tried asking him what he does on weekends. When that didn't elicit much a response, I shifted to "what would you like to do on weekend?" He mentioned that he had thought about Dragon Boat racing but that it interfered with attending church on Sunday mornings. I asked what kind of church he attends. He said he used to go to a Catholic church but has started going to a Methodist one. I asked him if he could explain to me some of the difference between the two. He told me he isn't religious, he just likes going to church. ...Okay? His impression is that the Methodist crowd, while they follow very similar beliefs to Catholics, are more accepting of people.

4) His secret like is musicals. When he asked what my favorite, all-time musical was I told him "Les Miserables." He thinks it is "Phantom of the Opera." We each acknowledged that the other's choice is a close second. I told him about some of the other musicals I've seen.

5) I mentioned that I went 80s dancing last night. He loves the cover band that played. That digressed into a discussion about how naming songs can indicate a person's age. He quizzed me by asking what I thought was Madonna's first song. I mentioned "Burning up," but he didn't recognize that. The next few songs I mentioned were "Holiday," "Lucky Star," and "Borderline." He was impressed I got all of them. I added that if there was such thing as "Name That Tune - 80s" I could name most of the tunes with 3-5 notes if played from the original recording. He started telling me this story about a co-worker who looked 10 years older but was the same age. The guy was surprised when some 80s played on the radio and Waby recognize them.

I felt like I was getting a little flustered to know what to ask him. His opinions and comments seemed a little odd at times. He commented that it might be time to pay my meter, and he was correct. So he picked up the bill, left a couple ones on the table and paid the cashier.

My car was basically just across the street. I was surprised to see that the meter still showed 11 minutes remaining. I threw in another quarter. As we crossed the street, Waby noted that I had probably put that quarter in the wrong meter. I laughed with embarrassment and realized he was right. We went back but I was out of coins. He threw in enough time so that we could walk for an hour.

He expressed a need for coffee and I pointed out that there's was a Peet's at the corner ahead that had just opened. He grabbed a cup of coffee, and I declined to get a drink. It was nice that he offered.

A Walk Through the Park
From there we walked towards the local park. We both reveled in the beautiful weather. It's such a pleasant change from all the rain. I mentioned that I am going on vacation in two weeks. He said he's never been to Europe before. His vacations are usually to Japan or Hawaii. His family is originally from Hawaii so visits there are not vacation like others would expect. He said his grandmother is turning 100 years old. That's impressive.

As we walked throughout the mini Japanese tea garden, Waby told me stories about work. For whatever reason I wasn't really paying attention. I was more interested in the maples trees, blossoms, and koi fish. I remember a story about the disagreements he has with his boss about hotels in Japan and seeing the prime minister at his hotel there.

As we headed towards the open grass area, a baseball game caught Waby's attention. He wanted to go watch for a few minutes. They looked like high school kids. We sat on the bleachers for about five minutes. The pitcher clearly was getting tired as he allowed a single and a double in the brief time we sat. I held my newspaper over my brow because the sun was beaming directly at us. Waby offered that we could sit over on the opposite end of the bleachers but I said it was fine. I asked him if he watched any sports, and his response was "not anymore." When they took a break to change pitchers, Waby decided we should go. I ask him if he was sure he didn't want to see the next pitch since it was just getting exciting but he thought it would take too long.

We walked over to a loop path that encircle and nice lawn area where children were playing with soccer balls or playing catch with parents. It was fun to see so many people out in the park enjoying the sun. We headed for an empty bench where we could people watch and chat.

The next phase of the conversation took an interesting turn...

1) He started by asking what I thought of the speed dating. My response was somewhere in the neighborhood of so-so. I added that I wasn't bothering with the one that was happening that evening. He seemed amused by that comment. It sounds like he's attended many. He even thought he remembered me at the January one that never happened.

2) I guess I started telling him a few quirky stories about previous speed dating experiences. He seemed relieved that I was okay talking about it. He told me about times he encountered women who literally read a list of questions to him. One woman just vented the whole five minutes about her disappointment over the guys. She thought they were all too young. The minimum age acceptable to her was 35. He kind of played with her, first saying he was 19 and then saying he was 35. And of course she didn't believe him and asked to see his ID.

3) Next he commented that based on our interaction at the speed dating and the way I wrote my e-mails (i.e. my laid back state when we couldn't meet up right away) he knew I didn't need to be there. I said, "I guess I'll take that as a compliment." He talked about how it's not about needing ways to meet people but finding people you want to meet. Apparently he was impressed by my attitude of not being overly anxious about scheduling a date. I told him that I've learned from experience to only mark people I would actually potentially want to be more than friends with, not to lead people on with false hope. His opinion was that's their problem for fooling themselves.

From here the commentaries became a bit of a blur...

4) He mentioned how people ask for a lot of information very early on in dating. He complained about women who need to know everything. I laughed and said that I could understand. My response is that sometimes the situation is not clear and woman what to know what's going on. His rebuttal to that was if the guy hasn't made the situation clear, there's nothing going on. (I couldn't help think about the fog around my other dating situation.) I added that for women around my age we have to start pushing the issue we don't need people wasting out time. He laughed because he said he was thinking this but didn't want to say it. I added that while it's nice to meet new guy friends, it's just not a priority because I don't have the time or need at this point in my life. He stated how he his information is private (age, car, job, salary, relationships, etc.), and that if a person wants to know about him, they have to invest the time. I agreed that there are details that you learn over time, but Waby is taking this to the extreme a bit.

5) Next he started telling me about this one ex-girlfriend. She was several years younger and, as he put it, "the classic Chinese princess" (from Singapore). She was smart, funny, and pretty. My guess is that they dated back around 2000-2001. He complained that in the last 12 weeks, she would call every week saying that they needed to talk. This was despite the fact they saw each other three times a week. He claimed that she would complain about things he hadn't done for her. I couldn't help laugh because I understood her point of view. He finally had enough and broke up with her when he confronted her about her complaints and she had no explanation. I told him that was because she was beyond logic at that point. She was very agitated (understandably so) and he suggested they talk in a couple weeks. When that two weeks passed she gave him an angry call insisting he return her key. His perspective? He never asked for her key in the first place. He said the issue was that she was mad he had moved and not given her a key to his new place. The new building required a key that was only provided to people with names on the lease and was not copyable. He kind of congratulated himself saying that it was better than they broke up because it forced her to do some things she needed to do. In 2003, she left for grad school and they met for a dinner. She still seemed a bit peeved at him.

6) As we walked back to our cars, for the fun of it, I asked him if he does online dating in addition to speed dating. He snickered a bit and said that he doesn't. He said the tried it maybe five years ago, back when it wasn't well accepted. He started to philosophize again how it's not about where to meet people but meeting the right person. He recalled a wedding he went to recently where the pastor made comment that resonated with him. It was saying that a successful marriage is about making yourself into who you're spouse wants. (This doesn't sound exactly right... but I know it was something that was the reverse of making things the way you think they should be.)

7) He got into this other example of his attitude towards people. His car requires some special tires (what the hell does he drive?). Every time he called a tire shop, they tried to convince him to buy these expensive "Z" tires which were rated for up to 200 mph. His response to these sales people was, "I only drive 140 mph when I'm in reverse, what good will they do me." It took several calls until he finally found a guy who got it and ordered him the more reasonable tires.

And that was about the end of our afternoon. We stood at my car as he quickly told me one other story about how buying used cars requires major negotiation because the dealer will strip out as much as possible to get you to buy replacement accessories. With that, I thanked him for dinner and gave him a one-armed hug. I stumbled over what to say next and simply wished him a good rest of the day. Waby thanked me for the day and left on "see ya."

I watched him cross the street as I waited for my light to turn green.

Thoughts? I'm not sure if that was just honest or weird... . He was very polite, paying for everything and always opening doors for me. Somehow, I don't think I'm going to see him again which is fine. I suppose I'd go out again if he asked. There were just times I couldn't figure out if he was just giving me lines to set expectations. That's not the type of conversation I'm used to having for a first or pre-date.