Sunday, May 10, 2009

Nervous Ticks

Friday was such a busy day that I started to regret planning that date with the engineer.  We did a site tour with some folks from out of town and were outside for good portion of the day.  I had a headache from squinting or too much caffeine or hormones or all three, so I actually had to take a migraine pill and lay down for about 45 minutes before getting ready for the date. My migraine pill really makes me feel drugged - my arms and legs feel heavy and I walk kinda slow. Not the best way to start off with a new guy.

Unless the guy you are starting off with is a chemical engineer.  In retrospect, it was probably a really good thing that I was a bit under the influence of nerve numbing drugs.  

I was in command from the moment he got there; and before.  We went to a brew pub with an outdoor deck.  It was a pretty nice day so I wanted to sit outside; so I made a reservation.  In my name, of course.  He was late.  (WTF?  This is 0-2)  And he was nervous.  And quiet.  Almost like a repeat of a couple weeks ago, except possibly worse.

Our waiter was awesome, and knew his beer.  He came over immediately and it was clear that he could handle the Susan personality; so I bantered and gave him a hard time.  My date?  Not so much.  He kinda sat there with a bewildered look on his face as I went back and forth with the waiter on beer selections, menu items etc.  Date was even more bewildered when my banter netted us samples of all the belgian brews in the house, plus a couple bonus ones.  Like he didn't know it was possible to charm someone into giving you stuff for free.  

I worked really hard to make Engineer feel comfortable and to try to draw him out.  I asked a lot of questions.  He didn't really ask me any.  I told lots of stories.  He didn't really have any; or at least any that were interesting.  I couldn't quite follow what he does for a living, but it sounds boring.  He's a runner and runs almost daily; but without music.  I asked what kind of music he likes and he said "oh, all kinds."  This is short for "I listen to whatever is on the radio and pay absolutely no attention to the indie music scene."  I dropped a couple easy band names - no go.  I can't imagine hanging with someone who doesn't get excited about good music.

I told lots of long stories, including the one about how, once upon a time, in college, I had a lot of bumper stickers on my car.  One of them was anti a large chemical corporation.  Lots of people work for that company around here and I got lots of dirty looks and lots of mean notes under my windshield.  (Yes, my bumper sticker made people so mad that they took time out of their day to write me a note in the parking lot of the grocery store.)  I was going to tell him about my other bumper stickers; one was anti-religion, one was pro-gay, one was pro-abortion... But I stopped myself.  This guy is conservative, possibly a believer and was having trouble dealing with me as it was.  Did I need to smack him in the face with my my radical bumper sticker beliefs?  I decided, no.  So I stopped myself.  

Yes Virginia, I am growing up.

He blinked and twitched the entire night.  Kinda a lot.  He rubbed his thighs a lot.  These were indications of severe social distress.  I suspect that in his life, he avoids people like me. Gregarious, loud, pushy people like me.  I really tried to make it as easy as possible on him, and by the end he was laughing a little bit.  He started to pick on me.  The waiter asked if I wanted a box for my last little slice of personal pizza, and instead of saying "no thanks" I said something like "well, I would, but then I would take it home, and not eat, then it grow stuff, then it would smell and then I would throw it away anyway, so if you could just save me the trouble, I'd appreciate it."

He looked at me and said "it wasn't possible for you to just say yes, was it?" 

No.  I'm not really a yes/no person.  I like to explain my answer.  Even though most people don't care.  He's definitely a yes/no person.  What fun is that?

Lucky for me, I had be be awake at 5:30 the next morning for a kayaking trip, so got out of there early, though not really early enough.  I was ready to go at 9:30, but I had told him over email that I needed to leave by 10, so felt trapped into extending it a bit.  It was nearly 10:30 by the time I got in my car.

Here are two indications that he wasn't interested in a second date (besides the twitching):

1.  He made no attempt to pay.  He finally picked up the bill and started looking at it.  If he wanted to pay, he would have snapped a credit card into it, or paid it while I was in the ladies room, text messaging to my friends how bored I was.

2.  He didn't walk me to my car.  Honestly, I was surprised by this.  I am a feminist for sure, but its just polite to walk me close to my car so I don't get mugged.  We split in the parking lot about halfway between both.  Actually, I think it might have been closer to his car.  I guess I was in charge all night; maybe he expected me to walk him to his car.

However, at the end of the night, he did have trouble keeping his eyes on my face.  There were a LOT of downward glances at my chest.  It did look good, so I mean, I'm sure the guy couldn't help himself, but you should probably protect that chest in the parking lot if you liked it that much.  Just saying.

But, I was wrong about how he perceived the whole date situation.  I got an email from him the next day saying that he had a good time, and that it was the easiest date he had been on in a while (uh, yeah, I did all the damn work) and that he's be up for doing it again.  He said that he was usually pretty quiet on a first date, but that it was impossible to do that with me.  Seriously, that was him not being quiet?  Wow.  

I haven't responded.  I don't know whether to lie to him "sure, but give me a couple weeks because its the end of the semester and I'm swamped" or to say "listen, you only got about 75% of my personality and about 15% of my opinions; you don't really want to go out again.  Trust me."  Or I can never respond and let him think I've drowned in a kayak accident.  I'm pretty sure that would get me into some kind of serious karmic trouble though.  

On my drive home, I had a couple minutes of severe sadness.  In an unfortunate coincidence, or just because I like the place so much, the brew pub is also the place I had my first date with BB (and with at least five other guys that I can remember and probably countless others that I don't) and it was impossible not to draw comparisons.  Or to wonder whether there is anyone, anyone, that I'm going to click with like that again.  Not that its a lot, but I've gone on dates with six men in the past year and there wasn't a single second date among them.  Its discouraging.  And I'm finding myself once again wondering why I even bother.


Ms Behaviour said...

Do the rest of the dating world a favour and tell that guy he was uninteresting and socially awkward. Granted, just about every engineer I have met is binary. Ugh. I like the strategy of being drugged on a first date though. I might try that next time. If there ever is a next time. Dating sucks.

Elena said...

Go on another date with him and this time try and LISTEN more (silences don't have to be awkward--sometimes people just need time to think before they speak). I'm sure he'd open up more if you'd give him the chance.

Or if that doesn't work, you can just get drunk and take advantage of him :)

Katy said...

1) Find another place to go on first dates. I know that around here its pretty hard to do, but you WILL compare them to each other if you go there all the time.
2)First dates are ALWAYS awkward. Give the guy chance #2. I don't think anyone can handle anyone's complete and true self on a first date. After chance #2, decide.
3) Maybe pushy loud you made him think that you were way liberal and didn't want to step on your toes by (gasp) paying or (gasp gasp) walking you to your car so some big mean man wouldn't mug you.

kristen said...

just dont respond. this early on, its perfectly acceptable, i think.

trish said...

I find it interesting that you describe your date in terms of who is in control (um, always you). And I warned you that engineers are a special breed. Was he cute? Your post was focused more on who 'won' the date and you didn't mention any attraction..

erin said...

Every engineer I've been out with on a date has been socially awkward, nay socially CLUELESS. I like E.B.'s description in the comment above: binary. It's perfect.

I have been toying with the idea of diving back into Match. AGAIN. I want to feel that spark of chemistry I once had, too, and the teeny tiny optimist in me thinks that I will. I think you will, too. Maybe not in the online dating world, though, it exhausts me with it's UGH.

i like cheese said...

I always give someone a second chance if they ask for it, because first dates are awkward and not everyone does them as well as we do :)

That being said, out of the 25 or so men I've gone out with in the last year and a half, I have not felt a connection with any (except one, who I am now friends with)..I used to get sad about it but now I truly believe that when I'm ready to meet someone and click with them, I just will.