This post is in two parts, before and after the date.
Tom and I will meet for the second time tonight. We will have dinner together. I’m strangely even more nervous than before the first date. I’ve learned a lot in those two weeks, about myself, about men, about how it works. I’ve changed, too. My main goal is to relax and really focus on Tom, read his face, listen to what he is saying, how he is saying it. And not to fiddle with my own hands all the time and look down. I’m working on this with Mrs. H, too. The last time I was so nervous that I missed a lot, or can’t remember some things. I talked more than I wanted and about irrelevant things. It was my impression that he liked me, but I could have been mistaken. He said he did in his messages, but there are also these long silences… It keeps me guessing. On the other hand, I am not sure how well I like him. Am I truly attracted to him or am I just flattered? Do I truly want him, or just somebody deep and intelligent who wants me? Do I really want him to kiss me or do I just generally want to be kissed? Do I even want to be kissed? Yes. Oh, yes. But then I do have regular phases of wanting to be kissed, followed by phases of indifference. Maybe it’s just a phase?
Ok, it’s the next day and I’ve had time to think about last night (and talk about it to my cat). It wasn’t perfect, but a really nice evening. In the beginning, there were some awkward moments. We met at the University and when Tom greeted me this time, with kisses on the cheek, he held out his hand as well as if to shake hands, but it was weird and we didn’t. I asked him if he wanted to walk to the restaurant and warned him about the steep uphill climb, but he said yes, and then said it was steeper than he thought. The restaurant was almost empty, and because I had suggested he should reserve a table to make sure, I felt a little foolish. But we laughed about it and I think it was ok. He liked the place and the food (we ate pizza), and I felt at home, so that was a success.
We ate dinner and talked and I had periods when I looked at him a lot and then periods when I looked at my hands. But I was less nervous and could listen to him and watch him and notice my own words and feel as if I ‘stayed with myself’ despite concentrating on him, so it’s definitely progress. We had interesting topics, books, films, our families, likes and dislikes, ideas and concepts. He’s intelligent and curious about many things and I notice that it’s contagious. I feel more awake and less scared to think about uncomfortable or difficult topics than I have for a long time. He told me about his favorite book a few weeks ago and I’ve been listening to the audiobook. In the beginning, I found it disturbing and almost gave it up, but now I’ve changed a little and it’s growing on me. I made sure to tell him about it, because last time I felt a little stupid and limited compared to him and I’m NOT stupid, I know I’m not. I’m just sometimes lazy or scared of thinking. But he’s waking me up. He said that I had a talent for writing judging from the messages we exchanged. He also admitted that he was a perfectionist, just like me (in most areas).
I noticed a few things that I really liked about him: He looked more handsome to me than last time, his skin was better, his head wasn’t completely shaven and he wore a very becoming navy blue shirt. He really does have beautiful hands. And he didn’t have bad table manners or talk with his mouth full, although he held his knife and fork awkwardly, like a child. It also really struck me that he is very shy and a little insecure. He’s trying, talking, asking questions, just like me. He was very attentive towards me and when he thought I had understood some remark to be a criticism or too intrusive, he got flustered and tried to make me understand his meaning. I can relate to this so much! I think it’s just as horrible for him to feel himself misunderstood as it is for me. I tried to put him at ease as soon as I noticed, but I have to be careful not to make him feel bad by thoughtless remarks. I hope that as we get to know each other better, he will relax a little. We’re similar in many ways, and I don’t know if it’s a good thing.
I couldn’t tell if he was attracted to me or not. He looked at me often and smiled and didn’t seem uncomfortable or bored. But he didn’t give me any other signals, either, or I was too clueless to notice them. Our hands were on the table, just within reach, but he didn’t take mine and while I wanted to touch his, I didn’t dare. I felt attracted to him, I could feel it in my body sometimes. Not butterflies, more like sleepy caterpillars. But I couldn’t do anything about it. Even just using my lip balm a few times (because I had to, because I press my lips together a lot when I’m tense and can’t bear it if they get dry) or pushing my hair back (because I had to, because it fell forward, being loose) made me feel self-conscious and too flirty. The cliché image of the flirty woman who giggles and swings her hair around came to my mind and made me feel foolish. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be beautiful and interesting, and not too grave, smiling, but not flirty.
When we left, I walked down with him to the tram stop, because I didn’t want to tell him where I lived. I didn’t want him to even think I might want him to come in. But it was a mistake to walk down, because when he asked me where I had to go and I said up again, I could tell it made him feel bad, even though it was my decision to walk down. And he said that he wouldn’t keep silent so long this time and I could tell that it had bothered him, my remarking on it or maybe my question if he still wanted to see me. On one hand, it was nice to hear he wasn’t indifferent, but on the other hand I just don’t want him to feel guilty or bad because of me. We said goodbye with kisses on the cheek and agreed to meet again. I tried to calm down enough to feel the touch consciously, and see how it feels to be close to him. It worked a little; I remember feeling his slightly stubbly cheek for a second. I’ll get better at this.
Walking back up the hill, I strangely was more excited than before. I felt energy all through my body and would have loved to run or skip. I felt happy and tense and a little silly and ashamed all at the same time. Maybe it’s good that he didn’t kiss me. It would have been romantic, under the stars in the dark, but I would probably have been too nervous to really feel it. We’re both really shy and both definitely not touchy-feely types. If we continue like this, it will probably take a long time until he will kiss me. That’s ok. It’s nice to have something to dream about, something to want. I wrote about this before: the greatest energy is in the tension between what is wanted and what is, and I love that energy. I also get to enjoy my ‘innocence’ a little longer. I sent him a text message thanking him for a very nice evening. He responded, saying he had enjoyed his time with me and suggesting another date next week.
Oh, I don’t know. I still don’t know. It was nice, it was exciting, it was awkward sometimes. I think he is a nice, intelligent and not unattractive man. All the rest may very well be only in my head, or only mood swings, phases, hormones, I don’t know. This is all so new for me.
I do feel more confident, more awake and interested in other people since I started this dating thing. I feel as if I was truly living, not just existing in my own head. Dieting is suddenly easy. I lost so much weight last week and am motivated to lose more, to be able to feel more confident in my body, to wear my pretty skirts again. Food and cravings have almost no room in my head right now, because I keep thinking about other people, about our interactions, about possibilities. Maybe this whole year, all the struggle, was worth it to take the next step into a fuller life.