(This is really long.)
I will do another before and after. It’s interesting to read it afterwards and reconstruct my thoughts.
It’s a week since the last date with Tom and we will go to the cinema tonight and have drinks before somewhere. I fit into my black dress again and decided to wear it today. It accentuates my waist and covers up my hips and thighs which are the worst parts of my body. If Tom were taller, I would wear heels, but I don’t want to be taller than him. I’m already larger and don’t want to feel like ‘too much’, and don’t want to make him feel less manly.
It’s interesting: I talked to Mrs. H this morning about my image of femininity or how I would like to be as a woman. It would be a balance of active and passive, strong and yielding. I hate seeing myself as big, loud and dominant (a thing I strongly felt and tried to suppress when I was younger and heavier). On the other hand, I don’t want to be a petite, quiet mouse of a girl, either. I want to be physically strong but slender, and internally strong with my own opinions and standards, able to express myself and make myself heard, but also able to listen and understand. A balance, as I said.
I’m looking forward to the film. The last time I went to the cinema was almost a year ago. And maybe Tom will give me a sign that he likes me, maybe take my hand. I really hope he does (like me, I mean). He is truly interesting and I would like to know so much more about him and get closer to him, but I am reluctant to write to him and always worry that he’s busy or has other priorities or other women. (What) does he think of me? I know he has both male and female friends. How many girlfriends has he had? How often does he see his friends, how close are they? Is he telling them about me, for example? I told June, Melina and Mrs. H about my dates and of course Mother and Sissy. I’m trying to be open, too, and admit to them if I like somebody.
I NEVER did that before. Liking somebody, even wishing for love in general, always seemed shameful and something I should not feel, not admit. A weakness. Something I tried to convince myself I did not need (and others that I did not want it). But I’ve grown and am able to admit that love is a human need, that I am human and am allowed to wish for love, even go out and look for it. And, hopefully soon, experience it.
So. It is difficult to decide how it was… After the date, I felt slightly disappointed. But then just before I fell asleep he wrote to me and that message made me ridiculously happy. But let me start at the beginning:
I made myself pretty and went to the meeting point five minutes early this time. I listened to music and tried to be myself, i.e. look up at the sky through the trees because I felt like it (while remaining conscious of the fact that I would like Tom to see me like that and to like that aspect of me) or tap the rhythm with my foot. I hadn’t worn a dress for months and suddenly felt a little naked and worried about how fat my legs looked, but tried to calm down. I was sitting on a bench under the trees when Tom came and the greeting was slightly awkward AGAIN because, while he leaned in for the by now usual kisses on the cheek, he again seemed to want to shake hands at the same time, but then dropped his hand when I raised mine and… well, just awkward. In the first few minutes he also seemed a little flustered and coughed nervously. He had reserved tickets at the cinema and already got them, which was nice. We walked down to B square and conversation was not as easy as before, there were several silences. He talked in a very quiet voice and seemed almost smaller than me, slouching a little, and I again felt like ‘too much’ next to him.
He doesn’t know the city well and I don’t know many bars or cafés, so we walked over to S square in search of a place until I saw a café that a colleague mentioned once and we chose that. But it was very unfashionable and the interior was old and full of old people. Not cool. But well, we got something to drink and talked a little and both relaxed. He talked about his job and mentioned that he works with barmaids who get rich clients to pay for their cosmetic surgery. It must be a strange world he works in. But still, he isn’t going out with those women, but with me (but then he isn’t conventionally attractive or outgoing or rich, so maybe he has to settle for people like me). We also talked about films and other things before walking over to the cinema. On the way, I told him about ballets I had seen in the cinema and he seemed very interested when I told him the story of Swan Lake. He likes plays and ancient tragedies and said he would love to see it in the cinema, but unfortunately it isn’t on this year.
Then we watched the film, The Martian. It was in 3D, which means we had to wear silly glasses and I couldn’t look at him during the film, we both looked so stupid. I would have wished to have some sign from him that he likes me, a small touch, maybe holding hands. Then I could have reacted. But there was NOTHING. I tried to leave my hands more to the side to reduce the distance, but not all the time, not so obviously. Nothing. He was focused on the film and kept his hands at his sides or in front of him. During intermission, he brought me a drink while I watched his bag. This felt nice, as if we were friends (or a couple). The film was very long and once there was a reference to Tolkien that really made me laugh. I’m not sure he got it, though. When we came out, we walked to the tram stop and talked a little. His tram came soon and we said goodbye quickly with kisses on the cheek. I crossed the street before his tram drove away and wanted to wave to him, but he was on the wrong side and missed me. It seemed as if he was looking at his phone. Was he writing to me? Telling a friend how it went? Or doing something entirely unrelated?
I felt quite disappointed on the way home and went immediately to bed. Tom didn’t seem so promising anymore. There were several reasons. Our conversation had not been as effortless as before. He did not seem as attractive to me this time. He’s no taller than me, but quite thin, and slouched yesterday. I once imagined a hug between us and it felt wrong. I don’t want a huge, muscular man with a broad chest who will lift me up or anything. But it would be nice to feel some strength and a certain solidity from a man, and Tom just seemed to lack this. Maybe it was also his reluctant manner. It made me feel too large and as if I was threatening or intimidating him in some way, instead of attracting him. I mean, if I knew he was attracted to me and was just being shy or trying to be respectful, it would be ok. But there was nothing. It also bothered me that he seems so intimidated by trendy or rich people. He seemed almost afraid when I mentioned seeing a real ballet at the opera. I’m not rich or trendy myself and arrogant people scare me, too, but I don’t want that to keep me from doing things I like.
So yes, I felt deflated and full of doubt. It didn’t help that Joel wrote me another sweet text message just then. He may be boring, but it makes me feel special. I did not want to write to Tom on the same evening this time. If he didn’t write, I would do it on the next day. Then at midnight, just as I was closing my eyes, my phone lit up. It was a message from Tom. This is what he wrote: ‘Dear Alienor, it was a lot of fun today, thank you very much. You are really great (smiley face) Hope we’ll see each other again soon. Love and good night, Tom’ (In German, of course). This changed everything for me. I couldn’t help but smile and feel happy. So he does like me! How else could he mean it? I know this probably cost him a lot of courage (if he is as shy as he seems) and I wanted to respond and tried to find words to tell him what I felt. In the end I said ‘Oh, Tom, thank you…’ and that this message really meant a lot to me. And I thanked him and said see you soon and good night.
But oh, I was so happy. This morning, I felt beautiful and shining. Somebody likes me. He thinks I’m ‘really great’. This makes it so easy to truly like myself as well. I want to communicate more with him, write text messages. I’m just going to ask him if he minds and if he doesn’t, I will be brave and initiate more contact. The fact that he likes me gives me confidence, a new base to move from. I do like him. He is an interesting person. All the rest will develop in time.