Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Okay, I fell. Hard.
Several times, actually.
The first time was online, through OKCupid, where I was once again puttering in an online dating scene without real hopes or intentions of actually meeting anyone in real life. The conversation went along the lines of this:
Him: your profile looks neat, and I like to converse with people in person. Want to have chai?
Me: uhm, thanks, but I like to get to know people online a bit first.
(yes, this is why I'm so succesful at dating. Really.)
Second meeting: Saturday afternoon, in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, I'm hooping with friends... Jugglers are playing downstairs in the rink, and one of them starts climbing the stairs towards us while tossing clubs. I grab a second hoop, run down the stairs, and start showing off that I, too, can do tricky things while climbing stairs. We may (or may not) have chatted a bit. I did not introduce myself, or do anything in particular to extend a conversation.
(yes, this is another example of why I am not so successful at dating. On my side, though, I will point out that I didn't start talking about Death with him until well past our first official date.. but that comes later. See? I've learned SOME things...)
Third meeting: I am downstairs at Robson Square on a Friday night, with hoops and poi to play with and share while dancers fill the rink during BC DanceSport's Summer Series... I am hooping and poi-ing, and a guy comes over and asks to try my poi. He gets a non-basic move going, and we start chatting... turns out he doesn't do poi, but he juggles, and he has just translated a juggling pattern into the poi, and is doing quite well. Half an hour goes by, and I'm starting to think that this fellow is kinda interesting.. possibly the most interesting person I've met in a while, and maybe I should do something about it. Do I? No, not yet.
(see? Still yet ONE MORE reason why I've sucked at dating.. but wait!....)
His friends come and find him, two women and another man.. I get introduced, and we're chatting awkwardly as a group, when he turns to me and asks if I'm on OKCupid... and aside from feeling mildly embarrassed about this coming out infront of his friends (c'mon, cool, succesful people don't use online dating sites, right?), I am excited to realize that this means that we're already connected with each other, so I don't need to ask for his phone number or anything. Woot! We parted ways, and I rushed home, hopped online to OKCupid, and sent him a message asking him out for chai.
August 6th, 2007th was our first date. What made it particularly special? He was LATE. Late late, no phone-call-I'm-on-my-way late, but red-faced-have-I-just-been-stood-up, he's-30-min-late, I-feel-stupid late. We were meeting at Starbucks in Chapters, and after arriving early, wandering the main floor a bit, wandering back into Starbucks, and repeating for half an hour, I was SO mad/embarassed/nauseous that I was finally getting myself a chai and giving up, when he arrived, breathless, and looking utterly horrified and being very very apologetic.
Thank God, 'cause it made me accept the apologies and give him a second chance!
He'd gone for a motorcycle ride with a friend out to Harrison Hot Springs, and hadn't properly accounted for the time it would take to ride all the way back into downtown to meet me. So, I'm jittery getting over my anger, he's jittery getting over the fast ride, but we managed to get our drinks, and headed over to the steps of the Art Gallery to chat and watch people go by.
Now, here's the weird thing, that I don't totally understand: For most of August, we hung out a couple times a week, at the hooping/juggling things downtown or going for motorcycle rides and dinners or walks, or whatever. I was always a bit uncomfortable, and felt awkward around him.. we'd hug goodnight, but that was it.. and I would leave questioning whether or not I wanted anything more...
When I was about to leave for Burning Man, I had just about decided that it wasn't going to go anywhere. Being the non-confrontational type that I am, I didn't bother mentioning this to him, and headed off with plans to be mentally free and open to meeting a sweetheart on the playa, and come back and 'just be friends'. Instead, I went off to the playa, met a sweetheart and had a fabulous time, but also came to a place of recognizing that I had to be more brave about letting people in, and initiating the step to get past the awkwardness MYSELF, to see if there was possibly a decent relationship out there waiting for me. So, less 'when it is right, it will all be perfectly easy, ' and more 'when it is right, I'll know because I've put the effort in, and be willing to continue putting in effort'.
Came back into town, went on a couple more dates, opened myself to the attraction that I was feeling for him, had the MOST awkward goodnight hug ever (soo badly wanted to lean in for a kiss, but couldn't make myself do it), jumped online right after and sent him a message saying that I wanted a kiss, and could I have a raincheque? .. and then collected on the raincheque at the next earliest opportunity.
Things didn't go smoothly right away... but they've worked out, with the most incredible, effective communication that I've ever managed in a relationship, and the last sevenish months have been absolutely lovely.
A couple noteworthy points along the way:
I had started feeling overwhelmed by the urge to say The Three Words... but swallowed 'em down. Too soon, too scary, what if he freaks out? One night, we were cuddling when he caught a weird expression on my face and asked about it... "Uhm, I have something to tell you, and it is scary..." "Does it start with the letter L" "Uhm, yeesss..." (pause) "Are you a Lesbian?" (much laughter) "Yes! I am a lesbian!" ... and for a couple weeks afterwards, I could occassionally lean over and whisper in his ear "I am a Lesbian" as practice, before I got comfortable with telling him that I loved him.
He came home with me for Christmas, which would be both the first time he'd meet my family, and the first time we'd take a road trip. It was amazing, that the seven-hours-more-like-nine-in-bad-weather of driving, plus three days of strangers in high loads (including my dad roping him into fix his old computers), didn't drive him crazy. I missed his cue of "let's go see if Tim Horton's has chai!" (which apparently means, Honey, I really need to have some time away from your parents, can we leave?) but managed to clue into it later, so we had a Christmas night drive-around-town that included visiting the horses in the Stampede grounds, and seeing a housecat stalking the handful of deer that were out for a midnight snack in someone's front yard. Other trip highlights included a freshly-snowy walk to my family church, where my mom's history as Coordinator (aka secretary) got me keys to go in to the empty sanctuary and play my favourite piano for him... and having him grab me and squeeze so hard 'cause he had no idea I had mad piano skillz... and then tackling each other into the snow on the way home, to make snowangels. The boy is Fun.
The communication thing has been one of the most.. enlightening?... thrilling?... awe-inpiring?... parts of our relationship, where I'm continually thinking "OOHHhhhhhh, THIS is how this is supposed to work! Dang!", whether it be about our labelling status (he's my Boyfriend, which just feels so much better than the silly Significant Other I had in my early 20s) (yes, it has been that long since I've had a more-than-a-few-dates-or-just-friends-with-benefits relationship), money issues (he's making lots more than I am, but I'm too proud for charity.. so he can buy me safety gear for riding his motorcycle, but I'll buy myself snowboarding gear and passes and we'll share food and outings), or the various other things that can go un-spoken and then become problems... or get spoken of, and be dealt with in a wonderful, functional way! With check-ins! So cool.
Time spent in his company is lovely... I can knit or spin (on the new wheel I bought before Christmas, with permission to set it up as his place so I wouldn't have to choose between spinning or hanging out with him) while he plays video games, work beside him on his spare computer, read in his tub while he's in his workshop, wake him up early to drag him out to Fibrefest (ooh, more fibre to spin!), or spend a weekend-and-a-bit puking my guts out while he offers to hold my hair out of the way.. yes, that would be this past weekend, and he managed to cope with a very sick, whiney, semi-conscious, not-very-much-fun-at-all me without getting grumpy or going insane... and I love him even more for it.
He's smart, funny, sweet, playful, interesting, interested, (yes, those are two different things), thoughtful, balanced, creative, active, cuddly, mellow, handsome, and he makes my toes curl (particularly when I'm not sick and whiney) in a really good way.
Oh, and he's gave me a coupon for us to take dance lessons, hidden in a beautiful wooden box he crafted for me as an incentive-to-clean-your-room-present-turned-Christmas-gift. Yes, we have Cleaning My Room dates. Can I say Man of my Dreams? I never knew he existed, and I'm so glad that I've found him.
(taken at my 35th birthday party - in the background is my lovely friend Erica, who saved the day by taking on my hoop class last night when I decided at the last minute that I was still too sick to work)