Thursday, September 07, 2006

Can we be friends?

Wednesday night, I went out with Garret, he of the internet and rowing.

We decided to do something after practice. Even though this is the third time I've gone on a date directly after practice, I'm not crazy about it. I'm sweaty, my hair is a mess and my clothes are nasty. In rowing, you get wet—from sweat, from the river, from splashing. You also get dirty because the dirt on the boat rubs off on you when you carry it. Your legs get greasy from the tracks, which transfer their lubrication to the back of your shorts or your body. Your calves get cut and bruised by the tracks. If you wear long pants, they will have holes at the calf. Your hands blister and callus. Your hands are dirty from the oar handles and carrying the boat. It's a messy sport.

Since my date was going to look as icky as me, I didn't worry too much. But still, I like to dress up a tiny bit on a date. When I met David the first time, after practice, I put a skirt on over my rowing shorts. When I met this guy, I actually changed clothes. In both instances, I considered myself barely presentable. I almost said something to Garret about how I usually wear a skirt on a first date but I remembered: low key.

When Garret arrived at practice, he caught my eye and said hello, but didn't stand next to me. To which I say: good! I was embarrassed. I kept looking away from him. We were joking around with the coaches a little and I noticed that Garret laughed at my jokes. I tried to make some eye contact with him, so as not to be rude.

We were in the same boat, but he was in bow and I was way up in six-seat (yay!) so we had no contact during practice. You know, that's one more thing to worry about. I've been in two-seat a lot recently. What fun if I'm two and he's bow (one) and he gets to look directly at my ass for an hour? Oy.

Anyway. After we wiped down the boat and took up the oars, folks were chatting a little and slowly leaving the boathouse. I stalled around waiting for Garret so we could leave the at the same time without it being too, too obvious. He was clued in enough to make it not a big deal (but in my smoothness, I forgot my water bottle…can't win 'em all). As he headed to the street I said, "I'm on my bike."

He stopped and walked to the bike with me. "Oh. I can give you a ride…we can put it in my truck."

I hesitated and said, "Um, sure. Is it a truck? Let's see if it fits." His truck wasn't a truck; it was an SUV and it was full of crap (well-hidden crap). I said, "Why don't we just meet there? It's just as fast for me to ride my bike."

He said, "Ok. Can we go somewhere not so loud? And…" He plucked at his t-shirt, "…not too…."

I laughed, because I looked far worse, but at least I wasn't the only one self-conscious about my inappropriate date attire. I suggested a place and in about five minutes, I met him there.

When he got there, I pointed out that I'd arrived first and he seemed a little surprised, "You did! Huh." I think he's a slow processor.

I said, "I can always park right in front." He smiled.

Dinner and the conversation went well, except that I couldn't shut up. We talked a lot about rowing. I learned a little bit about him. He asked questions and laughed at my stories (when appropriate). He was humble and interested in what I had to say. He's cute and likeable. In fact, I like him. But the situation is so awkward. Why couldn't I just have met him at rowing? Dammit.

We were at dinner a good long time, partially because the service was slow, but also because the conversation was easy. When the bill came we split it down the middle, which seemed appropriate given the circumstances. I figured he wanted to keep things friendly.

We left and he waited while I unlocked my bike. We strolled together to his car, as he was parked on my route home.

When we got to his car, we talked a little bit about how odd it was to meet each other at practice. I said, "You didn't know it was me on the dock, did you?"

"Oh no! It wasn't until later that I started to wonder…" We laughed.

Then I said, "See you at rowing!" I could swear, his face dropped.

He said, "Uh, ok." And then he reached in for a little half hug. I laughed nervously. He told me to ride safe and I peddled away.

Today, I was thinking about it, and I realized that I gave him the impression that I'm not interested. Well, I'm not sure if I'm interested. I'd like to get a chance to like him. It's difficult under these circumstances. I mean, if he asked me out again, I would say yes. But I'm pretty sure that I need to do the asking since I gave him the brush with my "see you around" attitude.

I don't know if I'm up for this, but maybe I'll suggest that we do something after rowing next week. That could be fun. Keep it casual, go slow and see if anything develops.

No dating '06 is about to commence. Right after my Friday night date…

Grateful for: no angst.

Drop me a line.

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