I had to get up very early this morning, Sunday morning. It's not that I don't usually wake up early—I do. But I don't get up and leave the house before 8am, which I did today. Shoot, I don't usually leave the house that early on a work day. I was done with my business by 8:15 and had to figure out what to do with the rest of my day. Go home and fall back into bed? Another day spent communing with the tv and my knitting?
No. I decided to take a short walk, which took me to Georgetown and a coffee shop/bakery. I was one of the first people here but now I'm surrounded by runners. Runners! They are drinking tea and coffee but not eating any baked goods. Four women, three men. One of the men has a British accent and he's talking to one of the younger women about living in France and the difficulties of speaking French. I should join in but I'm too far away. I feel like I have a claim on any cute British men, especially ones that lived in France. But I also don't want to date someone so into running that he gets up before 9am on a rainy (but warm-ish) Sunday to go running. Not that I don't admire them but it's a hobby I'll never enjoy. I actually would like to take up jogging again but until I resolve the problem of my sore feet (they are mending, though slowly), nothing more than brisk walking for me. Ah, now they've left. Without even a glance in my direction.
I guess it's nice to have a group like that. In fact, I was going to go to meet some people for a group museum visit around noon today. Now I don't think I'll go because I noticed that my least-favorite co-worker is also attending. I find such outings, with strangers, trying at best. Having to put on a false-face of friendliness would make it oh so much worse and I can't take it. I'll go to a movie instead. I don't enjoy being such a solitary creature but I know that I usually prefer my own company due to extreme pickiness and I don't want to waste a Sunday fretting over an encounter with Mandy.
On the non-solitary front, I did actually spend New Year's Eve with other people. TR invited me over for fondue with his family. Since I consider all of them friends (that is, TR, his wife, and their three children), it sounded like a good time. We ate fondue, I drank a little too much and we played some board games. All six of us struggled to stay up until midnight, but we all made it! If I'd been at a big party, I don't think it would have been a struggle, but I was really beat. I fell asleep easily when I got home.
On New Year's Day, I actually had a date. Not a heavy duty fraught with anticipation date, but something kind of casual with a guy who I've IM'd with very occasionally over the last many years. He's a world traveler but recently moved to DC and got in touch with me. We went for a coffee/bite to eat in the afternoon and I'm afraid I talked his ear off. I like the talking and he was a pretty funny guy, but I don't think he enjoyed listening as much as I enjoyed talking. After a string of my digressive stories, he said, "Well, I know a lot about you now! Do you have any questions for me?"
I can only remember saying that one time in my long career of dating and I find it an absolute conversation stopper. I mean, there I am, spewing out all this information, unbidden. Why don't you just reciprocate? Does nothing come to mind as I'm talking? A story you'd like to swap? Maybe not. It's silly of me, really, to expect other people's brains to work this way. And maybe I do need to do more priming with questions about where you grew up and how many siblings you have…but I do get around to that stuff eventually, though maybe not in the most conventional order.
I'll take his comment as more of a fault on my part, for getting lost in story-telling mode and not being a better listener. My response was basically, "is there anything you'd like to share?" which isn't very helpful either. SIGH. Anyway, I think I was doing a bit better and we were still talking away when he said, "Is there anything about me that you find off-putting?" Double sigh.
He did have a reason for asking—over the weekend, he'd been rejected twice. I feel for him, I've been there. As I related some of my tales of boyfriend woe, I realized that I've been rejected a lot over the last few years. All the most recent boyfriends have broken up with me—which I actually think is a good thing. It means, I hope, that I'm more willing to stick around and give things a chance. My old way (?) was to get the hell out of Dodge as soon as possible. Anyway, as I was talking to my New Year's date, and telling a story about my younger self's tendency to ask people what was wrong with me (why couldn't I sustain a relationship?—a question I've been asking since I was a TEENAGER) I realized that I don't talk about this anymore. I still wonder about it, if there is something wrong with me. But I also accept it, though it does make me sad and I will keep trying, but I also won't let it stop me from being happy, doing what I like, and getting satisfaction where I find it. But that question, what is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? No single date could answer that, and never upon first acquaintance. Heck, most of my exes can't answer. They can tell you—I can tell you—why things didn't work with US—but they can't say, "Jamy is single because of x, y, and z." Or maybe they can? Maybe I should do my own Sherman's March thing and go interview all my exes and finally GET THE ANSWER.
I can say that I have dated a number of people who I genuinely like. While I don't stay in touch with all or even most of them, a few are still friends and that's a good feeling. For example, I wrote to Kent recently (my ex who I met while I was living in Paris and who is now in the British Army). Actually, it was back in September, but it took him until early December to write back because he is now in Afghanistan. He told me where but I'm not googling it because the less I know, the less I'll worry. But, since then, he's written a couple of times and I got the last message on New Year's Eve. Now, I know that Kent would say that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me. That relationship, short and vacation-like as it was, still stands out as one of the best I've ever had, which probably accounts for why I still think of him. I also genuinely like him and I'm very glad we are in touch and remain friends. I've met people who I click with, and the memory of Kent doesn't keep me from going forward. I have been willing to dive in—but that memory helps me know what it's like to behave well and be appreciated in a relationship. I think when I behave poorly, it usually means there is something wrong in the interaction, not that I'm broken or a bad person. Though I usually feel like a bad person pretty quickly. Sigh again.
Anyway, when my date asked me what was wrong with him, I couldn't answer. I said, "I can't say, I haven't known you very long." He said, "Ah, too polite to say." Thing is, I wasn't off put by him. I was enjoying talking to him and that seemed like enough. Still, there was something "off" about him that seemed to make him not boyfriend material. I'd be happy for a friend, though, and if he were game, we could do that. I couldn't verbalize then and I still can't, what was off. Perhaps it was in the tenor of some (very few) of his remarks, which were unnecessarily crude or harsh or some attempts to be very clever that fell completely flat. Maybe that he warned me that I shouldn't say bad things about my boss in my online profile? (He may be right about that! But I've said much worse to her in person—when will I learn to shut up already?). I don't know, but something IS wrong with him. And I guess something is wrong with me. What can you do?
Grateful for: a chance to tell some stories.