The Fear in Knowing

I was talking to the Viking the other night. I hadn’t seen him in about a month since I’d been gone one week and then he had a couple trips he’d gone on.

After a hug on the stairs that lifted my feet from the top landing of the stairway where they’d been planted  and felt like the most cinematic reunion ever he followed me into the Blues room and sat with me for a while.

I’d come alone because Kay bailed to watch Civil War with her church friends instead and I’d had a rough week with a lot of things happening outside of my control so I was already feeling rambly and vulnerable.

He teased me gently about being a wallflower and then laughed when he realized I was wearing the very floral dress that started a bit of an inside joke of referring to me as the wallflower, or sending me Wall Flowers songs through facebook.

I explained I’d just got there and was still feeling slightly overwhelmed and he smiled and at the same time I started to say that I enjoy people watching, he said it. I mentioned coming out is always less horrifying for me if I have a friend to hide behind or use as a buffer between me and people. He said something about hoping he didn’t overwhelm me, but in a soft way, like he knew he wasn’t. I told him he wasn’t. That I know him, kind of. He smiled and looked away and tripped over saying “as much as two  people who see each other on a-” he paused and finished with something along the lines of on a regular basis as if he’d only just noticed we see each other at least once a week.

I nodded. We don’t really KNOW each other. Not like I know someone like Kay: her family, all her stories, her tics. “But you’re… familiar.”

The Viking eventually asked me to dance and we did and I could barely follow because he’s so tall and warm and I’d missed him and after a literal month of thinking of him he was finally touching me again.  I don’t remember the song that that was playing and I’d been making a conscious effort to do so since “Ray of Sunlight” solidified the last dance we’d had so perfectly in my mind.

The song ended, because we’d started halfway through, and he asked if I’d like to dance a full song.

So my hand stayed tucked in his and we picked up the next song.

Out of nowhere, really, he got a peculiar look on his face and asked if it was scary for me “being known by someone.” He floors me, sometimes.

It was an oddly deep question and its been all I can think about, since.

I asked him whether he meant in general or- and he followed up by saying, like we were talking about getting to know people and how we kind of see each other regularly and then in relationships, is it scary to be KNOWN by someone.

What I wound up incoherently rambling at him was something along the lines of big-picture, end-goal, no it’s not scary, its something I want. It’s getting there that’s scary. Then he wanted to know why. I rambled some more as we finished up the dance.

I don’t specifically recall much of what I said after that, but I do remember he put my name into the last line of the song we were dancing to and sang it in my ear. He sang my name to me and I don’t remember the words surrounding my name, because I was already flustered, and he confuses me, and it was such a sweet moment that all I can remember is those two drawn out syllables resonating in my ear.

The question remains though: am I afraid to be known?

After days of agonizing over the question I’ve come to the conclusion that like so many other things with me, its not as simple as I am afraid or I am not afraid.

There are stages of knowing someone. I happen to have a LOT of stages. If knowing me came in levels, I’d be like the stairs of some ancient French Cathedral: steep, winding and seemingly endless.

On the outside, I’m “the girl with the outfits” (this is actually something more than one person has called me out dancing because I’m apparently always dressed to kill AND its never the same dress). Watch the outfits long enough and you’ll notice I play at acceptable fashion. I know how to put an outfit together, but I like an edgy sort of comfort in my clothes. Start looking at me to make sense of my outfits and  I have a sunny personality, I laugh easily and appreciate wit and peculiarity. Talk to me and you’ll catch me swearing or letting out a morbid or innuendo laced joke. My humor leans towards violence and self deprecation. I can’t take a compliment.

If you make it to a landing, higher up the staircase, you’ll know I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder but manage it with diet and exercise and meditation, journaling, art therapy: anything to not be on medication. I am also an agoraphobe using social dancing as my exposure therapy. I manage my anxiety and panic disorders with breathing exercises, tapping, grounding, and the occasional self medication with a nip or two from the bottle. I’ve had an eating disorder since I was about 14 that rears its ugly head when I feel like I need more control in my life.

I used to self mutilate but haven’t hurt myself in a while and won’t again because I can’t stand that the last group of scars hasn’t flattened out and turned white but remains raised and ugly and purple for the world to see and judge.

I’ve been abused, stalked, assaulted, threatened- more than once and its left me with an awful lot of triggers and trust issues.

The ugly parts of me are so closely tied to what you find out first about me. They come out early on because a lot of things are triggering for me and I often find I need to explain why I reacted the way I did to something seemingly innocuous.

I’m difficult. I try to be as functional as possible, but I’m under no illusions. The jagged edges of my person are tricky to get around.

Still, it’s not being known that scares me.

I am afraid of being known halfway. I’m afraid of someone starting to know me and stopping before they get to the good parts. I’m afraid of being known only to the point of being crazy, and sad, and angry, and afraid of everything.

I’m afraid of not being given the chance to be known in all the ways that matter. That I’m funny and enjoy taking care of people. That I’m a good cook and like feeding people. I’m a loyal friend but will tell people they’re being unjust or overly judgmental. Dogs, horses, and small children inherently trust me. That I am afraid of everything but that it’s never going to stop me because I can make myself work through anything.

I’ve been hurt in many ways but I love deeply and permanently.

People who see the whole picture, stay.

Its just a rare occasion that they take the time to get that far.

So is being known scary? No.

Playing the crapshoot of letting people get into the gnarly stuff necessary before the finish line and hoping they’ll make it?

Positively horrifying.

 

And of course, because I’m still caught up in this silly crush, I’m stuck thinking of those earnest blue eyes locked on mine and that warm voice singing my name.

If I had to pick someone to let know me, I’d want him.

Desperately.

But I’m afraid to let him get past the charming exterior.

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I went on a date…

What the heck, right?

Unless you read the last ramble about how I’m inept in the romance department. In which case you knew about all this.

So now like some weird, less fashionable, less horse-faced Carrie Bradshaw let me tell you about my experience.

The son of my high school History teacher asked me out last week. As I mentioned before, we have a TON in common and have been aware of each other for years, just never really spent much time together or really talked until he started being all up on my social media starting about a month ago.

My problem is this: I feel NOTHING for him. Cognitively I know we like the same movies and tv shows, our upbringing and families are similar. I was good friends with his sister in high school. He goes to church but doesn’t seem super serious about it, so that matches up. He work out daily, as do I. He likes animals. We can nerd out and drool over food together. It’s great. On paper, we’re perfect.

We had a great date on Saturday. We started out going to the Arboretum at our old university campus but it was closed off for some reason so instead we trekked all over campus revisiting the old sculptures put out by the college of art. We talked, we laughed. We spontaneously went to a movie. Then he took me to dinner.

I had a really good day. I felt happy. We work well, together. I had a very low level of anxiety being around him. HOWEVER, it seems to stem from the fact that I don’t care. Which is a problem.

I talked to all of my friends leading up to this date. I actually started thinking that maybe I should call it off. I don’t want to lead him on. I’ve been led on. I don’t want to do that to someone else. Everybody seemed to be of the opinion that I should give him a chance. That I might like him if I’d take the time to think of someone outside of my massive Viking-related crush. So I did. I resisted the urge to cancel the date and I had a good time.

We came back to my apartment and finished the last couple episodes of Daredevil and then I subjected him to Archer. He kissed me.

That’s all that happened. There wasn’t even any attempted second base action, just kissing, and hand holding; it was very PG. He’s a good kisser, aside from the fact he rocks one of those stubble-goatees so I kept getting jabbed in the face. He’s also very attractive. He’s athletic, with strong arms and shoulders, a hard, flat stomach, and that V that cuts down his hips and into his jeans(I’ve seen pictures, no live action, it was PG!); he’s droolworthy, really.

I just don’t care.

I started making lists in my head while kissing him, thinking of other things, other people, other places. I just zoned out.

I don’t want him. I know we’d make a good team but I don’t want him, no matter how hard I try to make myself and I don’t feel like wasting time with some distraction. I also definitely don’t want to lead him on.

I also don’t want to shoot something potentially healthy and functional in the foot without giving it a chance, though. So I’m torn.

HE seems really into ME, though. I’m having trouble keeping him at arms length.

Besides that I keep comparing him to the Viking.

I CARE about the Viking. I find little things he does so perfectly adorable I can’t put it into words. I stare off into space dreamily when I think of him and my friends notice. I feel safe with the Viking.

He’s not cut like an athlete. He’s older, and softer. He doesn’t have that metrosexual snappy-dresser thing down like my date. He’s sweet and funny, not dashing and charismatic. On paper the Viking should be inferior.

But I want him.

So I’m stuck and confused and this would all be SO simple if I could just flat say all this to the men involved and get straight answers and understanding out of both of them, but that’s not the way the world works, so I guess I’ll just suffer.

Hooray.

The Golden Afternoon

I garden.

Not particularly well. But I plant, cultivate, and if I’m lucky things grow.

My parents had an enormous yard when I was growing up so in the Spring they would always clear out the flower beds and put in new plants where they were needed. For a while we had a fenced vegetable garden in the front yard.

I am one of the rare Millennials that knows the taste of a fresh sweet pea snapped straight from the vine. I always say I hate tomatoes, but that’s not quite true because if I can pull a wobbly, not quite spherical, fruit from the vine and eat it warm there is nothing better. Store and restaurant tomatoes are disgusting and NOTHING is worse than ketchup or tinned tomato sauce.

I don’t have a big house. I live in a teeny apartment with an even teenier triangular patio, but I garden.We got a lot more rain than expected this year, so a lot of my plants drowned but in general I grow flowers in little (and bigger) pots. I had a corn plant that I grew from a 6 inch tall sprout into  a stalk taller than me in pots of varying size until the wind took it and snapped it in two.

Since Spring is upon us, I thought I’d better start sprucing things up. So this weekend I went out and did some thinning and repotting, and pruning. In doing so, I realized I’ve learned a lot of things about life in general from my dabbling with my tiny urban garden.

I thought I’d share some of them.

Pruning: Pruning used to seem awful to me as a kid. You spend all this time putting so much effort into growing things. You tend plants through all sorts of weather and then with the change of season, or when they grow past a certain point, you hack giant pieces off of them. Sap flows out and it just seems like it should hurt or even kill the plant. Particularly the more severe pruning of trees or rose bushes. But it’s for the plants good. In life sometimes you can put a lot of effort into things and there comes a time when you need to strip what is dead or dying away from you. There are times when you need to cut out pieces that appear completely normal but if allowed to continue growing unchecked could become detrimental to your overall health, happiness, or well-being.

I have done a lot of pruning in my life. In college, I left my sorority for a while to focus on getting help for my numerous mental health issues. I lost a lot of “friends” that way. At this point I’ve paired down to a handful of women. Kay and Jo are two of them. I could have kept the lot, but I would not have been able to continue thriving.

More recently I cut a man out of my life who treated me well, was handsome, and talented, and passionate. He thought I was lovely no matter my mood, or weight, hair color or style. But ultimately the relationship was going nowhere. He wasn’t my boyfriend. He wasn’t going to marry me. We were great together but he wasn’t serious about us and as long as I was seeing him, I was going to keep shooting my every opportunity for a happy committed relationship in the foot. A snip with the shears and I’m free. It hurt for a bit, but I’m better for it.

You don’t even just cut away people. You can cut out Netflix before bed and start reading again. You can cut out Facebook status rants and start blogging or journalling instead. You can cut out meat. You can cut out refined sugar. You can cut out gluten if you want, but I think THAT just makes you an asshole unless you have an actual condition. The point is, sometimes people, just like plants, could use a trim.

Pesticides: I don’t use them. I feel like this says a lot about me as a person,  but I don’t believe in chasing away creatures who appreciate my plants. This doesn’t just go for bugs. Birds like seeds. Cats like wheat grass. Caterpillars REALLY like my Basil. I don’t believe in poisoning or shooing things away. I plant two patches of cat grass: one down (by the cat-castle I use as a garden shelf because it wouldn’t fit in our living room corner) where stray cats can easily get it. One out of the way, harder to reach, for trimming and giving to my cats or juicing into wheat grass shots (which I have only ever done once because they taste like a fart of themselves). I let my basil grow tall and then strip away a bald patch on the stalks midway up. Caterpillars munch the lower leaves and when they hit bare stalk, usually don’t venture farther up. I keep my birdfeeder stocked and no one digs up my planters.

In life I think this roughly translates to realizing that not everyone is out to get you. Not everyone is deliberately trying to ruin your day or be mean to you. They’re just trying to find their own way through life. So be kind where you are fortunate enough to be able to. Don’t take the easy way out and assume someone is just angry, or just naturally has some vendetta against you. And be creative with your solutions.

Patience: Kind of goes without saying. Things take a long time to grow. Waiting pays off. Waiting for home grown basil instead of using the weird flaky dried stuff from the supermarket is infinitely better. But harder. Just like waiting for the right person to come along instead of settling for serial dating, or someone okay, but not quite right. Or waiting to get to know someone before jumping head first into a relationship.

Endurance:  I have a tomato plant that I ‘d thought was dead until a single, tiny, red fruit budded and ripened from one withered vine last week. The thing was brown and barely anchored in a broken pot. A sudden storm that caused flash flooding and power outages got it. I let it go. I figured it would wither and then compost into the soil and be good nutrients for the next thing I planted. Then it flowered. One tiny white blossom and one green leaf dangled from a vine snapped almost completely in two, brown and twisted, and dry on a big brown plant so dry it rattles in the breeze.

Living things endure. The places you think are broken beyond repair can knit themselves together again. I’m a good example. I am made up, essentially, of scar tissue and fears. I went from not being able to walk with a back injury to dancing every weekend. I suffer from mental disorders that should be (and honestly still, sometimes are) crippling but I have a pretty busy social life and spend most of my time being happy.

BUT Some things are beyond help: Plants are really great at looking dead and then suddenly springing back to life with a little TLC – but some things are just dead and need to be left that way. Roots can rot. Fruit can mold. You don’t want anything that springs up tainted. People try to come back into your life and the interim has lessoned the pain they caused you and because you remember the work you put into the relationship you’re tempted to keep trying. Or something be it a person, a job, a hobby, a habit is dead and dying and clearly poisonous to you but again, because of the effort you’ve put into it and the positive memories you have like the first flowering buds have you hesitant to make a clean break. Trash is trash, rot is rot, and just because something once was strong, healthy, even beautiful, if it has molded and decayed, there is nothing to do but throw it out. Let the past be the compost for new experiences.

Being dirty feels good: Wait, no, hear me out! That is not what it sounds like!

Oh wait, yes it is.

Dirt feels good under my nails. Walking barefoot outside recharges me. Splashing in puddles or leaving footprints in the mud is fun.  Stiletto heels and a short skirt feel good. Unabridged fantasies of a saucy nature are delicious and make the workday go faster. Scandalizing your friends with an explicit joke is wonderful. Deliberately pressing your chest into your crush’s when they hug you goodbye creates a lovely little electric zing that lasts for days. Living a little and not always doing what everyone else things is right is a great way to make yourself happy.

Dirt washes off: Even the most rank fertilizer, darkest soil, and most pungent mulch comes off with water. It may take a little effort, a little scrubbing under your nails, or behind your eats (I don’t know how other people garden) but you will get clean again and be better for the experience.

Similarly even the darkest experiences in life are not permanent. You can come clean again. I have had awful experiences. I have done awful things and had awful things done to me. But I am whole.

It takes some effort sometimes to convince myself that I am whole. I will always remember that I once was broken. I still remember the stains from the rotten vegetables, insect stings, and black reeking compost that I’ve come into contact with, but I am not made of those things. I am something completely different. I am me. I am whole and separate and clean. It may have taken some effort, some heavy duty detergent, a scrub brush, but I am more than the dirt I have touched.

Dirt don’t hurt, possibly, the most valuable lesson I’ve taken from gardening.

(Though the caterpillar trick is a close second, tbh)

Zero to Awkward REAL Quick

There’s a guy I see at all the different Blues (and now Fusion) events and he’s super nice, a little quiet, and one of my favorite leads. He’s actually the first person who ever asked me to dance the first night I tried Blues.

He always asks me to dance at least once, and usually towards the end of the night when people thin out and the music gets slow, we wind up dancing 2 or 3 songs in a row to a nice Slow Drag (I would link to the wikipedia page, but their definition just makes Slow Drag sound kind of sleazy, so if you’re really interested, maybe try youtube?).

Either way, he’s just nice and not intimidating at all and it’s very comforting to dance with him at the end of the night.

I went to a Fusion event a couple weekends ago and he was there it was VERY lead heavy so I didn’t sit practically the whole night and towards the end of the night he snagged me and we wound up dancing a slow song together. He pulled me into a closed embrace and leaned our heads together, tucked my hand into his and let them fall to our sides. We kind of just swayed there talking. It was relaxing and a nice break from the high energy of the night.

The song ended and since we were still talking I asked if he wanted to go another round. He did and we picked up where we left off.

I mentioned he did a lot of different dance events.

Then he mentioned he didn’t really come for the dancing. He spun me and then back with his head next to mine said he came to “see what his options are.”

INSERT THE SOUNDS OF SCREECHING TIRES HERE.

Now, in my mind, I’m like “IS THAT WHAT THIS IS??? AM I AN OPTION???? ABORTABORTABORT!!!” The cozy snuggle took on a new meaning.

Outwardly, we continue our endless bluesy circles on the floor and I pipe up:

“I come to events because I’m using it as therapy for my crippling Agoraphobia!”

There was a long pause before he asked if that was like Claustrophobia.

At which point I began with “That IS a common misconception but-” and followed with the DSM definition in a rambling deluge.

Needless to say, that was the last time we danced that night and he got REALLY quiet after that.

The good news is, I now have a tried and true method for shutting down a potentially awkward romantic approach.

 

I may think you’re hot. 

I may be ABSOLUTELY BATSH!T!!!

 

Can’t go wrong.

crushcrushcrush…

 

Do you know how long it’s been since I had an honest to god CRUSH on someone?

This whole thing started as a joke.

He’s tall. He’s handsome.

He’s in a red vest and a grey cardigan with his hair tied back in a low horsetail like some Dickens’ gentleman and actually looks me in the eyes when we’re being introduced.

Oh look, he’s a good dancer and he’s in a purple collared shirt and I would really like to dance with him.

Notice me, Senpai!

Haha ha. Everyone laughs, but I’ve got this weird fluttering in my chest.

He dances with me and he’s funny and the first time he smiles at me our faces are inches away and his eyes are so… blue. The whole blonde hair blue eyes thing was never my thing but he’s different. Its not his face its the expression on his face that I can’t quite put my finger on. Some simple open expression.

He dips me and he’s the only person I’ve ever danced with where I don’t have the roller-coaster-bottom-dropping-out-of-my-stomach moment of fear thinking I might hit the floor. I’ve said it before, as a simple unspoken truth, he will not let me fall. My trust in him is involuntary; it’s a reflex.

One that, between my general anxiety and my history with men, should not be functioning.

The next time I see him at a dance I walk in as he’s signing in. He has neat handwriting for a man. His name has an old world ring to it. He may very well be a viking.

I sit down next to him for a bit and talk and that flutter is still in my chest; it wasn’t a fluke. He’s forgotten my name and looks genuinely upset about it.

I watch him all night and because I’m watching him, I catch him watching me more than once. The nervous flutter in my chest multiplies, one moth to full blown butterflies. Anxious, I walk to my car and hide in the bathroom more than usual. Every time I return he’s where I was. With my friends, chatting or dancing, like he was looking for me.

We finally dance and it’s electric.

Now this time he walks up the stairs to peek into the pre-dance blues lesson. He’s looking at his feet as he climbs the stairs so from my place by the door I see him before he sees me, and then the man I’m partnered with turns me away.

I’m smiling and that flutter is back. It multiplies when I feel his eyes on me. He leans in the doorway for a little while, watching the class, then he’s gone.

Later, Kay and I talk to one of the Viking’s friends, we’ll call him Evin. The Viking joins us. The two are nearly a perfect foil. Tall and blonde, short and brunette. Both have hair past their shoulders and a sharp wit.

They lean against each other and jokingly mimic a Russian accent. They bond over their hair in jest. He compliments the shoulder length bob I’m still not sure about. His blue eyes sparkle. He shifts and leans against the open door of the dance studio beside me.

He asks me to dance and we do. It’s terrible. We wind up talking more than anything. My feet can’t discern the difference between my heartbeat and the music playing in the room. I laugh when he starts in, excellent as always, and compliment his fancy footwork.

A glow appears in his cheeks. The flush over his cheekbones is not pronounced but his face is so close to mine. He cannot take a compliment. At least not from me. He stumbles over his words saying “that’s it, keep her focused on your feet. she won’t notice that you can’t hold a conversation.” He looks down. I stumble and laugh.

I want to kiss that blushing cheek. I want to compliment everything I know about him until it’s easy for him to take the praise. The flutter in my chest becomes an ache, like stretching a sore muscle. A delicious sort of pang.

We laugh and bond over an ineptitude in small talk.

Kay is sitting with Evin and they’re laughing. The Viking and I stand. Evin tells an inappropriate story. The Viking says something incredibly witty and then he’s gone.

I file the comment away for later and when I sit down across from him the next time he’s alone and I’m not being twirled around the floor like a cyclone I bring it up.

He shares the story and it involves Richard Nixon and “tasteful Dick” and a girl who didn’t quite appreciate the joke.

I appreciate it and tell him so.

The flush is back in his cheeks and we’re laughing together and that stupid flutter in my chest is making me feel like I might float off the floor and he asks me to dance again.

He just comes alive on the floor. He’s so soft spoken and sweet standing still, but he’s so powerful and confident in motion. I can’t match him. I want to so badly.

I laugh at myself disparagingly. I don’t know what I’m doing with my feet. I can’t keep up with his footwork.

He leans away a bit so he can look down at my feet and I feel the nerves. Its the strangest sensation: wanting his attention, but not his scrutiny.

He only says gently “no, see, you’re doing little..” and he names some step I don’t catch because I’m lost in my own pulse again.

I would have kept him for the last dance but I was interrupted by a friend instead.

Before we separate, I tip my head up to meet those blue eyes and say with a grin that he has to say goodbye to me. I’m not sure if it counts as flirting, but it felt right. Teasing, light, and it means I’ll get to see him one more time before going home.

When he does find me after the dance he hugs me goodbye. My arms loop around him and he gives my waist a squeeze and it’s the first time he’s touched me in non-dance context.

His cheeks are pink again. His eyes are deep and blue pulling away.

I have a stupid crush on him and even reading over the most prominent moments in my minds eye, I cannot for the life of me tell where it happened.

It’s just consuming me, slowly.

 

BUT

And this is a big but (ha) given that I don’t understand men, BUT:

I think he may like me back.

Why my dignity & I will be alone this weekend.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t understand dating, men, modern “romance” (if that’s even a thing and not just some oxymoron that’s been flying under the radar this whole time).

Since it’s Valentines Weekend (and I had to resist the urge to put a gif of a cats horking up a hairball after that bit because I’m a petulant child) of course I’ve had about 4 separate conversations today about what I’m doing and what/who my friends are doing. One of my friends went to see Deadpool last night by herself and came away with some dude’s number. They’re going for drinks tomorrow.

So he’s either a unicorn or an ax murderer because NO ONE actually meets someone they’re going to date by chance out and about anymore. As such, I reminded her to bring mace, or a paring knife. She reminded me she has a concealed carry and I told her to have fun.

IS THIS WHAT LOVE HAS BECOME?

If you couldn’t tell, I’m single this V-day, which if you’ve read the story of how I accidentally told someone I love them last year may be a surprise, but that is long since over as far as I can tell. Long story short he started taking advantage of my feelings for him and kept “rescheduling” dates (including my birthday dinner)  until:

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He made a few paltry excuses. I didn’t back down. My dignity and I will be dogsitting for my parents this Vday.

Shocking.

I have run the dating gamut. I’ve done the high school sweethearts thing. All sorts of online dating. Classmates from college. I dated a frat boy when I was in sorority. Even dated a totally drop dead gorgeous English kid for a couple years when he was here for auditions. More recently my married friends have started trying to set me up with their husbands’ buddies. It’s all terrible. ALL of it!

It’s awkward. Dating is bad enough; I don’t know who pays, or what to do with my hands. But it’s got to the point where just meeting guys I might POSSIBLY be interested in is just as awkward as a first date. How wide should I be smiling? Should I be telling him I’m interested? When is it appropriate to offer my number? Should I ask for his? Is slipping someone a card still acceptable? When did that stop being acceptable. Am I the only one with cards in 2016? If I can easily find you on Facebook, can I add you and continue things from there? If you’re interested in me, should you have found ME on Facebook by now?

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD someone tell me who makes the first move? What even IS the first move? Because last weekend I deliberately sat down directly beside my (insert cat horking noise here) Crush and initiated an adult conversation and somehow no one I’ve talked to thinks that counts for anything.

Apparently getting to know someone counts for zilch, but freaking swipe right on a dating “app” and IT’S ON.

Side note: I just had to look up which direction meant “I’d tap that” on Tinder.

I’m THAT lost.

In my defense I was brought up on fairy tales and Judy Blume. There used to be a code for these things. I make eyes at you across the room and blush when you say two words to me. You scale the palace walls, slay the dragon, and then give me your Letterman’s jacket.

Man code for “I like you” is much less easily deciphered these days.

Is it “can I have your number” or “do you wanna do something sometime?” Is it looking flustered when I compliment you or is it when you reveal you’d been watching me dance with other people?

Can I show interest by choosing to sit next to you when we don’t know each other well and there are other places to sit? Are you showing interest by asking me to dance more than once when there are other, better, dancers around that you haven’t yet touched?

A friend of mine was asked to a movie by a paramour with a group of couples but he made it sound deliberately casual. But they’ve held hands. Where is the line?

I can think of dozens of examples. All of my friends have stories like this.

To pipe up for gender equality, I don’t think it’s entirely one sided. I think men and women are equally lost or this wouldn’t be the issue it is. I’m sure being a man these days is horrific as well. Deciding whether holding the door will be seen as chivalry or a personal affront on ones independence and security as a woman would absolutely RUIN me in social settings.

But something needs to be done. It is hard enough for me to put myself out there without trying to decode interactions with the opposite sex.

We need a new code. Update the etiquette? Is there a new Emily Post out there?

Get on that, will you?

In the mean time I’ll just continue the awkward internet stalking and such.

But armed with wine.

And Happy V Day to all my fellow socially awkward penguins out there.

MBTI: the new dating profile!

I have this friend. He’s a new friend. He’s a guy friend.

If we get really specific he’s a friend of a friend I’ve danced with a few times.

He messages me every day trying to get to know me and his game is obvious, even for your favorite Queen of Insecurities here. He flat asked me out once but I legitimately was out of town that day (unlike this other time, with this German kid, sorry, story for another day).

Sadly, I have no interest at all. I would like to keep him neatly packed into the friend zone, but he messages me every day without fail and apparently everything he hears just makes him more persistent. He follows me on every form of social media and whenever I post something new, I get a message.

“Hi Tais. I noticed your post on IG where you posted a Bastille lyric under a photo of your cat. What kinds of music do you listen to?” (He hasn’t actually sent me this exact message, yet, but I have definitely posted my cat on Instagram with a loosely related Bastille lyric for the caption. I AM that girl).

I answer him, and try to be brief as possible to help him get the hint, but I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

I don’t want to ignore him, that’s rude and also just REALLY obvious. And rude.

I also don’t think continuing to answer his questions is doing us any good either.

So because I’m a fail, this will probably continue on for a while yet, but the point of all this is not how hard I fail in the old romance department.

The point is, the other day one of his questions was, out of nowhere: Tais, what’s your MBTI personality type?

In the words of Dave Barry I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.

I copy and pasted it from Facebook (minus my name) to make sure it was identical, punctuation and all!

Is that a weird question for anyone else?

I studied Psychology for a while so to me, it seems hyper-clinical and invasive and just a weird thing to ask of someone you weren’t actively head-shrinking.

For those of you unaware: the MBTI stands for “Myers Briggs Type Indicator” and its a questionnaire that categorizes your personality into one of 16 types based on how you use your perception and judgement. You can read more on it here and take a free version of the MBTI here. Its fun.

Sorta.

If no one is demanding that you share your type with them.

The two times I’ve taken the MBTI, I never shared my results with anyone other than my best friend and that was because she knew me so well she could guess or probably answered everything on my behalf with the same results.

Sharing a personality indicator to someone who is mostly a stranger? Horrifying. Not doable.

Where is the line of appropriate when it comes to trying to date someone?

I used to get snippy when people asked my race at bars.

It’s apparently an acceptable pick up line. “What are you?”

I’d get confused, they’d explain “well clearly you’re mixed but what are you?”

I’m sorry mofo, last time I checked I’m a human being and don’t really see any reason to give you a freaking lecture on my genealogy. Especially since you’re too drunk to appreciate it.

So my usual takeaway from that line is “Does my face look THAT weird?” Which I’ve yet to ask anyone. But I may some day. Would THAT be inappropriate?

I’ve had guys tell me I have a dimple in my cheek and it’s a good place for a dimple. Which isn’t offensive or intrusive, but is still pretty weird.

The list of weird approaches to hitting on girls goes on and on and I just do not understand the process behind most of them.

Maybe I just don’t understand men.

I mean CLEARLY I don’t understand men, but basic social convention was something I thought I had a handle on.

Psychological profiling as courtship, though?

Not the way to go in my book.