Morning is Broken

{I was searching for the sketch I did of the nightmare I recalled in my last post when I came across some assignments I saved from college. This one was supposed to be recounting part of a normal day in the minutiaist style of James Joyce’s  Ulysses. It gave me the most powerful flashback to the morning I recounted that I thought I’d share it here.}

The mirror bids me good morning as usual. Nightshirt off. Panties on. Good morning to the closet of a bedroom and ugly white walls covered in black and white photos of other people kissing. Good morning to the spots on my face, too small breasts, too wide hips. And now a head of hair that’s about eight colors because I can’t leave it alone. Idiot.

     …ugly. Say it, say you’re not good enough. 

     I’m not good enough. 

     That’s right. You’re lucky, aren’t you? So lucky I keep you. 

Stop it. Stop.

A shake of the head. Hands ball into fists far too late to act as any real defense.

     Don’t think of him. 

A sigh. Stomach flat. Edge of a hip. Okay. Better. A turn. Cellulite.

…not good enough….not good enough….not good-STOP! 

Debating breakfast. I run hands over the straight lines of my collarbones, down arms, almost skinny enough. Grip breasts. Fuck it. Shower.

After the shower, it’s quiet. Anna is asleep still. Elyssa gone. Dance probably. Theatre major. Daisy… probably upstairs in her boyfriend’s bed.

Lonely. Still and lonely.

There’s a tiny patch of sunlight that hits the corner of the living room. It glints off the edge of a bit of fingernail clipping, caught in the buzzcut carpet. Silver polish. Not mine. Should vacuum. Swear I’m the only one that cleans. But that’s all right.

I don’t mind. Keeps my mind busy.

     You’re everyone’s mum then. 

     Not really. 

     You are. But it’s endearing. 

THERE’S a happy thought. Daniel. Lips. Hair. Eyes. Voice. Accent. Hair on his chest. Man. Man. Love. Eyes. So new.

     They’re hazel. That’s what you were wondering. I saw it. 

Movie theater. Valentines Day. Walking home. Hollywood after dark. Down those streets a thousand times but not with him. Hands, laced in the dark. Lips. Chest. The curl of brown hair, chest, stomach, lower. God, how I love…

   …the way “Robo-Cop” sounds with an English accent. 

I sit in the patch of sun. Wedge in next to the sliding glass door, press my back against the wall, heartened by the feeling of my vertebrae pricking my skin from the inside against the plaster and at the same time hating that the feeling cheers me up slightly. I brush my hair, eyes closed. Copper tipped bristles scrape my scalp. The sun’s glowing warmth hits a shoulder and a hip first. Spreads from the points. It’s the wrong angle to be hot, just the sensation of being touched by light. A hum starts in my throat.

No one’s around to hear. Lonely and still. Quiet, so quiet. It’s not that bad.

Two sips of whisky in the flash but I’m not gonna drink it

Swear I’ll make it last til we’re

Drinking out of the same glass again

The rythm of my brushing keeps time to Passenger tunes.

Ahhh Passenger. 

Daniel, Daniel. Where’s my phone? Eyes open. Done with the brush. I stretch in the sun. Curl my toes like tender leaves of grass in a breeze.

My legs are skinny at least, thought they look sickly and pale in the direct sunlight. I can see every tiny blue vein through the vellum I’m made of. Blue. Wormlike. No one will love you. My skin is so easily broken. I’m made of tissue paper.

I’m still in my towel. And I’m sure I should getting off to somewhere. Class perhaps.

Who am I kidding, of course class. I’ve missed far too many days already.

Dress. Leggings. Shoes. Eyeliner. Halfassed and smudged. Powder. Nothing else. I might have a date tonight and that calls for the full nine. Though I get the impression that this one wouldn’t mind if I skipped the makeup. Simplify simplify. Maybe that’s why I l-ike being around him.

Though the sand may be washed by the sea.

The old may be lost in the new

Four will not wait for three

I like my voice at least. Soft, husky, good ear for pitch.

Class. Too hot. Took the stairs and am out of breath. Sitting against the wall, my own misshapen citadel, I fan myself  with the yellow legal pad I keep with me for my lists. And the letters.

Daniel: I miss you. Is that selfish? Very well then, it’s selfish. You’ll never read this. 

     You’ll never know…

     I love him, I love him. It’s pointless. He’ll just go back to England. But I love him. 

Check the ipod, finally. I have to wait. Can’t just check it constantly. Have to have some boundaries. Inbox. Empty. Refreshrefreshrefresh. One message. Not him. Leave it. Glance up. Professor’s chatting. Down again, reach for the watch I left on the bathroom countrer. Stupid. I crane at the clock and feel hideously rude. Two minutes left.

Refreshrefreshrefresh.

Nothing.

     Three never waited for two. 

     Though you will not wait for me

Scratching a heart on the corner of one yellow sheet in pencil. Graphite smudged on my fingertips. Scratching it out again.

     I’ll wait for you. 

Stomach growls. I pretend it’s upset. It is, but for the lack of foord, rather than what sort. Tap my foot, tap the tip of my pencil against the desk. Tap the toes inside my shoe. The usual anxiety building. I should focus on something else.

     I can’t take this deep slow panic. 

     Teach me, teach me not to dream

     Dream deeply

Tap in time to the shift in soundtrack.

Professor. Erin. I call her Erin. Even when I’m not in class. Hands me something. Journal. Never know if I’m doing these right. Wish I could compare with other people. But I don’t talk to them.

What? My hair. I touch it.

It doesn’t look bad.

A grin.

Thanks. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

I cling to the wall. I needed that. Shouldn’t have dyed it. Shouldn’t mess with it. Why do I bother trying to be pretty? Why. But she was kind.

She’s always kind. I wonder if she knows.

Orientation. 3? 4 years? English advising. Saw the tattoo on her wrist. Her smile the first that didn’t make me want to hide under a table. Or run. No more school. Please no more people.

I sat to her right. Or left? So long ago. Only her face left, her wrist. It’s the little things that stick. Most important.

Maybe I won’t be weird here. Maybe… 

She’s my favorite. Role model. Something. Has been since day one. Never told. How would I even go about doing that? So infinitely awkward. I don’t keep my mouth shut enough as is. Maybe at graduation.

You kept me here. 

     I just wanted to be like you. 

Erin, green gem of the silver sea, or at least hope for a place where I’d be comfortable in my skin.

One minute to class time. Attendance poll. The routine.

Blergh

I like class. What I don’t like is leaving my closet of a room. The bathtub, no water, knees to chest, huddled. It’ll be okay. It’s okay. I’m okay. Class is great. Rooms are too big. The walk there too open. Too many people. Like cattle lowing and ambling from one pen to another.

Let the day begin.

Refresh the inbox one last time. One message. Him. Wrong him.

Subject: YOU

Body: need to get back to me. You don’t get to do this. YOU are MINE. Call me. NOW.

-M

And this routine’s back.

 No one else will want you, say it, say it. 

Don’t think of him. Don’t. Don’t. Ipod away. Hiding. Routine. Fear. Loathing. Also routine.

Face in hands. Phone lights up.

New message from: Daniel

Temptation. Class has technically started. But I need this. I need this.

I can resist anything but temptation. Just a peek.

Morning angel. Walk with me tonight? It might rain : ) xx

Worth it. I do love walking in the rain. So does he. And his umbrella’s a perfect fit for two.

Nobody else will want you, say it, say it SAY IT you are MINE….

Morning angel…

I’m nobody who are you? Are you nobody too? Well there’s a pair of us, don’t tell…

Phone away. NOW the day can start.

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.

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.

Affect(at)ion

All of my chill is gone and we’re officially in trouble.

I THOUGHT I was in trouble but now I’m REALLY in trouble.

I almost kissed the Viking.

Unconsciously.

Without thinking about it.

I freaked out when I realized I trusted him without thinking about it.

Now I am absolutely climbing the walls from how uncomfortable I am with myself and my feelings and instincts and the whole weird situation.

It happened on Saturday.

He showed up at an event he’d previously said he wasn’t going to. It was Fusion, and so far as everyone knew, he didn’t really do the whole Fusion thing. Then as I’m working the door he came up the stairs. I put a wristband on him and when I managed to get the sticky bit stuck perfectly straight on the band (which is a FEAT let me tell you), grinned “Perfect!”

He sort of murmured “Wouldn’t expect anything less” with this tiny smile on his lips and glowing in those baby blues. He walked away and I hid under the desk (literally) while Kay fetched my (vodka-laced) Powerade from my bag so I could knock enough back to hopefully stop my hands from shaking with anxiety.

I am such a classy broad.

So I work at the front desk for my hour shift and then Kay and I go looking for him. But subtly because we’re adults (I think). We find him in the Blues room and he’s dancing with someone. I go back to the Fusion room because I actually very much enjoy Fusion. I dance and can’t manage to get away for a while but I see the Viking poke his head in now and again, always retreating to the Blues room.

Evan comes in eventually and snags me for a dance but drags me into the Blues room to do it where the Viking is dancing with someone else. Evan and I dance and he nods in the Viking’s direction before saying in a tone usually reserved for oh la la “You should ask him to dance, I think he’s been following you.” He then wiggles his eyebrows at me.

Now I told Evan a secret on Thursday. Long story short he knows about my crush.

[Long story, medium Evan was playing “pick a boyfriend for Kay from the dance floor” on Thursday. She rejected all of his picks and then later, dancing with me he asked if she’d be into the Viking at which point I jumped at the chance to confirm whether a rumor from the previous Thursday that the Viking has a long-distance relationship with some swing dancer from Canada was true or not. Evan seems to think they broke up but either way “they’re not married.” He pressed on with setting up the pair and I was then stuck making lame excuses as to why Kay wouldn’t be into Mr. Viking until I finally just told him she wouldn’t touch him because she knew I liked him. Evan then pronounced himself Switzerland in the whole thing and nothing more was said.]

So then the whole night was spent thinking maybe Evan had mentioned something to the Viking (they ARE friends) and that THAT was the reason for the unexpected appearance. But after dancing with him that once I never got the change to actually ask him what he’d done.

I slipped into the Fusion room to calm down leaning against wall of the dance studio like a coward and not ten seconds later the Viking appeared in the doorway and casually leaned against the pile of dance barres next to me. We chatted, he said he’d seen me flitting in and out of the Blues room but never really staying. I said something about looking for songs I like and then mentioned I did go in a few times hoping to snag him for a dance.

I asked him to dance, we danced. He thanked me and disappeared for another hour until he pulled something similar and I found him back against the dance barres watching the Fusion dancers.

The wall was more crowded than it had been when he’d joined ME there so there wasn’t a ton of room. I grinned cheekily at him and told him to “budge up” so I could fit between him and the stack of barres. There was just enough room for me, he didn’t need to move, but it would be close quarters. He grinned at me and said “no.”

I wedged in next to him. resting my elbows on the higher barre build into the wall where his were. The line of our sides touched. Just enough to feel the warmth, but not the weight behind him. We talked. I cannot recall what about.

He had to lean down a bit to talk to me because he’s tall and it was loud. It meant his face hovered over mine. I was practically tucked under his arm. He could have shifted away a bit but he didn’t.

At some point in the conversation I found myself turning from the dance floor, smiling, and looking up at him and he was smiling and looking down at me and I just felt this tug I haven’t felt in a long time. Like a knee jerk reaction I wanted to lean up those last couple inches and press a quick kiss to his face.

I didn’t want to make out with him. I didn’t even necessarily want to kiss his mouth. But in that moment I instinctively, unconsciously, FELT that I should kiss him.

My mind or body or some combination of the two feels affectionate towards this man I’m just barely getting to know. Just like my mind/body/hybrid knows he won’t drop me when he sweeps me into a fast dip.

It makes sense. I was naturally at one point a very affectionate person. Leaning over to kiss someone, or slipping my hand into someone else’s was easy as breathing.  Hugs. Shoulder bumps. Brushing an arm.

Then I dated someone abusive who didn’t allow me to touch him without permission and certainly never in public and a couple emotionally distant people who wouldn’t hold my hand or otherwise touch me around other people. I now have a learned habit of deliberately, physically distancing myself from people.

It helped me recognize the sensation and squash it before I did something awkward like lean in.

But a small (very small, miniscule, really) part of me wonders if it would that have been the worse thing I’ve ever done. It may have solved all our problems.

I know he felt some sort of pause and the pink that found its way into his cheeks when we broke the silence and looked back at the dance floor before I asked if he wanted to dance some blues with me says its something along the lines of my complimenting him, saying he’s handsome or talented or witty.

So I almost kissed him.

My unconscious tried to kiss him.

Which means the crush and our growing friendship has turned to some rosy shade of affection, for me at least.

I am horrified and more anxious than ever before. But it’s also exciting, and I still don’t understand anything on his side.

 

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.

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.