The third date (see pt1 and pt2 here)had been an improvement, in my mind anyway. I was cautiously looking forward to a next date; maybe we’d finally move beyond this cloud of awkwardness that was hanging above us. It seemed to me Ms. Kim thought I was uneducated and not very smart. I admit I’m kind of quiet in person. I warn dates beforehand. In fact, I tend towards women who are outgoing so they can pick up some of my slack. One of the lessons I’ve learned on my dating journey is if I really fall for a woman, it doesn’t matter the setting (text, phone, facetime or irl*), I’m going to come out of my shell fast. I’m going to participate in our chats and I’m going to smile and laugh more. I think Ms. Kim had preconceived misconceptions about me because I’m a blue collar worker. These misconceptions were probably confirmed by my awkwardness and natural reticence. I’ll let you in on a secret though: I’m not uneducated or stupid. I just play an idiot in impromptu community productions.
Mind you, despite a little optimism creeping in, I still considered this an experiment on where a relationship with a bad start might end up. What happens when you disregard every signal this isn’t going well? We texted back and forth at the beginning of the week and she suggested we go to a Sunday brunch at one of restaurants between our homes. She owned a condo along the Hudson River, along the Palisades just south of the George Washington Bridge. These condos usually have great views of NYC across the river. She also owned a few rental properties, which is my way of saying she was doing well financially. She liked to talk about money. On our dates, she’d dig for information about my own financial standing. I’m okay too, probably not as okay as her. On the second date, she told me she expected the man to pay for the date, despite splitting the check on the first one. I put the second date dinner on my credit card.
I’ll tell you my philosophy on this. We’ve met on a dating site. The woman has already shown she is willing to step out of the traditional roles. We are embarking as equals. This is the 21st century. The woman probably is not a 19 year old virgin waiting for a marriage proposal at home. I have a job; she has a job. Within a few dates, we’ll have a general idea what our economic status is. If I’ve asked out a woman I know is struggling, I will always pick up the check. If The woman is doing okay or even better than me, I’d greatly appreciate if she’d pick up the occasional check or even organize and pay for a date now and again. Ms. Kim was financially capable, but uninterested in holding up her end. I’ve met many women like this. Many of them also expect the man to be the entertainment for the evening and also a white knight as far as manners and chivalry go. On Mondays, they go to their offices and roar like lionesses. Faced with this, I either accept the woman as she is or I move on. I put it aside for the time being and looked forward to our next date.
Sunday brunches are not conducive to romance. They begin and end in daylight; there’s too much food; and the alcohol has little to no effect. In other words, Ms. Kim selecting a brunch seemed to contradict my slight optimism. And as it turned out, fate stepped in. Later that week, my boss called me to say I needed to go to Pennsylvania to do a small project. I wasn’t sure how long it would take and I told Ms. Kim about my problem. We agreed to play it by ear. That Friday she texted me and I’ll simply copy our messages here:
Ms. Kim: Still not certain about sat schedule? Hope you could come.
Me: I’m growing more pessimistic with each passing minute. I’m sorry
Note: I meant it did not look good for getting back for Sunday brunch, because I was working Saturday and it was a 4 hour drive home and a trip back on Monday.
Ms. Kim: About Sunday?
Ms. Kim, after I didn’t reply right away: With me? I cant just jump in. We need to take it slowly. And see how things go. Pls dont expect me to suddenly be all into you.
Ms Kim, again, a few minutes later with no reply from me: It’s true I’m not super impressed by you. If you are confident though, and think time will help, then why dont you give it a try.
Me: Lol. I’m still at work so I wasn’t watching my texts. I meant Sunday wasn’t looking good, but you’ve insulted me several times now. I thought it might be a cultural difference and not to take it badly, but I’ve had enough now. Take care!
Ms. Kim: Ok
Some hours later, I was out to dinner with a coworker and recounted the whole story. We were laughing, mostly at me, when Ms. Kim texted again:
James, I like you. I’m just not into having a relationship so fast. We can hang out together and see how we enjoy it. Or, are you really not interested at all?
I showed my dinner companion the latest message. I admitted I had no idea what she was talking about. Relationship? We went out a couple of time; we kissed romantically once. I had not been clingy in any sense of the word. In fact, I’d say I was rather the opposite. Nevertheless, I texted back I was tired and I’d get back to her. I was still intrigued to a certain extent why a woman who admitted she was not impressed with me would still want to see me. We texted back and forth after that, but we never went on another date. She just shows up in my texts occasionally with a Hello James. With Covid-19, she has been texting more often, always asking if we can switch to phone calls. I generally say yes. I sometimes get a little risqué in my texts just for the hell of it. She’ll instantly stop the chat. I won’t hear from her for a week or two and then an Hello James will appear. I don’t mind anymore. I’m not trying to impress her. We’ve become oddly friendly. She told me she likes the sound of my voice.
*in real life
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