Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Dating Game

Seventeen minutes have passed since Sender’s last message was received.  That’s probably sufficient. 

“Can we make it 7:30 instead?” 

Twelve minutes click by. 

“Sure.  You driving?” 

Of course I’m driving.  He knows me well enough by now to be quite aware that, given the choice, I will always drive.  He can choose the restaurant.  I’ll certainly defer to him in selecting the wine.  But I am definitely driving. 

“Yes.  I’ll pick you up at 7:30.” 

I don’t really have a good reason for delaying dinner by half an hour.  I’m actually not quite sure how I’m going to stave off my hunger until 7:30.  I’m sitting in the backyard, and have just finished shoveling dog poop and refilling the water tub that Gideon and Noelle emptied probably very early in the day while I was at work.  Gideon is eyeing me skeptically, clearly noting that I haven’t put his brush away yet and preparing to run as soon as I stand, so I do, and I chase him, but I can’t catch him, and this used to be so much easier with two people. 

It doesn’t take long to get showered and lotioned and dressed for a date with Sender.  He likes short skirts and strappy heels so I wear them, not for him, but because I enjoy the way he dotes on me and takes pride in showing me off when I do.  He’ll probably pay for dinner, and I’ll probably eat a lot, so the shoes are a small price to pay in exchange. 

Everyone does it.  Everyone plays the game.  You have to play, at least a little, to survive.  For me, my strategies involve seeking a balance between my aggressive tendencies and my sheer inability to find that balance and resort instead to being a doormat.  I also have to make a conscious effort to tuck away my insecurities and fears without replacing them with the extreme, a false bravado. 

Sender and I have a good time, but it’s an early night.  We’ve plateaued from a couple of people who look right together and make sense together, to a couple who couldn’t quite make it over the next hurdle.  Ours has evolved into a relationship of convenience.  He knows I’ve got my feelers out and that when other opportunities come along, I’ll take them – I’ve always been frank with him about that.  I do wonder what his response will be when that actually happens.  I hope he’ll keep his word and let Gideon swim in his pool for physical therapy this summer. 

A new attorney appeared at my deposition yesterday.  He is a catch, for all intents and purposes:  Good-looking, albeit a little short; fluent in Spanish; and engaged in the risky but rewarding endeavor of private practice.

“You should date him,” said my colleague, who has also recently been hazed into the post-divorce dating world.  As if it’s just so very easy.  As if I can just decide who I should be dating, and then go ahead and do it.  Certainly, this has been my attitude in the past, but it’s been met with a less-than-cooperative response.  But why not try again? 

“I hope it’s not inappropriate to ask,” I type in an e-mail following up on the deposition, “but would you like to go to lunch the next time you’re in town.”  It’s just lunch.  It’s not a date.  It’s not a big deal.  I’m just entertaining possibilities.  It's.  Just. Lunch.

My computer was quick to ‘ping’ with a response. 

“Lunch?  Absolutely J  I’m in Bakersfield frequently, I’ll let you know next time I’m in town. Signed, Jon.”

A couple of hours before he was Jonathan, and then suddenly he was Jon, and I felt funny about that. 

My subsconsious niggled at me.  I know what I want.  I’ve known what I want.  I have been diligent in seeking what I want and have tried all kinds of tactics but have settled on raw, blazing honesty to engage him in the game and go head-to-head with him.  Still, what I want, who I want, evades me.  I should change what I want. 

I should just go to lunch with Jon-who-used-to-be-Jonathan.  So I crafted my response.

“Sounds great!” 

I scratched the exclamation point.

“Sounds great.”

I hit send.  I made a note of what I was wearing so as not to repeat the outfit for lunch. 

“I’m having lunch with that applicant attorney,” I told my colleague and maintained a tight-lipped smile as she delighted. 

“I knew it!  His eyes were sparkling when he talked to you.”  I controlled my inclination to roll my eyes.  People ‘see’ and ‘sense’ these things all the time, but it doesn’t really matter what everyone else sees and feels, it matters what’s actually happening between two people. 

I thought of Kelli’s recent observation of my interactions with my most coveted opponent. “You two obviously have chemistry.  What’s the problem?”  The problem is, I guess, that the chemistry isn’t as obvious as it seems.  Or it’s missing an element, the one that will make it explode. But, when you’re playing the game with fire, sometimes it just burns. 

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