Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My First Date and Other Worries

My expectations for my first date were quite low.

We didn't exchange detailed emails in advance nor did we speak on the phone.

If I had passed him on the street, I would never have given him a second look. He probably would have said the same about me.

But on OKCupid we expressed a mutual, modest interest in each other and that was enough to generate an email from him that suggested we meet for a casual hike. So we did.

The conversation flowed easily enough. But it was also strangely impersonal.

Am I crazy to think that almost every gay first date covers at least one of these topics: being gay, sex, dating or relationships? Well, ours didn't. I could have had the exact same conversation with any straight stranger on the street.

We made very little eye contact and there was absolutely no flirting. The best way to summarize the date is that we were two asexual robots walking through the trees together.

When we parted I knew it was unlikely that we would ever meet again. Still, I didn't feel bad about the "date". It was clear that we didn't click in a meaningful way.

Later in the day, to be polite, I sent him a message that said, "Thanks for the nice walk! I'd be happy to do it again sometime." I expected a short reply. Something like, "I enjoyed the walk too. It was good to meet you." Instead, nothing.

Actually, I interpreted 'nothing' as a decision NOT to reply.

Fine. I don't really care that the date went no where.

So....why do I care that he didn't bother to send a polite reply? Is it such an effort to send one or two sentences that say nothing?

I think I care because I have this feeling that he's pissed off. I ask myself, why should he be pissed?? Was it inconvenient to meet me? (He picked the day, time and location.) Does my profile "sell" me as someone I'm not? (I don't think so. What would be the point of that?) Did I say or do something that angered him? Was my email superficial or trite? Maybe I said something offensive to him and didn't realize it? Whatever. None of the second-guessing is important except for one reason - confidence. It's totally stupid but I feel like a dating failure. After ONE date???? Yes, I know. It's not rational, but that's how I feel.

Dating is FULL of rejection, I know that, so I'd better get a thicker skin.

I suppose that will develop in time.

What concerns me is that having my confidence so easily deflated plays into the many doubts I already have:

+ It's week two and I've already reached the point where I am not being pursued. To make any progress I must pursue others.

+ I am fully responsible for three kids (feeding them, homework, activities, etc).

+ I don't live or work in the City.

+ I live with my 'best friend' aka my wife. We sleep in the same bed. What single man wants to hear that?

+ I'm not interested in casual sex. Really. If sex is the gay handshake I'm never going to meet anyone.

+ Gay relationships tend to be short-lived. Why expend a lot of effort trying to find something that isn't going to last?

+ Meeting someone will require me to come out. I don't enjoy being the center of attention. I don't want to be the topic of anyone's conversations. I don't want to feel uncomfortable around people I've known for decades.

Look how negative I am!

My attitude sucks and it really worries me. Success does not come from pessimism. Success does not come from a shitty attitude.

If I want something, I should really hunger for it and be driven to make it happen. Instead I'm limping along. My confidence gets shot because of one marginal date????

I don't know what the answer to my attitude problem is. That bothers me too. Perhaps worst of all, there's a big part of me feels like giving up - so what if I never have an intimate and sexual bond with another person again? I still have other people in my life, like Gabbie and my kids.

I wish I knew how to clear my mind and be focused on a positive future.

11 comments:

  1. I've been there. I've been on many dates where I was interested, but he obviously wasn't. I've also been on many dates where he was interested, and I wasn't. Life's cruel little joke - we're not interested in anything easily obtainable.

    A date is about nothing more than entertaining yourself for a few hours. Note: yourself. If you're relaxed and having a good time - it's much easier for both of you to enjoy each other's company.

    You were right to go in with no expectations. That is key. There will be stumbles. There will be mistakes. Offensive comments will be made (on both sides). But you soon get over the awkwardness and find yourself reasonably comfortable going out with a new person. Some of those dates will turn into friendships. Hopefully one of them turns into more.

    I don't think you sound horribly negative. It's hard coming home after a not so great date. I agree - he should have replied to your message. But as it the norm these days - people would rather say nothing than say "Thanks, but I don't think we're a match".

    Think of this as a practice run. As you said - you never would have looked twice if you saw this guy on the street, so no loss.

    -nl

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  2. Cameron-
    I am sorry you had such a bad date and it made you lose all perspective - not just a loss of self confidence, but a lack of confidence in making any decent new human connection. Your mood is understandable and yet you have to do what we have all done after a mediocre or bad date. Go on another one, Then another one. The more you have the better you will feel comfortable just being yourself..and feeling if the other guy doesn't react, that is his issue, not yours. It is very trial and error - just read my own posts as i started this - full of ups and downs, then real awful yucky things before finding an OK guy. Don't be so hard on yourself. You are very out of practice and maybe having the first date end this way is a funny blessing.

    Get back out there and do it again and be glad you had a lousy first one...and did not blow it with a guy you really wanted badly. Congratulate yourself for trying and also get a good sense of humor in place to make it through this.

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  3. Still here for you dude. Keep going. Oh, and don't try to think for other people.

    "I think I care because I have this feeling that he's pissed off. I ask myself, why should he be pissed?"

    Until you KNOW he didn't respond because he's pissed, then let it go. Truth is there are a dozens of reasons he didn't respond.

    Also, don't put your values onto other people. People like what they like, want what they want, and like you, have no control over who they fall in love with.

    You're just getting started for heck sakes!

    Jack in SLC

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  4. I meant to say there MAY be dozens of reasons he didn't respond. Not that there ARE dozens of reasons.

    Sorry, I should read my own comment before I post them. Feel free to delete! Jack.

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  5. Oh Cameron, Your post tugged at my heart-strings - probably because I saw so much of myself in your reaction to this experience. On one hand you had no expectations, but on the other hand your expectations for the entire rest of your life were pinned on it.

    Before long, the significance of this particular date with this particular guy will shrink nearly to invisibility. As Jayson points out, it's important only as a practice date. Best to have a practice date with a guy you're indifferent to. If Mr. Right had been standing there at the trailhead, think how nerve-wracking that would have been.

    I thought about you several times on Sunday, wondering how your date was going. I'm so proud of you for putting yourself out there. Congratulate yourself repeatedly for your bravery.

    As for his failure to send a polite response - this kind of thing happens ALL THE TIME. Nonetheless, I'm always left feeling at least mildly hurt and/or pissed when it happens to me, even though I know better. All you can do is figure that, for whatever reason, he's not interested in moving forward right now and doesn't know how to be gracious about it. It was nice of you to be gentlemanly and send the first email.

    As for your not being approached anymore online right now - Some of those sites list new profiles in a special place, so at first you get more inquiries. Probably some marketing gimmick, so you'll think the site is a treasure trove. Then after a week or so, the river suddenly stops flowing to your door. But hang in there, you'll still get interested guys ringing your bell, and in the meantime you can also look around at other profiles and see how you feel about making an approach. Keep your imagination focused on Date #2.

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  6. Thanks NewLeaf, Jayson and Jack for your supportive words. For whatever reason, I'm feeling a little more optimistic today. Maybe I just needed to voice my frustrations.

    What bothers me most is that it took so little to discourage me. I feel like my interest in dating should easily out-weigh the lack of a reply from a guy in which I had no interest. I wonder if my lack of commitment to dating means that now is not the right time.

    We'll see what the next few weeks bring.

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  7. Hey Cameron, speaking of polite acknowledgements, how come you didn't politely acknowledge me in your above list of polite acknowledgements? Didn't my supportive words warrant a polite acknowlegement? Now I'm thinking you're pissed at me. Maybe you won't even acknowledge this request for a polite acknowledgement.

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  8. Crap Mark! You weren't supposed to notice.

    I really thought I had included you, I didn't preview the comment, and then when it posted I instantly saw my mistake. I thought long and hard about adding another comment apologizing but then I thought that would draw too much attention to my mistake. I had hoped you hadn't noticed. In truth, I found your thoughts to be uplifting and I really appreciated them. Don't hate me because I didn't proofread! What can I do to earn your forgiveness???

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  9. I wonder if joining a gay or bi/gay etc social group might be more to your style. When I came out (for the 3rd time; long story) I joined the local Frontrunners group (gay and lesbian and etc running and walking group) where I got to be rejected in person rather than by e-mail but seriously, where I also connected with one long term but non-sexual friend (he has issues) and with two lovers. You don't actually have to come out; you just go.

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  10. On second thought, doing this may require more public exposure than you'd be comfortable with, but thot I'd mention it.

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