I went on my third blind date yesterday. Coffee again. It was another one with lots of silences, which I had to think of things to fill with (I didn’t have a harmonica with me, or the headphones for my phone’s mp3 player – that would have been a solution).
Unlike the first blind date, who was so recently separated that he still works from their joint home and simply didn’t ask me anything about myself, leaving gaps in which I had to think of things to ask him (not easy when you’ve never had a relationship before, don’t know what’s taboo, or what might accidentally be interpreted as flirting when you haven’t even decided whether you want to flirt with them yet) – the third date just seemed bored. He didn’t say hello first, or make any jokes, or start any topics. It was like having a passenger along on a date which I was on by myself.
So I was really surprised when he asked for a hug when I was leaving, and said how quickly the time had gone. He then messaged me later saying he thought I was really special and how nice it was that I managed to keep the conversation going every time he thought there was going to be an awkward silence, because he usually can’t think of anything to say on a date.
But isn’t it time he did think of things to say? Or other guys like him, for that matter. Why should it be up to me to keep the conversation going? If they don’t show me anything of their personality, how am I able to judge in turn whether I think they’re also special? And aren’t they getting an unrealistic view of me, by leaving me to do all the work and ask all the questions?
It’s not as if I have a massive amount of talk bottled up myself, waiting for an outlet on a date. I worked with guys in nightclub security for years with whom I mostly only exchanged a hello with, or chat about cars. Plenty of them could talk fine amongst themselves, or talk fine when complaining about their dates to me (now you see where I’m getting this from!). I don’t interview folks I meet about their lives, either because they tell me what they’re comfortable disclosing anyway, or because I don’t identify with people in a fully three-dimensional sense – I don’t have bragging or bemoaning rights to share, therefore what I don’t know or haven’t experienced doesn’t give me that curiosity about people in the day-to-day world either.
One friend I used to have through work, a female door supervisor like me, used to get angry that she felt I was ‘holding back’ my own emotional issues, when she wanted to talk about things that were deep and meaningful to her – regarding men and relationships and her past – even though she knew the fact was that I didn’t have anything to share. It didn’t make it an easy friendship, because I sensed her resentment that I couldn’t open up about anything, and she sensed my lack of empathy, even though I could objectively understand. In a strange way, that was the reason she admitted she liked sharing all of her past and problems with me – because I wasn’t in competition with her to have anything equivalent. If I’d been paid, I would have been the perfect counsellor, in that sense.
But it got me wondering. Is it possible that guys who don’t talk on a date are just stunned into silence by how special they think their date is? Both dates 1 and 3 messaged me afterwards – date 2, who talked non-stop and said he enjoys talking, didn’t contact me after the date at all. So maybe he wasn’t intimidated by any attraction to me, LOL. 🙂
It’s tiring though, to be on a date and feel that you aren’t being entertained, just watched. That your date isn’t concerned for your own comfort and insecurity in the situation, only their own. If guys aren’t going to bother with the social effort, why are they the ones asking for dates? Maybe they think the asking part was their effort. I don’t get it.
I don’t have management skills, or organisational ones where people are concerned. Which is probably why I waited 20 years to get asked out, before realising that you have to physically be somewhere that asking-on-dates actually occurs (that place of interest now being the internet). And having a crush on someone does not automatically mean that if you wait long enough they’ll ask you out. Doesn’t happen. Well, hasn’t to me so far. 🙂
With the whole silence thing in mind though – I was reminded by a profile picture on one of my email-chats recently of a former workmate back in nightclub security, that I did have a bit of a crush on, and the funny thing was, it’s the one time I recall flirting – but it was all flirting without conversation. I first worked with him on a Superbowl screening event, and at the time thought he was more of the strong silent type, and the main thing I noted about him was that he was tall (almost half the doormen I worked with were my height or shorter, which as I’m only 5’6″ isn’t that impressive). And the shift was a one-off, he was covering from another venue where he was head doorman – we had a fight to deal with, and I had blood to clean up, but he was reassuring to work with, in a quiet way. Anything he did say showed his sense of humour, which was similar to mine.
About a year later I worked in another venue and he used to stop by to see his friends also on the doors there, and later worked in the same venue as me. There was a lot of silences standing around near to each other while watching the customers, which I was used to, but he’d also make the odd comment, or poke me if he walked past and pretend he hadn’t. I seem to remember doing the same… and on social occasions sometimes I’d joke with him, about random observations, and he always seemed to think along the same lines as I did, or have the same sense of humour.
I had other crushes on-and-off, the really hot-and-cold type that I’d think was something big and then go off them in an equally big way. But I didn’t go off him, I felt safe when he was working in the same venue as me, and for a while then, I even wondered whether it was something I ought to analyse.
I didn’t tell him, or anyone else that I might have fancied him, even when I wrote in my diary that I thought I did, because of the usual obstacle – he had girlfriends all the time I knew him. I think in the end he moved away, after I’d finished working in that area.
But it’s an interesting thought, that even without a relationship, I can sort of understand where chemistry and empathy works to make silences feel safe, not awkward.
But when you don’t know the person, and it’s a blind date, silences are really awkward. Like I said, they just seem disinterested, self-centred, or bored. I don’t think it’s something anyone can utilise to engineer feelings of intimacy as a short cut.
Yeah – I’ve heard about all of those tricks too. 🙂