Thursday, January 07, 2010

Great Dating Disasters (7)

Continuing my helpful How Not To.... series.

Looking back on it, I suppose one of the biggest problems in my romantic life has been never getting to the 'date' stage at all.

That seems to be happening again at the moment.

I had established friendly (I hope, obviously curious, but not pushy) e-mail contact with my great crush-ette of the last month; but the lady was slow to respond to gentle promptings to reveal her phone number (or to contact me by phone, since I'd given her my number). [In fact, I'd obtained her number through a mutual friend, but fretted that it might seem a bit stalker-ish to use it out of the blue. I wanted the trust signal, the encouragement of her giving it to me herself.] That she did at the start of last week, since when we have been in semi-regular contact by SMS. Now, I love that medium of communication, and I think I'm rather good with it - diverse, witty, and at times, yes, flirtatious. However, it's not great for the early-stage building of a relationship: it's so easy for messages to go astray, or arrive at a bad time, or have their tone or purpose misinterpreted, or go depressingly unanswered for whatever reason. I should probably just call her - but again, this seems a slightly awkward step to take, when the text message conversation hasn't quite done enough to prompt it, hasn't yet given any clear enough signal of her expectations of my interest in her or of her possible interest in me. But yes, I probably should just call.

The problem is that her text messages seem to keep veering between friendly (oddly over-friendly, though not quite flirtatious) and brusque/irritable/too-busy. She has explained that she has had a very busy spell at work, and has had a lot of friends visiting over Christmas (and is now engaged in a round of 'farewells', since she'll soon be leaving Beijing - I had thought she told me she was expecting to return later in the year, but she will now neither confirm nor deny this). I understand, and don't want to put her under pressure to come on a 'date' with me when she's got so much else on - but telling someone that you have no time at all to meet up for the next 10 or 14 days is rather too stern a discouragement!

I had been angling instead to be included in some communal get-together; not such a tall order, I thought, since we have a number of friends in common. However, on Monday she told me - rather snootily, it seemed to poor lovestruck me - that there was now unlikely to be any chance of our meeting up before her departure (still over a week away, I think). Well, except that she was meeting some folks for dinner - including several of our mutual friends - at a restaurant just a few hundred yards from where (she knows) I live; but she didn't think to include me in this plan. I got wind of a proposed 'outing' in my neighbourhood through one of the mutual friends (not realising it was to be her party) and innocently tried to invite myself along (thinking it was just going to be cheap eats and a bar crawl with a bunch of mates) - but was coldly spurned, both by my lady heartwrecker and by the friend (all I got was a very belated invitation to join them later - much, much later; like, 4 hours later! - for a drink at a bar; I was rather pointedly not invited to the restaurant).

So, that's that dead in the water, then.

And, once again, I never even got to Step 1 - asking her out.

I probably should have been more forceful, more daring. I should have made some wild declaration along the lines of "I think you're the most fascinating woman I've met in years and your eyes have enslaved me and...... I don't care if you're leaving Beijing and never coming back, I simply must spend at least one evening with you before you pass out of my life."

But I didn't. Because I am romantically useless.

But I am learning. Slowly. Maybe next time will work out a little better. Maybe I'll at least get that one date.


Prodnose said...

So, you didn't join her for the drink later?

Froog said...

No, I'd already gone out - mistakenly expecting to meet up with friends along Nanluoguxiang (not realising they in fact were meeting her nearer to Gulou).

I realised I was being snubbed, and sat down to dine alone. That was a bit before 7pm - and they weren't talking about hooking up for the drink until 10 or 11pm!

I was tired, ill, friendless and broke. The weather was arse-freezing. Nanluoguxiang was deserted, and half the bars down there hadn't bothered to open. I didn't even have my usual refuge of 12 Sq M available, because it was closed for renovations. Wretched.

There really was no way I could fill in 3 or 4 empty hours entirely on my own. And I guess she realised that. I mean, you really do not ask people to meet you at 11pm!! Even in good weather. But especially not when the city's been brought to a standstill by ice and snow, and it's a huge hassle to go anywhere.

Even walking home - which usually takes only about 20 minutes - was nearly an hour's trek through the snow. Once I'd got back to my nice cosy flat, I couldn't see any way I'd be going outside again.... for the rest of the week, probably.