Hopeful 8 Hopeless 2
Here I thought that all the guys would beat me to the chase when it came to asking to meet. I was corresponding with Amin last week and it just seemed so logical for me that we should meet. We had actually been talking about the anxiety of the first date/meeting, the dos and don'ts. I sensed he wanted to meet me, but that he was nervous. He was not hinting or asking, I am guessing for being nervous and perhaps because he is very respectful. He wasn't going to ask me, I thought, so I decided I should ask him. Interesting: here was the first guy I was actually curious about meeting.
So I proposed in an e-mail titled "on minimizing anxiety" that we meet. I suggested we meet as friends to essentially eliminate the date pressure. We both believe that friendship is the best foundation for a romantic relationship, so it made sense to me. We also established the mode of greeting: the handshake, which suits both of us. He had explained to me that it is part of his culture to take the other person out when you issue an invitation, but that this causes some stress as he is always uncertain as to how it will be received. I thought in that case that we should also establish that beforehand. I said that to make things simple, we should both get our own coffee as friends, as equals. Then I suggested that we see the last fireworks of the summer. We had talked about them and he had described them as "relaxing"; anything to make him feel more relaxed and at ease I felt was in order. I was also comfortable enough to ask him on a bigger date than the others. From the start, he has made me feel comfortable and like I can trust him.
He was elated when he e-mailed me back to accept. He thought it was a great idea and was really looking forward to it. I could tell that really made him happy, so I was glad I asked.
Friday evening when we met, I did not recognize him right away. I thought it might be him, but since he was at a distance, I was still unsure. He, however, seemed to know me instantly; he was looking at me and walking straight towards me. We shook hands as promised and got on our way.
We met for coffee briefly, then headed to the bridge. He was very solicitous, asking once or twice whether I was okay to continue or whether I was getting tired. We were about twenty minutes early, which gave us ample time to pick a spot, but not all that much selection!
The conversation was not as easy as I had expected. We had agreed in one of our e-mails that when you build up some electronic correspondence, you actually have things to talk about when you meet in person. But the Amin with so many thoughts and ideas in his e-mails was conspicuously absent. I got to see the shyer aspect of his personality (which I had gleaned a little from his messages). I found myself stimulating the majority of the conversation across the evening. I worried I was saying way too much blah-blah especially about my health (because I literally have hours-worth of stories I can produce at will on that subject) and that the exchange was not terribly equal. Amin however reassured me that I was "not talking too much" and apologized for not being more talkative. He explained that it occasionally takes him awhile to acclimate before he speaks. I told him that I understand that and it is also my experience in certain social settings.
Considering that, it was difficult to form an impression. My friends asked me, "So? What's he like? Did you like him?" It is not possible for me at this time to offer much of a reply. What did impress me, though, was that he walked me to my bus and waited with me for it to arrive. He was concerned about my getting back, but I assured him I'd be all right. He earned major points right there. They say that sometimes what you do is much more important than what you say; I certainly took note!
Before I went to sleep, he e-mailed to say thank you for suggesting a great outing. He added: "you were as nice as I expected". That is my absolute favourite way to end a day, to read something cheerful. There was the Amin I had been waiting to surface, always with something thoughtful to say.
There may be some of you reading this wondering how it is possible that I could speak so neutrally about such a romantic occasion as seeing the fireworks. To you, I answer that it was not set up as a romantic activity, firstly. That certainly changed the dynamic, to be meeting as friends. If it had not been construed that way, I would not have gone with Amin. I believe, however, while watching the fireworks, that I felt a couple of tingles. We were sitting on the cinder blocks on the bridge, each resting our hands beside us for balance and I thought I felt a shock of energy pass between my hand and his, as though it were a scene in a movie. However, I am certain that this was simply brought on by the energy of the fireworks. It serves nothing to draw conclusions from such an occurrence at the present time. I may feel actual tingles at a later date or I may not. The ones experienced on the bridge do not signify anything whatsoever.