Saturday, 18 August 2012

The First One I Canceled On

Hopeful 7     Hopeless 2

I decided to title this entry "The First One I Canceled On" because in general, I have been amenable when asked out on dates, but there were a few hiccups with Patrick.  It happens sometimes that one person proposes a day and time and it doesn't work for the other person.  This can also happen more than once.  The first time he gave me I agreed to; it was to be before he went on vacation.  Somehow, between him and his buddy, he got his departure time wrong, so he had to reschedule me.  In theory, I was supposed to keep the following weekend open to see him.  However, in the meantime, my parents were having friends over for dinner on Saturday and I needed to be home to help clean and entertain.  On Friday, I had arranged to meet Amin for the first time.  That would've left that Sunday, but three social activities three days in a row I know is too much for me.  So when Patrick asked again about my availability on the weekend, I had to reschedule him for the following week.  It felt like canceling, though the plans had never actually been definite.  I felt like I gave him quite a hard time, not only about the day, but then I had to decline his offer to go for a walk on Mount Royal.  Like with Sia, I had to explain to him that a walk is no good for me in summer.  He seemed stunned and possibly put off by that in his response, but he agreed to coffee, so we were in business.

He proposed that we got to Nocochi.  I was glad it was somewhere I was familiar with; I had gone there for tea with Stella before.  I had planned to wear my new mint green sundress and here was a pretty place to wear it to.  The other advantage of Nocochi is that it is small, so perfect for a first meeting; you are sure to find your date quickly without having to sift through a large crowd.  When I arrived, there was only one person inside, so I was in luck.  I was very uncertain, though, because the man sitting down was staring down at the table (at the menu as it turns out).  Hoping I wouldn't be entirely embarrassing myself, I walked up to the table he was seated at and said, "Patrick?"  He looked up and I thought it couldn't be him, but he answered to his name.  His profile picture was so unlike him!  I had already extended my arm to shake his hand and said my name to confirm my identity for him.  He asked me if I was okay because he said I sounded out of breath.  He had seen right through to my anxiety in a moment.  The entire time I was traveling to meet him, I couldn't keep my nerves under control.  I had a book to read, but I couldn't concentrate.  I had to keep telling myself to breathe over and over.  It is the most nervous I have been to date.

It turns out that I had nothing to worry about.  The conversation flowed with ease and the exchange was pretty equal.  We settled the question of my health straight away because he was still very puzzled at my declining to go for a walk with him.  I am not sure I explained my situation all that adeptly (some days I am better at describing it than others), perhaps because I was doing so in French.  I hope most of what I had to say was not lost in translation.  He spoke a few short sentences in English here and there which I answered, but we always reverted back to French.  He told me about his work experience, which was interesting.  Although he is much more settled than I am at this point, he is contemplating going back to school for a master's degree, which would put us more in the same place in life.  It seems that we share a lot of the same values and have similar temperaments.  We both seem to be shy and not all that experienced when it comes to dating and not looking just to date anything that moves.  It also turns out that we both have difficult relationships with our fathers (this is not something I like to spill very quickly; oftentimes you can go months or years knowing me without my talking about it).  I was surprised at myself for saying something about it, but Patrick was actually estranged from his Dad for some time, so I figured this was a sensitive subject and we didn't dwell on it.  But essentially I think there would be a lot of sympathy and possibly empathy there between us.

When my hour and a half expired, which usually like clockwork turns out to be pumpkin time, I found myself not ready to leave.  This was the first time I had this reaction.  I just felt that the conversation was so pleasant in general that I was not ready for it to stop yet.  I wasn't prepared to get up and put an end to it.  So I stayed another hour because it was enjoyable.  Yes, shocking: my first seriously enjoyable date.  We each paid for our own tea and Patrick walked me back, which was just perfect for my comfort level.  However, it's at this point that the conversation began to die down.  After all, we had been talking a better part of the afternoon at this point.  The silence didn't feel awkward to me, especially since we were walking.  But it got to the point where we were parting ways and I was not coming out with anything particularly suitable to say.  I told him I was glad to have met him, which I sincerely was.  I am not sure how genuine it came off to him.  I think he was hesitant about what to say as well.  In any case, here he kind of touched my left arm and I understood he wanted his "kiss-kiss".  Oh bother; I had managed to skip it earlier, but here I had to oblige.  I waved and headed off in the opposite direction.

I was smiling on my way home.  It had been a very pleasant afternoon.  Whether or not Patrick is dating material, it was a positive social experience for me and it made me realize how starved I am for them!  The other realization that hit home on my way back was less positive.  A sudden thought occurred to me that made me feel awful.  It almost ruined the entire scenario.  I couldn't believe it had taken me that long to see it, but Patrick reminded me of my ex boyfriend.  My ex, who we will call Frédéric, was a black belt in karate.  Patrick had been telling me about his avid interest in martial arts, but he is not currently taking classes and never amassed many skills in any particular style.  It was like a slap in the face to see the parallel: two martial arts guys.  What gave me a complete sinking feeling, though, was that the similiarities also extended to their personalities.  Patrick had told me about how his last boss helped him come out of his shell and be more confident.  I was brought back to how Frédéric constantly talked about "improving himself", working on his self-esteem, his self-confidence, his leadership skills and etc., yet no matter how many self-improvement classes he takes or how many new-age mantras he says, he never actually gains real insight into himself and constantly runs from his problems.  I was freaked out to think that Patrick was a three years older version of Frédéric.  This put a bit of a damper on an otherwise lovely afternoon.  It made me think that I will have to be on the lookout for familiar signs, because I don't want a repeat performance of Frédéric.  I will have to see how truly "improved" Patrick is.  He doesn't have to be perfect, but he can't have major confidence issues.  I will have to wait and see how this unfolds... 

P.S.  For those who are wondering, like my Mom, sister and girl friends often do, there is actually an answer to the question "Well, is he good looking?" this time.  I found Patrick good looking.  I was stunned; this is such an infrequent occurrence for me.  I don't find every other guy good looking.  Usually it only happens as often as I like a guy (which is not often at all!) and usually only because his appearance improves as my affection for him grows.  This reminds me of a Rodgers & Hammerstein song: Do I love you because you're beautiful, or are you beautiful because I love you?  Truly, most of the time, a guy is beautiful if I love him, so this being "beautiful" all on his own is a little new for me...

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