Hopeful 8 Hopeless 3
The inspiration for the title of this post came from my mother. When I told her about how I had not divulged my name to Thomas yet and that he was really eager to know it, she referred to me as "She Who Has Not Been Named" (a play on "He Who Must Not Be Named" in the Harry Potter series). I thought it was so funny and so clever that I should post it!
This date occurred on October 2nd. As promised, it was Thomas' turn and we had agreed to meet at a Second Cup. I let him chose, though I did suggest something near the university, given that he had a 6:00 class that Tuesday. He thought that was good and luckily for me, I knew exactly where the Second Cup he chose was.
I had an appointment in the afternoon and was not sure I would be on time, but luckily, I was only five minutes late. I took a deep breath and entered the Second Cup. I knew Thomas would've arrived before me, so I stopped between the two glass doors at the entrance and took a peek inside to see if I could see him. For whatever reason, I was nervous about being able to recognize him; this was not something I had really been too apprehensive about beforehand with the others. Having ascertained that he was not in fact visible from the door, I took a deep breath and opened the second one. I began to move around to look for him, but I did not have to go far. I rounded a corner and there he was. I found myself exclaiming, "Hi!" Translation: Wow, I can't believe I found you that fast! Still feeling a bit stressed, I resolved immediately to get myself some tea and that I would come back to sit.
Thomas had chosen a couple of pouff chairs for us. That has certain advantages and disadvantages. It is good when you sit for awhile, since the chairs are more comfortable. It can also feel friendlier. However, it means that you do not have a table to hide you (or at least half of you). We still had a table upon which to put our drinks, but it was much less of a physical obstacle in between us, which always makes me feel more at ease. I sat and tried not to feel or look uncomfortable. He said "hello" again and followed up with, "I'm Thomas." Yes, yes, I know you're Thomas! He had just stolen the line I had been rehearsing for at least a week. "Hi Thomas; I'm ..." In any case, perhaps it did not have the impact I intended, but I did intend to put him out of his misery right away, so I did. I told him my name and he said he should never have guessed it.
He had gotten an iced hot chocolate, something I had been interested in trying myself. However, I wanted something hot to drink that day, so I had settled on tea. Thomas had procured a nice piece of chocolate cake too, which he offered to share. I do not know WHAT was wrong with me! I am a serious chocoholic, but I turned down even one bite of cake. This has happened to me several times with Louis as well, when he would have a box of something chocolate with him in class and would offer me a cookie or something, I would always politely decline. It is so unlike me! I can't believe the automatic refusal reaction supersedes my insatiable love of chocolate. I wonder what that is all about...
From that point on, my fatigue was definitely apparent. It had hit me and there was nothing for it. For a good half hour or so, I was having difficulty speaking coherently. The thoughts inside my head were confused and I found myself having to start an idea several times over. Thomas was very generous about it. He even said later that he hardly noticed and that if this was truly "not one of my better days", then it must be really awesome to see me on a good day (or something to that effect).
It seems the theme of the day with Thomas was "keeping things safe". We had talked about many things online and I was thinking it would make the conversation flow more easily and comfortably. The conversation was certainly comfortable enough, as I no longer felt the least bit nervous. However, we spoke only about two or three subjects, mostly about school. These were "safe" subjects, not requiring much thought or emotion. It was the sort of conversation I could have with any passing acquaintance. Again, I make allowances for this sort of thing the first time I meet someone: perhaps they are shy or nervous. Perhaps indeed it was me who was feeling shy or nervous! There seemed to be some distance there that I was not so much accustomed to when chatting online.
One of my favourite moments during the date, besides telling Thomas what my name is, was when he referred to himself as a "nerd". I had been expecting it to occur and had arrived prepared. It is something he had said to me a few times online and I had objected to him labelling himself. For me, the connotation of words like "nerd" or "geek" is really pejorative and frankly, I think no one should use them for that reason. I unbuttoned my top layer and told him that if he was a nerd, I would have to be one too. The t-shirt underneath said WWJD - What Would Janeway Do? I had kept my interest in Star Trek from him, though he had brought it up once or twice. I wanted to save it for just such an occasion. Thomas just looked at me and, seemingly finding words insufficient, shook my hand as if to say "good job!" I was glad to find that he thinks that Janeway was a good Star Trek captain (I later linked him to The Reasons Why Captain Janeway is Better Than Captain Picard). This move was to make him feel more at ease and I think overall it was successful.
It is lucky that one of us was keeping an eye on the time. I made sure that Thomas would not be late for his class. I walked with him a bit, since we were both headed in the same direction. Then he headed for the university and I in the opposite direction to get home. I said it was "good to meet him", which it was. Our in person interaction was not negative in the slightest. We had dispensed with the important formalities: we had officially met and I had told him my name finally without disappearing on the spot. This would enable the next meeting to be more pleasant.
Here I thought I had gotten off easy for a first meeting. Chatting with me later on that day, the facebook question came up. I knew that it was important to him because usually his policy is that he meets no one without knowing their name and having access to their facebook page first. He had made an exception for me, but it was high time that I show some good faith in return. Evidently, as Thomas agreed that evening, we should've discussed it in person. His assessment of me is that it is difficult to earn my trust and that I don't let many people in. That is certainly true to a very large extent. The idea of opening up to him was not what was bothering me, however. I didn't mind adding him on facebook at that point. What was troubling me is how he would perceive that, what he would think that my adding him would signify. I was worried about his expectations for our relationship. I had told him that I could not give any of the Plenty of Fish guys any guarantees at that point. Knowing it intellectually and knowing it emotionally are two different things. How much of that had he assimilated? I had had this very problem with Kyle and it had really burned me. I should've known with him that his expectations were to date me; we met after all because his friend tried to set us up. I let myself become secure with the place I put him in in my life, which was in the acquaintance box at first, since we didn't have a lot in common, then in the friend category as we became more compatible with time. I knew, however, that dating him would never work, because we were still too incompatible at so many levels. He couldn't see that, though. I was not sufficiently vigilant about his expectations, so the result was him falling for me and wanting to date and my having to refuse. I had the choice of the lesser of the two evils and it felt positively vile. He was going to hurt either way, but I knew I would just hurt him more if I dated him. He remained attached after that for awhile, but then it ended badly. We have not spoken in three years. How often I regret how that unfolded. I never want that to happen again, so I worry about it and guard against it as best I can.
I was not able to articulate all of this for Thomas that evening, but a couple of days later, I related the story of Kyle for him to help him understand my uneasiness. What he told me on October 2nd was that he was not building up expectations and only taking things one step at a time. He was working on the friendship aspect of our relationship and getting to know me better. Anything more than that, he said, were it to develop, would develop naturally and with time. That sounded so reasonable to me and showed me that we were on the same page. When I told him about Kyle two days later, he was very sympathetic. It helped him understand much better where I was coming from. More than once over the next while, Thomas reassured me that he was not forming designs on me and that I didn't have to worry about it. That was so very helpful.
So the result was that Thomas and I became facebook friends that night. My conditions were that he not go bananas liking every single picture I had and that he not start having all sorts of expectations of where things would go from there. Satisfied that he would pass on both of those, I let him add me. It was late, so I didn't look too closely at his page. I don't know how much he looked at mine, but certainly he did not like or comment or post anything.
I imagine sometimes that my readers wonder how I can make most of my entries so neutral. Or perhaps readers wonder what I was thinking on the date or after the date, or just generally, where these guys ranked for me. I tried to remedy that with my entry The Fish. Here, though, I think it bears mentioning where Thomas stood for me at that point. Sometimes I really felt a friend sort of vibe. That described the date I had with him on October 2nd. Yet there were other times that I felt a more romantic sort of vibe. Sometimes I felt we were highly compatible and I could see real possibilities. Sometimes he was even rather charming. I remember one conversation we had in particular, that ended with him saying, "Good night, princess." I could hardly contain myself. I felt so flattered. I answered, "Good knight", which he found clever. Moments like that made me think that we surely could date. I had hoped that meeting Thomas might help clarify things, but they remained nebulous for a little while longer...