Tonight was as I would fear it would be. Is it the fear that caused it to happen as it did? If I could operate independent of that fear, that incessant insecurity, would things have been different? These are the sorts of questions that will no doubt consume me for quite some time, but tonight, I wish to record here for posterity one valuable lesson - more for myself, but to any along the path who may also carry their own doubts.
Pickup theory is correct.
It's insulting sometimes, with my born arrogance, to think that somehow somebody outside of my experience was able to quantify in a sort of science the kind of thing that, for centuries, philosophers have called unassailable by reason. That thing is love and attraction.
I think sometimes that what I'm experiencing must somehow be different and unique from those interactions that pickup artists describe, post about and give explanation for. I think that, "Yes, this thing they say should be there is not there, but this other thing is," and I take myself to be a higher authority than those who have come before me and written the rule that I find myself comparing my experience to. I ignore the fact that by the very comparison to such a rule in my head I give validity and legitimacy to that rule.
Tonight I went on my second date with Exotic. I was planning to go dancing, but when I searched for dance places that I might be interested in and that were open on a Sunday night, I decided the pickings were slim enough that I should go with my standby date and take her to the nickel arcade. Instead I took her to this great Bar/Arcade in downtown Portland which I liked a bit better than the nickel arcade (only a quarter per game). We had a couple of drinks, played some games, it was a really fun time. She got so into the games she would play and had such a good time, I was really impressed by her and was loving her company.
When we ran out of quarters, we sat down to chat and finish our beers. I had been getting the vibe tonight, as with our last date, that she wasn't as interested in touching me as I would like. But of course I stuck with my own reasons for what was happening instead of trusting the theory. "She doesn't touch me back, yeah, and she doesn't respond to my disqualifications and SOIs the way I want or that would indicate any interest in me...but look at how she's following the conversation, it's like she's tailoring her responses so that I'll like her." We talked about losing our virginity, swapped stories, and then there was just a solid silence after we finished giggling during which we just swigged our beers and looked around a little, both at a loss.
We left the arcade and went for a walk, looking for a place to go dancing. After a short time and with no immediate luck, we both had to use the restroom so we stopped in at the first open place we saw without a cover. A classy looking bar with classical musicians on stage and a very tiny crowd. I ordered us a rum and coke to share while she went to the bathroom, then had her find us a seat on the balcony (we were the only people up there) while I went. The conversation was better, but I remembered what my previous date advisor had said about a second date, "It's time for you to lean back and let her chase a little." I had been leaning in nearly the whole time, sometimes putting my arm around her and pulling her close a little, so I just said "Fuck it, how would I behave if I didn't give a shit" and shoved my chair back away from the table, put my feet up on the railing overlooking the stage and lower seating, and leaned back. I told a couple of my better stories from the days of yore, savoring the fact that after all this time I can still rail it out in an interesting way. They're my original routines.
She was interested, laughing on cue, covering her mouth, appropriately shocked, and leaning in while I leaned back. It seemed good. I segued into us getting up and dancing (I figured, why the hell not? There's music and we're the only people up here) by talking about the scene in Rock n Rolla where Gerard Butler and whoever that woman is have an awkward dance while she tells him her plan.
Great scene. Great idea. She seemed much more physical and interested once we had a better reason to be touching, but her hand holding was weak. After our little dance, we left. Outside I decided I wanted some investment from her, so I gave her the choice, "Exotic, you've got work tomorrow so it's up to you. I'm having a great time with you and I'm down to hang out awhile, but if you need to go home it's not a problem and I can take you." She said she wanted to stay out, so I took that as a good sign.
Walking down the road heard some pounding music coming from a building on our right. As it turns out, we had crossed around to a gay club and it was in full swing for karaoke night. We went in, and I discovered that something I truly like about Exotic was how I tend to do different things when I'm with her. Bouldering, an old people's bar with a jazz band, a different arcade and bar, a gay club for some dancing...Not all my usual fare for dates.
We went in and sat for a moment before discovering that the club was separated into two. The first bar area was for karaoke, the second area was for dancing. The dance floor was empty, the room was empty except for a few patrons sitting around. I convinced her to get up and dance with me. We danced 1-2 songs, I held her hand and walked her onto the dance floor, and as it turns out she has some experience with Salsa. It was good, but I sensed in her touch an all too friendly vibe. A desire not to be taken the wrong way.
I didn't want to admit defeat, but the feeling was slowly crawling over me. I shook it off and decided it wasn't over till it was over.
We left and I decided to take us home. When we got there, I pulled in and put on the parking brake, but left the engine running. She started talking. It felt like she was stalling, trying to spend more time in the car. If she didn't like me, wouldn't she say she had a nice time and good night, then leave? She kept repeating how good of a time she had and how she was so shocked that I was such a good guy and that she had so much fun with me, and that I was so easy to talk to. Then she said something about having heard about me before we went out. I turned off the engine and waited for her to tell me the story. She was reluctant, but basically it amounted to me having talked with her at a party a year and a half ago and saying something stupid. I had no recollection of it, and according to what her friends were saying, "I was following her around at the party" and she was talking about "but wait where's Dasani?" when her friends were ready to go. Confuse much?
I'm sitting here, waiting for her to get out of the car because I didn't think I could handle making another move without any sort of emotional indication, and yet she's stalling, telling me how great a time she had and how great a guy I was and how she never imagined it would be like this, and about how I had creeped on her a long time ago and yet she still accepted my invite on a date. My cynical part said, "She's saying all this nice stuff because she wants you to feel good about the night even though she's not into you" but another part of me said, "No, she's stalling because tonight she wants you to kiss her, and she's trying to show you an opening by saying all these nice things." I decided to meet myself halfway and called her out, "Exotic, I've had a great time with you too, I think you're adorable and absolutely endearing, but up until this moment I was writing you off as not interested, and now you're saying all this stuff and it's got me kind of confused."
I don't recall the specifics of her speech, but it was just her being nice and apologetic but telling me she isn't interested in no uncertain terms. I respect that, as much as it hurt to hear. I told her honestly that I was disappointed, but it was her choice to make.
She left shortly after and gave me a real hug. It hurts me more now to imagine that hug having had so much feeling in it, where every other touch she gave me was meant to convey nothing more than social convention and platonic friendship.
I drove away. Disappointed? Yes. Upset? Yes. By no means was I a mess or even showing visibly how hurt I was, but it was there.
The thing that gets me most, is this feels like a confirmation of one of my deepest insecurities about myself. That I will never be with a girl who I'm really attracted to. Most of the women I hook up with are cute (some aren't) but very rarely do I want to see them again, and if I do like them or like having them around, there's some glaring flaw that keeps me from wanting to get close to them (like one of my FBs, she's just so damn boring and plain, but she's a freak and has huge boobs). When I like a girl, when I'm attracted to her and I want her and I know I could find myself feeling an emotional connection to her, I don't get her.
It's become such a consistent thing that I've developed a deep insecurity about it, and if I catch myself liking a girl, or if I see a girl who I find attractive who might be interested in me, I either do something to fuck it up, do nothing at all for fearing I'll be hurt, or think everything is great and then get the lets just be friends rap.
I must confess. I am very physically attracted to Exotic, and she is a good girl and sometimes makes me laugh, but I did not find her particularly engaging conversationally. The times that were better were when things were better, I imagine if she wasn't guarding herself from showing an ounce of interest or intent that the conversation with her would be better overall, but I digress. I just don't want to put her on an overlarge pedestal in my memory as if she were flawless.
There's a history of this insecurity in this blog if you look close. Femme Fatale is an overt case. Doa is a bit more subtle and I haven't posted as much about it, Shygirl I have only mentioned a few times but am in love with and terrified of finding out she doesn't feel the same way about me, and then there's Tiny. Tiny is a girl I've only freshly named (right now, actually) but who I have a long history with that I might post sometime. At any rate, she likes me, I like her, I'm immensely attracted to her physically, but for countless contradictory nonsensical reasons, she won't sleep with me. This leads me to feel insecure in a sort of "why don't you want me?" way, which is as bad as any rejection.
That's enough for tonight. I wish things had worked out with Exotic, I wish I could get inside her head and find out where I went wrong. I wish I could get the fuck out of the friend zone and start having women see me as attractive.
In every sense that I can ask the question; will it ever be enough?