The Time I Wasn’t Actually Dumped

In previous posts, I’ve been mentioned the girl from my office who I like a lot.  However, as time has passed, I’ve found it more difficult to try pursue anything with her.  She rarely seems to express interest in me, though she is the one who kissed me on our second date.  I tried to decipher her intentions of sitting near my desk at work one time, a handful of late night IMs and perhaps purposefully walking by my desk at the of the day on a Friday.  All of those events may have been signals that we should continue things or they may have just been me seeing signs that weren’t there.  So, because I’m uncomfortable trying to express any type of romantic interest while physically in the office, I’m pretty much placing her on the back burner.  It’s been three weeks since we went out for a second time and she’s showed no interest in spending time with me, despite a handful of my own subtle attempts to ask her out (“Let me know if you’re at all interested in getting a bite this weekend” “Will do!”).

But then something serendipitous happened.

At the beginning of February, before I started this blog, I thought I was dumped by a girl, a Grad Student, after two dates.  She had sent me a text saying she wanted to cancel our third date.  She “wasn’t feeling it” and said she had to settle some personal issues — I took that as an “it’s not you, it’s me” break up line.  I liked her a lot, she intrigued me, but I wasn’t completely heartbroken — things are always easier if they reject you early on.  I ended up trying hard to look on the bright side and moved on fairly quickly despite two nights of mild depression about it.

Fast forward five weeks.  I get a text message from Grad School Girl on a Saturday night.

Grad School Girl: “Hey! What are you up to tomorrow?”

Me: “Hi! Actually a friend is in town from the East Coast and we’re doing brunch tomorrow, but I should be free after 1 pm.  What’s up?”

Grad School Girl: “Gotcha! I wanted to see if you were interested in farmers-marketing in the AM but perhaps another time. (I’ve resolved [some of the personal things I was going through] and would love to hang out if you’re still down 🙂 )”

Me: “I’ll have to take a rain check” … “But let’s hangout sometime soon”

Grad School Girl: “Sounds good.”

Okay, so for the five weeks preceding this conversation, I was very confident this girl had dumped me and moved on.  I was now pursuing Office Girl and had come to terms that she wasn’t interested in me.  But, to be honest, I was still really attracted to Grad Student Girl.  She was smart, extremely talented, witty and gorgeous.  We actually texted a few more times that night, just catching up a little bit.  But soon after, I got sucked into work (and was in the process of giving up on Office Girl) and didn’t actually officially follow up on meeting up with Grad School Girl — I had already spent weeks training myself not to think about her.  So three weeks later she sends me another text while I’m literally on my way to the airport asking if I was free that night.  I wasn’t, but I promised I would let her know when I got back to the west coast I would reach out to her.

So early last week I returned to San Francisco and sent her a text setting up dinner.  She’s vegan, so I threw out a vegan restaurant and we agreed to meet there.  Dinner was a little awkward, since it was kind of like a first date but also kind of like a third date.  We had gone on two dates at the end of January / beginning of February over the course of 6 days and then hadn’t spoken for over a month.  After a bit, we started developing something of a report, catching up on the issues she had worked through as well as some of my own personal chaos.  We wrapped up dinner pretty quickly, which I surreptitiously paid for while she was in the bathroom (she wanted to split it, which I like, but sometimes I like to pay — especially since she’s a student and I have a full time job).

She quickly suggested drinks and we wandered around the neighborhood a bit looking for a bar we might like.  After accidentally going into a lesbian bar, we found a crowded Irish pub where I got a beer and she had a whiskey.  We got into more deeper topics while we were there and, I think, for the first time had a slightly deeper connection than our previous conversations, which I felt good about.  Two drinks later, she suggests we go back to her apartment and have one more drink and who am I to say ‘no’ to a question like that?

We actually end up going back to my place where I open a bottle of wine.  We spend the next 2-3 hours taking turns playing my guitar — she has an incredible voice and writes beautiful songs, compared to my amateur self taught mimicry of Mumford and Sons.  I don’t remember exactly how she made the move, but at some point she ended up sitting very close to me and she leaned in and kissed me.  I had spent the past hour trying to figure out how I could find a way to kiss her, but I suppose she was feeling more aggressive than me.  We kissed several more times.  I considered pushing things forward, but decided not to considering how much she had to drink.  I didn’t want this to become a drunken mistake, I wanted it to be a beautiful night.  It was at least 2 am and she said that she should probably head out soon and I subtly responded implying that she should spend the night.  We kept getting distracted by conversation and by 3 am, we’re both exhausted and literally falling asleep.  As she doses off, I tell her we should just go to bed.  We curled up in my bed (clothed) and both fell into a drunken sleep.

At 8 am, I got up to get us glasses of water and when I got back to the bedroom she was getting ready to leave.  Had she been interested in staying I might have offered to make breakfast.  But she needed contact solution and things to do, so she got her things together and headed for the door.  I kissed her goodbye and she was gone.

(Probably) Bad Choices

I’m a big believer in the old phrase “don’t shit where you eat,” or, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the idiom, not dating your co-workers.  At my old corporate job on the East Coast, a girl I worked with for a few weeks on a project seemed to develop feelings for me (or at least seemed to be flirting with me — though I could be mistaken) and at the time I worked very hard to rebuke her invitations to hang out outside the office as politely as I could.  That’s usually a very good move especially in a formal office environment where tact and cordiality is critical to your career path and keeping a genuine reputation.

I moved out to the West Coast and now work for a small (though growing extremely quickly) tech company where I get to wear jeans to work.  Most people in the office are also very friendly with each other, frequently hanging out outside the office.  And, as is an office tradition, we often have several rounds of drinks in the office on Friday afternoons while catching up with outside teams.  It’s actually a really fun way to work, especially when you work really long hours and weekends, it’s nice to work out with the people you also like to spend time with.

So since I’ve started, the office has grown to nearly 400 people — like I said, we’re growing from a small tech start-up to a pretty good size now.  So there are a good amount of people I don’t see very regularly.  To be fair, there are now more people in the office than there were in my high school class.  A few weeks ago, I ran in to a girl on our HR team and we ended up running out for a drink to kill time until we met up with others from our office for a co-worker’s birthday party.  I learned a lot about her background.  She’s very smart (which I like), artistic (which I like), thoughtful (which I like) and very cute (which I like, but I’m going to pretend I always look for inner beauty first, regardless of whether or not it’s true).   She has great taste in music and occasionally laughs at my terrible jokes.

We ended up spending a long time together that night.  In fact I think we probably hung out alone for a good 4-5 hours before meeting up with a crowd from the office and sticking close to each others sides throughout the rest of the night.  Of course, after hanging out for what was then 6 or 7 hours, we had a lot to drink.  And, on impulse, I kissed her.  She didn’t exactly resist, in fact she seemed to encourage it.  We were both drunk, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t developed something of a major crush on her throughout the night.  Moreover, I can’t deny my heart wasn’t absolutely racing the entire time I spent with her after getting to know her.

I walked her home and we kissed several more times on the way to her place.  To be honest, I think partially (or perhaps entirely) due to her drunken state I think we could have gone “all the way” that night.  But I was sober enough to push back a little bit.  I don’t like having one night stands, especially when a girl is drunk and possibly making a decision she wouldn’t want to make when she was sober.  I’d rather “earn” that with a girl through trust and hopefully mutual feelings.  I walked her to her apartment, said goodnight and literally ran home out of excitement.

That was actually three weeks ago.  Two weeks ago, we hung out again a little bit but we were both exhausted.  Though we did end the night with a kiss again.  Last week she was busy.  Now it’s Friday and I’m not sure if I should ask her out after work again or not.  If this wasn’t a girl from my office, I’d schedule something on Wednesday.  But because I work with her, I have no idea how to handle it.  Perhaps luckily perhaps not, I rarely see her at work — she’s in HR and I’m in marketing, so there’s rarely a reason for us to cross paths.

I get the feeling that this is still a bad idea.  But I really like her.  Anyone ever had a positive experience dating in the office?  A recent study showed that 31% of office romances develop into marriages, so it can’t always be bad, right?

Needless to say I’ll be aggressively cleaning my apartment this morning.  Just in case.

Lists, Prerequisites and the Burden of High Standards

I think we all have standards and a list of basic requirements for a potential Ms. or Mr. Right, or at least for Ms. or Mr. Right Now.  For example, most people probably would prefer to date someone who is at least “nice” or “not a complete asshole.”  Most of us probably also have hygiene rules: we want someone who brushes their teeth, showers at least once a day and wears some form of deodorant.  Basic qualities.  Beyond that, specific preferences of Ms/Mr. Right (Now) are certainly up to the individual, but there are likely still common traits we’re all looking for.

I’m admittedly not a Reddit user, though I do often get pointed in the direction of Reddit posts that manage to get a fair amount of traffic — don’t we all?  Yesterday, user unreal5 submitted an interesting picture, her friend’s list of qualities her future husband must have.  Let’s ignore the fact that this is a girl who is not yet married, but speaks of her husband in the present tense.  We’ll let that slide.  Here’s a transcribed copy of her list:

Qualities I love about my husband

  • Thinks I’m beautiful!!
  • Considerate
  • Sensitive
  • Intelligent
  • Humble
  • Great (“innocent”) sense of humor
  • multi-lingual/facility to pick up languages
  • kind
  • romantic
  • loving
  • Ever faithful
  • loves to travel
  • Generous
  • patient
  • calm/even tempered
  • compassionate
  • musically inclined
  • adventurous
  • ambitious
  • loves children (family oriented)
  • Enjoys all foods!!
  • educated
  • polite
  • cultured
  • healthy/physically fit
  • fun/fun loving
  • makes me laugh… from the gut
  • positive/happy
  • passionate
  • great amazing lover
  • likes animals (especially cats)

She also writes next to the list:

“The man who has me, deserves me”

My initial reaction is actually fairly positive.  Good for her to know what she’s looking for.  Of course, I would be very impressed if she actually found a man who exhibits all of these qualities and is attracted to her (keep in mind, he might have a list of his own) without one hell of a search.  Further, none of these qualities seem that unusual, though I’m a little unsure of what an “innocent” sense of humor is.

None of the items on her checklist are really that unusual qualities or extreme qualities — he doesn’t have to be captain of a sports team, a master French chef and play no less than four string instruments.  In fact, I can think of two or three guys who probably meet most of her requirements (I can’t guarantee they think she’s beautiful, that’s tough to know up front).  Also, I think some of these are qualities that I imagine most women probably look for (kind, romantic, loving, amazing lover, compassionate, fun loving) and a number of these I think are qualities that a majority of people, not just women are interested in: educated, intelligent, likes to travel, great sense of humor, thinks I’m beautiful, etc.

So let’s get to a broader question here: is it okay to have lists and requirements for our partners?  Personally, I don’t keep a very specific list of requirements.  Rather, I have a list of deal breakers: smoking, unintelligent, inability to handle social situations, etc.  and I have a list of qualities that I’m attracted to, though I don’t necessarily absolutely demand: ambitious, smart, liberal, cultured and compassionate.  Beyond that I like to consider myself open minded and again, the list of qualities I’m attracted is not a checklist, I’ve dated girls who didn’t exhibit all or most of them.

Isn’t the number one quality you should seek in someone just simple chemistry?  I for one have found that my best relationships, whether two months or five years, were built on a foundation of just this: they make me feel special, I think I make them feel special and I love spending time with them.  The ultimate goal of dating is generally to find someone to spend the rest of your life with.  While I would like my wife to have a beautiful singing voice, I don’t think her lack of one would make my life with her less enjoyable — why include it on a checklist?

We all have a list of qualities, regardless of whether it’s written down or not, that we’re seeking in potential mates.  But the fact is, it’s unlikely we’ll know what we truly want until we stumble upon it.  The Reddit girl’s future husband’s ability to speak multiple languages is unlikely going to be a major contributor to ensuring that he makes her happy for the rest of their lives.  While it may make him attractive to her, attraction like that tends to only lead you towards your partner and not necessarily keep you together.

So best of luck in finding your perfect man.  I truly hope he has all the qualities on your list.  But, while the attraction may certainly be there, the chemistry certainly isn’t guaranteed.

[via Reddit]