Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;        
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,        
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.        
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Okay, perhaps jumping right back into dating was a tad premature. I was bored, feeling lonely and my ego was damaged. Not exactly the best recipe for going out with a bunch of new guys. But I figured, what the hell - could be fun, right? Just like I mentioned in my previous post, no harm in dating around, meeting a bunch of people and having a good time, right? 


So, it hasn’t exactly been a good time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some fun dates... but I am just not the person I used to be. Three different dates with three different guys over the course of three different days is, apparently, not my idea of having a blast. Throw in a night with an old friend who kisses me and asks me to give him a chance and an email from an old friend asking me to drop everything and give HIM a shot, and all of a sudden I’m wondering why I didn’t get braces before. 

Okay, in all seriousness, this sounds like a good problem to have. But my issue with it stems from the fact that none of these men know me like I know myself. And while they all see me in the “single and awesome” category right now, they don’t know my shit or are choosing not to look at it. I’m complicated, confusing, analytical, noncommittal, withholding, withdrawn at times and have a fairly hefty list of past references (i.e. ex-boyfriends) that could give many reasons why I’m not worth the chase. 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m definitely worth it. With the right man by my side, I’ve got Superwoman potential. Problem is, I haven’t chosen wisely and have hurt more people than I ever intended. 

Guy #2 fell out of the running on the second date. I kinda knew on the first date that the spark wasn’t going to be there. However, the first time I watched A Clockwork Orange, I couldn’t see what the big deal was. Now, it’s one of my all time faves. So, I figured a second date would hurt. 

Unfortunately, I was wrong about him mostly enjoying his job and being good relationship material - at least for me. He hates his job, kinda seems like he hates his life and almost everything that came out of his mouth was negative. Obviously, no space in my world for that kind of personality. 

My woodwork friends are not contenders. The way my brain works, if there was nothing there before, chances are, I’m not going to find what I’m looking for now. It is flattering to hear that someone has feelings for me, but I can’t help think that they have been in the friend zone for a reason. It’s hard for me to get over this when I’m not so secretly looking for someone to come in and sweep me off my feet.  

So, that left me with Guy #1 and Guy #3. Here is the story of how that dance went... 

There was an instant attraction when Guy #1 met me at the bar on our first date. He looked exactly as he did in his handsome online pictures. He hugged me like he knew me, sat down, ordered a good beer and we spent the rest of the night immersed in flirty, witty and fun conversation. I had worn my most sexy dress and felt like a million bucks. He had ridden in on his motorcycle and was looking rugged and tough. We were straight out of a movie, laughing and gazing at each other throughout the evening. 

It was all familiar... the jokes, the pop culture references, the sexual banter, the hand on my thigh... I’ve been down this road many, many times. I knew what was going to happen that night before he even walked into the bar. Sure enough, we finished our drinks, paid the tab and he followed me home. 

The sex was incredible. This was not a first date, awkward, getting to know you kind of encounter. Every movement was right, every decision a bad one that felt so good and before I knew it, it was eight hours into the following day and he was still in my bed. In retrospect, I can’t help but wonder if I wouldn’t have had to work, if I ever would’ve asked him to leave. 

A few nights later, this happened again, only without the actual date. It was straight out of a dating 101 “booty call” chapter as he showed up close to midnight and we danced again until the following afternoon. All of my relationships that have started this way (and yes, there have been quite a few), have not ended well. I thought about this a lot during that second period of time together. But, then I reminded myself that things were casual, I had no one to answer to and although there was clearly a connection, it also didn’t seem, by his words and behavior, that he was interested in setting a wedding date anytime soon. Harmless fun is what we were having. No big deal, right? 

I was pretty hooked. Again, this was not unfamiliar territory to me. And who knows? Maybe this time, it would actually work. Forget the nagging in the back of my mind that his personal stability wasn’t exactly what I was looking for or the fact that he had only been in Las Vegas for a short period of time, not knowing what he was going to do with himself or what his next step was. Forget that his primary mode of transportation was a motorcycle, he lived with his mom and step-dad and worked as a nightclub promoter. I can overlook these things that I would rather not have in my significant other. 

Here I go again... making it work. Geez, Tina - have you learned ANYTHING from all the guys you’ve fucked over in the past? 

And then, Sunday happened. 

We made plans to go to the Scottish Festival together that day. I had friends participating in some events there and was able to weasel my way out of an on-call shift at work to spend the day drinking Guinness, soaking in the sun and showing off my new potential mate in public. I was very excited about this. 

Towards the end of my shift Saturday night, I got a text from him saying that he had forgotten about an interview he had in Boulder City at 2:00pm on Sunday and that he wasn’t going to be able to make it to the Festival after all, since I was planning on being there at noon. However, he still planned on coming over after I got off work and staying with me until I left the following day. Well... of course he did. Hmm... 

Just when I started to feel good and frustrated about the idea of being another late night snack, nature helped me out and it rained just long enough to prevent him from making the trip to my side of town safely on his bike. We would have to try again next week. 

However, I was still going to the Festival. No way I was missing it this year! 

Guy #3 and I had a hiking date set up for the following weekend and had also been texting me throughout the night. So, I thought to myself, maybe I’d see if we could move it up and I invited him to the Festival with me. In fact, the way things were going with Guy #1, it might not be a bad idea to eliminate future prospects anyway. Not that I assumed it was going to happen, but I was already emotionally invested and feeling a bit exhausted from the multiple dating already. This dating lots of people thing is for the birds. 

#3 and I met out at the park the next afternoon. I recognized him and his beautiful red hair instantly. I couldn’t help but think to myself with a smile, what was I thinking NOT bringing a red head to a Scottish Fest? With his laid back personality and fun, positive texts, I knew we were in for, at the very least, a pleasant afternoon. 

He was interesting from the start. We began the “basics of dating” conversations and his responses were... refreshing. He had a house, two dogs, good friends, is close to his family, about to start a new job he was really looking forward to, has plans to go back to school and, to my delight, was kind of a nerd. Nerds are quite nice for me because it prevents us from getting into aggressive arguments about why Denver shouldn’t have beaten Pittsburgh even if the Steelers were running a stubborn defense that couldn’t seem to catch Tim Tebow. Sometimes, it’s nice to save those arguments for my buddies, not my boyfriends. 

But alas, I digress... 

We spent the whole afternoon together. He met some of my friends and was comfortable and easy going around them. He held his own in every conversation and I was able to quickly tell how multi-faceted his personality was. I thought he was just going to be another fun, West Coast minded party boy. I couldn’t have been more wrong in my original judgement. 

We parted ways after the Festival but then met up later for dinner and some bowling. I wasn’t quite ready to be done with my analysis on this intriguing new element to my already confusing game. And sure enough, he kept it intriguing. 

There was something so different about our interaction. The way he looked at me... the way he spoke to me... the words and the subjects that he chose... his perfect teeth, his incredible red beard, his shy smile... shit, son, we share the same birthday!! That’s gotta count for something, right? 

We stayed out late and then he walked me to my car. He hugged me sweetly and with no expectations. I couldn’t help but smile as he got into his black Prius and pulled away. A Prius, huh? 

Now this was unexpected. 

To make an already long story a little shorter, I found myself staring down two different roads. The first was one I was very familiar with and had been down a hundred times before. Of course there is never really knowing where it will lead... but the terrain I knew well and the warning signs were in plain sight. I could easily go down that road again based on its familiarity alone. 

The second road is completely unknown. It has an intrigue to it I couldn’t ignore if I wanted to. The path is welcoming and actually seems to exude a feeling of hope and change. It promises to be different... and asks that I give it a chance. After all, the worst thing that could happen is a beautiful stroll down an unfamiliar trail. This is what I feel when I look this direction. 

Guy #1 hasn’t made it easy for me. I haven’t seen him since Sunday and have been very open about the decision I am facing. His text messages started saying things like he’s not going to compete with someone else and that he’ll help to make the decision easy for me by backing off... only to be followed up with another message about desperately wanting to see me again and brushing back my hair or stroking my cheek. He will then accuse me of fucking with his head and follow it up with wishing he could see me because of how much he misses me. He tells me I have created an internal struggle for him that he doesn’t know how to handle. 

All of these reactions... I’m just too familiar with. 

It’s been an emotionally trying week, to say the least. All I wanted to do was have a little bit of fun. I seem to forget that analyzers like me have fun playing with board games and cards, not people. 

So, I hid my online dating profile as I certainly don’t need any other distractions at the moment. I’ve decided to slowly venture into the unknown because I’ve asked the Universe to bring me something different and it did. To ignore it now and follow only what I know sure seems like a quick way to get what I’ve always had. Of course I might be wrong, but the idea that I could be right outweighs any kind of doubt about my choice. 

Perhaps one of my recent blog commenters was right. Perhaps I should’ve waited to start dating again. It’s never too late to change my mind and spend some time by myself. Then again, there is no need to rush into anything either. A leisurely stroll down a new path, taking in the scenery and patiently awaiting the surprises around each turn doesn’t change the fact that the trail still leads somewhere. There is certainly no hurry to reach its destination as it’s going to be there regardless of how quickly I walk. 

And besides, redheads are going extinct. Gotta soak up the time with them while we can.

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