Monday, July 19, 2004

The Scam that Wasn't

"Well, you never had a first date."
"Yes we did. I sat across from her at a mall. We ate together. We ate. That's eating. Sharing an important physical event."
"That's not even a scam." 
"What's a scam?"
"Going out as friends."
--Corey and Lloyd, from Say Anything
I don't even know why I want to share this with you.  Sharing personal events online is always a bad idea, even in the pseudo-anonymity of the faceless web.  Maybe that's why I'm doing it.  Slipping as discreetly as possible into my digital confessional.
Bless me readers, for I have scammed.
My tale begins with those four words that doom every lovelorn idiot since the birthcries of time: "See, there's this girl..."
I'm falling for someone.  Normally, this would be a good thing, and sometimes it feels like it.  But lately, it's not so great.  Because, as is my tradition, I'm second-guessing my interpretation of "the signs."
If it were anyone else writing this, I'd be snickering at this point.
The signs, he says.  Those "telltale" indicators that incontrovertibly prove that someone may or may not be interested in pursuing a relationship with you.  How you interpret them really depends on how you want to interpret them.  And as has been my fashion, my interpretations carry two hallmarks: I interpret them positively, and I interpret them incorrectly.
Backstory on the Teacher: he's not the heart-throb type.  Definitely not, to use a modern parlance, a "babe-magnet."  Any references to the Hotness of the Teacher (as in the previous post) are most decidedly tongue-in-cheek.
So, as a defense mechanism built up over many years, I would avoid actually expressing my interest to a girl, in the hopes of asking her out, without somehow first coming to the conclusion that she'd be receptive to it.  I have tried to calculate my risks.
Tragically, I was never good at math. 
So, in recent weeks, I have began noticing on my part a particular fondness for someone, and instinctively began looking for signs of any reciprocal feelings.  (In previous posts, these signs of fondness have been referred to as "the vibe."  This had to be changed when a friend confused "the vibe" for the women's magazine of the same name, so my mentioning of "reading the vibe" was misconstrued and took several minutes to straighten out.  To prevent further confusion, the term "the Vibe" has since been retired.)
And (surprise, surprise) I noticed "clues" that she felt the same way, or at least in a similar direction.   Which only encouraged me.  And I made another huge mistake, almost as bad as hunting for signs: I mentioned her to my parents.  The questions began, the prodding, the nitpicking ("you're not going to wear *that* shirt, are you?"), the side comments ("I'd like to hold grandchildren *sometime* before I die").  All the time, raising the stakes, investing monumental, nigh epic importance to really minor things.
And so, and so.  I have spent some time getting to know this person but never really intimating that my feelings for her were growing deeper than good friendship.  Finally, I decided to act.  A fork in the road.  And for once, I took the path less-travelled, at least by me.
At a group outing, I asked this girl if she wanted to go see a movie with me the next evening.  And she said yes.
Minor victory for Dave.
The next day, she called to confirm the outing, and said to me, "We should call the rest of the group and see if anyone else wants to go!"
Victory overturned.
Of the rest of the group, only one person showed up, and he sat between us.  We watched  the movie.  It was good. 
After the movie ended, we walked out, our friend to one side of the parking lot, she and I to the other.  She turned to me and said, "We should do this again next weekend."
I gave her my best "Absolutely."  But I'm not so sure.
If "this" means another almost-date that was turned into a group outing, then no, I'd prefer not to do "this" again, thank you very much, miss.
It doesn't mean anything.  I keep telling myself that.  Just because she wanted to invite other people along doesn't mean anything.  And it's not like I actually said, I want to take you out on a DATE.  I keep telling myself that too.  It's unfair of me to expect her to figure out everything.  But I still wish she would.
It's to the point where I can't shield myself in any way, when it comes to dating.  I've tried to be only partially vulnerable, tried not to stick my neck out too far.  It's not working. 
So here I sit, sleepy and vaguely pissed off.  And I can't stop thinking about her. 
Bless me, readers.  Pray for my absolution.

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