21 April 2016

In Which Both Charming and My Chill Are Absent

The facts were these:

I saw Charming last week, right before leaving town for my cousin's wedding in Atlanta. I was having the great "Are We Exclusive" internal panic you may have heard tell about. But I had calmed down a touch. I was convincing myself to go with the flow and let the conversation come up naturally.

I left town and didn't hear from him the entire weekend. I resisted the urge to send him the requested photo, partly because the only time I apparently warranted a photograph the entire weekend was when I was holding my niece. I had a feeling a photo of me and a baby might send a weird message.

I got back to town and bit the bullet by asking how things at work were (he'd had a spot of trouble about a missed trip and I had been waiting all weekend to hear if it had been cleared up).

I heard back. A few texts were exchanged. It fizzled out, like most text-message conversations with Mr. Charming.

I got home from the airport and realized a package had arrived for me: a mutual favorite movie that he and I kept talking about. I'd forgotten I'd ordered it. I love A Knight's Tale and discussing it with him had made me really want to see it again. Hating myself for texting him again, I also couldn't resist the urge to share that I'd gotten it.

He invited me to grab a late bite to eat and bring the movie. I declined. It was approaching 8:30 P.M. and I was on call for work the next morning. I was also secretly growing exasperated with last-minute requests to get together. I love spontaneity as much as the next woman, but I also love the anticipation of looking forward to something. I want to be important enough to be part of a plan.

Two days later my drummer friend invited me to go see a band play downtown. As a favor, he was hoping I would bring friends to help fill up the venue. I told him I would see what I could to do.

I had hoped to attend the show tonight with friends downtown, but I'm still on reserve for work, and could get called in at any time, so it's out of the question. Friday night there's another show closer to my neighborhood, and I invited Mr. Charming (yes, with a fair amount of chagrin). He seemed interested, but couldn't commit because he, too, is on reserve this Friday.

Great, fine, good. All of this is fine, except for one problem: I have initiated every single interaction we've had this week. Even if he does come through this Friday (work schedule permitting), I am still the one who asked him out.

What can I say? I have no chill. And it bothers me that I don't hear from him between dates.

Or "Hang Outs." Or whatever the kids are calling it these days. I know you can all see what's probably happening here. But just in case I have to spell it out for you:

It seems the moment I was considering taking a more serious look at my relationship with Charming, he slammed on the brakes. Commitment-phobia, perhaps?

Even if that's not what's happening, even if I'm completely interpreting this wrong or jumping to conclusions, there's still an inherent problem here: I don't feel confident in him. I don't feel assured of his interest or pursuit. I actually no longer expect to hear from him again unless I reach out first. Ow.

Now, I know I'm a dramatic sort. I hate to admit it but it's true. Sometimes I see plot lines where there are none. But I shouldn't be left to wonder. If this guy is really interested in me, I deserve better than not hearing from him for an entire week.

So I'm left unsure of what to do.

"How is your love life going?" my drunk cousin-in-law Tim asked me at the reception last Saturday night. He was on a mission to explain to me my various groomsmen options (Highlight: a 38-year-old with 2 kids who just found out his wife is cheating on him, and will probably be getting a divorce. "Let me know when the divorce is finalized," I assured Tim.).

"Well," I told him, and his still-more-drunk best friend (the best man at Tim's wedding 5 years ago, who does not remember meeting me, or the fact that due to a sadistic wedding ritual, he actually shoved a garter up my leg with a crowd of cheering groomsmen in the background chanting "Higher! Higher!") "I have actually been seeing someone. It's not anything serious, yet. I do really like him. But," I said in the tone of Hamlet admitting the rub, "I don't really hear from him between dates."

Both men winced dramatically, sucking in a breath like vampires exposed to sunlight. It was not the reaction I'd hoped for.

"Yikes," said Best Friend.

"Ouch," said Cousin-in-Law.

Great, I thought. It's as bad as I thought.

So what do I do at this point? Where a week ago I was debating possible ways to bring up whether or not we should become exclusive, now I find myself wondering if it's a good idea to continue seeing someone who leaves me feeling so uncertain of him. When I chose the pseudonym for Mr. Charming, I couldn't help recalling that excellent quote from Sondheim's musical Into the Woods, in which Prince Charming himself explains
"I was raised to be charming, not sincere."
I knew that things with Charming could truly go either way. He could be the classic Disney Prince of yore, or he might be a snake-in-the-grass. Or, of course, he could be something in between. Oh, say, an average guy with commitment issues.

As we all know, it's not simply a matter of flipping a switch and losing interest in someone. I can't help it. I really enjoy this guy's company and I still find him attractive. It's a tough combination to shake. So I honestly don't know what I'm going to do. If I hear from him Friday, chances are I'll agree to see him, but nevertheless I detect a fork approaching in the road.

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