Monday, April 06, 2009

"Put down the ladle and back away from the sink."

My goodness, I don't even know where to start.

I did not meet the McCain Supporter for drinks on Friday night. I was way tired after a trip to the grocery and liquor stores, and just wanted to crash on the couch.

I got a couple of calls from Hot Med while running those errands, which I waited to return until I was home. "Where are you?" Dude, you said SATURDAY. Today is FRIDAY. "So you not come tonight?" No, I'm not coming tonight. I will be there tomorrow, okay? "Okay, no problem."

So, I did have the tabouli date on Saturday night, and reciprocated by making soup for him at my place on Sunday. So...how did it all go?

Let's talk good things first, I think.

He was wearing a short-sleeved t-shirt, and I have to say...man's got some nice arms. And shoulders. Later in the weekend he pulled his shirt up (we were talking about his body-building) to show me the "8 beers in his belly" (thanks, Sauntering Soul's Hot Brazilian--I love that) and...yeah, the guy's in good shape.

He makes a mean tabouli. I had never had it as the main dish, nor had I eaten it scooped into lettuce leaves instead of using utensils. I would recommend both, though. He's perhaps an even bigger OCD freak about the kitchen than I am. He washed the cutting board between every vegetable and was constantly wiping and cleaning and washing his hands. (Well, he does work in a restaurant--I suppose that's good policy.)

He's very chivalrous--always insisting on opening doors and helping me out of the car, etc. He asked permission before taking my hand on our walk in the Riverparks, and before giving me a short neck massage at my house. Now, I suppose the jury is out on whether that is his natural tendency, or if he's been given a smackdown for being too presumptuous in the past, but still...he was polite.

He gets a big smile on his face every time he looks at me. It's hard not to like that. He tells me repeatedly how beautiful I am. Ditto on that.

He was pretty good about letting my cats (those that deigned to be visible, of course) sit on his lap while we watched TV.

Okay, it's all sounding good, you're thinking. Well...it wasn't ALL good. Let's have a little lesson in how NOT to court me, 'mkay?

Lesson #1: Do NOT under any circumstance mention marriage to me on the second date. I will not think, "wow--this guy really likes me!" I will think, "wow, this guy really wants a wife." Big difference. Particularly do not mention that you would like to take this wife-to-be to Lebanon to meet your mother in the near future. That is way too much too soon. Even after my week-long first date with New Guy, I think I would have been a little freaked out by that. (Or not. Damn you, New Guy! Sigh.) I told him I was not interested in marriage to ANYONE any time soon, and he didn't mention it outright again.

Now, I think it was coincidental that his brother and sister-in-law were at his house when I arrived to pick him up Sunday evening to take him to my house for soup. I think they were there to visit his sister and nephew. (They had brought a basket of hand-decorated Easter eggs.) I hope that is the case, at any rate. 'Cause it was just a bit of an inquisition, and I would hate to think that was set up deliberately. Now, don't get me wrong--they were lovely people. His brother is a contractor, speaks perfect English, his sister-in-law is American, and we all had a lovely chat about theatre, dance, etc. But I would not like to think that I was being deliberately screened for suitability on a third date. Heh. (They were very enthusiastic about coming to see me in a show...which is nice, but leads me to believe they have premature assumptions about where this relationship is going.)

Lesson #2: You will not curry favor with me if you repeatedly suggest that I put my dog outside. Now, I am the first to admit that Pudge is a very large, very clingy, sometimes anxious dog. He bounced from the animal shelter through a couple of foster homes before he ended up with me, and he is...well, needy. He's used to having me to himself, and it takes him a few minutes to get used to the presence of a stranger in the house. He's not aggressive at all, mind you...he mostly sits near me anxiously and keeps his eye on the "intruder" for a while. There will, of course, be some sniffing of the shoes, tail-wagging, etc.--he's a DOG. But if you speak nicely to him, and then sit quietly for a bit, he will relax fairly quickly. The very worst thing to do would be to put him outside by himself. So, if you continue to suggest that I put him outside, you are liable to be shut down with a curt "it's his house, too." Pudge did calm down, and I did put him in the bedroom for a while as we actually ate (see, I can compromise), but...dude. Ask once, then let it go.

Lesson #3: Okay, it's a relatively well-known fact that I am a bit...anal and OCDish about my kitchen. But only MY kitchen. I have no compulsion to wash dishes at anyone else's house. I get a little thrill, actually, when I leave a dirty plate or glass in or near a sink and walk away. It's like a tiny vacation from the compulsion. Heh. Apparently, however, HIS compulsion knows no such bounds. He kept trying to "help." Okay...I'm happy that he knows his way around a kitchen, but this is MY kitchen, and it's TINY; there's barely room for me, and you are IN MY WAY. Please go sit down! He wouldn't, though. It's all very well and good to offer to help when you are a guest in someone's home, but if they decline your offer, take them at your word and leave them alone, for cryin' out loud. I do not need someone taking a soup ladle out of my hand and attempting to wash it. He's lucky that soup ladle was not wielded as a weapon, is what I'm saying.

Tangentially, I also do not need to be told repeatedly that the soup is hot, and to be careful. I KNOW THE SOUP IS HOT. I JUST TOOK IT OFF THE STOVE. I AM 46 YEARS OLD AND I HAVE EATEN HOT SOUP BEFORE. I get tired of that constant admonition even in restaurants, where they're presumably worried about liability--I do not need or want it in my home. Thankyouverymuch.

I told him, and I think he understood, that I am very busy this week, and I won't be able to see him at all. (Rehearsals, Holy Week church services, etc.) We'll see, I suppose.

So...some issues, clearly, in addition to the ongoing communication difficulties. Here's the thing. I'm a very verbal person. Not a chatterbox, by any means, but...I like words. I'm a word nerd. And being a word nerd without access to so many of my words--well, it feels kind of stifling. And I can't be funny without words! Who am I if I'm not funny? (Okay, admittedly, maybe this says more about me than about him.) And I have no problem with the occasional companionable silence...it's nice. But there is a difference between "companionable" silence and awkward "I'm out of things to say" silence, isn't there?

He keeps telling me how much he likes me. He likes my eyes, my hair, my face. I know guys are very visually-stimulated, but...that's not really enough for me. He asks what I like about him, and I don't know what to say. I don't really know you well enough yet to know, I reply. And you don't really know me yet. I don't think that's the answer HE wants, either.

So...I don't know. I haven't made any decisions, one way or the other, but I'm not sure I have the energy for this, frankly.

In the meantime, I am very much looking forward to meeting my "pen-pal" in person. We have exchanged close to 300 emails in the last two months. Clearly, we're both very wordy people. Heh. I know, I know--being almost divorced isn't being divorced. I have no expectations--just a strong curiosity to see if the image I have in my head matches the real him at all.

13 comments:

Sparkling Cipher said...

He loves to be in love. Sweet, but a hindrance in the whole process of truly getting to know someone and find out if it's meant to be. But the issues do seem minor, especially compared to, say, not believing in evolution. I'd not write him off quite yet. But then I'm not dating him.

3carnations said...

The dog thing may be an ethnic one - If he is not used to dogs as pets, it could be very intimidating.

The kitchen thing...I might do the same as a guest. Not remove the ladle from your hand, but insist on helping in some way.

The mentioning marriage - Too much. It's good you set him straight on that.

Oh, and as someone who was once "almost divorced" - It really is the same as being divorced in the almost divorced person's mind (it was in mine, anyway). All that was missing was a signature. I was in the beginnings of a relationship for the last few weeks of being almost divorced. I don't think my "status" had an effect on that.

Sounds mostly good. :)

Lara said...

Hrm. I vote no on this guy. For some reason, I am zeroing in on the repeated warnings of the soup being hot and to be careful. WTF?

lizgwiz said...

spark, I haven't written him off. YET. Heh.

3car, I'm betting you wouldn't wedge yourself between your host and their sink, though, would you? ;)

lara, it felt weirdly patronizing, for sure.

Stefanie said...

Hmm. I don't know. Despite all that, I want to think maybe this is one where the quirks will be endearing? Maybe not. I definitely know what you mean about being a word nerd and needing someone conversationally stimulating, but you hear about exceptions to that sort of thing all the time--where someone falls for a person they never, ever thought would be their type. So you never know. The marriage talk on a second date IS weird, though. As is asking what you like about HIM on a second (or third) date. I'm not ready to rule him out yet, but I understand your reservations.

As for the pen pal, I think after that many messages, it would be hard not to have a good feel for who he really is. I mean, I know you only through emails and blog entries, and yet I'm pretty certain I'd like YOU in real life! Good luck with that one. :-)

Mousse said...

Can you say "Green Card" ? Sorry Liz, he's waaaaaay to enthusiastic and eager. He's not even interested in the incredible lady you are. I agree the word thing is so important, especially to you - please don't loose site of that, compromise will make you unhappy in the long run....Trust me, you could be any girl in his life, and long as he scores a wife. Are you willing to have children at 46 too .... cause he'll want 'em !!! ;-)

lizgwiz said...

stef, I'm just remembering that last guy who seemed so pleasant via email, and was SO annoying in person. Of course, I didn't share anywhere near as many messages with him, so...fingers crossed. I hear about those relationships, too...the ones that work against all odds. I've just never had much lucky going against type. Hee.

mousse, oh, trust me...he's not getting a green card and/or kids from me! ;)

Sauntering Soul said...

You know I have stuff to say about this, right Liz? :-)

I want to say up front that I realize Hot Brazilian and Hot Med are (obviously) from completely different cultures and I'm not trying to imply that my experience with HB will be the same as your experience. But a few things sound similar. Also, I've had many guy friends from other cultures and combined with dating HB, I've realized guys from other cultures treat women differently than American men (some cultures treat us better, and some worse).

HB was completely freaked out that I have a cat (GASP) inside my house because apparently it is not common to have indoor pets in Brazil. However, after coming over a few times, he loved Bailey and Bailey immediately loved him which is rare. Bailey likes very few people. HB even stopped by my house when I was out of town one weekend just to check on her and make sure she had food and wasn't lonely even though I told him she would be fine for two days alone and he was, in actuality, way too busy to take time to drive to my house to check on my cat. In other words, he came around to the idea of having an indoor pet very quickly. Maybe Hot Med would get used to a needy Pudge?

Talking about marriage and taking you to his country to meet his mom on the second date would totally freak me out. But maybe it's the old "he fell in love at first sight" and it's just going to take you a little longer? Hee hee! HB waited 3 months before he told me he wants to marry me. But we've been together 2.5 years and we're still not married so there's that.

The repeated warnings about your soup being hot sound kind of familiar. It kind of freaked me out about HB at first and I think he realized that. He explained to me that he says and does a lot of the things he does because he has a lot of respect for me (he actually tells me on a regular basis that he "valorizes" me) and wants to keep me safe. He's constantly pointing out things like steps, a tree limb hanging low, etc. to keep me from hurting myself. It took me a while to get used to, but now I kind of appreciate it because I know where it's coming from in his heart. I know he's not saying those things because he doesn't think I can take care of myself, but rather because he feels protective of me.

Maybe in his culture he was used to cleaning the kitchen and he didn't want you to do any work since you had already cooked for him? I don't know. I just think it sometimes takes people from different cultures some time to figure out how the other does stuff and what each person expects from the other in a relationship. For instance, HB thinks American women being willing to get out the lawn mower and cut the grass is awesome (now I'm going to admit right now that I've never mowed grass in my life though). He admires our independence but some things have taken him some time to get used to. And vice versa.

And I agree with 3C's about the "almost divorced" thing. I also met a guy and started a long distance relationship before I was completely divorced. But when I met him, I had not had a single conversation with my ex in over 4 months, the settlement negotiations were in full swing between our attorneys, and there was no way he and I were ever going to get back together. It was just an issue of getting paperwork finalized by the court.

And now that I've written a comment long enough to compare with War and Peace, I shall end this.

greenduckiesgirl said...

I am torn. But also, yes, you are so very funny with your words and you make me laugh.

Anyway, my two cents? Yeah, it does sound like he's wanting to get married but I didn't get green card from it. I got the same thing that Sparkling Cipher did, that he loves to be in love. Plus, Sauntering Soul is probably right too about it being a cultural thing.

And also, I agree that the almost divorced could mean the same thing as divorced. My mom was almost divorced for a long time and really, there was no connection with my father. The only reason she waited so long was because he couldn't afford to pay something (child support? a lawyer? I can't remember. I was 13). They actually did get along much better after they were divorced - possibly because she didn't have to put up with his drunk ass (no, I don't have daddy issues, what do you mean?).

Whatever happens, I look forward to hearing about it. At least someone has a love life (not that I'm trying at all but you know what I mean) and God, just once I would like a man to tell me I'm beautiful. Granted, I'd probably laugh in his face but not the point.

flurrious said...

Yeah ... I don't know. It's still early, so I don't want to be negative about it, but he seems a tad on the controlling side. If he won't accept your wishes regarding your dog and your kitchen, that doesn't bode well. But it is hard to tell what kind of person he is without eyeballing the guy, so you're the only one who can really size him up. In other words, I'm of no help whatsoever.

Stinkypaw said...

I've already told you what I thought about this, and reading this post triggered those thoughts again... don't compromise too much (unless you want to, that is) and marriage talk is just plain scary!

lizgwiz said...

ss, I was waiting for you to chime in. :) I get the "wanting a loved one to be safe" thing...I guess I just think it's too early for his actions to be springing from the same place as Hot Brazilian's, you know?

green, yeah, I don't get a green card marriage vibe, either...just an "I'm ready to be married now and here you are" vibe. Heh.

flurrious, he does seem a bit controlling, and I'm not so good with being controlled. I have a strong streak of my maternal grandmother in me. Hee.

stinky, I don't compromise easily. It's a blessing AND a curse. ;)

3carnations said...

Did you meet almost divorced yet? :)