The hardest part about online dating is not knowing what to expect.
When dating someone you’ve met first in person, you’ve at least established that you like them. The process of online dating is deciding if you like someone after the first few dates, if it gets that far. Even if you do pass the magical number of dates to where you’re dating, you never quite know what they’re looking for. Is it sex? Is it just dating casually or is it dating exclusively? Or maybe something more serious, like a relationship?
I introduced Irish Guy in the last post. He was one of the more confusing male specimens I’ve come across with lately, while being one of the most easygoing too. It’s a strange mix of characteristics, isn’t it? Well, I’ll try and explain. We met online on an app called Tinder. I’m sure by now, you’ve heard of it. It’s like the straight version of Grindr, but not quite as hookup-oriented. Tinder is pretty superficially driven (you swipe left to reject and right to accept with just pictures and a small blurb to make a judgement call), which can be problematic when intelligence is a huge turn-on for me. I usually feel pretty awkward asking a guy, what do you do? and where did you go for school? But the essentials are necessary. If the guy is smart, he just owns up to his career and his height somewhere in his blurb.
Considering the medium of meeting, I didn’t have high expectations, especially when he was the first guy I went on a date who was from Tinder (I typically use more traditional dating websites). In general, I don’t have any expectations on the first date. It’s like getting handed a sample at a food market. You might like it, but maybe not enough to buy it. That’s kind of how I felt about Irish Guy after we shared a bottle of wine at Nouveau Antique Art Bar. I wasn’t compelled to seek him out afterwards, but he felt differently.
He texted me the next day, to ask if I wanted to do something. I said I was busy. I forgot about him until he texted me later in the week, again asking me if I wanted to do something. This time I said yes. I have to admit, like every girl, I like being pursued. The art of being pursued is the feeling of being desired, and who doesn’t like that? Granted, this case of pursuit wasn’t that grand, but the post-modern world is very full of the non-gesture (where the guy does nothing instead of something).
We made it pass the magical number and started dating in full force. We never had a talk about what we were until we had to had to have the talk because as I told you before, I was also seeing The Norwegian. I needed clarification because I felt guilty. The Irish Guy had introduced me to all his mates. He made a nice gesture on Valentine’s Day: a dozen roses, a box of chocolates, a cute stuffed animal, and a cute card with writing in Kindergarten-style block letters. I also had been called his girlfriend by his posh flatmate when she was introducing me to the other girlfriends in the group. And, I had seen written on his fridge in magnetic letters: IRISH GUY LOVES HOUSTON GIRL.
I struggled with what I was going to do, some distance giving me space to think when he went on a boys trip to New Orleans. It probably should have concerned me more (and I’ll admit, I was a bit worried) when he didn’t really text me all that much when he was gone for the three days. Granted his pattern of texting had decreased markedly after the first month of dating, and I chalked it up to that being normal for him. I didn’t suspect it might mean something else.
I decided when he returned, we needed to talk. The situation semi-imploded on me when I was invited over for Pancake Tuesday and realized that a lot of his mates were over. Well, discussion was going to have to wait. I had a pretty pleasant time talking to the posh flatmate as she made the pancakes while he was being cute/flirty with the winking my way and kissy faces. We killed a bunch of pancakes with nutella, almonds, and bananas before calling it a night.
We went back to his room and talked about his trip to New Orleans before I finally asked the big question: what are we? He looked momentarily confused and then I clarified and asked if I was his girlfriend as his posh flatmate had called me that on more than a few occasions. He then asked if I wanted to be. I didn’t say yes. At this point, it became quite confusing because to this day. I’m not sure by the lack of an affirmative response, if that nailed the coffin shut. Either way, it’s probably best that the situation unraveled the way he did because he wasn’t my Mr. Right.
Now continuing on with the confusion, Irish Guy then confessed that he didn’t want a relationship because he was likely moving to another city and that it’s better if things weren’t serious. I came clean and told him I’m not only dating him and asked him if that’s OK. He told me that’s fine and then said he made out with one of the girls on the trip to New Orleans because he was wasted. I supposed that didn’t surprise me, considering he had been quite quiet throughout the trip. We didn’t talk about it again and we both decide it’s time for bed.
The next morning seemed normal enough, we made out lazily as we both try to wake up for real. We threw our clothes on and got ready for work. We ran down the stairs to the garage where our cars were and when we reached the point where we must split and go our separates, we kissed one last time. I didn’t hear from him after that. I’ve thought about it, to be sure, especially weeks later. I could have reached out to him, but he’s always reached out to me. Now it’s too late; it’s been a few months, and whatever time might have been for us has long since faded away.
Maybe it’s because I said I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be his girlfriend. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have sex with him. Or maybe it’s because he wasn’t okay with the idea of me dating other guys while still seeing him. I think it’s probably the latter. I still remember something he told me about casual dating. He said it’s such an American concept. In Ireland, you’re going out or you’re not.
I think with him, we might have been going out, but one fact is clear: I was never, at any point, his girlfriend.