So the story starts at a company holiday luncheon thrown at a nice hotel, where we are entertained by yours truly – ok, we are entertained by a professional Comedian/Mentalist who used me as part of his show. The lunch was pretty successful, spirits were pretty high, and the best part was we were told we could head home once the luncheon was completed.
Earlier in the week I had been talking via text a lot with The Italian. He was the last person I really decided to converse with from the online dating site. I hadn’t logged on in a couple of weeks, and had really given no thought when his message popped on my phone. He had intro’d himself as looking for a friend only, although his actions were starting to speak a slightly different language. I reinforced the initial friendship stance and once it was made clear we were not meeting for romantic purposes, I agreed to dinner on Friday night. We agreed to drinks, and if we wanted, we could move it to dinner afterwards. That’s code-speak for; Let’s see if things pan out, and if they don’t we can excuse ourselves after a drink or two.
As the week went on, and there were rumblings of the company being dismissed for the remainder of the work day once the luncheon completed. I realized I might end up available a lot earlier than anticipated, so I let the Italian know this. He had no problems moving things up, given about a 30 minute heads up. After lunch while walking to the car I texted him that I was about 40 minutes away from our meeting destination if he was interested in meeting early? I was really about 20 minutes, but given the time, it was perfect for me to run in and return an item at a store. Plus I really wanted no pressure, and I can as easily place that on myself, as allow someone else to. He was completely cool with things, and I was able to get the errand run and still take my leisurely time about getting there.
I ended up getting there first. I did the walk around the bar, and figured he would be easy enough to spot because of his height and all. I didn’t see him, so I slid up to an area that had a couple of empty stools and got ready to order a drink. Before I could place my order, there he was, right at my side. I have to say, simply thinking of him and the initial first meet, I laugh. There is something about him – about our energy or something, that just sort of clicks in this really goofy way. There wasn’t a moment of uncomfortableness from the get go, and it started with his ease from the from first moment we met. He doesn’t seem to have an uncomfortable bone in his body.
Physically, while he looked just like his picture, I think he actually looks better in person. He had this crazy, colorful loud shirt, that he carried off perfectly. I liked that he was confident enough to wear something like that without worrying about how it might come across. When he came up to me at the bar, he sort of slid in next to me, as if we had known each other for a long time. There wasn’t that awkward silence. But the energy levels I had mentioned before? How he seemed all over the place when trying to have a conversation with him? Still very much there.
We settled in; as best as one can settle with a very hyper lanky Italian, who as the name would suggest talks with his hands a lot. It’s almost like sitting there with one of those Water Wiggles – the Octopus you wire up your garden hose, and it slowly circulates as its crazy 8 floppy water arms go all over the place. I was certain a martini or glass was bound to go flying at some point during the evening, but it’s as though his arms have radar, and just know how to swoosh in and under and around glassware.
Conversation went pretty well, but it was almost surreal. Now this is going to sound strange, and it’s hard to articulate, but if it had been 1988, this guy and I would have been making marriage plans, I swear. There is something about him that screams the 80’s to me. I don’t mean he screams the 80’s. I mean the energy between us was very 1980’s. I wondered if it was our age bracket or what, but I could see meeting this guy in a loud music thumping bar thirty years ago (yes the 80’s were that long ago) and hitting it off to the point where we are living together in six months. Maybe it’s the speed at which he seems to move, physically and emotionally. Maybe it’s the mustache. Maybe because it’s usually men in their twenties who seem to carry their emotions out in the open like he does, and I haven’t experienced that in close to 30 years.
After another drink or two, we decided to head to dinner up at my favorite Mexican place near my house. I texted my daughter that I was heading home, and would briefly have someone with me. She knew about the meet-up, how it wasn’t romance based, and made a joke or two. I made us a drink when we arrived, him having followed me perfectly the 10 or so miles to my place. We didn’t even finish half of it when we both realized how famished we were, so we headed across the street. Dinner was nice, but by this point I had caught him on more than one time with his eyes on my boobs. I called him out, because if you’re brazen enough to look, I’m not going to pretend I didn’t notice it happen. I think my calling him out startled him and as usual he tried the denial until I asked him, “Boobs, Ass, or Legs?” Every man has a favorite and I prefer one who can admit it, to those who call out “Oh it’s the eyes, or the smile”. Yes I agree, the eyes or smile might have it, but boobs, ass or legs? Being able to honestly answer gains you a point. Of course his answer? Boobs. What self serving Italian wouldn’t answer with that?
So the boob look didn’t make me uncomfortable, except to sort of cement that nagging feeling that his body language towards me was sort of calling out that this was leaning towards more than a friendship. I sort of faltered in my confidence at that point. Not that it made me feel less confident, but the ease of sitting with a male friend, is much different when you think they are looking at you in a sexual manner vs platonic manner. It goes from joining a lion for dinner, to being dinner for a lion. Dinner ended, and he again picked up the check. He had already dropped a small mint on martini’s for two earlier, and I really didn’t want him doing the same for dinner. I sort of verbally wrestled him for the check, but saw he wasn’t going to relent on this one, so I gave up and thanked him kindly. We headed back to my place where we considered listening to more music. I think my body language was screaming something my head wasn’t able to articulate.
The fact was my mind was bobbing a little bit now with the realization of where things were with us, and while I wasn’t too drunk, I was enough in my cups to get into anything too deep. I’ll be honest I don’t know how I made it clear that it was time to call it a night, I just know I was hugely relieved when he left. I climbed into bed and half-drunkenly and very giggly texted a male friend on how the night went, until mid-conversation I was in snoresville.
I woke up early the next morning, mouth parched from vodka, olives, and cigarettes, and there it was; a text sent that morning at 4:30. My first thought it always in situations like this, who the fuck texts someone at 4:30? Then his text sort of dropped that bomb that I knew was coming. To cut things very short and to the point he made it very clear of his attraction to me, and how much he enjoyed himself, but he did catch the feeling that I got a bit uncomfortable. If things were okay with us, he wanted to see me again that night. But that he wouldn’t push things and he was only interested if it were mutual. And therein I found the cadence for how he communicates with me.
Push – Push – PUSH! Then hastily retreat, either apologizing or retracting.
I put the phone down and didn’t respond. By 9 that morning he had responded that he was missing the credit card he had used the night before, and could I scope my place out for it?
I put the phone down once again and laid down one last time, because I had another Xmas party to attend that night. When I woke I looked for the card that I knew wasn’t there (hello Earring’s on the Nightstand) and then located the telephone number of the restaurant we attended the night before. I responded back and let him know I didn’t find the card (surprise!) and here was the number for the place the evening before, maybe they had it. Of course he ended up locating it in his car, but now that he had my attention. He asked if we could talk, so I called him.
He reiterated what he already had, and what I already suspected but I stopped him dead in his tracks. The conversation played out, me feeling like I had already done this, but calling him out on friend vs romantic intentions once again, and him responding in like and saying not to worry. Only this time he did admit, he was willing to follow whatever cue I threw his way. In other words if I wanted to keep it in the friend zone, he was cool with that, but if I was interested in taking it one step further than that, he was very interested in that too.
I can’t help but wonder if I really am thinking I am joining the Lion for dinner, not realizing otherwise.
By Sunday the flu hit. I didn’t realize it at first. I had attended a friend’s Xmas party the night before, drank much more than intended and came home with what I thought was exhaustion. When come Monday I could barely move, let alone breath, I missed a slew of texts from the Italian. Him worried about my state of well-being –and me unable, or unwilling to respond (I turned the phone on do not disturb) realized Houston, we may have a problem.
He decided it was imperative that he cook me homemade soup. And then he quietly delivered it.
It freaked me out at first. I mean really freaked me out. Like whatthefuckhaveIdoneinlettingthisguyknowwhereIlive? But then I cautiously opened my front door and saw the harmless bag sitting there, and the hot soup calling out to me, and like a timid little creature with whiskers twitching and eyes looking to and fro, I quickly grabbed the bag, ducked my head back inside, slammed and locked the door and sipped on what could have been Knock Out Rape Soup. I didn’t care. I hadn’t eaten in 24 hours. I could only stomach about three bites before the coughing fell me, and back to bed I went.
When I woke up I wondered if I had dreamt the whole thing. See, if I was really digging this guy on a romantic scale, I would be floored at how sweet and grand the gesture was, but this feels … well what comes to mind is that it feels a bit wrong. Again, the whole Lion thing. I was able to rightfully so, use the remainder of the week and weekend and the flu I battled as a good buffer from him coming on too strong. But I need to make a decision here.
It’s apparent his initial friend stance has changed and while he states he is willing to work within my rules, I have a feeling this guy will test the limits. I don’t feel physically threatened by him, by any means. I really enjoy my time with him, but I’m just not looking for what he is, and I don’t think he can be honest with himself on what he is willing to limit himself to. If I tell him this – I either come across as completely full of myself (which I can be, but trust me on this, that is not the case) or I put him on the defense. Do I end a friendship with someone because they I know they want more than I am willing to give? Is that selfish of me?
I may give it one more shot. He has begged me for two weeks now to let him cook for me. Since the soup didn’t kill me, I might take him up on the offer.