Friday, July 29, 2005

My So-Called Love Life

I'm going to dive right in and hope that it dispels the stale air of procrastination that is lingering around this site. In any case, I don't feel like writing a ton of preamble, but I do want to get one thing off my chest: the f*@^ing date that didn't happen. I have hesitated to discuss this subject here until I had a better idea of what was going on, lest my teacher be someone geeky enough to Google people she's interested in (OMG, I don't do that.. yes, I do) and find my obsessive internet babble, thereby ruining my chances before I could even work up the balls to ask her out and then have her blow me off completely. But really, I'm getting ahead of myself. This will hopefully be the last time I tell this tale, much to the relief of everyone who knows me, I'm sure, as it has really gotten a ton of mileage over the past few months. The range of reaction has been anywhere from "she totally loves you" to "she's just not that interested in you".. the former is my favorite, but I think that's because it was said to me during a deep, drunken discussion at my step-father's 50th birthday party. And also because, I think at this point, it's more than obvious that she totally does NOT love me.

As I have been discussing for nigh on six months now, I have had a crush on my hottie Plant and Soil Sciences lab teacher. Not just any crush, but I had a mad, crazy, HUGE schoolgirl crush, complete with flashes of extremely vivid dirty thoughts that made concentrating in class rather difficult. I really, really liked this woman and quietly lusted from afar for the length of the class. Once I ended up confessing my feelings to my lab partners, I was officially catapulted back to high school, complete with stolen glances and giggling. Even more like high school, I constantly made up excuses to talk to her, both about class and not. She was always a good sport and never made me feel stupid for flirting and/or talking to her about random stuff. She was in BiGLM (the gay club) and I attended one meeting, so we had that in common to dish about... plus, I don't know if it was us together or her just being easy to talk to, but it seemed like we could chat forever. This is the point where I'd heap tons of gushy praise about her, explaining everything I loved about her, but it's rather moot at this point. I'll boil it down and say she was cute, smart, positive, slightly dorky (a plus in my book), and liked to laugh. I liked her. A lot. Unfortunately, as she was a very upbeat and friendly person in general, it was difficult to tell whether she was just being nice to me because I was her student or if she was flirting back. Plus I suck at reading girls.

We'll call her J because I'm tired of calling her "my teacher". Anyway, she was a grad student working on her PhD, which is smart and really hot, but even better because there'd be less fraternization weirdness, as she was only teaching the lab. My crush on her kept me from missing a single lab, and being back in high school again, I strove to impress her in any way I could. Well, at least in the beginning of the class, before the frustration of our assignments wore the shine off my perfectionism. But I did try to get good marks in there and hoped that she noticed.. she and her assistant definitely noticed that my lab partners and I stayed longer than anyone else in class (this was due to our not rushing through our assignments or leaving early). In fact, one of my partners had a date with the assistant.. it was all very hush-hush because it was the middle of the semester. We'd be the last ones there and joking around with J and her assistant. My crush and lusting was almost painful. I really wanted her and was dying with it all.. knowing that I had to wait for it to go away, to the end of the semester to either ask her out or to let the feelings fade on their own.

Toward the end of the semester, I decided I would stop being such a total pussy, take the situation into my hands, and just ask her out. It's not something I ever do, usually I just pine from a distance and let the opportunity pass; what's worse is that I can't remember if I have ever asked a girl out. Not only do I have no confidence and am a total chicken when it comes to girls, when I am face-to-face with someone I want to impress, I turn into a stammering, idiocy-blathering, quarter-wit (not even a half-wit.. a quarter wit!!!). It's like the majority of my brain shuts down in the heat of the moment, and I'm left flying the jet at 30,000 feet, the nose tilting toward the ground, with one engine that's sputtering on and off at random -- and any power only serves to propel me faster toward the inevitable crash and burn. It's really like being in a plane crash.. I experience it but have no control over it whatsoever. Honestly, I don't know what happens to me in front of girls -- I turn into my alter ego, Socially-Challenged Girl -- but I act really fucking stupid. What I wouldn't give for just one single ounce of suave at the right moment.

It helped that I had just about every single person I knew encouraging me to ask her out. It took me two entire weeks, once I'd made the decision to do it, to work up enough courage to ask her out after the last lab of the semester. I was so nervous, but excited and ready to do it. My cheerleaders pointed out that she was someone good to practice on, that if she said no, it was the end of the semester (plus she'd told me in a conversation that she was finishing her degree and moving to Ohio after the term ended) and I didn't have to worry about seeing her again. I talked myself into it and said that it wasn't about whether she said yes, it was whether I had the balls to do it at all. Frankly, I'm tired of standing on the sidelines watching everyone else hook up, and I think it's about time I start taking things into my own hands, instead of waiting for them to just come to me (which honestly hasn't worked so hot up to this point). So I was all pumped up and ready to go -- and then, ha ha.. The Fates are so cruel -- she wasn't there on the last day. I had spent so much energy simply on getting myself to that point that I didn't have a backup plan. I wasn't sure what to do and thought it somewhat ironic and anticlimactic that after all that, I wouldn't be able to ask her out and get it over with. I then waited a few more days until the final, hoping she'd be presiding, but it was the teacher of the class instead. sux0r.

At this point, I was pretty much going to give it up as a lost cause, but Angie pumped me back up again. She went through my options, and of the three, I settled on email because it seemed the least intrusive and stalker-like. Angie suggested something casual to say in the note, and I paraphrased and tried to make it as laid-back as possible. I mentioned that we'd missed J in the last lab and invited her out for coffee. Short and sweet. A couple days went by with no reply and I was starting to sweat. But then she wrote back and said yes! SHE SAID YES!! HAHAHAHAHA!! I was at Angie's house when I got the email and I may very well have danced into the room to tell her my surprisingly good news. So J and I communicated via email; she stated she was to be out of town the following week, would contact me on Friday, and we'd do something on the weekend (I was to leave for Italy on Monday). Here was my first strike.. the timing was really crappy.

I waited a whole week, as patiently as I could. I can't tell you how excited I was that a girl I really liked said yes to going out with me. I was really looking forward to having an hour or two of J to myself, asking her questions, and learning more about her. I also was really looking forward to getting "OMG, I HAVE HAD THE HUGEST CRUSH ON U!!!!11!" off my chest, should the right moment present itself. I was aware she was moving, figured it probably didn't have much of a future, but since I'd gotten past the hardest part, I didn't really care. It was really difficult to wait for Friday. I am not a patient person.

So, Friday rolled around and I had no word from J. Saturday, nothing. Sunday, nothing. By Sunday night, I was a couple feet from crazy and pulling my hair out. Mainly I just kept going, WTF happened?? Angie encouraged me to be patient, saying that maybe J got delayed or something, and pointed out that if there was a chance J didn't want to go, she would have just said no to my first email or made some excuse. Monday morning, the phone rang at about 11 am. It was J -- thank god -- who was thoroughly apologetic and explained she'd been in Vegas with her gay boyfriend and they'd gotten delayed. She didn't have internet, which is important to note because Socially-Challenged Girl forgot to give her my number until the last email. She asked when I was leaving and I told her my flight was later that day, but I asked for a raincheck for when I got back. She said "definitely" and mentioned she'd be in Motown until August. We then had a nice little chat for about twenty minutes about random stuff, including her studies and my going to Italy. Before we hung up, I mentioned the raincheck again, and again she said "definitely".

Overall, I thought it was a good conversation, in that it went well and I think we hit it off. I was obviously disappointed that this thing that had been dragging on for over sixteen weeks was going to have no clear resolution before I was to leave town for two months. But, as I'm not one to let my fantasy world be shut down by reality, I went ahead and dreamt about J all the way through June. Now, to be completely honest, I think part of my problem with girls is that I'm the proverbial Nice Guy. I'm thoughtful, sensitive, and respectful (particularly of other people's boundaries and desires), and though I personally would love to date a Nice Guy Girl, whatever I'm doing is not really working out for me as far as chicks go. So because I was thinking about her a lot and I was aware that two months was a long time, I wanted to send her a note or something about mid-way through my trip to remind her of my existence and to also not-so-subtly imply that I was thinking of her.

I finally settled on a virtual postcard of sorts, which I thought was a semi-clever way of casually delivering my message, especially since I didn't have her address to send a real one. I discussed the idea with a couple of people, including my friend Kate, who suggested that due to the energy involved, it would be smart to not send the v-postcard to just J. Instead, she suggested I include a few other people in the mailing. I went through all my pictures of Monterosso and my trips to Portovenere and picked the ones I liked best, then I narrowed it down to eight that I thought went well together. It took more work than I expected, but I measured my "canvas" and worked out the exact size of each photo. The final result can be seen here, which I mailed to a group of three friends and J, along with a light, newsy postcard-ish kinda note.

Despite the conversational tone in the v-postcard -- Kate even mentioned that my note invited a reply -- I only heard from two out of the four recipients, and J wasn't one of them. Ouch. We went to Scotland, and still no reply. The bloom was fading from the rose, and it was time to start facing the fact that I might not have a date when I returned home, after all. As time continued on and still no word from J, my crush started to wear off some. During July, I came to terms with the situation and decided that I would call her when I got back, because I said I would and I figured I'd give it one last chance, but that would be it. The awkward thing was I only had her phone number because it came up on my caller ID when she called me back in May.. she had never officially given it to me. I'm not sure what the protocol is for such things, but I was over trying to email her and decided to just take my last stab and call.

My very exciting ending to this long-winded story is that I left a message on her voicemail after her cell phone rang about five hundred times, and she never called me back. Whether that's because Crazy Babble Girl takes over as soon as the answering machine goes BEEP, or whether J a) is avoiding me, b) is too busy moving to deal with a date, c) met someone, or d) is just plain mean... I will never know. What the hell happened? I thought things were cool.. I mean, she said yes, so what up? Like many things about J and our ill-fated, never-to-be romance, I WILL NEVER KNOW and this will haunt me FOREVER. ... Or until I find something new to obsess about.

Such as the fact that, upon my return, I find that I am almost the only single lonely, sad sack person I know. Yeah, I know two whole single people, myself included, because everyone else -- including Angie -- is hooking up. Now, if Angie can find a girl to date in PARKERSBURG, what is my issue??

Currently Playing...
Song: Bond - Bond on Bond (bonus track)
Book: The Known World by Edward P. Jones

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