Fish: Have fun on ur date hahaha
Me: Don’t be a dickbag
Me: Don’t pff me. You do your own Tinder stuff I’m sure, no big deal.
Fish: Well like I said have fun.
These are the texts we exchanged after I made the mistake of blurting out that I had a date after waking up in fish’s bed. He was spending his day prepping a ham for his family Thanksgiving but peppered into the conversation later in the evening he asks me “Nothing to report back?” and “How was your trip?” maybe looking for me to elaborate on the date. The only answer I gave was “Fine.” Later in the week, we’d be in touch daily, he circles back to it:
Fish: U go on one date and cant even say hi again!
Me: FISH! What am I supposed to do?
Fish: Go ahead and date him I guess? All good! How was ur day?
What jumps out at me: fish’s assumption that I’ve been on just one date. Only one other date than the two dinners, a walk in the park, and parking lot romp? Only one other date in ~140 days I’ve had free between June and mid October? To the cynic in me the “one date” comment translates to “I assume not a lot of men are interested in you.” And so, we go back to penpals, all the while our calendars beef up with social commitments, none of which include one another. Until during one conversation he implies he’d like to see me, I tried to be playful and tease him, and it falls flat, ugh:
Me: When are you taking me on our next date then sir?
Fish: Tues wed or thur?
Me: We’re sticking to whatever day you pick. Bonus points if you have a plan.
Fish: Well u kinda made me not care much anymore going on dates the same day ur with me. So I dunno. I still wanted to check out that cafe. (I deserved this.)
Me: You have to remember I don’t know how dating works. We hardly see each other. You seem content so I just figured I was supposed to do my own thing. We can talk about it or not. I’m sorry regardless, it was stupid to say to you.
Fish: Ya well, we can just go with the flow then and you can have all ur side stuff too.
Me: I don’t know what to say.
Fish: Thank u?
Me: Jesus fish. If you want a different arrangement you need to speak up. If you don’t, then *shrug*. Let’s do dinner next week. It’s not like I don’t like you and I do want to spend time with you. I don’t know what the expectations are.
Fish: What’s the weekend plan?
I told him about a hand-lettering class I had booked for the weekend. We talked about his upcoming work trip and NHL game. But the important bit: he never picked a day and we never went out. I left for a girls weekend to Detroit a week later – met a guy I’ll call Scarf in a standalone story. Fish stayed in touch, watching my social media, and texted to tell me how “hot” I looked. While driving home he makes a pretty big gesture:
Me: Oh you got me a [hockey] ticket too? 😉
Fish: Not at this present time. U like hockey? If so we should rock a [local] game, I have fun there too.
Me: I don’t know anything about hockey. I’d go to spend time with you.
Me: I’m going to give up on it.
Fish: Uhhhh what? I’m free fri, sat, sun, pick a day and I’m all yours. We can do an activity and food!
Me: You said tues, wed, thur and I never heard from you.
Fish: Well if you pick on of the days I mentioned I’m urs. We can even go away for the weekend! Whatever u wanna do. And if not I wont stop trying. But maybe ur not feeling it? No clue.
Me: I’ve been trying fish.
Fish: So I miss last wed or whatever so now u wanna throw away a whole weekend we could hang out?
Me: We’ve been talking since June. We’ve gone out, what, 3 times?
Fish: So not down this weekend? Thats upsetting but if thats how u want it. Sit on it and let me know.
But don’t worry – his grand gesture – that offer he made on a Sunday, for the following weekend, expired by Tuesday:
Me: I checked and I can do Sat/Sun so if you want to do the weekend thing I’m down.
Fish: Well you never got back to me yesterday about it so I won’t have time to plan anything but I can look into it Friday.
Me: K another time!
Fish: We can stick around here, I was just bombing suggestions.
Me: Yea no prob!
Fish: I also asked u about that virtual reality thing, another question u never answered.
Me: I’m not sure if VR is my sort of thing.
Me: Well this is weird and you have an early flight so … safe travels hope you two have fun!
Fish: U don’t think you’ve been sour to me lately? That kinda just showed u have been. But alright goodnight.
Me: I’m not being sour fish, it’s just, you keep bailing on me. It is what it is. No big deal.
Fish: Wtf i haven’t even bailed. For one i said ill look into niagara im just not promising it and 2nd we can do anything else saturday anywhere.
Me: Ok! This is akward.
Me: I don’t like confrontation. I just like directness. I’m not super emotional I just need to know what to expect. You gotta do what you gotta do. I’m not sour at you personally, I swear.
Fish: Ya i dont know where this is coming from. U seemed cool with me at beerfest.
Me: I don’t know. You got mad at me. I didn’t expect it. Then I assumed I misunderstood something.
Fish: I was weirded out that u were naked in bed with me one moment and on a date 3 hours later.
Me: Be real fish. You talk to other girls right?
Fish: Ya we’re not dating.
Me: So then?
Fish: Ur blowing what I thought out of proportion.
Me: Then I misunderstood. My bad. Sorted now. Listen, if you just like “chilling” with me – we’re taking the potential of dating off the table. Call a spade a spade.
Fish: At this very moment no, a month or two down the road maybe.
I’d started questioning myself, “Is fish gas-lighting me? Or is he that insecure?” He brought up the fact that I went on that date multiple times, I apologized, and now?
But let’s finish this blog off with a weird two hours, shall we?
Fish texts me on a Friday, about a week after the above, asking if I’m free Saturday and asks if I’d like to finally hit the cafe we’ve been talking about. We also decide to hit The Bay, since I like to cruise the mall, and he had, of course, a giftcard. I ordered a chicken caesar salad and an americano and fish ordered a panini and a french vanilla. The food was fantastic, the cafe was intimate, beautifully decorated and while we ate fish showed me a zombie meatloaf recipe he was going to make. He ate the salad I couldn’t finish, which was sort of weird. I tried to pay the bill and he wouldn’t let me. We talked about what he might need from The Bay while we finished our coffees. “Maybe sheets” he says, “the internet says you’re supposed to replace them every 2 years, so I’m about 3 overdue”. “Ok, mission new sheets it is then.”
He looked at pants, I looked at bracelets, and finally we found the bedding section and he picked his sheets. He asked me so many questions, what I thought about the fabric, which shade of beige or grey is best, do I notice thread count, he doesn’t, etc. It’s conversation, and yet, it feels foreign to me, I don’t know why that is. As we waited in line for him to pay I remember looking up at him and thinking, “wow, he’s tall … and handsome”. In that moment he turned to me and said, “if you want to come by later and test them out, you’re welcome to.” Ok moment over I guess.
I walked him to the door I knew he had somewhere to be in the afternoon, and I hugged him goodbye. He looked at me differently, I don’t know how to describe it. I just remember wondering “shit, were we supposed to kiss goodbye in the Bay? No probably not.”
I don’t see fish again, for two months after this Cafe & The Bay date, but as penpals do we stay in touch. In the next blog I’ll tell you about the most recent time I saw fish, and start to unpack the reflections I have of our “not dating, but seems close” and “maybe a month or two down the road” situation-ship. Until next time dear readers.