Scottie finds out that he was in a game where the other player was holding his cards too close to his chest.
The older you get, the more you realise that people won’t always be as honest and as open as you’d like them to be. What I never thought I’d have to learn was that some people aren’t comfortable with openness or honesty while dating. They prefer the game of holding your cards – or in this case, thoughts – close to your chest, and expect you to follow suit. The problem, however, is that I’ve never been one to go along with what people expect.
The guy I had been dating for a few weeks clearly wasn’t as willing – or ready – to be as open with me as I was with him. Last week I wrote about how I notice people’s body language, and how that usually reveals more than what they’re actually saying. When I told him I had noticed his body language when talking to the friend of a friend, he nodded and merely said “cool.” Something in the pit of my stomach told me I had just made a severely wrong move in the ritual of courting.
We continued seeing each other, and things seemed to be going well enough for a while. Soon, though, we seemed to be having more serious conversations than good banter. Deep or intense conversation is rarely something I consider to be bad (as too much vapid banter would make me lose interest) but the balance was definitely not healthy. One particular night, we ended up in this deep conversation about how quickly we had become joined at the hip, but the points he was making were way too flawed.
“I just think you’re going a bit too fast,” he said with a worried tone. My head jilted back like it had been hit with a bad smell, which made sense because his logic stank. This guy was the one who had been calling me on the phone every day for the week between our first and second dates. This was the guy who said I “ticked all the boxes.” This was also the guy who wanted me to spend most of his birthday weekend with him, despite my initial intentions to give him alone time to celebrate with his friends. His accusations didn’t make sense in the slightest, because even if I did come across as (too) keen, he had no idea about the mixed messages he was sending.
I was planning to catch up with friends in Belfast, and he was going to visit family in the south-east, so he suggested that we not speak during the upcoming weekend. This was the moment I should’ve told him to just not speak to me ever again, but ever the walkover, I agreed to his idea. That weekend was brilliant and I spent little-to-no time thinking about him. Still, as I sat on the bus back to Dublin, I could feel my rage for him return.
We arranged to meet up that following Tuesday, and all I could think was that I was still angry at him. That sort of emotion didn’t bode well for a romantic future, and I was far too aware of that. I figured I would see how I felt when I was actually with him before making any decision. Sure enough, as soon as I saw his little face, I wanted to rip his head off like some deranged divorcé.
He owed me a dinner because I paid for it last time, so I figured that if the night wasn’t going to go well, I’d at least get even – emotionally and financially. He ordered(!) me to choose a restaurant, presumably in an attempt to ‘teach’ me to be more decisive, and I begrudgingly narrowed it down to two. One was a mid-to-upmarket burger joint, the other a romantic Moroccan restaurant. Seeing that he hadn’t tried Moroccan cuisine before (and clearly wasn’t up for trying) we ended up grabbing a burger. As we sat down, I forced a smile but grit my teeth and also forced the conversation. Every second felt like a century, and I was delighted when the food arrived because it meant I didn’t have to talk. Part of me relaxed for those few moments; enjoying my food and gleefully hoping that if he choked on his food, I wouldn’t have to deal with him myself.
Alas, no ambulance was needed (yet) and we continued onto the cinema. I didn’t even need to finish the starter in the restaurant to realise that I didn’t want anything to do with this guy anymore, but regardless, I wanted the food and the film, so I decided not to say anything until after we had been fed and entertained. This, dear reader, is where you can feel free to judge me if you haven’t already. I easily could’ve said something earlier, but my cruel streak was in full swing.
Eventually, the film ended, and we were soon to follow suit. “This isn’t working out,” I announced, “is it?”
This is where he shocked me. Despite the fact that I felt like the date was forced and awkward in a good few parts – not to mention the fact that I was suppressing my rage for him throughout – he told me that he had actually really enjoyed himself and that if it wasn’t working out, that it was my decision. I was stunned. What I had expected was that our little talk in his car had soured the relationship – or whatever it was, because God forbid I use such a ‘deep’ word – for both of us. It seemed it was just me, but that was still enough to make a decision to call it off.
After all, he wanted me to stop being so accommodating and to make a decision! All I did – ironically enough – was give him what he wanted. Pity it wasn’t a decision he saw coming.
What are your thoughts on Scottie’s dating disasters? Where is he going wrong (or right)? Let us know by leaving your comments below.
‘Scottie’ Illustrations by Stephen Charlick