Her name was Linda.
We met through Coffee Meets Bagel. She's 3 years older than me. On CMB, she was pretty responsive, friendly... all good vibes.
As the guy, I took the initiative and said, "Want to go get some boba?" We met at one on a Sunday night... and we chatted for like 3 hours. It was great! I ended the night saying, "I'll call you sometime?" At then, I didn't have her cell yet. She said she'd give it to me via the CMB app.
Which she did the next day. She said she had a great time talking to me that night, with the smiley face. So that was encouraging.
I called her pretty soon... that night, actually. I just had a good feeling about her. We chatted for like an hour. Feeling good, I stuck myself out there again: "Hey, I know this is a little early to ask, but what're your plans this coming weekend?"
She said she had to work that weekend, but would keep me posted.
I also called her later that week because... hey, I enjoyed it. And back then, I think she did too.
The following Sat, I was volunteering with the Red Cross, and she and I were texting back & forth. When I got home, I admit I got pretty anxious.. .is she going to say let's hang out? She eventually did, asked me if I was free... that was awesome! A girl taking the initiative for once... nice! I picked her up from her sister's place (Linda lives with her and her sister's fam). We had dinner and then dessert.
The following week, I called her up again. We chatted some more for like another hour. Feeling REALLY bold, I put myself out there again...
Me: "I was wondering if you'd like to come over this Fri night and I can make you dinner."
Her: "Oh! Do you cook?"
Me: "No... I honestly haven't figured out all the minutiae yet, but I wanted to ask you and see what you'd say first."
And that's true. I really don't cook that much. But I was already liking Linda a lot. Not only did I want to impress her, I wanted to do something special for her. And even though I'm no chef whatsoever, I was more than willing to rise up to the challenge.... even though I had no idea at the time what I was going to do. But she cooked even less. So even though I was worried about making her a good dinner, at least I didn't have to impress a hardcore food critic.
I did ask her, "Anything you don't like to eat?" And she said she'd eat mostly anything, and that it was "sweet" of me to ask her. Booyah.
I told one of my housemates, Dianne, about Linda coming over for dinner. Dianne, who just recently moved in at the time, got all excited: "Ohmigodddd! This is the best news I've heard all weekend. So excited!!!" Haha her reaction was cute.
I decided to do Korean BBQ because that is one thing I DO know how to do and I know I'm good at THAT. (Thanks to Hui-Ping and Kat for the encouragement.) But I thought, "I gotta add some greens." So I did salad with dressing, tangerines, and cinammon-coated toasted pecans. The latter's recipe I got from my mom, and it turned out well. Linda actually brought some back home with her.
Before she came over, I went back to my townhouse, cleaned it up, and also moved my car from my garage to the street parking. Reasons being? I didn't want her to get ticketed since she didn't' have a permit if she parked into the complex late at night. Plus, even though Palo Alto is relatively safe, I didn't want her to get mugged or anything. So I didn't want her to do street parking out on El Camino. Call it me being chivalrous, which I absoultely have no problem doing for the girl I like, but I honestly do care about her safety. So I wasn't taking any chances.
Anyways, she came over. We chatted while I grilled, ate dinner, and while I washed the dishes. It turned out she was divorced the year before and she was married for 6 years. She said her ex-husband was a Caucasian from the Mid-west, thus had different cultural backgrounds. He wasn't ambitious with his career, but above all, she said he was possessive. For example, if she went on a girls' night out with her friends (like a simple dinner with her gfs), then he would get all worked up and such.
So I made mental notes to myself: "DO NOT BE LIKE HER EX! DON'T BE POSSESSIVE!"
Then we watched one of my DVDs. During the movie, I did the classic move by putting my arm around her shoulder. She didn't really react, but she didn't squirm away either. Honestly, my arm eventually got numb, but.... I didn't mind. The numbness was worth it! Although when I briefly got up to put away some things into the fridge, I quietly shook my arm to get the sensations back. But when I got back to the movie with her, she let me put my arm back around her. So at the time, I thought that was a good sign: "She's divorced. Maybe she just wants to take it slow." Janie said divorced women can be quite selective.
Another reason why I wanted to make her dinner was because in the past, when I went on consecutive dates with a girl, just going out to dinner every time was boring. And it fizzled out. So I wanted to do something different and special. Especially since the very next day, I was leaving for a family trip to Hawaii. And Linda was also leaving on a trip to Singapore. So it'd be a few weeks before we'd see each other again. Thus, I wanted to do something memorable for her.
Later on, I found out that my two housemates, both girls with their own bfs, were texting each other. Their messages were like:
"Derek cleaned up the WHOLE APARTMENT!"
"AND he's cooking her dinner!"
"AND he let her use HIS PARKING SPOT in the garage so she doesn't have to park outside at night! That's so impressive!"
The next day, I took the initiative (again) and texted her, "Thanks for coming over! Hope you had a good time. :)"
She texted back: "I had a great time last night! Sorry I was so tired from work, I promise I'll be more awake next time we meet. :)"
I called her once while I was in Hawaii, the day before she left for Singapore. We chatted for an hour. Feeling bold again, I asked her to be my Plus One to a semi-formal Coast Guard Auxiliary dinner on Nov 6. She said yes!
Throughout her time in Singapore, I kept in touch with her via WhatsApp. I didn't want to bug her too much since she was on vacay and given the big time zone difference. But she did send me a pic of herself, which I took as a good sign. I told her, "You look beautiful in that pic btw" and she was like, "Thank you!"
When she finally got back, I told her, "Let me know if you'd like to meet up if you're not too jet-lagged". She said sure. We didn't meet up though; she texted and said that when she wasn't catching up with sleep, she was busy running errands. I was like, ok that's fine.
I did call her a few days later and we chatted for 1.5 hours. So I thought that we were still going good.
Since she liked art museums, I suggested we could go visit the Pace Art Gallery in Menlo Park. She was totally excited about that. And hey, I'm always down for trying new things.
I told her I didn't mind picking her up even though it was out of my way and in an opposite direction. I told her that she was worth the drive. What I DIDN'T tell her was that I got to spend more time with her, even if it's just talking to her in the car. I ENJOYED her company because I LIKED her.
She thought the Pace gallery was really cool. At times, I put my hand around her waist. She didn't respond. I told myself, again, that she's being emotionally cautious.
We then went to get macaroons in downtown Palo b/c she likes those. We chatted some more. Then we went to my car, sat there, and chatted some more. Then I drove her back home.
I wanted to do dinner with her again, but she said she had to babysit her niece and nephew since her sis (with whom she lives) was out that night. I was hoping that she'd ask me to babysit with her, but oh well.
I gave her the treats I got her in Hawaii. She said she got me treats from Singapore too, which I took as a good sign.
The week after the 4th date, she wasn't very responsive with her texts. She said that work was getting busier and that she had to babysit her niece & nephew more after work on the weekdays. That's why I didn't call her b/c I figured she was busy babysitting.
The following weekend was the semiformal Coast Guard Auxiliary dinner. Tracey suggested to up my game: get her a dozen roses and kiss her. I intended to. My plan was to show up at her front door in dress uniform with the dozen roses. But.... Linda still wasn't being very responsive that weekend. Heck, I was worried that she was going to back out.
But she finally called me back. I did do the whole roses thing in my dress uniform.
She said the roses were very sweet of me.
I told her she looked beautiful.
She told me I looked very nice.
When walking to and from the restaurant, I did the gentlemanly thing and put my elbow out so she could hold onto it. That felt great. When I dropped her off back at her sister's place, during that 10 second walk from my car to the front door, I held out my hand. After a second, she took it. That felt good too, to me.
We hugged... it was a quick hug, and I gave her a kiss on the cheek. I told her I'd like to see her again before my upcoming Asia trip. She said she'd get back to me.
That Coast Guard Auxiliary dinner was just a few days ago. She has become less and less responsive since then. It started to get me worried. I kept telling myself, "She's divorced and she may just be emotionally cautious." Or that she's just really busy. Deep down though, I was worried that she lost interest in me.
Tracey said that by the 5th date, a girl knows about where she stands with a guy. And that Linda's less texting me was a sign that she wasn't into me anymore....
Another older woman I know, Tanyeka, told me not to make assumptions because of Linda's previous marriage being 6 years and all (although Tracey remarked, if she wasn't ready to move on, then why would she be doing online dating?). Just wait for her to respond, Tanyeka said.
Both Tracey and Tanyeka said have that "heart to heart" conversation with Linda, but in person. I intended to. That's why I asked her if she was doing anythimg tomorrow night.
Finally.... Linda texted back. A few hours ago. Confirming what I was scared of to hear all along.....
She said she enjoyed getting to know me. But she wasn't feeling a romantic connection. She's open to being friends, if I am.
I still want to tell her not just how I feel, but how she's affected me (in a good way). I now know that, without a doubt, if I'm really into a girl, I can commit myself to her. And she's made me want to be a better guy.
As much as I want to hear her sweet voice again, it'd be hard for me to articulate my words properly if I talk to her right now. So I texted her back in response to her rejection: "I understand. You were worth it. Can I get your email? I want to send you a letter (21st century style). I promise it won't be a tearful rage or a plea from a sad bachelor. :) "
She hasn't responded yet. Maybe that wasn't the right thing to do, but for myself, I feel like that's the best way for me to get closure.
..... Linda turning me down wasn't a total shock. But I'm still sad about it. Sure, I've already gotten feedback from one gal pal, Ana, about what I could've done differently ("Be more aggressive! Don't be an asshole, but in a bad boy way!"). But I don't think I've done anything wrong.
This just proves to me that you can do everything "right", or be the greatest guy in the world. But if she doesn't feel anything for you... it doesn't matter.
I'm trying to keep my head up. My dating philosophy is this: as a guy, if you truly like a girl, give her your best shot. Take the intiative, take a risk. If she rejects you... it'll suck big time. 9 times out of 10, you'll lose. Until you find that right girl.
Even if you lose, she'll be worth the risk. And that's how I feel about Linda. She was mature, beautiful, smart, easy to talk to, down to earth, doesn't drink alchy (like me!).... but she doesn't have feelings for me. And there's nothing I can do to change that. You can't force someone to like you....
But I do remember what my brother-in-law, who is obviously successfully married to my sister with 2 kids, once saying about dating:
1. Don't get attached too fast. <--- I've been guilty of this betore, and maybe this is another case although I know it's NOTHING to be ASHAMED about.
2. It's a #'s game, especially for guys. <--- This is true. Dating is a game, although I'm getting tired of playing it unfortunately.
3. As guys get older, they get more attractive to girls. <--- If the guy has his shit together, then I agree with this.
I showed Linda's picture to Ana. In her opinion, Linda looks quite old. And she was also surprised that Linda turned me down after all this... me making her dinner, buying her roses, etc. I told Ana, "You can be a perfect gentleman, but that doesn't mean she'll fall for you." But Ana was like, over time, those things build up and they count for girls. It shows that you appreciate her. Something like that.
Anyways, I want to email Linda, and say "thank you" for all the times we've spent together. How she's made me become a better man. I hope I didn't make her feel uncomfortable and didn't waste her time since she's older than I am, and women generally have shorter bioclocks than men do. But we'll see if she'll even give me her email address.
As for myself: I'm just going to have to take this day by day. Maybe I'll take a break in dating. I'm still open to meeting other girls if the opportunity arises (some friends want me to meet some girls they know). But.... I don't know. My feelings for Linda are still there. Deep down of course, I wish that in time, she'll realize and appreciate the things I did for her... not saying she doesn't now, but you know what I mean. And walah, she'll come back to me! However, that won't likely happen.
It actually dawned on me that her possessive ex-husband was able to do something I couldn't... and that was to win her over, even if they ultimately ended in divorce. Another ouch for me.... MAN. I can't even get past Point A....
But to sum it up, all I can say is this..
I liked her. I GENUINELY liked her. I wanted us to turn into something REAL.
So I gave her my best shot.
And it failed. I failed.
I'm sad about her turning me down. Probably will be for a while.
But.... she was worth the risk.
And despite my sadness, I'm glad I took it.