Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Embrace

The feeling of a new year always brings out the magic of expectation in people. By setting one's personal resolutions, it can mark the chance to start over, and put behind any drama of the previous year. Seems rather ideal in general, but especially if you're looking to make a fresh start when it comes to matters of the heart.

Anyway, like most of the world, last night I was out celebrating the hopes of 2010 while drinking 2009 away at an upscale sports bar in a trendy part of Chicago. I'd hit a lot of bumps in my road to romance in '09 and I wanted to party my way into the new year. Plus, I thought that just maybe there would be an opportunity to land a nice kiss from a hot stranger. Well, maybe.

You see, in the 20-some-odd years I've been in the dating world, I have not had the "fortune" of kissing anyone at midnight. Now, while this hasn't always bothered me, I'd recently become obsessed with WHY people kiss at midnight. That's when I turned to my trusty Wikipedia to find out the origins of the New Year's Kiss -- seems that failing to kiss someone can mean loneliness in the new year.

So when I was out last night, I admit that tale was on the brain... But by the end of the night (and several failed attempts by an especially sketchy guy to take me home) I realized I'd much rather wait a bit for my first real embrace of the year, while keeping the faith that the new year has only the best and most colorful romantic adventures in store for me.

Bring it, 2010. I'm ready.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Cat & Mouse

Note: Happy Holidays! I'm back from an extended holiday break and so very ready to share more stories, insights and break down all things relationships once again, with you. So, thanks for joining me! :-) Anyway, on to the latest post...

"It's about to close but you've only said a few words to me... I've been waiting for a dose of your personality... See I'm in the mood and if all goes right... Baby you will be you will be going home with me tonight..." ("Kick Your Game" by R & B group TLC)

I'm a firm believer that people can find their personal situations reflected in just about any song. Or, at least I've been able to. And, during the 90s, I was especially attached to the song "Kick Your Game," which tells the story of a girl that's into a guy who she wants to just come right out and ask her out (What girl hasn't felt like that?) But, back then I was a little too bashful and insecure to really make the first move. And, deep down, I felt that if a guy liked me, he would come running...

Anyway, I still feel that way some of the time. And I found myself revisiting those feelings and the TLC song earlier this afternoon after a very colorful flight back from visiting my family in New York. I'd ended up sitting next to this guy, Steven, with whom I hit it off quite well from the start. He was a bit cocky -- but to be honest, it kind of suited him. It wasn't overbearing, but it did work. And, he was funny and definitely smart and candid. And, truth be told -- while I prefer my guys a little more squeaky clean, I was done in by his intense and striking eyes.

In any event, I was intrigued. And, the two hour flight went by pretty quickly. Lots of fun banter, suggestive comments and even his attempt to touch me on a few occasions. Honestly, it seemed like an open and shut case. He'd get my number, we'd either go out or hook up -- case closed.

Yeah... See, that would have been too easy. Instead, we ended up getting off the plane and making it to baggage check at different times. Now that's not a big deal -- but, when we get onto the same train together to head back into the city, I'm psyched. In my head, I'm thinking: Ok, now is his chance to finish what we started.

When I get onto the train, he immediately acknowledges me and playfully asks me if I was following him. I smile, laugh it off and tell him that he thought a little too highly of himself. He then brings his bag up to sit right across from me and where I had plopped down, hot and feeling gross from all the traveling I'd been doing. And, on the ride in, lots of looks were exchanged -- playful smiles, sideways glances... No joke, it was flirtation central. So when he asked me what I would be doing with the rest of my day, I told him for the second time (talking about it on the plane the first time), and our conversation afterward went a little like this:

Him: So, what did you say you were up to for the rest of the afternoon?
Me: (Shrugging) Taking a nap, a glass of wine, take out, a shower... Just curling up at home and recovering from the holiday.
Him: That sounds pretty lonely.
Me: (Oblivious) Honestly, with a family as huge as mine for the holiday, it'll be nice to get back to a little me-time. A chance to unwind.
Him: (Nodding, Curious) Really?
Me: Sure, why not? Besides, it's the middle of the week, what else is there to do?
(He's quiet at this point, looks at me intently)
Me: Is there a problem?
Him: (Half-smiling) No. Just wondering how spontaneous you are.
Me: (Raising an eyebrow) Well, I don't know how you can possibly try to guess that by looking at me. That would depend on lots of stuff. I'd have to have something to be spontaneous about.
(He nods; I look at him then look up and realize we're approaching my stop)
Him: What are you thinking?
Me: Wouldn't you like to know?
Him: So are you going to tell me?
Me: Now I'm at my stop and you waited too long to go there. So, that's a mystery I'm going to have to keep. Besides, what fun would that be?

At this point, you're probably wondering what I was wondering -- what the hell happened. All I can say is that throughout it, I was convinced this was a done deal. In fact, the chemistry seemed to be so there that I didn't think there would need to be any questions except for whether I'd be seeing him that night or over the weekend. Besides, if he had been thinking about it, wouldn't he have just made the plunge?

With all that said, I'll own my "mistake" of not bringing it up when he was clearly trying to leave it open on the train (and which I TOTALLY missed until after the fact). But, then why the cat & mouse on the plane without closing the deal? Personally I would have slept the entire ride if I wasn't going to get anything out of it.

At this point, it's clear the ship has indeed sailed. But I got three key lessons out of all this:

(1) If you want it, you may just have to make the effort to let him know you're interested -- which will be great direction for him. While I would prefer a man to get the ball rolling, ladies, once in a while, if you want it (and he seems to be worthy of the attention), it may not be such a bad idea to act on it.
(2) If it takes him too long to pull the trigger, then he probably isn't all that into you. In which case, you still know. I find that when he's into you, he takes Nike's advice and just does it.
(3) There's only so much cat & mouse you can play before it all gets old -- or someone who wants you decides they're going to be much more direct about it. And direct is always preferable, I'd say. (Heck, even "Tom & Jerry" got old, didn't it?)