Burning up because I foolishly wore a sweater dress without checking the weather, I attempted clever conversation with a boy. It wasn’t my first date since Mr. Possibility and I split ways, but I still felt like I was getting into the swing of things. First dates (and even second dates, for the matter) tend to feel like interviews to me: get as much information as you can without coming across as pushy.
Until now, that is.
Piggy-backing off some bits of advice from my friends who have mastered the infamous New York dating scene, I’ve taken a new approach. I still ask questions, but they aren’t big ones. I let the guys do the conversation, allow them to lead the chat and I just sit back to enjoy my glass of Merlot, while hopefully looking at something chiseled and pretty. I’ve stopped counting on them to cover my bill, so I order what I want, fully prepared to cash out at the end of the night. Of course, most men are still gentlemen and make sure to pay, but I somehow switched my attitude of seeing dates as free meal tickets to perceiving them as the art of getting to know someone.
And this someone sure did know how to talk. He even leaned over to touch my knee from time-to-time. He smiled a lot and he drank his beer quickly. I could tell he was somewhat nervous and that he had allergies, and I saw the red flags popping up all over the place. He still lived at home with the folks, most relationships have ended because women haven’t understood him and his last one ended almost as soon as it started. I take this all in quietly and engage him with follow-up sentences, witty remarks and encouraging glances. I’m not really interested in him as a mate, but as a person or a friend, he seems alright.
Then, at the tail end of a discussion he says: “You have a really beautiful energy about you.”
Though I was taken aback, I thanked him and grinned, quickly changing the subject to something that didn’t rely on my aura, and the date ended with a walk to the train. I didn’t think much of it or him, we didn’t speak again and I forgot that we hadn’t. Then, last night I went on a date with a new guy at my favorite little cafe around the corner from my apartment. He met my not-required-but-really-highly-suggested height requirement and lived close by, so we met spontaneously for a drink and some mac n’ cheese that wasn’t nearly as great as my family’s recipe. The conversation was decent but I found his voice a tad too loud for my liking and his beliefs far too conservative to mesh with my ideas, yet he did the same thing the other dude did, and caught me off guard. As we’re sitting at the corner table, he reached across the table, touched my hand and said, “You have such a great outlook on a life. It’s a really beautiful energy.”
Now, either there is a new dating book for men that I’ve yet to be sent a press release about or a line from a movie that I’m not familiar with or apparently, I have a really pretty energy? What does that even mean?
Being a writer who spews her personal life across the web, my first instinct was to ask my friends, readers and Facebook pals what they thought hearing the same comment on two consecutive dates with different guys, meant. No answer was the same — some said they thought it meant I made them feel comfortable, others said it wasn’t something that could be put in words, a few said it had to do with my bubbly personality and my niceness. Some of my friends agreed with them, sweetly letting me know how beautiful I am. I appreciated their comments and even pinged my good friend K as I wrote this blog, still trying to determine what “beautiful energy” means to a straight, single New York man.
I still haven’t put my finger on it and my thoughts are still a bit conflicted but I think it has almost everything to do with where I am right now in my life. I’ve finally mastered what I wanted to be a pro at, over a year ago when I started this blog: I’m not looking for love.
And so, when I’m out on dates I don’t feel any pressure. I don’t prep or primp for hours or arrive early so I can sit in an area that shows off my best angles. I don’t consider anyone boyfriend material really, because the idea of being in a relationship makes me feel incredibly suffocated. I don’t say what I think men want to hear and I don’t try to get them to ask me on a second date. I dress in what makes me feel attractive, without worrying if it’s too tight or not snug enough. I don’t fidget or stumble over my words, I just let them come as they are, uninterested if they come across the wrong or the ideal way. I don’t try to make a guy seem better than what he is by turning what he says into something I want to hear, I just listen and heed the warning signs as they come. I don’t interrogate or pry, I let him state his peace and I move on, glad to share my own viewpoint. I don’t have any rules for my adventures, if I want to kiss on the first meeting I do, if I don’t, I don’t. If I want to see him again, I will, if he’s easily forgotten, I won’t.
I’m just myself, without any excuses or intentions. And you know, if that means I have a beautiful energy, then I’ve wasted a lot of time and energy trying to be anyone or anything other than me.