Hey Men, This is What I’m Thinking When You Text Me

When I started this blog, I made a vow to myself and to all of you that I wouldn’t use this place to manbash. Even with all of the terrible dates, disappointing break-ups and everything in between, I’ve never revealed an identity of the men I’ve dated or said things that weren’t true.

Well weren’t incredibly exaggerated, I should say.

I never wanted this space to be about the dudes – but about the girls and what it’s like to be a 20-something single gal dating, learning and growing in a big city. So while this post isn’t exactly man bashing… it’s a little more hater-y then my other blogs I’ve written.

I’m sorry I’m not sorry for posting this – but c’mon men.

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Those Great Expectations

On the second-half of our very long (and very great) date, Mr. Unexpected and I met in Greenwich Village at one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall places, Bamboleo. It’s a place that M and I discovered when we were funemployed, single and in dyer need for margaritas, tacos and guac.

It isn’t a place I typically suggest with a guy I just met – it holds a lot of special memories with my friends – but I figured we wanted something in the West Village, something easy and something inexpensive, so it fit the bill and he fit my hopes so far. As we ordered and sat in the window, his hand making it’s way to my knee every once in a while, he confessed that he had Goolged me in the five hours we spent apart.

And what did you discover, apart from pages-beyond-pages of content about what I think about dating? I said, reminding myself to breathe. It’s not like I kept the blog a secret, I had told him what I do for a living – but to know that the guy you like can browse your chronicles, and thus literally know every ridiculous, crazy, obsessive thought you’ve basically ever had… well, it’s a little scary.

No, actually – it’s extremely terrifying.

He laughed and said he read a few things, but didn’t want to dive in too deep to the pages, that he’d rather just go out with me instead. I told him I appreciated his resistance and that conversations are better than paragraphs on this URL, but in response, he said he just had a question:

Do you think writing about dating and love all the time gives you unrealistic expectations?

I’m sure my face must have registered a ‘deer in headlights’ kind of shock – even though the inquiry, in all seriousness, was valid. If you’re going to be seeing someone more often, wouldn’t you want to know what they expect in a partner? And if that someone happens to be a girl who has made a career out of relationship writing, might you be a little, intrigued on her thoughts? And maybe a little scared? Possibly extremely terrified?

Yep. Touche, Mr. Unexpected, touche.

That’s a fair question, I said, exhaling and finishing my margarita. I’m not sure what I said verbatim, but it was along the lines of: Being single for a while has taught me that the most important part of a relationship isn’t the grand gestures or the big romantic moments, but the day-to-day support, contact, communication that keeps you connected. I’d rather have someone to come home to every day to watch TV and order takeout than someone who buys me roses and recites sonnets. I’m looking for a match who is on my level emotionally, physically and mentally, and someone who will also be a good friend. I want to like the person, not just the idea of that person as my boyfriend.

After our date – and the ones that followed – I couldn’t get that question out of my head. Here I’ve been doing this whole meet-and-greet with guy after guy, and no one has ever called me out so directly. Excuse the cliché reference to Carrie Bradshaw (if you all compare us, I might as well live up to it, eh?): I couldn’t help but wonder…

…do I have unrealistic expectations of love?

In the moment, my response was the clearest thing that came to my head – and an honest assessment of what I’m hoping to find in a mate. I’d pick laughing and flirting with beers and burgers at a sports bar, over some guy reading me a poem in a tuxedo at a $200-a-plate downtown restaurant, any day. I want to like who a person is, not just what they can offer me. I want to waste time instead of buying time in dating. I want the honest-to-goodness reality of a person, not the rose-colored mentality that is deluding and unattainable. I used to crave the attention of a man who was magically enamored with me, and now I most long for someone who I feel comfortable, sexy and relaxed with.

Life is complicated, and hopefully the relationship we all eventually find will bring peace to the chaos.

But there are things – in fact, many things – that I frankly, won’t settle for. I want to have a wild, intense, seductive sex life – I’ve never been the girl who uses a headache as an excuse for anything. I value someone’s morals and I appreciate someone who keeps me on my toes – and is also tall enough to make me stand on them. I don’t typically need daily reminders of affection, but my dad has taught me that the right man never minds holding your hand. I try my very best to truly listen to a man’s words, instead of adding an adjective here-and-there to make them more appealing. I pay attention to the details and to the questions he asks, and the answers he gives. After far too many failed could-be courtships, I’ve learned – often the hard way – that men will tell you exactly what page they’re on, if you are brave enough to stomach it. And that you have to keep your anxiety at bay so you can figure out if those butterflies are worth the risk to fly.

Sometimes they’re not. In rare times, they are.

The trick of figuring it all out is managing those great expectations – but also being very clear from the get-go about what they are and what you want and need from someone. These are the ‘rules’ and your standards, your guidelines for what you seek in a mate. And just like blueprints or outlines – for the right person or the right situation, adjustments can be made. Minds can be changed. Things can be tweaked here-and-there.

But for the most part, what you seek is neither unrealistic or realistic – it’s just specific to you. Or to me. And Mr. Unexpected’s expectations are explicit to him.

Like how he’s not reading this blog – or anything that’s written about him – until he’s ready. Until later down the road. Instead of reading what I think, he’s talking to me. Instead of reading in between these lines, he’s asking me questions. Instead of letting a blog define his expectations or who I am, he’s getting to know me.

And that’s an expectation that I didn’t know I cared about, but I do: get to know me, then read what I write, next. The archives are part of me, sure – but I’ve come a long way from that love-addicted, obsessive, insecure gal I was at 22 when I started this blog. My taste in men, the value I have in myself and the strength I have to be both brave and vulnerable at the same time – that’s only happened after lots of practice, and even more risk.

While his question caught me off guard – less than 24 hours into meeting him – it was refreshing to speak from the heart. And to know that even when I’m 100 percent honest with someone, they might actually still call – or ahem, text – you for another date.

And if you’re really lucky, for another 10 or 15 so…

 

Falling in Love On Fridays: With Love, From Singapore

This week’s Falling in Love on Fridays post comes from someone I used to work with, J. Bubbly and sassy, this marketing gal made meetings more interesting and after-work drinks funnier. She moved back to her home country, Singapore after a brief stay in the States and continues to have a long-distance relationship with the love of her life that she met while here. Read her sweet story that just might make you go on that date you’re dreading tonight. If you’d like to submit your own Falling in Love on Friday story, click here.

With Love From Singapore

I decided to take the big leap to New York City to pursue a gradaute degree and follow my true passion for media three years ago. Yearning for excitement, I traveled 9343 miles away from my island home of Singapore, leaving behind the familiar smells of tropical palm trees and blue-green jeweled waters speckled with memories of my young 23-year-old self. I looked to the big city that promised so much – vowing that my education and career would be priorities for the next few years. Relationships and love were the last things on my mind especially when I wasn’t sure how long I’d stay in the US for.
For anyone who’s made a drastic move to a new city, it quickly dawns on you on how overwhelming it can be. Even though I spent the first year burying myself in school and venturing into different boroughs on the weekends, discovering what it meant to be a true local in NYC, things got lonely. Coupled with long winters that I wasn’t used to, I decided to give online dating a shot. I heard it worked for some but was still very apprehensive about this unconventional way of meeting people.
I was what you’d call a non-committal online dater. Browsing profiles and briefly replying to messages but rarely agreeing to actual dates. Having not been in a serious relationship for about four years, there was still a big part of me that treasured the freedoms of being single, especially in a place like New York.
Until I met D.
From the onset, D and I didn’t seem like we had much in common and was unlike any others I usually dated. He was quiet, meticulous and low-key. I was sociable, passionate and enjoyed going out. We worked in completely different industries and our shared interests seemed minimal – eating, snow boarding and were of the same religion. After 10 days of texting (yes, 10!), D finally asked me out.
Our first coffee date turned into a dinner in Korea Town because we were both working late. To someone who’s new to online dating, I was pretty sure a dinner date wasn’t exactly a smart idea. What if we had nothing to talk about? What if it became clear that we had no chemistry after five minutes? Oh boy. I was nervous and had a friend on speed dial should I need to make the S.O.S. call.
Thankfully I didn’t have to. The list of things we had in common grew longer as we tucked into fragrant kimchi and bulgogi (not the most romantic of first date meals but we were both famished that day). We had the same sense of sarcastic humor and although he was Vietnamese and I was Chinese, we connected with Asian jokes and history. Interestingly, we both came from a family of five siblings, D was the eldest of three girls and two boys, while I was the third of a set of three boys and two girls. The date seemed to be going well until we bid farewell. I expected an indication that the date was a hit, like a “I had a nice time, we should do it again soon” or perhaps even a hug. Instead, it was abrupt and I walked home feeling more confused than ever. That night, there was still no follow-up text from D and after a call to rant with my best friend about how badly the date ended, I fell asleep thinking,“Oh well, can’t help it if there was no attraction from his end.”
Surpsingly, D got in contact with me and asked me out for a second date… and a third. By the fourth date, it was clear that our relationship was growing and I shared my concerns with D about my permernance in NYC, not wanting to lead him on should I have to move to another city. I expected that any other 28-year-old would run for the hills, but D unassumingly reassured, “I’m in this for the long haul.” That night, we held hands for the first time while taking in the majestic views of Manhattan’s skyline along the Hudson River.
Seven months later, D and I are still going strong. We’ve since then taken snowboarding trips and met each others families. Given my job prospects, I’ve had to make a hard decision to return to Singapore, leaving behind everything I love about NYC. As disappointed as I am to not have spent more years working in the city like what I set out out to do, I gained so much more with my unexpected relationship with D.
His generosity and stability are the perfect complement to my sponateniety for life. What I lack in number skills, he makes up for. What he yearns in elegant writing, I provide. We stay grounded and honest, and go to bed every night saying how grateful we have been to have found each other. We rarely have difficult moments, but when we do, they are almost always because we wish we got to spend a few more precious moments being in the same location.
Even though being away from each other is not ideal, D and I are plowing through – because that’s what you do when you find your other half.
Happy 29th Birthday D! Can’t wait till I next see you.

She Can Get Some Satisfaction

It was snowing on Saturday when I left my apartment to catch the downtown train. I’ve been aching for a change and for the temperatures of Spring, so naturally my hair became a prime canvas. I’m not sure where this craving for transformation grew from — I’ve felt really settled and comfortable lately.

In fact, I haven’t desired much lately at all. With many amazing things spattered about my calendar in the months to come, I’m impressed with the life I’ve made and the days that I have to look forward to.

But that hunger. The fight. The work… To meet someone. Well, it’s gone.

Sure, I’m checking online dating profiles and if a guy wants to buy me a drink, I let him. I send flirty text messages and from time to time, I sext with Mr. Smith.  But nothing is really piquing my interest or encouraging the flight of butterflies and bumblebees. I haven’t felt their gentle and intoxicating stampede for nearly two years now.

And the thing is, I’m kind of satisfied.

Sure on nights like last night when the sleet beat against my air conditioning and the air was so cool I took two trains to get home, just to avoid being outside for an avenue longer than I needed. When I watch my beautiful best friends fall in love with men who have a promising twinkle in their eyes, I wonder when my turn will come. Sometimes I question if it will ever arrive at all — or if a girl with a heart as big as mine ca ever find another one to love in return. Sometimes, as my parents age and things don’t work as well as they once did, I feel guilty for leading a selfish existence instead of producing the grandchildren they keep telling me they look forward to spoiling.

I get down on myself, but I’ve been happier by myself than ever before. There’s something nice about solitude and those Saturdays I get to spend at the salon and the dog park, running in Central and treating myself to a $6 latte just because I want it. Or booking a trip to Mexico with my best friend because we want to celebrate being sufficient and young — and in need of some serious sun. And if I feel like going out on a Friday, the city is my playground with it’s men just pawns in a game that I’m good at playing, even if I’ve yet to win. But if I want to stay in, there is no harm, no guilt from a partner who wants to do something else, the only harm, really, is in my fear of missing out.

Lots of my friends who mastered being single a lot faster and earlier than I did used to tell me about these perks – of never having to consider another person in any decision. Or being able to date around to see what feels right, right now and what may feel right later on. They used to talk about how good it felt to be free and to have endless options, opportunities — from travel and finances to dining and sex.

I never understood it, though.

I wanted to factor in a man into the plan. I wanted him to figure out what we were cooking for dinner, what we were doing next weekend, what we wanted to do about that lightbulb in the kitchen that keeps going out or where we should take the dog to get her yearly vaccinations. I craved those discussions. I needed to meet him so I could go ahead and start thinking about the rest of my life.

But why wait for my life to begin when I’m already living it? Why linger to get satisfaction instead of doing things to satisfy myself?

When 2013 started, I had a feeling in my bones that it would bring about positive change and personal growth. I just knew that something big — something incredible — was in my cards this year, and the romantic in me convinced herself it had to do with love.

And maybe it still does. Or maybe not.

Sure, I might meet that man — who is as elusive and imaginary to me as he’s always been — but I think I’d rather meet a better version of myself. I’d rather become a woman I’m proud of. One who doesn’t need a man … and that’s why she meets him. Not because she’s doing all the right things and working hard to be available and open, but because she’s herself, leading a life she’s proud of.

 And most importantly, she can get some satisfaction… with or without him.

There Are Men

There are men out there who will respond to your text messages. Men who will initiate conversations because they simply can’t wait to see what you’ll say next. There are men who will never be too busy or too preoccupied to wish you good morning, regardless if you’re a country or a block away. Men who remember to call when they say they will – because they want to – and those who surprise you with their curiosity about your sometimes monotonous days. There are men who aim to be the last person you talk to before you sleep and the first name you see on your screen when you rise. Men who show up on time – or even early – men who are genuinely excited to see you.

There are men who want to go on dates. Real dates. Men who want to take you out to their favorite restaurant and will never expect you to pay, but always appreciate the gesture. There are men who want to talk to you for longer than one drink after work, and longer than what’s enough to get you upstairs. There are men who you won’t have to convince to see you. Men who aren’t purely motivated to be your sexual company, but just love being around you. There are men who won’t wait three days — or even three hours– to ask you out again. Men who have grown past games and cryptic messages that you don’t have time to decode. There are men who simply, truly just want to get to know you.

There are men who want to hold your hand in public. Men who enjoy walking around department stores shopping for things they can’t afford but love the feeling of your tiny fingers interlaced with their adorably-bony knuckles. There are men who love sitting next to you on the downtown train just so they can look at your face, even if they notice the uneven lines and imperfect skin in the terrible lighting, because they can’t imagine another way to spend their Saturday afternoon. Men who wish they could capture the wonder on your face when you see a new part of the city you didn’t know you loved, but now do. Men who want to show you off to the strangers on the street because they find you so incredibly intoxicating. There are men who are happy to be seen by your side, thankful to be someone you chose to roam about town with.

There are men who want to be your boyfriend. Who are totally excited to introduce you as their girlfriend to their friends, to their families, to the women who try to pick them up in bars. Men who aren’t unavailable, who are ready for a relationship, who aren’t ripe with excuses why the timing or the situation, the feeling or the possibility just isn’t right.  Men who don’t blame yesterday on their immature inability to develop something today and imagine tomorrow. There are men who wouldn’t pass on the chance to be yours because they know how amazing – how special – how superbly wonderful you are, and that they’re lucky you want to be with them, and only them. There are men who don’t hesitate on title changes or commitment. Men who want to grow with you and learn with you, love you the best they can, be with you as long as you allow them to. Men who don’t reply “thank you” when you say those precious three words. There are even men who say that incomparable phrase first, not second.

There are men who are proud of your successes, not intimidated by them. Men who are amazed by your determination and passion, who see the things inside of you that you can’t notice yet, or decide to ignore. There are men who believe in your future as much as they believe in the world you can create together. Men who want to witness your bad times and your good, be there when you fail and celebrate when you find that sense of belonging that we all look for, but never know quite what it means until we stumble across it. There are men who know to buy yellow tulips and kiss your forehead when you’ve had a rough day, men who remember you don’t ever take advice in the worst of situations, but you’ll want to hear it in the morning. Men who remind you of all the things to come and promise to be there when you get to the top of that mountain you’re climbing. There are men who really mean that and are there at the peak. And in the valley.

There are men who listen. Men who linger on each and every word you say because they know they will never know too much about you, and are intrigued to always learn more, regardless of how long they’ve known you. There are men who have the ability to put your needs before their own, who remember the first time they noticed something different about you. Men who like the way you look right after a long shower or a night run, when you’re dressed to go out and when you’re in your sweats from college. Men who see your insecurities but find them only a small part of what makes you beautiful. There are men who will remember your birthday, the day you met, the moment they knew they loved you and when you made them want to be a better person. There are men who love your thoughtful heart as much as they’re turned on by your soft body. Men who know how hard you like it, what part of your neck gets you going and that sometimes, you really just need to be spooned until you fall asleep. There are men who will accept you for whatever you are, whoever you are, whenever you decide to be that person in that place. Men who will stand by you – and fight for you – because they know you’re worth it. Because they know you’d do the same for them.

There are men who will spend weeks, months or even a year planning the perfect way to propose. Men who not only realize how special that moment will be to you, but how important of a story it’ll be to the children you don’t have yet. There are men who want to watch the wrinkles form around your eyes and especially around your mouth, because they’ve spent decades listening to that laugh they love come out of the sweetest smile they’ve ever seen. Men who will leave you notes by your morning coffee or send you sweet – or dirty – text messages at work, even after you’ve been married fifteen years. There are men who will adore all of the things that make you a woman, even when those things bear babies instead of nights of sexual release, even when those things drag instead of rise to occasions. Men who will always remember what you looked like that day you walked toward them in a white gown with glitter on your eyes and the purist of hope in your heart. There are men who truly, honestly, completely will love you.

There are so many men out there. But you’ll never meet them if you don’t let go of the guys you really don’t want to find the men you really deserve. The men who are waiting to meet someone just like you.

Something To Talk About

New York may attract the dreamers and the artists who express in every medium imaginable – but it also harbors and encourages the nosy.

Those of us who consider people-watching a pastime. Who have mastered the art of appearing engaged reading the Monday edition of The Times, when we’re actually eavesdropping on a riveting conversation three seats down. Those of us who can be entertained by the very best and the absolute worse displays of human emotion, affection, and self-destruction. Those of us who find ourselves inspired by strangers as much (if not more so) as we do from those we actually know the names of.

For a journalist and a woman who is easily combustible when given fodder for intriguing content – I picked the best city to live in. I may argue it picked me, but nevertheless,  though I love strutting to the rhythm of my powerhouse iTunes playlist while navigating the streets, I find myself removing the buds to tune-in to conversations I wasn’t invited to be part of.

Maybe it’s because of this blog or the universe’s way of encouraging my quest to self-love, but lately, the name of the eavesdropping game has been men. Or rather, women obsessing to a ridiculous degree about the guys who are, are not, could be, should be, or will be in (or out of) their lives.

Case in point, a few night ago I was changing in the locker room of my gym, when I overheard two girls discussing a dude one of them had met at a bar the weekend before. The girl was so distracted by going through each and every single detail about what he texted, how much time was between those messages, and what she thought he meant by them, that by the time she finished explaining everything, her friend had already changed into workout attire. She then realized she was behind her buddy and frantically started pulling off her work clothes to catch up. Obviously contemplating what her friend should wear as she waited for her to get ready, the other gal instructed, “Well, since you met him at kind of a trendy, clubby, flashy place, and you were dressed up – that’s how you should be when you get dinner tomorrow.” The girl with the dude and the date, stopped pulling up her sweatpants and with intense emotion said, “I know! I’m so stressed out that he’ll see me and think ‘Oh my God, that’s not who I met the other night.’ I really need to stop by H&M after this and pick out something. Or maybe you have something – are we still the same bra size? He’s taking me to some place downtown that I Googled, looked on New York magazine’s site, and on Menupages – so I think I have the scene figured out.”

Her friend placed her hand on her hip, tilted her head and matter-of-factly said, “You just never know, though. Ya know?” To which the girl nodded and replied, “I know. It’s going to be a disaster and I’m going to screw it up, I just know it. I always do.” By this point, I had been stretching my legs for far too long to hear their conversation and needed to literally run -but as I turned to look behind me, the scene of the girl stuck with me: athletic pants, an edgy sweater, two socks, and one running shoe on – gazing up at her friend in complete distress over a guy she’d met once.

Once.

Now, I started this blog for this very reason. I was that girl. If I’m honest I was far worse than that girl, if you get right down to it. My obsessions were intense and borderline-psycho. When I met a new man and he did actually call, email, text, Facebook, Tweet, or some other technological option of getting in touch with someone – I became instantly smitten. I lingered on his every last word, romanticized the way we met, came up with reasons why it must be fate, and tried to imagine what it’d be like to be his lady. Even if I didn’t quite remember what he looked like, what he did for a living, or if there was a spark – the fact that he was interested in me, meant I needed to make sure he stayed that way. And what better way to keep someone intrigued then to figure out the perfect thing to say, do, act, and seem like, so that the reason he decided to contact me in the beginning, would only continue.

And for the few first dates that turned into something more, regardless if they became boyfriends or flings – the obsession with talking about boys didn’t come to a stop…but only intensified. No matter what I had going on, what great adventures I was attempting, what strides I made in my career – I always defaulted to discussions about the man in my life. Or the one I wanted to be in my life.

In the spirit of honesty, I’m still not cured from being that girl. Like this weekend when a group of gals all-but had an intervention with me concerning what I felt about Mr. Possibility (hence yesterday’s post). Of course I appreciated and listened to their concerns, asked for their opinions, and described certain parts of my something-relationship with him in complete detail, my feelings were different. Unlike guys in the past, Mr. Possibility’s presence doesn’t rule all of my conversations. I tend to believe that if there weren’t any complications, he’d probably be mentioned a lot less. Regardless – that night, as I went on and on, played Devil’s advocate, tuned into their viewpoints, and tried to believe the most rational reasoning, I found myself exhausted of the conversation. I could hear the ridiculousness in my voice and the way I was putting myself down, going around in circles, and frankly – not having any sort of compelling conversation because I was lost in my own obsessive delusions. At that point in time, in those hours spent drinking and catching-up with my friends – why was I wasting my time talking about a man who was across several oceans?

Wouldn’t I rather know about their lives? About the half-marathon one gal is running and how she wants to be running buddies? About how one found the absoulte perfect job that would fulfill her dreams? Or how one managed to help bring a book she edited to the best-seller’s list? Or just about the cool recipe they came up with? And wouldn’t they rather know something more about me…then a damn boy?

Surely, we want to know these things about our friends and they want to celebrate in our success and be there for us in our trials, but somehow – the topic of men always seems to be far more intriguing. In that night alone, we compared our crazy sex and ex stories (which sometimes tend to be one-in-the-same) talked about what we wanted the very most at that moment – and two responded with “A man! It’s cold!

Guys can be quite confusing, engaging, and incredibly entertaining – but don’t we have something more to talk about than them? Something that’s more meaningful, more interesting, more beneficial to our lives and our personal growth? Something that showcases who were are as individuals, the women we’re growing into, and the battles we’ve fought to get to where we are?

Of course – but do we always want to talk about those things?

Really, discussing relationships, no matter if we agree or disagree with them, want one or not, or have ever been in or fallen out of love- make us realize that we’re not alone. If we say these worries out loud, if we give them life by putting them in words, if we catch a raised-eyebrow or an understanding glance from our best friend -then we know that it’s okay to feel these things, it’s okay to be obsessive sometimes, it’s okay to not be the best player at this game of love.

It’s okay that at times, the only thing we want to talk about, even when we know we shouldn’t or when we know it makes us sound insecure or addicted – is the relationship we hope to find. Maybe we’re projecting what we want on strangers, getting way ahead of ourselves, and reading into details we don’t need to analyze.

Or maybe, giving them, or us, something to talk about, means saying the things you always hold back for fear of how they’ll make you appear. When in reality, they don’t make you that girl, an immature woman, or a non-recovering love addict – they just make you human.

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Am I Becoming Cold?

A few days ago I was asked out on a date.

While out to dinner at one of my favorite NYC restaurants, my friend, S, and I were hit on by an adjacent table of 10 guys celebrating…who knows what? Saki bombs and sushi rolls were plenty, and so was the level of annoyance. However, there was one guy, who I’ll call Mr. Sushi, who was a little different and stood out from the pack of immature “men.”

Mr. Sushi is nearly 30 (which is fine by me), tall, and has a good career. He just returned from a three-month trek around the world to discover countries, places, and people he has always wanted to see. He lives in the Upper West Side, originally from New Jersey, and we both share a love for this tiny little diner near Columbia (his alma mater).

Once he asked for my number, I told him, “Now, you better wait the allotted three days to use it, ok?” He laughed at my attempt at a joke and promised he’d put my digits to use. As my friend and I stood up to leave, he stood up too, to hug me. As we embraced, his friends started chanting “Kiss her! Kiss her!” A little tipsy from the evening’s spirits, I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what they were talking about, and Mr. Sushi couldn’t either –until we looked at each other and it clicked.

Then, the hole-in-the-wall restaurant caught on and every table joined in saying “Kiss her! Kiss her!” Mr. Sushi leaned down to my ear and said “We have to or we’ll disappoint everyone…and never get to come back here.” I agreed, and there in the middle of everyone, he dipped me and kissed me. Yes, there was a little tongue.

The next morning, I realized how little it bothered me. I told my mom about the exchange, she got excited (mainly because he’s a Taurus) and she asked me about it the following day, when he had yet to text. I thought the kissing-in-the-middle-of-the-restaurant was a cute story, but I wasn’t a nervous nelly because he didn’t contact me.

And once he did, three days later (of course), I was surprised to hear from him (mainly because I kind of forgot). He asked me out the following night, but I already had plans, and unlike the former me, I didn’t break them just to go on a date. I gave him my availability and he worked around my schedule. After the exchange, I left it alone, and it didn’t consume my thoughts.

Progress? I’m not getting my hopes up –which is good (right?). Or was I just not that into him? And is it bad if I don’t get my hopes up period anymore?

I’m praying this process doesn’t take away my lavish optimism and admiration for love. I still want to desire falling in love and having that once-in-a-lifetime romance, but I don’t want it to overpower my thoughts and my confidence. I want to be completely content and in love with myself, but I still want to get excited about possibility with someone else.

Is there a happy medium? Or does being un-addicted to love mean you lose that hopeful whimsical nature? Can I be okay with not being in love or having a relationship and still get those incomparable butterflies-in-your-tummy feeling?

Should I be getting excited about this date or is it bad that it doesn’t faze me at all? Am I becoming cold? Or is it just the weather?