My first guest post. Heather, you’re my best friend now!
It should have been a red flag, but at first I liked it. An hour after my first date with Kyle* I logged into Facebook and read in his status, “Kyle had a great time tonight.” Excellent! I thought. I had a nice time too, but he seemed a little shy, so I wasn’t sure if there would be a second date.
Sure enough, there was a second, and a third, and eventually a tenth date. At the beginning, I was thrilled – he was a talented artist and animator, he had a cool job, he met my sisters and some of my friends, he invited me to a party to meet his friends.
Those things were a bigger deal than they should have been, but I was recovering from a three-year on and off relationship with a guy who never asked me out ahead of time – I only saw him if he happened to be in my neighborhood, which was often in the middle of the night. Needless to say, I had met only a couple of his friends in the years we were seeing each other. I was never sure if we were in a relationship, always referring to him as “the guy I’m seeing.”
Kyle and I were definitely dating, and he wanted the world to know it. Kind of charming at first, but then he started to cross the line. He was a frequent Facebook updater – he used it to promote his music blog, but also to post mundane updates like “had breakfast in Fort Greene and now off to the gym!” And after every date, I could count on a status update about me.
One night we went to a comedy show, then shared a kiss on the street before getting in separate taxis. His update appeared within the hour: “Kyle laughed so much tonight, and I’m glad it was with you.”
Despite his semi-public pronouncements on Facebook, he remained a little shy and awkward in person. He never told me how he felt about me, so I had to depend on his status updates. That seemed wrong. To confuse things even more, I was having trouble reading his body language. Under normal circumstances, a guy would usually try to get me back to his place, or get himself invited to mine, within 2 or 3 dates. With Kyle, he seemed pretty content to go out, have pleasant conversation, then maybe a kiss goodbye.
Then he invited me over for dinner on Valentine’s Day. If he didn’t try anything that night, then I didn’t know what it would take.
The Facebook updates started early in the day. “Kyle is buying mahi mahi to cook for Valentine’s Day dinner tonight,” he wrote around 11 am. His network was intrigued. “Who’s the lucky girl?” someone asked.
A couple more updates appeared about the procuring and the preparation of the mahi mahi and side dishes.
As dinnertime rolled around, I wasn’t feeling my best, but I put on a dress that showed off my assets and made myself presentable. I showed up with a bottle of wine and a smile.
Dinner was delicious, Kyle was pleasant, his apartment was decent. Objectively, it was a fine evening. But to be fair, my heart wasn’t completely in it. I had gone on a couple dates with another prospect, and felt more excited about that guy. Plus, I was still mixed up over my on-and-off pseudo-ex-boyfriend, who left me a dejected-sounding voicemail that evening. Still, I was nervous and curious to see if Kyle would finally put the move on me. Would his actions match his words on Facebook?
The answer was no. We watched two movies, and he had plenty of chances. He seemed more entertained by a commercial in between movies than by making out with me. Around 1 am, I looked at my watch and said,
“Oh, it’s late. I guess I’d better head home.”
“You don’t have to go,” he said.
“You’re supposed to say, “Please don’t go,” I said, half-teasing. He shrugged. I went home.
I saw him a couple more times after that, but was perplexed. Was he just not that into me? Why keep asking me out? Why make thinly veiled (or unveiled) gestures on Facebook?
Even though he was more appropriate than other people I’d dated recently –- good career, stable lifestyle, ready to settle down –- I decided that it wasn’t enough. There was something missing. So at the end of a Sunday afternoon date, I told him that he was a great guy, but I just didn’t see it going anywhere. He didn’t protest much, but he seemed to take it pretty hard. He was sullen and cold for the few subway stops back into Manhattan. I got off two stops early to escape the awkwardness. I felt sad but a little relieved as I arrived at a friend’s house for dinner. I checked Facebook quickly on my phone and saw his latest update: “Thanks for ruining a really great weekend.”