We couldn’t meet for a while and got far too embroiled in text conversations before we met. He was kind of argumentative and provocative in his texting, which I found pretty funny. He then seemed to soften – the keenness and imaginativeness of joking was touching, and conversations sometimes strayed into more serious topics. Looking back, it felt that I’d seen a sweet side of him in that time, and seen what he could be capable of.
He was in a band so I managed to find a video of him before we’d even met. Little-by-little, you start adjusting the mechanics, making this person the focus of your desire. ‘Yeah, I could be with someone who plays in a band… I can go with this childish sense of humour… It’s good that he has a good stable job and likes it’ – all like you do.
He was less good-looking than I thought he would be, but I recognised him from the photos. He was also a bit juvenile and goofy, but not without confidence.
He told me about Anzac Day and his job which was in Finance which I couldn’t begin to understand. We kissed on the street on the way to the tube and in the days which followed, I thought only of how nice it would be…
He had wanted to do the sexy texting before we’d even met, which I resisted (potentially a complete waste of everyone’s time), but then while we waited for the second date, it was too tempting.
With hindsight, I realised that date number two hadn’t really gone well. There was something a tiny bit pushy and controlling about him. He wasn’t playful and sweet, as he had been before. There are various explanations for this:
- He felt out of his depth and insecure (he ‘hadn’t had many girlfriends’)
- Insecurity fused with an inability to process and pressure to be a tough guy
- Resentment towards me as the object of his desire – he wanted the sex but feared the repercussions and my expectations of him
We went for food and back to mine. The slightly controlling stuff continued and we felt distant from each other. I nonetheless tried to go with it and things he would like. I felt like I had invited a sullen adolescent to my house but I know that you can feel many different strange and passing things at the start of a liaison.
Then there was that final date. He was quiet and offered very little to the conversation. It was a horrible grim feeling. A great sense of foreboding hovered, all the time batted away because maybe is this just the way he is, or perhaps I supposed to just sit in silence?
I think we had a text exchange after returning to our separate homes, and it seemed somehow clear that it was me pushing for this, and me alone. So I didn’t text him again. And he didn’t text me.
I remembered that he had mentioned the word ‘awkward’ quite a lot, just in conversation. It rang in my head in the weeks afterwards. But amid the hurt, I felt shallow victory knowing that he would never know what I’d been thinking, and that he would always wonder whether perhaps I had also rejected him, just as he had rejected me.