Is it disappointing that I dropped the ball on the psychotherapist?
I was thinking that he would see right through me. I was afraid of that.
I was also thinking that I wasn’t hopeful enough about this date to merit talking about it. By chance I was able to schedule another date for the day after that I was more excited about after I had already agreed to date the psychotherapist. With all my experience of being on the receiving end of fickle, I can’t feel guilty about this.
He was 43, this was the first man in my experiment with ‘dating over 40.’ He looked a little like someone I had dated before, but I had a feeling that on meeting I probably wouldn’t be attracted to him, and I wasn’t. Where have all the hot 40 year olds gone? They’re married you idiot! I’ll make sure to tell you when I find one.
So on to Mr. Multilingual, there’s an interesting story to tell here. I’m still trying to digest him!
Date #13, Mr. Multilingual, The Predate Vlog
The Unconventional Woman can’t get a question in edgewise because Mr. Multilingual is so busy trying to figure her out, but the style of interrogation is enough to make her want to meet up.
Post First Impressions
The Unconventional Woman has landed in a Jazz bar, and she seems pretty angry about something.
The Post Date Denouement
The Unconventional Woman reflects that she might have been too harsh in the Mid date vlog. She reveals mr. Multilingual’s very exciting profession, and why she might confuse ‘sparring’ for flirtation
Yes, date #11….This is date #11. I wasn’t able to report on 8, 9, and 10, but I’m counting them in the count, because I made the effort to message them and meet them….They count as the labor that this process takes, the labor of the outsider trying to make meaningful connections on the inside, not having the privilege of being introduced by friends of friends. They count as the labor it takes to get out of your social context. Date #8 stood me up for brunch…first he made me wake up early on a Saturday then he stood me up. Date #9 left when I went to the toilet…around this time N wrote me an email about how I was exploiting these poor guys sincerely looking for love. I don’t think that guy matched my level of sincerity. Date #10 wasn’t as bad except he sort of thoughtlessly asked me to meet him a the London Eye on a weekend without any plan after that, and we ended up at the Waterstones near Trafalgar square, so I didn’t even have a toilet to do my my post first impressions vlog in. Yes, that’s the Waterstones the American tourist was locked in over night this week.. That’s a good measure of the quality of that date actually.
The Predate Vlog
Earlier this year Mindy Kaling wrote an article in the New Yorker about the sparkling science fiction world of Romantic Comedies. I imagine the world of my blog as the ugly step child of this world… with all of the desire but none of the easy happy endings and vapid stupidity. Instead there is a lot of toxic reality, and my fight to find hope in it.
This is what Mindy Kaling said about architects:
“Whenever you meet a handsome, charming, successful man in a romantic comedy, the heroine’s friend always says the same thing: “He’s really successful. He’s”—say it with me—“an architect!”
There are, like, nine people in the entire world who are architects, and one of them is my dad. None of them look like Patrick Dempsey.”
There you go… architects are gold dust from Rom Com world
This is the first time I’ve dated an architect, and it’s no wonder, because as a profession architecture is first to fall victim to a recession, and the last to recover later. That’s the real reason architects are gold dust, because Romantic Comedies are constructed from post war fantasies of success that are actually pretty dated.
So this is the first time I’ve dated an architect…I’m not a willing victim to Rom Com world, but I do have some romantic associations with the word. As an artist I’m always trying to balance creative and practical traits in the men I meet. If my partner is too practical, they won’t understand my impractical professional, something I’m passionate about and a reason I’m swimming up the stream of society most of the time. If my partner is too creative, he might also be constantly swimming up the stream…his instability might make me less stable.
But besides his profession, do I have any reason to like this guy? Either he’s too busy to build rapport in messages or I am. His profile was good…in a generic kind of way. I’m just hoping that IRL could be different.
Post First Impressions Vlog
So I realized a long time ago that red wine is not a good look on me, but I’ve started to resent the idea that someone would hold the way a specific type of alcohol changes my appearance against me…even in my video log…no it was the lighting, definitely the lighting! Anyway, what about the guy? “The length of the date bodes well, but the Unconventional woman’s voice is detached as she describes the feeling of pleasantly gliding along the surface.”……Not exactly a reason to skip the red wine.
The Post Date Denouement: Reflections on the Intimacy Machine
I should say up to this time a lot of my dating theory has been based on something I call the intimacy machine…The intimacy machine is not physical, It’s mental, but it might be neurochemical. When you open up to someone, it’s like a dare for the other person to open up. I found the machine on accident because I like talking to people, but I hate superficial conversations. Often the machine resembles the tropes of pillow talk or kiss and tell, there’s mutual vulnerability and an emotional bond is formed. It’s a dangerous place to be in: you might find someone’s deep dark secret and realize you shouldn’t be in the intimacy machine with them. It takes a lot of strength of character to climb out of the machine once the process is initiated. I’ve been telling my friends about this machine. My position has been if you don’t turn the machine on during your date, nothing happens, so it’s a risk worth taking. Some people have suggested that I turn the machine on…a little slower.
I tried that on this date. I’m not too sure about the results? I invited my friends along for the post date vlog to get their take on it.
I wasn’t totally honest in the post date vlog of 4# and 5#, the Tall Irish Vegan…I was still negotiating how my privacy might exist in this project, and as we all know, it doesn’t. Or at least, I am still in the process of experiencing the technical difficulties. I keep tripping up on the fact that these things, the very private things, matter. They are both the gateway to the way we connect to each other and our power relationships. So on date #5, what should of been a lovely romantic venture in Kew Gardens, I was exhausted… The week of precarity had just happened…and I was an hour late and ruining my date with the Tall Irish Vegan by bitching all day about J. W. and 19 year old Yuki. We managed anyway to have some nice moments. The Gin and Tonics garden in Kew was like a Wes Anderson movie: The set up, the barmen. the music even. We swore who ever the manager was must of been insane for Wes Anderson, probably put a call out just for these types: tall gawky Englishmen with awkard noses, add a lanky Indian with shiny long hair. Dress them in flowery shirts. Afterwards we went to a pub in Kew for Dinner.. we got vegan meals together. The pub had much better lighting than our cozy Scrabble pub in Dulwich,.. and was mostly attended by Grannies. We just wanted a little privacy to kiss again like we did in Dulwich.
I have to say that the project has been distorting my attitude towards these ventures. I want to know too quickly the yes or no. because if it’s no, I don’t want to waste my time, or break with my project.
So we had the talk about flats…He had some visitors at his: not enough privacy. I was very ashamed of the mess in my room… most embarrassingly I really needed to clean the sheets. We came up with a solution..a blindfold. Then the idea was just too hot to put down. We started talking about honey.
I think he took a bus home at about 12 am. In the morning when we weren’t in touch I started to feel that I had messed things up. Of course it’s a self infliction of sexist standards that I blamed it all on myself. He called me back at noon, and we talked about the fact that he would be traveling most of September, and we should keep things low key, with no labels. In a way this is exactly what I wanted. There was a chance I could go on 30 dates before he came back..or at least 20? So if he really liked me we could start things in October.. If he actually liked me. I was also suspicious that the words no labels are just a way to make a graceful exit.
I started to think the latter when our communications cooled off significantly…after a few days I did the post date vlog.
Anyway I just talked to him on Skype. He called me up to say he found the blog a week ago. He was hesitating out of curiosity to hear what I said, but felt it was important to tell me before I wrote about him. He said he was okay with the blog. He wasn’t confrontational, but gentle, and respectful. It was good to see his face. I got that feeling you get when your mind is arranging itself around the appearance of someone you have growing affection for.We talked about the meaning of the no labels statement, and the cooling off. It was just a knowledge that we needed to slow down things a little (something I already stated in my vlog). So we will definitely see each other again….at the same time he’s cool with the project and the idea that I will be seeing other people. He feels like I do, that he’s doesn’t have to ‘own me’ for me to know that I like him more others. If I do end up with someone else in the process than that’s meant to be. I feel at peace with this, and I’ve much warmed to the Tall Irish Vegan because of the way he responded…in the right way… I’m now looking forward to seeing him again much more than I was. The boy with the Thailand tattoo texted me this morning and said ‘I wasn’t right for him’. I can’t know if he found the blog. I emailed this morning to make the leap of faith and tell him about it, and also ask if we could be friends. But if he found the blog, wasn’t cool with it, didn’t tell me, and won’t respond to an email…that just shows he wasn’t the right person for me.
Higher than average personality and ambition but low on the hotness scale, the Unconventional woman speculates whether they have the ingredients for romance… but first let’s see if he can fit a date into his busy schedule.
Post First Impressions
When is a radical outfit not enough? The date went where you can expect a date to go if you don’t make a tenable plan, meandering dismally in the streets, in high spirits from conversation, the Unconventional Woman reflects on how to send the secret message “Don’t ask me out again!” and have fun at the same time.
The Post Date Denouement
I wasn’t the best version of myself, I was the ranting, raging version of myself. Well, some people think this is the best version, (; Anyway I wasn’t “the girlfriend version.”
Usually a woman sits down with her date, and she is able to assess that he is either physically less attractive, less intelligent, or lacking in emotional intelligence, availability, and confidence. She sees this and knows that because of the sexism shaping the world around her, he may be judged as equal or even better than her in the pluses and minuses of things. He will have more economic, social, and romantic opportunities. She knows that he also will judge himself by this outside system, not seeing her true value, and feel more entitled than she does. She knows it is in her best interest to find out what she can love about this person despite his flaws…and love is still possible in this way. Loving past the flaws can be joyful, fulfilling, and sexually rewarding. Her agency lies in the possibility of quality partnerships, not in a total insistence on equality, which seems impossible to achieve in the short amount of time she has to exist in both a mature and attractive adulthood. Still, after she is given the opportunity to invest physically and emotionally in him, when he abuses her (during the break up) and devalues her ( by moving to another country to date a 19 year old) it is a slap in the face. It will be hard for her to let go of the anger. This is not just an event or his personal choice, but an expression of how she is always playing a game she cannot win in a machine built to systemically devalue her mind and body. She loses pieces of herself in the process.
But today a rare event occurred. I was outclassed. I was thinking am I smart enough, pretty enough,and emotionally mature enough to have a chance with this guy?
I said before he looks like my dear friend Min Wei, from the pictures. I think I find him more attractive. I think I find him more attractive in person. When a guy does not have hair or height on his side, but is still handsome. it’s exciting. You know that nature has not given him any ‘easy in’ and his handsomeness is totally his own thing. And when you can see the subtle shape of muscle under a button down shirt, that is his personal achievement. I don’t often fetishise accents because I’ve heard so many, but the Glasgow accent was starting to trip me up.
The first thing I said was can I look at your tattoo? And usually a tattoo is such a banal, hackneyed thing. But this tattoo was an intermingling of Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic design culture. He called it ‘sacred geometry’ i told him the intermingling of those design cultures was my obsession when I was 19. Tantric Diagrams, Mandalas. It was a Thai tattoo. We have to tell the story of our lineages because I traveled towards the Thai tattoo in my lifetime, instead of being born near it. His story is better than mine. He is Italian, Spanish, Scottish, and Chinese. Pirate? I said. His grandfather was from Shanghai, a sailor in the Merchant Navy. He had a family in Shanghai, Nepal, and Scotland. He was a love pirate. I wonder if the genes went down the family tree.
I was really struggling to get my head round this and the world of the political underground that he inhabits while trying to understand all the information in the Disobedient Objects exhibition. I don’t get how something like decentralized technology matches up with socialism, even though I did the predate Google. I still don’t really get what a crypto anarchist or a cypher punk is. It’s mysterious and sexy, and I want to be the type of person who might meet these people? He has personal stories for at least a few of the objects in the exhibition, and I think where have I been living? Not on the ground. When I know about the Guerrilla Girls and he doesn’t, It’s a relief. I had something to add. Apparently his mum taught textiles at Goldsmiths and is ranty (a sign!) and I say, can’t believe G.G. got left out of the rant. In the pub with a drink in me I feel less stupid. We talk about conformity, shame as a tool for social control and classism (the swimming pool story), and who is actually happy in this system, not the producers, not the consumers..not the consumers at any level. He recommends doing ayahuasca to all my anxious, sad friends because it turns a mirror on your self and gives you insight on a path towards change. He says he did this and it worked. I said my friends are slowly trying to get a grip, but I’m not sure they can handle seeing the whole mirror. They might kill themselves. He recommends I try Jujitsu for my problem of over empathizing and being turned off to my emotional self. To learn how to be a fighter. He does kick boxing and Jujitsu, that’s why his body is like that. He gives me the down low on the Scottish referendum. If Scotland stays in they lose their free health care and education, and become a testing ground for all the shittiest laws before they come to England. If Scotland leaves they stay Scottish and socialist, and England becomes irretrievably Tory and corporately fascist without their influence. He says he will move to Berlin within 9 months. I start laughing. You too he says? Fuck tories, and marriage, me too. He has to leave for a meeting…he texts his mate for an extra hour but we still only get 3 hours together. In a final stroke of questionable genius, I explain how Tess of the D’urbervilles killing her rapist is a lot like Dave Chapelle’s series “when keeping it real goes wrong”.He does seem to find it impressive. I tell him he is fascinating as he is about to go..no way could I play it cool at this point. He says I am fascinating too, but we don’t make plans. He goes.
I text Shannon ridiculously ” I think I’m going to die of hotness.” I go to the toilet to do my post first impressions vlog. I go to the Speed Listening event I have been looking forward to. There’s good music and people sharing it. I try to enjoy it, but I go home half way through. I just want to sit in my room and remember 3 hours passing.
After lengthy messages that she was never sure would culminate in a meeting, the Unconventional Woman is trying to bounce back from some bad energy by seeing through the text to her next date…He’s very engaging..on the edges of show off. When he describes his circle of friends the Unconventional Woman is tantalized by hearing about an unfamiliar side of London.
Post First Impressions
The man was a lot more than the messages promised, certainly hitting the top 5 first dates ranking…but he left after only 3 hours. The Unconventional Woman fears she has been outclassed!