During a dinner conversation with Rachel and Michael, the topic came up around Chris. “How is he doing?” She politely asked like so many before her. Rachel and Michael were also friends with him when we were together. Even though we broke up for a few years by now, friends were still asking me about him. Chris and I did still hang out from time to time. Is that the source of confusion? Is a couple who broke up not meant to be friends and stay in touch? I guessed that I was not the only one who had trouble adjusting from a six-year habit. I believed that I could still be friends with my ex-boyfriend. I answered, “He is fine. Doing an MBA and trying to change his career.” And yes, I was still cat-sitting for him when he was out of town. “Oh, and I think he is seeing some girl he met at school. I hung out with them a few weeks ago.”
After Chris, men were not on my mind at all. I didn’t think that my life missed a man. I went through the mechanics of talking about dating when Rachel asked me about it once in a long while. For sure, I was not thinking about getting another boyfriend.
Rachel asked me if I was interested in checking out the FirstFriday, a social event at the Museum of Fine Arts on the first Friday of every month. She thought we could meet people there. I was curious enough to say yes so we went together.
We paid the admission fee to get in as if we were there to admire the artwork, except we were there to admire a different kind of artwork: men. The space we were directed to was a very nice room filled with European paintings. Three musicians at one corner of the room played jazz to create a very classic mood.
Rachael and I started talking to each other about dating: what we thought was good and what was bad. We then continued to talk about our own tastes in men comparing notes and making jokes. The conversations were so good that we got some snacks and continued on. We were both anti-social and kept to ourselves.
Finally, a man made an effort to interrupt us and tried to strike a conversation. We quickly lost interest. And then the cycle repeated: meet, chat, leave. We ended up standing on the side of a hidden corner watching people walking by. Occasionally, we pointed out someone good looking to each other.
The night went by fast actually. I had a great time talking to Rachel. That was really the key to this social experience. “Whatever I do, I enjoy doing it with friends.” Besides that, I didn’t find this event suitable and interesting for me to go back again.
When I went out with Rachael and Michael, they were looking to meet people. But I just enjoyed hanging out with them. I had no trouble being social, talkative, friendly, and out-going at work, with old friends and family, but as soon as I met a man who was single and attractive to me, I became a complete introvert. My change of personality puzzled both them and myself. I was a fish out of the water when it came to meeting and dating men!
Dan was the first person I liked after Chris. We met at work. I had a crush on him. Whenever I saw Dan, I was timid and anxious. Even though we kept running into each other because we worked and worked out at the same places, we never had a proper conversation with each other.
A group of us from work were at a happy hour at a bar in the North End. I sat in a corner and stayed quiet. I was enjoying listening to and watching everyone. After most people left, Dan asked me if I wanted to hang out. “Sure.” I followed him. We stood next to each other in an Irish bar. Dan was watching the game on TV above the bar. I didn’t know any sports teams at all. I also didn’t really hang out at bars. I was in a very unfamiliar situation. We didn’t say anything to each other for the next half an hour. Then Dan turned to me, pointed to the TV screen, and asked, “What’s the score on the screen?” Does he think I am drunk? I told him the number. I wondered if I should start following sports just so I could have a better conversation with him. Then he said, “I’m going to grab a bite.” He didn’t ask me to come along. Instead of being friendly and asking to join him, I said, “Okay. I will go home.” I didn’t know how to be social around a single man, and he wasn’t any help. Looking back, we were both pretty bad at liking each other.