September 30th, 2018

Charah coffee

A Paradigm Shift

I still cannot figure out how I spent 1.5 years feeling no attraction whatsoever to E, basically friend-zoning him, and out of nowhere, a burgeoning attraction; first when I (my mind, my body) registered the warmth of his hand on my back one night when I went over to his for food and movie; then when we went to watch the Davis Cup in Lille, my responding to his fingertips grazing the small of my back and his arm around my shoulders; then Saturday in Brussels, looking at art in the Magritte Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, how nice it felt whenever he touched me, seemingly innocuously.

I had a dream about him before the tennis/Brussels weekend--a sex dream, that is. In that regard, I suppose a part of me did anticipate that something would happen that weekend...but there's a difference between anticipating something as a possibility, and having this thing become actual reality.

I tried to fight it, though, oh I tried, mostly because I valued him deeply as a friend and I didn't want to start something that I didn't have the conviction to follow-through on--and I wasn't sure whether I could start dating him after the trip was over because I had really, really wanted to stay single. I wanted to be single in London and just focus on the things that matter to me and not chase after a lukewarm body that brings me nothing but down. I wasn't sure, too, whether 1) I would be sufficiently attracted to him when we are back to reality to date him; and 2) I would ever be okay with what he does.

I think the answer to (2) is a 'no'. I feel uncomfortable now when he says the word 'experiments' in relation to his work because of what it entails: animal experiments. It cuts against my fundamental convictions, and I just don't think that the ends--trying to find a cure for leukaemia--justifies the means. It's not something that I can ever get on board with.

So I tried to fight it. We slept on separate beds the first night because I don't like sharing a bed with someone else, and although I'd already wanted, quite strongly too, for him to kiss me that night, I did nothing.

But the tension just kept growing on Saturday, and he did something really sweet when we (along with Pieter, my Belgian friend from the LSE) sat down at the Grand Place for a drink and he went to check out this traditional parade thing from some random part of Belgium. Apparently it's customary for them to hand out oranges to spectators. So he got an orange, came back and said, 'It's for you. You need it because you're sick.' Then he peeled the orange for me, and took out some wet tissue from his bag for my sticky fingers.

He's generally a really sweet guy (case in point: he brought me roses when he visited this weekend because he knows that I like roses) and he's done many sweet things but the orange thing really touched me.

So basically I stopped fighting it that Saturday night. After that Saturday night, everything changed; and so we've been dating for...what is it, two weeks now?

On the one hand, he is very familiar and I feel very comfortable around him. He's not my type in the sense that he's actually a nice, decent guy: very mild, very gentle, very giving, doesn't assert his wishes very much and goes along with what I want. He's the type of person that I should settle down with, if I were to ever settle down.

On the other hand, I don't feel intense feelings for him. It's all very placid and pleasant; it's not the kind of passionate, intense connection that I've felt in the past with men that I'd fallen head over heels for. While it's not a bad thing in itself because stability, basically, I suppose I'm all too aware of my tendency to get bored, of my capriciousness, and of my wanting to guard my sovereignty of time and schedule against an encroachment from a man towards whom I feel only something pleasant and placid.

I suppose I am doubly doubtful because I didn't want to start something with someone who either has doubts about me, or about whom I have doubts, and so I can't help but question how long this is going to last. But why question, right? Why not just keep an open mind and enjoy the ride, see where it goes?

Alas, I cannot help but question. I question everything, even the fact that he calls me 'darling', and like what NEB did, turn something nice into something negative. What if I never feel strong feelings for him? Do I need to have strong feelings for my life partner? Am I not too old for the dramatics and the histrionics?