I have too much pride; or so I tell myself. I have too much self-respect; or so I would like to believe. But I do have a lot of pride. I don't chase after someone who isn't interested, no matter how curious I am about him, how interested I am. I don't tell someone that I like him until I know that he likes me. I don't put myself out there, not because I believe in traditional gender roles, but because I have a lot of pride, and so I am too proud to do the chasing. I could do it, of course; I did it with Matt. But I also gave up after going out with him twice, partly because we had nothing in common anyway, but also because it was unacceptable to me that he wasn't doing anything (but this was probably a function of him knowing that we have nothing in common). All this begs the question of just what is the relationship between chasing a man and a lack of pride - an entirely valid question for which I have no answer. It is irrelevant anyway. It is not what I want to write about.
I have too much pride, but it falls away quickly - or the temptation to relinquish my jealous grip on it arises quickly - when I like someone. Like Georgios: it wasn't like I had no pride when I met him. I developed this pridefulness after the fiasco with NEB. But I was in love with Georgios. I couldn't see straight. I didn't care about my pride. All I wanted was him. And so I kept chasing, wanting him in the flesh, wanting all of him, but all I got eventually was his evasive, furtive shadow.
I came back tonight from a nice evening with Ivan and Azi; we went to a latte art competition at Hot Numbers on my behest, which I was curious about after Matt told me about it (he was robbed of first prize, by the way; this may be biased but he totally should have won), and then we had dinner at an Indian restaurant just next to the cafe. It was a nice evening spent with friends, and I would do it all over again despite not having completed the draft of my chapter which I have to send tomorrow. But I came back tonight from a nice friends-induced buzz, and after I took off my coat, I lay on my bed, and I thought, I miss Gareth.
I know all the reasons against it. I know that I should leave this alone. My reaction to the last-minute cancellation fiasco tells me that I am already in too deep despite it being at the very early stages of a potential relationship. That it affected me so much means that I like him quite substantially; but this is dangerous because he is flaky and unreliable and non-communicative and he's like Georgios in those ways. He's also like Georgios in that he's older, he's eloquent, he's introspective, he's clever, and he's more of a theoretical fit than Georgios because he's vegetarian and he does English literature, and I have always been attracted to men like that. Older men, that is, who seem more worldly, more learned, more erudite than I am; and part of my feelings for such men come from a place of awe. It is all perfectly illogical, of course. But it is what it is.
It is dangerous, above all else, because I don't know what he wants (I don't know if he knows what he wants) and I don't know what he's thinking, and I don't know what goes through his mind when he does something like this. I don't know the thought process between sending me a message at the end of our last date saying thanks for a lovely evening, see you Wednesday, and sending me a message 20 minutes before we were due to meet saying sorry I'm sick, can we rearrange? And then not following up on that. It is early days and it is already bothering me. This is not good. This is a clear red flag.
And yet, I found myself missing him tonight, wondering when he's going to follow up with the rearranging, feeling not just impatience but a sense of urgency that he's not doing so because I have a lot of social things going on next week, and I want to set aside time for him but not if he doesn't ask. I have too much pride to do the asking when I have already asked and all he could offer was 'I'll have a think and get back'. How long do you need to think about when you're free to see the woman whom you supposedly like a lot? This is another thing; it's a variation on the general theme of my not knowing him, and so I can't be too quick to judge his inaction by the behaviour of someone other than him. He is who he is, and he does things according to who he is. It is unfair to draw conclusions based on what he's done or hasn't done because the reasons for these conclusions are based on how someone other than Gareth would behave. In this sense, such inferences and conclusions are irrelevant. So all I can do is judge his behaviour against an established pattern of behaviour, or the explanations that he's offered for this behaviour.
But I don't know him well enough, and so I can't judge at all. I can only be patient; but alas, patience has never been, and will never be, one of my virtues.
He texted me Friday night. He said, 'Thinking of you. I hope the chapter was good. You're lovely. I miss seeing you.'
Up to that point, I was really struggling to put him out of my mind and drive away the hurt that I was still feeling for long enough to focus on my draft chapter. It was mostly a failure. And so I tried to reinforce all the reasons 1) I should stop hoping to hear from him; and if the latter part of 1 obtains, 2) I should stop seeing him. His messages brought the conflict between my head and my heart front and centre. The messags were more frustrating than endearing; but they also relieved a lot of the hurt. I felt better. And I hate that he has the power to do that.
I didn't want to get into some stupid confrontation over text, and so I didn't say anything that I wanted to say, and suppressed the urge to say something sarcastic, caustic ('Are you drunk?' and something worse than this which I won't articulate). In reply, then, I said something quite neutral about my chapter being in a state of disarray, and bounced his words back to him: 'I miss seeing you too.'
As per, well, him, he's disappeared again. But I expected this. It's what he does.
I don't just miss seeing him. I miss him. There is no rational basis for this; but I miss him. And so here I am again, back in my hamster wheel, falling back into old familiar patterns. It would probably be in my best interest that he doesn't follow up and simply ghosts me; because I know myself well enough to know that I will go with my feelings. I always do.