But let's rewind. Let's take a step back. Let's do this systematically. So after the Vegan Cardiff Guy saga ended, I did some swiping on Tinder, set up a couple of dates, and went out with two guys this week. Coincidentally, they were both named Thomas; so instead of saving their numbers as Name and T (for Tinder, for obviously I wouldn't know their last names so early on), I had to differentiate them according to an easy characteristic: nationality.
I met English Thomas on Tuesday and American Thomas last night. English Thomas was excellent conversation: the flow was natural, we talked about many things of importance, he was obviously very smart. What really impressed me, however, was his command of Mandarin: he spoke it more or less perfectly, with the right tones. This made sense, given that he did Chinese studies and lived three years in China. He was also cuter in person than in his pictures.
But it ended rather abruptly. We had to leave the bar because it was closing, and when we stepped out into the cold, all he said was, 'You're going that way, yeah? Well I'm headed this way. It was lovely meeting you. I'll see you soon maybe? For tennis?' Then a quick hug, and he was off. I was certainly not impressed with the absence of an offer to walk me home. I wouldn't have accepted because he lived in the opposite direction, but it was the thought - or the lack of it - that mattered.
Also, while I really liked talking to him, I think that his diametrically opposed, fundamentally irreconcilable views on eating meat broke any potential deal between us. While I respect a meat eater who says that if you want to eat meat, you should be willing to kill the animal because this is the most intellectually honest position to take, even if it is nevertheless immoral - while I respect this position, it should follow that one who does not hunt for his food should cease to buy the meat that someone else has killed for him from supermarkets. But he's not vegetarian. Furthermore, I was slightly disturbed by how he said that he'd like to hunt an animal one day - not for sport, thankfully (I would've walked out, I think; or, knowing me and how passive I am, I would've been super grossed out, would've had wanted to walk out, but would've stayed and then bitch about him later in this blog), but for food, and feel nature within him or whatever. Like I said, though, while this makes sense, I just don't understand why anyone would want to kill an animal. I don't think I could ever seriously be with someone who thinks nature and therefore should. At least it's a more sophisticated reasoning than the usual 'oh we have canine teeth so we are meant to eat meat and fuck Hume's law, let's just move from is to ought without providing any reasons, or even recognising our logical fallacy'. But it's still a position that I find immoral.
So I went home feeling satisfied overall, but I would've just left it if he didn't text me ever again. He solved that issue for me in the end; texted me the next day to set up tennis. So I'm playing tennis with him Monday morning. We'll see how that goes.
In all honesty, the one that I really want to write about is American Thomas. In all honesty once more, texting him did not inspire any great interest to meet him. To put it mildly and politely, he's truly a man of a few words. He didn't say anything interesting when we were just texting, but since it cost me nothing to reply to his very brief text messages of a few words, I just kept replying. I also didn't know anything about him apart from the fact that he was American, complained about the cold a lot (at least we had that in common) and went to Portugal for a few days. Not to mention: he looked a bit chubby in his photos. I think I liked him back because he super liked me and that always manages to catch my attention, and he looked like a decent dude and wasn't repulsive, so I thought, Well, why not?
I didn't even bother to wear anything special, just the Mango straight cut black dress that I resort to when I feel like looking nice but don't feel like putting too much effort into it because I know that I look good in that dress. But at least I didn't wear jeans; wearing jeans would've been truly no effort on my part.
But it's almost 24 hours since last night and I think I am slightly, and definitely prematurely, a little bit smitten. It turned out that he works for the US military; he's an engineer in the airforce. So this means that he works out all the time because he has to maintain a certain level of fitness. We ended up at 12A, the private bar that Matt took me to on our first date, and when he got up to order us a second round of cocktails, I looked at his back view and noticed how ripped his back seemed to look. So definitely not chubby then.
He was also sufficiently tall (English Thomas was rather short), confidently gave me a hug when I arrived at King's Parade and he got out of his Mustang to meet me. Are the italics eye-catching enough? He drives a Mustang. I don't know which model, but it's one of the new ones and it's so sleek. It's a sports car, and I loved the sound of the engine revving when he drove me home at the end of the night. Oh, what I would give to be in that car when he's speeding down a highway.
So many things went right last night. His American accent didn't grate, he's from Georgia but isn't religious because he's actually sensible, he reads poetry and Albert Camus (it was the Myth of Sisyphus that made him question his religious upbringing. I told him that I tried to read the same book a year or so ago and have yet to get past page 20), he likes history, he's doing a part-time international relations PhD at Anglia Ruskin, he's unfortunately not vegetarian but he doesn't eat beef anymore because he watched the relevant videos, he told me an interesting fact about how military personnel are not under the jurisdiction of the Constitution but some other military legal document that is almost like the Constitution (but with restricted free speech rights, e.g. can't say bad things about the President), he paid for my drinks. Conversation with English Thomas was perhaps more interesting from an intellectual standpoint, but it was more personal with American Thomas. I mean, he asked me directly, 'So how long have you been single?' And then, 'So what's your experience like with the app so far?'
Above all else, in my mind, I have him pegged as the strong, silent type. He's definitely a bit quiet, and he's definitely strong - hence strong, silent type, someone capable of protecting me. Also quietly confident, quietly asserting his interest without making it awkward. On the way back to mine, he said to let him know when I'm free next week. At my door step, he casually kissed me as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
I don't normally kiss after the first date because I find it awkward, and I usually don't like someone enough to want to kiss him. But I wanted him to kiss me. And I thought about it before falling asleep. And I thought about how it would be nice to take that further.
I have to be careful though. I don't want to get ahead of myself. I'm also not sure how reliable someone is if he'd thought about taking me back to his, and only didn't because I said I was tired. So I will tread carefully, and I will refrain from asking him if he's free Sunday night to meet me after my formal with Raffie and John at Sidney, because I want to be in control of this - and so I will stick to seeing him again early next week like I told him.
But still - it's quite exciting to date a military guy. How sexy are uniforms, right? So yeah, I am quite excited about seeing him again. But first, I should probably text him at some point to confirm when.
On another note, I played tennis with Etienne tonight and I am so tired right now. Overall, though, I think I hit the ball quite well and I am pleased to say that I am more or less cured of my tennis fatigue that plagued me in November last year.
On a slightly less pleasant note, I think Etienne is into me again. I told him that my left hand was practically freezing and while we took a quick break, he said, 'I can warm it up for you.' Then he cupped my hand between his.
I mean, sure, it felt nice because his hands were definitely warm; but wow, I felt so awkward. When he drove me home, he asked about my hand again; took my hand again; but this time, went the next step of interlocking our fingers.
What the heck? I thought we were just friends. I just sat there, not responding either way, my hand limp in his, wanting to get home quick and escape that massively awkward situation. He said, 'Let me know if you want to do something this weekend.'
I said, 'I don't think I have time this weekend but maybe next week.' Just to say something, anything, to cover up the awkwardness.
Despite his being a nice guy and our getting along, I feel no attraction to him; none whatsoever. I felt really uncomfortable by the physical contact. I don't understand why this seems to be happening again when I don't think I'd been giving any signals at all that I see him as anything more than a friend. So this is a bit tricky and awkward. I just hope that it doesn't blow up in my face because I like him as a friend, and definitely as a tennis buddy.
I'm tired. I'm reading MAdeleine Thien's Do Not Say We Have Nothing and I don't understand how on earth it was shortlisted for the Booker in 2016. The prose comes across as stilted, the dialogue even more because she's trying to write in English how Chinese people speak so it's unnatural and weird, and I just don't think that she's a very good writer. I am really struggling to finish this, but finish it I shall before 1 February - because that is when Julian Barnes's new novel comes out and I want to read it the second I get my hands on it! I can't wait.