Things have been going on. Well, not so much for the PhD; my progress is slow as usual, but at least there has been some progress.
Things have been going on in terms of my personal life. It has been...interesting.
I saw an old flame (kinda) in Madrid a day after I got back from Venice: N from the LSE. It was a timely reminder of the sort of threshold that needs to be reached before I should even entertain dating someone. In other words, he shone a harsh light on all the ways in which Never Again was, quite honestly, absolute trash and simply never good enough. Of course, a lot of things are quite basic, such as actually being into me without a shadow of a doubt, paying for my trip, offering to go to vegan/vegetarian restaurants with me, actually knowing me... And so it says a lot about the quality of the men and the 'relationships' that I have had over the past 1.5, 2 years that N seemed special because he did all these basic things.
Having said that, I spent most of the days (it was Friday to Monday) not quite reciprocating his affection, sometimes even feeling annoyed at how touchy he was. But that changed somewhat on Sunday, when I took a strong painkiller for my mild menstrual cramps and felt queasy as a result. We went to the Reina Sofia (free after 1pm on Sundays! But only two floors were open) and on the way there, I told him that I felt a bit sick. He was sweet and attentive and took care of me, asking me every now and then how I felt, and wasn't too bothered that we didn't eventually go to the other museum. Later in the night, when we went to a tavern for some wine, he told me that he'd never stopped thinking about me in the past five years; that even though he's seen other women, he still held on to his feelings for me. He'd pictured meeting me again in Europe variously over the years, and 'the stars aligned' for this meeting to happen: namely, that I was (am) single.
How could I not have been moved by that? I was almost moved to tears. And so the non-penetrative sex that we had that night (non-penetrative because I was on my period) was amazing not just because he was pleasing me, but also because I wanted to please him, too.
But the things is, my attitude towards him is so capricious, such that even if he weren't living in bloody Chile, I don't think I would ever like him enough and consistently for this to work. He will always like me way more than I like him, and I will end up finding his affection cloying and irritating. It's been roughly a week since I came back from Madrid, and the initial melancholy and longing that I felt immediately after I left him have faded. He may think whatever he wants, but I think we all should be with someone who feels roughly the same about us. Again, this is pretty basic, is it not?
Relatedly: oh my god, Madrid is such a great city to visit for nothing but food and drink. There are so many delicious vegetarian/vegan restaurants, and the wine is fabulous. We went to a non-touristy market on Saturday for lunch and had great food and amazing cheap, local wine. We paid like 2.50 euros for a glass of red...if I ever found a place in Cambridge or London that served a 2-pound glass of red, it will be shit that gives me a massive headache. So yeah, we drank a lot of wine that afternoon, and I got a bit drunk. That was fun.
A blast from the recent past texted me yesterday to say that he was in town this weekend and asked if I was free. I suppose I was still reeling from the lack of any sort of attention from Never Again and so I was rather too open from attention, even if shallow and more or less purely sexual, from men, even from someone who pissed me off two years ago and whom I find rather...gross.
So I met up with this person yesterday night after watching 2001: A Space Odysessy with Fred, this French man I met at the Jesus Green tennis courts; more about this later. We had a couple of drinks. I wasn't the least bit tipsy. We walked back to college and said goodbye at the inside gate. He kissed me and I acquiesced. He kept kissing me and I kind of responded but I was thinking at the back of my mind, 'I'm not really into this.'
Today, we met again for about 45 minutes before he had to leave for the airport. I ended up on a couch making out with him. Halfway through, I thought, What the fuck, why am I even here? Why am I kissing someone whom I don't even like?
So I said, All right stop. I'm going to go.
Of course, I said that a few times, but he kept persisting...until I was just completely done and not into it, and I left.
He said, 'We'll talk. See you in Greece?' (We'd talked casually about my still-theoretical trip to Greece at the end of August and he offered his place for me to stay in.)
Oh my god, I'd rather pay for accommodation than to stay with him in Athens. I hope he doesn't text.
I just could not get over the absolute pointlessness of kissing this person. He was more interested and aroused than I was. I don't even have a good impression of him (he's a massive flirt and kind of gross). What was I doing?! I got to the library and felt like I needed a shower. How sad is that, right?
So this Fred dude.
We'd been sending these long-ass messages to each other. We've played tennis a few times, gone out for dinner once, and went for the film yesterday.
But he's never made a move. I mean, I suppose I would be lying if I said that I didn't know that he found me attractive at some level; but then, if a man doesn't make a move after some time, I'm not going to assume that he's interested in me as anything more than a friend. So I have been assuming that we're just kind of going out on a friendly basis.
As such, it made no sense to me that 1) he suddenly stopped with the long messages after I told him that I went to the Graduate Law Society Finale 'Ball' (more like a dinner in shitty Double Tree Hilton's shitty 'ballroom') with 'my friend from the tennis club', i.e. Etienne; 2) he basically said he'd rather give me cash for the movie than to have wine with me after seeing that I was meeting this other male person last night when he walked me to Las Iguanas. He said, 'I don't want to make your potential boyfriends jealous. ;)'
Men are just inexplicable. I told Etienne this and he said maybe Fred isn't interested. But if that's the case, why would he suddenly not want to go out like we have done two times previously if the only thing that has changed is his knowledge of some other men in my life? If he was interested, why didn't he say anything?
The most likely explanation is that he was interested, but isn't anymore because he thinks I'm dating multiple at the same time and/or he doesn't like that I'm not focused on him. That's fair enough, of course. If I were interested in someone, I wouldn't like that he's going out with all these other women at the same time as talking to/going out with me.
The problem is, I don't know what his intentions are/were, if any. It all just seemed kind of friendly and casual. He never really made super solid plans. He never went out of his way to see me. So why would I think that he was interested? And if he wasn't interested in me romantically, I just don't see why his behaviour will suddenly change because of these two men.
So I don't get it. I thought maybe I would ask if I did something wrong, but I'm not sure if I can be bothered. I don't think I want anything more from him anyway. I enjoy his company and he's good conversation, but I haven't felt any chemistry so far...and like I told Never Again in my series of goodbye messages, I want a man who doesn't capitulate to the competition (even if the said competition doesn't actually exist, for I am not dating Etienne and I don't intend to see Gross Guy again). In the same vein, I want a man who isn't surprised by the circling presence of other men in my life. Further to this, I want a man who is confident that I would eventually choose him.
I don't like uncertainty. Never Again's uncertainty was shit and I hated it, and I don't want it ever again. The thing about N that warms my frigid heart a little is his certainty about me; and it's also because of how much he likes me that making out/having sex with him was a million times more enjoyable than randomly kissing some random person for no reason whatsoever, even if this random person is objectively more attractive than N.
I keep saying this in various forms to different people, but I keep forgetting it because I can be stupid sometimes, and although it seems obvious, my experience has proved that it's not always that obvious. But it ought to be crystal clear that you either like me or you don't, and so don't, just don't, come to me with some wishy-washy half-in-half-out bullshit, some sentimental reminiscence of bygone days and a bygone love. If you want it back, do something about it, do something beyond sending soppy pictures that you used to take, accompanied with soppy words about how things were.
No. Just no. If that's all you've got, just stop and leave me alone.
Can't wait to go to Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore again) on Thursday for five weeks.