It's funny to think that in early 2002 I used to spend weeks, occasionally even months, getting to know prospective internet dates via online chat/email/phone/text before meeting them face-to-face. By late 2003 I was far more focussed on getting to the point of meeting up. I didn't want to precede the first date with lots of virtual contact. Occasionally this had led to comic minunderstandings, but generally it felt like I had the right idea. I was looking for real-life interactions, not an online penpal.
I had made contact with another woman through the dating site but we'd swiftly moved on to external emails and a telephone call. She seemed interesting but also secretive - we'd had a strange moment when she'd been shocked by my knowing her real name after it had been clearly shown in her emails. I'd also sent her my photo and received a reply which I found somewhat enigmatic:
Nice photo. Funny but i have imagine you completely different. You look strong, but in your msgs you sound softer. i bet i will look different to what you imagine. However i will not send you my photo."
I wasn't sure whether to take the message as a compliment or whether I should be irked by her refusal to send her photo in return. And what did she imagine I was imagining? She then gave me a hint in our phone call - casually tossing in the words "when I was modelling..." - but was this part of the process of leading me to imagine something and then finding that she looked different? I wasn't sure. Only one way to find out.
Our date was to be at a restaurant. On my way there I received a text from her saying that she would be waiting outside a nearby shop. I guess that gave me a fighting chance of spotting her! Luckily for me, there was only one woman standing anywhere near the shop as I approached. My first thought: OK, I completely believe that you've worked as a model! Wow. My second thought: I'm really going to try not to get all insecure like I had before in this kind of situation. Let's make this one different.
We went for our meal and chatted away. She was enjoyable company and seemed very interested in me. She was particularly interested in my job - at that time I worked in the stock market. The thought crossed my mind that this might be the main reason for her interest in me but I tried to push that thought aside.
After dinner she suggested that we go to the cinema and seemed very keen to do so. I tend to think that early dates and cinemas don't mix well together but I didn't want to shoot down her idea, so we went and it actually went fairly well - the film was lighthearted and watchable, and she didn't shrink away when I put my arm round her a bit. It did put a stop to most of our talking though.
As we parted ways after this I debated in my head whether to try to kiss her - I liked her and thought the date had gone well but I really couldn't tell whether she wanted me to kiss her or not. In the end I kissed her on the cheek. No particular reaction from her. No idea what's happening in her head.
The next day I texted to say that I had enjoyed seeing her and would like to do so again. She said that she'd liked the evening too but that she was quite busy - maybe in a week or two? Hmm... I wasn't sure that she sounded very keen but I figured I would find out in due course. I asked her out again the next week, then the week after that, then the week after that... She generally sounded quite enthusiastic but always was busy. Then at some point her explanations of being busy started to involve visa problems (she wasn't from around these parts.) Was this:
1) An attempt to say "No" to me in a slightly less subtle but still very indirect way?
2) Or just an honest update on her situation?
3) Or was she even dropping a hint that maybe I could "help her get a visa"??
The week after that she didn't return my call or my text. OK, I guess it wasn't option number 3. I decided that it was time to stop chasing.