Nearly two years ago or so, sometime around September, I responded to a personal ad I found at Salon.com. The ads there, by the way, were of a generally better quality than a lot of other sites.
I met him soon afterward, and I was imediately infatuated.
One of my persistent neuroses is wondering constantly "does he like me?" Not without reason, unfortunately.
It's a neurosis that is constantly being played with by God, or the devil, or myself, I'm not sure which, like some sort of crazed violin.
Regardless, unlike most first dates I've had, the one with him seemed remarkably clear. He really *did* seem to like me. Impossible to believe.
In fact, he, again unlike the other men I've met, actually called the day after to say how much he enjoyed our date. I was floored.
Of course, it couldn't be that easy, nothing ever is, but the first date was nice. At my suggestion, we met at d.b.a. (a nice, straight bar) on Frenchman, a nice change of pace from the usual boring coffee houses. We talked and talked and talked.
He was (is) a bona-fide fashion designer. He had lived in NYC most of his life, but was from Virginia originally. He had recently left New York and decided to come to New Orleans because he had fallen in love with her. He had given up the rat race of the fashion world and was aiming for becoming a photographer and artist. He was clearly in the midst of a life change.
Here's his picture
Instead of leaving after our first meeting, he confessed that he was hungry and seemed genuinely happy when I suggested we have dinner. He was too charming for words that night.
After that, we went home.
(By the way, I have to preface this entire entry by saying there are absolutely no prurient details to admit.
I'm not happy about this fact, but there aren't. The whole story is as chaste as a nun, and there in lies the rub, so to speak.)
So, if you're still with me, (and I wouldn't blame you if you weren't), I'll resume.
During the year, we went out every now and then. Not nearly enough to keep my insecurity at bay. He was busy, to his defense, but he did always seem to be eager to see me when he could. Still, it wasn't enough. The delicate tightrope walk of not seeming desperate and yet not simply abandoning everything was hard.
We never did anything more than kiss. It was as proper as a courtship in the 1950s.
(He is a virgo, by the way.)
Of course, my neurosis was working overtime the whole time, debating whether he liked me or not, the dreaded words: "He's just not that into you" echoing constantly in my head. With the track record I've had with disinterested men, I always had to ask myself if he was *really* interested in me romantically.
By the same token, I think he was interested in me in the proverbial "that" way. There was evidence there too, amazingly enough. One night there was even some questioning on his part that suggested he was interested in a relationship. He was clearly asking the questions one asks of a potential mate.
Katrina blew him away, of course. Just like that he was gone.
He moved back up to NYC for a while, and then to Virginia with relatives. Before then, however, we had started to see each other a bit more frequently, though not nearly enough. Before the hurricane, we had had a really lovely day, shopping on Magazine St. We had plans to celebrate his birthday, which was the week of the big K in fact. Needless to say, that never came to pass.
We had a number of nice dates, one of which was seeing his roommate, a really great jazz singer, perform. She was a personal friend of Chaka Khan, by the way...and to think I was one degree away from Chaka-freaking-Khan!
But I digress....
After the hurricane, we corresponded a bit, I let him know I was all right. He did the same. I spoke to him once or twice on the phone. I've emailed him a few times, with intermittent success.
He seems very happy up there. The hurricane was a terrible shock to him, since I think he was hurricane phobic in the first place. The last I spoke to him, back in August, he was doing well.
So a few days ago I sent out my customary New Years wishes to those friends whom I haven't seen in a while, him included. I can't say I expected him to respond. I certainly haven't heard from most of the people I wrote to. But last night I got a message from him, asking me to call him. At least right now, I'm paralyzed. I can't seem to bring myself to do it....at least now.
I need to work up the nerve. It's the old neurosis back again. It's easier to live in ignorance, I guess. I'm scared of hearing for certain he's moved on for good, even when I know he has.
I'm very ambivalent about posting this, by the way. It seems very indiscreet of me, and I'm sure it is, but maybe that's the point.
I've really never told anyone really about this, but a very few friends, and as indiscreet as this seems, it seems even more foolish not to tell something that was (is?) so important to my life.
I'm not sure if that makes sense...but at least right now it does to me. I'm not so sure about tomorrow.