Friday, August 3, 2012

The Other Woman Forevermore.

I really am not sure what it is about me that screams "please cheat with me."  Online, in real life, the only men I seem to attract these days are those in open relationships, those in "open" relationships (meaning they're allowed to fuck around but not form romantic attachments), or men who just plain want to cheat on their partners.

I'm doing a new show and at the first table read I asked my fellow cast members if they were on Facebook or Twitter, so I could add them.  One guy, who is playing the "Ladies' Man" part in the show, leaned over and wrote his name and telephone number on the top of my script.

"That's how you find me if you want a response," he said.  I was surprised that he had been so forward, but treated it as nothing.  As it happened, I found him on both Facebook and Twitter, so I texted him, to jokingly call him a liar, that he was clearly available on social media, and we bantered back and forth for awhile - all perfectly innocent.

A few weeks later, the Ladies' Man missed rehearsal, and our director told us he was stuck in Toronto.

"Toronto?!" I texted him.

"Long story," he replied.  "I'll make it up to you later - just you."

I responded with an "LOL" and thought nothing of it.

The Ladies' Man was back in rehearsals this week, and his usual flirty self, with not just me, but all of the cast members.  He promised me that he would bring me a certain book I wanted to read, and after our last rehearsal, I texted him to remind him to bring it the next time I saw him.  He didn't reply for a couple of days.  Then, today:

"Sorry about the late reply.  I'm usually a lot quicker...at texting."

Me: "It better just be texting."

Him:  "Everything else I take my time with and do properly.  And repeatedly.  And thoroughly."

Him again, a minute later: "And secretly."

Me: "!!!"

Him: "That was my water-testing innuendo.  If you want I'll go Shakepearean on that ass."

Me (amused now):  "Bring.  It."

Him: "If thine heart desires, and lest ye mention to thine cohorts, I shall gladly know thee in the biblical sense..."

Me: "Intriguing.  Wherefore art thou so clandestine?"

Him: "Wherefore?  Preferably at your quarters."

Note: Disappointing that the Ladies' Man does not know that "wherefore" actually means "why," not "where."

Me, again:  "In plain English, why the "secret" requirement?  Secret from our fellow cast members, or is there some third party to worry about?"

Him: "All of the above."

Hmmm.  So, hot guy wants me, but only in secret?  And he has been engaging in super-flirty times with me despite having a girlfriend?

Sigh.

I really don't know why it is I attract this kind of invitation, or that men think I'm happy to just be their plaything rather than the main event.  I don't get it.  I really don't.

That being said, my reply to the Ladies' Man was:  "I'm not saying no."

Him: "Maybe is my favourite word in the English language."




Sunday, July 22, 2012

David - The Final Chapter


So I dated David many moons ago - he was someone from my very distant past who I had crushed on, who showed up, confessed he had been suffering undying love for over a decade, and then proceeded to get intense and scary, to the point where I had to tell him to get lost.  He said "I love you" after a week, as a direct response to my tear-filled confession that I was still in love with A Complicated Man in the UK.  I had said we could explore a relationship if he could take it easy, play it cool - which he couldn't.  We completely lost contact as he was so embarrassed by his behaviour he didn't feel we could be friends, and frankly, he had been so needy, I didn't want to be friends. 

As time went by, I began to blame myself utterly for our bust –up.  He had been devoted and in love and ready to commit – and I had been a mess.  No wonder it hadn’t worked.  I hadn’t given him a chance. 

This past fall, I was feeling like I was ready for a long-term relationship, to meet someone I could really be with.  I wanted to clear the karmic slate - and David was the only ex that I was on on bad terms with.  I sent him a Facebook message to apologize if anything I had done had hurt him.  He responded several weeks later that there was nothing forgive, that he was happy in a relationship, and would I be interested in meeting up for coffee?

I wasn't, but I went.  And we had a nice time!  David seemed confident, not at all intensely into me as he had been before, and just charming, flirty and funny - the David I remembered being friends with all those years ago.  Pretty soon we were hanging out all the time.  Except, he wasn't telling his girlfriend about it.  At Christmas, when he showed up at my house with a gift, I gave him an ultimatum: either his girlfriend had to go, or I did.

I should have heeded the warning signs when David didn't immediately dump his girlfriend  It was mind boggling to me that he just couldn't get it together to break the news to the ex, who he was desperately unhappy with - he had said so at our first meeting.  I refused to see him until he figured his shit out, but made a few exceptions when he said he had to talk to me.

"What do you want," I asked him directly, at one of these meetings.

"Well, it's very hard for my girlfriend," he began, then stopped.  "My girlfriend feels..." he stopped again.  "My girlfriend needs..." he trailed off.

"What do YOU want," I asked again.

"Well, I want to be with you," he finally stammered.

I was relieved.  I thought that now that he had articulated what he wanted, he would take the steps to make it happen.

He didn't.

It took him another three months - and not for any nefarious reason.  This man is not a player whatsoever.  He just couldn't work up the courage to tell her.  Or to even articulate to himself what he wanted.

When I finally got the text message, just after February, that they had broken up, it was almost, almost too late.  But we immediately started dating.

The sex was amazing, as it had been when we dated before.  So, yeah.  That was awesome.

But outside of the sex, David immediately lost his spine.   He was tentative and unsure around me, and expressed no opinions of his own, deferring to me in everything.  This was a frustrating backslide to where we had been when we had dated previously.  The difference was, this time we talked about it.  Or rather, I talked.  I communicated all over the place.  Every time my needs weren't met (which was often), I told him.

When he just stopped calling me during a busy work period in my life, because he "thought he was bothering me," I told him how much that upset me.  When he couldn't open up and talk to me about anything deeper than what he had eaten that day for lunch, I told him how much that upset me.   When I got tired of listening to him tell me the ephemera of his co-workers' days, rather than what was going on in his own life, I told him how much that upset me.  Every time I was stressed and busy and he patronizingly (and plaintively) said, "Well, whatever I can do to help..." and then trailed off - well, I told him that upset me too.   Want to help? FABULOUS.  Just - think of something you think might be nice or supportive or helpful, and do it.  Don't wait for me to tell you what that is.

But we continued down into this weird place where the only place David and I worked was in bed.  He was tentative and deferent at all times, waiting for me to give him direction on almost everything.  And I wasn't getting the emotional connection I needed - because I quickly realized that the charming, flirty, funny surface David - well, that's really all there is.  For whatever reason, David refuses to engage in any introspection or divulge any inner life.  He even as admitted as much to me - and promised to change.

And so I gritted my teeth and kept going.  After all, I told myself over and over again, he's just so nice.  He's supportive and adoring.  You can't give that up, RCC.  So I kept talking.  I kept challenging, asking questions, until it got to the point a few weeks ago where I was feeling so critical, and demanding, that I didn't recognize myself.

"How fair is it that I'm asking to change everything that you are?" I asked David tearfully.  "I feel like a bitch."

"Listen, I know you're worried that you're being a bitch.  But - I'll tell you when you are," he said.  (Would he? I thought).  "I'm planning to be in this for the long-term - I'm going to make this work."

But in the end - I snapped.  If I wasn't sparkling and entertaining and chatty, David would sit in silence, waiting for me to become that person again.  It wasn't OK for me to be tired or non-talkative or moody - he couldn't cheer me up or carry us until I was feeling more rested and together.  He'd just sit and watch me balefully, expectantly.

After two and a half days of silence last week, I finally exploded.   David was sitting on my couch watching me get ready for an event I was performing at.  He didn't say a word.  He'd been over the night before and hadn't say a word either, and neither had I.

"This is so boring.  And frustrating," I finally screamed, waving my hair straightener at him.   "You haven't talked to me in days!  It is so hard to think of anything to do with you or for you, because you never express any desires or needs.  I am so close to being done."

"Well, I thought it was fine if I didn't say anything, that we were at the point where we'd said what we needed to say to each other."

"After 5 months?" I shrieked.  "I know nothing about you.  I don't know what your hopes or ambitions are, your fears, what you like about yourself, what you hate about yourself - nothing.  You don't talk, and I have no idea how to make you talk, or to give you what you need!"

"I really don't know what to do with you," he exclaimed.  He felt that he didn't have anything else to say, or things he needed, which frankly, boggled my mind but also convinced me that David would avoid introspection at all costs.  Or, he was the most boring person on the face of the planet.

"This is not working," I said.  "I am so angry that you won't talk to me.  That you won't express opinions or preferences.  That everything is about me all the time."

"You just want an alpha-male," he said.  "That's what you're used to."

"Maybe it's what I'm used to," I admitted.  "But this isn't a partnership.  This isn't 50/50."

"You are so difficult to get to know!" he said accusingly.

"I am?" I said incredulously.  "I talk.  All the time."

He immediately backtracked.  "Well - actually, yeah, you do," he said.  I think what he meant was, "You're so difficult to please."   Which shows you exactly where his head was at.  It was all about pleasing me, not us pleasing each other.

So, I ended it.  I told him if he couldn't talk to me about himself and what was going on inside, then it was over.  That I felt like he was a wounded person (more than one person had observed to me that he seemed like someone harbouring some kind of hurt), living in the safety of surface interactions with people, but that I wanted something deeper.   That I needed something deeper.   And with that, I left for my event.

A few hours later I got a text: "Miserable.  Please call."

I called him.

"I've been doing a lot of thinking," he said.  "You're right - I have been avoiding introspection, to the point of being defensive with you.  And you are entitled to an explanation.  You do deserve to hear what I feel and what I think.  And I want to tell you, just not over the phone."

I was relieved.   Maybe it wouldn't be over.  Maybe he could give me what I needed.  I told him I would see him later that week.

The next day, he texted me to say that he'd been doing some thinking and only needed 10 minutes of my time.  10 minutes of my time did not sound like telling me his deepest heart's desires.

In he stormed.  "You're not getting my life story, or any involved discussion," he said.  "I'm sorry I can't be the person you want me to be.  It's clear my behaviour makes you angry.  Here's your key back."  And he left.

So - rather than actually talk to me, David broke up with  (OK, technically, I'd already broken up with him - let's say he refused to fight for) the woman he said he'd been pining after for over a decade.

Which really, is for the best.  I don't need that kind of co-dependency, and I wasn't in love with him enough to insist on him healing whatever was broken, not without his help and commitment.

So, but for the pangs of, "Oh shit, I'm 32 and single...again," and maybe the great mind-blowing sex, I don't miss him at all.  And maybe I was too hard on myself the last time he and I spectacularly imploded.  Maybe it wasn't me.




Third Date Fail

So I've been seeing this guy for about a month. We first met for coffee, and he was delightful - funny, smart, sarcastic. For the first time in many (many) dates, I felt like I wanted to see him again. And we did - we met for dinner and had a great time. He's charming, so intelligent, and I really started to feel like there might be some long-term potential. So, for date three, this past week, I invited him over to my place. I offered to cook for him.

I spent all day cleaning the house and preparing an amazing meal, even consulting my dad the chef for an easy-yet-impressive menu. By the time my date arrived, the house was immaculate, the meal was well underway, and I was lotioned, perfumed, shaved, made up and just about as ravishing as I could get. After all, this was date three, and I was looking forward to seeing if the chemistry my date and I had in the coffee shop translated into chemistry in the bedroom.

My date arrived and seemed a little nervous to be at my place, but we were soon engaged in conversation and I put him to work in the kitchen to keep him busy. He did some magic tricks for me that were totally endearing - even Raincoast Kitty seemed to enjoy him. And then, as we were sitting on the couch, a few hours after dinner, I noticed him peering anxiously at the clock on the microwave.

"Are you watching the clock?" I asked him incredulously.

"Well, yeah - I should get home," he said. "I have to get up early tomorrow."

I was a bit in shock. All of our dates had been initiated by him, he had absolutely indicated that he was interested - and now here I was offering, well, me, on a platter, and he had to get up early tomorrow?!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Flip Out

A few weeks ago a friend of a friend (FoF) contacted me on Facebook.

"I think you're supercute," he wrote. "Let's chat."

So, we chatted. It was very very early in the morning - I'm an insomniac so this wasn't an unusual occurrence for me. I wasn't sure I was interested in him, but hey, it was something to do, since I wasn't sleeping.

FoF was very flirtatious right away.

"Oh, I think I only live about three blocks away from you," he hinted. "Very close if you wanted to hang out." It was 4 a.m. or so. I ignored the veiled way he was inviting himself over and continued blithely chatting about this and that. After about 15 minutes, FoF asked for my phone number, and I gave it to him, figuring he would text or call the next day to make a date. Wrong. He texted within SECONDS of receiving my number. "Wow," I thought. "This guy is really into me." I didn't know him that well - at all, really - but I was flattered by the attention and thought he'd be worth meeting for a drink.

The next day I got several sweet texts. And, later that night, another comment, after I mentioned I'd be at work until later in the evening: "I could be a late night dinner-and-massage delivery service." Again, with the invitation over? I ignored the hint again and suggested we touch base in a few days to discuss meeting for coffee ("How about LUNCH?" he replied) over the weekend.

The very next evening - more texts. FoF ignored my "IN A COUPLE OF DAYS" proviso about keeping in touch. "What are you doing right now," he texted.

"Working," I replied, "So I have the weekend free to hang out with friends, and to meet up with you."

"Are you working from home? Maybe you should take a break...with me."

Again with the hints at an invitation over?

My reply:

"Well, I'm working tonight, as I told you. And I don't really invite people over who I haven't gotten to know."

FoF was instantly on the defensive.

"I didn't ask to come over. I just said you should take a break."

Me:

"Well, you have hinted a few times about coming over, so it was an honest mistake on my part. Sorry."

FoF:

"No problem."

Me:

"So, when would you like to do lunch or coffee this weekend?"

FoF:

"No thanks. I'll pass."

My mouth dropped open. "Douche!" I breathed, as I texted back. "OK."

DOUCHE! Seriously? You pursue ME, and when I call you out for getting a little too eager, and veering into creepy-land, you flip out at ME? And I didn't invite YOU out for coffee/LUNCH. Ooooh, I was angry. I immediately deleted him from my phone. I contemplated deleting him from Facebook but decided against it - I didn't want him to think his antics had gotten to me (although they had).

A few days later, a text from an unknown phone number:

"I'm sorry I was crabby with you."

Looking back in my text history to find out who it was, I realized it was FoF.

Needless to say, I didn't reply. I don't need to date someone who's more of a drama queen than I am.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Track Pants and Glasses.

Apparently this is what the men of Raincity find attractive.

A few weekends ago, I was having a quiet night at a local cafe with a girlfriend. I was wearing my yoga pants, a City & Colour t-shirt, and my glasses. As we were headed home, I got a text message from another girlfriend that she was sitting alone at a local bar, and to come and keep her company. I was reluctant, but she persisted, so I agreed to join her for a glass of wine and a catch-up. I didn't bother to change - I wasn't there to impress or pick up anyone.

And yet - apparently I did impress. And boy, did I pick up! Within 5 minutes of me sitting down, my girlfriend and I were sent drinks by a couple of men across the bar. This happened AGAIN, with another few guys. I couldn't figure it out - were we the only women in the bar?! I looked around. Nope. We definitely weren't.

A very hot (and young) guy approached me.

"Cute glasses," he said approvingly, pulling up a seat next to me at the bar. "What are you drinking?"

We started talking about wine. It turned out he was a sommelier, working for a very popular restaurant here in Raincity. We talked about our love of champagne; I teased him about liking rose wines - "Real men don't drink pink," I teased him.

"Oh, I'm a real man," he assured me, seriously. "I can prove it."

And later on he did - did he ever.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Same Time Next Year - Part 1

Well, it's probably time to talk about the Writer (who will no doubt get a kick out of it as he has been known to lurk here on occasion). Warning. This is a long 'un.

I met the Writer oh, almost four years ago now. My book club had read his first novel, which was beautiful. When I heard he'd be in town, doing a reading from said novel, I had to go. I dragged along two of the girls from the club. The reading wasn't terribly well-attended, but the Writer was fascinating. During the Q & A he was well-spoken, witty, and self-deprecating. Charming.

After the reading, I took my copy of his book up to him to sign. I had mentioned, during the Q & A, that I was originally from the town where he lived, and he casually said that if I was ever back in town, we should go for coffee. I wrote down my email for him, which he appeared to recognize (to this day, I don't know if that was a line or not). I stammered something about my email being the same as my blog address, but that he couldn't possibly have read my blog. He gave me his email. I floated out of the reading totally smitten.

The next day at work, I sat at my computer, trying to think up ways that I could contact the Writer that would be appropriate. I wanted to talk to him about writing. I wanted to talk to him about him. I wanted to talk to him about me. In the end I concluded, any way I framed it, that getting in touch would be inappropriate. The Writer, you see, was married. I knew this. He mentioned it in the reading. His book was beautifully dedicated to his wife. I sighed, looked at the card on which he'd scrawled his email, and put it in a drawer.

A few hours later, I burst out of my office with a stupid grin on my face, and raced into my BFF Ginger's office.

"He emailed," I shrieked! "The Writer emailed!" I walked around delirious for the rest of the day.

And so it began. A casual email correspondence turned into a not-so-casual email correspondence. Email correspondence turned into all-day MSN sessions. MSN sessions turned into phone calls. And soon, I found myself proclaiming to the Girlfriend Jury that I was hopelessly, hopelessly in love. Which I was. I was obsessed. I could do nothing but think of the Writer, every moment of every day.

At the same time, I was plagued with insecurities and doubts. The Writer did not fit my picture of a Raincoast Hero. 10 years older than me, married, a father? No. How could I explain this to my parents? How could I live with myself if the Writer actually left his wife for me (which he sometimes hinted at doing)? Also, why did the Writer seem to like me so damn much? The more insecure and petty I showed myself to be, the more he seemed to like me. I couldn't understand it, not liking myself very much at that time.

It all culminated on the day that I left my apartment on the Rain Coast forever, soon to relocate across the Atlantic to the Rain City. I was deeply saddened by the sight of my empty apartment in the June sunshine, and somehow, the Writer was there to hold me in his arms, as I shook a little when I closed the door for the last time. And then we were speeding in a cab across town to Ginger's apartment, where I was house-sitting, and we were kissing, and then we were making love, and it felt strange and alien and also exactly right, so right that it completely and utterly terrified and mystified me.

And I ran for the hills. Well, for Europe. And the Rain City. Away from the Writer, and from his texts, and his emails. I amputated us, excised his particular corner of my heart, and left it behind.

But it wasn't a clean incision, you see, and so there was always something growing there, quietly, stealthily. I couldn't stay out of touch. And gradually, we struck up a carefully casual correspondence again. I was relieved, but also immeasurably saddened, when the Writer appeared to move on - first with another woman, then reconciling with his wife. That's that, then, I thought. He's figured out I'm not really so special. Now I don't have to suffer the pain of watching him find that out in front of me.

When I moved back to the Rain Coast, the Writer became a sort of confidante at a distance, someone I could speak to in my lowest moments. I could show him the face I couldn't show anyone else - the one that wasn't strong, determined and confident. His marriage dissolved - I was relieved to be only a witness to that, rather than a cause.

A few times the Writer asked if I wanted to meet - "for a drink - just a drink" - he always said. But I always refused. I couldn't bear to disappoint him, or myself, by finding out that our magic was gone. I was so sure that it was, you see. A few times, when home for the holidays, I walked into his place of work, just to see him. Every year but one, the first year I came back, I missed him. But that first year, I saw him. And I froze. And I couldn't go to him. I was rooted with fear to the spot. I wheeled and raced out of there as fast as my high heels could carry me.

Fast forward to this past December. I'm a much happier, wiser, gal, and the Writer is a much more contented, less angsty guy - separated, and happily involved with someone else. We still talk - well, I talk, he listens - and I think of him daily. He is still the dear void into which I pour my deepest, darkest thoughts and insecurities. And yet - there is always this tension between us, this forced separation, for - what, really? Safety? Yes, safety. At least on my part. If I stay away, I can't fall again (more). I can't be rejected. I can't be hurt.

So I really don't know what possessed me this year to make my annual pilgrimage to his workplace to see him. Enough time has passed, I thought. He loves someone else - he told me so. Indeed he had. Had told me that he wouldn't trade the calm waves of love he felt for this woman for anything, certainly not our I-will-die-if-I-can't-touch-you kind of love. I resolved this time to say hello, to be friends, to go for the drink.

I missed him. Again. And so I texted him. We made plans to meet, on Christmas Eve, for a drink. And we did.

The immediate feeling on seeing the Writer again? Relief. Comfort. I felt like I could breathe again. We sat in front of the fire, we drank, we talked. I curled up with my head in his lap, content to just be near him, to hear him talk. I was safe, I figured, knowing how much he mentioned his new girlfriend to me. We were friends.

And then we got on the subject of us, and as we rehashed old feelings and long-ago conversations, I suppose the old feelings started to return. We joked we were the "Same Time Next Year" couple, who meet once a year for a secret rendezvous for, well, their whole lives. We both knew we were tiptoeing into dangerous territory - for me, the danger of being vulnerable. For the Writer, the danger of jeopardizing what he has now. I don't know how we resolved this (we were well into the gin, and the vodka at this point), but the Writer resolved to "have a cigarette, kiss me, and go home." I agreed. And before we even left the house we were kissing in my kitchen, and for me, it was a tidal wave. We shared a cigarette, kissed under the porch light. And as much as I told him he should go home, that there was no rush, that this, whatever this was, would keep, I wanted him to stay. I wanted to actually spend the night with the Writer, for once, just once. I wanted to wake up to him. The minute he left, I wanted him to come back, and texted him immediately to come back. I even put on my robe and slippers and resolved to chase him down the street. I really did. He agreed to come back, and I left the front door unlocked, went to bed, and waited.

He never arrived. I awoke groggily early in the morning to realize he wasn't there.

The next day, he texted me, apologetic. He had been tired and drunk and sick, which I understood. What was I doing tonight, he asked. I said he should come back, tonight. In fact, I commanded it.

"I'm hoping to," he said. I immediately knew he wasn't going to come. He didn't say "I will." He didn't say "Wild horses couldn't stop me." When a man is saying maybe 12 hours before the fact - well, it means no. All day, as I stood in the kitchen preparing Christmas dinner, I felt sick with hope, hope that he would actually come back. But sure enough, later that evening, he texted me his excuses. And his apologies. He said he was sorry. And I believe he was. Sorry not just for not making it, but sorry for choosing not to. Sorry that the timing was wrong, again. And I understood. We had a friendly goodbye the next day before I left town, and he went to spend time with his girlfriend. But I was devastated.

Devastated because of one tiny, simple thing the Writer had said to me, that Christmas Eve. "RCC," he said. "You never understood. I didn't love you in spite of your flaws. I loved you because of them."

The Working Relationship.

A few months ago I met Jack online. We went on one of the zillion coffee dates I've been on in past months. To my surprise, we had a delightful time. There was an awkward moment when I walked into the coffee shop Jack had chosen and smack into an ex, the subject of this post, who I haven't seen in years - since he unceremoniously dumped me after I dared to bring up the subject of commitment. Jack instantly won points when I whispered to him that the man sitting behind us, who I had greeted so awkwardly, was my ex, and he promptly took off his watch, tossed it on the floor, and casually bent down to pick it up, stealing a glance at the ex as he did so.

Jack was charming and fun and we seemed to have great conversational chemistry - much more so than I'd had with anyone in a long time. I left the coffee shop with butterflies in my stomach, the long-forgotten pangs of a developing crush. Almost immediately, we made plans to see each other again. This time, we went for sushi, and Jack was again charming, and take-charge, ordering various plates he thought I'd like, keeping up the stream of interesting and intelligent conversation the whole way.

After that, Jack had to go out of town for a few weeks. We stayed in sporadic text contact while he was gone, and the day he landed back in the city, he texted me to make plans. Date 3, I thought excitedly! This is it! Jack hadn't kissed me yet, nor had I kissed him - although we had both come close. I invited Jack to my house. I said I'd cook dinner.

The evening in question arrived. The house was immaculate. I was immaculate, for that matter. Casual but cute in my favourite cherry-print dress. Asian-inspired menu because I knew Jack had a preference for Asian food. Carefully selected playlist on the iPod. Clean sheets on the bed.

Jack arrived promptly, and looked a little ill at ease, so I told him I needed help in the kitchen, to give him something to do other than sit there and look awkward. He very obligingly took off his watch, rolled up his sleeves, and went to work. Our witty banter was there, as usual, but Jack seemed...distant. Uncomfortable. The food was good, we ate sitting on the couch, talking. We each told a few funny relationship stories, we talked about his recent trip. Nothing unusual. Jack also did a few magic tricks that were quite amazing, actually. We talked at length about his new business, and he casually mentioned that he might want to hire me (in my capacity as a freelancer) to assist him. I looked a little confused, and said something vague, like, "Yeah, sure, that would be cool."

And then, the clock struck 10 p.m. Jack started gazing anxiously at the clock on the wall as I was talking. I finally interrupted him. "Are you watching the clock?"

"Yeah," he said. "I should go. I should get to bed."

I was a little surprised.

"Uh, OK," I stammered. He got up quickly, and headed for the door, and was out the door without so much as a peck on the cheek.

The next day, a thank you email. A cute word about Rain City Kitty, and then again - the mention about hiring me as a freelancer.

A few days passed, and then Jack really started to talk to me in earnest about work stuff. So much so, in fact, that I decided he really wasn't interested in me at all, other than in my professional capacity. So I started to restrict our communication to work topics. I did some work for him, and he sent me an email asking if I wanted to meet up to talk about it, over dim sum. I said sure, as I would to any other client.

On the day, I arrived in full work mode, with my hair done, briefcase in hand.

"Don't you look all dolled up," he said admiringly.

"Well, it is a work day," I said.

"It's not a work date," he replied, mishearing me (deliberately or not, I don't know).

And just like that, charming flirty Jack was back, who wanted to hear all about me and my adventures. Not a single mention of his work, which was languishing in my briefcase. I was once again won over, so much so, in fact, that I asked him out to dinner and a theatre opening with me. He readily agreed.

On the night in question, I wore a fabulous dress. Jack was once again charming and polite during dinner. But when we got to the theatre, where we mingled with people I knew but he didn't, he shut down. He actually went and sat in a corner with his laptop, and did work, before the show and during intermission. All of the sparkle of earlier in the evening seem to have faded, and he seemed weary, and bored.

After that final little disaster, I decided to write Jack off. He was destined to be my client, not my lover, I guess, although I couldn't understand why he became so withdrawn and disinterested after such a promising start. And so, that's where we stand now - the man I met on a dating site is now my client, without us ever really speaking about how that evolution occurred.

The line is always blurry. We'll trade emails about work. He'll occasionally ask if we can meet to discuss the work, which we will, and occasionally he'll make a personal comment like, "Did you get your hair done? It looks great" or "Love the dress." But gradually, any personal conversation, at least from him, has receded into the background. Even if I try to move the conversation to a personal topic, asking how his holidays were, for example, he avoids the question. He's such a frustrating person to read, which I said to him one day.

"What do you mean," he said, laughing a little at me.

"I can't read you at all," I exclaimed. "You keep all your cards close to your chest. I never know what you're thinking."

"Then it's working," he said with a twinkle in his eye. "I can't understand why you're so bothered by it."

I didn't know what to reply to that.

And so it continues. Today we met to discuss work, and he made some flip comment which I didn't respond to.

"Oh, we're not playful today?" he asked. "No jokes for RCC today?"

I didn't know what to say. Why joke when we're talking on a purely professional level, client to contractor?

Ah well. If he won't warm my bed, at least he'll pay my rent.