In case you've missed my recent posts, let me quickly bring you up to speed: I flirted with a man in an elevator as I was leaving a party; he contacted me the next day; we emailed back and forth a bit till I suggested we get coffee--and he said why not a drink (which quickly turned into dinner); and I was all set to go out with him last Friday night ... until I realized he'd asked a friend of mine (the party hostess) out.
The party hostess had pointed out to Elevator Man that he was already supposed to go out on a date with me--the implication being that she didn't feel great about taking him up on his offer. Elevator Man pointed out that he'd only spoken to either of us for about a minute--and that he had asked her out, whereas I had asked him out. (I reported all of this in more detail on Friday.)
After learning about all of this, I asked you guys for advice--but before you could weigh in, almost immediately after publishing my Friday post, a decision came to me. Impulsively, perhaps rashly, I wrote to the guy, saying (more or less) that I felt like chopped liver. Not that I was planning our future together and choosing baby names, I wrote. But I WAS looking forward to hanging out--and now that I know I was your second choice, I feel less excited to do that. In fact, I feel a bit odd! And defensive. So let's put hanging out off--for now, at least.
Then I looked at the comments that had started to come in, and I saw that you guys seemed to basically fall into two camps:
Camp Give-It-A-Whirl was saying We can understand how that might hurt--but the guy didn't do anything wrong. He was perfectly up-to-code, according to The American Dating Association*. Sure, the crowd is booing him a little--understandably--but he didn't commit a technical foul. There's nothing wrong with dating multiple people. And he didn't KNOW you and the party hostess were friends. Why not just go on the date and see what happens?
I found I was quite sympathetic to this view. In fact, I've casually dated multiple people at different points myself. It's just a little weird to feel like a guy I'm supposed to go out with would prefer to be out with my friend.
And it was that aspect of the whole thing that bothered Camp Red Flag. Sure there's nothing wrong with him playing the field, asking you both out, given that he didn't know either one of you, the Red Flaggers said. But why did he have to emphasize that he didn't choose you? Find somebody else to play "20 Questions" with!
I thought: Damn straight!
But suddenly, in came an email from Elevator Man himself. He wrote to say he was terribly sorry about the awkwardness, and about having inadvertently made me feel like year-old salami. He informed that he'd recently gotten out of a long relationship and was, yes, dating lots of people in the hopes of getting to know a wide range of women--till he found someone he really connected with. He went on to say:
Knowing nothing more about you, from the outset, than that you were a pretty woman who, very charmingly, and jokingly, flirted with me as I was entering a party, I wanted to get to know you.
How about that? Quite a vote in favor of taking chances and living flirtatiously--wouldn't you say?
And speaking of charming, how could a person not be charmed by his note?
So--even though, by that point, I'd decided we were most likely not meant to be--I thought it would be best to meet up with this very nice (if slightly bumbling) man. I really didn't think he was a jerk or a player. I thought he was a sweet person, and I didn't want him feeling bad or awkward about the whole thing.
And I wrote back, agreeing that we should meet, as planned, for dinner in my neighborhood ... despite the fact that the whole ordeal had left me feeling about as energetic as a deflated balloon; despite the fact that I felt about as optimistic as Fed Chairman Ben Bernake must have been feeling when the market bottomed-out in October.
Just before I left my apartment, I checked your comments one more time ... and saw this one, from one loyal (and fiercely supportive) reader, Edwinna:
Sugar Pie, I don't think putting yourself in this situation right now would be beneficial [to your confidence]--just when you have been doing so well getting your confidence up.
And I had to wonder if she was right, and if the date was just going to maroon me back on the Island of Low Self-Esteem. But by then, it was too late to cancel ... So I said to myself, Chin up, Sugar Pie! ...
I'll let you know what happened on the date tomorrow.
PS: Thanks, darlings, for all the advice and support!
*There isn't actually an American Dating Association, just FYI.
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