Tuesday, June 02, 2009

ding overthinks things

work was hell last week. this is not an exaggeration. it was def-con 5, Red alert bad. i was not feeling in the best mood for couple-hood, so i dropped out of sight.

i compartmentalized things pretty quickly. work, here; NewGuy, just below that. he seemed cool about it ('I figured things were rough and you'd call when you were able,' he said) but i am crap when it comes to reading any guy's moods.

we made up for it by having the longest date ever on saturday (note to self: staying out until 3 am is just not physically possible anymore) but this is another big/crappy week and how the hell am i supposed to juggle all this?

(this - as if i'm juggling the weight of the world here. it's only one guy and one stressful job.)

he's cooking dinner for me at his place tomorrow night and i could only thank the gods that i'm working from home the next morning so i don't have to rush home, change and stumble into the office looking slightly frazzled and undone. yes, that's my first thought instead of getting all dewy and thinking 'aww, romantic dinner for two at his place.'
clearly, i'm having a slightly rough time adjusting to the idea of being One of Two. i can't compute it in my head. i am One. not Two.

the shift to thinking in Twos is not happening smoothly. i forget what we were talking about last night but he said something that stuck with me and that i automatically protested (in my head.) i think it was about the memorial day cookout and how there were only 3 couples - us included.

that startled me. i am One, not Two!, i said in my head.

if i was still seeing Dr. C- she would ask me why it's so important for me to see myself as One and i'd tell her, 'because it's easier being responsible for only One, not Two. and habit. and i like being One.'

though, there are things i like about being Two, too.

we were walking to dinner saturday night and as we were crossing the street, i said (in the interest of honesty and putting things out there), 'you know how hard it is for me to think of myself being in a couple? my brain just doesn't go there.'

he said, 'i know. we'll take things slow.'

but are we really? taking things slow. i think NewGuy is already facing in one direction, his feet planted solidly on I Am SO In A Relationship Road and i'm dawdling back on I Guess He's My Boyfriend? Yes. Maybe. Yes? Lane. i have this vague feeling that there are plans being spun in NewGuy's head - far reaching, future-sounding plans - and i want to reel him in and say, 'let's just see if we still like each other on Friday. or tomorrow.'

we were talking about tomorrow night's dinner (he's big on planning and logistics) and i was mumbling something about what time to leave the next morning, which train to catch, etc. and he said, 'well, if you're working from home, maybe you can sleep in. i'll leave you a key.'

and my eyes bugged out a little. a key?? to your house?

to my credit, i did not have a panic attack, something which would have happened a while ago if some other dude said that to me. i merely noted it and tucked it away for later thinking. (like now!)

it's like gender roles have been reversed between us, which isn't all together too bad. i'm wary and non-commital and he's already handing me keys and making room for my shampoo on his shower stall. i'm just hyper-conscious of it, that's all.

so yeah. this is what i'm thinking about this morning.

maybe i should be thinking about batshit crazy doctor killers and the deep ideological divide between social conservatives who want to control women's lives and bodies and those of us who don't. maybe i should be thinking about the predictable and repetitive contours of white supremacy in this country and the laws and statutes in place that have historically worked to keep asian immigrants and early generations of asian americans away from citizenship and assets.

(y'all really should read The Color of Wealth. it will make you so very very angry.)

instead, i'm thinking about this stupid, girly crap.


No Nonsense said...

Hey hey hey--- easy! you are thinking it out too much and yes it will take you sometime maybe a longtime to view yourself as a partner ( as you put it one of two).You don't have to lose your independence and sense of being by being in a relationship. Be honest with NG about this and he seems receptive to taking things slow. He wants to just give you a key for convenience, it's not a bad idea. think he cares.

Listen Lady, you've have been taking care of yourself for a very longtime, it ok to have someone take a little care of you...it's all good :-)

Orange said...

When you're Two and it's a good Two, the other One has got your back. It's nice to have someone who's got your back.

New Guy sounds like a peach. Is he so ardent because he's a nut job, or is he just ardent because he recognizes your innate fabulosity? It might be the latter.

There are ways to be an independent part of a Two. Being Two doesn't mean you become conjoined twins who share a single brain. You're still you, but with someone who's got your back.

Also? Eight zillion women are in relationships with men who think more like you and they would kill to have a relationship-oriented New Guy who doesn't shy away from couplehood.

And furthermore? Look on the bright side with work. At least your job doesn't involve exposure to hazardous chemicals or dangerous machinery (or the real dangers of being a cop or firefighter). It could be worse. Simpler, yes, but worse.

ding said...

it's just so weird, you know?

and it could be worse.
i could still be with B-/LTF.

Joy said...

If the key thing (or the shampoo, or whatever your symbolic moments are) really makes you edgy or uncomfortable, say something to him. Just say that you understand that it's for convenience and so on, but you're not ready for a key yet. I gave my boyfriend the spare key to my apartment not terribly long after we'd starting dating, not because I was trying to reel him in, but because I could see him spending quite a few nights and it would be convenient. Like your NG thought, I suspect.

A few months later, when he was in the throes of a fear-of-commitment-and-I'm-turning-29 freakout, he told me how much the key made him feel like he was trapped too soon in something too serious. I wish that he'd told me that when I gave him the key, because I could have said, hey, it's not mandatory, whenever you want it, say so, but you don't have to put it on your keychain until you want to.

Anyway, that freakout actually got both of us talking more openly about how we viewed our relationship and our commitment and how fast some of it seemed to have happened. It was the start of more productive communication, and three years on, we're shacked up and happy as clams.

[Utterly pointless digression: Why are clams perceived to be so happy?]

Anyway, my point of this all-about-me anecdote is that bits of what you currently relate about NG and yourself sound familiar, and if your discussions with him have anywhere near the clarity and honesty of your discussions on this blog, you'll be able to navigate being one of two.

ding said...

a lot of this pressure i put on myself.

we were exchanging messages about timing for tonight and i listed what i needed to do before i came over and he said, 'ease up. just come by when you can and text me when you're on your way.'

and i'm thinking, 'but isn't there dinner? won't it get cold? didn't you have a schedule?? won't my being late mess up your schedule???' all in my head.

he's a lot more laid back about these things than i am.

another thing: there's a wedding coming up and i mentioned it in passing and now i'm wondering if he thinks that i wanted to invite him and if he's expecting to go when i'm not really expecting him to be my guest and i wasn't thinking that at all.

i didn't have to navigate these kinds of things when i was One.

then again, i didn't have to worry about being a +1 at a wedding before, either. so there's that.

Anonymous said...

um. unless there's a "and guest" on your envelope, don't assume there's room at the brunch. he should totally go to Fresco's!

Anonymous said...

Oooh. and what did he mean by "ONLY 3 couples"? That's SIX PEOPLE. That is unprecedented---Olympic level change for this posse. Dude. Even people with partners who didn't attend were relieved to attend alone...ehem. Enjoy it while you can, Ding.

Lee said...

New Guy does sound good so far. Carolyn still makes fun of me for the crappy meal I cooked for her on our first "lunch date."

Need distractions? I found this diverting:

Lee said...

And he didn't even include Rashida Jones. (Sigh.)

liza said...

I think Orange and Joy, and everyone else who says he sounds great is right. He's probably figured out you live in your head, and its no doubt part of why he likes you. So, letting him know you're anxious about shampoo or whatever, while seemingly hard, actually makes things easier. At least with me, by the time I finally fess up to being freaked out about some seemingly small thing,(to the casual observer) it ends up being a kind of release of that pressure--all to the good.

And it's part of your story, so it matters. Your post below is perfect, and I love it.

ding said...

@Gooch - i know *that* - i meant the party afterward. it said no rsvp required but ...ack. whatever. i'll bring him. i have to get used to having this guy around my friends sooner or later. repeated exposure will make it better.

this time, we will discuss an exit strategy, how Makers is to be avoided and how we are *both* sticking to beer and wine. (and how chicago guy vulgarity is totally not going to happen. jesus.)

@Gooch, again - yes, 3 couples is a record or something for us. WTH?

@Lee - dinner last night gave me such bad indigestion i nearly couldn't sleep. spanish rice, quesadillas, mexican soda. my stomach was in rebellion all night. but the effort was appreciated.

ding said...

@Lee - re: the Goldberg/Coates exchange - i am officially on record for being for cross cultural, uh, exchange via black-jewish relationships.


(though goldberg makes me mad all the time.)

Anonymous said...

Don't be the girl who says WTH when talking about your dearest friends with impossibly high standards, the epicenter of wit and elegance, we have honed a time honored tradition of the spinsters being the most interesting and delightful conversationalists at all gatherings :)

ding said...

i meant 'WTH is happening??' not 'WTH is wrong with us.'

Lee said...

Goldberg's somewhat to the right of me on Israel/Palestine (which is mostly what he writes about, I think), but he does see the settlers for the obstacle to peace that they are. What pisses you off about him? Is it this stuff?

ding said...

crap. i think i got him confused with the ultra conservative national review guy...jonathan? jonah?

Lee said...

Oh lord, Jonah Goldberg is the world's biggest numnutz.


blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hey there!

I haven't stopped by to read your work in a loooong while! I have missed soooo much!!

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!