If you’re a humble queer like me, making friends is as easy as 1-2-3-4 dates.

Sparks Did Not Fly on First Date

It started from the most exhausting date I’ve ever been on. Not in the emotional sense - in that, it was quite wonderful. It’s only that I was sleep-deprived going into this late (by my standard, anyway) evening thing, then it spanned into a surprising three-part date. Surprising in that I don’t know why, despite my urge to go home and sleep before my 10-hour flight the next day, I kept on offering/suggesting new activities, AND that she said yes to everything. Conversation wasn’t particularly exciting in the romantic, sparks-fly sense as I understood it, but I suppose she just felt so… normal, in a familiar way, and I found myself not wanting to stop talking to her.

Her dating app profile was thoughtful and complete. Her photos were not plandid. But among them, only one truly contained a smile. The rest of the exhibition appeared as if someone had accidentally caught her, on a few occassions, in a moment where she looked mildly interested in life. But I decided that I could trust the one photo, with the quiet, warm grin and eyes to match. Later on, when we advanced to the Instagram-following stage of our relationship, I realized that was probably her most intimate photo she had made publicly available.

As of today, I’m pleased to report that she does seem accurately portrayed by that particular photo.

We spent something like 15 minutes waiting for her bus at the end of the night. At this point on a first date, I was naturally on the lookout for an opening, a physical cue perhaps, to ask if she might like to kiss me. What happened next managed to blow my mind away despite how much it needed to shut down by that hour.

As the bus was still what appeared to be an entire two blocks away, she said something along the lines of “well then, farewell” (or at least, that was how I interpreted it in that moment), stepped towards me and stopped at a respectable distance (with more than enough room for 2 Jesuses between us), and gave me a one-and-an-half-armed hug. Then she was on the bus and away as I gathered my scattered brains off the footpath, trying to work out what I had misread in-between the lines.

Had I read too far into her keenness to meet before my travels, the long trek to come see me at my location of choice, or perhaps the enthusiasm throughout all three parts of the date?

I hadn’t expected to hear from her again. But then I did! 48 minutes later:

A perfect specimen of a first date follow-up text.

Well then… happy to see where this goes.

POV: Made it to Second Date

The big city dating scene gets a bad rap due to the high percentage of people who are always on the lookout for something better. If you are one of these people, please do better. Nobody wins here. You’re not enjoying the moment and you’re wasting time when you could be committed to finding what you really want. You’re wasting another person’s time quite intentionally. And your future partner or partners are out there just waiting a while longer.

In my case, I had every reason to take her at her word due to a lack of evidence of the contrary. I was quite keen to see her as soon as I was moderately conscious from my travels, in fact. We had a bit of a logistical hiccup this time because we unsuccessfully tried to read each other’s mind about what time “afternoon” refers to exactly, but we got there eventually. It made sense for the non-jetlagged person to come to my neighbourhood, but I appreciated the effort nonetheless.

Our second date began with a lovely “afternoon” in one of London’s most romantic parks, sharing our thoughts on the types of human connection, navigating queerness in the context of family, and living as a immigrants in this global village. It was proper autumn by now, but there was still enough light in the day for me to paint a mental picture of her. I noticed the way she fidgeted with her hands, but it didn’t make me feel self-conscious about my own body which felt refreshing. She’d tug her fingers on one hand against those on the other, here and there. With her eyes turned on me, listening with purpose, I got the impression that this was someone who had a lot of love to give, with none given thoughtlessly.

Whenever she did speak, she’d speak for long periods with eloquence, intent, and a sharp sort of sensitivity. That combination alone was enough to make any good gay swoon.

Then I discovered that she had a most horrid sense of direction.

I’ll spare readers the details of such a condition. But imagine a squirrel, with an acorn too big for her paws, caught in the headlights of a car and completely disassociated from herself in relation to the physical environment around her. Luckily, this squirrel has access to modern technologies like Google Maps and Citymapper. The former she uses for navigating on foot, the latter for public transport.

In light of this condition, I took charge to lead us around the crowds of this tourist-ridden part of the city (Londoners, comment below if you can guess where we were).

Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

After this enlightening walk, I proposed that we go back to my place and... well, my plan was to look for some form of physical confirmation of her interest at this point. But alas, her gentle rejection of the proposal confirmed my earlier impression that she was not a U-Haul kinda gal. So we found ourselves in a pub because it didn’t seem like either of us wanted to let the evening end yet. Unfortunately, it had to at some point.

As she checked the time on the third occasion, she gave me a weak smile and said, “Okay, I should go in 10 minutes, for real this time.” I smiled back, wanting to reassure her that what was happening was entirely endearing.

We hugged goodbye outside the tube stop. Sadly, there was no visible improvement here compared to the first date, but it’s okay, we would eventually work on this. There were no scrambled bits of brain to pick up this time, as I had learned more about her approach to dating and could see myself comfortably aligning to that.

To be Continued

So far, we’ve established that 1) she’s a really cool person; 2) we enjoy each other’s company; and 3) it's likely that we're used to different norms of dating.

But what happens next? Do things get steamy? How does one break the lesbian curse of attraction confusion?

A preview of what’s to come in Part Two of this story, coming next week:

  • An evening of queer community, pretty fairy lights, and botany.
    • “You could kiss me if you like”
      • Chemistry is when two people “experience their interaction as something more than the sum of their separate contributions."


        Did you enjoy this story? Comment below to let me know, or request specific types of tea (🍵) in future stories! Join t/ModernQueer to be notified when I publish the next one.

        For context on how I started this series of stories, check out: It's Not Your Fault the World Took So Long to See You.

        Cover image credit: London on the Inside