The Moment When Casual Became Too Casual for the Dilettante

11/03/2016 The Dilettante 3 Comments

The thing that drew me the most to UVU Boy wasn't his love for older Pokemon games and Super Smash Bros (though I'm a closet gamer). It wasn't his mission pictures, or his adorable nieces and nephews, or his fake, knitted beard. It wasn't even the fact that when we met, we had a conversation where we planned a real-life Oregon Trail trip, and it was one of the most hilarious conversations I've ever had. It was because he was so laid back.

I hate digital-age dating. As if small talk wasn't bad enough, it's like we have to stay in constant communication to really be close, and that means dragging out the small talk and putting it on Facebook messenger or in texts. 

Maybe it's because I haven't been head-over-heels in love with someone since MSN Messenger was still a thing, but for me, what starts out as a fun and flirty relationship often ends up looking a lot like the conversation on the left. Being a good listener is one of my best traits, and I love it, but it tends to draw some pretty needy people. More often than finding someone I can have balanced conversation with, I end up with a guy who doesn't need a girlfriend as much as he need some sort of robot that throws him an affirmation every few minutes.

UVU Boy wasn't like that, though. He didn't feel the need to constantly be talking to me. When we both felt like it, we'd have a really good conversation via text or in person. Dates were fun, and I never felt insecure about whether he liked me or not.

"Great!" you say. "Why didn't you try to start something serious?" you say. Two reasons: (1.) I surprised myself by being really really comfortable with this "Are they, aren't they?" thing, and (2.) just before I met UVU Boy, I wore myself out going after a guy who put in no effort at all, and I vowed that I was NOT going to be the initiator with whoever I dated next. 

Months passed, though, and nothing changed about the way we interacted with each other. Our talks, our jokes...they weren't all the same, but they weren't building to anything. I'm no stranger to slow-burn relationships, but Season Seven of our TV banter was still looking an awful lot like Season One's. 

Both of us were sitting there under the expectation that someday we'd both decide to be more serious. After all, we got along great, didn't we? But neither of us really felt like we needed to be more serious yet. Even more months passed (nine, to be exact), and we were both still figuring we'd get to it someday.

Then I realized.

We don't want to get serious because we are just. friends.

Operating under the assumption that we were just being casual kept us both safe from everyone else out there. When friends asked if I was seeing anybody special, I didn't have to make up some joke about being a cat lady in training. I could shrug, smile a little, and say, "Well, there is this one guy..." When dates with another guy started to turn sour, I could tell him sorry, but there's someone else.

But we were never going to be anything. We just wouldn't admit it.

Letting go of that expectation wasn't difficult for either of us, ultimately. And the first time I tried to talk with him after that, it felt exactly the same as it always had.

Someday, I'll find that guy who glues me to my phone. The one I talk to constantly without the cursed plague of small talk. The one I'll put down my phone for, because I'd much rather carve out time to go see him face to face than text another word. 

Until then, I guess I'll keep practicing my cat lady jokes.

The Dilettante

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Anonymous said...

I love that you planned a real life Oregon Trail trip! haha Wish I could have heard that conversation! I want a friend like this...

It was pretty great! I suggest it as an alternative to zombie apocalypse planning, which I find to be highly overrated.

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