Adventures of the Socially Inept: Was That a Date?
That I am in a constant state of not knowing what’s going on around me is no secret. It is something that most people who know me, and spend time with me, have developed the uncanny ability to compensate for. They have grown accustomed to me clinging to them like a limpet (metaphorically speaking) in social situations and waiting for cues as to the appropriate response to situations. Some have, quite thankfully, taken to acting as the Yoda to my Luke Skywalker when presented with situations in which I am forced to be social and talk to people about things that people generally want to talk about.
Incidentally, I have learned that Eldritch abominations are, in fact, not appropriate conversation topics in most normal social settings.
Unfortunately, there is no proverbial wing man available at all times. Take, for instance, hanging out with someone you’ve hardly hung out with before. Both parties are still learning each other, stumbling through conversation like blind men attempting to find their way out of a hoarder’s home, and are on unsure footing.
Recently I have found myself in such a situation, and walked away from it with a smile on my face because it was all around a good time. However, in the aftermath, I found myself wondering one very important thing about this outing: Was that a date?
I have very little practical experience with dates, and the stretches of time between the farces loosely coined as dates that I have been on in comparison to what others describe to me as dates has left me confused, unsure, and exasperated by what actually constitutes a date. The only thing I know for sure about dates is that they are not, in fact, something that you can eat.
All of the accoutrements for what has been described to me as a date were there:
- Things being paid for by one party
However, and this is where the gray area really comes up for me, I am currently unemployed. Money is not a thing in my life, currently, and thus anyone wanting to spend time with me in a setting that requires money to be a thing generally understands that they will have to pay for me to participate in said event. And while the term ‘date’ might have been mentioned once, I am unable to say for sure if it was actually meant as a label for the night due to the conversation at the time.
Some people would give me the advice of asking if it was a date. Hello, have you met me? I sometimes stand in my parents’ blind spot for several minutes thinking about the best way to ask if we’re out of toilet paper until they turn around because they can feel me lingering behind them with a question to ask and force me to just come out with my query (which reminds me: mom, dad… if you’re reading this, we need toilet paper). Needless to say, I would rather be attacked by a swarm of lamprey than to ask.
Clearly I am not very good at a lot of basic, every day life things.
Part of me thinks to label the outing as a date. Another part of me thinks that would be a foolish thing to do, because who would actually find my awkwardness and vast knowledge of Doctor Who endearing enough to go on something like a date with me? And another part of me can’t be assed to care if it was a date or not, because it was a fun night.
I am unable to tell when people are flirting with me, when they’re genuinely interested in me, and if I am on a date. This is exactly how one enters into relationships without knowing it, only to find out by a third party a few days later that you’re in a relationship. I wish that I didn’t have experience with that exact situation. But, alas, I am that hopeless that that has actually happened to me.
I habitually classify myself as that strange person who cares too much about the important people in my life and doesn’t actually fit well with other people. It is a rare occasion that I actually express my interest in people, because I have had it reinforced that I am sort of a holding spot for people – like a rest stop between destinations – and people will not stay long enough to get to actually get to know the person under all the false bravado. Which I am generally okay with, I am genuinely happy with my life.
I say that, but I do have one complaint. Sometimes I wish more of the people in my life would listen whenever I unload my life woes on them. I don’t do it often, and the number of people I trust enough to do that with is very low. But that is neither here nor there.
I feel like it’s sad, bordering pathetic, that I know that when the sun is blocked out by the moon it is not technically an eclipse, but an occultation, and yet I don’t actually know what a date (or romance, for that matter) is and if I have recently been on one. I understand Schrödinger’s Cat and Pavlov’s Dog. I remember most lyrics the first time I hear them and can trigger thoughts from several years before by listening to the right combination of songs. Yet, for all the wonders that my brain can perform, I don’t know anything about part of the basic building blocks of our species’ ongoing survival.
Some people have told me that what they know of dating they learned from television and reading. My choices in entertainment are different, unfortunately, and it is a rare occasion that I choose to be entertained by something like a RomCom, and I have never touched the romance section of any form of media other than to build up the print to show in a movie theater or shelve the DVD at the store that I was working at at the time.
So, dear kittens, what is a date? Maybe, if people weighed in on their personal experience, I could vet it out.