I told you that I thought you were cute.
That’s the thing I did different, this time. With the last guy, at the last gig, I’ll admit I had the explicit intentions of flirting, at least at first. Bait and switch: lead with girl, end with friend, emphasis on the space in between. The former means playing your cards close to the vest, half-lidding your eyes and filtering smoke through your voice and looking interested, but not too interested.
I liked his face, but not as much as I like(d) yours: wide open, expression saying you were happy to be here. You looked young in the best way, but when I asked you said you were older, and that made me feel better: the closer people are to thirty, the more likely they are to get me, to see my exuberance for what it is instead of searching for subtext.
(For someone who likes writing, I rarely have subtext.)
He was, I found out later, a setup. You were a surprise. Perhaps that’s why, subconsciously, I knew it was safe to give in to my adrenalin and show my hand, look you in the eye (a mean feat! I am terrible at eye contact!) and say, “I think you’re cute!” in the bold, forward, awkward way of a bold, forward, awkward girl whose confidence pendulum swings between over- and totally lacking in. There was no plan to what I did, no strategy or desired outcome. Truth be told, I’m not sure what I was expecting when I did what I did, but the bright, earnest smile was both another surprise (are you full of them?) and something comfortingly expected.
Of course you’d take it as a compliment.
Thank God (really, thank you, God) you took it as a compliment.
When you had your friend tell me you thought I was cute too, I took that as returning the favor, no more and no less. I imagine I was cute, all fumbling and earnest, telling a boy (man?) I barely knew that I liked his face. Having no filter is the luxury of the very young or the old enough not to care, and that luxury, I suppose, has charm. Was I attracted to you? A bit, sure, but I’ve learned–and I’ve said this so many times before–to see people as people, and not private parts. Yes, you boy and me girl, but first we are two humans, and you are a cool human, and I am always looking to know more of those.
This is not flirting. Flirting is exhausting and involves strategy and second-guessing. It involves me hitting the backspace key. There are stakes to flirting, expectations. I’m tired of expecting anything, even neutral outcomes.
We exchanged Facebook accounts, before you left. I like how I can message you without thinking about what I’m writing, without caring if my blue bubbles outnumber your gray. Maybe it’s because I have no cards left: I already made my most dangerous play. Now there is nothing left to fear, nothing to be “found out.” “I think you’re cute!” as a statement isn’t locked and loaded, an unresolved tension hanging in the air. It’s been said. It’s been done. It can be filed away as fact, as two mature adults who know that compliments can be compliments, that undercurrents can be ignored before they surface, that sometimes friendship is the prize, and not a consolation.
At the very least, you make me hate Messenger a little less.
- I now have a “photoblog” of sorts. Check out the tiny stories behind the photos that don’t make it to my *curated* Insta when you visit uneasy-eyes.
- More #FindingMySeoul / #SingWithSeoul updates/reflections soon (I hope). Can any of you remind me? 😛