3.4 Winter 2021-2022

January 11, So you’re saying there’s a chance

Here’s the thing: as great as it might be to get your confession off your chest, you have actually not considered the burden you place on the receiver.

So I went out to coffee with the navy guy. Recall that the first words I ever had with him were just a few days prior, where he essentially asked me out in an elevator.

The date was. A lot.

When I first pulled up to the cafe, which seemed entirely too romantic for a place serving only a basic coffee menu, I felt relieved and a little touched to see him standing outside waiting.

He kindly bought our drinks and we settled in at a wide table upstairs.

“I bought this outfit to make a good impression on you,” he said, pointing to his jeans, sweater, and jacket in succession. I ignored my vague discomfort at that and complimented his new look. That’s quite a lot to do for me, considering this is our first real conversation.

We chatted about work and life and it was nice. We could be friends except for one tiny thing.

The burning in his heart could not be avoided.

“I couldn’t sleep well this weekend because I was excited for this. My coworkers said I was smiling differently. That’s because of you.”

I smiled placidly, unsure how to respond to this sudden onslaught of feeling.

“I saw you at the gym over the last few months, and you always worked hard.”

I didn’t notice him until his power yoga moves three days prior.

“And then I saw you on Saturday. You looked so different. I knew that I had to take the chance or I’d regret it forever.”

You know what I was regretting? Saying yes to this. I knew I shouldn’t have worn makeup to the gym! It’s too damn powerful!

“I liked you since the first time I saw you. I want to listen to IU with you while watching the night sky. I want to see the cherry blossoms together. I want to hike the mountains with you.”

Sir, we are not on the same page. I sat with my cappuccino halfway to my mouth trying to keep my reactions in check.

emma watson uh sure okay emma watson gif | WiffleGif
“You wanna stay for dinner?” “You wanna stay forever?”

“I would say yes to anything.” He concluded.

“Would you say yes to being friends?” I asked.

He paused for a long moment and I realized this is the only answer I cared about. This was the character defining moment: if you claim to love me so ardently, but can’t accept a different form of relationship, then your love is a lie.

He took a big breath in and answered, “yes”. I felt a rush of relief.

“But it would hurt me to see you with someone else.” Gah, so close!

Unfortunately, he latched on to a previous statement about “friends first before romance”; I had weaseled out of being entirely clear of my romantic absence for him because I didn’t know if he was going to be threatening upon rejection.

Me: how about friends first….? Him: Okay, I will work extra hard to win your feelings. Me: wait, no–

Regardless of my feelings, it was clear that he had already started on his journey to win the princess, without considering if she wanted to be won at all. “I can be fun, I will try harder,” he muttered, referencing my answer from earlier about what type of people I like.

“Um, please don’t change yourself.” I begged, feeling suddenly like I had been dropped into 500 Days of Summer. This guy didn’t know anything about me, but was already making sacrifices at my altar.

I felt insane.

I could tell this man to eat his own hand and he would.

You have invested these pure feelings in the wrong person! I wanted to cry. Somewhere out there is a woman who wants exactly this. Unfortunately for both of us, I am not she. In a way, I thought, if I had to be married off to someone a hundred years ago, he would probably be a solid choice.

“I have a present for you,” he said and my gut dropped. More? Is this how celebrities feel when fans ask for their hand in marriage? We walked to his car where he fished out a special dessert pack from Jeju he bought online. I didn’t want to take it but I did.

He wanted to walk me to my car for safety and I thought, but what if I need to be safe from you?

I have to tell him, over text, that this really isn’t going to work. I pray that he’ll remain respectful and keep his distance so that I won’t have to change gyms or look over my shoulder. Another friend who’s a long term Korea expat told me that in her experience, these types of intense infatuations, for all their promises, fade quickly. And that he might have wanted bragging rights to asking a foreigner out. Worse than being an object of infatuation is being a fetishized object of infatuation.

How do I keep having these wild encounters? How am I so incomprehensibly bad at dating? I mean, I’m still going to try but damn!

I hope this simmers down to a funny story to tell later. At least, this is what I’m telling myself to stay sane.

Update: the day after, I received a text from him stating that he watched a lot of videos about American culture and is okay with being friends. Self reflection, we love to see it!

But… Wait a minute…

I don’t know what friends means in this context. Friends…. To lovers???

I have no idea what culture videos he’s watched. Friendship? Dating? Conspiracy? Red pill?!

At least for now I can take a breather, until he makes a sure step towards anything other than platonic, in which case the swift hammer of honesty will unfortunately have to come down.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: