The Chronicle, U.S.A.

The Elusive Art of Conversation

The ability to conversate occasion-appropriate, is a developed skill. Starting and maintaining a conversation with some men is like pulling teeth. If they have no conversation outside of the street-talk, pimpish back and forth exchange I never quite understood, it won't work. I never until now, felt qualified to speak on dating because I had not been on a date in about eight years, so what would I say?
Well, I have dipped my toe in our local dating pool and it is quite chilly to me. One meeting was just that, a meeting in the parking lot of a Pilot gas station near to us both. It was my stupid idea but he agreed. As we sat in my car and chit chatted, I wish I had known then what I know now: the art of conversation has died amongst the common man. This guy was a retired lawman, military background. He was articulate and intelligent and on point in his wisdoms and such. In spite of his many wisdoms, our conversation was empty and moved us nowhere toward a date. We just didn't meld, maybe due to the fact we were sitting in the parking lot of a gas station. Every two weeks or so, he called and we chatted but the conversations did not end in an actual offer of a date. During one of our last phone calls, my genteel suggestions to go see either The Next Man Holiday, the Kanye West concert at the United Center and Rick Ross at the Genesis Center, did not go over well because he immediately placed the suggestion of sex on the table. We are not familiar with each other — not enough to be intimate. (Not to mention he looked down on me for wanting to attend these great concerts). What struck me was his need to have an offer of sex on the table before making a date for the movies. Thisis not a poor man, neither rich. He is attractive, I'm sure he circulates just fine. I chose to reject his view on a sex in exchange for a movie date because of his gumption to think so little of me. If I had to put a value on IT, IT would out value the price of a movie ticket. So sad, but at least he had a brain and some conversation. If I had to pick a Wizard of Oz character he represents, it would be the Lion. He did not have the courage to say yes to a movie date and take a gamble on the sex option or sex futures. He just had to set it in stone (or attempt to do so) and thus did not close the deal. A movie date is one where you don't have to talk so conversation is not forced but you will have something to talk about later. You can discern the intellect of your date while discussing the film. The other date (these men are in their late forties, as am I) suggested we meet at a Buffalo Wild Wings of near equal distance to us both. Since a restaurant is a better meeting place suggestion than a gas station parking lot, I agreed. I thought the goal of our first date would be for me to enjoy myself, relax and not take control or manage the conversation and keep us within what social graces says is right. I smiled a bunch and ran interference. Loud over talking in a noisy restaurant is unnecessary. Lean, in and create intimacy and be heard. Besides, it looks adorable to see a couple do that. It gives anyone single and looking hope that their better half is still out there waiting for them to show up. I agreed to meet so soon because I was emboldened by a goblet of wine while on the phone. Backing our story up a bit, he told me he was not a phone guy during our very first telephone conversation and scoffed at spending an hour on the phone with me. The pliers I used to pull his teeth during this conversation, are ruined. We finally had a good phone conversation the night we agreed to meet. I remember him saying he felt relaxed. He was open and humorous but we were talking about the details of when and were to meet. His ability to discuss ideas or sports or something and to swing from conversation point to conversation point, left him by the time we got to the Buffalo Wild Wings. His Wizard of Oz character would be the Scarecrow. I arrived first and waited as he had farther to travel. He marched into the place which had a "Wait to be Seated" sign clearly posted. I didn't know what to do, so I obeyed the sign. He was acting like a bull in a china shop at Buffalo Wild Wings. Seriously, I stood there feeling like a schoolgirl watching the bad boy in class get in trouble. Of course the waitress was like, no sir, you can't sit there, that is blocked off. He was moving stools out of the way that were lined up to a block off an area, marching around, kinda loud about it. However, at Buffalo Wild Wings, he really did not stand out. It is a very loud restaurant with a fun, family-themed atmosphere. Perfect for a first date meeting. When we were finally seated, he did not order for himself anything but he bought me a drink. He said he didn't need anything. As I sat with my thimble full of Crown Royal Whisky (they didn't sell Johnnie Walker Black Label), he insisted on engaging the waitress about tax law and why tax was added to the $7 shot of whiskey. I was so suddenly glad he was not my boyfriend. I asked him about the basketball game in which he seemed interested. He was as tight as a clam, had his arms folded in front of him. My flirty, gentle suggestion not to block me out seemed received but he was clearly uncomfortable and kept asking me back to his house. He said, "leave your car here, I will bring you back." I said, "no" like five or six times before I asked him, "why not come to my house in GARY?" He shuddered, frowned and said, "no, I'm not coming to Gary." I let that statement hang. Well, since I make and sell soap (Etsy/shop/1966) I gave the man a bar of my soap as a nice gesture. These are luxury soaps, natural ingredients. He casually laid it down on the table behind us and that pissed me off right away because I'm sensitive about my soap. So I pulled out some of my handcrafted lotion, put a little on his hand and as he rubbed it on, he said in a slightly snotty way, he has good skin already. I didn't say anything in response. I could tell he was slightly uncouth on an everyday basis, no social skills to be found but he opened doors. He held my hand as we walked to the restaurant. He walked too fast and was basically pulling me along, like a child but it was okay. He has a heart as big as an ocean and will make a grown woman a great mate but I just can't be in the company of a man like that and be expected to enjoy myself. As an example of that, I was broke and I told him so as we planned our meet-up. He agreed to spot me $5 for gas and as promised, gave it to me and sent me on my way with a peck on the lips afterward. He said he was on his way to get turnt up and I said have fun. I will admit I thought he meant put the gas in my car literally, since is was cold and dark out but anyway. Yeah. Just because you have a job does not mean you are so primo that you need not work on your dating and social skills. The fact that Scarecrow wore a nice, leather (sports team) jacket but wasn't a fan of said team was the absolute deal breaker. He said he bought it because he liked it, not because he is a fan. Privately, I questioned his decision. A professed sports fan who does that is just weird to me. Support your team. The men I do like, are serious about their sports teams. I don't even watch sports nor do I favor a team but I do know this much - support your team. I guess this dating scene will get better with practice.

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