A summer of monkish celibacy (and the greatest peace I have known in my adult life), and all of a sudden, womankind, the great unraveller of my sanity, squeezes through a crack in my armor and upsets everything. Part of me is thrilled; part of me says 'about damn time'; part of me is worried sick — not because I'm worried that it won't happen between me and her, but rather because I'm worried about what would happen if anything did happen between the two of us.
I tell myself, it's just coffee, it's just coffee, it's just coffee. But last time, it was 'just coffee', and after a seven-month roller-coaster ride, I almost married her. I hope this doesn't happen again. I do not know what I'd do with myself if I found someone at this age. I would probably go insane.
I am shamefully bad at the dating game, which is why I rarely play it. My closest friends assure me I'm a genuine mensch, but I don't need other people to tell me who I am. I am who I am, and that's platitude enough for me. But I somehow made the transition from mere 'nice guy' to something else over the summer, and I feel it wasn't just all the pot I smoked and all the Bach, Pachelbel and Nick Cave I listened to. Somewhere between May and August, I stopped being a 'nice guy', and became something else, something I'm not sure I know anymore.
And come September, I meet her, standing there all brown hair and circles under her eyes and sunny demeanor and sleeveless blouse I want to take off button by button. I find myself thinking about her way too much to be more than a passing attraction. I find myself thinking silly thoughts, like how her name reminds me of a particular flower, or how she looked back at me in class before letting herself laugh the first day I met her. Silly of me!
So I tell myself, it won't happen, we'll find enough fault with each other to not go for coffee again, we'll just forget about it and pretend I never asked her out for coffee, neither of us have the time for anything, I'm coming on too strong, I'm coming on too weak, I shouldn't come on at all — I mean, come on! I tell myself to get a hold of myself. I tell myself not to think about it too much. But I can't. A week is a long time. At what point does it go from harmless flirting to serious overtures?
At times, I envy the (voluntary) celibates. Then I recall why I'm not a celibate anymore, and smile, and remind myself not to think so much.