On finding balance of heart and wallet
First of all, a small detail on more idiosyncracies of my country1: a lot of jobs pay twice a month, on the 15th and the 30th/31st of the month2. This means that tomorrow will be my first full pay cycle, in which I've worked for at least the minumum amount of hours to be considered a full-time worker3. This is the first time in almost a year that I will be 100% self-sufficient for 30 days in a row. It might not seem like much, but if you've ever been unemployed (and I certainly hope you haven't and you won't) you know how much this means. It means the first step to slowly get back on my knees after months of doubts and having sleep for dinner.
The other day I was rambling on the catbox about the rule propposed by Randall Munroe in xkcd about your socially acceptable dating pool. For those who don't read xkcd, it's as follows: the minimum age of your date should be equal to half your age plus seven years (y=(x/2)+7). Even though I'm still considered to be a young man, I'm certainly not new to dating4; but I've never really dated a woman significantly younger than me. Not until today.
Back when I was making interviews for potential volunteers for Wikimania 2015, she was just one name among 200 others wishing to help us. During our formal training she was just one of 80-ish new faces and I'm sure I forgot her name at least twice as with everyone else. During the event she proved to be immensely helpful because of her tireless smile on the Help Desk and her knowledge of French. Sure enough, she was in our after-party, celebrating one of the best Wikimanias on record.
Just like many other great things in nature, it all started incredibly small. "I hope we see each other again" when the farewell party was coming to an end. Then a brief message on the phone. Then another. By the time I realized, we agreed on a "museum + pizza" date, each of us suggesting two interesting museums to visit5. Our schedules conflicted for a few months, but the idea survived by feeding on several nights of messages and song suggestions.
Then the stars aligned: we both had the morning off, a temporary exhibition of modern art in a museum near us both and admitting ignorance of paintings to each other. It was also the first rainy day of the year; rainy enough for us to hold each other a second time for warmth; rainy enough for me to hold the umbrella and her to hold my arm but not rainy enough to make us walk any faster than normal.
For a girl 8 years younger than me (the youngest I've ever dated, if this counts as a "real date") she really amazed me several times with some funny comments on snob museum crawlers and astute observations on the posture of female models (she is, after all, a dancer and knows more of expressing feelings through posture and movement than I do). I genuinely laughed at her jokes, I think she might've genuinely laughed at mine, but I don't really care.
I've never dated anyone younger than me, much less this young. It didn't feel weird at all. I really appreciated the fact that she respected my job schedule and that we hurried the last room of the exhibition for this same reason. She liked the bookmark and mug I bought her at the gift shop, I loved the note book she bought me.
What's happening to me? I don't really know this gal but I found myself with this stupid grin 3 or 4 times during my shift, even after the idiotic call with a racist redneck from Texas. I'm not even looking forward to a relationship right now, but I did hug her a tiny fraction of a second more than I usually do. She didn't cut me. I didn't mind.
1 May or may be similar to other countries, but I can't say for sure
2 Which means you get a paycheck, on average, every 15 days. The actual payment is usualy referred to as "quincena" which derives from the word "quince" (fifteen). There are several other informal terms derived from the names of numbers or pay days, like "mesada" (from "mes", once every month) and "catorcena" (from "catorce", every fourteen days or once every other Friday)
3 This is because during December I was attending for 4-6 hours a day for training, so I still was a "part time worker" without full health and wage benefits, among other perks
4 But I'm far from being an expert, tho
5 My superior knowledge of pizza places essentialy gave me vetoing power on the decision of where to eat