So the other day I am on a date. Well, can you call it that? It was accompanying someone I find incredibly attractive on some errands. Fourth time meeting. Why did I agree to go on a fourth date like this? Where’s the rolling eyes emoji when you need it?
This is just how things go for me. You will see this, all in due time.
So anyway, aforementioned cutiepants and I are on this, you know, errand-running date. He is squeezing me in, you see. Which, I must admit, makes me feel a little bit unsure of my date’s interest in me.
He and I arrive at the mall where he is to pick up an order he’d placed online. Fair enough. We go in, but they need to find the order in the back. So we are instructed to wait for a couple minutes. It being a furniture store, we sit on a nice little two seater couch. (OK, not bad, we can sit next to each other!)
We take a seat. He seems a little distracted and had been looking for something in his coat. But out of the corner of my eye I see his right hand reach in my direction. My left hand – god help you, left hand – grabs his right. Like a ninja reflex.
But then – where’s that embarrassed face emoji? – I realize, he was not reaching for your hand, you fool of all fools! He was looking for something in his coat.
“Oh,” I say. “Wait, were you reaching for my hand?”
He pauses – and his hesitation is all I need to know, NO YOU DUMBASS HE WAS NOT REACHING FOR YOUR DAMNED HAND!
I pull it away and stare immediately at the very, very interesting things on the walls over there, in the direction facing anywhere but toward him.
This is just a little window into my love life. My so-called love life.
This might be why I am single. Here I am, this 40-something single lady, with a cat, mind you (a cat I walk on a leash, but that is for another day) trying to navigate the online dating world in a sea of millennials. Cutiepants is what I’ll call a late-stage millennial. Their norms are all kinds of different from Gen X-er’s like me.
Thus my confusion.
My mistaken hand-holding incident led me to spiral internally, as I do, and catastrophizing, as I also do, with thoughts like “Oh boy, this is a reflex from my LTR days. This is what someone in a RELATIONSHIP would do. We are just going out. We only just met. He is a late-stage millennial – he wears a SCARF for christsake! Is he going to call me a “Stage 5 Clinger” to his friends when he talks about this later? Holy crap, I’m DOOMED! I will choke on a baby carrot and die a single lady in my studio apartment with five cats who walk over my dead body for days (with that swishy-tailed I’m-Pissed vibe that cats do). OK, we are done here.”
Naturally, in my mind, we were done here. So I curled into myself and muttered nonsensical chatter mirroring the tone of his chatter until he dropped me back home, still mortified at my fatal mistake.
Instinctively assuming someone is reaching to hold your hand on date four, an errand date no less, is the equivalent of saying “I need you to love me, NOW”