I hope this is the last time I'll need to write one of these, because each time I've fallen in love, I've had to fall out of love first.
Hosted a barbecue at my place a few weeks ago. One girl brought her friend. Her friend is pretty. Actually, I take that back - her friend is slim, long-haired, cute button-nosed... visual crack cocaine, and the guys know it. Within fifteen minutes, it's eight on one, and my journalist friend wins. He sits by her the whole evening flirting with her while we play this Chinese variant of "Bang". I add her on wechat when the evening's over anyways, and ask her to dinner Thursday. She waits until Thursday to respond - it's a power play but the odds aren't in my favor and I do sort of like her so I roll with it.
We spend the evening talking about ERP systems, workflow engines, and why she likes one enterprise software vendor over another.
What the living hell?
I walk out of dinner in a state of mild shell shock, mentally replaying things - did she mention shopping? No. An ex-husband? No. Weird pets? No. Me getting and raising a pet so she could come by and see it? No. Oh and she's my age, pretty, and she makes her own decisions in life.
She's made it on the other side of the great Silicon Valley dating filter, and I haven't even paid for our first date yet. I lean in for a kiss and she brushes me off... but she's smiling. Va bene. I make the decision: She's worth my time, I'm going to date her.
Then I realize, shit, my friend likes her too. Shit shit shit. Triangle relationships are dangerous in a dense social network like this one, and besides being friends, Mr. Journo is actually a decent bloke, a rare one in and of himself. But still, she's one in a million and sometimes you have to live with no regrets.
Saturday rolls around and we're going up to a hot air balloon trip to wine country. We're on my home turf at this point, it's a vineyard and I'm the wine club member treating everyone to free alcohol. The proprietor comes by to dump some social proof on me, telling the group about how many other groups I've brought here. Journo guy is still trying his best with her; she knows I'm watching. So she dials it up a notch with him and I engage plan B. One of the girls I invited along is an old fwb of mine, and she's been downing mimosas and chardonnay like they're going of style. I move within ten feet of mimosa girl and she asks the winery owner how many girls I've brought here. I mentally thank her for doing my advertising for me... within five minutes, workflow girl asks why I keep sitting by myself. Journo friend goes off to chat with my old fwb winks at me and promptly occupies his attention.
Near the end of the trip we go on a small hike. I lay down a few invitations but she's inert. I'm surprised at her restraint, but whatever. JF and I end up hugging it out. I'm happy.
The next day I bug her on wechat until she finally accedes to dinner. Over sushi, she says I remind her of her ex - she says I'm too pushy, too controlling. I tell her she barely knows me but at least I know she's not like my ex. Somehow she gets this funny look on her face and 30 minutes later we're watching a movie on my couch. Nothing happens though - she drives home. I don't tell journo friend. I'm still conflicted.
Monday night. I call her. It's crunch time, I can sense things are slipping - all during the day she's been slow on texts. We chat, she sounds bored, she asks why I'm paying so much attention to her. Fuck, it's level one of the doom test.
When they expect you to make up something weird, you go boring. Really boring. I say I think she enjoys helping people. I can sense her ears perking up over the phone. And then it suddenly fucking makes sense.
Maybe it was the alcohol and the late hour, but in the span of 5 minutes I link her econ degree, her desire to optimize workflows, and her laser-like focus on product features into one package: she wants to make everyone in the world more productive. She's noble. She's got more grace and class than the rest of Silicon Valley put together.
I finish my monologue and take a deep breath.
She says what I said is making her re-assess things, that maybe I'm not as shallow as I look.
I tell her I like her, and I want her. Then I hang up and go to sleep.