To be honest, I don’t know if this is really an "Adult" story but whatever.
I have a friend, let’s call her Alli, who I met in Japan though another friend. Alli and I were not really friends in Japan just acquaintances. I’d see her only because I was hanging out with my friend and Alli was part of my friend’s group.
I moved back from Japan to San Francisco in January 2007 and soon after Alli contacted me and told me she was moving to San Francisco soon as well and that we should hang out.
Alli is quite the clubber and as soon as she showed up my life took a big turn for the better. Alli would invite me out to join her clubbing almost every weekend it seemed.
In July she invited me to her birthday party which was to consist of inviting all her friends to a club for drinking and dancing. Alli knew I was looking for a girlfriend and she told me she had a 35 year old Japanese friend who was looking for a boyfriend and that Alli would introduce me at the birthday party.
Well, I got to the party and Alli was pretty dunk already. I guess people were buying her birthday shots and she had already had 7. There was one extremely beautiful woman that seemed to be part of Alli’s group and I really hoped that was the woman she was going to introduce me too. When I say EXTREMELY beautiful I mean one look and I couldn’t stop thinking about her. She didn’t really look Japanese but then once in a while with certain people it’s hard to tell.
About 30 minutes after I got to the party Alli disappeared into the bathroom for about an hour. I guess 7 shots in an hour will do that to you. Finally someone went in to get her and we all ended up leaving as she was not really feeling good.
A few days later I posted pictures from the party and asked Alli about the beautiful woman I had seen. Was that the girl she was going to introduce me to? Alli said, No, that is Claire and she’s married. Oh well, so much for that. I didn’t see Alli interact with Claire at the party so I figured she was probably like a friend of friend or something and I’d probably never see her again anyway.
It actually turned out Alli and Claire were pretty good friends. They both worked together in the same program that brought Alli to SF. So, the next few times I went out with Alli, Claire was there.
Of course knowing she was married I really didn’t think much of it except I found it interesting to watch her on the dance floor since so many men would hit on her. Alli would laugh when she saw Claire dancing with them knowing that they were wasting their time.
I mentioned before I had started studying Mandarin and I had recently decided to visit Shanghai in October. One day Claire mentioned she wished she got more English practice so I suggested that she and I should do language exchange. I’d help her with her English and she’d help me practice Mandarin.
We started meeting twice a week, Tuesday and Friday mornings, 9:30am to 11am. It was nice to have someone help me with Mandarin and it didn’t hurt to hang out with such a beautiful woman.
I got to find out that Claire was a lot more than looks. She’s a web designer and artist and moved up the ladder at the Taipei branch of a large American company so that she was actually managing a team of designers. These things made it more frustrating that she wasn’t single but still, no problem. When a woman is unavailable I generally have no problem not thinking about it.
Now, before this mandarin practice started Alli told me she wanted to organize my birthday party. She and Claire did all the work. Alli picked a super dress up theme and when I picked up Claire to bring her to the party Claire was dressed off the hook! I thought she was beautiful before but WOW. I could hardly believe how hot she was.
Still, that was the theme Alli had picked and the year before I was so lucky to have my friend Yukari organize a China Dress party for me so again, I didn’t think too much of it. I just thought Claire was playing along.
Still, on top of that Claire had made a tart for my birthday. Alli had asked what kind of cake I liked and I said I really wasn’t into cake but that I liked tarts. I figured she’d just buy something but when Claire showed up with this amazing tart and tells me she had never made one before, had asked a chef friend to help her and had spent hours making it I was pretty awestruck. I had learned before that the phrase “A way to man’s heart is through his stomach” is somewhat true. It isn’t the food that does it, it’s the understanding of the effort someone went through just for you.
Finally at some point during the night Alli said to bring out the presents. I didn’t expect any presents. The coolest one was from Alli. It was a scrapbook with birthday wishes from all my friends in Japan and SF. But, the strangest one was the one from Claire. It was a sculpture or cast of a face, just the mouth and nose with the lips puckered for a kiss.
At the time I figured it was kind of a joke since Alli got me a toy that when you press its button plays back the sound of a woman having an orgasm.
Claire had told me before that she watches tons of movies in Taiwan so during the party I showed her my DVD collection in case there was something she wanted to borrow. I also had 300 on Blu−Ray which she had not see and wanted to watch and even though it was about 2am she claimed once she got into the movie she’d stay awake.
It turned out she actually was pretty tired so she only made it about 40% in before we shut it off. Most of rest of the people had left and it was just Me, Alli, James and Claire. James left and I drove Alli and Claire home.
Up to this point Claire had never told me about her husband. He had never come up once any conversations since I’d met her. I’d only heard she’s married from Alli. My friend Danny and I had talked about it before after clubbing with Alli and Claire that Claire doesn’t *seem* married. I don’t know what it would mean to *seem* married. Maybe not partying so much without her husband? Maybe bringing him up once in a while like “oh, my husband and I did ___” or “my husband and I went to ___” or anything. Or even maybe mention at the clubs to some of these guys that are hitting on her that she’s not interested. She does blow them off eventually but never by telling them she is married or even that she is not interested. Mostly just eventually walking away. Of course maybe it's a cultural difference. Those kinds of situations are vastly different by culture.
So, continuing, Claire and I are meeting twice a week for language exchange. One day we were doing our language exchange and I brought “The Book of Questions”. The first question was something like “Would you move to foreign country to be with your spouse if doing so meant you were unlikely to see your family often”. One thing, the book was written in the 70s when travel was not what it is today but still, Claire said “Yea, no problem”. She mentioned she’d like to move to America permanently. Was that a hint? Remember she still had not ever personally mentioned her husband to me. Later the topic of kids came up and that was the first time she brought up her husband. Claire said she would never have kids because although she wanted them her husband did not. You’d think that would be enough proof since she finally brought up her husband but her first mention of him suggested dissatisfaction. Plenty of people break up over the fact that one wants kids and the other does not.
Another day during practice I think we were talking about personalities. I brought up how I wish I was more aggressive or at least less shy in public settings. While I can talk to people in a group of friends I have almost never approached a stranger at a club, bar, bookstore, conference, whatever to start a conversation. Claire mentioned she wished she was less conservative, more wild. I asked what she meant by “wild” and while she struggled for words I asked “like one night stands?” and she said yea, that kind of stuff. Again, I kind of started wondering, is she trying to give me hints?
At this point, on top of language twice a week, we also met on weekends with Alli for clubbing, sometimes twice both Friday and Saturday night, Claire mentions she wants to come over and watch the end of 300 which I kind of blew off but about a week later she brings it up again so I invite her over one night to watch.
Claire had mentioned before that she does not play video games but when we get to my place she asks to play some before we start the movie.
Now, she’s read my blog and she knows that I’m hoping to meet someone who is at least willing to play video games once in a while so now things start to turn for me. I’m starting to think....hmmm, this woman wanted to come over to my house alone, just the two of us. She doesn’t play video games but she’s asking to play and she knows I’m looking for someone who will at least participate. I’m starting to feel like I’m getting some signals here.
The last week of September we saw each other almost every day. On Monday she invites me to tango class so I get to dance with her close. It turned out to be an intermediate class and so I guess I shouldn’t really have gone. By dancing with the teacher once I did learn that if you are skilled at dancing your partner doesn’t have to be.
Anyway, On Tuesday we have language exchange. On Wednesday we tried to organize a karaoke party but our friends all had other plans so after giving her 4 options (jazz club, lindy hop class, techno club, and dinner) she chooses dinner, the one activity that’s one on one. We go to dinner together and I decide I’m going tell her how I’m feeling because at this point not only am I head over heels for her but all this hanging out and perceived signals is making me feel like maybe there’s a chance.
Instead I chicken out and just ask her about her husband. I ask something like, “Don’t get mad and don’t get upset but are you really married?” I figured she was but at the same time I’m wondering maybe they are separated or maybe she just made him up to fend guys off.
She says “yes” she is married and I find out that he will come to America in a week and stay for 4 weeks. They plan to drive around and visit some national parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.
I didn’t get my hopes up too high so I’m not too upset. We change the topic and talk for a couple of hours on the patio at Houston’s until 1:20am. I take her home thinking that’s that but I get back to my apartment and 20 minutes later I get a text message on phone “I had a great time tonight. Thank you and Sweet Dreams”. Ugh! What is going on?
I talk to my friend Danny about it because I don’t know what I should read into that message. Is it just an innocent message or does it mean more. It certainly feels to me like it means more and he says “that cinches it. She’s into you Gregg and she’s probably not actually married or else is not happily married”. So now I’m really confused. When she told me she was actually married I thought to myself “okay, that’s that” but then I get this message and I feel like maybe that wasn’t the end of it.
Thursday night about 7pm she texts me and says “what are you doing?” I say I’ve got to stay at work till about 9pm but I’m free after that. She says she’s thinking of going to a Jazz club and I say I’ll text her when I’m done and see where she is.
I text her at 9pm and she has decided not to go to the Jazz Club. She wants to go see a movie. From my point of view and the previous night’s text message I’m thinking “hmmm, she wants the one on one” activity and after the movie we'll end up going out for food which is more one on one time.
We see “3:10 to Yuma” and after words as I have not eaten yet we drive around to find a place. At first I think of going to Best of Thai Noodle on Haight but then I think she’d enjoy Orphan Andy’s more, a diner style place in Castro that is open 24hrs. It’s quite a spectacle with lots of flamboyant personalities there at 1am.
We have a fun dinner, sharing food and I drive her home. Again after I get back to my apartment a few minutes later I get another “great time, thank you, sweet dreams” type of message.
I can’t take it anymore. I am now totally crazy for this woman. She’s arguably the most beautiful women I have ever had the opportunity to befriend. She also a talented “can do” type of person. She’s friendly and fun and we are hitting it off. I feel like the luckiest man alive but...she just told me on Wednesday she’s married. What gives?
I decide I’m going to talk to her about this because it just can’t go on. Either she is interested or she’s not and I’m mis−reading everything. Danny points out the obvious that I have nothing to lose. I have to do it the next day because I'm flying to Shanghai and Japan for the next two weeks and I really don’t want this question hanging over me the whole time.
So, Friday night she is planning to go to Pecha−Kucha night (another thing we have in common) and so is Alli so we all hookup there at 8:20pm. Pecha−Kucha night should end by 10pm and I still haven’t packed but stupid me, it’s Friday night so after the event the girls want to go clubbing. I end up taking them to the Supper Club which turned out to be perfect, great people, great music, great atmosphere. We dance until 3am. Alli gets picked up as usual. Claire gets hit on by at least 6 guys but hey, I get to dance to good music and often with her and Alli. Life is good.
I take them home and when I get to Claire’s I bring it up. My words were pretty lame I’m sure but the jist of it is that I’m falling for her and I need to know how she feels and if I’m reading these signals right. After a long heartfelt discussion it’s clear that she is not available. She is married and that’s that. She does like me a lot and her behavior has been as it has because it’s natural to do those things if you like hanging out with someone.
I’m pretty sure I got this right but basically I inferred if she wasn’t married we can both see this would be going a lot further. She really likes me and is sad it has come to this. She seemed really concerned that she had inadvertently led me on but I assured her that in the end it was just me being overly hopeful and that with things cleared up we could still be friends and there’d be no issues.
And so, that’s that. We remained friends until she left back to Taiwan in early December and had a great time. With things cleared up I went back to turning my feelings off as much as possible. Maybe turning off my feelings is not the right way to put it. More like ignoring them. Just each time they come up, saying to myself “not available” and moving on to the next thought.
I don’t know that even if she was available anything would have ever happened or worked out but still it felt really good to actually want someone again. I had met lots of women over the last 4 or 5 years, some very nice, some I thought I’d like to be more than friends with if I got a chance to know them but no one I just plain *WANTED* deep down. The type of woman that makes you want to be a better person. That is until I met Claire. I was almost worried that I’d never feel strongly about someone again. That maybe that was something that only happens in your 20s or somehow as you get older those feelings just aren’t part of life. I thought maybe I should settle for one of these other women I had met that were nice enough but that I didn’t really feel strongly about.
But now I know that that’s not the case. I can feel strongly about someone. I can really want someone deep down in my core. I hope it doesn’t take another 4−5 years to find someone to make me feel that way again and even if it does take that long I hope when it does happen it will be someone who is available. But regardless, just knowing I can still feel that way makes me really happy.
I want to make it clear, I don’t feel that Claire did anything wrong. We hung out and remained good friends for another 2 months past the time I got clarification from her. We stayed and still are good friends. I think at most the situation was something like one of the situations in the movie Juno where Juno starts visiting the husband of the women who wants the baby. Juno befriends the husband and shows interest in him and his activities. He mis−understands her intentions and he falls for her. I suppose like Juno’s mom mentioned maybe Juno should have been aware of what might happen but she wasn’t. Juno didn’t do anything wrong though and neither did Claire.