Dear Auntie Seraphic,
A million thanks for your encouragement in the single life! And the many, many laughs your wisdom has brought to me!
I certainly feel silly in asking for your advice on this matter (only because I think I know the answer) , but I'm so confused in my own head that I need to hear it from someone besides my dear mother.
Way before Christmas, an EF Mass-going-choir-singing-member (like me) friend of mine asked me to accompany her on a blind date. Her date was bringing two friends and she wanted to make it fun. The fellows were from out of town. I said sure, and promptly forgot about it all until the morning of ~ when I rushed down to the High Mass we were singing, where the fellows were meeting us. I wasn't sure what to expect from these boys. I know, I know, I don't want to be biased, but I've been going to the EF most of my life and never really had hope to meet a "polished possibility" there. They just don't seem to exist! In these gentlemen, though, I was blown away. So polished. Tweeds, three piece suits, courtly manners and gentle courtesy. They took us to lunch ~ it was hoot. All of us got on nicely. There was much of intellectual banter, wit, and verbal challenge. Refreshing and fun and elegant.
When we had to part ways (we girls had commitments for the afternoon), they asked us ladies what to do in the city that evening ~ would we be open to joining them for something of our choice? Much to my embarrassment, my friend said, "I never go out; [Local Girl] knows all the hot spots in town. She'll organize it." (I do go out with girl friends, but only when I have the money! Its not like I party it up every weekend!) I had to think fast and we agreed to meet at my 'favourite' bar in the evening ~ an expensive, classy place that I've been to ONCE. So we did.
It was snowing, and Christmas lights were up, and we had drinks, walked around in snow (new to them) had more drinks at another place, then dinner at another place. In the course of all this I never saw a bill ~ ever. When going on dates, I expect the gentleman to pay, but insofar as they already paid for lunch, I fully expected to purchase my own drinks. But I didn't have a chance.
Dancing had come up as the next activity on the evenings agenda and my favourite place to dance is a foot-stomping western swing dancing bar. I like it, but my classy brother hates it ~ he says it's RAUNCHY and he'd never take a girl there. I think he's uptight. But I hesitated to take these fellows. They seemed pretty classy like my brother and I didn't want to 'scandalize' them ~ I mean, they only knew me as a skirted choir girl. But they insisted that they would only be happy to see us happy, and we should go because, even though they couldn't dance, they would do it for us.
So we did, for about an hour or so. And they could dance, and I went crazy and Irish stepped danced when the TV screens got RAUNCHY (only once). We declared an end to good times at the tender hour of 11 pm. They wanted to know where we were going to mass the next day (Sunday) but we girls all had separate commitments, so wished them well on their journey home and said good-bye.
The next evening, one of the fellows (the one I really liked) texted me to say he wished he had gotten my number in person and thank you for such a good time. I texted back and said "You're welcome. Have a safe journey home". Then he said "We want to go skiing sometime" to which I replied, "Sure, we ski. I'll let you know of our next trip". So Christmas happened and then a few more weeks, and I invited them to join for a ski trip in the mountains. They called me to try and work out times they could come (they were planning to fly) but it didn't work out for their schedules. So, I let a few more weeks slip by, and then invited them via text message, to join us this weekend. I didn't hear back for the longest time ~ until Thursday when they said they couldn't make it.
Now, my first instinct ~ in my disappointment ~ was to say, 'Hey, no worries! Have a nice weekend!' But I waited and realized that what I really wanted to say was, "I'm so sorry you won't be able to join us! We will go again. Perhaps another time." In other words (and this seems to silly to admit, even to myself) I wanted them to know I was sad that they wouldn't be coming. But then I didn't want to come across as a lonely, wolfish, prowling female, snatching for chances to take advantage of them. So I haven't said anything yet. Please advise on what the correct/honest response should be!
My brother says that if they don't come back, they're not worth my attention anyway. I trust his judgement, but he also thinks its very funny that I took them dancing. I wish he would stop laughing about it because now I think I did scandalize them.
My thought is that I'm 3- years old and I have nothing to lose my being perfectly honest in expressing my sorrow at a lack of their company ~ and let them know they're welcome back. And then to leave them strictly alone, except to say a 'Hail Mary' when I catch myself mulling over it.
I'm sorry if this is so long and tedious ~ I'm sure you've heard it a million times before. Please take mercy in a confused young woman who doesn't know her own mind and heart and do me the kindness of putting all this back on its feet for me.
Thank you, Auntie.
The Local Girl
Dear Local Girl,
The first thing that leaps out at me was that your friend was going on a "blind date" with a nice young man--and his friends. This is the first time I have heard of a 21st century date with three chaperons, two boys and a girl. Already we have misplaced categories. That was definitely NOT a blind date! Okay, it may have been blind, but it was not really a date.
The second thing that leaps out at me were that these boys were from out of town. They were literally "new in town" and "looking for a good time." This is natural, but also suggests that the so-called "blind date" was really just a vehicle by which they had a good time on their mini-break. If these were bad guys, this could have been a total disaster, but they were nice Catholic boys, so the good time they were looking for was perfectly moral and licit. It seems to me that they viewed you girls as Nice Girls, and indeed, fellow traditionally-minded Catholics with whom they would naturally want to be friendly.
Out-of-town men on holiday (vacation) are a completely different kettle of fish from local men meeting people as they go about their ordinary lives. A holiday is a holiday and therefore a suspension of life-as-usual. There is a kind of man who will do all kinds of bad things he would not do at home because there is no-one in the holiday town to hold him accountable. Now, fortunately, these men were not like that kind of man. However, they were still on holiday. And even if there had been a real "spark" between you and the one you liked, or even a whirlwind romance, it might very well have been that VERY illusory and transitory thing, "the holiday romance."
You did nothing wrong when the boys were in town. You were a kindly, thoughtful hostess at a moment's notice, and you made sure the out-of-towners had a great time. Your one mistake was to assume the holiday friendship could necessarily continue if you took the initiative. In my experience, if a man really wants to see you, he will make sure he sees you. You have given the men enough encouragement to make them feel that they made a good impression. Now you must stop. No more contact. Leave them be. Chalk the whole thing up to nice guys wanting to have a good time among the kind of girls they respect while they were in your town and nothing else. Ships that pass in the night kind of stuff. (For the record, however, I don't think it appropriate to use a dating website for that, if that's what they did.)
The lesson from all this is not to take men-from-out-of-town on holiday too seriously, and instead of trying to orchestrate reunions, to be pleasantly surprised if one of them contacts you a week or more afterwards. Meanwhile, I can see that this was a very exciting evening for you, upon which you are dwelling in a way that is making you feel unhappy, so the best antidote to your worrying and day-dreaming of what-could-have-been is organizing a fun evening with your real friends, local ones, ASAP!
I hope this is helpful.
Grace and peace,