Without even realizing, I had documented via diary my first several dates with my first girlfriend. And what I recognized is that those entries were written with absolutely no certainty of the girl’s intentions.
For the sake of her privacy, her name was Jane Doe.
I met Jane in early January, in a history class. She would smile at me during class, and I could not help but smile back. After the first class, she came up to me and introduced herself. It was the unison of her natural smile and her soft handshake that won me over.
We sat next to each other every class after that. Jane Doe became the only thing bearable about Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Even though I was clearly smitten, I had no clue if she liked me in return.
First Clue: Asking For My Number
The week before our midterm exam, Jane asked if we could study together, even though we were equally unprepared. In retrospect, this was her way of getting my phone number.
Second Clue: The Texting Frenzy
The week of midterms, we would text each other with study questions, which we pulled out of our butts just to have an excuse to text one another. Then, we began to text jokes and sassy comments about the course and our teacher.
She began to check in regularly: “How’s the studying?” or “Are you ready?” I would return the question. This would begin the series of discussions that probably hindered our productivity.
We began sharing details of our daily lives. She was my favorite texting buddy for the next few weeks.
Third Clue: We Have Something In Common
I remember that the week after Valentine’s Day, it had come up that Jane was bisexual. I, in turn, mentioned I was gay. She figured as much.
We continued to send random texts to each other throughout the week.
This was it. Once I realized that I actually had a feasible chance with this girl, I realized I had to ask her out.
Finally, a week after I had decided that I would ask her out, I summoned the courage to invite her for coffee after class. She accepted. Naturally my mind was crowded with frantic concerns. Look, you probably won’t click right away. Probably won’t click at all. At least you’ll be able to say that you tried dating and there wasn’t chemistry. Wait. What if this isn’t a date? Just in case it’s a date, try to look presentable. She doesn’t need to see you at your frumpiest! But, don’t look like your trying too hard either.
Our coffee session lasted for an hour without any awkward moments or miscommunications. She is one of the few people to whom I did not need to try and listen; I just could. The date ended with a hug.
It was rather open-ended: she might be into me too, or maybe we just have incredible platonic chemistry.
That weekend Jane asked me if I wanted to see a movie with her. We decided to see a late night screening of Avatar and find out what all the fuss was about. She picked me up at my place around 9:30. She was very well dressed, and her hair was styled beautifully. Although, I had tried my hardest to look presentable, I did not compare.
We walked a mile to the movie theatre. Along the way, she asked such delightfully random questions.
As we were in line for tickets at the theatre, I reached for my wallet. She told me to put my money away. I jokingly responded, “You know, if you pay for the movie, does that mean I have to put –” I stopped myself, realizing, Hey idiot, you might have a good thing going here. So, don’t ruin it by saying things like that!
We sat together, comfortably, throughout a three-hour movie. Afterwards, she walked me home. Since she lived another mile away, I offered to walk her to her apartment so she would not have to walk by herself after midnight. She politely declined my offer, but I made her promise to take a cab and call me to confirm she got home.
We ended the evening with another very warm hug. As I watched her walk to the end of the block, I asked myself, Should I have tried to kiss her? Or, is she declining my walking home offer to avoid rejecting me?
We covered a lot of subjects that really help two people get to know one another; we talked about art, food (a very important topic for her), dreams, family, children, spirituality, etc.
Also raised Catholic, she asked me a question about sexuality and religion. Without knowing, she brought me to a very profound revelation. She asked me if I ever wondered if the Christians are right [about homosexuality]. I told her that, yes, sometimes it scares me a bit that something about me is a sin. Sin, which the bible, Leviticus and such, insists is so. I explained how that fear forced me to examine why love would ever be considered a sin. Ultimately, I concluded that it is a far greater sin to reject the being that you are, as it is farther from Pure Being. I thought she would roll her eyes to that answer, as it sounded über pretentious. But, then I heard her voice, “You are… pretty freaking incredible.”
I could not help but blush. And, I think she noticed.
Our chat ended as we both had classes to attend that afternoon. She invited me to join her and her roommate to the Institute of Art that evening.
The day before, I began to assume were spending time together as friends. That night, I joined Jane and her roommate at the Institute of Art. When waiting for the Red line at the Fullerton stop, she instituted a flirtatious game of kicking each-other-in-the-back-of-the-knees, which continued throughout the evening. We separated around 8 pm. I assumed that she was trying to get away, even though Jane claimed she was just really tired.
That was when I concluded that she liked me a lot, but just as a friend. It was a moment, which was simultaneous with the realization that I allowed myself to have very strong feelings for her.
That night, in bed, I found myself texting her.
ME: hey since you paid for the movie last weekend, can I take you to Karyn’s this weekend?
HER: yay! Sounds great.
While I was excited to be spending another evening with the beautiful Miss Jane, part of me felt that I was still getting my hopes too high.
Date 5- Her Feelings Confirmed
One freezing Friday night in February, things finally happened with Jane.
That night, I walked to her house, roughly a mile away from my apartment. I paced outside for 5 minutes until it was exactly 7:00pm.
When I finally buzzed, she was at the door in seconds. She looked stunning – clean makeup, wavy hair down to her shoulders, a blood red coat, heeled boots, black tights. I began to doubt my choice to be casual –ratty jeans and an oversized navy blue sweater.
She introduced me to her neighbor. He shook my hand and said to Jane “It’s weird, I feel like your dad or something.” Aware of the archetype, I jokingly replied, “Well then, I’ll have her home by ten.” I laughed nervously, wondering to myself, did she tell him that this was a date?
When taking off my coat at the restaurant, she told me that I looked beautiful. I thought she was just being nice, as I clearly was not as put together as she was.
We had a great conversation for three leisurely courses – deep and heartfelt, yet at times light. Despite my clear interest in the conversation, she noticed how I nervously kept looking away, so she decided that we should make a game of maintaining eye contact.
The conversation continued an hour after paying the bill.
She asked me at one point what I wanted to say, as she sensed I was holding something back. I sighed and told her that I do not make female friends easily and how I had really enjoyed getting to know her. She noticed my folded hands shaking on the table, and then she leaned in and took my hands. Those warm, soft fingers caressed my fingertips and she circled my cuticles with her thumb.
Barely able to speak, I managed to mumble, “I’m not so great with the social cues, so I’m not sure if –” She kindly interrupted, “I have wanted to do this for a while now.”
I walked her home that night. Both of us were shivering uncontrollably. She linked my arm with hers. When I dropped her off at the door, we hugged, for a moment forgetting that we were near hypothermia. I made eye contact with her. I closed my eyes, got up on my toes, and gently kissed her.
“So…just friends?” I jested.
“Oh, yeah, definitely!” she said, continuing the joke.
“Cool. Well good night, buddy!”
I whistled the whole way home. For whatever reason, that mile long walk was not as cold as before.
What I learned (well, sort of):
Before she took my hand, I was 75% certain that we were only ever to be friends. Looking back on this relationship, I feel there has to be ways to be more certain of a girl’s intentions, or lack thereof.
Looking back, I cannot help but wonder, did it really take five “dates” to realize she liked me? How do you know if a girl is interested?
I wrote this, figuring that this situation is fairly common in the lesbian community. Obviously, lesbians can have very close friendships with each other without exceeding platonic interactions, just as straight men and women can have intimate platonic relationships. However, how can people be sure, or at least surer, that they are not misreading another lady’s friendliness?
There were clues: the smiles, asking for my number, genuine interest, asking me out on a Saturday night. However there were obvious conditions that threw me off. Besides, I also struggled with cliché insecurity, why would she ever be interested in someone like me?
I think is important to remind readers that she was my first official girlfriend. Hopefully as time goes on, I will become more perceptive and pick up on female-to-female flirting signals.
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Casey is a creative writing student at DePaul university. She enjoys reading, writing, and taking long walks around the city of Chicago.