Here is my painful post about that date I had a couple of weeks ago, and how I made a complete and utter fool of myself.
Exhibit A: I decided not to wear my hijab. At some point I will probably make a post around the different experiences I have when wearing the hijab and when I choose to forgo, but long story short: without it I personally feel both free & "like myself" as well as highly self-conscious. I end up plagued with questions (how does my hair look? should I play with it? am I playing with it too much? is it going to rain? I hope it doesn't poof! artfully disheveled or just lazy? HOW DO PEOPLE DO THIS AND LOOK NORMAL??) and the worst part is I know how that manifests itself, and I chose to do it anyways because I figured "this time I'll be okay!"
I ended up constantly shoving my hat on or putting it up into a ponytail then changing my mind and letting it free then spending the next five minutes trying to find a slick way to scratch the back of my neck while trying to appear alluring. In the end, I couldn't really relax and it made me appear decidedly less than casual. Of course, this led to...
Exhibit B: Anxiety. When I get anxious, I talk. A LOT. This is especially bad because I have a really horrible stutter and often the sentences that come out don't make sense. Case in point—
Waiter: Would you guys like anything to drink?
*Me thinking* Probably water, but we haven't really looked at the drink menu so I should ask him to come back. Wait, am I being too forward? Should I let PseudoDate answer?
Me: No, I don't want any water. PseudoDate, will you come back?
Waiter: I'm sorry?
Me: Uhh.... *tugs on a strand of hair which ends up getting stuck in my lip gloss*
And then I just didn't respond because my heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest. I'm 99.9% sure the waiter thought I was being incredibly rude. After the waiter left, I tried to rectify the situation by rambling about everything and nothing at all. (What I meant to say will be italicized.)
Me: We should choose a game. What kinds of games do you like?
PseudoDate: I don't know, I always liked the game Life.
Me: (Me too. I wonder why they put it in the kids section?) Well, Life is in the kids section.
PseudoDate: You're right. *laughs* That's embarrassing.
Me: (Nonononono it's fine! Should we wait for our menus and order before choosing? I saw a sign advertising grilled cheese sandwiches on our way in.) Nononononono we should wait for our menus. I like grilled cheese.
PseudoDate: That's nice.
Me: (But only with ketchup. I'm sorry, I should stop rambling about grilled cheese, heh.) I'm sorry, ketchup.
Me: *spots the waiter* Oh, our menus!
I'm making it sound way more movie-like than it was, guys. It was awkward and I was jumpy and the whole time PseudoDate couldn't be cooler. We got into conversations about family, religion, etc. but with every wonderful piece of himself that he gave I returned garbled gibberish that maybe me sound equal parts confused and bitchy.
At the end of the evening we headed to the subway to go our separate ways and I was so ready to just get on my train and start crying when he gave me a hug and said, "I'm so glad we did this." I could tell he was just trying to calm me down but I was too keyed up to do anything but nod and smile and jet out of there.
It was nice, but I don't think dating is for me, right now at least. I think I might have been in over my head: I can barely handle small talk, much less trying to sustain hours-long conversation with someone I am romantically interested in. It has made me more determined to overcome my social discomfort, though. Fellow Torontonian GTers, prepare for some first hand experience with the above at the next meetup! You've been warned.