For me, 2013 was the most dramatic of years. It started slow, with early episodes displaying a simple lack of confidence and success. Then I tried to make up for lost time, and went too far. I found myself stuck in the quagmire of drama and heartache and stalking.
Throughout the year, while I did go to a whole other country for romance, in the meantime I tried my best to put myself out there and meet cooler girls, and was subsequently rejected multiple times. Chinese and foreigners alike. Former coworkers, girls I met on the subway, all those I met in real life seemed not to be impressed by me. So I went by the tried-and-true method of online dating, and that means the website of POF…
Early into the year’s journeys, I emailed a pleasant helo to Sonia. She was an engineer from Iran who lived in the outer suburbs of Shenzhen. (A suburb in a Chinese doesn’t mean picket fences. It means desolate places near factories and far from the interesting, modern parts of the city.) We flirted and I invited her on a tour of downtown, with me as guide.
Being from Iran, it was very interesting to talk to Sophia about politics and culture. Nothing was off-limits. I was left with a very good impression of modern Iran, which sadly is an impression that many Americans do not get these days.
I could put out a disclaimer to everyone: Not only am I Jewish, I was born in Israel. It is my heritage and my ethnicity, but I don’t think of it as having that much to do with my identity these days. My father is American and I moved to the U.S. as a baby. I know no Hebrew. I am basically an atheist — I like to call myself a “mystical atheist” but no time for an extensive theological discussion here — and I feel great antagonism towards organized religion. I have zero interest in going to Israel and joining the military to fight for an apartheid state surrounded by brainwashed lunatics, thank you very much.
Culturally, the Jewish people have brought great advances to Western culture as well as science. I think history has shown educated liberal Jews going to America is a perfect fit. Politically and culturally, Israel is another story. It is a somewhat messier and more complex place, and I do not think history has shown that Zionism has accomplished much of anything at all. Well, too late now. The region is what it is. I do not wish to delve too deeply into controversial politics, that’s not the point of this blog. Just letting you know how I feel, just letting you know where I’m coming from when it comes to meeting Persian girls.
Sonia did not seem to be racist against Jews whatsoever. She came across as a very worldly open-minded person, and she gave me a hell of a chance. She did tell me that it was hell to be in Saudi Arabia, and Iranians liked traveling to Turkey so they could act out more freely. She was politically very much against Israel, and on that I pretty much agreed.
Iranians abroad, from my understanding, tend to reject theocratic-conservative values and do whatever they want to do as 21st century human beings. Sonia confirmed this. She had no issues with being the naively feminine sort; and yeah there was intimacy that first night.
She wasn’t my type, to be perfectly honest. Attraction-wise. A big girl albeit with a pretty face, but I’m simply not into big girls. What we had between us was an opportunity I wanted to experience, and hence we shared an experience. I have now learned on an intrinsic level that young Iranians are absolutely not religious fundamentalists, I know it as deeply as possible, and hey I hope that can be good for American-Iranian relations.
So, it definitely wasn’t any potential boyfriend-girlfriend dating situation and she knew it. I guess we were supposed to be fuckbuddies, as certain expats abroad like to do to pass the time, but we never ended up repeating the experience.
She invited me to her place to cook one another time, and it was very nice of her. But I didn’t like that area. I didn’t stay over. We made some other plans but kept cancelling and it didn’t develop. I don’t remember the details, but I do recall a text saying that it was over and she got mad at me. Perhaps I was dating someone else, perhaps there was some overlapping drama at that junction. It all became something of a blur in the midst of that year.
I hope I wasn’t too rude.
I hope I didn’t leave her with a poor impression of Jewish Americans.
I met Jing on POF, and we corresponded a while before meeting. Always too busy, she was yet another girl who lived far away, and even our first date when we finally did meet it was a bad date. Luckily, she gave me another chance.
Somehow, over the course of the year, Jing became my most stable friend-with-benefits. For several months, she was my most drama-free of dates and for that I will forever be grateful to her.
She was a Chinese girl, a thirty-something close to my age, very well-traveled. Always gallivanting to New Zealand and Europe and various places. She liked to swim and play video games, and we enjoyed each other’s company. Over time she slowly came to my apartment on the weekend on a regular basis, and it was fun.
She rarely pressured me. There were a few ‘what are you doing?’ texts, and a few times over she got mad at me if I didn’t respond fast enough. She is still a woman. But all that never bled into intensity and it was mainly chill. When I wanted to be alone, I was left alone. She gave me all the space I needed.
I think she was busy enough in her own life with work and travel, and liked me as a backup to relax with. No time for a deep relationship at this point in her own life. We went to flashy restaurants from time to time, she liked hot pot (I do not like hot pot), but most of the time it was better to be homebodies and the sofa was a place of great comfort.
The first major mistake I made was when I introduced her to my friends at the pub. She didn’t seem comfortable to meet everyone. I don’t know why I took her there; it felt like the thing to do. I suppose there were still boundaries I didn’t accurately sense. I’m very bad at sensing.
When I moved to the new apartment with a roommate, the clock was ticking. My new roommate went out of town for the summer, and it was glorious to have a large downtown flat all to myself. We had a lot of fun. Yet when my roommate came back, Jing was not into the situation.
One day she was angry at me for some tritely perceived-insult or something, I can barely even remember (a lot I don’t remember huh), and she stormed out of the apartment. I tried to be civil, but it marked the end of our extended fling. Only once I attempted to rekindle but she would have none of it, and I haven’t made any attempts since.
I will always appreciate that she wasn’t crazily emotional, that she was one of the most relaxing and drama-free women I’ve ever been with. She was good for me that year. It wasn’t awe-inspiring fireworks, but I was happy for while there.
It was definitely not fated to last forever, but it was cool while it was.
Then again. Perhaps I’m a selfish asshole for being so casual. Yes, I have issues of my own. Ah well.
I still slightly keep in touch with Jing via WeChat.
Ameila was the last woman I ever met from the site, or from any dating site at all. She was new to Shenzhen, and soon after I moved we escalated very quickly from first email to first meeting.
She was cute, and very intelligent. A biology major, she found a job as a teaching assistant in at a renowned university up in Uni Town so as to work on her P.H.D. One day, she intends to continue her studies in the States. She was from Northeast China from a poor family and built herself up through education, and is among the new generation of young Chinese people who truly deserve respect.
I met her in the summer, and my roommate went out of town so I had the apartment all to myself again, which was great for me. These brief romances seem to work best under such circumstances.
I liked my roommate, no offense meant, but I just wasn’t as comfortable sharing a household as when I live alone. I’ve had roommates many times in my life and it was fine, but over the course of the previous two years I got used to living alone. I learned something about myself when I moved, I learned that I am not good at dating when I have to share a living room. In the pro-con list of roommating, saving money and living in a hip area and all of these reasons do not add up to balancing the awkwardness of bringing another girl home.
Currently, I am living all by my lonesome and it is awesome. In a much smaller apartment that costs me more money. And it’s well worth it. Not to mention, another reason being that I can have my space to write.
Guess I’m not the cohabitation type.
Back to the story at hand, me and Amelia. I had to help her move, as a matter of fact. For a time we were that close. You don’t just help anyone in moving. We went out, explored the city, enjoyed some time together. The big bookstore was particularly nice. And we had the required long talks about how deep this relationship was to be.
In the end, I simply broke up with her because I met someone I liked better. I was not kind in doing that.
I didn’t treat her right and I’m sorry about that. Live and learn.
Amelia is technically my Facebook friend, but she doesn’t seem to want to keep in touch with me at all.
It was the closing of an era, in more ways than one. I try not to be so unkind anymore. I don’t always succeed, but I hope I’ve learned a few things in how to treat people with the respect they deserve. I don’t plan on going through this kind of thing ever again.
Over a year later, and I haven’t used POF since — although POF is annoying about letting you delete profiles. I’m not that good for it; hell I admit to using WeChat to pickup once or twice. I wasn’t completely out of the game just yet. I indeed met others and had far more drama to come.
In fact, about two-thirds into 2013 I fell into the greatest drama of my life. The stalker, the previous girls, and a new one. It all collided into a most Epic Clusterfuck of magnificent proportions. I even met someone organically, among mutual friends, we had common interests, none of this online crap. I really liked her. And that was the biggest mess ever.
For so many reasons, this year was to be very hard on me.
And I just can’t get into that right now. I’m done sharing.