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I'm also at the point where I want to hijack and ask a 'guy panel' what mannerisms expose a dude as 'I don't touch you or talk about sex but you're my best companion because I spend 25 hours minimum a week with you and I'm afraid to tell you because I don't want our relationship to get weird'

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@cosullivan this is ... nuanced and highly dependent on the people involved. There was someone who was the only woman in our lab group in grad school, and I didn't want to be a creep who singled her out. We eventually started dating and are now married, but she had concluded that I wasn't at all into her and was kinda ready to drop her feelings before things finally clicked for both of us.

@cosullivan but, for example, I tried hard not to get too comfortable with her and didn't take advantage of opportunities to be alone together. This leads to some funny stories, like:

Her: I think my new laptop needs a fresh Linux install. Is that something you can help with? Come on over Saturday morning! (Now we can hang out!)
Me: Okay, sure! (I can help this nice girl I like. Better not be a creep, though.)
Me: *comes over, installs Debian, leaves*
Her: ???!!!! Maybe he doesn't like me :-(

@cosullivan our situation wasn't quite what you describe ("You're my best companion,") fwiw. But drawing from that experience, something that might be a tipoff would be compliments about appearance. I was committed to the male computer jock stereotype of poor personal clothing choices and eschewing fashion, but I still found the opportunity to say the occasional nice thing about her boots or similar, when it seemed like she was wearing something she liked.

@cosullivan this leads to another funny story: in group conversation, before we were dating, women's hair styles somehow came up. I said something to the effect that I was fond of short cuts. She had short hair at the time.

(years pass. we are a couple.)

Her: I'm thinking of growing my hair out. It was long before we met, and I liked that. But you prefer short hair.
Me: ??!! ... Oh, right. When the girl you like asks if you like short hair, and she has short hair, you say yes!

@cosullivan we've both gotten much better at communicating over the years

@trurl your anecdotes are cute and sweet. Your and mine situations are highly different. Compliments on appearance are tipoff to be sure. I want to hijack openvoip for a smaller audience as I'd be disclosing many personal details, but one no extraordinary detail I can share is we have been friends for 30 years

@cosullivan that is quite different! For us it was only about 1 year. I hope you find some helpful advice and are able to figure out where everyone's hearts and heads are.

@trurl it is the direction and speed that concern me. Thirty years of like is tremendous, we don't know yet if it has potential or if it has attained potential.

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