Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Venturing Outside of My Comfort Zone...

There's this actor who is someone who I knew of years ago but honestly to whom I didn't give much of a second thought back then. He was cute, sure, and I could see inklings of his talent, but he picked (or was only offered) some really bad scripts, in my opinion. Like B-movie-without-the-intention-of-camp, super-independent film scripts. But then he began working in television and playing a version of himself to boot. Both things which catch my attention no matter who is in the role or what the project may be. I had the chance to interview him for said show-- one I was really super excited about at the time, by the way-- and we developed a somewhat flirty correspondence afterward. Still, I didn't think much of it: he was still just an actor in need of promotion for a new project, and I was still just a small time journalist being paid to write about his new project. We were both just trying to make our marks, and how we could help each other out in that regard couldn't be completely wiped from our minds. So I wasn't entirely surprised when he emailed me recently and invited me to a screening of his new independent film. But I was surprised when I showed up.

For one thing, the screening turned out to be just at his house. It was very, very low-key because the budget was very, very...well, low. And it turned out to just be a handful of people: the cast, some of the crew, and those people's significant others, none of whom turned out to be other press, big-time or simple bloggers like me. Hmm, was this some sort of first (albeit group) date?

Now before I go any further here, no, you will not get me to name names! He is someone who pop culture fiends like me would most certainly know by name or face or both. The more casual consumers (a phenomenon I still don't pretend to understand) might know the combination, coupled with his credits. But the thing about me is I highly value my own privacy, as odd as that may seem considering I wrote a memoir, and so I understand, respect, and protect others'. Those who know me know if they confide in me a secret or even a simple anecdote, the story might not be super safe, but their identities most certainly will be.

I'm not the kind of person who thinks guys are flirting with me, let alone gearing up to ask me out. Ever. Have you been watching Perfect Couples? Did you see the moment where some dude comes up to Christine Woods' character at the gym and hits on her while she's all sweaty and in baggy clothes? She basically just stutters, in shock, even if flattered, at the occurrence. That's basically been my reaction forever, and I'm not even really sure from where it all stems.

When I was a kid, I was one of the last ones of my friends to admit to crushes on boys in our school, and even when I finally did, it was kind of only because everyone else already had, and I looked around and went 'Oh, is that what I'm supposed to be doing?' Inherently, I just kept such things to myself, most often because I assumed that my crushes would be unrequited anyway.

As I got older and the definitions of, and expectations in, relationships changed, I only clamped my mouth shut harder. I became truly adept at convincing myself, above and beyond all instinctual vibes, that the guys I liked couldn't possibly like me back. I still couldn't see myself, not necessarily as interesting, but as a sexual being, so I assumed no one else could either. The energy we give off is the energy we attract back, after all. And I was good at nothing but getting in my own way.

So on the morning after the screening, when this guy texted me, not to ask what I thought of the film or when I'd be posting a piece on it but instead to ask if I had fun and wanted to do it again, needless to say I was somewhat taken aback. I am usually the world's worst texter; I tell everyone that if they want to get a hold of me, the way to do it is most definitely not through text message. I usually don't respond to them at all as a way to discourage people from texting me in the future. I just don't like the short, clipped conversations, and I hate it even more when a message is so long it gets sent as multiple back-to-back truncated texts. That's what email is for!

But I digress.

After the text, I proceeded to rehash our previous encounters, in person and through email to see if there were really any hints at a step away from business and toward romantic. And somehow I managed to convince myself that yes, there were some signs along the way.

He's a good actor, but there really was no reason for him to fake his interest in me right off the bat. After our first interview encounter there was no need for him to stick around to chat for almost double the length of our actual interview to ask me questions about myself. There was no reason for him to email me at all, let alone to send me links to an art exhibit he thought I might like because he saw a photo of my custom Fazzino on my Facebook page. There was no need for him to friend me on Facebook at all.

At that point his show had come and gone, and he didn't "need" me anymore. But at the same time, it also meant there wouldn't be any conflict of interest or ethical issues with the friendship. Things which I'm trying to ignore now because it's not relevant and won't be unless he gets something this pilot season that then gets picked up come upfronts time. But let's not let me get ahead of myself now! When I'm not second-guessing, I'm always jumping to conclusions!

Those things may not mean anything in the long run. My first instinct to just let them go as someone being nice to a new acquaintance may prove to be the right one.
And Pamela Ribon may have advised against it, but I've dated actors before and maybe surprisingly have come out of it not swearing them all off in the future. For one thing, I kind of like that their attention spans are short, so used to jumping from project to project that they might not be looking for anything too serious in a relationship, either. Because neither am I. And I really like that they're in this industry, because it's all I know, and at least we'll have something to talk about!

So for once I opened myself up to consider the possibility of it being something more. And
I found myself getting out of my own way. I actually texted him back, and now we will see.

In keeping with this theme, I will be contributing to an online dating blog called Bad Online Dates for at least one article in March. Hopefully they will like what I write for them and invite me to stick around because I welcome the chance to write about a new and different topic-- at least new and different for me! Check out the site and be sure to say nice things about my piece (I will Tweet the link once it is live over there) :) .

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