Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Missed the Signal

Let me start by saying I’m an .  I’ve dated guys of different races and many different ethnic backgrounds.  You can all see of my body up top there on my blog header and so you know I’m a white girl, but don’t assume that every guy I is white. They’re not.  I choose not to mention race (unlike some other blogs) and ethnicity in relation to dating because I don’t think it’s a big deal.  It doesn’t affect my attraction or interest in a guy.

OK, let me step back for a minute and explain what I mean by “I don’t think it’s a big deal”.  I grew up in a place and time where people dated people of other races.  I can still remember than one of the most popular couples in my high school was a black/white interracial couple.  And yes, there were a few people who thought that that wasn’t a good thing.  I’m sure some nasty things were said about it.  But It was a fact, and something that I always saw as normal.

Over the years I’ve dated guys from just about every conceivable background.  I like men.  All kinds of men.  I do find certain features and traits more attractive than others, but those aren’t really linked to one race/ethnicity or another.

Anyway, I thought it would be helpful if I mentioned that at the start of this story.  Otherwise, what I’m about to write might seem even more poltically incorrect than it is.

A couple of years ago I met this guy.  Handsome, really successful (one of those guys who had his own international consulting firm by the time he was 35, although for the life of me I never did understand what he/they did) and fun to be with. But something was just off.  Our dates were spread out, I remember, because he travelled so much.  So it was a once a week, once every other week kind of thing.  On our third date he asked me to go to Paris with him on a business trip/vacation.  It wasn’t a throw away line.  He mentioned concrete dates and was clear about the invitation.  The trip was a full month away.  I said I’d have to think about it.

At this point he hadn’t even kissed me yet.  That’s right.  A concrete invitation to go to Paris for the week, a month later, but we hadn’t yet kissed.  We’d “known” each other for about a month.  But that was only because our dates were so spread out.

After dinner, on that third date, I suggested we go for a walk and we ended up walking towards my apartment.  I wasn’t planning on inviting him up, although I was thinking I might.  I just wanted to make sure we kissed, at least.

So we got to my stoop and he just stood there and continued to chat away.  And so we chat awhile and then I said it was time I went up and still nothing.  So I leaned in to kiss him and planted a rather chaste one on him.  I’m just not good at being the aggressor.  It’s not my thing.

Anyway, another week passed.  Phone calls, emails, texts blah blah blah and another date.  And so afterwards we ended up at my apartment and here is where I will save us all of the embarrasing details.

He didn’t want to have sex with me.  He played along through some rather passionless kissing and then nothing.  Then the next day he wanted me to come out to a pseudo business dinner with him.  It was all bizarre.  Until it wasn’t.

I called two of my best friends, one a straight woman and one a gay man and told them all of the gory details.  They both came back with the same verdict.  Gay!  And probably wanting me to play his girlfriend with business associates.

On one level this made total sense.   His asking me along on a business trip before we even kissed.  His lack of interest in sex.  Sure.  But the thing is, I have amazing gaydar.  Like unbelievably flawless.  I’m usually spot on.  But then there was something throwing me off. Data that I just wan’t used to calculating.  He was Chinese.  And had a pretty conservative upbringing (here, in the states).

But because I’d never dated a Chinese guy before, much less someone who described his upbringing as very traditional and conservative, there were all of these little things he did that I wrote off as “Chinese” when in fact they were “gay”.  Like being so standoffish about physical contact.  He didn’t not touch me out of respect.  He didn’t touch me because he didnt want to.

Anyway, I think about this story sometimes when I’m starting to see someone new.  It’s a stupid story, I know.  But it’s a good example of how easy it is to misinterpret a person’s actions.


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13 to “Missed the Signal”


  1. Teifion says:

    I can’t see what’s so politically incorrect about that, you’re not insulting his choice or him. And if you think you have trouble understanding people’s actions, just ask them. I used to get really confused, now I try to say “I assume you mean XYZ” before launching into a response, if I’m wrong then people are generally more than happy to say so.

  2. bellaressa says:

    SG, I applaud you for not bring race into the mix, who cares – it’s not like people can change that factor of themselves. I do agree with Teifion, next time in doubt just ask. I know some people are taken a back of the assertiveness and boldness but it keeps everything clearly communicated.

  3. SINgleGIRL says:

    -Teifion
    Honey, there are certain things that I feel one shouldn’t ask about/ For example, “why have you not tried to make any physical contact with?’. It’s one of those questions that once asked can be a killer. Maybe I”m wrong here. I very well might be. But that’s the way I feel.
    -bellaressa
    I guess for me it’s not about being overly bold or assertiveness, but wanting to wait and see who things play out. Once you ask a guy, “hey, why haven’t you kissed me?” he’s going to feel pressured to kiss you. And I don’t want anyone feeling pressured to kiss me.

  4. Teifion says:

    Yet if not asked where will it lead? How often do problems like that magically resolve themselves and if they do, asking probably wouldn’t have cause a problem? I see your point very clearly and that it’s socially unacceptable to ask such a thing, I’m just trying to think outside of social norms ;)

  5. DC Dating Diva says:

    Kuddo’s!!! In the beginnning of my blog I didn’t want to mention race or give descriptions of guys for the exact same reason(s). I will admit, my interracial dating experiences are limited (not because I don’t want to date other races, but rather because of where I go) but I am open to dating anyone!

    And yeah, he was def. gay. I had a sililar experience in college :/

  6. SINgleGIRL says:

    -Teifion
    I’m not saying you’re wrong. But I can only do what I’m comfortable doing. And this is one of those rare cases where I’m comfortable with the societal norms.
    -DC Dating Divas
    LOL. It’s funny how I my natural gaydar was so completely thrown off, though. Normally I’d have guess him as gay right away (if he were white, or black, for example). But thrown in those specific cultural variables and the fact that I was unfamiliar with them and bam – I was clueless.

    Yeah, I get kind of annoyed at times when people make the assumption that I’m only dating white guys. I was communicating with someone about one of the guys I’ve been out with lately and was asked for a details description of his appearance. The reaction was a variation of, “wait, he’s black? you didn’t say he was black.” As if I had to make an announcement – the man I am dating tonight is a black man. So silly.

  7. parlezvouskiwi says:

    Cultural differences make it interesting.
    Myself coming from a culture where public affection is not so well accepted to being with a frenchman who was overly touchy, romantic, and all about public affection.
    Culture has a lot to do with it!

  8. Veka says:

    Going back to Teifion’s comment about physical stuff, and asking the person why they aren’t doing something – I’ve been dating a guy for about 5 weeks now, and all I’ve gotten are goodbye hugs, or an arm around me while being out at an event. Most people who have offered me advice have suggested that he’s just shy, but it’s very frustrating. A few have suggested that I ask him about it, because really, if it keeps going at this rate nothing is ever going to happen. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that it gets to the point where you should probably ask. But everyone’s different and every situation is different.

    As far as ethnicity goes – I’m glad there are lots of people out there that date interracially. One of my best friends is black and she’s been dating a white guy for just over a year now. And they’re talking about marriage. I love the fact that they can walk around and say that they are going to bathe their kids in milk and “it will be like dunking an uh-oh oreo.” Maybe not “PC” (hopefully I don’t offend anyone, not my intention. I guess you gotta have that sense of humor) but they aren’t afraid or ashamed of their relationship, and I think everyone should be like that.

  9. SINgleGIRL says:

    -parlezvouzkiwi
    Welcome to the blog! And yes – culture is such a big thing. I realized that myself when dating someone French. I’m not such a big fan of pda, but I got over it.
    -Veka
    Well, everyone has different comfort zones about this stuff. I’ve been reading about your issue and have been hesitant to comment lest I sound like the jaded oldster. But my rule of thumb in recent years (since this incident, in fact) is that if a guy doesn’t touch me by the 5th date then it’s over. I’m not going to talk about with him. It’s just over. Because I’m very affectionate and very sexual. And I need to be with someone who is those things too. I don’t really care WHY he’s not touching me, holding my hand, kissing me, whatever. His reason doesn’t matter. I need that stuff and he’s not delivering. Over. That’s probably not the right answer for a lot of people. But it’s what’s right for me.

  10. LeJa says:

    I dated a Japanese guy once, and he was the same way. No physical contact in public, and I was a little put off because of it. But finally I talked to him about it and he explain. Its funny, because I was the only white American he has ever dated, but still to this day I think about that story. And it has actually helped me a lot, since I am very attracted to the Asian man.

  11. Shannia says:

    Being Indian, I don’t date a lot of Indian man because they are very few here in Montreal that are still available around my age. We are brought up to get married and have a family and stick to it.
    I’ve dated white guys who where fine with my cultural background but problems often came from his family/friends/coworkers. So although I still am attracted to them I prefer dating people from a different background as well, less surprises.

  12. Hypatia says:

    I tend to date a lot of closeted gay men, and I swear this happens to me ALL the time. I can’t help but take it as a reflection on my level of attractiveness when I’m turned down though… :-(

  13. SINgleGIRL says:

    -LeJa
    I assumed his not holding my hand, etc, in public was a cultural thing. But then we were alone in my apartment and… Anyway, people from different backgrounds do have very different feelings about that stuff and I know it’s important to be open to it.
    -Shannia
    Yeah, the family/friends open up a whole different can of worms. Jeez, as if dating and finding someone you like weren’t hard enough.
    -Hypatia
    I must admit, the hardest thing for me from that whole episode is that it did make me feel like shit. My friends had to constantly repeat that it was him- not me. It was hard. Because here was this guy who I’d started to like and I pretty much threw myself at him physically (it was horrible) and he completely rejected me. I left that out of the post, because, now that I have the wisdom of hindsight I recognize how silly it was of me to let myself feel bad. But I did. I felt like dirt. I’m sorry that that’s a regular part of your dating life. It sucks. And you deserve so much better.