Love Hard vs Love Is Hard
While entering again the miserable cold times in Switzerland, I watched a love comedy called Love Hard. It’s a story about online dating, catfishing, and being cliché about the girl and the boy eventually falling in love.
Afterwards I saw a short interview with those lead actors and learned a new term “cuffing season.” Google explains: it’s a time when people enter a short-term relationship in order to go through the colder months together. I thought it was a very practical hence brilliant idea.
As all relationships end, I could design a harmless one for the benefits of both parties. Among all the men profiles there was this particular one average looking guy 80 KM away who super liked my profile. I “liked” him back so we matched. To my surprise, he sounded super polite, sincere and respectful. Every question from him was trying to understand (and analyse) my personality. He suddenly became outstanding in my view. He was fresh out of a long-term relationship and I assumed he needed a rebound. I decided to give it a try on him.
We communicated well, and saw each other twice. I liked his neat tidy looks and his down-to-earth introverted character. I didn’t like so much something that he was very proud of, though – his long dark bushy beard. But it didn’t matter. It would just be a two to three months deal. Each time he raised a finger to slightly brush his walrus moustache while contemplating, searching for the right words to say, I found it irresistibly cute.
Then I popped out this question over WhatsApp chat: “Will you be my cuffing season partner?” He said yes. I was thrilled. It all reminded me of the scene in the movie The Proposal. And it went so smoothly. Drama free.
To ensure it would really be drama free, I set up some ground rules. He accepted them all and said he had the same rights as me, so he would add some more if needed. I agreed and was content.
Next morning around 5:30 his first message came in. I had been having sleeping problems lately, which probably was a result of having been sleeping alone for nearly two years. The cold weather deteriorated it. So I read his message shortly: “I have thought about our pact and rules. I’m fine with them and have nothing to add.” He sounded serious.
“Welcome onboard.” I was thinking to myself and clearly having a smirk on my face which nobody saw.
“Great!” I replied, “I’m still in bed but have to get up now. Let’s race to the kitchen!”
“1…2…3…” I typed.
“You won!” He answered, “I’m still lying on the sofa. But as I live in a studio, I’m almost in my kitchen.”
I asked for a third date. He agreed again and told me he would come to my city to visit me and planned to stay overnight.
At my place.
Whoa…. That was going to be another first time for me. My place, is always my sacred temple, my safe haven, my sanctuary, my refuge, my paradise. It’s a literally no man’s land.
But for him, and with him, I was willing to try the experiment.
We found each other at the train station. The mask and the hat covered most of his face. But I would always recognize him by looking at his beautiful hazelnut eyes – big, round, bright, clear, decorated with sinfully long eyelashes that all the girls could only dream about having.
We hugged like old friends. We talked and walked, like old friends. We dined in a homey-looking Chinese restaurant, like old friends. Afterwards we continued with drinking cocktails in a hotel bar, like old friends. However, after a few sips of alcohol and a few flirtatious smiles from me, in the dim light, he was looking at me with extra tenderness. I was captivated by his soft look, uncontrollably falling into the whirlpool made of his dilated pupils.
I managed to pull myself back into the reality. Again, some logical limitations I set within myself reminded me of the very thin probability of working out a long-term relationship with someone like him, who didn’t take initiatives, who didn’t match my energy level, who lived so far away, who just got out of something serious. The list could go on and on. Yet, I was still proud of myself for executing such a brand new seasonal plan.
We were back at my place, sitting on a small couch with some distance in between. I selected a remake of a classical movie Little Women to watch. I had known this story since I was a child. But I was still wondering why Laurie fell in love with Amy and why my cuffing season partner didn’t make a move on me.
Before the movie was finished, I was tired.
I was tired of trying and failing. Yet, I kept trying. And I kept failing. We spent an awkward night together, followed by an even more awkward morning. The sky remained grey and the heavy snowflakes couldn’t fight against the gravity. They fell. They just fell.
I scratched my brain hard, trying to find the most convincing words to make him stay, for just a bit longer. “It’s warm and cozy here. Why don’t you have breakfast with me?”
He said no.
He was certain and firm. He was determined to walk out of my door when the winter officially announced its inception. I had learned to not show my emotions. I had learned to let go. So I gave him one last friendly hug. I stood on my toes. His lips lightly touched mine. His walrus moustache brushed my skin. It was soft and tender. But underneath his soft appearance, there was a hard core. He walked out of the door, and out of my life.
Minutes went by. Hours went by. “He must have reached home by now.” I thought to myself. I had my phone in my hand, but I couldn’t bear to look at its screen. I put on a nice outfit and headed out to have a brunch with friends in a popular restaurant with the reservation I had made weeks back. I put on a smile, so they would know everything was fine.
A day and a night went by. His message finally travelled through the cold time and reached me.
“I have doubts.” He wrote, “I don’t feel it is right.”
“I was just being silly.” I didn’t write this to him, though. Instead, I wrote: “Let’s forget about the pact. I don’t want to put you under any pressure. I want you to be happy.” I knew he would want the same for me. We had so much respect for each other.
Our pact… ended before it even started. How could we possibly date just for the sake of dating? What was I thinking?! I quickly reset my mind in order to embrace another normal Swiss winter.
Weeks went by. A friend recommended me a different dating App, sharing with me her success story. I created my profile and started browsing. Surprisingly, meanwhile not so surprisingly, I saw his profile, where he wrote he didn’t know what he was looking for and where he used a selfie of himself and a donkey. (I’ve always liked his subtle sense of humour.)
I know what I want, always, in my entire life. I just sometimes don’t know how to get what I want. Life has taught me to be patient, to be grateful, to forgive and forget. But I couldn’t forget him and the last friendly hug.
I reached out to him. I told him that photo reminded me of Shrek and Donkey. I told him that he was looking for spark and chemistry. And needless to say, he was looking for his Fiona. We exchanged quite a few messages and laughter, as if we just started to get to know each other. “I’m glad you still want to be in contact with me.” He said.
Why wouldn’t I? Even with the best intentions we can make mistakes, not to mention I started off with a silly and selfish one. He made me realize that quickly enough. Although the liking didn’t disappear so quickly (even though it was generated by the very limited interactions in real life), we didn’t have a reason to see each other again.
Soon it will be 20 months of me being officially single and alone. I’ve tried a few dating Apps and come to a conclusion that love is hardly on those platforms. Because, if Shrek didn’t rescue Fiona, if they didn’t spend time together traveling back to see Lord Farquaad, they would not possibly get to know each other and eventually (but naturally) fall in love with each other.
If two souls don’t interact, there won’t be any spark. If two souls don’t find a way to meet, there won’t be any interactions. If two souls don’t meet naturally, there won’t be a genuine desire to get to know each other.
If you don’t want to get to know me, you won’t know if I am your Fiona or not.