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She's driving me crazy.

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So I was walking home on a cold night about a month ago. I usually enjoy this, because I live in the country, but it was cold and I was carrying a bunch of stuff. A car stops next to me and a girl inside asks me something. I have to ask her to speak English, because I don't speak the local language here. She asks me in English if I want a ride. So I get in her car.

It's pretty normal to get rides with strangers here. I hesitate if a male offers, but if it's a female, never.

She's really nice. She keeps apologizing for her English. She looks a little bit like Jennifer Garner, who I never liked until now.

She tells me that she sees me walking all the time, which is probably true. I tell her not to worry about her English, all she has to do is practice. "But I have no one to practice with!" she says. "You're practicing right now! And you're doing fine!" I tell her.

She drops me at my house. Turns out she lives nearby, I can almost see her house from my window. She tells me if she ever sees me again she'll give me a ride, and this is so nice of her I offer to help her with her English sometime, an offer she enthusiastically agrees to.

I wonder why she seems SO nervous, yet so eager to know me. People are friendly here, but kinda laid-back, not so eager to pursue a friendship. Maybe my perspective isn't really objective here, because I wouldn't mind at all if there were a more than friendly reason for her eagerness. But I don't know. And I don't want to presume.

Anyway, maybe a week and a half ago I was out walking again, on a Saturday, with my littlle cart I use to haul things, and a car stopped beside me. It was her. She always seems so happy to see me, or is she just a happy person in general? Anyway, I get in the car, and though I was going to a different place than she is going, I change my plans. She is going to a nearby town in order to attend some kind of makeup sales presentation. I was going shopping, but the store I want has a branch in that town, so, no problem.

She drops me off at the store and even offers to pick me up and take me home later, because her presentation thing will only take an hour. So I take shameless advantage of this while in the store - I buy tons of heavy stuff that I need but can't usually all buy at the same time because pulling the cart would be too heavy. (You must have guessed by now that I don't have a car).

But she isn't back in an hour, or two, so after two and half hours I start dragging my heavy cart out into the snow, heading for the train station. Now I am wondering how I am going to get it all home on the train. Her I am not mad at, because it can't be her fault. The meeting or whatever it was probably went overtime and she couldn't leave. This is what I tell myself as I drag the heavy cart through the slushy sticky snow. I am sure she didn't abandon me deliberately.

I am also pretty sure I can't drag this overloaded cart all the way to the train station, over a mile away.

Luckily, after going about 500 yards, she pulls up next to me full of apologies. She keeps apologizing as we get my stuff into her car and halfway home. She's almost frantic and I feel like I have to calm her down. Her meeting was so boring, she tells me, but she couldn't leave because it would have been rude. I tell her what a nice person she must be for even going at all (it was to support a friend). You wouldn't catch ME dead sitting through a makeup presentation. I'd chew off my own leg first.

Anyway, once she's done apologizing we talk more. I'm subtly probing for information, like the natural detective and coward I am. Coward, because I don't just come straight out and tell her I'm bi and ask her if she is interested in me. I just recently realized that I am bi, so it's all new and a little scary to me. Now I go around wondering if completely random strangers are hot for me, but can't say so because they live in such a homophobic culture. I'm probably just imagining things.

My probing elicits the following opinions from her: she is anxious to improve her English (I knew that already), she has many friends, she thinks people from her own country are "weird" and kind of rude, and that British and Americans are more polite. (!!!) She's a graduate student of economics. Which she is taking because this is a relatively poor country and economics seemed like a money-making kinda thing to take. (met other students saying the same thing exactly). She'll probably get a job in some government bureaucracy, which is actually about the best place to work in this country.

She really really wants to spend time with me. That is obvious. When she takes me home this time, she asks me if I have a cell phone (no. I am the last person on earth without one). Or a regular phone (no. some government rule about not having 2 different phone lines in the same house). Finally we agree to exchange email. She tells me that if I ever want a ride anywhere, to tell her.

So in the meantime, the possibilities are preying in my mind. She likes me, but how much does she like me? I don't want to come out and tell her about me, because this IS a deeply homophobic area and I don't want her to feel pressured. I like her, and I feel kind of "nervous" around her too, but it's not quite because she's sterotypically hot. It's more of a mental-emotional thing. Which feels weird to me!

I emailed her yesterday to arrange a shopping trip, and told her that I would like to have her visit me sometime, but my apartment is not fit for entertaining at the moment. There is literally nowhere to sit down. I am completely redoing it.

She answers and offers to help me CLEAN IT and give me free furniture.

No way would I let her clean, though I might take the furniture, but holy cow does she seem like she wants to be around me!

Does she like me "that way"? It's driving me crazy. I keep thinking about it. Argh.

Another thing is, I am older than she is, and not nearly as conventionally attractive. It's hard for me to believe someone like her would be interested in someone like me.

Maybe, and this is the most likely thing, she is just being really really friendly and I am misinterpreting EVERYTHING. She doesn't flirt, per se, and neither do I, but I am not exaggerating when I say I have never met such a friendly person. And she does seem visibly nervous around me but I can't figure out why. I keep trying to reassure her, because I think I am doing something unintentionally that makes her nervous, but my attempts don't seem to do much. I don't want to intimidate people! Well, not people I like, anyway.

So anyway...going kind of insane here with the not-knowing thing. Yeah.


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Wow - were I you.

Patience lady, ride it out for a time. See what happens when she comes over to visit. Sounds promising! Crestcat.


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Dear Illuminosity -

Wow! Your situation sounds really intriguing and so difficult to figure out. Crestcat gives good advice to have patience and see what happens.

By the way - I can totally relate to thinking every random stranger thinks you're hot but can't say so b/c of norms. I have had bisexual feelings all my life but have taken very little action. It is only in the last few years that that voice has gotten louder and only really recently that I decided I can't ignore it any longer - consequence: lots of fantasies about whether my massage therapist wants to date me (I did work those out by myself eventually), and lots of wondering if I feel sparks whenever I meet a lesbian, say working at Starbucks (who is probably just being friendly and nice).

Good luck with your situation! Keep us posted!


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Thanks everyone for the kind advice. It helps a lot.

We went out the next day, she was really nice as usual, but I didn't get the sense she was flirting with or trying to get close to me physically.

But then we were coming back to my house, which was full of people because it was pig-slaughtering time (they do this every winter in our rural area) and all the neighbors come to help. But they were in my landlady's part of the house, the lower half. I have the upper half and nobody goes there but me. Still my place wasn't ready to have anyone come over. It's all messy and stuff.

Anyway, she offered to help me carry stuff upstairs, but then she saw the people around and seemed to hang back a little. I asked her why and she said she is shy around people. She really did seem a little afraid of them, which is kinda weird because she knows these people, she has lived in this area all her life and so have they. She helped me carry stuff upstairs and I apologized for the state of my apartment. She didn't seem to care, she was admiring my paintings like they were the greatest thing on earth. Which was embarrassing in a way, because those paintings aren't done, but it was nice too. Then she had to leave.

Outside she stopped suddenly to point out her house across the valley and I accidentally bumped into her. There wasn't any frisson of romantic excitement or anything like that, but she didn't seem to mind. Of course I felt totally stupid and my cheeks were burning.

She left and I didn't see her again till Christmas Eve, when she saw me walking and gave me a ride home, but it was short and we didn't make any plans, though she said I can email her. I feel a little foolish emailing her because the only real reason I have for doing it is to ask her to take me somewhere. She is happy to do it, but I feel like I am taking advantage of her hospitality. Also, I like feeling independent. But sometimes I need to buy things I can't carry.

So after that we didn't see each other at all. Then, yesterday I get an email from her wishing me a happy new year, and reminding me again that she will take me anywhere I want to go if I just tell her so. So I answered back saying that maybe we could go shopping this week. This morning I found a reply in my inbox from her saying that we could go tomorrow evening. She was concerned for my health too because I was sick on Christmas.

I am wondering if I was just reading too much into things, or if she likes me but wants to take it really slowly, or what. I am still doing that thing on the train where if the lady conductor comes to take my ticket and she smiles at me I wonder if she wants me. I'm not conventionally attractive enough to make that really likely, but who knows, somebody might be intrigued by my quirky charm.

So now I am trying to just socialize without any thought of anything more than that. Which is unexpectedly hard when your thoughts keep going places that make you feel weird!



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: lots of fantasies about whether my massage therapist wants to date me

Oh, that totally reminds me of something that happened a few years ago. It was the only period of my life when I could afford massages on a regular basis, and now I think they should be considered a necessity rather than a luxury. I always had a female masseuse, and I always felt *something* when she touched me, but I didn't have feelings for her personally.

Still, the fact that I reacted like that made me wonder about myself. I was in serious denial at the time though and thought I was just one of those many straight females who have same-sex fantasies. My brother has always been the Official Gay One of the family, which somehow made me think the rest of us had some kind of immunity or something. (what a weird way to think, but there you go.)

I wish I could go for a massage now - they are cheaper here, I think - but people in this country are REALLY thin, quite naturally, and I am worried that whoever does my massage will be grossed out by my non-thin body and tell all her friends about it and then everyone will be laughing at me. (this community is tiny enough to make that actually possible).


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Oh my goodness, if you can afford a massage, do go! You clearly know the benefits of massage and it sounds like you could use one. I would hope that any good massage therapist is motivated by a desire to help people, not to form opinions about their bodies (beyond oh there's a knot there, got to work on that). I've gained a lot of weight myself since I first started going for massage but I figure a body is a body and they are working on the muscles and helping me - it's good self care.

Tell the critic in your head to go out for a coffee while you go and enjoy a nice massage.

As for the ride-girl, maybe you could invite her over for coffee or offer to take her to a light lunch - strictly a friendly thing so that a) you don't have to feel so guilty about asking for a ride and b) to give the two of you a chance to get to know each other a bit more -

maybe there is something romantic there but even if there isn't, maybe she could be a nice friend.

Good luck - and go get that massage!! :D


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I'm sorry - maybe that was a little too directive - I didn't mean to invalidate your anxiety - I did get that clearly -

that whole 'small town thing' I was also wondering if that's what slowed her up when she came over - seeing all those people there and thinking "eek! they'll all know what I'm doing!"


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So, we went out last Thursday shopping. She picked me up at my house and we drove to a nearby town which, unlike our place, is big enough to have a little shopping mall. We went there.

On the way we talked about castles in the area. There is one right above our valley, but it is closed for renovation. I asked her when it would open and she said she did not know, but would find out for me. She always does that when I ask her anything - if she doesn't know she promises to find out! I kinda almost don't want to ask her things because I don't want to make her do all the work of finding things out.

So she says, "You like castles?" and I say, "Yes, I do. We don't have them in America". She says, "I like them too." She says there is another castle about 14 km away, which is really nice and has a cafe in it. "We can go there some time," she says. "I can drive you."

I ask her about the castle in the town we're going to, but there isn't really a castle any more - it fell down years ago. She knows where it is, and offers to take me there, like, right now, but I say we had better do our shopping and go some other time.

It's weird because she can't do enough for me, it seems, but she never tries to touch me or get near me or anything like that.

We get to the mall and split up, agreeing to meet at a cafe when we are finished. I take longer than she does, when I am finished I find her already at the cafe drinking bela kava - "white coffee". I ask the waitress for coffee with milk. While I wait for it, we talk about tea and coffee and what kind of drinks we like. She is something of a tea collector and has many different kinds at home. I ask her if she has any spearmint tea, because I have been looking for it. (it is supposed to help with PCOS). She doesn't understand exactly what I mean, but as always, promises to try to find me some somewhere. There are little blue LED lights in the cafe, they are Christmas lights that someone hung in the window. She admires them. I tell her I have a string of LED lights with little Chinese-type paper lanterns on them at home and they're really neat. We don't talk about anything deeply personal, just stuff like this.

It's weird to be sitting across from her looking right into her face, so I take my glasses off. (it's a trick I use to allieviate sensory overload). She's not dressed up special, she has dark blonde hair which is a little messy, and no makeup. She never seems to wear any, but she's young and I am acutely aware of my bad skin. And yet sitting there with her is very comfortable as long as we're not staring into one another's eyes. There's nothing confrontational about her gaze, it just makes me feel weird to sit so close to and spend so much time looking at someone and being looked at underneath a bright fluorescent light. I am feeling overloaded just from the crowded mall and the bright light, not from being with her, but I feel like my conversation is very stupid as a result. She doesn't seem to mind though.

Eventually we leave, she wants to carry my stuff for me, which is totally cute because it's just a small bag. I wonder to myself, is this because she really likes me or because she thinks I'm so pathetic that I need help? I can't decide.

On the way home I apologize for being boring. She doesn't mind.

We discuss our schedules, or really, her schedule. I wondered aloud why we always do things on Thursday, and she says it's because she has school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and can only do things on Tuesday, Thursday and weekends. But the only way we communicate is by email, so if I email her on Monday, and she replies the next day, and I read my email the day after that, it is Thursday before we can actually meet. (I don't have internet at home, so I have to go to the public library before I can read my email! It makes things difficult!).

I tell her about wanting to build a custom desk for my apartment, and she offers to give me furniture again. Maybe I can modify it for my needs because buying new wood is really expensive.

So she takes me back home, and offers to carry up my stuff again, but this time I don't let her, because my place is seriously a mess. I want to invite her over, and I have told her so, but I don't want her to come until it looks really nice and clean. I don't want her to think I am a hopeless slob, even though I am!

So that's our story so far. I am just about to email her right now so we can do something this week.


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So, we went out again on Sunday.

She came to my house, but it's still totally disorganized and I felt self-conscious, so when she offered to take me somewhere I jumped at the chance.

We went to Sevnica, which is 14 km away, on a glorious sunny afternoon and the hills are already green. We walked up to the castle, which I had not seen before, but it was closed. She was sad about that. But we walked around enjoying the view over the river, which was very beautiful.

Then we went to have coffee at a place in town. The cafe is all artsy and the walls are painted like Gustav Klimt's paintings. I told her about the time I took the wrong train and got stuck in Sevnica and how I walked into this very cafe and the waitress took pity on me and drove me home after her shift was over!

The whole time we are mostly relaxed with each other, there is no flirting or anything, at least not overtly. I really can't tell what's going on with her.

I tell her about the books I read, and she asks me if I can find a book for her. Of course I can, because I've become something of a book-finding expert after living so long in a non-English speaking country where English books are hard to come by. The book she wants is called "The New Tantra". Then she starts telling me what it's about, sex and spirituality.

Oho! So now you are all thinking: PERFECT! This is the prime opportunity to bring up the subject and/or draw her into a conversation about sex!

But not knowing anything about Tantra, except that Sting was heavily into it, and got enough attention for it to make my eyes roll, I could not really talk intelligently on the subject. She didn't go into great detail. All I could say is that it sounded interesting and I would find the book for her.

She has never mentioned any male in her life, or talked about intimate relationships from past or present. I brought up some of my feminist ideas, but she didn't seem terribly interested, whether she's a tool of the patriarchy or not interested in men I can't tell. She dresses very simply and doesn't wear makeup, but she did just try to bleach her hair with somewhat disastrous results. I can't tell anything about her from her outward presentation.

How I wished I could say some suave thing that would make her reveal herself to me, naturally without my risking myself at all. She was very matter of fact when discussing the tantra thing, it was impossible to tell what she was feeling. If anything. Of course I am wondering if this is some kind of hint, but simultaneously thinking that maybe I am just reading too much into this. Again.

She wanted to pay for our coffees, but I beat her to it. (She paid last time, too! I forgot to say.) She is a poor student, but she is spending her own money on me and taking me places, which feels awfully datey to me somehow. I felt good when I insisted on paying though. Now I feel like I can give and not just take.

She tells me that she wants to tell me so much stuff but can't because her English isn't good enough. So of course I wonder if the stuff she wants to say is all just random thoughts, or whether she really wants to get in my pants but is afraid to suggest it.

She took me back home and said she will email me. I am going to buy the book for her and surprise her with it next time we meet.


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From what your saying I can't figure it out either...keep going the way your going. Hard not to get your hopes up. But stay cool.

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