It wasn’t hard to understand the confused glances I was receiving from Elaina on the couch across my coffee table. As clearly as I’d explained to the lady I’d spoken to when I called the escort service that I wasn’t looking for sex, that information hadn’t been relayed to the timid East-European woman staring bewildered at me upon hearing the question I’d just presented.

“You heard me right, my dear, I’d like to take you out,” I continue to push. “What kinds of things do you do for fun?”

I’d assumed it ought to be possible. After all, she was from an escort service; and all I was asking of her was to escort me somewhere, anywhere she fancied. Without seeking too much pity, I briefly chronicled to her the social handicap I was attempting to overcome. I believed I’d gotten through; hoping that interacting with her over a delightful dinner, or shopping for fancy shoes together, or ridiculing the production values of the cheesy movie we’d just watched, or anything else, really, would provide me a relatively anxiety-free opportunity to carefully observe—and hopefully make sense of—how a woman responds to varying social cues. Like I tried explaining to her, “… to get a handle on the social dynamics associated with dating.”

But it wasn’t to be.

Her top faded soon thereafter, along with her timorous demeanour.

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