2014-06-30 - Tuxedo Mask's Dating Advice! A Dubious Proposition

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Title: Tuxedo Mask's Dating Advice! A Dubious Endeavour

Basically, 'You're a guy. How do I tell if a guy likes me?' is a question apparently best asked of Mamoru Chiba, who by his own admission, doesn't date. But even if Eri doesn't get the answer she was looking for, she does get some solid advice.


Eri Shimanouchi, Mamoru Chiba

OOC - IC Date:

5 February 2014 - 6/30/2014

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri was bad with boys, even boy friends. That's very distinct from the designation of 'boyfriend'. Until recently she hadn't even really considered it acceptable to just contact Mamoru for something spontaneous, believing mistakenly that boys were these mysterious creatures out of video games and Shoujo manga and myth that you couldn't just 'ask' to do things with.

She felt kind of foolish now, as she walked through the streets of the vibrant traditional district alongside Mamoru Chiba. Outwardly she was wearing rather drab winter clothing, but had a hint of perfume that smelled like Jasmine, though distinctly more subtle.

Every so often something green pulsed in her hand, before it changed back to a ring, but she brought it out infrequently. She was still on the hunt for territory and one of the best ways to tell if a Puella Magi policed the area was how long a witch remained 'detectable' before someone took it down.

And while they walked, she decided to drop the question, "So, we can talk about anything, right? You'll tell me if something is off limits?"

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mamoru, on the other hand, has been getting asked recently to go do things by people who actually know him, and it's novel and worth cutting a little bit into study time for. He's perfectly content to walk alongside Eri in silence unless she starts conversations, which-- honestly shouldn't be too surprising.

He does, however, look like he's perfectly content at the moment, so at least there's that. He also looks as absurdly classy as usual, because even if sometimes coats cover up the true haute-couture, his is that damned nice fitted navy peacoat and-- yeah, absurdly classy.

He's noticed a few times when Eri's glanced at her Soul Gem, but doesn't comment on it: his attention's mostly on the feel of the street and the energy and life of the people around them. He's his usual rock in a stream, the water of the great mass of humanity running smoothly around him on all sides.

When Eri speaks up, he glances over and down at her, eyebrows up. "Absolutely. You'd tell me, too, right?"

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"Yep. I don't believe in dodging a question. I'd tell you if I'm not going to answer it." Eri adjusts the collar of her overcoat. If not for her drab fashion, then the two could probably be mistaken for elder brother and younger sister as they walked down the street. She was slightly more awkward than Mamoru's rock in the stream, shifting more like water around hundreds of pebbles flowing down that same stream, a defense mechanism from her time at Ohtori.

"Anyhow, I plan on asking Mai-chan the same question but.." The pause lingers in the air for a while, "....it's a question about guys, and you're a guy. I know I know.." She grins a little, "...I have some really astute powers of observation. Anyhow."

Her expression becomes more serious as she rubs the nape of her neck with a mittened hand, "How do you tell if a guy complimenting you really likes you, or if it's just.. flattery?"

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

There's a tiny smile in response to Eri's answer in the affirmative, and he's briefly - as she adjusts her collar - distracted by something smelling amazingly good from a stall a little ways away. But then she keeps talking and Mamoru looks back at her, that one corner of his mouth curling up again as she laughs at herself.

Mild in expression, lanky grace of motion, casual in manner, unhurried and unruffled, enjoying the day and the locale and the company--

And then comes the question.

Mamoru's steps slow for a second; he looks a bit taken aback, then takes his hand from his coat pocket to put his glasses on. He's not reading anything, but-- he can't put on a mask, and glasses are the next best thing for the purposes of obfuscation.

As he settles his glasses on his nose, Mamoru looks thoughtful, and then rueful. "Part of reading someone's reactions, male or female, is knowing the person in question. So if you haven't known him very long, it'll be difficult to find his tells."

Glancing back down to Eri again, Mamoru stuffs his hand back in his pocket, which ends up partially dislodging his scarf. He just lets it hang there. "And there aren't only two motivational options. He could just be a flirt. He could be flattering you because you have something he wants, he could be honestly appreciating whatever it is he complimented you on, he could want to be your friend, he could want to be more than that. Or he could be trying to get you into bed with him."

Apparently approaching this as a psych question makes it easier for Mamoru to keep from tripping over his words, because he doesn't even turn red at the last sentence.

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

As Mamoru slows and puts on the glasses, she adjusts her own at the bridge. Since she wears her all the time she doesn't really read too much into why he put them on right now. Though the fact that he slowed down does tell her at the very least that it's either an awkward question for him, or just awkward coming from her. The former thought does give her some pause in so much that she's sorry to be him on the spot The latter.. well, it's just strange coming from her, because noone expects that, right?

As she listens to him going over every option, she doesn't respond right away, just mulling it over. She does redden considerably though at the idea of someone trying to get 'her' in bed. It irritates her that guys try to do that with girls they had no interest in having a loving committed relationship with. Well unless they said it up front and it was mutual, but she wasn't interested in that idea. It takes her some time to figure out the best way to respond, "I don't know. I've only met them once."

Looking sidelong, as some of that scarlet retreats from her cheeks, she continues to casually walk along, "What sort of things do you say to someone you're interested in?" ....even more awkward, but at least she's sparing him the embarrassment of making him actually commit to a name.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Me personally?" Now Mamoru really does look surprised. And then really chagrined, and his gaze slides away, not even the glasses helping. He reaches up to scratch the back of his neck, ducking his head a little, and adjusts his scarf. "I don't know how to deal with liking someone like that, either."

It's a stunning admission from anyone, nevermind a guy, nevermind Mamoru Chiba. But it rings true even if he hadn't previously proven himself socially awkward in inconvenient ways. "But as for what kinds of things I say to the someone I like--" as if Eri doesn't know "--I'm not even consistent on that. But a good start is talking to them like a friend."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

While it may be a stunning admission to most people, it isn't to Eri. After all, Mamoru Chiba considered a good time to be sitting around with a book, not philandering or something, which is pretty much the favorite Ohtori alpha male pasttime. She considers it for a while, then just nods. "Mamoru-kun." She shakes her head, letting a smile form on her expression, "Wouldn't such things be so much easier if it all just was like something out of a book or a game?" It's a small joke, which she lets pass as a rhetorical question without an answer.

She continues to stride forward with him, though her steps are smaller. "I don't know. I didn't expect it to go anywhere, so I was talking to him like an acquaintance or a friend. They really liked discussing.. horticulture, the nature of people and how they act. Things like that. Every so often though they'd just spout off some incredible compliment about my beauty, and it just always took me off guard, like disarmed me completely."

She admits the next statement in a tone just as chagrined, "I've.. never had anyone do that to me before. I don't even know how to 'take' that. What do you even say to that like, thanks, but it doesn't feel right for you to say such things about me? I'm just mystified."

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The little joke earns Eri a crooked smile, sidelong, which is an improvement over his uncomfortable inability to even look in her direction for a moment there. It means she can see him listening if she looks, and he considers his words carefully before answering.

Well. Considers his words and steers them inexorably toward the teriyaki cart, the smell of which had distracted him a minute ago. He gestures as he orders, then indicates Eri should order too if she wants, and waits for her to do so if she does before he continues the conversation.

"You just say thank you," he says firmly. "Never correct a compliment. Not on your person or on your actions. If it's a comment clearly made sarcastically, then you only accept it with more enthusiasm. Certainly be modest if you like, but don't second-guess it. A compliment is a gift it doesn't cost anything to give, and accepting one is a gift to the giver."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Looking up, Eri considered that for a while, abstracted in such a way that it seems inevitable that she'd run into something. Mercifully she didn't. Mamoru steered her over to the teriyaki stand, where she made an order of vegetable kabobs. Pulling off her mittens, she began to eat them each in turn, tempted to lick her fingers from some of the savory sauces, but instead she grabbed a few extra napkins.

It takes her a while to answer him, "Even if you think it's insincere flattery?" Eri isn't smiling now, "Or if say, the gentleman in question is like the typical Ohtori boy, rather than a gentleman, doing the same thing to every girl in the hopes of a one night stand? I should just thank them and move on, rather than tossing it back in their face?"

There's a soft chuckle, it doesn't sound entirely nice, "Maybe this is why I've never had anyone interested in me, because I think about such things."

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"No, you probably just didn't recognise it if someone was interested in you, and you probably weren't given many clues anyway," Mamoru says, not smiling either -- but he takes his teriyaki and pays for both, and he continues meandering along through the crowd with Eri, waiting for his food to cool a little before stuffing his face.

"But no, you shouldn't throw it back in their faces if people give you insincere compliments and you can tell they are. Two big reasons: first, they might just be terrible at giving them and actually mean it. Second, if they're trying to upset you, you're making it backfire on them, which they deserve for being jerks," the tall boy points out. And then he carefully opens his little carton and unwraps his disposable chopsticks with his teeth, stuffing the paper in his pocket with his thumb afterwards.

"If they are being insincere in order to get you into bed, instead of just trying to make you angry, then believe the compliments because they're true but don't think you owe them anything. Just say thank you and let it end at that. That'll also frustrate them. If they start pursuing you and don't let it end at that, then you kick them."

A beat.

"Kick them hard."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

The look on Eri's face was blank for a while, but it quickly becomes a scarlet flush as Mamoru explains that perhaps she didn't notice someone that was interested in her. Could that really be the case? It caused her to lock up for a bit, the cognitive dissonance of perhaps things not having happened as she'd always imagined it suddenly causing the gears to stop grinding.

When they started up again, she's still quiet for a while, though the blushing is swiftly retreating. She eats another vegetable kabob, and another. "You sound like you've thought this out thoroughly, Mamoru-kun, like you have experience with it." Eri manages a faint smile at the tease as she considers his advice.

Eri does raise a finger of her off hand, "Though I haven't heard any rumors of you kicking people, so I coullldddd be wrong."

There's a soft giggle, but then she continues after a short time spent composing herself, "That's actually rather good advice. I think I'll take it with this guy at least. Though I can't guarantee that I won't kick him if it turns out he's playing with my feelings."

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The comment on his thorough advice gets Mamoru to give Eri a very wry smile indeed-- a feat in itself when his mouth's full of chicken teriyaki. "Nah," he says after swallowing the mouthful and Eri finishes, shaking his head. "If I kicked, it would be bullying. If you kick, it's self-defense. Honestly, if someone pursues me past a shutdown, I'm never really sure what to do aside from get the hell out of there and avoid them like the plague."

There's a brief and mild twitch of his shoulder upward; c'est la vie. "A reputation for coldness and arrogance when crossed is useful for me, especially someplace like Ohtori. I'd rather not hurt feelings."

Like he did to Mai.

Mamoru eats some more teriyaki while he runs through the last thing Eri said. And then he just grins at her. "Good! And the big other thing to remember is -- if he's playing with your feelings, it's a fault of his, not yours. Try not to get invested until you have at least some indication of his motivations-- that's a buffer for your heart. It makes it easier to remember there's something wrong with him, not with you, if things don't turn out well."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

"Double standards." Eri wryly responds, while continuing to chew on her kabobs. Yes she just spoke with her mouth full so it sounds more like 'Mubble anderrs' Though she's quiet for a while.

Considering his words, she scratches at her chin with her off hand, "That's hard. I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve. Usually. I'm trying to get better at not doing that but most people see right through it."

There's a few beat pauses as she thinks on it for a while, "I don't think I'm at risk for 'me' shutting someone down and them pursuing past that, so I won't ask you what you did."

After all, if someone did she could always transform and show them in no uncertain terms that trying to pick on her is a big mistake, "Out of curiosity though, is it alright to just, 'ask' a guy if they're interested?"

She waves a hand around in the air. "Or is it I dunno? A taboo? Forbidden, 'that'? It always seems to be in every piece of romance fiction I read or game I play."

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Double standards everywhere, forever! Mamoru just gives Eri an amused and somewhat apologetic look; he appreciates her wryness. And then while she's silent, he makes pretty quick work of the rest of his teriyaki, and bins the carton at the first opportunity.

Also the wrapper in his pocket.

"I'm not saying you should be cold. It's not who you are. I only said it because you thought I might actually have experience in the area of the advice I've been giving you, and I don't. I watch people pretty carefully, though."

That said, he sticks his hands in his pockets and glosses past the 'won't ask what you did' part, because hell if he's going to say 'ran away and hid' in any clearer terms than he already did.

The last question startles Mamoru out of the vaguely brooding reverie he'd already begun to fall into by thinking too much about, well, Shiori, and worrying about Mio. And here last week he'd been devastated about Luna and Zoisite and all that jazz: this is a relative relief.

"Uh," says the tall upperclassman, blinking down at Eri. "It's not taboo or forbidden, no. It's just not often done because you're sticking your neck out by doing it. Only ask if you've gotten yourself to the point where you won't take rejection personally. Don't psych yourself out if you're going to ask, either, psych yourself up-- remind yourself that if he doesn't like you like that, he might still be a friend. Honestly-- don't date anyone you don't think you could be friends with. I have seen way too many trainwrecks."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri doesn't interject, eventually finishing her own meal, hanging onto every word. This conversation was nice, actually. Kind of 'normal'.

Well as normal as people like Mamoru Chiba and Eri Shimanouchi could get, now.

Once she throws away her own carton, she wipes off her hands again, replacing the mittens, and crossing her arms. It may look a little defensive to most, but probably not to Mamoru given his powers of observation. Maybe just a little reserved in her own personal thoughts. "That makes sense. This girl named Rei Hino from my class once told me I should date someone as a friend first anyhow. There's no need for it to be romantic or anything." Looking up, as he looks down, she chuckles, "Let me tell you, there's no end to the gossip that the words 'just friends' brings. I tune out most gossip because..."

She rolls her eyes, "Well, you probably know what it's like listening to it."

She pauses again, trying to frame her response carefully, "Me though? I'm kind of okay with being called 'just friends'. If a girl says it, then I'm told guys get offended for being in the 'friend zone'. If a guy says it to me? Well, I still have a friend. I'm good with that. I don't consider it 'settling.'"

Quiet again for a time, she looks out into the stream of people moving past at night, bringing out her soul gem to check, before putting it away, "So you watch people carefully, do you? What do you think about me, from watching me? Do you think I have a chance in the world?" She's not teasing here, nor is she the deadly serious 'Watch your step tone.' She seems genuinely curious, like no answer would really offend her. And it's pretty broad. It could mean anything from, 'a chance with this guy' to 'a chance at living a few more months.'

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The eleventh-grader hunches up his shoulders under his coat for a second, a gust of wind hitting just the right way to make him shiver. After a second, he pops his collar, because it's a peacoat and that's actually useful if your scarf's not awesome enough to keep the back of your neck warm. Dammit.

"Rei Hino, huh?" he asks rhetorically, corner of his mouth quirking up. Apparently he knows her, and is mildly amused-- but he leaves it at that.

When she moves on to the 'just friends' part of the discussion, he nods firmly, shoving his hands back in his pockets and curling his fingers to warm them up aaa. "Anyone who gets bitter and resentful over the idea of being friends instead of a couple is doing it wrong. If they don't like you enough to be your friend, why should you even give them the time of day? You have a healthy outlook on it: being friends is never settling."

Hiss they walk, they come to a bus stop, and the gusts of cold picking up again means that the little bus shelter is a welcome thing indeed. Mamoru shamelessly sidesteps into the lee of the wind, then reaches out to tug Eri in by the sleeve. "You're Eri Shimanouchi. You're smart and kind and incredibly giving, your fight-or-flight reflex isn't broken, you honestly care about people, you're strong and you're steady. You're a hero. You have all the chances on Earth: all you need to do is take them and believe with your whole heart, and everything will work out for the best, even if it takes a while."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Eri just nods in response to that, not catching that he knows her. Maybe he knows that she lives at the Hikawa temple. Everyone knew that.. and the fact that she had her own fan club. Perhaps not quite as large as Utena's, but it was considerable.

She seems mildly amused at the idea that people get so bent out of shape about the idea of just being friends. I mean, if you couldn't just be friends, how would you ever hope to date, or even live together? Why would you ever want to be intimate with someone who wasn't at least your friend?

It's when the gusts of winds pick up and Eri moves her hands to her collar to try and shift it upwards, that Mamoru tugs at her sleeve. She looks puzzled, until she moves beside him in a bus stop. She listens for a time, her expression blank. Each compliment comes as a surprise, but he only sees it in her eyes for now. There's no embarrassed flush though, not from a friend at this sort of praise, instead she looks a bit thoughtful, staring away.

"You know if you'd met me a month or so before you did you'd probably think it was broken. An eleven year old girl gave me one." There's a lengthy pause there, as the bad memories assail her, but she shakes it off. She'd mostly dealt with that, moved on. As it rolls off her back, she does manage a cheerful smile, as some of it sinks in.

"Thanks for all the rest. Maybe, just maybe, I think you praise me a little overmuch, but I'll just take your advice this once. It'll probably be healthier for me~" The statement was completely serious at first, though it moved into a teasing sing song by the end. Maybe Mai really was a bad influence.

<Pose Tracker> Mamoru Chiba [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

There's quietness from the dark-haired, dark-clad boy beside the Puella Magi while she's serious: he understands the need to be serious without being jollied out of it. But it doesn't last long.

"I didn't say you were perfect," mock-huffs Mamoru at her qualifying of his compliments. But then he bumps Eri's shoulder with the side of his arm and grins down at her, quick and affectionate. "But that's a good start, and I'm willing to believe on your behalf that you're just being modest."

Okay, that last was definitely teasing back. He bunches his shoulders and his collar and scarf up around his ears again and says, muffled through his tailored second scarf (not really), "I don't think we're finding one tonight. Let me go with you back to campus, huh? It got stupidly cold."

<Pose Tracker> Eri Shimanouchi [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

She mock rubs her shoulder, before bumping his arm back with her shoulder. It's definitely not the force of a Mai chest poke, it's more just a playful gesture. That affectionate riposte though was her only response though until he's finished.

"Alright, alright." All thoughts of her soul gem were forgotten, she wasn't going to find territory of her own tonight. Instead she shifts her own scarfs around her neck, muffling even part of her chin."I'll let you be the perfect gentleman and friend tonight, since you're gracious enough to believe I'm being modest."

They start to walk back, Eri allowing him to lead her because he's ridiculously tall and a great windbreaker, idly she mentions "So, did I ever tell you that I encountered Hockey Puck Tsukino again?"