I met a great guy recently in my Small Town, who I hung out with for awhile, enjoyed the company of, laughed endlessly with, went on hikes with (well, one hike), had coffee with (thrice), and looked at real estate with (I’m no longer a licenced salesperson, therefore, don’t have a lockbox key, therefore, they are drive by sightings—not B&Es). He is a man who has his shit together and is intelligent and interesting and—yes, I’ll admit—has lovely, soulful eyes and who, after a weekend jaunt out of town (him not me), never contacts me again!
Perhaps he found some fine filly more his wave. To be sure, I know he isn’t for me (he has a few extra-curricular persuasions that are dealbreakers for me: pot, porn and pole dancers—and I’ve sworn off the ‘maybe I can fix, err, change him’ attitude, but I’d been determined to enjoy his company for what it was: company). Now, I’m disappointed; I was totally my real self with him.
Besides, I’ve been living staying with my LMLotFM and spending so much time with her and my family (that’s another story) that I yearn for like-minded, similar-aged and non-familial companionship! I’m not in the market for a relationship right now—I’ve vowed to limit my loins and endure, ne embrace (pun), a year of celibacy, both physically and romantically.
This is the longest I’ve been single since I was twenty, having fallen, stumbled or dove into one relationship and then another before and after my marriage to Nice Man. I have never (never say never, but this time it really is never) been solo for so long. And I need it. (‘It’ as in solo-ness not as in sex.) Not because I should need it, but because I do. But even though I am genuinely enjoying my single-celibate-me time, I also long for human connection (mental, emotional) and stimulation (mental, spiritual).
I met another guy in my (adulthood) Small Town recently who I met up with for coffee, once, and who I think stole my car key (OCD, paranoia—he likely didn’t steal it). And even though I manage to lose said key between parking lot and coffee shop and latte with just he and I, I had to get my car towed. Anyway, all that is beside the point, where was I going with this?
Oh, yes, so any normally inclined woman would find this man appealing, both in appearance and demeanour, but all I can think is, “I can’t wear my suede high-heeled $900 Bally boots on a hobby farm. I can’t wear my suede high-heeled $900 Bally boots as a stepmom to his six-year-old son.”
And perhaps because my vibe is waning and wistful (wondering where my damn car key has gone), or because he lacks verbiage, or because we lack commonalities, our conversation is somewhat stinted, his words certainly stark, and I surprise myself by not trying to win his favour.
“Your eyes light up when you talk about your son.”
“Yeah, he’s amazing.”
He looks off in the distance dreamily.
“Good relationship with his mom?”
“We’re okay.” After a pause, “You want kids?”
“Nope.” (Though I wonder if that’s true. Being open doesn’t mean going against our authenticity – it’s a fine line.)
And he leaves and we both know we’ll probably not see each other again, on purpose at least. He doesn’t contact me. And, again, although I knew within minutes we weren’t “the one” for each other, it stung a little, that rejection. Stupid ego.
Summary: Hot man in health food store. I see him there a few times. He’s a part-time resident in my (childhood) Small Town. One day, I’m in there trying to set up my BMFF (best male friend forever) with my new girlfriend, Flee Market (we go to Sunday market and she has a tendency to flee from commitment with men—nice of me to subject BMFF to her charms, I know), when in comes Tall, Dark & Holistic (TDH ).
I quickly distance myself from BMFF saying, “Don’t you need protein powder or something?” and scoot down the aisles looking for TDH.
I corner him by the cooler of yogurt. I stand in front of his escape, looking up into ocean blue eyes, pause, smile sweetly, wait. I can tell he feels awkward.
Finally, I say, “Excuse me.” I indicate the cooler.
“Oh.” He moves. I grab a tub of yogurt I hadn’t intended on buying (there’s already one at home), and he makes his escape.
I meander back to the check-out counter where BMFF is buying protein powder at Flee Market’s till. They laugh at me as I skip over smiling like I’m my six-year old alter ego, Penny.
A second later, TDH is at the opposite till facing me but avoiding eye contact.
BMFF: “I’ll buy you lunch if you go talk to him.”
Me: “What do I say?”
Flee Market: “Say you like his pants—but you’d like them better on the floor next to your bed.”
The three of us laugh, TDH glances over.
I finish paying, and BMFF and I head outside.
Outside, I ask him, “Now what?”
BMFF: “Give him your number.”
“Okay, frick. Okay. Do you have any paper? Ahh, here he comes!”
I scribble my name and number on a piece of paper, grabbing TDH’s arm with my free hand as he passes.
“Wait.” Not looking up, still jotting, “Hi. This is my phone number.”
I look at the poor stunned man. I’m so bad at this, but I was bamboozled, coerced, peer pressured into this poor behaviour. I know better than this wrong man-grabbing-tactic, damn it!
He blinks rapidly, “Do you live in town?”
I hand him my phone number, “Part-time.”
He pets BMFF’s dog, “Your dog?”
I reply, “[BMFF’s]”
TDH is confused, and I can tell he assumed BMFF was my BF.
He’s struggling, “I’m [real name].”
I reply, “I know.”
I continue, “If you want to go for coffee sometime, let me know. Yes, I’m hitting on you.”
He looks at BMFF, who smiles, “Hey.”
TDH mumbles something and wanders off to his truck and drives away. I never hear from him. He must have lost my number (sideways glance).
This is the first time this has happened, never mind thrice. Well, I mean, happened this fast as in so soon after meeting. A humbling experience indeed. I contemplate how could this be? And all I can come up with is: they’re just not that into me!
Now, as I’ve mentioned, I’m not into them romantically either, but it’s usually been me who’s felt that way, first. And this time I really enjoyed their company—well, for sure, He Who Rejected Me #1. (#2 and I didn’t have much of a chance what with my scouting the nearby bushes for my car key and darting off to check the toilets’ trash cans; and, fair enough, TDH aka He Who Rejected Me #3 was an unfortunate and awkward misshapen meeting.)
But am I losing my joie de vivre? My je ne sais quoi? Or perhaps, it’s that I’m being me, the take it or leave it real me, not jostling or conniving or convincing, with contrived charms and fluttering and fawning. And these are real men (even in skater sneakers) who also know what they want, albeit porn and pole dancers. And what they don’t want. Me!
So, there you have it. Call me Mrs. Humble Pie. This real me is a tough gig at times. But there’s a part of me that’s also excited. Excited that I can dare to be me knowing not everyone will like me or want me or want to hire me or be their friend or even their friend with benefits, and being okay with that—in fact, even liking that! With silver lining syndrome, I see this means that those who do like this real (multiple personality) me, well, they really like ME. Me: likable! This I like.
What have I (re)learned?
Being me is sometimes scary. Being the real, unfiltered, authentic me is terrifying! And exhilarating (!) and OMG I so like me—in fact, I might hazard to ascertain (small, quiet—ish—surprised whisper): I love me! (Shhh.)
Practice being the real me. Thank people for being the real them, even if I don’t like them. (Makes the world interesting and gives me all the excuse I need!)
Remember what Marni Battista says: Rejection is God’s protection.
See rejection as a confirmation of authenticity. High five self! (Note: If you see me make a single clap above my head, you know I’ve just faced rejection. If you like me in any way, I suggest rushing over to high five me so I don’t look like a mentally challenged adult in public. Thank you in advance.)