Saturday, March 31, 2007


I met a guy from the Really Deep South when I first moved here. Nice guy, active in "the community" -- he stopped by at the "coming out" support group when I was there the first night and said "hi" to people. Married to a guy he met while stationed with the Army. Pillar of his church, which welcomes him and his husband [husband? surely not "wife"...].

He called up recently to say that he had taken over "Joe's" role in the support group -- did I want to come back? I had to beg off, saying that I had work-related evenings on the days of the week the group met, but I did say that once that stopped -- come on, May, just not before I have all the work done -- I would try to start coming again...

A week or two went by, then he e-mailed me and asked me out to lunch.

. So far, so good. When we met in the fall, he had immediately understood the importance of faith in my life, and suggested I try his church, which for a variety of reasons, I have not done, but I thought -- why not talk with someone pleasant? someone who "understands" at least part of my puzzle? It's not as though my social life was a welter of commitments.

I will know better one of these days. Yes, we did have lunch. But his contribution to the conversation centered around, focused on, kept returning to, the collapse of his marriage [new marriage, 20-year relationship, the worst of both worlds] and how it was definitely over, had been over for months though he hadn't been telling anyone, even his closest friends and family members. And now it was just them and me... And this is where the light bulb finally went on over my head.

Yes, I know, anyone with half a functioning brain would have figured it out long before. But I come in at a little less than half a brain most days, these days. So there I was, in a hippie sandwich place with 42 different kinds of tempeh and without a single bite of meat to be found on the premises, realizing for the umpteenth time that I have to learn to think in terms of "dates".

It doesn't come easy. And certainly not "naturally." I have been having lunch and dinner with guys, especially people I consider my friends, for some forty years, and I can probably count the number of "dates" I have had with anyone of any gender in the same time period on my fingers and toes.

, on my fingers. Maybe even on the fingers of one hand.

Give me a break.

Anyway, it just never occurs to me that people I am not interested in romantically or sexually, are interested in me. It's the old problem of one's own view of the world blocking out everyone else's, or, as it's known locally, the Professor Trap. How often do I have to get here before I realize that there is a pattern emerging? Do I really have to have my nose rubbed in it?

I am afraid the answer is "yes."

As the saying goes,
another @#$%-ing learning experience...

The Coffee-Man has also raised his ugly head again; after weeks of no word, he has weighed in with two e-mail round-robin notes, one of which clearly shows that we disagree MIGHTILY on subjects that he had carefully pitched to me so we sounded like we were on the same page...

This is the guy who used my
unwillingness to play the seduction game as a piece in the seduction game, which I regarded [regard?? I don't know, I hate to hold a grudge] as a new low. Balder and heavier than advertised, but a black-belt Smooth Talker. The most troubling thing, aside from my falling like a ton of bricks for the seductive power of a well-used voice, was that he did something with a quick but expressive application of pressure to my thumb joint when we said goodbye that gave me quite a thrill... weird and oddly compelling, in equal measure, just like his "talk"...

I am somehow reassured to find out that I can't trust him, or rather, to have my hunch that I couldn't trust him borne out by his own testimony.

It makes me feel a little bit less like I'm headed over Niagara in a barrel.

Actually, the point of bringing these guys up is that both of them inquired as to how I was doing with my plan to stay "out of trouble" for a year.

Boy, are
those days gone...

And I found myself talking to them about the
Silver Fox in a new way:

he became "
Mr. Wrong."

I feel OK calling him that because he is so clearly in any number of ways "Mr. Right," but his commitment to someone else (which I admire even if it doesn't keep his hands out of my trousers) and his distant location, are definitely strikes against him. But if I
really felt he was the Wrong Guy at the moment, I would never call him "Mr. Wrong." (There's something about knowing that it's not true that makes making that kind of joke OK, to me at least. I called my first child the "Fat Man" because he was so inordinately skinny. Go figure.)

Southern Man actually said he had never heard anyone referred to as "Mr. Wrong," which I have a hard time believing... So I suddenly came off as witty. More @#$%-ing flattery. I apparently live surrounded by guys who are ready, willing, and able to give me the soft soap. And the worst part is that I find that I am quite susceptible to it. I really have to pull back and reflect in order to realize that I am being flattered. Seduced, in short. The only one who is a Serious Problem is the Silver Fox, because I want so desperately to believe that what he says is true, and as a result, he plays me like a violin.

It's pathetic. No, I'm pathetic.

So, one of these days I am going to wise up, stop my ears with wax as I sail by these Sirens, stop falling for these Fast Talkers.

I will also relax, get centered, and wait for someone
nice, but not too nice, to show up, instead of sending out whatever "needy" signal I am currently broadcasting that brings all the sharks circling in...

But don't hold your breath.

Actually, part of my post mortem on my lunch with Southern Man was that he's really far too "nice." What I'm looking for is more naughty than nice. Which is not to say that I don't like "nice." I lived with it intimately for over twenty-five years, and I know it well -- I like it. I'm just not looking for it right now...

Hang in there.
What choice do we have?

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