I saw a friend’s post about how consent is everything and this sent me off down a rambling mental rabbit hole that I will now inflict upon you all (with your consent).
I have always been super paranoid about NOT wanting to be “THAT guy.” I grew up raised by great, strong mother and always generally got along with women better than men, and consequently, heard plenty of women throughout my life bemoaning the fact that if they were even just friendly with a guy, that too many times guys took that the wrong way and thought it meant interest. So I never wanted to be that guy. And pretty much everyone I’ve ever dated will vouch for that by way of the fact that you have to really beat me over the head with your interest before I’ll even consider that it might be true.
I used to joke that someone could be standing naked in front of me with a flashing sign (pun intended) saying “I WANT YOU” and I would think “She’s just being friendly, let’s not make assumptions.” As a heterosexual male, I always wanted my female identifying friends to be comfortable around me and never have to worry that I was going to take anything the wrong way. Most of my past relationships probably started with the phrase “What took you so long?”
There’s one courtship in particular that will forever amuse me. I had a co-worker who I had become friends with and definitely felt some interest toward, and I thought it was possibly mutual. We started hanging out, going to movies, and just spending time together and enjoying each other’s company. At some point she started staying over. In my bed. Totally just as friends. Sometimes she would lay her head on my lap in my Nissan pickup. We took at least one road trip I remember to stay with a friend in Dallas and go to Six Flags and we stayed in the same bed. Totally platonically.
After a while of this, I started to think I had a chance. One night we were in my room, on my bed, listening to The Beatles and talking. By this point, the whole situation was pretty ridiculous, and yet still, somehow there was doubt in my mind. So finally, when the tension had become unbearable, I just blurted out “Do you want me to kiss you?” As I remember it, she just stared at me, a little in shock. I felt like she did, but for some reason was maybe afraid for us to go there or something. So then I said, “Okay, well I’m going to kiss you unless you tell me to stop,” and moved in, very, very slowly giving her every chance to eject or give me any indication that this was not a good idea. She didn’t stop me and it was indeed very mutual and we had a relationship. It really was very sweet, and not at all weird or icky as it could sound when written out like that.
I really wish we could all just be more transparent in that regard because even though we may feel like we give off totally different signals when we are interested, from the receiving perspective it often doesn’t look all that different. And I am most definitely someone who does NOT want to go anywhere I’m not wanted or make anyone uncomfortable. I always say that I’ve never really “dated” and it’s true. It’s always just been organically meeting someone, us becoming friends and falling for each other. I’ve never chased it or felt like I “needed a girlfriend” to feel complete, happy, or whole. I love being in love. I love being in a relationship and being a good partner. I love having a mutual partner in crime. But I’m also very much fine on my own. I’m certainly not going to “settle” just to have “someone.” I’ve never been a “hunter” in that regard. It has never been unusual for me to go years between relationships, although my current stint of 5 and half years may be the longest, but it also makes sense for reasons we don’t need to get into here.
I try very hard in all areas of my life to see the good and not live in gratitude and not from a mindset of lack, focusing on what I don’t have. There are definitely benefits to being single. I’m not saying it’s better, just different and that there are good points to focus on. I have no idea how to end this rambling brain detritus. So just imagine I ended it with some pithy, witty, yet deep and emotionally resonant point that wraps everything up really nicely. #JediMindTrick