I remember beck in High School, when I first started becoming interested in flirting with and dating people, it was esy for me. So natural, it was like breathing. I could have had anyone I wanted. Even if they were older or younger, even if they were in a relationship, or engaged, or even married, I could attract them. At first I didn’t pay attention to pre-existing relationships; I only cared about my relationship with the person, not the relationships they use to be having with other people. (Here ‘used to be’ refers to the time period right up until I decide I want them.)
Here’s an interesting thought: based on the best information I have, 100% of the people I asked to marry me were dating someone else without my knowledge at the time that I asked them. Oh, and all three said yes immediately. Of course I’m not married yet, but I mostly blame myself for that.
So, somewhere along the line I began doing my best to pay attention to whether or not people I was interested in were single, and if I found out they were in a relationship or I saw a wedding ring, I just didn’t show any interest at all. This is out of increased respect for relationships, not just my own, but other people’s as well. I recognize how rare and precious a good relationship is, and how much harder and harder they are to come by, and I do what I can to encourage healthy relationships to continue. The only problems this has caused is when I thought someone was in a relationship who was not, or when I didn’t find out when they were single again, and they assumed I wasn’t interested because I never showed interest.
Except that in light of my experiences in the last several months (years, Teel, it’s been years!), I believe that flirting with and expressing interest in people in relationships is probably the safest thing I can do. These days I can’t get the most desperate of people to even make eye contact with me. I can’t pick people up any more than I can fly without happy thoughts. I have given out dozens of cards with my email address and phone number in recent weeks/months to people I thought might be interested in at least speaking to me again, and have received a sum total of zero phone calls and emails as a result. I recently updated my match.com profile, added a photo, and started getting ten times as many people reading my full profile, and even got a couple of preliminary emails. Of course, when I responded, giving them links to my websites and a friendly response, I got nothing back. It goes on and on, and let me see if I can get to my point:
As long as I absolutley can’t attract another human being to want to spend time with me, I am better off only flirting with people already in committed relationships or marriages. This way at least I don’t expect anything to come of it. There’s no let down when they go home with the person they arrived with; that outcome is expected. At best I can expect a lively and interesting conversation with someone I don’t have to worry about calling me.
A married friend of mine told me recently that when he and his wife and I go out together, it’s like a double-date. That somehow I’m as good as or and fun as or … well, that I compare to any two normal people together. It’s a good thing. I guess. I sort of would rather actually go on a double date than our own little variation of one. Still, it’s just more of the same idea I’m talking about. I should just stick to pre-existing couples.
Something about being a well-rounded enough person that I’m entirely half of a double date doesn’t sit right with me. I suppose that’s just my biological imperitive telling me I can’t pass on my genes on my own.
Tonight I went out with Zoe and Amy. We went to Dennys for dinner/dessert and then to Game Depot to play games. Zome and Amy were getting tired a little after 9, so we left there, and I was starting to feel a little tired, too. Except that on the way to my house, I looked out the window and saw a young woman looking back at me. She was made eye contact, so I smiled, and she smiled back to me, and that little positive feedback loop of a sort of connction got into me. Their car pulled ahead, ours caught up enough that I could see that she had turned her head around to see me, and I smiled bigger, and so did she and that positive feedback loop just got stronger. Except that neither she nor I had control of the vehicles we were in, so her car pulled away into the distance and I never saw her again.
That little incident. That little smile. That positive feedback loop, someone who saw me and sincerely smiled at me, seemed as interested in me as I was in her. That got my hopes up and put a little extra energy into my weary body. I got home and I changed clothes and freshened up and I walked down to Mill to see if I could find another positive feedback loop to get caught in. To see if I could find someone else who would smile back. As always, out of a habit that has never become neccessary, but that I just can’t shake, I straightened up my place so that in the event that I brought someone home with me I wouldn’t be embarrassed by what they saw.
Anyway, I went down to Mill, and it was dead. Hardly anyone even walking down the street. Until I got to fifth, and I realized there was a footbal game letting out. Thousands of non-locals were taking up parking spaces and hardly giving Mill a second look. I stopped in the Fascinations where I can usually hang out for hours having good conversations with the staff and enjoy some of the best music on Mill, but the people I normally talk to were either out or busy in the back. I didn’t want to drink or pay a big cover, so I went next door to see what Level was like. They don’t charge a cover if you’re over 21 on Saturdays, but they let people in as young as 16. I got my “over-21-bracelet” and went in. The music wasn’t what I’d choose to try to dance to, so that was troublesome, but worse was the fact that I couldn’t tell if dancing next to or with anyone there was grounds for my arrest. Sure, some people are just short and thin, but … I have trouble dancing to a lot of todays music unless I focus on the other people dacing around me, really by dancing with whoever happens to be next to me, and … I just couldn’t do it there. I tried going to the 21-only section, but there were just a dozen or so people in little clusters sitting still at the bar or on couches, drinking quietly with their friends. No fun there. I tried the dancefloor again for a while, but trying to dance without towering over the crowd started to make my knees hurt so I went outside again. I tried smiling at or being friendly with passers-by, but the best response was a sort-of sympathetic half-smile from someone who probably saw the desperation I could feel burning through the backs of my eyes. When I left home, when I got to Mill, I was confident and assured, still feeling the effects of that young womans smile across traffic. By the time I left Mill, I felt defeated and alone, worthless except as a friend to those already in committed relationships.