I have 509 friend requests. Almost all of them are guys.
I’ll bet all the women reading this are nodding. You know what happens when you accept the request. Within a second you’ll get a message saying something like “Hi,” or something equally compelling. And then it just digresses from there.
They will say anything to get you to engage with them. For a long time (far TOO long), I would give them the benefit of the doubt and accept the request and then delete them after they started with the messages. And then I stopped playing altogether. My life was full and rich and happy before this guy tried to enter, and it seems unlikely he could be something I would miss when I ignored the request.
Ah… but every once in a while I think somebody is asking to connect for real reasons. This particular guy, let’s call him Jake (not his real name, but I’m actually far more private than I let on), had a mutual couple friends and lived in the area, and seemed like a real person with a real life- not 300 friends, all female.
So I accepted.
He then messaged me to see if I wanted to have coffee with him. My spidey senses were tingling. My guard started coming up. But, as I never accept such invites (although usually they are far more sketch), I thought I should take a chance. Get out there.
I don’t drink coffee, but ice cream sounded good. And I was curios. I hadn’t met anybody in years that had been of any interest, so I agreed.
But I had doubts, given the number of verbal fumbles I’d encountered over the years. So, I drummed up a plausible reason to see him at his work. He is a captain of the Battle Creek Fire Department in Keystone, SD. I was going to interview him for my podcast. You know… the podcast I’ve been talking about since 2015? The one I have yet to publish?… yeah. So, I met him and he seemed to be the person he purported to be. And the interview went well. He was quite good. I had never done one, so I was not really feeling all that suave, but he was interesting.
The next day, we met for ice-cream and then took a drive. Again, not something I would usually do, but to be honest, if it came right down to it, I thought I could take him… or at least do some serious damage. So, off we go.
Now a bit of preface is needed here. You know how many people see celebrities or models and think they are just so hot? Yeah, I’m not one of them. I’m VERY rarely attracted to a picture. And the only time I am is because of what the person is doing in the picture. I want to see laughter. I want to see intelligence. I want to see confidence. These are not easily captured in a photograph. I mean, it could be a guy with thick glasses and a pocket protector, holding a Nobel for science and laughing uproariously about who knows what… but you see my dilemma. I’m just not easily attracted to strangers.
So, here we are in the truck, on top of a hill with quite a view of the city and I’m wondering what’s this going to be and he says he wants to kiss me.
In my head I’m thinking- interesting. It’s been a long time. This is a bit fast. Either he’s desperate or he thinks I am… but I’m curios. There’s a certain level of attraction on my part. I think he has a good sense of humor and he has laughed at a few things I’ve said. I agree.
And he’s really good. I’m completely out of practice, but damn… he’s good.
But then it goes a bit further, and you know I’m no prude, not even close, but this feels weird. Like strangers. I guess I’ve always fantasized that I’d be good friends with somebody and then there would be a next logical step. However, that’s happened a few times and those relationships didn’t work out, so maybe it’s not that important. This is what I’m trying to convince myself of while making out.
However, the overall feeling is that I’ve met another guy who is trying to get some and for various reasons, he targeted me. And what I didn’t recognize at the time, but did some time later, was that my self-confidence immediately plummeted. I was thinking that nobody is attracted to anybody that fast. Certainly not to me. Not for years.
So while I was attracted to his confidence, I lost my own. I didn’t feel attractive… I felt convenient.
These were all nagging feelings. Something just not right but not clear what was wrong. Eventually, I was returned to my car and I went home.
He works very unusual hours at the Battle Creek Fire Department, so if I wanted to see him, which I did, I had to go to his work.
I arrived and we were immediately heading somewhere to make out and then again, it was moving pretty far pretty fast. I was feeling convenient again. I was feeling usable. Disposable.
Usually, before I’m kissing somebody, I have some basic answers. Do they smoke? Are they single? Do they know my name?
I knew nothing. Not a good feeling. Although I was pretty certain he didn’t smoke, because his mouth was amazing. Did I mention that?
Still, I knew little if anything about him and he knew nothing about me. So, again I was feeling a bit usable. Who I am is not important to him in this activity.
That’s a very disconcerting and uncomfortable feeling. A feeling of sadness. A feeling of less confidence, like anybody could be in my place. And then I wondered how many had.
Because of his hours (or so I was told), I had long periods of time (several days) to dwell quietly to myself about what was going on. Was I just being used? Was I as disposable as I felt? What was it about me and my page that would make me a target?
I saw him maybe one more time at his work, and while I was attracted to him, I didn’t feel anything from him. And I recognized that I was already involved to a point that this was going to hurt. So, I wrote up a long text, as all our communication was through text, and by the end I was breaking this off with him. I didn’t know what this was, but it just didn’t bode well for me. However, I kept changing the text to something less permanent and by the time I finally sent him my rehashed-several-times-texts, I was just asking for a bit of space.
But he responded with texts that made me feel like I was not disposable.
So, I saw him again, at his work, the fire station… and he said even more that made me feel like I was not just being used. But he also said he didn’t want a relationship. Ok… note to self, another question to ask before you make out with somebody. Cuz, I was already in one.
But I could deal with that, I lied to myself. I can do casual (No… no, I can’t). I even wrote a story about how I would look at it. It sounded great. But several days would again pass before I saw him and the texts, which already seemed obligatory, were not enough to let me feel connected. So the connection would dissipate and I would be wanting to see him, but no real idea why, because I knew practically nothing about him and he knew less about me. Looking back on this need/want to see him and I think it would be because there were some really great moments in person.
I would try to engage him in conversation via texts and ask questions about him. He would answer, sometimes quickly, sometimes after a bit of time, but as I never knew what he was doing or where, I just tried to believe he was busy… with something.
Finally, I just didn’t like who I was. I felt myself slipping away and realized this was how all my relationships ended… with me gone and in my place was a pod-person I didn’t know. And still I would be thinking that the relationship could be saved if I could just…. whatever.
But the facts are: I’m not given to casual relationships. Getting laid is easy. My life was not just fine, but great before this guy came in and I started to feel doubt about myself. He would say the right things in person, but after several days, I didn’t trust him. I didn’t believe him. How could ? I didn’t know him.
He had said that he feared relationships and I was quick to respond that I didn’t.
And then during one of our far too brief physical interludes, he suggested that I was in love with him.
Let’s say it were true… isn’t this then a relationship?
But, it’s not a relationship, so therefore deep feelings don’t exist, right? I mean, I don’t know… I don’t do this sort of shit. But it seems to me that you can’t be in love and not in a relationship.
More doubt. Just what the fuck is this? I had already been thinking that in order for me to carry this off, to be in a non-relationship, I would need to keep my feelings to myself. Just enjoy whatever presents itself. Live in the moment.
And then a day or two later, during another week of no face-to-face time, I realized I was afraid of relationships. And I feared him. It had been 9 years since my last relationship. I dated a couple guys in there, but it was never serious. I didn’t have strong feelings for them.
And here I was face to face with my growing feelings for a guy I’m not in a relationship with.
I wanted to see him. I wanted to tell him this. I wanted to say what I had been thinking about. But the week took a couple turns and I couldn’t see him. And I started to think again that this is not real. None of this is real. The texts were even more infrequent and even dried up almost completely for a couple days.
Still, I knew a little of what he was dealing with. His week sucked more than mine. I vowed to myself that I was not going to send another text that ended whatever this was. But I also felt that eventually he would.
I mulled that over. If he broke this off, it would hurt like hell, but no more so than if I had done it to him. I decided that it was best if he were the one that broke this off. Whatever this was. I was not going to beg. I was going to deal with it quietly and then go about my life.
However, in the meantime, I still felt a need to express and since I could not express to him, I would start writing again.
And this is where it gets interesting again. If you started to nod off up there in the 5th paragraph, start paying attention now. I realized I hadn’t written for me, journaled or blogged, in a long time. I hadn’t said anything of real significance out loud in a long time.
I lost my Mom in ’04 and my sister in ’15. People I could talk to without judgement. People who would just support. I miss that. I didn’t realize how much.
When I started to write all this out, I felt better. I had some clarity. I didn’t feel a need to talk to him, which is good cuz who knows when that was gonna happen. And when it did happen, the last thing I wanted to do was put all this at his feet. I was able to step away from my feelings long enough to remind myself that his week was utter shit. And when he wanted me back in his space, he’d say something.
He had said that I could text anytime. It was always appreciated. And that may be true. But it doesn’t feel good. It feels needy. And I fucking hate that. The only thing I might hate more than feeling needy is appearing needy. No. This was in his court now. And again, given his week of utter hell, I did not want to add to it.
Whatever this is—it is. My feelings are my own. Whether I choose to ever recognize my feelings for him, they’ll stay with me. Because once they are out there, you can’t take it back- now there is something there. Something that has to be dealt with. And if it is said… and ignored… no… that’s not going to work for me. But I can keep it to myself and therefore have zero expectations of him.
So, that’s where we are right now. Not sure how much wisdom is here, but there is a part of me in self-preservation mode and a part of me that is just waiting for him to end it and then a small part that is hoping for a miracle, which has very little chance of coming to be. But still, it’s a part of me.