Monday, September 22, 2008

Boy Meets Girl: A Character Study

I don't know where to begin. Oh, I know. Here. Seriously, you're going to need a recap. Because my life is one fantastic soap opera. And it's all my fault.

As I type this, I'm not sure how I feel about technology. About social networking. About the instant and all-too-easy access I have to strangers. Because when my interest in piqued, I may find them. And then find myself in some tangled web of awkwardness that has me breaking up with someone I don't even know.

We went for non-coffee coffee. (We met at a coffee place where we skipped the caffeinated options). Conversation came easy. Perhaps too easy. I caught myself thinking, "Wait a minute. There's no way I'm actually this charming." But maybe I was. I'm learning. An hour later, as I headed home, I knew that something was off. That even just a non-coffee coffee was inconsistent with who I am. And was an awkward nonnegotiable rejection waiting to happen.

It's fun stepping outside of the comfort zone, embarking on a little adventure that involves flattery and intrigue. But when I acknowledged that my initiative in the situation was out of character, a loud voice echoed in my swirly-whirly head, "It's called character for a reason."

When my heart is firmly in one place, ignoring it for a moment or two is pointless. Eventually it will rear its head. Yes, my heart has a head. Which is confusing, considering my heart and real head are often at odds....

So I chose to be the jerk rather than the liar.

I had nothing to offer. I had no business chatting up a much-older stranger I saw-but-didn't-meet in a bar. I had no intentions beyond a hello, and there I was, suddenly being pursued by someone who had every reason to expect otherwise.

So I apologized and let him go.

He was gracious, subtly hurt, cut me free, and we reverted to stranger status. A de-friending on Facebook was included. Which I find oddly amusing. I'm not sure why. I'll probably need therapy one day.

I will slowly learn my lessons the hard way, waiting for that miraculous two-way street where affection is reciprocated and awkwardness is at a minimum. Or at least forgiven. And where missteps and gaffes aren't significant enough to get in the way of the real adventure.

Ah, girls are confusing. To every guy I've ever known, I apologize for my contribution to the mixed signals and inconsistencies that my sex has thrown at you. For the sudden shyness, the over-thinking, the cynicism, the coyness....

I am tired of the game. I always lose.
Men, if you stop playing, so will I.


michael lewis said...


I have to take a step back and remember that this is actually your life (and if it's not, and this is just a fictional entry, it's really very quite good!).

I especially appreciated the Facebook de-friending.

If it's any consolation at all, I was basically in my 30's before I got anywhere with relationships, and it was just with one, and I was terrible with it at first...for a couple of years.

And maybe that's not all that encouraging now, is it?

Walking Church said...

Trust me I don't watch 'girl' movies but every once and a while I get suckered in by my two girls/women (wife/daughter).

One such,non regret was the 'Wedding Planner' - a great scene is when Maximo is dialogging as to whether "She is the One!" It is a funny dialogue but it turns out to be an incredible acid test question. I have asked this of my daughter (Is He the one?) and the response is quick.

The right fish comes along after many catch and release attempts. The animal courting game is very primal at best and consumes a great deal of time and effort in the pursuit of the perfect trophy.

Yes those corny rock ballads are true to and extent - the right one will cause you to be 'lost in their eyes'

Stay true to yourself - never settle for less!

nadine said...

I love how it's the men who are commenting on this one :)

And yes, it's a true little story, Michael. And your personal experience IS encouraging, considering how wonderfully it all turned out for you.

And walking church, never fear, I'd rather go solo than settle :)

Stay tuned for more adventures....

Daniel Ray said...

It's funny because Michael Lewis and Walking Odds' comments are seemingly in conflict yet I think they're both correct and both helpful.

I'm agreeing with you and the others nadine. I hate the game, but short of exhuding some sort of uncanny pheremonic confidence it seems like we're bound to play it on some level.

I will say that I applaud your de-friending on facebook. The ultimate snub! But appropriate, because you really shouldn't have people on facebook that you don't want to be their friends.

nadine said...

Dan - Oh, I wish I were the de-friender. Instead, I was the snubbed one.

The rundown:
Him - Asks me out
Me - "I can only be your friend"
Him - De-friends me

At least I know where he stands. He wasn't looking for a pal. And I wasn't looking for, uh, him. So the break was quick, clean and easy.

michael lewis said...


He de-friended you???


Hey, if that isn't a complete indication of the nature of his character, then nothing else could possibly be more clear.

Oh well, that's the game. Make your own rules and play your own rules. Sure, if they're different, you may be alone/lonely for longer or much longer than you ever anticipated, but you retain your dignity in not compromising for the sake of some other.

A somewhat wise (and much younger than me) friend once rebutted my concern over my relationship status (not on Facebook, but rather real life!) with the following:

"Is it better to be single and lonely, or married and alone?"

I knew my answer for that one, and I waited. No way was I going to settle!

nadine said...

I love how Facebook etiquette is now an indication of character. But you're so right.

And I often remind myself that I'd rather take the single-and-lonely road than the married-and-lonely one :)

Elizabeth Gordon said...


I identified with the "head in my heart against my head" stuff.. whatever you meant, I think I got it.

Proud of you!! :)

nadine said...

Thanks, Liz.

Yes, I'm fabulous at exasperating myself. But I'm slowly learning to embrace the adventure :)