Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oooooh Oooooh Pick Me, Pick Me!!!

In a classroom full of potentially competitive individuals, or perhaps attention seeking supplicants, the best way to gain the attention of the top dog, or teacher, is to wave your arms and shout, “Ooooh OOOH Pick Me, Pick Me!”  This technique works on several counts even with the most stern and serious teacher. The chaotic fits of waving, wiggling and shouting attract attention. If the teacher does not approve or consent to this frowned-upon technique, the attention of peers is clearly noticed just the same.  The teacher is sometimes left to acquiesce in the absence of any other volunteers and call upon the reckless individual. Next, the weakened teacher is often compelled to gain classroom composure by taking a moment to point out this is not the approved mode of acceptable classroom behavior, thereby further attending to the impetuous attention-seeker.  The function of the behavior was to gain attention and approval, perhaps to share and display intelligence and garner respect and esteem.  At the very least he or she got attention.  This system of gaining attention and then approval, infrequently supports any predetermined end goal.

I am finding in the world of dating, or at the very least the world of meeting potential dating possibilities, there are similar conventions that have been poorly developed, if at all.  I am unconventionally conventional with a smattering of unique and unusual and a touch of nonconformity, or maybe a bit more.   I won’t be the one waving my appendages flamboyantly in order to gain a brief moment of someone else's attention.  I also won’t be playing coy and attempting to set up some sort of carefully devised “test” to determine whether or not some potential contender is a real catch.   So what am I to do?  What’s a self-sufficient, grounded, seeker of fun and occasional companionship to do really?   (Admittedly, I am still in a slightly vulnerable state post 20 year relationship status, but I am picking up speed and momentum quickly.)

As I recall, the first objective is to be picked.  Then what? There seem to exist very clear guidelines of what not to do as opposed to what to do.  This is problematic to me on several levels.   First, I am not very good at following guidelines.  This in and of itself, has landed me with some not so good partners.  That concept of cutting off your nose to spite your face, has been a lesson hard earned.   Secondly, I continue to stubbornly fight the notion that I must conform to some outdated, oppressive, gender-related restrictions.  Here again, cutting off my nose to spite my face, I continue to attempt to approach situations and forge a life that works for me, against the grain, or the tide, or the acceptable societal rules.  I believe the current courting rituals were created in the 1950’s with some slight adjustments based upon the introduction of the birth control pill.   It seems we've come a long way, baby, but we haven't covered much ground. 

I recently came across an article at AskMen.com that highlighted yet another perplexing formality, if you adhere to the conventional wisdom of gender-related generalizations and the stereotypical confines of current societal courting rituals.  The gist of the article was warning men not to have sex on the first date.  The premise being, waiting shows that the man is more likely to be considered a gentleman, waiting gives the man time to evaluate whether the “woman is crazy”,  waiting creates anticipation.  Waiting shows you don’t think she’s a slut.  This is my all time favorite bit of conventional wisdom, it’s right up there with the warning that “some women still view sex as synonymous with coupledom” in the same article.  I definitely need clarification here.  If I am the so-called slut that sleeps with someone on the first date, does this also mean we are now a couple? Well, that would surely be crazy, I think.   There was more about determining the crazy factor and also the issue/problem with learning too early about sexual incompatibility before a relationship can be formed and sealed.  Umm, buddy, if we don’t have that certain je ne sais quoi we probably won’t be forming a deep and spiritual relationship of love and adoration.  But that’s just me.  I imagine it could explain all the sexless marriages out there today, the men clearly waited too long and those crazy women had the chance to, or were forced to, wait before revealing their sexless attributes after the careful evaluation process that determined they were not sluts.  But we all know that isn't really the reason intimacy in marriage is on the downside.  I just think we could re-evaluate how we go about all this hooking up nonsense and make some adjustments to how we determine what to do after we get through the initial first phase of being picked.

I think I might have passed an initial meeting.  I was asked what I was looking for, I shared honestly.  A little excitement,  a little attraction and then a couple more meetings, or “dates”  and ….maybe I blew it when I asked the buzz kill question:  “What are you looking for (in a relationship)?” It may have translated to “Holy Schnikes! She’s going to start wanting a commitment, and then co-ordinated towels hung just so in the bathroom, and jeez, before long….(insert here whatever fear of commitment activity hits home).”  I was only asking because there were smatterings of possibly charged territorial binding remarks that were starting to sound less than the light and easy connection I was seeking.  Of course I didn’t just say,  “Whoa, dude, this is really fun, albeit a little heavy getting through some of those I-am- a-little-vulnerable-after-ending-a-20-year-relationship-and-out-of-practice questions, but let’s not get too serious, this has been fun can’t we stay here for awhile?”  (Note: I said "awhile", I dare not say "forever" another buzz kill word)  Question asking in relationships, or pre-relationships is a tricky business.  I did want to know what the dude was looking for, but I think it may be time for me to communicate what I want. 

Here’s the short list:  I want cream in my coffee.  That’s a shout out to Lyle Lovett, but I do really like cream in my coffee.  I like my coffee strong, with cream, or really, half and half to be precise.  I want dates.  Not the dried fruit, but the occasional dress-up and be seen events at a restaurant, movie, theater, or music hall of one type or another.  I am just as thrilled to go hiking, picnicking, for a long walk, watch a sunset with a glass of wine or water, boating, occasionally and maybe fishing, or just lie on a beach.   

A trip to Home Depot can be a turn on, but only if we mutually agree to be there together, or we mutually agree to go our separate ways to find whatever gadgets and gizmos are needed to successfully create, repair or recondition some important mechanism, or project of our own devising, or maybe each others- I don’t want to be waiting for hours, or keep someone else waiting.  (On deeper thought, this may be a test, but I don't think so.  I might want to know how handy the dude is, but I do really like Home Depot, and Lowes, too.)   I want someone to open the car door for me, and gently close it after I get in, or out.   I want to cook dinner for someone once in a while and I want to enjoy a meal cooked for me.  For the record, I like good food, but I also like basic hearty stews and soups with a side of toasty, cheesy bread in the cold months and seasonal fruits, salads, seafood, and grilled meats in the warmer months.  I want to hang out and watch movies, but I don’t always have the attention span, and I want that to be OK too.  I want to converse, and joke and challenge and be challenged.  I want to go on adventures, these might take place within a couple of feet of where I am at any time, or they might be far and wide from where I am located.  I want to be able to comfortably say, "Whoa, dude, what the heck are you talking about, or slow down, or you really need to stop..."  I want to quickly deal with the uncomfortable stuff head on, lightly and easily.

Oh, and I want all of this to happen without a great deal of stress.  Maybe once a week, or every other week.  I want my freedom and independence.  A call or check-in doesn’t hurt in the early stages of maybe-this-is-working-out-for-now.  I want to know that someone is thinking about me and maybe grinning sheepishly because I don’t fit so easily in any particular square peg or round circle or whatever place we are all supposed to be trying to fit into.  I also want to be OK if time stretches out a bit longer and I haven’t heard anything.  I want my space, literally and figuratively.   I want to be busy and satisfied and engaged in my own interests.   I am also up for spontaneity and wild abandon from time to time.  I guess I want it all.  I just don’t want it all at once from any one particular person, right now, or maybe evermore (nevermore?).   

I may want to have it all on that first date and give it all and if that changes the fate of having more later, so be it.   I have more to give and get and I might want something different next week.  So, pick me or don’t.  I have a lot going on right now.  Deciding on co-ordinated towels or wondering if I might start revealing hints of crazy is not part of my AskMen.com Action Plan just yet.  I want something different after all.  

 If AskWoman.com hasn’t been launched  I have a few very good ideas……

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