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I didn’t mean to come back after such a “long time no write” with such a bomb, needless to say I didn’t expect the bomb itself.

I’m tired, sleep deprived, PMSing and overreacting as usual, but it’s a detail that caught my total attention. Because really it’s the first time.

The first time ever I find myself considering the possibility of dating a guy with children. The question was raised as I first approached online dating and my answer was categorical: no. I’m not sure I could provide an exhausting justification, mainly it had to do with the fact that I don’t want to have anything to do with any child at all.

There is nothing going on with Marcel, there has never been and facing the facts, there will never be. I prefer to blame it on bad timing, because now that I’m back to being single he is seeing someone and he spent ages alone while I wasn’t, but truth is, for all I know he doesn’t even find me attractive.

We see each other maybe once every two months, I would say he is a friend, but really he joins our group every once in a while and I don’t know much about him. Still I like it when he is around, I like looking at him. It’s not an obsession, it’s the nice chance you like to carry around in your pocket, waiting to be brought out in case the situation was right.

Still, yesterday I was particularly receptive, especially when he took his shirt off and unbound his hair. I was looking forward to spending the afternoon with him amongst others, to maybe try to connect a little more, try to explore the possibility to become friends for real.

And then this. Just as I was getting changed after the race and putting on one of my best summer dresses to impress him, he was outside showing pictures of his son to the rest of the group.

I’m not good with kids, nor good at talking to people with kids, or about kids. This was basically the trifecta. Although… it is only and solely my personal problem. He is not getting married, it’s not his current girlfriend, he doesn’t live with his kid. But all of that somehow made it all even harder to figure out. Because as of now, at 31, what I can understand is getting married and having a baby, or having a baby without being married. Or having kids being divorced. This situation is an anomaly. And what he said about it and how he handled it and the decisions he took… it all just makes me like him even more.

It was like imploding. Everyone was shocked, because it was sudden and because it was presented us so much later than it occurred in his life. I was allowed to be shocked too, but I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. Nobody knows. I had to keep it together and that probably did much more damage than the rest. It could flood out only as I was driving back home alone. And even then, I couldn’t find the words to explain what happened to anyone else. Because nothing happened, it all started fireworks in my head but reality was completely unaltered.

What hit me at first was thinking that I had to give him up. That if he had a child, I could not be with him now or ever because I just can’t face having to deal with a child. Because I can’t explain to someone who has children how I think I would never have any and how in the very end to me it kind of feels like an abomination. I felt the need to retract, because I felt like he would have never accepted me anyway.

It wasn’t until later that the thought crossed my mind, not entirely for the first time, that it could be the best solution for me. I not only refuse the idea of imposing myself upon another human being and having my personal life destroyed by the presence of someone else constantly needing my entire attention, which is a point of view that I suppose with time might change, I also mostly dread the idea of being pregnant myself. I know how hard this is for everyone else to accept as possible, but the idea of something growing inside of me, makes me think of a tumor, not exactly a life. Being with someone who already has children would be a possible compromise, to not be forced to turn down someone just because I don’t want children and they do, possibly enjoying the teaching sides of parenting without having to bear children myself. But this is sci-fi.

And then there was this completely new side of him.

A side where he still smiles talking about life’s hardships, where he endured all of the pain of the situation for years without telling anybody, the side where he was ready to settle and give  up his needs for the sake of somebody else’s peace and quiet. The side where we, as a group, are not relevant enough in his life to be part of this secret until now. But that’s understandable.

But I know what it means to keep a secret, to spend time with people, laughing and chit-chatting, trying not to think about that one obsessing thought while all you’d want to do is spit out all the bitterness and the stress just to discharged your overflowing mind. And I’m sorry he had to go through it. And I wish he could have shared this with me, but the premises weren’t there.

And then he gets all excited about LARPing and I can’t help thinking we should really give it a try, if only he let me.

I was reading a post where a girl or woman was complaining about the difficulties of founding a serious or long-term relationship in our infamous city. It looks like every guy has some kind of impediment to starting a healthy relationship: he is either already engaged, or scared by commitment, or disappears out of no reason after a few dates and so on.

I wouldn’t know. Technically, I’ve been dating or available for a few months only and haven’t had that many experiences. I assume from a general perspective this could well be true and not one of those cases where the girl unconsciously pushes all the guys away – as I do.

But I was wondering… This is in the end a pretty traditional city. It may be a little more open-minded than most, but our culture as a state in general is rather tradition-bound. Tradition and culture here say that if you are a girl you are supposed to be courted. You should let the men do all the work, let them grovel so (and that’s my personal view) they feel much more valuable and valiant because they won the tournament: they won the girl.

In all that, you are supposed to never show any interest. Rise above it and leave them aching. You are supposed to play a game where if they want to get in your pants, they have to sweat it. Yet again, what matters is your virtue.

This is as fine a game as any. I understand its meaning and some of the benefits, although… I also supposed it is strictly connected to a rather chauvinist approach. To men, what it looks like is that the woman has no say in the whole process, it is only thanks to the skills of the man that the prize – the girl – was finally won. The woman has no say in this, she surrenders.

This is the game that has been played since society evolved. Problem: whether we like it or not, feminism has changed the rules in society. Women are not defenseless anymore, they are no longer just damsels in distress and the role of men has been shrunk, with an insane amount of psychological weaknesses for the poor fellows.

Now my question is this: if the general rules in male/female relationships have changed, how has this change affected the rules of attraction and flirting? I know some guys who are mainly interested in the hunt, and they are also the ones who deep inside still don’t think that a woman should do much more than stay at home and raise children. Or if nothing that fundamentalist, at least they still view women as damsels in distress up to some point.

I would like to know whether all of these lads who run away in front of the chance of a serious relationship actually run because they are peter-pans, or pricks, or playboys and how many run because they are too insecure to take a step further, if they were rendered insecure by all the power women have gained and flaunt in front of everyone, at least in this field.

What would happen if us damsels were ready to show that we actually are interested in them? Would they lose interest, as we have been always told, or would it help them to man up a little?

I feel like marble cake.
Darkness is mixed up in me in shapes I cannot disentangle.

Timing in love is everything. He can be Prince fucking Charming but if his white horse decides to take a crap while he’s smiling at you, it’s not going to work out.
Timing is everything Simon and I are missing. And it’s going to be our disgrace. Timing when I shouldn’t even be considering relationships, since I’m legally not even separated yet, timing when he doesn’t feel ready to have one. Timing that got us together by chance, after so many years when it could have happened and never did, timing that probably got us together in the one and only instance when it could make a difference.

And I am going to end up like the typical bonfire guitar player: serenading the pretty girl, who will inevitably start snogging the other guy sitting next to her.

I wish I knew, or rather, I wish I could realise and grasp on how many levels I am being an idiot.

I am treading on thin ice, because I know how much this situation could hurt me, not only objectively, but stirring up emotions way outside of my control, just as it has always been. I know, this could build expectations and hopes that should never arise given the very uncertain situation. Still, there is something holding me right where I am, unable to walk away and forget it ever happened. I wish I knew if it’s simple lack of guts or something deeper. I even built up a fabulous excuse, which deep inside I think could be true: having him may prevent me from seeking others, who may not be so gentle and respectful, who may hurt me intentionally, who may be just the wrong choice. So be it, I’ll keep it all in my head.

But then I realised it could be a bad idea for him too.

It could be smooth.
He could find another girl in a couple of months and go live happily ever after with her; I could find someone else in a couple of months and go live happily for just about a couple of weeks; we both could realise there is something we don’t like about the other and just give up; we could realise we are just good friends; we could just stop writing and never see each other again.

Or it could be miraculous.
He might lose the fear and the rationality and decide it doesn’t matter what happens later, what matters is what happens today.

What if there and then I understand how not ready I am for a full-blown relationship and feel the urge to run?

Of course, I’ve never seen a miracle happen in my entire life, so I’ll worry about it when the time comes.

There is something about him that makes him special. I can’t see what it is, but I feel it every time we share something. In each word he writes, in things he does, in explanations he gives me. We know so little about each other it’s hard to say I know him, all I could say is that so far he is spotless and I just want with all my heart to go looking for the rest. It’s like uncovering a long gone fresco underneath layers and layers of dull common paint: you wait for the day the image will be complete and every day you scrap a tiny bit of cover with expectation. The curiosity to know more, to share, to exchange, as if our skins were laid out in front of us in a single canvas and they came to adhere millimeter after millimeter until we can touch each other completely.

This lust to touch him is scary. I feel the need for his physical presence and it’s all I’m never going to have and if the need grows, it will crush me.

Giving him this space is something I am inclined to do because I feel it’s worth it. In time, flaws will be unveiled, my balance partly healed if not restored, maybe his too, but the struggle will be keeping the flame alive without letting it burn out. The way I have reacted so far makes me think this is not going to happen. We are going to end up torched.

I don’t want to pressure him and I don’t want to seduce him. The first because I am not sure enough of what I want, the second because it would be only bad for me. It would be easy, but I would hurt him, because that’s not what he wants, and I would hurt myself when he would turn away from me, not trusting me and unable to cope with the rush.

I don’t know when I’ll see him again, if ever. I wanted to go home this weekend, to see him before a whole month goes by from the last time, but this falling out we had… it would feel like pressuring him. I wish it came from him, I wish he asked me about it, then I could arrange plans accordingly, but I don’t want to be the one to drop the bomb.

Every day I get scared that he might change his mind and call himself out, scared that he may say he can’t do it anymore, scared that I may say or do something wrong and push him away. Scared that what scares me might come true.

I cannot know how it’s going to end, but if I have to guess from how it started I know one thing for sure: it’s going to be torture.

It must be the spring. Let’s just blame the spring.

The week that just passed left me stressed, tired and wearied out. I had to deal with any kind of uninvited trouble, starting with a broken boiler, followed by organisational problems of any sort at the arena, trouble with the phone company, a very bad training fall which probably lead to a cracked rib, a whole week of news blackout from Alex, a major Campus reunion, my first attempt to enter the wonderful world of Adventures Worldwide… it was turbulent.

Campus reunion was weird. It was the first time in a very long while I attended one of these meetings alone. I met my ex husband at Campus. Still, there were a lot of people there, some of whom I hadn’t met since I left Campus, and one of them, Missy, didn’t even know who I had been with all this time. I told a few people that things had changed, that we are not together anymore, and while it’s still strange admitting this to people in general, these people were there with me before I even met my ex, it was like reconnecting to the past exactly where I left off. Many of them had a hard time recognising me; they were used to see me in my jeans and snickers, with long hair, no make up at all and well, it was 7 years ago… but all of them were pleasantly surprised. Spending time playing foosball with the boys just like I used to was bliss.

Talking to Marco again was strange. Talking to Lawrie again was stranger.

These are the people I was closest with when my relationship started. And for one reason or the other, I lost contact with both of them. Lawrie was starting a relationship in the same exact moment back then, one that would rip him of all his friends and make him a completely different person. Of course we couldn’t know beforehand, we see the results now. He’s been with this girl – a really stupid cow – a long time, and I found out just the other night that they had finally split up. But he hasn’t gone back to being the person he used to be anyway.

The manwhore… we used to be so close, once he came to me and told me “Hey, I’m graduating tomorrow, how about we get my mum’s new car and start a road trip the day after?”. So we went, drove for some 2000 miles and stayed away a week. He shot videos of the toilet door while I was inside, commenting the whole thing. I had just gotten together with my ex then. We’re complete strangers now, we hardly even talked to each other.

With Marco it was different. It was all as usual, his bulky presence, his filthy glasses, the nonsensical conversations. It was just where we left off, it felt strange thinking it had been indeed 4 years since the last time we saw each other. Still, everything is different now.

And then Sunday I spent the afternoon at Louise’s and Maurice’s, talking about the failures of my marriage. They are getting married in September and the news of my separation  shocked them to a point that they wanted to make sure they wouldn’t fall in the same pit, so we organised “the sermon”. Talking about it came naturally, just like talking about a book you’ve read dozens of times over. As I spilled everything, I noticed panick on Louise’s face every now and then whenever I pointed out peculiarities she could relate to, be it the fact that my ex used to think about work and work only, or that I used to have very few friends just like she does. And each time they got worried, I only thought they should not.

Under so many points of view they are different from the couple we used to be… starting from the fact that they actually wanted to try to understand what can go wrong in a marriage, to the fact that both have had at least one other long-term relationship and both stated that what they have now is not even remotely comparable to the other relationships. People say when you meet that special someone you finally understand why it never worked with anybody else… Then they told me how they met, and I almost started crying. They both used to write blogs and started commenting on each other’s pages until one day they decided to meet. They were very worried about revealing this details, I guess most people would think it’s disdainful and stupid. I couldn’t help thinking it’s the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard.

I really hope I am the exception here, that it will work out perfectly for them and for all of the others left agape by my shocking story. They can’t see it, probably, but I like to think it worked out for me too.

 

Here’s the thing about “the list” – the one containing all of the attributes of your ideal man: I may have gotten it all wrong.

Until a few months ago, but maybe even just last week, in case I were asked what my perfect partner should be like, I would have begun my answer with “he’s got to be smart and well-educated”.

I think I have my reasons for “smart”. Not that any girl would ever want her man to be stupid and dumb, but with my twisted and convoluted brain, if he’s not 100% he’s never going to get me.

As for “educated”, this is already a bit more biased. I can’t stand people who can’t get their spelling straight and in terms of online dating this can turn into an extremely wide cut out. Plus, in my society whoever doesn’t own a college degree broadly equals to a high school drop out.

Both criteria are perfectly respectable as such, my problems stem from two basic misconceptions:

1) I have always put these criteria at the very top of my list, which brought me to never even consider people who don’t fully meet the requirements.

2) The combination smart+educated has often lead me to nerds, control freaks and hyper-rational men.

I know the latter type rather well: it’s the kind of guy I met at Campus. Perfect GPA, career oriented, smart, nerdy, technological… Every person is unique, but when the matrix is so similar, there is only so much that can actually vary. Generalisations are evil but in my experience pure scientists, economists and engineers will always go just so far in terms of irrationality, instinct and impulse. I know, I married one of the worst.

I have always been extremely flexible on looks. I may have noticed tendencies and preferences over the years, but in reality I have always liked any kind of colour or shape. I look at a person in their entirety and decide from the overall impression whether I like them or not. I should be doing the same for all of the invisible aspects as well. Otherwise, it’s just like saying “he has brown eyes, it’s impossible for me to like him”.

All of this revolves around a very simple question: love is a matter of the heart, why should I focus on brains?

Don’t get me wrong, brains are sexy, especially if opposed to shallowness and vanity, but it often reflects too much in the relationship with women. I’d need more the philosopher type than the engineer type right now. Actually given previous experiences with philosophers, I may be very wrong about this, let’s just say super-educated men aren’t always the solution.

Just because I am super-educated, it doesn’t mean I need someone like me; in fact I may need the exact opposite, since all of this brain-focus has been all but helpful. This is also the reason why I was so attracted to Hector: he perfectly fit the definition of nerd but at the same time he had a clearly developed spiritual and emotional side.

It’s all about fine-tuning the two, but I should probably give much more space to heart right now than to brain, in the hope of learning how to shush my brain when needed and let other organs drive.

The question remains whether it is something that can be learnt at all.

Maddie came to my house yesterday. Maddie was telling me about how scared she is at the idea of never finding someone else to spend her life with. Maddie who spent the same weekend when I was practicing for my first competition sleeping with Coach. Maddie who was chosen by Coach amongst dozens of other women. Maddie at least realises that she was lucky.

I couldn’t really answer to that. Not honestly, not fully, not constructively.

Maddie is blind. It takes her ages to understand the reality of things, to accept her feelings, she is insecure and feels weak, but she is the lucky one. If she weren’t that blind, she would see how all her venting is completely useless, because she got her second chance days after she broke up, how she is the one who has spent years with several boyfriends and she spent time alone only when she wanted to. She might have a tendency to want what she has, but it seems to me she got what she wanted anyway.

Can I feel sorry for myself for a minute? I am the one who fought kicking and biting to gain a little confidence, I am the one who took a leap of faith believing I could have more, I could be liked, I could get what I want and in the end I am the one who was turned down. Twice.
Twice again I am the one who can’t get what she wants, twice again I am the one who must say “bad luck”, twice again people changed their mind about me, twice again I am the one who was left behind because they chose somebody else. Twice again I am left wondering what is wrong with me and really now, who is supposed to be afraid of never finding anybody else to spend their life with? I wasn’t but evidently I should be.

“It’s normal, it happens, it’s life”. Bullshit.

And I am the one who knows very well what she wants and what she needs, and the more I go on, the more I believe there is absolutely no use in wanting something you don’t already have, because it’s not like you’re going to get it anyway. I broke up after years with this concept of trying to be grateful and content with what I have only to find myself looking at my life and realising that any time I have wanted things I have never been happy but when I settled at least I wasn’t crying. Why did I ever start believing I have a right to get what I want? Why did ever the possibility of having what I want present itself?

Years ago, before finishing college, I lived in this apartment where there were no hard doors, just curtains hanging from the door frames. One night, my housemate’s sister came over to bake a cake, since she had no oven at home. It was pretty late and I was already in bed, but not yet sleeping. After a while, my room was filled with the most provoking and inviting chocolate smell. I was starving and craving. But the cake wasn’t for us and couldn’t be eaten nor tasted. I spent hours tossing and turning, cursing everything, because the smell just wouldn’t go away.

This is exactly how I feel, as if I had been tempted with something I cannot have, conned. And it’s wrong, but somehow I blame this on Coach. He was the chocolate smell, which reached and flooded my nostrils, but then someone took the cake away. That night I would have never wanted cake if that smell hadn’t filled my room. I am not saying I would still be in love with my husband if I had never met him, but if I hadn’t thought he liked me, maybe I wouldn’t have convinced myself the guys I want may actually ever want me back.

Maddie thinks she is ugly and fat and in need of high maintenance to be presentable, but Coach bought the whole thing. I think I’m cute, fit and fun but I am always the only one sure of that.

It’s basically like any competition. The important thing is never to participate, it’s always to win. Whoever might say the opposite is typically a loser. So case in point, it’s ok to lose if you didn’t give your 100%, but what happens when you put everything into your dragon and you still don’t get to step on the podium? You think it doesn’t matter how much you fight, it’s never going to be enough, you’re just not good enough, it’s not for you.

That’s when you would want to be stunning, that’s why beauty is never enough; I can feel as hot as ever, but the mirror shows what I am, not what I feel, and that’s what people see. And trust me, I don’t think beauty is everything and I am absolutely sure it’s not enough to keep a man, but sure as hell it gives a great hand in convincing him to want to be with you in the first place.

Optimists in my situation would be content with knowing that they will surely meet someone better, divas would say men don’t know what they’re missing and they don’t deserve you. I still think there’s something I am missing in all of this, something I’m doing wrong, because taste is taste, but I don’t get why someone else should be chosen when I’m hotter, smarter and younger, by the by.

Plus I just can’t fathom why these things don’t work both ways. I like different kinds of people, but not so different in the end, they all tend to have at least a common basis. I fish in a category of people where I think I belong too. And it’s not that many of us in the world. If I am that kind of person and look for my kind of person, why don’t they? Am I that low on the ranking?

I am tired, sleep deprived and still stressed from the competition, but I am really pissed off at the world. I have been pissed ever since the competition. It’s not that I didn’t win, albeit that didn’t help, it was because for the first time I was upset because of Maddie. I am not jealous of what they do behind closed doors, but having her around all the time prevented me from having the little more intimacy I needed with him in such a hustle. It’s not like I was planning to make a pass at him or anything, but it was me and him, it was our moment and I needed to be close to him, to hug him, to connect with him… and I couldn’t. And I took it out on him, of all people, and I haven’t had the guts or the chance to apologise properly for this and it’s killing me. And he knows and understands that I was nervous for the competition but that was not it.

“It” is that somehow he can touch me so deep in my soul that I can’t control my reactions. I feel this urge to eliminate the distance between us but at the same time there is some invisible shield around him pushing me away. I have no time and no occasion to build anything resembling a contact between us which could embrace a little more than this teacher/student relationship. We are getting closer, but there seems to be always a barrier, as if none of us could figure out how to handle the other. He keeps hinting at the fact that he knows me and every time he does I can never step up and use it as bait because I am too shocked to react properly.

I realised while I was away for the competition that I’ve been doing this twisted thing with Maddie, I see it much more clearly now than when Hector was around: I try to influence her on how to treat him, no that’s not quite it… I would never give her bad advice just to have him for myself, but I try to soften her ways to prevent her from hurting him or tell her what I think he would appreciate in a given circumstance. I was the one to suggest she should bring him chocolates, I tell her how to approach difficult subjects in a way not to make him run, I defend him and let her see his probable point of view on things when she clearly doesn’t understand what’s going on. I try to protect him and his interests. I don’t think I have ever reached the same level of stupidity in any other circumstance of my existence.

Still, it’s the only thing I can actively do for him, although I wish I could do much more. We were out to dinner with the whole team yesterday and Dave told him how he would like him to step out of the conventional schemes and try to taste the world and its different colours before choosing one straight path ahead and I couldn’t agree more with him. He looks trapped in a cocoon that doesn’t allow him to gain his own shape, while having all of the means to transform into its own unique being. I wish I could give him all the knowledge I have earned to ease him out of this state because he reminds me of me. I understand so well what it means to cover everything under the surface and strike a pose and all I would want to do is crack the surface and look in. And every time he does exactly that with me, consciously or not, he kills me.

Sometimes I wonder what would be best.

I am trying to make a point of being who I want to be, following my own rules and moral values, as petty as they might be. Often, though, I find these hypothetical rules clash with what is “proper”.

There are so many unwritten rules in dating: no sex before the third date, no asking a guy out if you’re a girl, no answering texts straight away, no letting a guy know how much you like him. I understand that strategy works, in love just as much as in war. Still, I think it’s fake.

I read two posts recently, both got me thinking and nodding, both tend to go openly against the rules above:
http://ruthrutherford.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/b-e-a-g-g-r-e-s-s-i-v-e/
http://jtinseoul.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/something-to-ponder/

Which side is right?

If I have to think about my own experience, I tend to be able to pretend and stategise only when I don’t really care about the guy. If I do, spontaneity tends to get the better of it.

I guess, most of it has to do with what kind of person you are dealing with. There are people who love the chase, hunters interested in the game much more than the prey itself. Like Maddie. And then there are people who care from the start about what’s real, true feelings, sincerity and affection. Like me. We do not like people who play games, because we can’t fight on equal terms and we feel fooled; they most probably don’t like us because we are easy and boring.

But right at the beginning of all approaches, is it possible to tell to which category our counterpart belongs to?

Even when “true” people get together, it’s always extremely difficult to stick to what’s proper. When you don’t know what kind the other is, it’s a nightmare. Not knowing what the other person thinks of us causes the worst disarray and there is no way we are ever sure what we’re supposed to do.

In a perfect world, where things always go in the best of ways and assholes do not exist, what someone like me would like to do is breaking every single rule: I would kiss on my first date, possibly sleep with them on the same night if I wanted to, tell them how much I like them in the same exact moment as I realise it myself and thank them there and then for being a wonderful creature.

That is not proper.

It’s utterly unacceptable. While I have put into practice the first two, because in some way they can be accepted – and not always with tragic results I would add – the last two are unthinkable.

For the simple reason that there is always the possibility out there lurking that he might only be fooling you around. Now that is possibly the single most unacceptable and improper thing to do in our times: be fooled. It’s the biggest disgrace of all. It deserves the scarlet letter. You must always be prepared and never let your guard down, or you will be dishonoured.

I most honestly wonder why that is. Of course, when it happens you end up hurting beyond comprehension. But the reaction you get from the general population is that you made a fool of yourself. Now, wait a minute. I wouldn’t be the one doing something wrong. If right and wrong still exist, as small and scared as they might be, someone must recognise that we wouldn’t be the bad guys, nor the stupid guys, nor the shallow guys. We would not make a fool of ourselves, we would be fooled. Victims. Undefiled, I might add.

The thing that mostly makes me wonder is when I think of how it would make me feel to hear the same thing said to me. It would sweep me off my feet. I’m outrageously romantic, I know. And in the end, if we feel that way about someone it shouldn’t matter if we wait and let them know some other watered-down way. Or should it?

If we knew that we could trigger this reaction in that special someone, would we pass on it? Should we? Is it possible that we actually do some damage by being proper? How do we recognise someone as special, doesn’t it happen when they cross the line? What would it say about us if we were ready to long-jump across that line?

It would scare the hell away the vastest majority of people.

Imagine all the guys you want to date on a line, in the middle of the desert, like where they do tests on super fast cars. Imagine them one beside each other, all facing you, with the sun in their eyes and the wind ruffling their hair and shirts. Imagine yourself on the opposite side, a line drawn with a stick in the dry earth in front of you. You look at each other straight in the eyes High-Noon style. You start running toward the line and make that jump. You land on your feet and you still stare at them when they decide, cold sweating, to turn and run for their lives. Imagine seeing the dust raised by their feet settle and starting to outline the shape of just one of them who didn’t even flinch.

That’s the guy you want.

That’s what he is: spot on. And it’s scary, and the problem is that I am already anxious about it. It wasn’t supposed to be this way, I was supposed to be entering my slutty phase, my spring break, as Renée puts it.

Or maybe not.

It’s easy to say, I shouldn’t be thinking about it that much, that I should be taking things as they come. Easier said than done, my mind is the greatest architect of all times, when it comes to castles in the sky. I wanted an alternative to Coach and I got it. But then I’m scared again.

With Coach it was easy, in the end. They say, dating in your 30’s is harder because you have much more baggage with you, you can’t let go of past experiences, you have your disillusions, your failures, your armour to protect you which has thickened even more over the years. To me, it was exactly the opposite. I felt just reborn, I had a brand new point of view, I felt on top of the world strong with my new beginning and fresh-out-of-the-oven optimism. I felt like a teenager. So I just went with it, I didn’t care to be hurt, I didn’t care to be rejected, it was just a try, and I enjoyed having a chance. Now I have already started lining up the bricks for a new the wall.

Because I have been rejected once already, I would very much prefer to avoid it for the second time around.

It’s very different with Kolya (after the second date, they are not merely test subjects anymore…), because as much as I like being with him, I don’t like him that way. If there was nobody else, if it was one of those desperate times where anyone would do – and that’s a very bad thing to say – there could be something. I did look at him that way very closely last time. He is cute, but he is not sexy in the least. He is the Past, he is the kind of guy who would have been great before: smart, rational, dedicated to his career, mature but still crazy enough to enjoy life and pull some stunts every now and then… been there, done that, he would be the best way to go on exactly in the same life style I had with my husband. Safe, good, but not good enough, not now. Now, I need change.

Now I need sex, I need emotions, I need to explore that irrational side of me I have kept dormant for so long. I need someone who can understand change, who can understand mistakes and the need to focus elsewhere rather than on the mind.

When the OD sites asked for the kind of man I wanted to find, I never really answered, I only ever thought about it without writing it for everyone to see; mainly because lists are useless, and secondly because it doesn’t matter if people can identify themselves with those attributes, since they usually don’t really know themselves nearly enough and because I need to see it for myself anyway. But if I had had the time and the willingness to point out how he should be, it would have sounded like this:

smart but not a smartass, rational but hot-blooded, guided by his guts with a little help of his mind, aware of what he wants as much as of his insecurity, keen on laughing as much as on crying, not scared by the demons of the human soul, able to talk and to listen.

I would like someone who could guide me towards growing the new side of me. I know I am the only one who can develop it but I’d like the help or just someone I can share it with. This process of finding my own way to deal with life is probably the single thing that defines me as a person more than anything else. It is the main reason why everything has come so hard to me, why my life always seemed much more complicated and out of hand compared to anyone else’s. I can’t think of being with anyone who can’t understand this at least up to a certain point. Not now. Maybe 5 years from now, the whole process will be deposited and integrated in myself so much I will simply take it for granted, not even acknowledging it anymore. Right now, it’s the core of my being.

Maybe, probably, these are qualities pertaining a much more important figure than a spring break guy, but I haven’t really decided what I want right now. I keep swinging from the hot barista to the man of my dreams in a matter of seconds. Maybe I should leave the decision to fortune, because I can find a hundred hot baristas but maybe just one in a million right guys. Maybe I shouldn’t even be thinking about making a choice but just accepting what life brings. I just don’t care if I make a mistake when I believe in what I’m doing.

The general idea is that I shouldn’t be committing to a relationship right after the last one. I tend to agree, but if I feel someone can give me a lot, I am inclined to try and be with them anyway. I may be wrong and grow tired of the whole commitment thing in a few weeks, I’ll act upon it accordingly when I see fit. But as long as I know what I want or what I need and I decide to pursue it, I accept to stand corrected along the way, but I am going to do it anyway.

This is my problem with Kolya. I know so damn well I don’t believe in this and I hate pretending. Everybody tells me my priority is having something fun to do and being with people who make me feel good, but what if being true to myself and to whom I want to be is my priority right now?

I am the only one who knows what went on in my mind during this separation and I strongly believe it’s nothing anybody else has ever experienced, exactly because of my own personal way to deal with myself. So I don’t accept blindly what others tell me about how it’s going to unfold or what I’m supposed to do. I listen to every point of view but give nothing for granted. I want to make my own mistakes because some of them are not mistakes in  my mind, they are necessary transitions towards wisdom.

Of course, getting out of a relationship one should just have fun, have lots of meaningless sex, be slutty with right about anyone just for the sake of seducing strangers and all that. But what I lacked were feelings, what I missed the most was honest attraction to someone’s body and soul, what I realised for the first time is the existence of a positive side in every human being, what I understood is the kind of relationship I would want. I woke up so now I want to get up. If anything, I am sorry I MAY have met someone just right for this experiment just a little too early.

The first time I met him, I had a hunch, just and nothing more than a hunch. It was all guts. Now I have so much more evidence. Not everything was filled in yet, but a good portion is. What I knew the first time was just that talking came easy. I could say the same for Kolya, but not really. There was one fundamental difference: with Kolya, it was easy talking and laughing about things, past experiences, anecdotes, general things. It felt like talking to my oldest friend, which to me means having a good time and laughing away any current shit.

With him the easy part was getting deep, opening up, touching touchy subjects. It was a hunch then, it’s a certainty now. His journey has been similar to mine, change defined his life too, the conclusions or rather the current status that he has reached look very close to what I am aiming at. The means may be different, but the result is the same and that may make any exchange even more enriching. All this without considering the rest, which is not priority but it’s there.

I see the difference in this with Coach or Kolya. With Coach it was much more about giving. Maybe because he is younger, maybe because I saw in him the old me and wanted to teach him to “get better”, to blossom, probably as a means to give back what he is giving me teaching what he knows. I don’t know Kolya enough to know what he has to give, but I’m afraid that’s part of the problem.

I know he has something I want or rather, I know he has something to offer me that I would take very willingly, I just don’t know if I have anything to give him that he may be interested in. I’m afraid not to be enough, I’m afraid to be turned down. He is not perfect and I don’t think of him as the man of my life, just the man I’d need right now. I am transitioning so I don’t know how long I will need someone like him for, but right now he is spot on. And that makes it even harder to accept that I may not be what he needs now. I see a very high potential and the idea of giving it all up again, of yet another time not being enough is hard to take.

And then there is the chemistry. I can’t say I remember ever wanting to kiss someone so badly… unfortunately, as of now I have no way of knowing for sure if this is reciprocated or not. I have hunches, but it wouldn’t be the first time they turn out to be completely wrong. I am not used to dating, so everything looks confused and confusing to me. I am used to being extremely fast in these things, I don’t wait, I tend to throw myself at the guy as soon as I want to. Let’s not discuss whether it’s a good strategy or not, please, I’m just stating the facts here. So this time around, it’s not working like that. In my opinion, if nothing has happened by the second date, there’s something wrong. According to pretty much anybody else, it’s perfectly normal. I’m nervous anyway. Plus, spring coming up is not helping slowing down my hormones.

Call of duty to all inventors out there: when will you ever finally patent a mind switch that can turn off any unwanted thought?!

I’d like to apologise. I didn’t mean to be harsh to you, I didn’t do it on purpose, I actually don’t even realise it when I do it. I still don’t know exactly what it is I told you that you didn’t care for, but it doesn’t matter. You know I didn’t mean it, you said so yourself. I don’t mean to be harsh to anybody, but apparently I do and I guess I can’t really help it.

What you told me the other night was a little awkward though. It’s true I’m going through quite a rough patch, you have no idea how much so. Except, it turns out you do have an idea. What sounds a little weird to me is that you have an idea, you noticed, you know and still you did absolutely nothing about it. Truth be told, it’s not weird: it hurts. All of it hurts, so much I wanted to cry. Maybe you read that too, maybe not.

If you cared enough to look so closely to discover this, you know more about me than you should, more than other people know. I guess I was right after all, I can see through you because in some way we are so similar, apparently you can do the same. But if you have looked this closely, whatever your motives, you must know I am not the person to lay out all of myself in plain sight for anybody to see. You know how much I like to keep things private, you know how I keep my guard up, how I don’t let people in, how I still keep a wall around me, when I want to. You know, because you do too. So did you really not think you were violating me and my secrets by spitting it all out in front of everybody else? I don’t care if they heard, I don’t care if they know, I don’t care about them. I care about you, but you don’t know that. I care about how little you seemed to care about me being happy or unhappy about what you were telling me. You deliberately took a pick and destroyed my wall. You shouldn’t have dared do that, not that way, not to me, not without my consent.

So you claimed the right to expose me, but I don’t see the point in that. Is that the way you talk to a friend? I would have done that in private. Were you drunk? I don’t think so. Were you trying to impress someone else? God I hope not or I swear I’ll kick you so hard you are going to forget your own name. What were you really trying to tell me? That you have been looking out for me? Because really you haven’t. I was so astounded while I was listening to you, I didn’t really put together the pieces. I still haven’t by the way. I picked up single words here and there and tried to organise the kaleidoscope shapes of feelings they caused in me. I guess I should feel happy knowing that you cared enough to see I was in pain, to notice the change in me, even through the ever so little time we normally share. Truth is, it hurts even more. Because through all of my sadness and anger I wanted nothing more than sitting down and talking to you about it. If you knew, if you always saw, why the hell have you never laid out a hand for me? Never once have you asked if something was wrong, if you could do something for me, even just talk about it. Never. So why do you want me to know that you are aware? Please just don’t tell me you wanted to respect my privacy or you would have respected it the other night too and you would have kept your mouth shut.

And then you go and point out that you’re nobody in my life, that you occupy the most marginal of positions. And there I was agape gazing at you with incredulous wide eyes. You know nothing, John Snow, and you will never learn. Because I can’t tell you, I can’t say any of this, I am not even sure I can address any aspect of this matter without revealing clearly to your face everything you mean to me. There is no way I can tell you how, especially when you saw me so sad and desperate, you were the very centre of my world, how you have been the catalyst to the greatest and deepest change in my life I have ever experienced, no way I can let you know what a surprise it was to me to see you cared enough to notice, no way I can show you what a huge impact this simple conversation had on me.

So what, are you trying to tell me you are sorry I am in this situation? Thank you, but that’s not the way. Why did you have to bring it up at any cost? I wasn’t talking about this, you twisted what I was saying into what you wanted to hear. Does it upset you? Sure as hell it upset me listening to it, so out of the blue. Would you prefer to be rid of it so I can do even better, are you making this a professional thing? Don’t you dare… I can’t separate the two, private and professional, because there is no private between us. I am forced to keep it that way and I thought you wanted to keep it that way. Then you go shooting your stray arrows and I just can’t seem to begin to understand the long and the short of it. It’s just like when you complimented me about my eyes. You speak out of turn for mysterious and out-of-nowhere motives. See, I don’t care how many bitches buzz around you, I am not jealous, you can do whatever the fuck you want with them, but you have to learn to navigate around me or we are going to have a problem. “It’s you and me and it’s here and now”.  If this professional thing has to keep working and you bet it does, because I am your best pupil and you know it too, I need to be able to trust you. You pull one of your incomprehensible stunts again, I’m not sure I can keep this up. I don’t even know if I can keep it up now, after this, if I don’t at least try to talk to you about it. And sure it would look like a blacked out FBI file, missing all the sensitive need-to-know details. Did you just want to prove that you are so good with people and even though I keep to myself you win by seeing through the armour? Kudos, you were supposed to enjoy peeping through the hole instead you managed to rip the whole thing apart.

Do you want to let me know you care? Be there for me, for real.

Otherwise, just stay away. Please.

I am seriously considering the possibility to change his pseudonym to Sniper.

Once upon a time, approximately 15 years ago, I was spending my afternoon with Faith and was venting about I don’t know what guy who didn’t even see me and I uttered one of the sentences that was to be one of my most famous quotes: it would be so simple if just for once the guy I like would like me back!

In time I realised that it’s really much more complicated when they do like you, as then you have to deal with their unpredictability in a much more direct way.

The interesting thing is how much this sentence has defined my life. It just keeps popping up in my head, even now, because it always so undeniably true. Not the “simple” part, the part where guys I like never like me back.

Am I the only one?

I still don’t get it. Is it me, them or everyone? I suppose I may have a tendency to dwell on people instead of letting them go – that could also be explained (see Supermarket post) by the fact that my “sea” was full of the same stale fish every day of my life. I may even venture out to say I may have (had) a tendency to like people who could be considered impossible.

True enough I have never excelled at letting them know I liked them, but I guess some of them wouldn’t have needed encouragement. Do I put them off? Am I severely worse looking than I have ever acknowledged? For the first time now I even feel attractive at times, but that hasn’t worked out.

Why am I always the one who never gets the guy? Can I really change that?

I’d like to know how the others do it. The world is full of people who need more than the fingers of one hand to count their relationships. I don’t. It’s always been one-time-things and holiday romances with me. I’m not saying this goes without pain, but I’d see as more functional a love life where you spend a few months with someone, break up, find somebody else after some time and date for a few months again. That cycle should repeat itself at least a couple of times a year, depending on the average length of the relationship, maybe with a couple of one night stands in between. That’s healthy.

If I count people I have dated more than twice, I get the following exorbitant figures: 4 in middle/high school (8 years), 3 during university (7 years) and that’s it, because the third is my current husband who I’ve been with for the past 6 years and a half. For the sake of the argument, the first 4 are a little borderline, too. First one was a holiday romance, just lasted more than one day. Second one, same thing, but we kept in touch after the holiday for a few months. Third one same thing. Just one of them I actually dated like a couple of times in my city but he wasn’t my boyfriend, we just made out.

Man, I just puzzled myself, I honestly thought it would look better. Oh my Gosh, why hasn’t anybody told me it was too early to marry?! Of course I wanted to settle down, of course I thought I couldn’t miss that chance. I feel like patting myself on a shoulder. Mind you, I haven’t turned down people who asked me out. I NEVER did, snatched every damn chance I got – and ended up snogging the worst of the worst…

Unbelievable. I just shocked myself realising that I had no boyfriend at all from the age of 17 to the age of 23. I keep asking myself if I’m forgetting someone, because this sounds off. I am racking my brain, but I can’t recall anybody else.

I remember people I liked, I remember people I kissed, but second dates…  none. What the hell is wrong with me? I am feeling sick.

***

30 minutes later, I pulled myself together and now I am ready to write again. I know of a lot of people who are with the same person ever since high school or something: Faith is one, Renée too, so I couldn’t ask them if it’s sane or worrying. Sybil has had four major boyfriends so far, in healthy distance from one another, but all of them were long term relationships and she already confessed the last one is the only one she proactively liked. My husband’s past for instance was pretty similar to mine, the difference is he wasn’t interested in having a relationship with someone, sex was more than enough for him. I need to talk to Maddie. I need some fresh perspective on this. And to Claire too. And to my therapist, and I’m going to do that tomorrow, thank Sa.

It can’t be a coincidence that the big gap was after First Fred. And it’s cute enough that I caught a break from it with Second Fred! I had never realised how much damage he did. I felt it, back then when he broke up with me, but I had never realised it so far. I had always thought that in the end it was a matter of bad luck. I’m too wise to believe that now. I think of the night I met F.Fred as the last night I skated too. Ironic. Maybe I finally caught up with my life and my wound.

I remember envying Esther when she told me of all “the mess” with the guys she liked, the mess being every little word, action or occurrence she had with the guys. She interacted with them, she got to know them, she became involved with them. I never did. When I did, maybe when I was a little older already, it hardly ever went in the right direction.

I need a second chance at all that, now that I’m healed, now that I believe I am worthy of being with others, even if not perfect, now that I am not afraid anymore of showing who I am. But will this be enough? Knowing all of this is what I lacked back then or there is something else? It would mean so much to me to pull it off with some of the guys in my “to do list” right now. It’s not to push my confidence, not entirely, it’s evidence of the fact that who I am today is enough to have the life I want. Maybe this time is really just bad luck, bad timing, but it would mean so much to me I just hope this could be granted to me.