Archive for April 8, 2010

Can’t Get Enough

I was talking to a friend today about a boy she liked and getting updates on her flirting and “picking up” game.  Cause any single girl worth her weight in salt (especially on the rim of her margarita glass!) has to have a plan in letting boys know that she is interested.

In my experience while people always THINK they want the blunt “I like you now what” approach, in reality there’s the thrill of the chase and the power of the “woo” that really win us over.

My friend lamented, however, that she had experienced that horrible gut-wrenching furor-inducing moment of going out with friends and the boy you like.  When your friend, who knows you adore this boy more than a seasonal sale at DSW, decides to make the moves on him RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!

Ms. Can't Get Enough
Photo Credit: Getty Images – Hannes Hepp

This same thing happened to me last spring.  I rarely date anyone younger than myself, mostly because I’m an old soul and young guys are…not.  But this one boy definitely sparked a pitter pat in my little girlish heart.  I adoringly referred to him at The Puppy.

I don’t know if it was his floppish mop of hair or his laid-back approach to life or his biceps that literally tore the hem of his polo sleeve (ah yes, the ripping sleeves…sigh…) but I was willing to push past the 7 year age difference for at least a few dates.

I even put up with the teasing from my friends asking if our first date would be at Chuck E Cheese or Joker’s.

After two dates we went out to the Old Port with a group of mutual friends cause that is what people in their 20’s do.  And I spent practically the entire night watching my pretty, skinny, blonde friend flirt relentlessly with him right in front of me.  At times phsyically turning her body to actually cut me out of conversation with him.

PS – She had a boyfriend (who was working and not able to make it out with us) at the time!  I hate stupid girls!

I don’t know what made me angrier.  My friend’s actions or the boy sucking up all the attention.  I suppose it’s flattering to have multiple people flirting with you and making you puff out your chest (whether you are a guy or a girl!) but really?!  Right in front of each other?

Regardless I did not end up going on a Date #3 with The Puppy.  And have spent the past year limiting severely my contact with Ms. Can’t Get Enough.

Do you know people like this? Always wanting to be the center of attention – even when it is with the object of YOUR affection?

This Is The Dawning

I’ve never really been one of those “my clock is ticking” girls.  I like to think it’s because I’m very grounded and understanding of the fact that the Universe probably knows how things are supposed to shake down and thus I patiently wait for the pieces to fall where they may.

But in reality it’s mostly that it takes far too much effort getting all up in a tizzy about things which I have no control over – like other people falling for me.

And as I approach this next birthday (less than sixty days and counting) I feel like I am totally owning who I am.  It’s like 30 is the age that I was always supposed to be.  While other people feared 30, wondering if they were where they “planned to be” at this point in life I rather embraced it.

That’s sort of how I’ve gotten away with not feeling the pressure.  In high school I planned out so many aspects of my life to come, foolishly thinking at age 17 I knew what I wanted for the next 60 years.  As soon as I realized that the life I planned wasn’t actually gong to be what I wanted, I made it a point to never really let myself mentally settle into any routine.

While my friend were dating and marrying and having babies, forging careers and opening businesses and buying houses, graduating school and creating names for themselves and moving away, I was floating along in a very happy but very not tied down existence.  I suppose in my mind 30 was going to be the year I’d finally start settling into entertaining any thoughts of a future.  Just entertaining the thought mind you, not actually putting it into practice.

Until the past few weeks.

Sitting at the birthday table
Photo Credit: Getty Images – John Dowland

It isn’t just the woman who heatedly informed me that I needed to start thinking about having kids NOW if I wanted to enjoy them at all or be a good enough Mom to not be “too old.”  And it isn’t the shrinking pool of available bachelors kicking around the Portland area (I used to joke that the good ones are all taken or gay…it’s not so much of a joke anymore!)

It’s the realization that somehow at 30 there’s a different mindset in the men I date.  Somehow it’s either the 22 year olds who want to “date an older woman” without going too far into cougar territory or the 38 year old that’s finally decided that they now want to start entertaining serious thoughts about their future.

I surveyed a group of guys ranging in age from 24-38, and the answer was resoundingly affirmative that men around the age of 30 do not date women around the age of 30.  Sure, they WILL date them, but when asked idealistically what they preferred it was dating a woman who was at least 3-5 years younger than them.  Yet most of the men in their early 30’s preferred dating even younger, 28 being the average “high point.”

Problem with this when you are a 30 year old woman who is finally starting to entertain thoughts of the future is you are either dating young guys who have no thoughts of that or men in their late 30’s that are hoping to get started on marriage and kids as soon as possible.

I don’t think I’m ok with either of those situations.

How about you – do you prefer to date older or younger?

Getting Past Mr. Big

One of the first things people asked me after finding out that I had a relationship column here was “Are you going to be Portland’s very own Carrie Bradshaw?”  Of course, I explained that I was nothing like the sophisticated shoe and fashion diva of NYC.  But like Carrie I definitely have my own Mr. Big.

Who doesn’t?

That one relationship that is toxic and bad and somehow still makes your tummy do all those weird flipping things that let you know that you most definitely do have feelings for each other.

Ok, so that makes it SOUND a bit more harsh than it actually is.  It isn’t like some sort of pre-Fatal Attraction that pulls you into a dangerous abyss of stalking and pain.  There will is usually no bunny boiling as a result.

Instead most of us have a relationship or that one person that we KNOW is bad for us, yet we still keep clinging to the dream that one day things will work out and we will end up together.  Because if the movies and television shows have taught us nothing, it is that these things always work out.

Carrie and Big Get Married
Photo Still: Sex And The City (The Movie)

Like Ms. Bradshaw, I’ve harbored my own dysfunctional relationship with a Mr. Big before.  That boy that no matter who you are dating, what you are doing, where you are, you just can’t help but fantasize internally about the day that the two of you are sitting at a table somewhere when he suddenly realizes that you were obviously meant to be together.

In the meantime you spend any opportunities you can with him, even if it is some activity you abhor or totally ditching your own life to revolve around his.  You overlook the things he says or the actions he takes because no one else understands him like you.  You date the nice boy, and will ditch him the second Mr. Big comes calling.

So how do we get past our Mr. Bigs?

Obviously there isn’t a magic pill or secret method.  And more importantly, dreams of romantic impossibilities aside, we probably are not going to end up changing or fixing things when it comes to dysfunction.

It took me about 2.5 years of fawning and flirting.  Stolen moments together and whispers from mutual friends abounded.  Long conversations of brilliance and drunken fights about nothing.  Mostly unrequited feelings and only sometimes kind of answered.  It took me waking up one morning to think about the events of the evening before and realizing in one stomach churning moment that I was making myself a fool for some guy.

I’m totally fine being a fool for someone I care about.

But it has to be someone who will be a fool right back.