Tag Archives: dating

Cruel to be Kind

2 Nov

nyc_realSometimes my subconscious presents very clear instructions. Last evening, it treated me to a romantic comedy. I was hanging out with David Rees, my real-life acquaintance/celebrity crush. The setting and occasion were standards for my dreams: a convoluted hotel, a wedding, and me with a plane to catch and a bag to pack.

After waking, a replay of the events from my slumber revealed a new bit of knowledge woven between the old scenic standbys. Desperate for the approval of deadpan, disaffected Rees, I spoke to him in my own version of that emotionally disconnected banter. “Yeah, it’s my friends’ wedding. Yeah, I’m the maid of honor.” Said with a shrug, even though I was giddy about every bit of this information. He reacted with affected lack of intrigue, requiring me to hold up both ends of the conversation.

As I spiraled ever deeper into an unimpressive diminishment of my achievements and emotions, he made less eye contact and through his actions made plain his indifference. He worked for the hotel, and wore a cheap suit with a bad name badge, and yet here I was, prostrate, eagerly trying to lower myself so he might consider me a worthy candidate for his affections.

nyc_dreamMy closest friends would roll their eyes at this Jungian romp through my romantic tribulations. But I’m really proud to say that as I replayed the dream this morning, my mind pushed forward a recent memory that was the antidote to my stupidity. A recent dinner at a cozy Spanish restaurant with my earnest Bostonian friend was the real-life scene of an occasion where a warm and open conversation played out. I was giddy, girly, and free to display all the dimensions of my wit and personality. I felt my companion become more entranced in my more endearing qualities, and saw him smile fawningly whenever my quirk reached maximum potential.

I wasn’t performing for this guy. I didn’t feel constrained or exaggeratedly animated to correct for his apathy. Instead, I felt embraced, understood. I was real. He liked the real me. And it was real life, not a dream. What a relief.

Muscle Shoals

10 Oct

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“Can’t have, now want.” It’s a simple principle, my friend said, and frankly a tragedy that it would be exhibited by such a person to whom I’d elevated to such heights. But there you have it.

It happened again this week. Every Thursday the latest Aloof Engineer has a pang for me. This time it was triggered by his having read my latest Letter from the Editor, which, oddly enough, I also reread the same day at various desks around an office I was visiting on a site visit. (I’m so famous in my tiny pond that I see my words on the fresh new issue of my magazine on desks everywhere I go. In my tiny pond.)

Anyway, I was polite, deferential, glad to be of use (Prufrock), but I responded to his shallow, sudden invite with an “I’m so busy” of my own.

Now I lie here, head encased in raging pain, as usual, huge career change afoot, trip to Providence planned for tomorrow, and “Free Bird” in my head. The latter is truly odd. But I can’t stop thinking “Can’t have, now want.”

But remember, each action has an equal and opposite reaction. Last Saturday night I went out on a date with the Aloof Art Director, a character so ancient, only some Bunky readers will know him. Foolishly (and all Bunky readers will know that I’m most foolish when it comes to mistaken affection), I thought we set a new pattern of earnestness on that evening, and hoped we would soon be seeing each other again. I mean, at least within a week. Boy, was I wrong.

Have now, don’t want.

While men throw themselves in front of buses to ensure that they won’t have to spend two consecutive evenings with me, every time I was taken out to dinner by a colleague this week, I was offered new work left and right. Meanwhile, because these guys occupy so little time or attention in my head(ache) lately, I’m on track to finish a novel revision before December.

So, hey, universe, I get it. No one man will want me until I like myself for the work I’m doing. No wonder my head hurts.

‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now
And this bird you cannot change

It is Now Safe to Cross

27 Nov

20131127-224841.jpg“The sign is on.” (Thick native New Yorker accent with just a tinge of hesitance stemming from an unspoken regret, or maybe just shyness as he states the obvious. Is this a recording of an actual person? Where is the British robot voice common to all public transportation?)

(Pause for the duration it might take a person to look up at a street sign to confirm, possibly the person who sounds as if he’s standing in the blazing safety yellow stoplight pole next to you.)

“Broadway.” (Slowly, with a gentle cadence so as not to alarm, but rather reassure, a hand on a shoulder.)

“It is now safe to cross.” (“Crah-wus.” Assertive, with a glimmer of urgency, as the slow, gentle delivery of previous conditions consumed valuable crosswalk time and the guided party is now in jeopardy.)

You stand with me on the awkward concrete triangle dropped in Astor Place with its weathered steel boxy sculpture adornment that suggests a meteoric weight which clearly shoved the whole public art configuration toward the earth from some distant nebula. I’m new to the city on this, my second go-round, and so still old to the public transportation that carried me through tunnels when I lived here before you finished college.

We decide which train I’ll take and you pause on the curb, hesitating as to whether you need to walk me to the subway entrance. Yes, you decide, looking right and left for headlights breaking sodium streetlight haze before you usher me across empty lanes to another pavement triangle where I’ll disappear beneath the earth’s crust while you ride above it in your cab, Manhattan Man.

You stand perfectly still and actually look down your nose at me, holding your chin aloft as if in aversion to the wiggling, hyperventilating girl before you. But then, pause, pause, chin back in international “Well, what the hell,” and you spread your arms wide and hold, parting curtains for me to walk through. I step in to the hug. It functions well.

There is banter where you joke that we may never speak again, and at my flinch you smile sideways and say “I don’t think you need to worry about it.” Reassuring the girl before she crosses the River Styx. Send her along with a flicker of hope to light the way.

Then it does come true. You decide not to speak to me again and I replay every gesture and writhing, wincing bit of quirk that I insert into every interaction that might get too cozy or might actually convince a man to love me. Get too close to actually liking me and I’ll drop my confidence and feign feeble apprehension. Unless, of course, you’re beneath my standards or unavailable to me, then, of course, I can actually dazzle you quite convincingly.

More than one week later, on the night you told me we’d have plans again before you joked that never speaking was an option, you email me back. Busy. So busy. But I know it’s because you went to dinner with your septuagenarian friends tonight and they said what? What? She sounds perfect, you dolt.

Dolt. What, can’t you see that the sign is on?

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