Friday, January 28, 2011

Instant Intimacy: Recipe for Disaster

I'm supposed to be reading Ted Kennedy's memoirs. It's about as appealing as watching paint dry. At least if I were staring blankly at a freshly painted wall, there's a chance I could induce a trance or get high on residual fumes. The book is horrifically boring because his speech writer must have edited out all the good bits that might intrigue a human being.

So, what compels us to read? I don't care right now because I have the urge to purge all my mixed up melodrama. If that's one of the reasons you read, to immerse yourself in someone else's convoluted headspace, be my guest. Now then, onto the topic at hand which is my version of an update on the process of getting to know a few eligible bachelors.

I could describe my impressions, concerns, and responses to these men and in fact, have done that very thing in emails to my friends, but what I can't say is how they make me feel. I can describe them analytically, but not emotionally. Through some freakish twist, men are getting to know the part of me that isn't available because I'm afraid to let them get to know the part of me that is available.

In giving myself permission to do what I want, what I want has gotten confused. I was going for casual sex which I blended into a short-term dating option as I've never done the whole love 'em and leave 'em thing before. I reasoned it was a way of getting sex without guilt since some tenuous emotional connection would be there as part of an affair. My form of compromise with myself seems to be turning into something half-assed, indeed.

There's an air of permissiveness about me. I'm going with the flow by not attending to feelings of discomfort. Both of the guys (bachelor number three dropped off the face of the earth, which is fine by me as he is regularly substituted by other guys who contact me on a seemingly neverending rotational basis of 'new person checking me out' and staying within my peripheral vision) are ramping up the intimacy, possibly higher than I can handle.

One of them likes to call me on a nightly basis, except when I'm busy or working. Daily communication seems to be his goal. At first, the attention was flattering. More recently, it's starting to tip the scales into discomforting. Even though he knows I'm getting to know other people (or possibly because he knows I'm getting to know other people) he seems to want to insert himself into my routine. It was nice to feel needed but he likes me more than I like him (Can you say, highschool revisited?) and it's wearing thin.

I'm being honest with this man about my mediocre feelings but something isn't getting through. I soften things a bit, in good intention as not to hurt him unduly, but I'm starting to feel like niceness is weakness because being 'nice' is not getting the point across. He does make verbal retreats when I castigate him for going over the line in his effusive nonsense (no, not the same as castrate...want that part to be in working order, tyvm). All the same, I'm continually resetting the balance because he keeps tipping over the scales in favour of wanting a relationship (which he doesn't outright request but makes comments about a future together which I'd initially dismissed as white noise but is now a droning buzz that overwhelms the senses).

I have an open nature but some part of me is screaming to shut the door. Wham, bam, thank you man! Of course, since he's ingratiated himself into my life, I feel an obligation to 'explain' why I'm backing away (slowly, keep head down, make soothing noises, don't agitate the horny animal) all the while hoping I don't have to. Some lunatic fringe inside me keeps thinking he might spontaneously 'get it' and see I'm giving off signals like no tomorrow to slow down the emotional congress. Man, I hate this shit. This awkward awareness is what tempts you to not answer the phone when you see his name, to log off when he visits your profile, and to generally avoid the unpleasant reaction you get when you draw a line in the sand.

The other guy isn't a whole lot different, but seems to read me a little better. He's got an edge over his linguistically challenged counterpart, The Endearing Immigrant. In other words, he knows full well he's testing the limits of our interaction. We've had a couple of friendly disagreements. It's obvious he's experienced this push-pull before. Not that he seems to give much of a crap about my vacillation as he's got his own agenda, but we know we're at odds and talk about it.

In terms of his advances in the emotional arena, he calls it 'flirting' or 'caring' depending on his mood, and I stick it to him no matter what he calls it. He respects that our lives are separate entities and asks ahead as to when is a good time to call and doesn't contact me in the interim, except that one time and he got blasted for it so that sorted it out. In all fairness, the other guy does this too, but I didn't take him to task when he called me 'just because'. In some screwed up way, liking him more is translating to treating him worse since he's not getting the critical feedback to make course corrections. Has my moral core been overtaken by lust?

The second bachelor brought to my attention in our discussion of what-the-fuck-is-going-on that I have to be clear about what I want in short-term dating. So I put it back to him, "Am I being clear about what I want?" to which he replied "Yes, but." Oh that's just fucking great. I'm clear but something remains ambiguous. I'm an excellent communicator, what the hell is going on?! Is he an alien who can read through my tinfoil hat or what?

I pressed on because I wanted to deal with whatever emotional obstruction was getting in the way of making my motives transparent. So I asked him, "What the hell are you talking about?" He said the BUT was I'm undecided regarding potential for long-term relationship. He's right. As I said to him, IF there were *something special* THEN I'd be amenable to the extended version or relationship. Hypothetically speaking, of course. Nod your head, but of course!

Unfortunately, my vague hypothesis led me to pursue questionable logic. The combination of The Hippie in me who makes concessions to protect my partner's feelings and The Narcissist who takes what it can get in lieu of unresolved tension are bad elements in a chemistry experiment waiting to blow up in my face. Wait a sec, this feels awfully familiar...LOL. It seems that even as I avoid a LTR, the issues that plagued me then, plague me still. Falsifiable conclusion: deliver me a boy toy without complication!!

So, where does that leave me? Am I supposed to adopt a nihilistic attitude to reign in people's feelings and keep mine in check? Nah. I just need to put it all on the table. If I give guys the benefit of the doubt then it's time to take off the velvet gloves. Let's see if they can handle the truth or if they freak out like Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men". My misled attempts to cushion the blow makes my fuckedupness the culprit in not clearly demarcating emotional boundaries. The mad scientist needs to go back to the lab.

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