I'm pretty happy with my life lately. (Probably a good reason I'm not blogging so much, as I normally blog to try and make a joke out of my angst.) Part of this is recently making a decision that it's time to hang up the dating hat for awhile. I just don't have what it takes right now to want to care about anyone else romantically, and, strangely, I've realized that I am enormously happy alone. This is not a revelation to be taken lightly.
I've made one exception for a guy I like, but only because he is leaving soon. Although at dinner the other night, when he mentioned he might be staying, and I then decided to let him in on my no dating rule, the night turned somewhat awkward as he tried to suss out what that meant for us.
"Friend, that means when we finish this sushi, I am going to tell you that I genuinely enjoy your company, and will happily give you a kiss goodnight before I head to bed. Alone."
To his credit, he seemed to take it well (but not so well that I started to wonder) which is why I liked him in the first place.
This is not a glove thrown to the ground. This is an honest establishment of boundaries, and establishing boundaries are huge for me right now. Mainly because I've been spending my life either feeling like the entire world is trying to invade me, or inadvertently overstepping them myself. The largest issue I have though, is establishing those boundaries without sounding preachy, angry, condescending, or hurting other people's feelings. Or like Michael Collins (played by Liam Neeson). Which is a difficult task for even the most sane among us, so it's little wonder it rarely gets accomplished.
Despite my desperate and oft-failed attempts, every once in awhile, I do nail it. I spent Sunday with a friend at a swim club here. It's clothing optional and mostly caters to gays, which is why I've started to go since there is less chance of a co-worker seeing me in a bikini right now (something only strangers with sunglasses that protect them from glaring whiteness should witness). For the most part, the crowd is more than happy to lounge around in their (very tattooed) birthday suits and not bother you while you read or chat with a friend.
However, last Sunday, I got an Obnoxious. An Obnoxious is a species of boy who inexplicably seem completely drawn to me right now - maybe because they can sense a man is the last thing I want. You probably know the type. They pull up, talk at you in a long rambling monologue full of bragging and machismo and horrible awful compliments. One of my neighbors recently had an Obnoxious staying over, who invited me to come have a drink with him outside. After about 30 minutes of basically telling me I know nothing of NOLA's music scene (despite having lived here for six years), bragging about his successful catering business, and his awful divorce (gee, how did that happen?), I decided to just excuse myself without letting him in on the fact that I was not joining him in the lawn chairs he put out in a particular section of our yard because my neighbor's dog likes to unload there, and she's not so great about picking it up. Shit talking deserves some shit walking.
The Obnoxious at the pool was a cop. I have nothing against cops, normally. In fact, I have a little drinking crew of cops at a local bar that always make me feel welcome and tell funny stories while we all try to drink away our worries.
But I do have problems with cops that want to impress me by talking about horrible rape scenes he's witnessed while I am lying by a pool on a Sunday afternoon with a book now covering my chest because he keeps staring at it while he is talking.
After some experience with this, I've concluded that perhaps many men in the "life-saving" professions think women are all into hearing about how they saved people, how they bagged the bad guy, how they saw this trauma and helped some victim. You're right, maybe I do as long as you can demonstrate some good story judgment.
But don't try to do this while starting to outline exactly what thugs did to a rape victim. Not on a Sunday afternoon, and not to someone who knows how ugly rape is. I frankly wanted to kill him. Here he is, the "good guy," thinking he's a hero telling a stranger about probably the darkest moment in this woman's life. In a sad pathetic attempt to get in a girl's pants. Sick.
In another moment in my life, he would have experienced rape with my lounge chair. But where does it get us in the end? What good is spreading anger, to people who are so completely oblivious?
"Dude, I don't mean to be rude, but I just want to hang out with my friend and read right now. That sounds like it was really traumatic, especially for the victim, and I don't think she'd probably want other people to know those details."
And, bam! "Oh god," he said. "I never thought about it like that. Sorry, I hope ya'll enjoy your afternoon."
One for well, one million. Baby steps.
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