This is a letter from Leslie – and I’m going to be “guest posting” a lot of her letters with my answers. Her thoughts are so universal, and hit such a chord with me…
I’ve been thinking a lot about our conversation on Monday. You gave me homework to blurt things out. It’s been kinda fun, although I think I terrified a waiter yesterday with my, “Your adorable!” (He was– in a clearly gay way. I think he misunderstood my impulse.)
It’s another busy week– I’m sitting in Manhattan right now, planning on driving back to home and snow tonight. Then tomorrow, to Montreal to pick up a friend’s puppy that I’m dogsitting next week.
There’s been so much to do that I’ve spent very little time thinking about boys at all.
When I do, I think about Giving Up. Not throwing in the towel– just what you said about letting go.
Sometimes, more than at any other point in my life, I feel like I’m a Diva. I feel good– like I’m finally the person I’ve always planned to be, the person who will cross the finish line to my Happily Ever After.
The French writer Collette wrote, “Instead of getting married at once, it sometimes happens that we get married at last.”
I’ve often thought of that. I read it when I was about 20…so maybe the fact that I’ve remembered it for 30 years implies that that’s what I was planning all along, unbeknownst to myself.
So I’m happy, Rori. And I recognize the truth in what you said on Monday night– that a woman can fall in love with any man (within reason) who is in love with her.
God that’s depressing, though. A blessing, and depressing. I suppose Circular Dating insures that there’s a broad enough pool of suitors that we don’t have to “settle.” I’m not saying I’d be depressed to make compromises. But I remember how desperate I was to go to Prom, and how I said yes to Dan, who was a guy in my social circle.
Dan was a perfectly nice guy but I wasn’t attracted to him at all. His voice really bugged me– there was just sort of a weird quality to it that was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. And he had a mustache, which is not really my thing. (When I was a kid, I used to hide in the closet when my parents’ only mustachioed friend, Mr. Crow, would come over.)
I wanted to go to Prom, and Dan asked me. I think probably all the guys in our social circle who were single sat down and figured out who’d ask which girl.
I felt like I HAD to say yes to Dan. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. But I wasn’t excited about it. I had all these wonderful boy friends– in fact, that year, for my 16th birthday in April, 9 guys got t-shirts printed up that said “LESLIE PROTECTION AGENCY” and gave me themselves, as a private army, for a birthday present.
Dan was one of those guys. He was a sweet guy, and looking objectively I can see that he wasn’t a bad looking guy. Who knows, maybe if he hadn’t had a mustache and that weird vocal quality (that didn’t seem to bother anyone else) maybe I’d have felt attracted to him.
Actually- probably not. He just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Of the 9 guys on the LRA, I’d have been happy to go to Prom with 7 of them. And to kiss the same 7.
I remember sitting there at dinner, feeling sad that I was with Dan. And where all the other guys got their dates roses in wrist corsages (very pretty), Dan got me an orchid to pin on my dress. It probably cost a lot more than the roses. But roses are my favorite flower, and orchids…not so much.
I don’t mean to be whining. I’m just remembering how awful it felt to be there with him and be a little ashamed of who I was with. I felt like I should have held out for one of the guys I liked better, who I hung out with more. I ended up having to fix Rich H. up with my friend Linda B., who he didn’t know, because Rich left it to the last minute and by the time he rented his tux, all the girls in our group were spoken for.
And I remember how unpleasant it was to kiss Dan goodnight, because I didn’t want to kiss him anyway.
So when you say we can fall in love with anyone who loves us…I know it’s true. I just don’t want to have to marry someone I’m not over the moon about.
It doesn’t have to feel like a choir of angels is singing every minute of every day. I don’t need to feel a Kathy and Heathcliff “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” thing.
All I mean is I want someone that, after I introduce him to a friend, I later call her and say, “-isn’t he GREAT?” And MEAN it. And be thrilled about who he is.
My cousin and her boyfriend were in town with me for four days last week, and it was interesting to observe a couple at close range for that long. He really loves her, and vice-versa. They really think the other one is the bee’s knees.
I don’t want to settle.
I know that’s not what you’re advocating. It’s just the flip side of “You can fall in love with any man who loves you” is “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”
I don’t want another Dan experience.
And I still don’t understand the whole thing with Bill now. It’s so disappointing.
Cleaning my house in NJ, I found a journal entry from August that recorded a conversation with him. He said, “This thing”(meaning us) “took me completely by surprise. I’m still wrapping my head around the intensity.” And he said he’d started spending more time with the other girl because if he was going to get to know her better, he figured he’d better do it “now”. By which he meant while I was in NYC, because later I’d be coming back up here and we’d be together.
I remember looking at him and saying, “Bill, what you feed grows and what you starve dies.”
Sorry to drone on about him, Rori. I get that there’s nothing to be done about it.
I just don’t understand why my right brain still says he’s the one and my left brain says, “RUN, little one, RUN!!”
The cognitive dissonance is crazy-making. I woke up last night at 4 am and cried for 20 minutes.
Ok…so now you’ve read pretty much the sum total of my thoughts about boys this week. Was waiting for someone who eventually came, so am now back in the real world instead of my head.
Have to walk now, so signing off.
Hope you’re well.
Leslie – I’m right there with you…all through high school and even college – I dated guys I wasn’t into. Could barely kiss them.
Then the “bad” boys started to show up, and one of them was actually amazing for me. Then he became emotionally whacked out on drugs (and that was a real loss) – and then I let the great guy who loved me go.
Not long after college, I found the man I thought was my “soul mate” – my first husband (you can read about him in one of my books). He liked to put me down on a regular basis until, by the end of the marriage, I felt like a lump.
And most of it was me not knowing me or how to express myself and create a real connection.
When I finally met my wonderful now and forever husband – the old “I’m not into him” stuff came up. But it was different this time.
I was more mature – this man really WAS able to connect with me – and it was as though I had decided I wasn’t into him rather than that actually being true.
There are many variations on this theme…it took me many, many years of heartache to figure this out.
Right now….we’re trying to shrink down your exploration time – way shorter than mine – and I believe that’s possible.
You’ll see. Just keep track of what’s going on for you and around you. Do NOT assume that the feeling or vision or “hit” you have with a man now is the same as back then with “Dan.”
Just keep exploring and allowing….