When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Sunday, August 31, 2008

In Praise Of Women

So here I am at work on a Sunday, with a laptop and a live wireless connection. So why on earth would I be working? I've made hours and hours of quality client contact today while trading blog I.M's with my tribesman Ned (I was sitting in the midst of my clients, watching Ratatouille while I was talking to you, Ned).

And now I've driven an hour to another site and doing my last client contact for the day. I have no midtown clients on the weekends, so tonight is mine. Woo hoo. To do what? Whatever it'll be, it'll be alone.

But here at this other site, a fetching little lady breezed through here a minute or so ago and wished me a happy holiday tomorrow. And was it the meds, or was it Ned, or was it my constantly regenerating intolerance for lonely that pressed me to ask her what she was going to do for her holiday.

There is such magic in the transaction between man and woman. Me plying and prodding into her life. Her responses, some coy, some not. Uncovering her interests layer by layer and discovering, like favorite chocolates, the things we have in common. She loves Manhattan, she said. She likes the area down by W. 11th. St. (That's the West Village and the Meat-Packing district, where I was a few avenues away from yesterday as I got my shrimp from "A Salt & Battery" and ate them in the park across from Magnolia's Bakery on Bleecker St.) And were I an average citizen of the Testosterone Brigade, I'd have totally said, "We should hang out sometime! I was just down there yesterday!" Gotten her number and placed it in my little black book.

But I look at her, her soft eyes and concave teeth (yes, like the kind that has a natural almond-shaped space as though she'd been a late-age thumbsucker) and I avoid further conversation other than "have a great holdiay." When she asks the same of me, I stay non-committal. I do not volunteer a tenth of the same information to her as she did for me. I tell her my plans, which are to do nothing tomorrow. Not. A. Thing. Except I might to to the gym and run in Central Park. I'm still 10lbs. lighter than I was last month and I still have 20 to go. But I didn't tell her that. I didn't even tell her that I live on the island that she loves.

Because I think this precious lady co-worker of mine doesn't need a case like me all twined up in her heart. Ned's making me--no, not true--Ned's awakening the side of me that doesn't want to hurt my next partner. They see me, an assistant director of some charm with no wedding ring on, salt&pepper sideburns and vandyke, and they wonder if I'd make a good father for their kids. A good lover? A good friend? And the answer would be "Yes. I would."

But would they tolerate the fact that I also think some men are terrific? Why would anyone sane want to take on the challenge of finding out their partner's tolerance level while falling in love with them? Because when it's a matter of "You freak! How could you do this to me?!" screamed at glass-shattering decibels...well you get the point. I'd be a masochist and a sadist rolled into one.

Are there women who would actually dig that? Would they dig it the same way guys would dig having their chick singing "I Kissed A Girl, And I Liked It...!"?

I said I'd try it out on CraigList. I'm lax in doing so. But I do know this. I wouldn't want to live in a world without women.

I love women.

Anyone want to trade places?


The Neighbor said...

Craigslist was just a thought - you're in the great melting pot, my friend, and like I said, there's thousands of perfect matches. However, let me peer deeper. Lately, it seems to be what I do.

Some men ARE terrific, amigo. Top shelf, beautiful, self-assured, even a little arrogance has it's appeal. Any man who says otherwise is lying to themselves, afraid to look in the mirror and see anything other than the image their father drilled into them. Liars. No one likes a liar. No one loves a liar either. They may love a lie, but for a man to be loved - truly loved - they have to know themselves, be themselves, and love themselves, unconditionally. It's a prerequisite, and it can't be sidestepped. It a must. Guess how I know?

But if you think someone's going to call you a freak, think again. That's not an imagined outer voice - it's your dad, or your mom, or your preacher. It's a judgment, and the good book has stern words about that kind of thing. So if you're looking at that smiling face and judging it, guess what? You'll be walking around with an air of it - of having been PRE-judged. It's a recipe for an nasty broth, my friend. You don't want it.

Becuase the Truth is that you're no freak. Your mirror's just warped. You're one hell of a lot more sane and normal than most, in point of fact. But you deserve to be happy, and while I'm not exactly a guru in that regard (LOL), I do know one thing. You're aweome.

The Book of Alan, Chapter one: What it's like to be Alan.

Page one. It's awesome.

The End.

That's the book I want you to write. Now go get your Free Hugs sign out and hit the city. And photograph some chicks with goodies, and you smiling next to them No, wait. Leering.

One final word on craigslist. Condoms.

Alan said...

Love you, buddy.

The Neighbor said...

Love you too, man.

Trixie said...

*Waves madly*


I'm back from Spain and madly trying to get through the 400 posts on my bloglines. Just to let you know I'm back and will catch up properly soon.

Tera said...

Alan be not discouraged...you never know what could happen. The best thing is to remain honest with yourself, and that will allow you to build confidence in who you are and be honest with others, and up front. Remember, it's best not to assume and let the person you are pursuing decide for themselves how they handle their dealings with you. Don't let a blessing pass you by because of your uncertainty about how others will feel about who you are...and that's real. (Damn, sometimes, I wish I would listen to my own advice)

P.S. "A Salt & Battery???" That's the name of a restaurant? Gotta freakin' love that!

Alan said...

I'll be by to see how it went, Miss Trix!

Tera, thanks. I had a little conversation in my head as to how to present myself to my dates. With all the confidence and self-assurance I can muster, I'll be on a date or in a gathering of friends through which I'll meet "Her". Some good-looking dude will walk by and I'll find a way to work him into the conversation. Not the man-way, which is what I believe most guys do (when they say anything at all), such as "Dude! I bet you could get any girl in here!" or "Dude! No homo, but, you work out?" or "Dude! Get the f*ck away from my girl!"

No, I'll say something complimentary about Mr. Good-looker and ask my date/lady-of-my-affection something about him to the tune of this;

Me: Didn't you think he was attractive?

Her: Did you?

Me: Yah! Good looking guy!

Her: Why are you noticing that?

Me: Oh, some guys turn me on.

Her: What?!?

Me: Yah. (Like we're discussing the weather.) So what do you like on the menu?

Her: Wait a minute. Are you ... gay?

Me: I guess I'm a little gay, yeah. Aren't we all?

Her: Have you ever ... been with a man?

Me: No. I don't think I'd like that. But some dudes are sexy as hell. There's no way of getting around that. What's the big deal? You never got turned on by a chick--maybe kissed one once or twice?

Her: Have you ever kissed a man?!

Me: No. Look, let's eat, I'm starving.

That'd work, wouldn't it? I'd never have to say anything else after that. If she's skeeved out, she'll stop dating me. If it's no threat to her, she'll stay with me. Maybe she'll even get a little excited by it and put out that very night? :-D

What do you guys think?

Alan said...

Oh, and yeah Tera, Right here is A Salt and Battery! Yummmm YUMMY. It's a little shop with seating for maybe seven stools at a wraparound counter, but it's always packed because I learned they've been on the Food Channel once. And the proprietors all have those English cockney accents that I lurrrve so much. They go, "Yep, cheers." after they've taken your order. Back in London, they'd be street thugs--here they're kings. A basket of shrimp is $10 and change, and the shrimp are like meat-of-your-thumb big. You get about seven. And the batter around them--*slurp--tchm tchm tchm* Mmmmmmmmm good. And don't get me started on their homemade tartar sauce, except to say "Not Enough Of It."

GrizzBabe said...

I'd like to trade places with Gabby Reece!

The Neighbor said...

That would almost work, Alan, your little scenario - I think you give it more weight than it has, though. It's perfectly fine to be turned on by men and by women. When I'm at the gym, I look at physiques of all shapes and sizes and genders, and I admire a lot of them.

First off, saying a guy is good looking is a long leap from a girl going - you're gay? And if you like girls too, in fact, more, the real word is bi. And bi is kind of exotic. Chicks dig that. Freaky chicks.

Well, some of them. I've had that talk with a few girls, mostly because I've been through periods of sexual disinterest, and girls worry when they don't turn you on. It's one great big sliding scale, amigo.

I'm 100% aligned with Tera - you're overemphasizing it like it's the first and only thing people will see about you, and that hints at some discomfort. You gotta love yourself, my man.

Alan said...

Is that her name, Grizz? :-D See how you know the girl and I know the guy? See?!?

Ned, mea culpa on the discomfort. I'll need some time. I still don't want to even try to date yet--I'm just rolling this around on my tongue to see how this will work. I've been running away from this side of me for 37 years.

And I can't call myself "bi". What'll it get me?

I hate sex. So complicating!! For all the ignorance of fundamentalism, it was such a great relief to be able to go into a longterm dating situation with no expectations of sex whatsoever. Too bad it was such a cop-out.

annie kelleher said...

i never hid my bisexuality from my prospective partners. my Beloved loves it about me - he CAN say things about an attractive woman who walks by us... although i like to think my taste in women is a bit ...um... less neanderthal... perhaps? interesting blog... i'm sure i will be back :).

Scott said...

Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you, Alan. I don't have all the energy that Ned is pouring into this (what a great friend he is!) but I find it alarming that you are discounting new opportunities based on the voices in your head, the pre-judgements you are assuming will be shared by the girls you meet. My pre-judgements were of a different nature. I was so embarrassed the first time I came on a woman that I could barely look at her, and she found it kind of amusing, telling me that I get worked up about the most odd things. I thought all women thought the average guy was a pig. And that may still hold true, but not for the reasons I thought. I didn't realize that women want sex the same way men do. In any relationship, if you are open and honest, it's amazing what can come out--their fantasies can be just as demented as we imagine ourselves to be. It's easy advice to give, to be just be yourself and let come what may. If you are willing to disregard a woman without even trying, then why not try and take the chance that she will get skeeved? What have you lost in the latter situation that you had in the former? You might find that she does get skeeved, thinks about it and comes back. How much better would that make you feel? Tons.

Alan, just be honest. Eventually, and maybe even immediately, it will pay dividends. There are things that I still wish I would have been honest about. Lies turn into a lifetime.

Alan said...

Annie, I psyched that you're here. I'm looking forward to more conversation with you!

Scott, I think I'm seeing a common thread--I'm prejudicing sexual preferences, aren't I? If I didn't think on some level that bisexuality was freaky, I wouldn't assume all my future partners, or my one significant partner, will.

It's like the medication--I thought it perfectly necessary and fine for others, but not for me. I had different "standards" for myself. But now I'm on meds.

So now I guess I have to own this identity. I guess I have to admit it...again. This work is killin' me.


I still don't like it. I've got too many years of guilt and shame and indoctrination to like it right now. More time, Captain! I need more time!

The guy I want to be, remember him? Confident, masculine, handsome. Hero. A woman's lover. A gentle compassionate father. A two-fisted, hairy-knuckled Man. A bisexual could be all of that I guess.

A bisexual doesn't even have to be having sex with both genders, do they. A bisexual is like a black person or a white person or a male or a female. A bisexual person just is.

Is that what you guys have been telling me?

So. Help me a little more, please? Do I just go back to Match.com with a new perspective? Do I go somewhere else? Do I keep not looking and wait for the universe to drop She in my lap because I'm not looking?

I know these questions sound stupid and repetitive and the answers are probably obvious, but it's out of my reach right now. I'm really blindsided by this, even though I've been wrestling it my whole life. My only natural instinct is to just run away from all of it. And, heh, for all the running I've been doing--it's gotten me nowhere.

I really love and need you guys. Help a brother out.

The Neighbor said...

Thanks, Scott, that was a nice thing for you to say.

Alan - Prejudice is a strong word, and the underlying fact is that the ideas you've got from "too many years of guilt and shame and indoctrination" are totally external. Guilt, shame, and indoctrination are built on ugly foundations. You have to trust that you know who you are better than anyone else.

But it's not binary, dude. It's not on or off. Sexuality is a sliding scale. Just because I look at a dude at the gym with a mixture of envy and admiration doesn't mean I've got my kneepads on at a highway rest stop. You've got to really learn who you are, unlearn who you were taught to be (and taught NOT to be), and it's a process, just like anything else.

IMO, you're throwing around these words like bricks in a glass house, waiting for the crash. But you're in a friggin' meadow, Alan. Heave away. Eventually I think you'll see that it's really ok, and then eventually you'll trust it a little, and then you'll believe it a little.

My other piece of advice for the evening is to cut yourself a little slack, give yourself some breathing room. It's not a race; there's plenty of time - it's the primary benefit to being male - we can really take our time spreading our seed. Our biological clocks run slow. (Sorry ladies.) And the better you know yourself, the better someone else can know you, and the better they can love you for who you really are.

For god's sake, you're being so honest right now that it blows most of the rest of mankind right out of the water. We guys choose with our eyes - guys are like that - but girls choose with their hearts. Well, the good ones do. Well, most of them. OK, so that's a wild generalization, but don't you want to be loved for WHO you are, and not WHAT you are? So that's your focus - WHO you are. The rest is totally incidental. I absolutely promise.

Check out okcupid.com - it's a fun one, less intense than match, and free.

A Shade Of Scorpio said...

It's all good Alan. Simple as that (oh wait, what world am I in again? Sorry, thought I was in an evolved society). Someone - he or she is out there and is cool with it. It has to be. This wide world of people and where you live of all places. This isn't Ruraltown, Alabama. You're in NYC! Or maybe you'll meet your next Guest on a plane from Ruraltown, AL. It's all good. And I think you will make a fabulous Anything in relation to anyone because You Care.

GrizzBabe said...

Guilt, shame, and indoctrination are built on ugly foundations. You have to trust that you know who you are better than anyone else...You've got to really learn who you are, unlearn who you were taught to be (and taught NOT to be), and it's a process, just like anything else.

So. True.