Sunday, February 11, 2007

Breaking All "The Rules"

The first known incident of my incredible ability to self-sabotage was in the 8th grade. Josh Peterson, one of the most popular guys in school was my science lab partner that year. We got to know each other and, in true Colleen fashion, I developed a raging crush on him and was in constant fear that he would notice because I'm not so good at hiding these things. A girl in one of our classes asked me one day if I liked Josh and I said "No, of course not. We're just friends" with as much egg-head self-righteousness as I could muster. He asked me a few days later why I didn't have a boyfriend and, trying to play it cool, I told him that I hadn't found anyone good enough. When he asked me what my standard was I told him it was perfection. Lame, I know, but I was 14. In 10th grade he moved to Charlotte and on his last day of school he gave me a hug and asked if I would miss him. I said, "Of course I'll miss you, we're friends, right?" To which he responded "Yeah. Friends. I wish we could've been more, but I wasn't perfect."

Yes, I'm still upset that I didn't date the popular guy in 8th grade.

I bring up this story to illustrate a point. I'm confusing, but not on purpose. You see, I'm incapable of concealing that I have a crush on someone, but if I'm cornered by the person in question I will inevitably deny everything. Why? Because on the inside, I'm still a nerd in love with the class stud. Sure, I've developed a little more confidence since then, but I'm constantly saying dumb things in an attempt to hide my feelings.

Por ejemplo...

Last week while I was out with The David we were sitting at my apartment and he mentioned that his neck was sore. Because I love to give massages and I was eager to touch him I reached over to rub his neck. When he said "If you keep going I'm never going to leave", I said, "Don't worry, I'll kick you out when I'm done with you." Now, I was, of course, kidding. But I knew I'd probably been looking at him all googly eyed since he kissed me so I figured I should tone down my enthusiasm a bit. I expected a laugh. He didn't laugh. He didn't even comment. In fact, all conversation stopped. Usually when that happens I feel the need to express my interest after a move like that, but I figured since I like the guy and my verbal diarrhea could only get worse from there, I should just give up. So I did.

But then there was the calling thing. When he left I told him to call if he wanted to go out again and he told me to do the same. Do the same. The problem with that was that during my post-first-kiss bliss if I had called when I wanted to see him again I would've had to call as soon as he left. And even I know that's inappropriate.

Luckily, it's been almost a week now and I think I handled things well. I sent him an email the day after the date to tell him I had a good time. He responded and said he wanted to get together soon. So I called him today to see if he wanted to get together this week. I had to leave a message. I hate that. I am horrible on voicemail. We talked for a while trying to find a night that would work...which turned out to be problematic because he's working out of town two nights and then he's going out of town Friday. He asked if we can do next week and I said that was fine. I figure I must have scored some not-a-naggy girl points by letting him off the hook. And he did call me back so I figure he wasn't just postponing because he doesn't want to see me.

So all systems are go. I haven't fucked up anything and he seems to be at least mildly interested in seeing me again.

After the last blog I managed to calm down a lot about the whole situation, which is probably why I was able to act rationally about the whole thing.

Dating is complicated all on its own, but my dating dilemmas tend to be more annoying because while I have rather progressive views of relationships now, I did grow up reading "The Rules". This means that while I don't have an ideological problem calling a guy to ask him out, I hear my mother's voice in my head saying that I can't let him know I'm interested. And after a first date that involved a lot of making out and what my mother would call "heavy petting" (actually, my mother wouldn't know what to call the things I often do on first dates)I hear the voice of an old teacher of mine saying "no one's going to buy the cow if you're giving the milk out for free."

Although I don't like comparing myself to a cow and I'm certainly not on the market in the sense that they're referring to in "The Rules" i.e. prostitution...uh..i mean marriage..., these things still worry me sometimes.

You know why? Because some guys...yes...even the ones who say they don't like girls who play games...expect girls to play the games. I've mentioned this to some of my girlfriends before and they've usually responded by saying "I know, it's annoying, but it's what we have to do."

No, ladies. It is most certainly NOT what we have to do. It's what I refuse to do. Why? Because I don't subscribe to the "Trap a Man at Any Cost" idea. I'd rather get rejected than get a second date because I succesfully denied myself what I want. I'd rather have some guy think I'm crazy than be something I'm not.

Of course this plan backfires on me all the time...hence the plethora of craigslist dates and the countless hours spent alone in my apartment feeling like a crazy cat lady. But in the long term, I think being true to myself is probably going to be more valuble than following all "The Rules".

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