Don’t Give Up On Men


Who says I have?

“Don’t give up,” another friend said to me in person last night after seeing my post about being done with Ok Cupid and online dating.

I haven’t given up on anything.

Well.

I have given up on shame.

Shame–a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

I have believed for so long that the longing to be in a relationship was wrong and foolish.

That I have to be somehow above this basic human craving, that I don’t deserve it, that I am mistaken or stupid or that, I like how Wikipedia puts it: to have shame, means to maintain a sense of restraint against offending others.

That’s it in a nutshell.

I have to restrain myself from offending others.

I can’t tell you what I want, I don’t want to offend.

Well fuck you and fuck off and I’m fucking done with that.

I haven’t given up on the capital “M” men in my life.

I love men.

Men are awesome.

So are women, fyi, I don’t want to become a man, I just want to hang out with one and have a relationship.

I love the way men smell and look and swagger, and talk and guffaw, and they way they open doors or give preference, I like having my bags carried and having the man walk on the outside, the one closest to the road, I know that’s old-fashioned, but I like that when  man does it.

I like ginger men and blond men and dark-haired men, brown-eyed, blue-eyed, green-eyed, hazel eyed, I like how a man sometimes cannot mask when he is struck by my beauty.

THere’s a man I know, a friend who is happily married and I know and adore his wife, they are really an amazing package and I admire the relationship they have.

At one point I was attracted to him (years before he met his wife) and wondered about pursuing something, but there was never really a spark or indication of attraction from him.

Then one night I was up in Noe Valley heading into the basement at St. Phillips and he turned and saw me walk in and did a double take, it was like he was seeing me for the first time, or as it were, seeing a different side of me.

Instead of jeans and a baseball jersey, which I think I lived in for the first year I was sober, I mean I wore that baseball jersey the fuck out, I was in a long A-line vintage swing coat in forest green with a silver fox fur collar and my hair was up and I was in makeup, I don’t know where I was heading, but I will always remember his reaction.

I could hear him intake his breath and I saw his eyes widen before he could drop the neutrality mask back into place.

I have an affect.

It was one of the nicest unspoken compliments I have ever received.

I’m not looking for adulation, adoration, or admiration from the male of the species either.

It almost has nothing to do with men, even though ostentatiously I am looking to date a man.

It has more to do with the act of desire, the want, the eros of something.

The Greek word eros denotes “want,” “lack,” “desire for that which is missing.”

I recall when I learned that in my Comparative Literature class in college.

I remember thinking, Jesus, that’s it, I don’t have it and I want and want and want and am in shame for the wanting.

I want to cover myself from this most basic of human needs, because to want like this must be wrong.

And of course, patterning, predilection, the art of taking on without realizing it, those desires of those that I was closet to and repeating their acts and actions as my own.

I kept chasing after those who were unavailable, completely beholden to the man who wouldn’t have me and aloof from the men who were available.

I don’t give up on men.

I give up on the idea of needing to be ashamed.

I cannot even express the freedom.

I have felt lighter, happier, more settled in my person.

I have felt more love.

For myself, for my circumstances, for the relationships that I am in, with family, friends, my fellowship, my employers, the little guys I take care of, for community, for San Francisco, for the world.

An easing of lightness in my limbs and a firmer ground underneath me.

It reminds me of the promises I have heard so much over these past ten years and often don’t pay attention to anymore, they’ve come true, then I forget, then I have to do some more work, and then, lo, they come true again.

….and economic insecurity will leave us.

It does not say that I won’t be economically insecure, I have been,  may be again, but the fear of being economically insecure has left me.

With the shame leaving me, flying off into the wind on the backs of wild geese, I can feel that same sense of promise and change in perspective.

I don’t expect that because I have a new-found attitude and awareness that my situation, being single, is going to change.

I just feel so much more comfortable for it.

“We’re experiential learners, and we can be told how it feels or feel it for ourselves,” he said to me tonight over a cup of tea at the Church Street Cafe, “I wish sometimes it were different, but that’s just how it is.”

I get it.

I want the experience of being in a couple or yes, being married (I don’t necessarily need the experience of having children, I have gotten to work with some amazing children, and I suspect that will continue), although I don’t expect either experience to fulfill me or make me a better person.

They will just make me a person with that experience.

That’s all.

And I am an experience junkie.

I want to feel all the feels.

I want to see all the sights.

I want to go to Paris with my boyfriend and hold hands in the Tuileries and go for a ride on the ferris wheel and kiss on the top of the orbit, the gondola swaying the Paris dusk in summer.

Yup.

I wrote that.

I want that.

And I am not fucking ashamed of it anymore.

It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen or has to happen.

I just get to let go of my own idea that I have to please you by denying myself this human experience.

I’m done denying myself for you.

I am my own woman.

Who needs a man?

hahaha.

Ah.

I kill myself.

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