Wednesday, August 3, 2011


I experienced a disturbing realization this week.  I started talking to a new guy Monday.  He IMed me on the dating site, and even though I decline 99% of those chat requests, I impulsively said OK.  We ended up talking for about 2 hours, and when I closed out the chat, I had agreed to a dinner date on Thursday.  I felt....good.  He was polite.  Sweet.  Interested in what I had to say.  I'd apparently viewed his profile and not messaged him, so he looked at mine and decided that because my profile was so great, he had to initiate contact.  When asked what part of my profile got to him, he listed off a dozen things.  The best part?  They were all the little details, also known as the things that spoke most accurately to who I am and what I love.

We had things in common.  He didn't try to steer me down the road to sex talk, or ask what I was wearing, or what my bra size was.  He didn't brag about his manhood, or assert his sexual prowess, or try to get an invite to my place.  We just talked about our families, music, movies.  We joked, I laughed a lot, and I smiled, and blushed, but only for the sweet, innocent kind of reasons.

We spoke again last night for a good period of time.  Same thing---good conversation, lots of laughs.  Still no inappropriate territory breached.  Flirting, but the innocuous kind.  Thank god. 

I spoke to my mom after the first night I talked to him, and as I was telling her about the conversation, this is when I had the disturbing epiphany.  DAMN.  My expectations are really, really low.

These are the kind of things I told her:  Once he learned my name, he used it frequently in conversation.  He expressed interest in my interests.  He was polite and well spoken, and didn't say things like "Yo gurl".  He expressed a real closeness with his family, and a real honesty about his own personal situation (separated with a daughter-ex and daughter live out of state).  He made me laugh without any sign of a mean streak.  There were no offensive jokes told.  No over the line sexual innuendo.  And he was so polite and kind about asking me out.

As I talked, I realized how all of this sounded.  These are not earth shattering traits or actions on the surface of things.  They are simply measures of human decency, the marks of a genuine person.  But they felt like GOLD to me.  Personal to me gold. 

I have become so used to people who take me for granted.  People whose senses of humor require explaining, rationalizing, and often make me cringe.  Judgmental people.  People who thrive on tearing other people down.  I have come to expect to give more.  To work harder.  To get less in return.  It has become standard operating procedure for me to know this is just how it goes.

Sometimes I think about how picky I've been with regards to dating in the last few months.  I am quick to dismiss people, even if they are perfectly lovely on paper, and even in person.  So sometimes I think I am making things harder for myself by being too choosy.

BUT THEN.  Then I realize that when it really matters, once I get down to legitimate involvement with someone, all of that fades away, and I'm left handing over any expectation of reciprocity like an unrequited gift.  "Here!" I bluster boldy, "Take it!  I will treat you like gold, offer to bring you things when you are sick, invite you to do things, ask how your day is, show an interest in your interest.  Meanwhile, I expect that you will not really give a damn about what matters to me, and you will blow me off at will, and you will never offer to go out of your way for me.  Cheers!"

I'm tired of being involved with people whose sense of humor is based on a mean streak.  I'm tired of being involved with people who  think it's A-OK to take everything I offer, which is copious, and give me bread crumbs in return.  I'm tired of feeling like no one will ever treat me the way I treat them.  That's bullshit.  It is absolute bullshit.

I am recalibrating my expectations.  I want, for once, to date a legitimate nice guy.  Obviously I still require a sense of humor and a bit of an edge somewhere, but it is possible to be nice and funny without being an asshole.  It's possible to treat someone well and have them treat you well in return. 

I deserve effort.  I deserve thoughtful gestures.  I deserve compliments without a motive, kindness without strings, and affection for affection's sake.

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