What do I mean by being ‘unfairly placed?’ I’ve got examples.
About three weekends ago, there was a monthly social event I attended, dealing primarily with spirituality topics. It’s a very casual group, and I usually adore attending because all of the annoying pretense of ‘oh-lordy-are-these-people-going-to-think-I’m-strange?’ feeling is next to non-existent, and one is typically able to just relax and be oneself.
I was chit-chatting primarily with two men, so let’s call them A and B, for the sake of anonymity. I have a lot in common with A, and B is close to A, hanging around him quite a bit inside and outside the confines of the group. I followed them outside of the restaurant so they could smoke, and we were all talking, laughing, telling jokes, etc.
As it turns out, I noticed that B was kind of touchy with me (putting his arm around my shoulders, patting me on the back, etc.), and to be perfectly honest, I’m quite used to this. I come from an Italian family, and we Italians tend to be touchy, hugging, kissing types of people, and as a girl who has had lots of male friends in the past, it seems to go with the territory of socializing with them for me. They pick me up, swing me around, I laugh…no big deal. Needless to say, it didn’t seem out of place and wasn’t sexual or anything of the sort.
Later that night, A provided me with conveyance home, and when he pulled into my driveway, the topic of conversation changed drastically before I left the car, and it went something like this:
A: Luna, I want you to know that B really likes you.
Me: He does?
A: Oh, yeah. And I guarantee he’s going to start texting you and trying to talk to you more often.
Me: Oh, God. This is the last thing I need…I don’t know how to deal with people who like me when I don’t like them back, and I don’t like him…AT ALL.
A: You can’t be nice to him, because if you’re nice, and I know it’s just in your nature to be that way with people, he’s going to claim that you’re leading him on. I’ve seen this so many times, it’s happened so many times with him, and he’ll make it look like you’re the bad guy.
Me: Oh fuck. What do I do? Just tell him to fuck off or ignore him? It’s really difficult for me to be mean to people when they’re being nice to me…it’s like I have to match their level-
A: If you match his level, it’s going to be bad. Just be honest or flat-out ignore him, but whatever you do, don’t be nice.
A good night went to a stressful one really quickly; sure enough, the moment I got into the bathroom to get ready for sleep, I received a text message from B, and groaned. I didn’t answer right away, and received another one.
Soon, though, the text messages stopped, to my relief, and I met with A for coffee the following weekend, where I got to discuss it further. It went something to the tune of:
A: I’m assuming you haven’t heard from B?
Me: No, I haven’t! Thank God!
A: (His smile was half satisfied, half knowing.) Good.
Me: (I looked at him suspiciously.) …What did you do?
A: I told him to back off because you were taken.
Me: (I burst into laughter.) Thank you! That must’ve really done the trick!
A: It did!
Me: A, how did you even know he liked me? I didn’t know, so how could you have known?
A: Because of the way he acted around you. If he put his arm around you and you didn’t move away, that was like confirmation to him…like he was saying ‘Hey, I like you,’ and you not moving away was you saying ‘I like you, too.’
Me: (My eyes went wide.) WHAT? I was just trying to not be a bitch! How obscure is THAT? God, I must be fucktarded if I’m the only one who couldn’t read his signals!
A: Well, there was also the text message.
Me: What text message?
A: I got a text message from him after I walked you to the door that said ‘I really think it could work between Luna and I; I really like her.’
Me: (I scoffed in disbelief.) BASED ON WHAT? I’ve only talked to the man twice, ever! On what basis does he conclude that-
A: Based on the fact that he likes you! (He laughed.)
Me: Oh my God… (I shook my head and closed my eyes in frustration.)
(We both went quiet.)
Me: You know what’s sad, though?
Me: I just realized that since I am no longer an object of potential romantic conquest for him, he just totally stopped bothering with me altogether, like I’m not worth talking to anymore.
A: (He let out a sigh.) That’s the way a lot of people work.
Oh, A; how right you are.
The second example is a product of something that happened about a year or so ago.
I’m friends with somebody who I’ll refer to as C. C has a job in the public sector (in a way), and he is ‘frenemies’ (his word, not mine!) with a guy who I’ll call D. These two basically compete with each other on a career level, as they are employed by two separate institutions that have the same function, and they run into each other a lot. For some reason that I can’t remember, C mentioned me to D, who had no idea who I was, and for some reason, it piqued D’s curiosity.
One day, D was close by C’s workplace and dropped in, and asked about me. A few days later, D sent C a text or email and asked some questions about me:
Is she single?
Is she our age?
Is she cute?
C said ‘Yes,’ and I guess it just fanned the flames of D’s curiosity even more than before.
I was at the laundromat one day because my washer and dryer are too small for my comforter, and C sent me a text. The conversation went something like this:
C: He’s asking about you…again.
Me: Ok, this is getting so stupid. Tell him that I’m at the laundromat at (such-and-such intersection), and if he wants to see me, he can come over and ask me whatever he wants. Tell him I’m in a red and black shirt and black skirt. Can’t miss me.
C: Whoa. Seriously? You honestly want me to tell him that?
Me: YES. Dude, I feel like this is bordering on interfering with your work, and I’m uncomfortable with you being stuck as the middle man. I’ll just make it easier on the both of you. Just tell him that I’ll answer all of his questions if he comes and finds me, and I’m not going anywhere for a while. As a matter of fact, I’m bored.
C: …Are you SURE you want me to say this?
Me: Why? Do you think he’s a closeted rapist, or something?
C: No, I think that he might think it’s weird that you’d offer that.
Me: C, I know what it’s like to be that curious about somebody you feel like you can’t approach…to feel a draw to somebody, but the context to talk just isn’t there. I don’t want anybody to have to feel that with me. What’s so weird about that?
C: That’s a good point. Ok, I’ll tell him.
D got all weirded out and didn’t show. I LOLed.
C then got bombarded with even more questions, so I took it upon myself to email D.
We spoke a bit, but I found him very difficult to talk to…we had different email styles.
Meanwhile, C and his wife were having a house warming party a few days after D and I started emailing each other. D asked me if I planned on attending, and I told him the truth: I have driving panic, and where C lives was just not an option for me. I told him that I’d try to get a ride, but I wasn’t sure if I could procure one. [If you’d like to know why, please refer to my post ‘The Trouble With Tulips.’] D, graciously, offered me a ride.
I cried. I thought that that was one of the kindest, sweetest things that anybody had done for me in a long time. I mean, this guy didn’t know me from Adam, and he agreed to pick me up and drive me for 10 to 15 minutes, being totally alone with me. I actually still admire that leap of faith.
And, well…we met.
He was actually really nice and funny. There was never an uncomfortable lull in the conversation, and as a matter of fact, he and I hung around each other the entire party, just non-stop talking.
I was SO excited…I thought I had made a new friend!
THOUGHT being the most important word in that sentence.
After that, we didn’t really talk. I’d send him an email, or he’d send me one, but whenever I tried to hint at hanging out, he’d avoid me.
C and I soon discovered that D was kind-sorta seeing somebody, but apparently, I wasn’t somebody who he’d switch to pursuing (not that I was trying to be because, again, I hardly knew the man), and C told me that D ‘didn’t make friends with girls.’
Pwoo-cha! Thwarted. Not from making friends or getting a boyfriend, just…making a connection with another human being that seemed quite interesting.
Like I said before, I follow the natural rhythms. Obviously, these rhythms faded and went off-key, quickly. There’s a reason for it…that, I know, and I trust the universe and its reasons. But, it’s frustrating. Really, really frustrating. Watching somebody throw your sheet music to the floor when you’ve just settled in to play and have barely emitted a sound because they don’t know what to do with your instrument isn’t fun.
It makes me really think, though, and I believe that there’s a fine line that I’m simply not capable of sensing or seeing with some people. And if I can’t see or feel this line, I’ll never be able to cross it.
It also makes me smile, though, because if a person has this ‘fine line,’ I’m not the kind of person who should cross it, anyway.