Sex and Our City

Monday, June 26, 2006

How Did I End Up Here?

Stellar moments in a single girls week:

- Realizing that your two most solid social companions are two different ex-boyfriends. One is the concert ex-boyfriend, the other is the movie-boyfriend.

- Acknowledging that you would much rather attend one of these functions with someone who dumped you than with someone who might not appreciate them in the way that you would want them to (or as much as one of the respective ex-es). Eg.: With someone who might try to talk to you during the movie (which you hate) or want to leave early from the concert (which you also hate).

- Drinking too much and shamelessly flirting with tall longtime associate. The next day receiving an email from tall longtime associate that says, "My friend *blank*" (whom you barely remember meeting) "thought you were cool and would love to take you to dinner".

- Knowing that friend *blank* is totally not your type and apparently tall longtime associate is that thoroughly uninterested.

- Receiving an email with the most non-committal proposition EVER from writer boy, giving himself so many loopholes out of it: "...I'm gonna be in DC sometime this summer...maybe...if you're there and we're both still single we should hang out..."

And they say romance is dead.

When It Rains, It Pours

It has been raining like crazy in our city. Streets, homes, and business are flooding; trains aren't running. And it doesn't look as if it will let up anytime soon.

My mood lately has mirrored the raining.

As you all know, I broke up with the Sailor. I joke about it, but I have to admit it was very hard. He sent me flowers a few days after the second talk, admitting it was over but wishing me happiness and joy in my new job.

The day after I got the flowers, I got an e-mail. His best friend's father had died.

Talk about having a tough time! The Sailor was going through it. I had met his best friend and really liked him . . . and knowing the Sailor was pretty down, I offered to accompany him to the funeral which was taking place in Baltimore and for which the Sailor got leave from the ship to attend. The Sailor turned me down, but requested we meet after - for dinner and drinks - to provide some sort of closure.

So last night, we met . . . and ate at the place we had our first date in DC. It was really lovely seeing him again and as we discussed our relationship and reminisced in a bar, the rain - and my tears - poured. He is still in my heart and it hurts letting go of him. It is for the best - no question. I will be several states away and was questioning our being together anyway.

But last night reminded me of all that is good in this man.

And as it continues to pour outside, it rains inside too and I wonder when I'll see the sun again.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Natural Selection

Yeah! People are writing!

Okay, I'm warning you, this isn't going to be pretty.

So lately I've been thinking about the perils of "dating up". Or for that matter, the frustrations of "dating down".

Do other people look at things this way? Or am I just a completely egomaniacal/insecure/self-hating/self-absorbed freak?

Here's the deal. It happens. Someone expresses interest in you and you are either a) pleased and totally interested, b) able to generate a little curiousity and willing to give it a chance, or c) not at all interested. And when the response falls into the last category you sometimes can't stop yourself from looking at them and thinking, "Really? Does s/he think we are in the same league?"

You don't say it out loud, but you worry a little about it.

And then you mention it to a friend and they say "Oh my god, you are totally out of his league, what is he thinking?"

And you feel a little bit better.

I am a terrible, terrible person.

But then someone expresses interest who belongs in the ranks of the beautiful people. He is in obsessively good shape and he doesn't have an ounce of fat on his body. And he is really fashionable. Because he's fucking British.

And you look at yourself and you look at him, and you notice where your soft and squishy places are. And you know you have never run more than three miles at a time. And you recognize that you are a prime candidate for What Not to Wear. And you think - "Doubtful. What could one of the beautiful people really see in me?"

And you realize, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

So things don't go well with Marathon Man. You knew they wouldn't. And the person who wants you to love them who you just can't bring yourself to love is always lurking in the background, trying to convince you that really, no one will ever, ever love you in the way that he loves you.

And then someone, out of the blue, expresses interest. But he, while not perfection physically (though absolutely cute) is very, very successful. He's very smart. He is doing extremely well in an industry that almost nobody does extremely well in. He has won big prizes for what he does.

And you think "Oh come on. He doesn't want to date someone struggling like me?! And if he does, then that must be some kind of superiority complex thing he has..."

And you know that you are smart, and interesting, and a good friend, and passionate about what you do. But you've been left twice in the past three years and it still smarts a bit and you figure that anyone will just see what the speech writer and the blue eyed man saw that made them both leave.

But you do want someone that is remarkable. You want someone who is amazing. Someone who is brilliant, and interesting, and funny, and smarter than you are.

You're just pretty convinced that you don't deserve what you want.

So you flee from everyone. To avoid either being disappointed or disappointing someone else.

And then the only person you disappoint is yourself.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

It's true.

But I never realized how hard it is sometimes until I tried to break up with the Sailor last week.

Yup, TRIED. He listened, but basically said NO. Huh? Have I stepped into an episode of Seinfeld?

Now, I realize I've been more or less quiet since he left two months ago. I can't explain why I lost that loving feeling . . . I think it had been coming on for a while . . . but I am no longer in the same place emotionally I was when he left. I still care for him. That may sound crazy, but I do - I care a great deal. I just don't have romantic feelings for him any more.

So he didn't take my first attempt very well.

Two days later I got a new job and he was left with no choice.

So last night, we broke up again. Done. No do-overs. And I'm really sad. Sad for the loss of what we had and for the plans we made that won't happen now. I hurt because he hurts. And it makes me wonder if I've made a big mistake. I know I haven't. I can't be what he wants me to be . . . but today I wish I could.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Of intimate contact, paper cuts, and the Boy with the Broken Heart

So I've been quiet lately...for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I've been nurturing an intimate relationship--with my dissertation. And that takes time and energy. But the relationship is blossoming in new and exciting ways, and is actually making me happy for the first time in a long time. And isn't it really about being happy?

Kay and I were outside taking a break a few weeks ago...enjoying the glorious spring weather...sunny day...soft breezes...and I voiced a realization that I've come to: there are two aspects of my life in which I'd really like to build some momentum: my dissertation and my love life. As soon as I said it, I burst out laughing: they do seem mutually exclusive, don't they? Add to that the fact that the job that pays the bills has me surrounded by women (fantastic women, don't get me wrong--but they don't do anything for my love life!)---and the only time I am going to meet any men is on the commute or at the deli counter. Ummm....I don't think so.

So I decided to cultivate my relationship with my dissertation, with the intent of bringing that relationship to its natural ending point. And that's been working pretty well.

And besides...I find it difficult to look for new possibilities when I haven't let go of old ones.

Now here's where I confess to harboring ill-disguised inclinations towards someone...we'll call him Boy with Broken Heart. BBH is someone who I have a bit of a past with, and who is recovering from a long-term relationship. He's doing better now, but the breakup was really difficult for him. Anyway...our schedules have not allowed us much time to hang out and stuff, but he invited me to a party last night. I didn't think much of it, beyond a chance to catch up and hang out with folks--until I realized several of his friends assumed I was his "date" (which was not what I had expected, but certainly didn't bother me). Good people, good times...and somewhere in the middle of it, he invited me away for a weekend in July.

Interestingly, that should help deepen my intimacy with my dissertation over the next few weeks--when I need to keep my mind off of the Boy with a Broken Heart, I can focus REALLY well on my work.

Which should happen.....NOW.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Long Distance

Yeah, we are a pathetic bunch.

But to be fair, the Sailor disappeared over a month and a half ago and considering the point of the blog, I've had little to add.

So instead of writing about the sex I'm having, I'll write about the sex I'm not having. Which I suppose is also the point of the blog.

The Sailor's schedule has changed and he's not going to Kuwait (unless of course the powers that be change their mind). I'm relieved . . . but only sort of. The problem is time has frozen in his life and is going at rapid speed in mine. This makes him needier than I am at present and he calls me a few times a day. Yes, I said a FEW TIMES A DAY. Ugh.

Even ONCE a day is too much for me. Ideally, I would like to talk with him only when I WANT to talk with him or when I have something new to tell him. Instead, talking with him has become a chore.

And that's not the only problem with long distance.

The merry month of May has been very busy for me professionally, which is terrific but exhausting. So by the time I do speak to him at night (truth - I don't always pick up when he calls now because I can't bear the pointlessness of the conversation) I'm WIPED OUT and not worth much. I know I should work harder at giving him the attention he needs, but frankly it's just no fun.

It's as if he thinks "absence makes the heart grow fonder" and I think "out of sight, out of mind."

I think the Sailor is headed for some dangerous waters.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Continued Drought

Oh good God, we're a hopeless bunch then aren't we?

I think I keep putting off actually writing something, in hopes that something fresh and exciting will emerge.

That may require waiting until 2010, I'm afraid.

The marathon man situation fizzled. We had one date where he suddenly sort of threw out there the possibility that he just wasn't invested enough to continue to find time to hang out, then waffled a bit, and then made it clear when there was actually a next time that it would be a last time (general lack of eye contact, every possible sign of complete disinterest).

So, good times.

And now I have time, and the sense of being alone really does hit. It's much easier to stave it off when I am keeping very busy.

The blue-eyed ex came to an event on Saturday, which was a surprise and actually nice to see him. He asked about how I was doing, which doesn't always happen. It was strange, like he'd been taking lessons in how to be less self-absorbed and this was lesson #203: Ask the person you are conversing with how they are doing instead of just talking about yourself. Listen and respond accordingly.

He was doing pretty well at it, I have to give him that.

So, back to the drawing board, or not, maybe. Maybe just some more time alone.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sad Good-byes

Yesterday I said "good-bye" to the Sailor.

I am very blue today. He leaves on Friday for South Carolina and from there will most likely go to Kuwait.

I am surprised how hard it was to leave him. I was more emotional than I thought I would be.

But why should I be surprised? I mean, I've been spending every weekend with him (with one exception) since his last shipping adventure in January. He has been my constant companion - even hanging out at my workplace when I've had weekend shifts.

I suppose what really hit me was the idea of him NOT being with me every weekend and how lonely that would feel.

Yes, of course I have terrific friends who I imagine will make the next four months fly by. I have a new project to work on that will also keep me busy and before long my garden will be demanding my attention. Plus I am training for a half marathon and considering a fall marathon (but which one?). So it's not as if I won't be able to fill the time.

So why the tears yesterday (yes, ladies, I cried)? What exactly makes us grow attached to a person? True, I'll miss the sex - but it's so much more than that. My friends here know I am an active person - I love being out and about, seeing and doing - but with the Sailor I am content just to sit with him and chat. We've been known to spend entire days just hanging out at either his or my place doing close to nothing. I don't know that I've ever dated anybody and felt happy just being in his presence without wanting to go somewhere or do something.


It's all a mystery to me.

What I do know is that I'll miss doing nothing with him terribly. I'm sure the four months will go by quickly . . . and of course I worry about "the cost" . . . will we both be able to hang on? Has our brief time together been enough to build a strong enough foundation on which to rely?

I can say my answer now is an emphatic YES. But how will I feel two months down the road? I guess there's no point in wondering or worrying about the future. Just take it a day at a time and know come August I can give him a happy hello.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Over Yonder

Right, ummm, yes, well - uhhh, hello all.

So, like Jane I have been a bit on the outs primarily because I have felt that since the new year (ahh, who am I kidding, since November 2005) that without a sex life, there is little to report on a blog that derives its very name from the act. And indeedy - no big news on that front here, but I miss my ladies and wanted to weigh in with everyone.

I'm out of our nation's noble capital for several weeks. And the time away has done me some good. It signified the final and formal end to the dregs of the relationship I'd been clutching at since the fall. Of course, I was the only one clutching. The boy with the blue eyes was content to remain my friend and continue to go to movies and concerts with me once a week, even though he'd broken my heart over potbelly sandwiches several months before. And I'd convinced myself I could totally accept the whole friendship thing.

In the end I could not.

Of course, it wasn't quite that simple. Oh the drama! (or for your sake Kay - the histrionics!) The wheels started to turn when I discovered he'd gone out of town to see an old friend, a female friend, a friend he'd had a crush on for the year before we started dating. And after a weekend of anger and pain I had a startling moment of clarity:

This is over. This has been over for him for a long time. For five months. Now I have to let him go.

So after everyone had to hear me sob about the girl from New Mexico, I did it. I cut off contact. (It didn't hurt that I was going to be several states away for the next five weeks). And it has been very, very good. We have had an email exchange or two in the past few weeks, but that's it. And I haven't felt hurt when it takes him several days to respond. That's progress - 'cause for a long time I took that as yet another rejection.

As for the discussion of life partners... gee I don't know. I'm a cancer, of course I ultimately want to find someone who will stick around forever. I do, I hate to admit that to myself, but I do. I am just incredibly pessimistic that I will ever actually find that right person. I worry sometime that my "rules" are too unyielding (Joy gave me something to think about on that front).

But the good thing about spending this time single is that I am remembering how to truly be alone again. At one time I was very good at it. Then I went through five years and four serious relationships. And I forgot that I really would be fine if I was going to more movies alone than with company (I do actually love solo movies) and if I didn't have someone to call every night while out of town in places too far from civilization to enjoy (which is where these gigs always seem to take me) it would be okay. I would read more. And sleep better. And I wouldn't have to wait up if someone wasn't calling me back at night.

There is a freedom that singlehood affords. There is a joy that partnership brings. I don't know if one or the other brings more securities or guarantees. They are both challenging, in so many ways.

So them's my thoughts.

Perhaps soon I will write about some new possible developments, but in my eternal cynicism, I am afraid to even write about them for fear of jinxing something. Suffice it to say I had a couple of dates that I enjoyed very, very much. With a fella, we'll call him marathon man.