Posted by: deerharas | December 13, 2006

It all comes out in Moron.

So I had sort of an epiphany the other day, and if Xanga is good for anything it’s expounding upon epiphanies.  In 11th grade my history teacher told me she thought one of my strongest intelligences (of the seven) was my knowledge of self, and I think she’s probably right.  I tend to be pretty introspective and incredibly analytical in regard to self.  So I was surprised the other day to realize something about myself that had never really risen to the level of conscious thought.  It suddenly hit me that I am incredibly unskilled at male interaction.

 

Now it’s not like I thought I was some grand master with the fellas up until said epiphany.  No, it’s more like I never really gave much thought to it at all.  I have always been a girls’ girl.  I can’t even name one good guy friend I had growing up.  Sure I had a few camp flings and one real boyfriend in high school, but as a whole I just wasn’t around guys in social settings very much.  I had my close girl friends, and I was content.

 

Actually, looking back I suppose I did have a few guy friends in high school … a few college guys from my church.  Youth interns, Sunday School teachers, and ski trip companions: these were my friends.  However, they were not my peers, a point I will bring out more in a moment.

 

My college social experience disappointingly varied little from high school.  I seemed to be really good at developing female friendships (some of which are still best friends to this day) but really deficient when it came to boys.  It didn’t help that I was an RA in an all female residence hall my sophomore and junior year.  Any male interaction outside of class came by way of friends’ friends, boyfriends, or husbands.  I do remember wishing I had guy friends; I just didn’t know how to get them.

 

Graduation came and went, and then thankfully a new job.  Now while job-wise I didn’t move far from my stint as an RA (hall directing an all female residence hall) I did meet two new friends, and much to my delight, they were boys!  Married boys, but still boys nonetheless.  My first year as a hall director I developed very close friendships with those boys, and I learned quite a bit. 

 

About two years ago, I started visiting a church with a fairly large group of 20 something singles (honestly one of the appeals).  It was great to meet people (guys included) my own age (aka, no longer in college) and there were always lots of opportunities for interaction.  I began developing some surface level friend/acquaintanceships with guys.  Yay for Sarah!  However, I still found the interaction difficult and oftentimes awkward.  Why is it that I had so much ease with the married boys, but so much difficulty with the singles?  Aha!  Epiphany!

 

My whole life I have been drawn to male relationships that are “safe.”  In high school it was the college boys.  Now it’s the married boys.  There is so much potential for friendship, because there is no question of relationship.  I don’t have to worry about what they think of me (as I do with guys I’m interested in) nor do I have to worry about unreciprocated feelings (as I do with guys I’m not interested in).  Nice and safe.

 

So currently in my interactions with single males, I tend to behave in one of two awful ways:

1) If I have interest or feelings for the guy, I get obnoxious.  It’s hard to describe, really, but overall I feel like I become immature.  I show off.  I say stupid things.  I try too hard.  On an episode of Gilmore Girls there’s this moment when Rory’s freaking out over this guy she likes and she tells Lorelai that she doesn’t want to “do or say anything else that’s gonna be remotely moronic.”  Lorelai responds, “I’m afraid once your heart is involved, it all comes out in Moron.”  And while I am not sixteen years old, I am equally as susceptible to freak outs and moron-speak.

2) If I don’t have any interest in dating the guy, and if I pick up on any interest on his part, I act cold.  I generally try to act friendly toward everyone, but in the case of those unreciprocated feelings, I have to play the cold card.  See, it’s not like I have the token “Sorry, I have a boyfriend” response ready to dole out.  It has been my experience that the slightest bit of attention you pay to one of these guys will only hurt them in the end.  It encourages their unwelcomed advances.  If I even get the slightest inkling that a guy may like me (and I don’t want him to) I do everything I can to avoid interaction with this person.  Honestly I would rather treat someone coldly as a preemptive measure than have that awkward rejection conversation later on down the road.  Cruel to be kind. 

 

But back to the epiphany … I am socially retarded when it comes to guys.  But I think that there’s a solution.  First of all, I need to grow a back bone.  Yes, there is a time to pull back so as not to encourage further advances from what I call “the ickies.”  However, I need to be much more open to friendships with guys that I’m not really interested in dating.  I think that I’m afraid I won’t have the nerve or tact to turn someone down graciously, and that I might end up leading someone on out of fear of confrontation.  However, there is so much to learn from all sorts of different people, and I am robbing myself of diverse and fruitful friendships.  Second of all, I need to calm down.  I need to quit faking confidence and learn to be confident.  I can’t allow myself to be intimidated by guys I’m interested in.  I know there will always be some inevitable moron-speak, but elevating any person to a level that in turn puts me on a lower level is just ridiculous. 

 

And now comes the hard part.  I can’t look in the mirror and forget what I look like.  Time to embrace my newfound realizations and be open.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

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