My beloved SoCo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
My apartment complex is a small one. It’s boxy. All of the front doors face the center courtyard. There was some sort-of man-party that spilled out onto said courtyard last night. I assumed the men were shouting at a football game, which I think they were… at first, but then it lasted until about three o’clock in the morning. I woke up this morning at 8:30 A.M. feeling as though I was recovering from a year-long coma. Where was I? Who am I? And why does my head hurt?
Last weekend, when I first walked to Jo’s outdoor coffee shop on SoCo, my new haunt (I’ve always wanted to say that), it was about 8:00 A.M., and soon after I settled into a chair it became overcrowded. So today, at 9:00 A.M., I was anticipating searching and failing to find a seat and then walking all the way back to my apartment juggling my laptop, oozing breakfast tacos, and a dripping coffee in my arms. However, I was lucky because it’s a dark and cloudy morning in Austin, a residual from the rain we received yesterday, so the seats are filling up only as I type this.
As I walked over there, my mind led me to a rather embarrassing fantasy, which of course I’ll tell you, because I’m erasing the word “shame” from my vocabulary. Lucky you. That, or I actually enjoy laughing at myself because self-deprecation comes easy. My fantasy:
I arrive at Jo’s and find an empty table with only one other chair. I set my laptop down and draw open the lid. I begin typing and soon enough, a faceless (even my day-dreams never loan strangers a face), attractive gentleman pops over to sit in the chair across from me. The seats are communal. He asks me what I am typing on my computer. I coyly do not tell him, but I slip him a piece of paper that has the address to my blog on it. I tell him to find me. When I get home, I write about it, and readers cheer me on as they wait for him to write a response. He does, and thus we began the dance of a courtship.
I’m not sure which is more embarrassing. My fantasy or my choice of words, “dance of a courtship.”
I sit in a damp chair. People glance at me with my laptop and immediately see the invisible sign of “not available” pinned to the lid and walk the other way to another communal table where people sit without laptops. A black bird is trying to steal my food.
Nonetheless, my mind is suddenly somewhere other than work, and it feels good. It feels right… at the moment. I decided to take the plunge, to put myself out there and meet people in my new city. I signed up for match.com, but immediately I regret it. I’m not at all saying match.com is a bad choice, but I’m thinking it may just not be a big thing in Austin because the pick of the litter is not looking good.
I realize it has only been one day, but no one is actually reading my profile… a short one none-the-less. They are looking and responding, but it is clear that my picture is the only thing of interest to them, per their e-mails. People who are the OPPOSITE of what I’ve described as potential suitors are responding. I’m 31, so I thought it was reasonable to place a 30-40 age range on my profile, but I’m getting tons of inquiries from 25 year olds and near fifties. I’m not one to pay too much attention to a number, but I still think my range is fairly reasonable, right? Furthermore, it’s shocking what men find sexy about themselves… I have not found ONE man who understands that bathroom pictures with their cell phone in the mirror and/or kissy-face pictures and/or pictures of them “sleeping” are not okay. You cannot be asleep if you are taking the picture!!!! Big sigh. It’s just not right.
I’ll give it some more time, but I’m just not sure about this being the way to meet people in a city like Austin where its famous motto is “Keeping Austin Weird.” Now, if you think bathroom pics are lame, then get ready for this one… I am equally lame. I fantasize about meeting someone in a natural, whoopsie-daisies-sort-of-way… having a story to tell the grandkids kind of way. We just met because fate brought us together, not because I was looking. Not that the other way can’t be romantic. I’m defensive about this because I know that many people have met their match this way, and it was a beautiful experience for them. I just don’t think it’s for me at this point in my life and in this city.
A fellow blogger, La La, said something to me in regards to my last post about learning what she wanted in a man through dating, and this got me to thinking. What IS it that I want? When I was out there dating in Dallas like a mad woman, it did in fact shed some light on what I wanted and didn’t want, but now it’s a couple of years later, and I am a completely different person than I was then. Everyone says that, but I mean it. If I got married to any of those men I thought I admired, even just a couple of years ago, I would surely be divorced by now. That’s the scary thing about maintaining a serious relationship. What if I grow, but the other person stays stagnant… or the other way around? So this brings me to my first want.
- Someone who is willing to grow with me. I don’t mean in the same way as me necessarily, but someone who refuses to remain stagnant and who puts energy into creating an exciting and interesting life with me.
- Someone who displays at least a small interest in reading. If they don’t, then they will never have any interest in my dream. He doesn’t need to avidly read or even show an interest in writing for himself, but at least he should have an appreciation for something that makes me happier than anything else (besides my family of course… and hopefully him).
- On the same token, he has to have a passion for something. I don’t care what he does. I mean, I do, but as long as he is doing something he loves… whether for work or as a creative outlet, it doesn’t matter to me. This way, we have an opportunity to capitalize on each other’s successes and cheer each other on towards our dreams/goals. We have something to live for other than each other. Plus, there is not much that’s sexier than talent.
- Family is important to him. I’m not on a fast track to have kids. I know I want a family of my own sometime in the future, but this is more about my immediate family that I have now. I am extremely close to my immediate and extended family. He must at least be comfortable with this fact. My twin sister knows EVERYTHING. Everything.
- He’s independent. He doesn’t need me because he wants someone to pick up the pieces where his mom left off. I don’t have to cook, clean, or wipe his ass. I will do it because I want to (except for the ass part), not because he expects it. And sometimes he returns the favor, not because he’s obligated, but because sometimes he wants to as well.
- He makes me laugh and tells terrible jokes (jokes that fail for everyone else are often the ones that leave me reeling), but he also allows me make him laugh, too. I have dated a wide-variety of jokesters, but the worst are the ones who crave ALL of the attention. I’m no attention whore, but I dated a guy once who hated it when I tried to make someone laugh. He refused to tell me I was funny, but I think it may have been a jealousy thing. Whenever someone told me I was funny, he would chime in and half-joke (but there was always some truth in his voice), “She is not funny. I’m the funny one.” Let’s be funny together. Witty banter is the tits.
- I must be attracted to him. I don’t say he has to be attractive because everyone’s idea of “attractive” is different, but attraction to me is often found in the chemistry that happens in person. There is a certain scent and a confidence that draws me in, sometimes more so than an actual look. However, if I were to pin-point a look, I am more often than not drawn to dark hair and dark eyes. Men who are artsy and put some thought into what they wear attract me. Denim shirts and flannel are huge turn-ons for me now. It’s all about the smile and the eyes, too.
- This one seems like a no-brainer, but he should posses qualities that build strong character. He’s honest and lives his life with integrity. Genuine. Kind. Light-hearted. All of the obvious adjectives.
I’m now bored with my own post. Can you tell? Actually, I just got impaled by an acorn overhead, and a man is incessantly rubbing his girlfriend’s back, and I just can’t take it anymore. The combo of the repetition of his hand going up and down and up and down and the PDA are making kind of queasy. I’m headed back.
It’s now several hours later. I took a break from writing and went to lunch with my sister. We went shopping across the street as well to buy a gift for our brother’s birthday. I can’t believe I am saying this, partly because it makes me sound like a teenage girl, and partly because I was just writing about this and it seems a bit unlikely, but… A man who helped my sister and I find something for our brother made me giggle like a giddy school girl on crack. Not that those two things are synonymous. I haven’t been attracted to someone in a long time. Perhaps it’s because my eyes are suddenly open once again. There was chemistry and a scent. Dark hair and eyes. Obviously, as he was working at a clothing store that specializes in denim and flannel men’s clothing, he immediately looked like my cup of tea. My sister told me she noticed he was showing interest in me, but my mother and my sister tend to see things I don’t see. It’s that prejudice and affinity we feel for one another. It’s sick. My mother used to tell me in grade school if a boy wasn’t interested, “Lauren, I really just think that boys are intimidated by you.” Moms are good like that.
That momentary exchange, even though it lasted all of ten minutes, made me realize how great it feels to open myself up again. The wind is back in my sails. I’m working HARD at this happiness thing. Hard work was hardly the thing I was looking for, but it’s feeling less and less like work every day. I’m noticing the small things and capitalizing on them. Capitalizing on them all by myself, but my eyes are now open. Watch out, I might just find you.
- Revisiting the Leaning Tree. (ardentandawkwardinaustin.com)