Games we play 

Remember when you were younger? You’d find yourself developing a crush on someone and suddenly you couldn’t think, speak or even breathe when you were close to them. 

As soon as you’d walk away, you kick yourself because suddenly, a dozen witty, intelligent words popped into your head. Things you should have said. 

Then you’d find yourself over thinking every word or gesture they made. “Does that mean she likes me? Does she want to go out? Is she available?”

That then led to the awkward “flirting but not flirting.”  You know. Those little gestures, giggles, jokes, brief and fleeting touches that could easily be dismissed as “just friends” in case the feeling weren’t reciprocated. 

Once there was that established mutual attraction, the true courting could begin. Dates, calls, the kiss! 

As I got older, I stopped playing those games. Yes, I enjoyed the feelings of butterflies in my stomach and the anticipation of hearing from someone, but that constant tug of uncertainty made me crazy. 

Too many times I’d find myself enamored by a girl and I’d spend the next several months wrapped up in a knot wondering if our exchanges were ever going to develop into more than just friends status. 

When they didn’t, I felt rejected and hurt. I’d then go off to sulk in my self imposed pity party thinking I wasn’t worthy of love. 

One day a friend (who was drunk and being an ass) gave me a piece of advice I followed from that day forward; “Just fucking put it out there! Be done with it!!”

And that’s what I started doing. 

I’d meet a woman, there’s was an attraction and interest on my part and I’d let it be known. Sometimes it worked but sometimes it didn’t. 

What it did do was soften the blow when those feelings weren’t mutual. I avoided weeks or even months of pining over someone. Building up an image of them in my head just to have them crush my heart. Those few additional weeks made the difference in getting over it immediately or feeling sorry for myself, indefinitely. 

I listened today as a friend told me that “she’s a terrific person. She’s loyal, lots of fun, great sense of humor. She’s just not my type!”

I asked her why she said that. “D. What is your type?”

She stuttered and stammered. Not able to come up with a logical answer. I asked “do you think she’s not attractive?”

“No! That’s not it at all. I think she’s very attractive!”

After several minutes of back and forth, she admitted to me that she is very interested in this woman. She’s thought extensively about pursuing a relationship with her. However, her fear of rejection keeps her from doing so. 

I asked if she had told anyone else “she’s not my type”. She stated that she had and I couldn’t help but grimace. 

“What if she is just as interested in you, but she’s been told you aren’t attracted to her so she won’t pursue things with you?”

She hadn’t thought about that. She also hadn’t thought about how while she was flashing pictures on Facebook of her with various women, out and about, in an effort to make her crush see her as desirable…she could very likely have scared her away. 

The movie Clueless showed how a popular girl knew all the tricks of the trade for making yourself irresistible to the opposite sex. Things like sending yourself flowers, for example. 

Maybe I’m old fashioned. I don’t want to have to compete for a woman’s heart. I want her to give it to me. Freely and willingly. I’m willing to give mine freely and willingly and don’t expect her to jump through hoops. 

I thought about what D was doing. I imagined I was in her crush’s position and Julie in hers. Hell, in the beginning, Julie indicated that her and Milly were very happily married and it was enough to make me take a huge step back. 

If I were the crush, I’d see this act of self preservation as a huge turn off. If I knew she’d said, “she’s not my type” id always wonder if I was really who she wanted, or if I were just a pit stop until someone better came along. 

If I saw her with multiple women, pretending that they all wanted and desired her, I’d question her ability to be faithful or at the very least committed to me. 

Yes, I realize I’m a rare bird. I got tired of the bullshit and baggage a long time ago and decided that putting myself out there was better than missing out on greatness for fear of rejection. 

Maybe it’s that little jolt of the what if that makes the chase as good as the prize. 

For me? The quickest way from point A to point B was just a straight line! 

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