Sexless in the City

Sometimes reading romance novels doesn’t quite prepare you for a love life...

For this 30-year-old urbanite, love is always a misadventure: The Harvard Lickwit, Hippie the Groper, the 5% Man, and the Ad Weasel. These and many other men wander in and out of her life — but never her bed.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Stages of Broadway, pt. 7

Continued from Stages of Broadway, pt. 6. Series began here.

Blogfather writes in a recent post:
... [It] sounds suspiciously like girls just keep guy friends around for the attention — not that I’d ever make THAT charge. And not like I don’t do the reverse — but the fact is if I have a really attractive friend who is a girl, I’m not so much keeping her around for attention as I’m keeping her around to try to get in her pants (and because I like her as a person and appreciate her keen sense of humor).
It is just this ambiguity in friendships that leads to so many pseudo-dates and which has, recently, prompted me to rethink my approach to guy-girl friendships altogether. Marriage has long been the source of meaning in my life, the ultimate hope around which it revolved. Over time this turned me into someone who used men for attention. Who allowed, encouraged and exploited ambiguous friendships with certain men either because doing so provided some of the benefits of dating (without the commitment) or because flirtation with indulgent guy friends was the best I could get. I suspect some of the men who took advantage of this were in a similar situation to mine and also using me in a sense — but that's between them and God, whether or not they know Him.

Recently, however, related to changes I’ve talked about here, I’m ceasing all striving after marriage and relationships. If I don’t learn to gratefully receive my singleness and truly be content in it, how will I one day be content in marriage? There’s no ideal state where you are magically transformed into someone impervious for restlessness. As the Stones said, we can’t get no satisfaction — relationally or otherwise.

Not only am I done with dating (which some claim doesn’t lead to marriage anyway), I am also done with most one-on-one hangouts with men. Most of these, after all, played on ambiguities in our friendship. I will be the first to admit — with guy friends I have generally welcomed, enjoyed and encouraged flirtation and banter. But doing so has sometimes encouraged hopes that probably had no basis (bad for me) and encouraged (I should say enabled) the guy to enjoy certain benefits of dating without the commitment (bad for him). In one case the confusion was great enough, the guy forced me to clarify things before we actually met. I’m grateful for his boldness in doing so.

What I should have been bold enough to do was, in blogging and in person, to find the line between teasing and openly sexual flirtation. I didn’t, because I wanted more than friendship from guys, and coming from them flirtation seemed to indicate sexual interest. Whether or not my hunches were right is largely irrelevent; to join in such conversation with guys ostensibly no more than friends was a failure to guard my heart and to treat them with respect. But I’m done with that now (or trying to be). If you wanna be my friend, look for me in a crowd. Otherwise, be prepared to state your intentions; I’ve owned up to mine.

Missed the beginning of this saga? Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 here.