Butterfly Cauldron

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Ebb and Flow of Attraction

WARNING: This post is a bit more 'Dear Diary' than usual. Read at your own peril. You have been warned. Don't bitch at me because I get a little emotional.

Lately, it seems all my friends are dating. A lot. Not a single one of my friends seems to be dateless. It's strange to me, because I'm not dating. I'd like to, I think, but it just doesn't seem to happen for me. And I'm pondering a bit why that is.

Attraction is a tricky thing. Personally, I've noticed I have 'types' that I get hooked on. I'm trying to work out just why I like what I like, but I can't always put my finger on it. Physically, I like men with wide shoulders, dark hair and dark eyes. I like women with dark hair, too. Big, expressive eyes. Lush lips. Plenty of curves. I want a partner I can really get my hands on, really feel. I don't like super-skinny, because I'm honestly afraid I'll hurt them. But attraction isn't strictly physical. There's something about a person. Something about the way he smile or she laughs. I like women with attitude, who are certain of who they are, a little aggressive. I prefer my men on the sensitive side, but not wimpy or spineless.

What makes a person attractive? What makes me attractive to other people? And frankly, why isn't it working lately? (I'm not intending a rant here. I'm just a bit caught offguard how suddenly, everyone I know has gone from being happily single to being in a Date-a-thon. If I go a bit off tangent, forgive me.)

I fight, as most fat people do, against the society-implanted impuse to believe I'm single because I'm fat. This is demonstratable untrue. I have always been fat, but I haven't always been single. These friends who are dating? None of them are skinny women. Ergo, fatness itself is not a detractor. And I'm pretty open about what I find attractive too, even though I do have preferred types.

So how does it happen? What makes one person click with another? My friends tell me I'm too cautious and they are probably right. And yet, I can't escape wanting to be wanted. It's a human enough reaction, but for some reason part of me feels....annoyed by it. I'm complete on my own. I'm perfectly capable of handling my life and all it's many, many fuck-ups.

Part of me is angry. Not that I'm single. That's fine. But part of me is angry that I've gone through so much on my own, how dare anyone else presume to know what that's like? How dare they come into my life now? Where were they when I needed them? Where were they when I was on a revolving door of doctors and tests and lab results and medications? Where were they when I was in so much pain I couldn't move? Where were they when I cried myself to sleep night after night because everyone thought I was crazy, but I knew I was sick? It's almost like, if she/he couldn't be bothered to show up then, why do I need them now? It's a whole irrational feeling, I'm aware, and yet there it is. I went through the hardest period of my life on my own. It wasn't easy, but I did it. And I survived and created something decent for myself out of that mess I was working with. So, now, what could a partner offer me?

And yet, another part of me is scared. What if I meet someone and they don't value what I've been through? What if I open up and trust someone and they don't realize just how huge those experiences were? And will continue to be, seeing as how I've got a chronic illness? Or if I meet someone when I'm healthy and then get sick and they bolt? Sure, it's survivable, but why would I want to do that?

Of course, I won't date assholes. I'm repulsed by them, truthfully. So those fears are, mostly, unfounded. But they show up, every time. I think I've dampened the part of me that registers attraction. It's been ages since I've meet anyone I was geniunely attracted too. Why is that? Is it because I'm really not attracted to that many people? Or is it because of some deeper fear that just won't let me go there? Is that what people are picking up on? I've been told all my life, by men anyway, that it's clear I don't need them. Which is true. I don't need another person in my life, but that doesn't mean I don't want one.

Does wanting trump needing? In my mind, it does. I'm much rather be wanted than needed. Needing means there's a task, a role to be filled. Which means anyone could do it. Wanting is more specific, it's tailored to the person. You want me because I'm me, not because I'm there. Is it possible to want someone with all their flaws? No one is perfect, yet it seems that's what people are expecting. Is it so strange that I prefer people with flaws? That I like them? That I mistrust 'perfection' on it's surface?

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posted by Zan at 7:58 PM

2 Comments:

Zan, I will never understand how this stuff happens the way it does. I have had years when the men were frankly all over the place and mine for the picking, and years when there were none and finally decades when I just didn't want to be bothered. For me it is that the men of my generation tend to be either good ones and so taken or bossy shits no one would have, and certainly not me. But, as much as I don't need a man, I do get lonely. Cats are lovely, but they do knock things on the floor and leave them for me to pick up and they never feed me.

1:45 PM  

It's strange to me. I think the problems with men aren't soley for your generation. Most of the men my age, early thirties, are either married with young children or getting out of bad marriages. With young children. So, they're either taken or horrible fucked up emotionally. And ya know, there are just very few reasons for me to do the emotional work necessary with a newly-divorced man who is only on the rebound and will be leaving me, when he's emotionally whole again, to find someone else.

The children? Well, I don't mind necessarily. But I don't know that I think of myself as a step-mother. I can almost, almost, imagine myself as a mother. But step-mother? I don't know. That probably comes from the fact that my personal experience doesn't include that. No one in my family has been divorced with young children. So, no step-parents. Which makes me distinctly odd for my generation.

I'm not sure what it is I'm looking for. Part of me would like someone steady, but marriage? I don't know about that either. And at my age, that's what most people are looking for. I did everything backward. I was serious when I was young and should have been playing the field and now that I'm ready to get out there again, the men I have to choose from are ready to be serious again.

And it's so hard. I haven't dated in...eh, six years? At least that many. So I'm at a loss for how to go about it now. Which is dumb, probably. But I'm not an extrovert and I'm particular about the people I date. So....did I miss a window somewhere? I'd hate to think so, but maybe I did. I wish I could figure out what the magic formula was.

5:27 PM  

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