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What Every Woman Wants? July 22, 2012

Posted by Onely in Dating, Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, single and happy.
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Copious Readers,

The following is a story about the perils of couple-mania. The victim is me. The moral: Always trust your gut – you are a smart and intuitive person. Don’t let couple-mania get the better of you.

ImageA couple of weeks ago, I was invited to help a friend – let’s call her Reem – celebrate her birthday at a beautiful beach in southern Lebanon with her boyfriend (let’s call him Ramzi), and another friend of theirs (we’ll call her Rose). The beach was lovely – sunny, hot, relaxing.

A few hours into the afternoon, a few of Ramzi’s acquaintances from his football league showed up. We mingled. One of the guys started talking to me. We’ll call him Beach Dude.

Beach Dude seemed to be a genuinely nice guy. He’d grown up in the States but was of Lebanese descent. Talking with him, I felt comfortable, relaxed. He even asked me the topic of my dissertation; no one ever does that. We watched the sunset and chatted until I had to leave for Reem’s birthday dinner. I thought nothing of it.

But apparently, Reem, Ramzi, and Rose had thought about it plenty. They started teasing me.

Them: “Wow, Lisa, Beach Dude really likes you!”

Me: “What are you talking about?”

Them: “He stayed to talk to you when all the guys left to play football!”

Me: “Well, that’s true… but…”  My gut just felt they were wrong.

Them: “Lisa, he’s totally into you.”

Me: “I think he was just being friendly.”

Them: “You guys have got to hook up!”

After all their badgering I began to wonder if maybe they were right, and I had in fact entirely misinterpreted Beach Dude’s manner and motivations. Maybe he was totally turned on by the sexy concepts of historiography and disciplinarity (the subject of my dissertation). Still, I squirmed and blushed as they kept insisting that they had seen something I hadn’t.

I already hate couple-mania enough when it’s “out there” – in magazines or on television – but I truly despise it when it’s targeted at me. It’s flattering on the one hand (hey, Beach Dude is hot), but it’s completely awkward and inappropriate on the other (they were watching me that whole time?! that’s kind of creepy!). Plus, Beach Dude might have been friendly, but he didn’t ask me for my number. If my friends were right about him, he would (or should) have asked for my number. I’m not averse to dating, but I am averse to indirectness.

The night went on. My friends kept bringing up Beach Dude. I continued to downplay the situation, though I did admit that yes, I found him attractive, and yes, I would consider dating him if the possibility presented itself.

Skip forward to Monday night. It’s 11:30pm. I get a call from Reem. Her voice is high, breathy –

“Lisa!” she exclaims, “Guess what happened tonight?”

“I have no idea,” I reply.

“Beach Dude invited Ramzi to see a live band at a bar in Gemmayzeh on Wednesday night!”

“Ok….”

“Listen, Beach Dude hasn’t ever invited Ramzi to anything outside of football. This is the first time! It was sooooo clear that Beach Dude wanted Ramzi to invite you.”

“Ok,” I say, wondering how clear it really was – it didn’t sound like Beach Dude had mentioned me specifically. “I’m free on Wednesday, just have Ramzi give me the details.”

“Yay! Lisa, this is so exciting! I wish I could be there too!”

I remembered then that Reem was leaving town on Tuesday. Too bad. I didn’t know Ramzi all that well, but I was willing to do this, just to satisfy my curiosity – maybe I really am as clueless as my friends seem to think I am.

Fast-forward to Wednesday. Ramzi texts me, says that Beach Dude will be at the bar around 10. I take a cab and arrive at the bar around 10:20. I text Ramzi to see if he’s arrived already. No response. I walk a block or two past the bar. Still no response. Finally, I call.

“Hey,” I say. “I’m here. Are you?”

“Sorry Lisa,” Ramzi replies, “the football game ran late. I’m just now heading home, and I’ve still got to shower and change. Then I’ll meet you there.”

“Oh, OK,” I say, pretending to be fine with that. “So how long do you think you’re going to be?”

“Probably an hour,” Ramzi replies.

I hesitate.

Ramzi notices the pause. “You should just go in,” he says.

“OK, yeah, I guess I will,” I reply, not sure whether or not I’m lying.

I walk a couple more blocks, feeling annoyed and awkward. Should I really just go in? I can’t believe Ramzi did this to me. I barely know Beach Dude, don’t know who he’s with, and don’t know if I was actually invited. Plus, I only met him that one time – I don’t know that I’ll even recognize him… Where the hell is Ramzi?

I walk past the bar one more time and finally resolve to do it. I’ll go in. Why not? Ramzi seemed to think it was a good idea – and anyway, he’s going to meet me here so it wouldn’t be cool to ditch him. Plus, I already came all this way… Just don’t overthink it, Lisa.

I head in and pay the cover. The band is downstairs. It’s not too crowded, but I don’t see anyone I recognize. I begin to worry that I may really have forgotten what Beach Dude looked like. But then I spot him in the corner, and – joy! – he immediately recognizes me, stands up, looks happy to see me, and invites me to sit next to him. He introduces me to his friends (he seems to know everyone). I feel relieved. Plus, I remember now – Beach Dude is hot. What was I so worried about?

The band hasn’t started yet, so Beach Dude and I make some small talk. Things seem to be going well. I notice that he’s sitting so close that his arm brushes mine. A good sign, I think.

But then I notice that the woman sitting on the other side of me – someone I haven’t been introduced to – is giving me strange looks. Then I notice that she’s giving Beach Dude strange looks too. Then she leans behind me and taps Beach Dude on the shoulder, and both of them have a conversation – behind my back, literally.

I try not to feel awkward.

The band starts. It’s pretty loud, so there seems little point trying to hold a conversation with Beach Dude. I pay attention to the band. I nod and smile when Beach Dude tells me that this band is the “best in Lebanon.” I have no idea what to say, especially over the music. I try not think about it too much – the band has a good beat. I’m enjoying myself.

After a few minutes, Beach Dude gets up and buys drinks for everyone he knows (including the weird chick next to me, who demands that he buy one for her). Everyone except for me. Then, returning with the drinks, he chooses a seat next to a woman sitting two seats away (at least he introduced me to her). They’re laughing, smiling, and there’s no way to join in the conversation over the band.

Twenty minutes later, the weird chick gets up to leave. She gestures toward Beach Dude. He gets up and follows her. I watch as she puts her arm around him and pulls him close so she can talk in his ear. They appear to be having an intense conversation. It lasts five minutes or so, and then she leaves.

Beach Dude returns to his seat far away from me. I start talking to the woman sitting next to me; turns out, she’s Beach Dude’s boss and is married to one of the band members. Her name is Emily. I like her. We keep talking. I begin to feel a lot less awkward. Beach Dude occasionally says something to Emily, but I can’t hear it because he’s too far away.

Finally, at around midnight, I decide I’ve stayed long enough that my departure will not appear either rude (too early) or desperate (too late). Beach Dude and the others are staying. Ramzi never shows up, and he sends me a text to say that he can’t make it after I’ve already gotten a cab back home.

I’m over it the next day – thank god for Onely. I’ve gotten into the habit of remembering that the measure of my happiness has nothing to do with dating or hooking up.

And so much for couple-mania. Next time, I’m going with my gut.

Dearest readers, has anything like this ever happened to you?

– Lisa

photo credit: me! yup, that’s the beach where the whole mess started.

Comments»

1. jana - July 23, 2012

hey lisa, tough bullshit, always and again! -.- and something no one needs, except for those “life’s only beautiful if you share it with a partner”-people – i pity them… go ahead staying single! i’m totally loving it as well! :)))
- jana

2. anon - July 23, 2012

Hi Lisa

Maybe it’s just your hormones – after all, you’ve still got natural instincts etc ……. but when your brain had some time away from the intoxication of these hormones it realised what you really want …….

Does this sound familiar??

Hope it’s going well for you there :-) :-)

yoland……

3. Miel D'Rodilique - July 23, 2012

Hi, Lisa-

To be honest, I think some new friends might be in order. People who care about you would NEVER put you in the awkward (and potentially threatening) situation that you describe.

“Single By Choice” is a perfectly legitimate lifestyle. It doesn’t mean that you’re not open to the possibilities, it means that you’re a fully actualized human being just as you are. There’s so much about this choice that’s good, I’d like to celebrate those things without being thought defensive or belligerent; THAT’S the challenge!

Maybe it’s just in my nature to be counter-cultural, maybe I’m just old enough (been married, have kids) to have a realistic perspective on coupling-up, maybe I’m overcompensating… Whatever the explanation, with every day that goes by, I find myself more appreciative of the single life. As I remind my 30 year-old, single daughter, there’s an awful lot to be said for contentment.

That said, my Greyhound is a lousy conversationalist :)

Miel

4. eleanore wells - July 23, 2012

Nothing like that has ever happened to me…but I’m wondering, WTF is wrong with your “friends”?

5. RachelAB - July 23, 2012

Thanks for sharing this, Lisa! I love how you were able to still enjoy yourself – after you were able to let go of the couplemanic expectations. :-) Very inspiring for me as i tend to look at the glass as half-empty when i could have a whole lot more fun when i see it as half-full…

6. Richard Cheimison - October 8, 2012

Hah. This just makes me glad I am half-oblivious to social signals. When people badger me I tell them to fuck off, I don’t care if it’s my mother or whoever.


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