Okay, so much for a break. It may be 96 degrees and I may be weary, but I gots things to say.
So: speaking of awesome emails from men in my life whose wisdom I should listen to but don’t, the other day I thought of what may have been the best message I’ve ever received.
I got it in early October of this year and it was from my college friend P: the one I visited in London, and the one with whom I frequently indulge in collaborative griping about our hopelessly tumultuous love lives.
It was in response to an email I sent him after I first got together with Tall Anglo, the guy I pseudo dated for much of my first semester here. I wrote that I was reliving our freshman year of college, when I fell for a similarly tortured soul who, also, liked to profess his affection for me in the same breath that he liked to tell me he couldn’t date me.
This is (part of) what P wrote back:
Enough with the sensitive, artsy, hipster boys. Get yourself a hands-on man that (pardon me) fucks the shit out of you and then tells you what’s what. You can handle it. Absolutely DO NOT let yourself feel hurt by some guy who’s too busy thinking about things (probably his own sensitive psyche) to realize he should be jumping you. “Doesn’t want a relationship.” Fuck that. These things have zero to do with what we “want.” You just do or you don’t.
What makes this email even more amazing, I should disclose, is the fact that most people would probably put P himself in the “sensitive, artsy, hipster boy” category: for christ’s sake he’s in London to study theatre and in college, he wore overalls. (Also, the tortured singer I’d been hung up on at eighteen was, and is, his best friend.)
You won’t be alarmed to read that despite my frequent quoting of this email and serious contemplation of printing it out and putting it in a frame, I didn’t actually listen: I did let myself feel hurt. A lot. For a while.
And lo and behold: by some cruel consequence of fate and happenstance and karmic stubbornness, I’ve done it again.
I’m not going to get into the particulars right now–sometimes I am actually compelled to be frank with the people in my life before being frank on the internet.
But for a moment I’d like to defend myself, because I don’t think I’m the only one with a serious vulnerability to this type.
And there’s a reason for that: these “sensitive, artsy” guys are often really smart. And interesting. And creative. Sometimes they’re actually really sweet and attentive. They make things. They listen to good music. They read good books. And while it may be problematic in large doses, it turns out that sensitivity is also pretty attractive.
But a girl can only handle hearing that a man needs to “find himself” so many times before she starts to fantasize about investment bankers.
And I actually did try to heed P’s advice. When I first met this guy, in fact, I basically ran the other way.
“He’s cute,” S remarked the night of the party where we first met back in the fall.
“I can’t,” I said, simply.
In that moment, I couldn’t. In the interim, I even tried dating a southern Republican who goes to Toby Keith concerts and subscribes to golf magazines. Yeah, he didn’t work out.
At some point before that turned into a fiasco of its own I cheered to D–the one who used to live here and moved and…nevermind–about how refreshing it was to date a guy who actually seemed like a man. He was almost the same age as the writer I’d just stopped seeing, I told D, but he came across as so much older and more mature.
D nodded thoughtfully in response.
“Yeah, us progressive guys–we take a while,” he acknowledged. “But I think we’re worth the wait.”