One night maybe a month or so ago, a man much younger than me hit on me….and we proceeded to talk for maybe an hour or more before it was time to part ways. As I was walking away, I overheard him say something to his friend about me. “Isn’t she great?” he asked. His friend hesitated to respond and then said something to the effect of “Yeah, she is….different….her own person.”
This was not the first time I’ve heard this. I heard it once years ago as a teenager. A friend of mine invited her boyfriend over to her house while I was there and I overheard the two of them talking about me.
“What’s up with your friend? Does she not have a boyfriend or date anyone?” the boyfriend asked while the two of them sat on a swing….unaware that I had emerged from the nearby woods and was walking toward them. “Jeanie is just different,” my friend responded.
“Jeanie is just different.”
I don’t know why their exchange stuck with me and why I remember it still, all of these years later. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that I didn’t know what to think about it and I still don’t, hearing almost the same words now. How am I different? I don’t feel significantly different than many other people…..at least on most days when I consider the full scope of human diversity.
But some days, I wonder. Maybe I am. Maybe my disdain for dating and marriage at a very early age makes me mostly unfit for human consumption. I did marry, so I guess I was “normal” for a minute…..but now I’m back to old habits and my own ideas on people and relationships. But I don’t really think it’s the ideas, per se, that are so different. In fact, it seems like more and more people are breaking out of the mold these days in regards to romantic relationships. I keep hearing them scream out against monogamy as if it’s the worst thing ever created by man. “It’s so unnatural,” they all say…..thinking THEY somehow are different and evading societal programming. But are they?
I feel like I’m on a different path. Although, as a teenager, I used to think like a lot of modern day people I meet…..that monogamy wasn’t natural. But, I believe my thoughts on this had to do with the misery I saw all around me. Either people were in monogamous relationships and unhappy…..fighting against themselves and their desire for other partners…..or living polygamous lives, also not the most happy and often way more complicated. Also, too, I had personal insecurities in regards to my own attraction to multiple people and the thought of a partner being attracted to others, as well. It could be, therefore, that my acceptance of monogamy as something unnatural was a way for me to temporarily overcome my own issues. I thought I was facing the “reality,” after all. Seemed like the strong thing to do.
But I think now that I was only kidding myself. I was trying to cut off my own hand to spite myself. If I didn’t dream, I couldn’t be hurt. It was a defensive tactic. Such a “male” brain I’ve had most of my life, and it’s sad. It’s sad because what we need more of is maybe a woman’s heart. Maybe that’s what I need….need to tap into within myself. The heart that has always wanted just one person…..just wants to truly know and be known on a profound level. Where’s that? Is it possible?
If I accept my left brain dominance, then it’s not possible. If I embrace the right, however….and pair it with the left….then I can change the world. I know this. I’ve done it before. It may have been the small world of a college “Ethics” class some years ago, but I did it. I persuaded a group full of men to change their minds…..to take a risk and trust and step out of their dog-eat-dog mentality for just a minute. I inspired with feeling, but lead with reason and authority…..and my class became the first class in the instructor’s entire 30+ year teaching history to not hypothetically slaughter or take advantage of each other during our one-hour class experiment.
So yes, a new paradigm is possible. A paradigm in which people experience more satisfaction in their relationships….greater emotional intimacy, connection, depth. Yes, we often are mere animals…..sexually driven and pleasure seeking. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, I’m personally finding that I don’t care about it all that much without the emotional components. Sexual desire is too easily satisfied. In fact, one doesn’t even need a partner to temporarily quiet the need. And being a woman, I can easily find a plethora of men to jump into bed with for a night. How interesting is that? At some point, the men all start looking the same. No one is special. No one is different. They all treat me like my husband said they would….and “don’t want to have anything to do with me unless there’s the promise of sex”…..but it’s not me whose only value is sex. It’s them. Jumping into bed with someone for a night means that I don’t get to really know a person. I don’t get to know all of the person’s likes, dislikes, moods, triggers, etc. I don’t get to care for a person’s body in all of the ways I can through life’s wear and tear. I don’t get to care for the person’s heart and soul, housed within. That kind of value is totally missing….never gets taken in and absorbed. It’s like eating nothing but desserts……enjoyable, but not much nutritional content and you end up starving without realizing it.
That’s me. I’m starving. I’m at a buffet of desserts and nothing of real sustenance. And if I’m honest, the desserts aren’t even that good. Empty calories in all respects. But I do have a solution and it’s simple. I’m going to go home and make something for myself…..enjoy my own company….get to know myself better. I’m going to seek my own value. Because, those people I mentioned….who I overheard talking about me….were right.
I am different.