If you were to meet me for the first time, the phrase that would pop in to your head might be Woman of the World. Furthermore, you would possibly ramble on with adjectives like: confidant, attractive, centered, lovely, and downright groovy. And you would be correct. Unless, that is, you were a man I was attracted to. Then you might have other, less admiring things to say about me. Chatty or child-like might come to mind. You might think I was silly and outspoken and you might very well wonder if I’d been pulling at a vodka bottle all day or if I had simply gone ‘round the bend.
Perhaps I’m being hard on myself but I must confess that the behavior I engage in when in the company of a man I like is worrisome. I’m middle aged for God’s sake and yet I find I have a tendency to behave like a virgin schoolgirl when in the company of an attractive man. It’s bizarre!
Although I haven’t consorted with anyone other then my ex-husband for over 15 years it would seem that I have totally forgotten how to be myself in the company of men. It’s like being in my eighth grade ballroom dancing class all over again: Trés awkward. Part of this is due to the fact that I am seriously out of practice but, in my defense, the other part is that my ex whittled my self-esteem down to the size of a toothpick and re-building it has not been an easy task.
Truth be told, I liked the previous phase of my divorce much better than this one. I wanted to be alone. I enjoyed my solitude, basking in the glory of rumination and feeling wholly free to do my own bidding. It was kind of relaxing and stress free. Then one day my libido woke up with a start and said “Where the hell am I? I’m ready to rock!” But woman was not made to rock alone and trying to dig up a date is harder than it looks; it can really make you thirsty for success. I’ve tried several approaches from the subtle to the hammer-down bold but have continued to come back empty handed and lonely-as-hell.
Just last week, I met a guy I really connected with. Of course, it was the one time I wasn’t wearing makeup, having reasoned that visiting an open-house in my neighborhood would be a drive through affair. But the minute I entered the house, like a moth to flame he came whizzing over. We talked, we laughed. I dismissed his appeal and revisited it a dozen times in as many breaths and our witty banter was flying fast and furious. I was truly surprised to find that I wasn’t’ engaged in my usual immature behavior but chalked this up to the fact that I wasn’t even sure if I was attracted to this guy. During the course of all this discourse I came to find he’s a carpenter who remodels older homes and that he lives in the neighborhood as well. The conversation wrapped itself up nicely when he asked for my number and realizing that this could be the drought quencher I’d been waiting for, I allowed myself to feel a twitter of hope.
Then he called. Chatty as before, he led with a humorous line and a mossy laugh and I found that I was happy to hear his voice. As we talked I happened to mention that I could really use his help with a broken window (I may be a woman of the world but power tools are not regularly found in my orbit). He agreed to come over the following afternoon to tend to it but a wariness in his voice led me to believe I might have jammed a wedge into the possible romantic direction we’d been headed.
The next day, I was all aflutter getting ready for his visit and even put on some makeup; after all, this time I wanted to put my best foot forward. My heart skipped a beat when he knocked on my door but when we came face-to-face I could see it in his eyes: he was all business. Don’t get me wrong, he was friendly, but not as flirtatious as he had been. This disappointed me but I tried not to let it show. Too much.
As I analyzed his every move and everything he said, I began to get more and more confused which resulted in my acting overly nervous and giggly and chatty. Arrgghh! I began to second guess myself and our first flirtatious encounter and wondered what had happened to the confident me that he had met the first time. Did he think I just liked him for his ability to handle a nail gun with aplomb? Should I show him I liked him despite the way he looked in his tool belt? Should I say something witty, ask him out, let him do all the talking? I had no clue!
To say the very least it was dizzying to witness my uncontrollably geekish behavior as it continued unabated. I tried to act cool and collected as I gave him a tour of the house, noting other building projects I intended to undertake, listening to him wax poetic over the poplar floors, transoms and moldings that grace my 100 year old house. But it was no use. He had changed saw-horses in mid-stream, I could just feel it, and I had descended into the hell of girlie-land.
Once we had concluded the tour, I determined it would be best to give it one more try before I let him ride off into the sunset. Offering him a glass of wine, he politely turned me down, saying he needed to grab some dinner. Of course this would have been a perfect segue for him to ask me to join him. After all, I was wearing lipstick, but no such offer emanated from between his lips; the lips I had hoped to be kissing. We walked and talked our way to my front gate, setting prices for the window and a time frame for the work and then he was gone, leaving me alone, exhausted and confused.
Of course, I turned to my girlfriends for advice but they told me not to over-think things, to go with the flow, blah, blah, blah. When I confided my lack of decorum to one friend, expressing my disappointment in my inability to play it cool she told me that at my age I really shouldn’t be playing games at all, as I had no time to waste!
I wanted answers where there were none and so I had no choice but to put him on the back burner of my mind and move on. A few days later he came over and repaired the broken window, friendly and competent but it was plain to see that the flirtation was all in the past. I wondered if his attraction to me had all been a figment of my imagination and just to be sure I volleyed a bit of coquettish banter his way but he didn’t return the serve and that, as they say, was that.
Deep down, I know that someday I will be appreciated again by some man, somewhere. But for now I’m going to take this woman of the world out for a night on the town and hope that the teenager in her can stay put, especially when the time comes for her to speak.