The other “how do I know”

Everyone has to deal with the normal “how do I know” questions when embarking on a new relationship.  “How do I know if this is just lust or something more?”  “How do I know how he feels about me?”  “How do I know he is the one?”  And so on…

As a survivor of rape (I can practically hear your collective “gasp”, but if I can’t be honest on here, where can I be?), there is another “how do I know” question that is constantly on my mind, whether I am on the first date or the 30th.  “How do I know when it is the right time to tell him?”  I always feel as though it is too soon to tell “him” and then suddenly, it feels too late.  I used to tell men as a way of judging their character, as though the way they reacted was a good indicator of whether or not I wanted to be with them.  It isn’t.  It just isn’t a fair moment to judge someone.  More recently, I got tired of telling people.  It is exhausting and people often react badly, leaving me feeling as though I need to support them.  Except for the most recent major player (Rat-Bastard), I haven’t told anyone in the last few years.  The thing is, no one is ever going to get to really know me unless they know.  It is a major part of who I am and who I have become.  I certainly dealt with it and no longer think about the events every day, but the fact of those events is present in my life every minute of every day.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately in relation to the fact that I will now be dating people who don’t already know me well.  (Having lived in a small town for quite a while, many of the people I previously dated had known me for years.)  Well, to be honest, I am mostly thinking about it in terms of Aaron.  (See previous posts.)  We have been on four dates and text all the time.  While it feels like it might be a little too soon, I am worried that it will soon seem too late and that I will just let the opportunity to tell him slip away.  In order to “take a risk,” like one of my readers so wisely suggested, I feel like I need to be very open and honest and let him actually get to know me.  And, give him a chance to run away if it seems like too much for him, not that I think he would.

Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to have a tattoo on my forehead that announced it to the world.  “I am a three-time survivor of rape.”  It would make everything much more straightforward.  Then people would know from the beginning and could feel more free to ask questions about it.  It is even hard to tell friends.  Since it was a relatively long time ago, it seems weird to bring it up to new friends in the beginning, and then like it is way too late.  Just like with men.  And female friends, while sometimes sympathetic, tend to have wildly different reactions.  You never can tell before you “tell”.

In all my thinking about it over the last few weeks, I think I have come to a conclusion.  When I want to tell him, I will.  I have a feeling that might be soon.  Of course I will wait to tell him in person; it isn’t something that should be shared via text.  But I do feel the need for him to know.  If it makes him nervous to be with me or makes him not want to get to know me, then he is someone I could never be with anyway.

As for my friends, those who read this and didn’t already know will know now.  Please feel free to talk to me about it.  And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you in person, please don’t take it as a sign of disregard or distrust.

 

All of the men…

I left the bar tonight thinking “Ugh.  All men are absolute crap.  All of them.  None of them can keep it in their pants, even when the option in front of them is super scary.  Yuck.  I am never going to meet anyone.”  And then I drove home (I was sober….don’t worry).  As I was getting out of my car I thought “Wait a minute!  Aaron is a really nice guy!  I bet he would not go home with someone super scary just because they were throwing themselves at him!  I HAVE met someone worth knowing!”

I post this because a few days ago, my friend and I had a conversation about how I might be “just not that into him.”  The other day I found myself kind of missing Aaron and looking forward to seeing him again.  And now this….uh oh…..maybe I am into him….???

The weird thing that happens….

WARNING: This post may contain material not suitable for all audiences.  Like my parents.  Mom, this means you.  (Nothing crazy, just could cause discomfort….)

There’s something weird that happens with old flames.  You KNOW they aren’t really as attractive/funny/smart/worth it as they used to seem, but somehow, the old you takes over and your judgement becomes clouded.

Case in point:

Last night (I’m home on vacation, remember?) I went out with my girls.  We generally go to the same lame place, but always have a great time anyway.  Great company can make the worst places awesome.  Anyway….I was fully expecting to be hit on by way too many 24 year-olds.  I was even expecting to have at least a few high school reunion moments.  I was NOT expecting to run into a certain old flame.  And by old flame, I mean ancient history.  When I was a sophomore in high school and 15, “Jeremy” seemed like the hottest, funniest, coolest guy EVER.  He was a senior and had a car….both things that seriously upped his cool-factor.  We were a couple for a few months before I ended it to be with another, more awesome senior (well, I thought so anyway).  Our relationship had its sweet moments, but was mainly a physical one.  And even after we broke up, we always had a weird chemistry.

Last night, I could feel that chemistry tugging at me again.  He was obviously interested and was attentive to my friends and me, buying us drinks even though he doesn’t drink.  At some point in the night, I mentioned to one of my girls that he was a high school boyfriend and she said “Eww.  Him?  He’s not attractive!  He looks like he spends too much time on the mountain!”  I looked at him through her eyes and saw that she was right.  Where I used to find him attractive, he DID have sort of a mountain man look going on.  For a few minutes this worked.  It put a stop to those weird feelings of chemistry.

Then, at the end of the night, he asked me to go home with him.  We didn’t “have to do anything,” but he could “use some company.”  I actually considered it.  Despite the realization I had had earlier in the evening (with a little help from my friend), I actually thought about it.  I considered it all the way home (in my own car) and hadn’t ruled out changing my mind.  Finally, sense got a hold of me and I went home and got in bed, texting him “maybe another time.”

The craziest thing is, I actually haven’t ruled out “another time.”  I spent all day considering what it is about old flames that make people lose their sense.  I have a few thoughts:

  • They remind us of a time when we were younger/skinnier/cuter and more carefree.
  • Anyone you have previously had sex with somehow gets tied up in your current perceptions of sex and what is sexy.
  • There is something satisfying about knowing that someone who wanted you when you were younger/skinnier/cuter and more carefree still REALLY wants you.

It could be one of those things, a combination of those things, or none of those things.  All I know is that for some reason, there is something tying me to this person, even though my brain is screaming “NOT A GOOD IDEA!!!!!”

Here we go again…

I’ve been “vacationing” in my home town for a few days now.  It’s very relaxing and while it’s not exactly a vacation spot, it IS beautiful.  The only problem with being at home is there isn’t much fodder for blogging.  So, I apologize in advance if this month is a little light…

With that said…this morning I woke up, checked my e-mail, checked my blog, then went on Facebook.  I hadn’t been on for more than three seconds when “bink,” I had a chat…..from a 22 year old man boy who “stayed up all night because yesterday was his Friday” and really “wants to see me tonight.”  I’ve met him three times, always in the bar.  Why did I accept his friend request?  He is a friend of a good friend of mine and I didn’t want to be rude.  Anyway….so I get these messages and I am laughing and I tell him I really can’t afford to have a crazy night because I am a student and don’t have a job.  And he says “yeah, I’m in the same boat.  I mean, I pay all my own bills.”  (I think this is meant to impress me.  I will not comment further on this….)

THEN, after about 5 minutes, “bink,” another chat, this time a 24 year old.  OH. MY. GOD.

WHY is it always the young ones??  I don’t mean on Facebook….I realize the people who are actually in the same age bracket as me are at work right now, but I think this is just a sampling of what my day to day life is like with people who are way too young to consider constantly trying.  Is this the universe’s way of telling me to give the young ones a shot?  I don’t know if I could stand it….

Train Hero

The train today was particularly crazy.  As soon as I walked onto the car, I smelled cat pee and BO.  Lovely.  There were no empty rows, but I had my pick of rows with available space.  I chose a nice-enough looking youngish (maybe 30?) man to sit next to.  Mainly because he looked like the cleanest option and the least likely to be the one that smelled like cat pee or BO as he was nicely dressed with no sweat stains (some of the other options had those).

I immediately opened my book and began reading without really making eye contact with my new neighbor, but I could tell he was staring at me.  It was pretty obvious.  He alternated between full-on staring at my face and trying to read my book.  I was DETERMINED not to make eye contact because I could tell he was going to start talking if I did.

10 minutes into the ride and I was working hard at not looking up while this man stared right at me.  I was doing a pretty decent job, but the kid in the seat in front of us was listening to his iPod with no headphones….that’s the modern equivalent of holding a boombox on your shoulder…and it is just as obnoxious as that was.  Anyway….I was struggling to concentrate on anything….dude with loud music in front of me, staring dude next to me.  Then, out of nowhere, staring dude leans forward, clears his throat and says to the kid “Excuse me, do you mind turning that down a little.  There are people back here trying to read and it’s a little loud.”  Then he looked at me….I had to look up at that point, so I darted a glance at him and said a quiet “thank you” with a little laugh and went back to my book.  The kid actually quieted down instead of making a scene….I was a little impressed, but still not actually willing to make eye contact.

A few stops later and staring dude told me it was his stop, so I moved out of his way.  As he passed me, he said “Is that the Cleopatra book?” (Which he should have known based on the fact that he had been alternately staring at it for 40 minutes…) I nodded and smiled.  He said “You know the museum in Cincinnati has a great Cleopatra exhibit.  That’s a great book.  Really well written.”  And then he walked away.

Damn.  Now I feel bad.  I should have made eye contact…maybe all he wanted to talk about was my book.  Or maybe he wanted to ask me out, but that might have been okay too.  He was thoughtful, acted like my hero, and then made a comment related to something intellectual.

Sorry Train Hero….I guess you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover….

“I’m 24.” I figured….

What is it with 24 year old men boys?  Was there something in the water in 1987??  Did their mothers all eat confidence-boosting foods while they were pregnant?

For some reason, EVERY time someone asks me out, hits on me, or even approaches me, it turns out that they are 24.  EVERY TIME.  The only people who come up to me in bars are 24.  The only people who talk to me on the train/T are 24.  The ONLY ONES.  (Ok, I may be exaggerating, but it is a significant portion…)

The conversation always goes something like this:

24 year old guy: Hey.  How’s your day going?

Me: (Slightly confused, looking around to see who they are talking to) Umm, hi.  It’s been pretty good. (Pause) And yours?

24: Better now that I’ve met you.

Me: (In my head: Oh dear god) Uhh..oh.  (Start to walk away, go back to my book, etc.)

24: So what are you reading/doing/drinking?

Me: (Why won’t he stop talking??) Oh, _____.

24: Cool.  So what’s your name?

Me: (Shit, think up a fake name) <Real Name>(Damn)

24: Cool.  I’m Rey/Deandre/Nick/etc.

Me: Oh. Nice to meet you. (Go back to what I was doing)

24: (Follows me) So how old are you?

Me: (Oh boy….another 24 year old. I’m serious, this is how I know they are 24. They ALWAYS ask how old I am!) 27.

24: Oh. Well.  I’m 24.

Me: I figured.

Then it goes on from there with me trying to convince the 24 year old that I am too old for him and that he should find a girl his own age.  It always ends with them convinced that we are going to go on a date and that I will fall in love with them.  Seriously.  They usually say something like: “Well, when we start hanging out, you are going to fall in love with me.  I bet we will get married.”  Do you think I’m exaggerating?  Because I’m not.

So…I need to know….what was going on in 1987?  Are these boys just at a particularly cocky age?  Or are these boys going to be like this forever?

Please stop talking to me 24 year old boys.  Or if that’s too much to ask, at LEAST stop telling me I will fall in love with you.  I’m not going to.