I used to play this game in my twenties with men.
I don’t like you, but I want you to want me it was called. I was insecure and wanted all the attention I could get from men, but I didn’t want to have to give anything up for it: sex, intimacy, love.
I wanted to feel pretty and desired without having to look into the eyes of any person or do I claim as their own. I felt ugly and short, and excessive compensation for the use of high platform shoes and low cut shirts that showed my cleavage. And a lot of makeup. I was a master at flirting. Could make men want me.
Then I panic. I would avoid. I would not return phone calls or emails. I hid. I would be distant. I was a fraud. I could not contain myself.
I do not want to have my own.
A good friend of mine has been in a situation in which a man was flirting with her and showing signs of attraction. She is attracted to him. I was confused by some of his behavior, and she said the same. Then he called to say: “To be clear, I have no romantic or sexual interest in you.”
“What a hole,” he said by telephone. Until I realized I was playing the game I used to play, or a version of it. I want you to want me, but I want no responsibility. I do not want to take this further, but I want to feel desired by you. I want you to fall in love with me, and I want to have zero liability. In fact, I’ll be a little surprised when you call me by my behavior was the name or names of your game.
I remember after I got rid of my twenty-eighth birthday I agreed to go on a date with a guy who had been waiting for years. I had known he was in love with me, and I was not attracted to him at all, but I was trying to overcome anxiety, and thought it would be a good idea to exit. I was not interested in it, but the date was fun. I brought home a big famous Hollywood TV producer for a Christmas party, and I felt funny and nice, and after we left, I said the great famous Hollywood producer was asking for me. “Who was the cute Jewish girl?” Said the producer said. I was flattered.
I was not in this man, but I tried to make myself because I thought it would be good for me. It was a successful writer of television, and was smart and funny. And he liked me. (I had been with someone for two years that I really like.)
I did not want to kiss. Sometime.
We went on a few dates, and finally emailed me and asks me out after I sent a joke email sent. He told me I had enough friends. That he was not interested in me as a friend and I had to be straight. I was interested in it or not?
I panicked. I was not. I stared at the computer, horrified. I did not dare to write the words. I admired him for his simplicity. Here was sending dumb emails just to keep it at bay, hoping it will go, but not without pining for me.
I forget exactly what I said, but ended with: “No, I do not want to date you.” Probably beat around the bush. Probably sounded nice and soft and a bit dishonest.
Never heard of him.
Look, I understand. He did not want to be my friend. I wanted to love me. He was being honest and fair.
I remember being surprised in your email. It was hard, and I’m assuming their feelings hurt, but never received an email such blunt before. I was so ready to say what I wanted to say what I felt and what I needed. And a friendship with me was none of those things. Fair enough.
I cringe when I think of the things I used to do for love. I hated myself and thought that if enough men wanted me, it could fill that hatred with something. Even something I didn’t want.
Why so many lies?
I don’t want you, but I want you to want me. Or even the I don’t like you, but I can’t stand that you don’t like me. I want everyone to love me.
Oh, there it is. I want everyone to love me.
It’s so ugly and horrible and smelly that I throw it down the basement stairs before it burns my eyes and blinds me with its filth and stench.
There’s a roomful of people who are all nodding and digging what I am saying. They are into it. Then, there’s one who isn’t. I focus on the one.
I would like like.
I focus on the one.
I sent an email to someone the other day which included my newsletter. I wrote about it the other day. He simply replied, “unsubscribe”.
When I got really down and dirty with myself, I was ready to ask why he sent the email, first, Jen? I had a feeling I did not like. I had known. And the answer came. I was, again, in my twenties wearing a low cut shirt and shoes to hide. I wanted to like was the little five year old Wimpy Kid reply.
The thing is that I only sent the email because of it. If I get really low and look where I am afraid to look, like under the bed and in the basement, it’s disgusting. Would you like want I want I want I want the dark cracks can imagine.
Here’s the great thing about being honest with yourself: When you finally are, you leave the basement.
The ugly truths about you aren’t so ugly once you face them. You just get a little wet washcloth and move forward with your day, dusting off whatever needs dusting. It’s just that most of us are afraid to look inward, so we keep throwing things under the bed and down the basement stairs.
I’d be afraid to go there after a while too.
So that man, who ran my friend, I do not know what his business was. (And yes, I still think it was a hole for saying that to her.) I know he flirted with her and sends each signal that he was interested and then, when she called, she opposed. He wanted what he wanted without having to be there for him.
Who wants to live that way? It is the living ghost. It’s like lying his way through his life and beating people with his big bag as he walks down the sidewalk. It’s like making a mess and go as you scream, “Someone else will clean it”, without even even look over his shoulder.
There is a fine line between being honest and being a hole.
Do not get me wrong. Sometimes I’ve been both. What worries me now is the first.
I want to love is a review of want you to want me.
I want to love.
Imagine the world we are all concerned about what people think of us and if we like it and how good it feels when we love and how not want to have to be really in our body, it seems perfect parade widgets.
Oh, wait. Right.
We live in that world. You and I and everyone else calls boilers pots black.
We have the opportunity to create what the experience is like for ourselves. I want to love. I do not care if I like.
It’s just a lie, and we all know.
How about this: I want to care less. I want to care less about the things that don’t matter and the people who don’t love me back (there will always be some, so get over that now). I want to care less about who is loving me and more about whom I am loving.
We live in the world. Not much we can do to change that except not living in the world, and that the choice looks bleak. We live in the world, and we live in our bodies, and the capacity to love is great. It is so great that not even have to do anything about it, except to recognize it and ask you to sit down to a glass of wine. Is the nose of a dog and can smell bullshit a mile away, so do not worry about it.
Your capacity to love is so great that it will carry you through most things in this world.