Hi Everybody. Welcome back for part 4 of my great romantic debacle. In this story we come across a situation we are all familiar with, when your best friend asks you if you like one of your female friends. I talk about how I treat this situation. There are many things to ponder such as do I want to tell them? Do I want the female friend to be gossiped about? Is it right to embarrass somebody whom you are not attracted to by letting the whole world know you are just not that into them? When you talk about whether you like somebody do you think about what effect your words can have on them?Do you think it’s better to have that conversation with the individual first rather than your friend? Grab your popcorn, and I hope you’re ready. Here is part 4.
In Job Corps I had a lot of female friends, with of course Shawna being the most prominent one. However, one of our really good friends was a girl named Lucy. The three of us did a lot together and got along easily. Lucy was like one of the guys. She was very different than Shawna. Shawna was very outgoing and flirty and Lucy was more reserved with men. While Shawna was very boy crazy and talked openly about how guys looked Lucy did not. Lucy even nicknamed Shawna Esther as in estrogen because she was so boy crazy. While Shawna was not funny per se, she was fun and Lucy was downright funny. I enjoyed her a lot. She got my sense of humor. When I would say something dry and witty, she would catch it. She liked my quote of “Tense. It’s a stage above ninths.” She could match me in the wits department and I liked that. One time when we went to karaoke she said she wanted to sing the theme to I love Lucy. I didn’t get it. I thought it was because her name was Lucy but it was because it’s a wordless theme. Lucy did not sing when we went to karaoke. Tim however was a good singer.
In my twenties I really struggled with the dynamics of male-female communication. Especially when it comes to having the discussion about the direction of the friendship. At 24 I started to figure out that there was a system if you will amongst women and men. It was at this time I realized that women would have their friends ask a guy how they felt about them rather than just asking the guy directly. I had devised a method to combat this scheme. I hated it. I thought it was the shortcut. I figured if you didn’t have the guts to broach the subject one-on-one then you didn’t deserve the answer. I myself had kept many an attraction to myself and I suffered. So when people took the shortcut it just made me bitter. In retrospect I realize I should have just been accepting of this and been okay with people finding a way around the communication issues. I was not there at 24. I had a lot to work out.
One day Shawna and I were walking and she starts to ask me about Lucy. “Do you like Lucy?” she asked me. Now, with anybody else I would have been difficult. I would have said “I think I should tell her myself.” As my way of protesting the system. But with Shawna and Lucy, it was different. I told Shawna how I felt about Lucy. “No, I don’t. There’s nothing wrong with her. She’s not ugly or anything. She’s too funny. I am not attracted to funny women. I like wounded birds.” I trusted Shawna with this information. I would not want anyone else to get this information. I liked Lucy and I would not want her to be embarrassed that I was not attracted to her. I could only tell this to Shawna because she would not tell everybody about this. She would not embarrass her and use this information as fodder for gossip. Lucy didn’t deserve to be the subject of gossip. Especially something along the lines of “Did you hear? Marc doesn’t like Lucy. she really likes him but he isn’t into her.” Who knows where that conversation could have gone. I felt very protective of Lucy and wanted to handle the situation delicately.
I never found out why Shawna asked me that. Did Lucy get the wrong idea about my intentions with her? Did Lucy have feelings for me? I don’t know, really. But since I did not have those feelings for her then it really wasn’t my business how she felt about me. I didn’t really need to know. What good would it do me to know Lucy liked me romantically? None, so why bother finding out?
I liked that Shawna and I could talk openly about girls. She talked openly about boys with me. In a sense, we were like girlfriends. We talked openly about the opposite sex. I really began to like the openness we had. I started to realize that there was a level of friendship we had that could not be reached if we were dating. There are rules to dating. And one rule is that you always treat your significant other with respect. You don’t whistle at other girls or go, oh my that woman is gorgeous. There is a cautious state we take with our partners, a respect that comes with it. But, there are so many things that we keep to ourselves. You don’t talk shop about the opposite sex. You tread carefully with certain subjects. You don’t flirt or tell your partner about people flirting with you but when you are friends there is an openness that comes with it. There are a different set of driveway rules. At this point the barrier had been crossed, we had dated other people. We were established as friends. We had established that we were not dating so the level of honesty that might not be there early in a friendship was there. I knew all of her secrets. I could talk about hurting over Jaime. I could talk openly about how I felt about Tammy or Lisa. She told me about all of her infidelities and approximately how many lovers she had in her life. The number was significantly high. These are not things I would have been privy to had Shawna and I been dating.
I was in the friend zone for sure. But I was also in love so I glorified the hell out of that friendship. With thoughts like those shared in the prior paragraph. This is how I coped with all of the pain of longing. Sometimes I just loved being with her but with my deep feelings for her it would also hurt to be near her so much. I wanted to touch her, I wanted her to love me but I also knew it would be a disaster. She would cheat on me. I knew I would lose some of her honesty with me. I knew it would restrict how I could talk with her. What I realized later in life is that being platonic with her was my safety net. I was controlling her ability to hurt me. When a woman cheats on you it hurts. When a woman breaks up with you it hurts. One or both of these would have been inevitable with her. What is cheating? Cheating is breaking the rules, right? Plain and simple. As platonic friends, she could not hurt me as much, she can’t cheat on me because there are no rules. She can cheat on Tim. She can steal Tim from Carol, which she did, but this doesn’t hurt me because she has no obligation to me. We get hurt in our relationship when people go against our expectations for them, when they break our driveway rules. I put no expectations on her. This would allow me to love her. This would protect me. While I thought I was preventing myself from being hurt I was hurting all along pining for her. Thinking she should be loving me. Thinking she should be touching me, hugging me, holding my hand and choosing me over all others. I guess I was trying to fulfill all of my needs at once. I was trying to fulfill the need to love, which I was, the need to be loved, which I was still chasing and the need for safety. In order for love to work, a romantic love, it requires vulnerability. I was too young to know that at the time.
I don’t know what happened to Lucy after Job Corps. Hopefully she found love and is doing well. I never kept in touch with her and it’s a shame that sometimes life takes us in that direction. I wonder if she found a man who is attracted to a woman whose predominant social personality trait is humor. I wonder if she presents more of herself now than she did in the past. Perhaps she shows the depth of her personality around her friends or perhaps that depth is only reserved for a select few or maybe just one.