I had a “blind date” with a potential new guy friend. When he showed up at the meeting place, he was handsome in an older guy way; I thought/assumed I was a few years older than him. I felt more comfortable, that that “evened things out” a little. He said something, I don’t remember what, and I unthinkingly responded, “well of course I’m older than you”, joking around. He stopped short. He said he was older than me. We compared something with numbers [not birth years]: he was 53 years and some months; I was/am 48 and some months, but somehow in my mind that made him “7 years older”.
Music from our formative years came up, and he was surprised that I was unfamiliar with his particular favorites. I said that happened a lot with Spouse, “who is only 4 years older than me”.
Spouse came up in conversation more than I would’ve expected. I wasn’t trying to bring him up — I would’ve preferred to leave him out entirely — but [awake, I now realize] he was a bit of a shield.
I really liked the guy, and I wanted to see him again.
But… a woman he worked with, in her mid-30s, showed up to take him back to work — some big problem had come up that he had to deal with. She wasn’t his girlfriend or anything like that, but I thought she was oddly possessive, almost like she was jealous of me. I felt very uncomfortable.
And then a bunch of people showed up from his work, all insisting he had to come back. In the flurry, he and I did not exchange contact information, and he left.
The building we’d been in was isolated, out in the sticks. [I don’t know why we met there. I’d never been there before.] I went to the cafeteria to wait for Spouse to pick me up. It was mostly deserted in there.
Something about food.
I was waiting and waiting. Eventually I went outside to wait. It was well over an hour before Spouse showed up.
Inside the building, every time I looked at my phone, to see if Spouse had texted me, my phone showed in text that it belonged to someone else. It was a different name every time, but it was never mine. I kept typing my name in, to erase the other names, and the phone was resisting me.
Later, an electronic woman’s voice said “Meander” with about 6 syllables, so that it was completely unintelligible.
Something about prom.
Something about SB, Spouse’s best friend, a guy.
I have complex feelings about this dream. It compactly deals with many threads/elements in my life that continue to bother me. I haven’t figured out how to fix any of them.
I don’t how to write about this. And I don’t . . . want . . . to write about this. It’s prickly and uncomfortable. I’m expecting anyone who responds (if anyone responds) to point out some blind spot I have, in a way that’s maximally embarrassing. Because that’s what this whole topic is.
The things I want, that I’ve always wanted, seem to be impossible. At least with the people I knew in person. And because they’ve always been impossible, it feels shameful to want them.
Spouse and I went to a car show in Baltimore City yesterday. He heard about it somewhere, and immediately thought of me. I didn’t realize until we were getting ready to leave the apartment that he’d never been to a car show, ever, anywhere. Somehow I’d just assumed that all guys everywhere go to car shows. But Lexington wasn’t a big enough market to have car shows.
I went to one, in Chicago, years before I met Spouse. I think I went alone, I must have. I saw all kinds of cool things. The concept cars, to me, were the highlight. I would have loved to talk about the car show with someone, but there wasn’t anybody.
My dad and my brothers don’t care about cars. But even if they did, they’d never talk to me about them.
There was a frozen yogurt place really close to our old apartment. Last summer, I walked over there a few times, got frozen yogurt. The clerk who waited on me was a youngish guy, tall-ish, dark brown hair, Mediterranean complexion. I thought he might be of Palestinian or Iranian heritage. Really cute. So cute, in fact, that despite the vast difference in our ages, I had trouble thinking straight enough to give my order. Because I perceived I was at least 20 years older than he was, it seemed, I don’t know, “safe” to mention it. I was trying for a playful, friendly-flirting tone when I said something about him being really cute. I mentioned my age, being twice his age. I expected I would come across as kind of a kooky/eccentric old-ish woman. One of the perks of age, I thought.
I goofed up. But I don’t know how.
Every single time I came in after that, he made some kind of comment about my saying he was cute. But it wasn’t fun and flirty, he was embarrassed, uncomfortable, prickly. I brought Spouse with me a few times, and the clerk said his stuff in front of Spouse. The first time that happened, I took Spouse outside. Told him, sheepishly, what had happened. Admitted I’d clearly screwed up somehow. Asked him what he thought.
He thought I was overthinking it. That everything was fine.
It wasn’t. I had to stop going to the yogurt place.
Now that I’m old, now that I’m not trying to pass as a cis woman anymore, I tend to assume that I’m kind of ugly. Spouse thinks I’m attractive, but he loves me. To people who don’t know me, I’m invisible. I’m certainly not attractive to other men anymore, even men my own age.
So what on earth about some ugly old crone saying, “wow, you’re cute!” to a gorgeous guy 20-some years her junior is . . . threatening? makes him uncomfortable? Surely he knows he’s attractive?
I can’t figure it out.
Oh, I don’t want to do this. This is so hard.
The first best friend I remember having was the boy who lived across the street, C. I’m pretty sure I gravitated toward him (rather than him gravitating toward me) because he wasn’t very social. He wouldn’t have sought me out.
Everyone in the neighborhood knew he was supersmart. In some ways, he made sense to me, in ways that “ordinary” children didn’t. But I had no conception of the neighborhood mothers talking about me as being supersmart. And I’m sure they didn’t. Everyone knows that girls can’t be supersmart.
So him preferring my company to everyone else was just this weird thing that no one talked about.
It was in relation to him that I first thought about gender. About what my own gender might be. Because he was a boy, and was supersmart, his parents’ expectations for him were sky-high. I think I was 5 or 6, and the pressure I already saw him under was frightening. I would never be able to withstand pressure like that, but still do my own stuff, I thought. Good thing I’m not a boy! But… I don’t feel like a girl. And yet everyone says I am. I really like pretty colors. Wearing pretty clothes. Ribbons in my hair. Flowers, butterflies. Sparkly! Boys aren’t allowed to like any of those things. Boys can only wear boring ugly clothes. Instead of making friends, boys punch each other, say mean things. Or they just ignore you.
Boys grow up to be important. Boys are important now. Boys have adventures. Boys do things, interesting things.
Girls are . . . nothing in particular. They play with dolls. They talk about babies a lot, about growing up to be wives and mothers. They don’t want to do anything interesting. They’re boring. And they’re mean too.
I don’t fit anywhere. Nobody likes me.
But pretty clothes and pretty colors and flowers and sparkly are really really important. (Even though other people would say I’m being silly and stupid to admit that.)
So I guess I’ll pretend that I’m a girl. Because no one will pay any attention to me. No one will expect anything of me. And under that cover, I can do what I want.
I guess if I was growing up now, I could be a boy and yet like pretty and sparkly.
But I don’t think I was ever a boy. Or a girl. I was something else.
I’ve only ever wanted to be myself. Whoever that is. Insisting that I must belong to a gender . . . messes everything up.
I have way more to say, but I’ve run out of spoons.