Thursday, April 26, 2007

Light bulb

Contrary to popular opinion, I'm terrible at making friendships work with guys I like. Terrible.

Last night, on my way home from court, I was in a great mood. We got out a little early and we're off Thursday and Friday. I was so excited! The weather was lovely and I called Kansas. He has my umbrella and I'd like to get it back. Not sure if I thought I'd stop by his house for it or what...but, do I really need a reason to call?

He didn't answer, but just a few minutes later he called back. I chatted at him about my day and how happy I was to have some time off from the trial. I mentioned I'd like my umbrella and he seemed reluctant to return it. I told him he could keep it another couple of days because I'd ride my bike on Thursday (rowing after work), so I couldn't use it then anyway. While we were talking he asked, "So, are you going out tonight?"

I said, "Maybe."

And that lead to a meeting at the usual bar.

Don't worry, everything remained on the friendship level. However, I get about zero credit for that--all thanks go to Kansas for taking me seriously when I asked for his help drawing the line. He drew it and kept us on opposite sides. Even so, we had a good time hanging out and I got home at a reasonable hour. I didn't go to sleep at a reasonable hour, but slightly sleep deprived at work is no problem. I felt like quite the rebel for staying up past my bedtime. (What did I do? Knit! Did you really have to ask?)

A funny thing about being friends with Kansas is that I feel a bit rejected. Not sure how that can be when I'm the one that chose to change the nature of the relationship. But, despite his late night calls and visits, it was Kansas who'd been holding back. Last night, he mentioned an ex-gf who he's still friends with and I got annoyed. He was surprised--and annoyed back because I'd mentioned how I might see my ex (Owen) at a party this weekend (still haven't decided if I'm going).

I couldn't really explain my annoyance (jealousy) and I sure wasn't going to tell him what I was thinking. But I'll tell you. The thought was, "Why would he be willing to date anonymous ex-gf, but he won't date me?" Yeesh. Irrational much? I won't date Kansas--he is not available and he would be a terrible-with-a-capital-t boyfriend. He knows it, I know it. It doesn't mean I don't want it, but I've consciously decided not to pursue it and that will have to be good enough.

Anyway. There I was having my irrational thought and, in passing, Kansas says something like, "I'd just disappoint you." It wasn't apropos of dating and I don't remember the exact context, but the phrase stuck in my head and by the end of the evening it caused a full-fledged "click."

We talked about it later. I said, "You don't want to date me because of the heavy weight of expectations. You think you'll disappoint me."

Kansas said, "I didn't say that you're too good for me. Not at all."

"I didn't say that either. I don't think I'm too good for you. I don't think I'm better than you. But YOU think that."

"I don't think you're better than me, I just think you deserve better."

I said, "How is that different? Oh, you mean I deserve better treatment."

"Obviously! Of course you do! I'm a jackass."

And then it all made sense. My entire life I've run into a certain kind of guy--basically a good guy who has some issues--who feels the need to save me from my attraction to him. Things will never work out with Kansas because he has a huge fucking unresolvable issue. But just because he has a huge unresolvable issue doesn't mean we don't like each other. We do, quite a lot, and that makes it hard to be friends. It will make it hard to be friends and behave myself. But I guess I can trust Kansas.

All my life, it's annoyed the hell out of me that these guys want to save me from myself, that they want to protect me, that they worry about hurting me. I'm not a teenager. I'm not innocent or naive. But there is something about me that still gives that impression, that brings out that caretaker, saver, preserver in certain men. I'm a nice girl, a good girl, and there are certain ways you treat a woman like me. Like it or not, it's still true.

When I got over being annoyed, I realized that I should be grateful to Kansas for being strong when I wasn't, for looking out for me even though it wasn't to his advantage, for taking me seriously and doing what I'd asked. It gives me hope that maybe, against heavy odds, we actually will, eventually, painfully, figure out how to be friends. Or not. But I think I will stop resenting men who tell me they're no good for me and start believing them. It's always true.

Grateful for: consideration.

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