Like A Moth To A Brain

The hardest part about constantly putting yourself out there is knowing that every time you do, you may stumble and fall. I do that a lot. In my eagerness to chase that which is good, sometimes I stub my toe or bruise a knee on the sticks waving the red flags.

This is the case with the knight. I’ve had to take a huge step back and turn and head off in another direction. It hurts – there are things about him that I enjoy tremendously. He is a talented writer – and wrote wonderful emails and short stories. He would cross his arms on the table and make this face and his hair would fall this certain way . . . and it would just do things to me. We have so much in common, and he reminded me of things about myself that I might have forgotten. He even took me on a picnic in the park – and I got to sit for hours enjoying the breeze on my face, watching the ducks and geese fly and swim, and just “be” for a bit.

But there are certain paths I have been down before, and even though I might be better at navigating the rocky trail this time around, I just can’t bring myself to go there again.

“Personality draws you like a moth to an open flame . . .” Rocker observed.

He’s right. The most attractive thing to me about anybody is their emotions and how they connect to them: twinkling eyes, animated enthusiasm about things or ideas, passionate intensity; raw sadness, shy appreciation, deep concentration. The recognition that the person I am talking to is more than an automaton, an operating humanoid. That they are not just keeping me in the lobby of their soul, but actually letting me see and maybe walk in to the cerebral rooms of who they are and really understand what motivates them.

So it’s back to the drawing boards for Joey. I’m talking to 2 new fellows – one from PlentyofFish, one from OKCupid. An email also arrived with a special deal on eHarmony – it was so good, I decided to give it a try for 3 months. Maybe guys who pay to meet me will be different? Course, I’m paying to meet them too, so that raises the bar. Last time I was on eHarmony, I met Tide Boy – it cost me $238, but I found a friend for life and those are priceless, aren’t they?

I keep telling myself that.

What Might Have Been

I try not to think about
What might have been
‘Cause that was then
And we have taken different roads
We can’t go back again
There’s no use giving in
And there’s no way to know
What might have been

(What Might Have Been, as sung by Little Texas)

This song has been going through my head a lot lately, and I finally broke down and bought it from iTunes.  It’s already been played several times. Okay, a lot of times.

With my birthday a few days away, and a lot of meaningful dates floating on either side of them (anniversaries, birthdays, milestones, etc.) it’s easy to reflect about people in your past and how the roles have changed from then to now.

In the past few weeks, I’ve had several encounters with ex-boyfriends and even my ex-husband. I’ve learned about changes in their lives and experienced some of my own. 

When I became single again last fall, I was able to find comfort in the arms of my friend Rocker.  Five years ago, he and I had dated briefly but it soon became clear that we were in different places in our lives.  When I moved on to other dating opportunities, he understood and wished me well. Our friendship continued, but he always flattered me by telling me that under different circumstances, he would have never let me go. 

This time, he was there at a time when I really needed a friend, and helped repair my bruised heart. But once again, time and distance played against us and I found myself moving on.  He understood and wished me well.

I met a new friend – Radio – and upon first meeting I knew he was not yet ready for a relationship with someone like me. We walked in to our friendship with wide-open eyes.  Radio was newly out of a marriage and it was easy for us to talk openly and candidly about things.  I felt like, in many ways, I could help repair his bruised soul much the way that Rocker had healed mine.

After several enjoyable weeks, I could feel myself on the cusp – either moving forward, or moving on.  Dating stinks, and not having to date and yet still having the comforts of a Platonic Plus relationship (aka FWB) was an attractive distraction.  But I also knew that there were a lot of things that still didn’t work, and the fact that I was willing to ignore them and move forward was not healthy.

I forced myself back to POF and OKCupid, and stumbled across a photo of a man that immediately caught my eye.  I waited to contact him, suddenly shy, but Hiram responded back and after several days of great conversation, we met and it has now blossomed in to something with great potential.

As soon as Hiram and I had started chatting, I let Radio know that I was going to have to downgrade our relationship to just friends – and he took it somewhat in stride.  I knew he was struggling through his own personal issues, and I knew the timing was not ideal.  But because we had been open from the beginning, he respected my wishes.

Radio and I still chat – and I hate all that he is going through.  Knowing that he has to deal with so much alone, while I am moving in a more positive direction, makes me feel guilty.  I know I don’t need to feel guilty, it’s just a side effect of who I am. 

And that’s what has happened.  I’ve looked back at past loves, past relationships, and thought about what might have been.  Most are in better places, some are in worse, but all have moved in different directions.  And I wish them all well.

In these days of no regrets
I keep mine to myself
And all the things we never said
I can say for someone else
And nothing last forever but we always try
And I just can’t help but wonder why
We let it pass us by
When I see you now I wonder how
I could’ve watched you walk away
If I let you down please forgive me now
For that beautiful goodbye

(Beautiful Goodbye, as sung by Amanda Marshall)

I feel I would be remiss if I did not finish this story, even though it may cast a somewhat disparaging light on me.  I did not reply to Trotter’s last email, but within a day or so, I got another one.

“. . . I would still like to meet you for lunch one day, but I don’t want to pressure you.”

To which I replied:

Thanks.  I’m not sure that we would be a good fit – I think we have different mindsets on things.”

He thanked me for my time, complimented me again on my eyes, and went radio silent.  Five days later, I received the following email from him.

“Good morning. I hope U R doing well. Curiousity has gotten the best of me. I know U R not interested in me, but I have to ask. What did I say that made you think we have different mindsets? Was it my comment about not dating outside my own race? If so, I am not racist in any way. I have black friends and black co-workers whom I treat just as I do anyone else, with the respect they deserve.”

(Okay, content aside for a minute.  U R?  Seriously??  You are in your 40s – you can spell it out.)

At first I was just going to ignore his email.  A part of me just wanted to delete it and him from my memory.  But finally, I gave in to my more wicked side. 

I waited two days before answering back:

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner.  Yes, the race comment was a big turn off.  I know you don’t view yourself as racist, and I get that.  But I am part black – and you obviously would have an issue with that.”

Here is where you may judge me, however harshly.  Can I prove that I have any black in my genetic makeup?  No. But I’m French and y’all know that we are lovers, not fighters.  If history has taught us nothing else, it has taught us that we French would lay down for anybody. My family tree is a rainbow of races and creeds. I know I’m multi-racial.  What races?  I don’t really know, nor should it matter.  And that’s my point.

Here’s what Trotter answered back:

“There is no need for you to apologize. I on the other hand, want to sincerely apologize to you if I offended you in any way by my comments. I definitely did not intend to do so. I am definitely not racist/prejudice in any way. Two of my nieces are bi-racial and I love those two girls just as much as I love every other relative I have, and I am proud to be their uncle. As I said before, my step-sister is divorced from my brother-in-law, who is a black man, but they are currently back together, though they are still divorced.

 I currently live with my step-sister, her ex-husband, and my two bi-racial nieces in [redacted]. I have never dated anyone outside my race, and I have chosen not to do so up to this point based solely on how some of our dumb ass family members view bi-racial marriages. I have witnessed my step-sister being treated differently by some of our family members due to her previous marriage and her two youngest children and it really angers and frustrates me. I hold NOTHING against you for being bi-racial. I base my opinion of you based solely on you, not your race, skin pigment, education, etc.

In my opinion you are a pretty, intelligent woman, whom I am still interested in, but I understand my comment turned you off and I REALLY hate that. I have no issue(s) with you being bi-racial, and that would not keep me in any way from wanting to meet you, learning more about you, or date you, but I understand if you choose to not talk to me again. Take care and again I am sorry.”

I appreciate that he apologized.  I appreciate that that he tried to make amends.  He’s still an idiot, but I appreciate what he tried to say.  And that he willingly admitted that he’s not man enough to face his family who may be more racist than he is.

The one statement that really stuck in my craw was this:

“. . . I base my opinion of you based solely on you, not your race, skin pigment, education, etc.. . “

I wanted to ask him why I was afforded such a privilege of stayed judgment, when the black woman who had contacted him originally was not given that same respect.  Since, y’know, he gives the same level of respect to every black person that he gives everyone else.   

I didn’t respond, and I won’t.   I could go on, but I won’t do that either.

Besides, I’ve found something much better.  But that’s another story.

I’m Not Predjudiced But . . .

I had been talking to this fellow Trotter for several days now.  The conversation was neither annoying nor fascinating, it was just general conversation via text and email.  A not unpleasant diversion.

We had agreed to meet for a date this week – and I was actually curious what it would be like to meet Trotter in person. I got the sense he was truly looking for a long-term relationship without being overly intense about it, and that was new and different.

Yesterday, I was packing up from StellarCon and in the process of carrying too many things at once, I opened up several apps on my phone with the palm of my hand (I hate when that happens!).  Annoyed, I immediately started closing out of all of them.  One happened to be POF, the dating site Trotter and I had met on. 

Within minutes, I received a new message from the site, from Trotter:

I only signed on here to respond to a message from . . . none other than my ex-girlfriend.  She has been on here checking out my profile as well as updating hers . . . OMG . . .whatever.”

It seemed weird to be getting what seemed to be a defensive explanation from a guy that I hadn’t even been on a date with yet.  Why would I care that he was on the site?  Or that his ex was checking up on him and updating her site? 

I gave back my standard answer when I don’t want to engage in the drama:

LOL.”

Soon after, I got this message:

OMG! Now some black chick on here wants to meet me!!!  I am not prejudice[d], but I do not date outside my race.  Just my choice and preference.”

Is it just me, or does it seem like every time someone starts with “I am not prejudiced” that they almost always are?

I answered back:

You could be missing out on a great opportunity!  Some of my best friends sleeping at my house tonight are black! 🙂

His answer:

I think I will stay like I am.  Again it’s not a prejudicial thing.  It’s just my choice.  My sister was married to a black guy and two of my three nieces are biracial, so it’s not racial at all.”

Umm.  Dude?  That proves that your sister is not prejudiced, not that you are.  And it’s not racial?  You just said you didn’t want to date outside your race.  Ergo, that would mean that it is, actually, racial.

Thanks for playing.  Here’s a lifetime supply of Turtle Wax – since you seem bound and determined to stay within your hard-headed shell.