I’m working out some personal stuff here, largely thinking out loud. Please feel free to just skip right on.
sambear meets people, I swear, while brushing his teeth in our very own bathroom. He’s just such an extrovert, so loving and friendly and outgoing, that the man talks to everyone. Online or offline, he is just continually “on” in a good sense. It’s somewhat intimidating at times to witness the number of ladies who are interested in my man. I’m most definitely poly, but damn! And since it seldom seems that anyone is truly interested in me (yes, several recent incidents say otherwise, but I’m talking about my perceptions), I can’t help but be a bit envious at times.
Sam insists that this is because I do not put myself “out there”—and honestly, I don’t. Until recently, I haven’t gone out much, due to all the parenting stuff—but as I get out more, on campus and so on, I realize that I’ve fallen into a very introverted pattern no matter where I am. I haven’t actually “met” anyone but my professors in an entire semester of classes, and I certainly haven’t made any friends. (We will not discuss the fact that I’m closer to the professors’ ages than my classmates’. Or the fact that the professors are usually more attractive to me.) I walk into class, participate as appropriate, and leave. Period. I’m aware of my surroundings in a personal security sort of way, but I don’t ever consider speaking to anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. I’m just self-contained, focused on taking care of the business of getting my classes out of the way and getting home.
At home, while we’ve entertained regularly for years, it’s usually gamers we already know, our kids’ friends, and their parents. Well, that and hosting one or two filks a year. And now that we aren’t in Trybalaka, it’s less likely that we’ll actually get around to attending any gathers (haven’t yet, ever).
When we do go out, such as to the Poly SE coffee gathering a few weeks ago, I do talk to people. But we usually just see people we already know at those—they’re safe. I can chat freely. We’ve only ever attended one filk other than the ones we’ve hosted, but I did talk to a few people there who I didn’t already know. As we move to have just one child in the house, we’ll be able to go out a lot more. I’m left wondering how that’s going to be.
There’s also the fact that I only go out with Sam. I can’t remember the last time I did something social outside the house without him. Wait, yes I can! It was a folk singing night at East Lake Commons, and it was well over a year ago. Maybe two. No matter how many people know that we’re polyamorous, it’s probably less likely that anyone who might ever be interested would make any kind of approach to a woman who is very clearly WITH a man than if that woman were alone.
Since I seem to be damned near socially inert in the physical world, that leaves the virtual world. I mostly read the journals of people I know personally. I don’t post a great deal in any LJ communities, or even read the ones I’ve joined very regularly (except my recent addiction,
I haven’t ever been able to do personal ad sorta things very well, partially because I’m not sure what I’m looking for. Then I realized that it’s because I’m not looking, or I don’t want to look, or something like that—I want to be pursued. Doing the whole personals thing is more pursuing than being pursued. Sorta tawdry by those fucked-up double standards that, yes, are in some ways still present in my skull. At least I’m way more conscious of them now. That’s good, right?
Defining what I find attractive isn’t terribly easy, either. I’m terribly, terribly spoiled by my romantic man, and I’m way past being the girl who is just flattered to have someone interested in her. (I’m still somewhat surprised and flattered, but no, it isn’t enough to sweep me off my feet. Perhaps that’s because I wear more sensible shoes now? Not sure.)
Intelligence, competence—they’re required. Definitely. But I recently realized that just being smart isn’t enough. Being very competent or knowledgeable, even gifted, in one narrow field isn’t the kind of spark that gets my attention. I’d just as soon try a chat with an expert system, thanks.
But someone who is intelligent and creative and reasonably well-educated, both widely and deeply—that’s sexy. The kind of person who keeps pushing on to learn new things and acquire new skills, who won’t ever get old because there’s just so damned much to be excited about—that’s the kind of person who can give me chills with just words on a screen.
Words are important. Sam seduced me with his. I’m picky, okay? They must be reasonably grammatical. I’m not capable of getting past truly horrific spelling. Yes, it’s probably shallow. The words have to be sincere, believable, not contrived like one creepy person’s comments I’ve been seeing in a few ladies’ journals lately. If it sounds like something somebody made up for a bad novel or the way a clueless git imagines roleplaying a ladies’ man, I’m gonna laugh. I can’t help it. I may not laugh out loud, or in his face—okay, if that particular creepy guy were to be the clueless git in question, I would indeed do it in his face. But I’ll laugh.
I have an inexplicable weakness for men playing acoustic guitars. I don’t know why, but it was formed on high school band and chorus trips and I haven’t ever gotten over it. Maybe it’s some weird-assed diva thing—ooo, he can accompany me! But I really don’t think so, because I’m quite content to simply listen most of the time. And if he sings as well—(sigh).
If it seems someone is looking for just anybody, well, blech. I’m not just anybody, I am SOMEBODY. And I want to know that someone is interested in me in particular, not me as an available female who just happens to be present.
I’m a fairly assertive person. Okay, I can be a very assertive person. I don’t actually need anyone to defend or protect me. I like having someone do so, though. Yeah, it’s more of that old programming. But it is very deeply ingrained in me that if a man permits a woman he is with to be treated poorly or disrespectfully in any way by anyone, it is because he does not value or respect her. I will stomp on a transgressor, but I’ll be much happier if a man beats me to him or her. (And yes, gentlemen who witness a lady being treated poorly step in to provide this service because they are gentlemen and would want other gentlemen to defend their own lady in the same way if they were not present to do so themselves. It’s part of the polite society contract.)
(Yes, I’ve pretty much talked about men. I am bi, but I do lean towards men more than women. I haven’t been involved with many women, and I haven’t ever had a relationship with a woman that didn’t involve a man as well. In fact, I’ve only been involved with women in the context of a vee, triad, or quad. That isn’t by design, but in my experience, women are seldom are aggressive about pursuing other women (or me, at least) as men are, so no woman has chased me down and tackled me. Therefore I don’t know much about what one acquaintance called “the bi babe mating shuffle.”)
So, um, right. No, there probably isn’t a point to this, nor is it some sneaky request to have articulate gentlemanly guitar players pursue me. I’m simply trying to figure out—do I even *want* the kind of attention Sam gets? Well, yes, sorta. I recall enjoying quite a lot of pursuit many years ago when I was a slender young gal. Am I ever likely to become someone who pursues those in whom she’s interested? Nope. I simply can’t see it happening. So I suppose I’ll have to simply get out and enjoy myself in the real world more again. Perhaps I’ll meet someone who manages to convince me that yes, he is in fact interested in me and isn’t simply being polite. (Convincing me of such generally requires application of a clue by four.) If not, I’ll still have enjoyed myself, right?