Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's all interpretation

Everyone loved the fictional Carrie Bradshaw because…we’ve all been there. As women, we’ve all had a Mr. Big – the one for whom we will bend over backwards, turn ourselves inside out, lie to our friends, burn down our own houses, vandalize government property, and possibly even kick a puppy if we believe it will work out ‘this time’. The only one we will feel guilty about is kicking the puppy.

I have one. For the sake of anonymity we will call him Mr. Damn. I call him this because I met him online and I thought, “Damn, he’s funny.” I talked to him on the phone and I thought, “Damn, he has a deep voice.” I met him in person and I when he kissed me on that first date the only word I was coherent enough to utter was, “Damn.” And, now that we’ve dated, broken up and been doing the on-again-off-again game for over a year a la Carrie and Mr. Big, I spend lots of time stomping my foot and yelling, “Damn!” while tears stream down my face or sitting on the floor of my shower sobbing, “Damn him,” or holding a ridiculous pair of heels that I don’t need going, “These will be my ‘Damn-him-to-hell’ shoes.” At this point, I have an entire wing of my closet dedicated to ‘damn-him-to-hell’.

The really stupid part of this whole scenario is that we COULD work (I live in a neighborhood called 'Denial'). The only hiccup in the formula is that he can’t seem to get it into his head that I think differently than he does. If I could just find a way to get past his ears into his head that his interpretation of my actions is so far off base then we might actually have a chance of finding that common ground that could maybe be the first step to a working relationship (shut up mom - my blog, my opinion, my rose-colored glasses). Now granted, we have a few more steps than just this one to work thorough (I mean 'few more steps' in the same way there are a 'few steps' to get to the top of Mout Etna) but if we never get this one figured out, we’re fundamentally doomed. I don’t need him to think LIKE me, just get that I think differently than him.

Case in point: today he got mad at me. He got mad at me for looking at his myspace page and commenting (not on his myspace page but to him personally – via text message) on his new “interesting” friend. Now, when I say interesting, I’m not talking about interesting as in, “Hey, who’s this new girl?” interesting. I’m talking interesting as in, “Hey, who’s the chick with the raven black hair, leather corset, mini-skirt so short I can tell you what color her thong is, fishnets, and thigh high lace-up boots” interesting. And for everyone’s edification, I didn’t approach the subject in defensive “girlfriend mode”…after all, I am not his girlfriend. Right now, I’m the ex-girlfriend with benefits which comes with a lot more insecurity and no right to any of that extra insecurity. I said, “Hey, interesting new friend, I was going to wear that outfit today, but I thought I’d raise eyebrows at the supermarket.” This was his invitation to laugh and explain what I’d already conjured up in my head which was that she’d sent the friends request which he’d accepted because her profile was private and with that main picture he was curious to see the rest of them. I can chalk that up to male hormones and try to ignore the fact that her “location” is way too close for comfort and go about being oblivious. However, the response did not go as I’d planned. Instead he commented on the fact that I’d located his “new friend” within five minutes and what kind of stalker am I? Well…since I hadn’t been sitting on his page all day, I didn’t know it was a new development so that was just a lucky fluke on my part and secondly…whoa…that defensive posture tells me not only did I piss you off but I just pushed myself into paranoia overdrive and now I’m not allowed to ask anymore questions. Damn I hate ex-girlfriend status. I have to play this one carefully. Ignore it? Act hurt? Act pissed? Nah, We need snide with a hint of exasperation - it's imperative to portray that he's seriously over-reacting here. Snide is definitely the way to go. So, I tell him that everything I say lately pisses him off and I’m sorry that I asked – I didn’t realize he’d just done it since I didn’t sit on his page all day. And then I held my breath. It appears to have worked, my phone rang within 2 minutes.

Anyway, as it sits now, all is fine. He apologized, I apologized (for being snide - not for looking at his page) and he even explained who the new “friend” is and it’s even more benign than my “conjured up” story. But here’s the deal:

Why do I check his myspace page? Because I miss you dumbass! I’m not trying to keep tabs on your or stalk you or see who you’re conversing with but when the new friend’s picture is the biggest damn one on the page and she’s dressed like a hooker, it’s bound to catch my eye. You’re on the road 99% of the time and I haven’t seen you in almost two months and I wanted to lay my eyes on your mug. Now you may not miss me and looking at my picture may not satiate you in any such way when you do miss me but if it’s my way of dealing with the hardship of you being gone all the freaking time can you just cut me a little slack. I already feel so damn disconnected from you all the time that on the rare days when I do feel so inclined to look at your page and I see that you’re online or have logged in that day I have this (maybe silly) feeling of being a little more connected to you that day.

But you made your point, that is assuming your point was that you don’t want me to go feeling that silly little moment of happiness on occasion – because in your quest to ensure that I don’t go jumping to conclusions (ahem…at least one of us asked what was up) you made your page private and blocked me - thereby just adding one more layer to the disconnect between us.

I don’t expect you to think like me – just remember that I think differently than you do which means that you probably suck at interpreting my motivations.

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