Your Public Service Announcement: Not Every Attraction Is A Call To Action

I am a flitting butterfly, forming crushes based upon the faintest of interactions.  A pretty smile and a pleasant conversation? Chances are I’m swooning over her. And it would be utterly impossible for me to remain happily married if I didn’t understand one fundamental truth about relationships:

I don’t have to follow up on every possibility.

It’s okay to have a crush on someone, and have that crush hover between us, unspoken.  I’m not obligated to tell her.  If she looks as if she wouldn’t be interested, then spewing my unwanted crushitude all over her face is only going to smother this potential friendship under a tide of awkwardness.

But why do I want to unburden my heart?  Because deep down, some stupid part of me believes that if there’s a chance for a romance here, I must grab at it!  Which is a leftover feeling of scarcity from my teenaged years – that desperate feeling that physical passion is so rare that I must instantly gorge upon any opportunity presented to me, like a caveman who’s found a stockpile of honey.  If this opportunity slips by me, when will I ever have another?  Even if I’m dating to someone right now.  I gotta have this.  There’ll never be another.

That’s how a lot of cheating starts – with an attraction.  And both parties, unused to this sort of potential popping up during committed relationships, act as though this erotic connection was some sort of fiat by God, as though people aren’t drawn to each other unless they’re meant to fuck… and so they get down and dirty and destroy everything around them.  And you see that stripe of thinking in a lot of fundamentalist religions, where they’d rather swaddle women in clothing or dehumanize them or distance them because OH MY GOD THESE WIMMENS ARE LURING ME IN LIKE THE SNAKE IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN.  If a woman looks like she might want to have sex with me, I’m powerless in the grip of their come-hither lust-pheromones!

But no.  The world’s full of possibilities, and part of being a responsible human is recognizing that you don’t have to ride every rollercoaster.  I have really potent attractions to some of my closest friends, to the point where swirly daydreams invade my head while we’re talking and I wonder hey, what would it be like to kiss them.

Then I slot that fantasy into reality, and think: do I really need to wager this nascent friendship, putting all that on the table just on the one-in-a-hundred chance I’m misreading her and there might be a potential romance here?  And even if I won the bet, would this romance be something that fits into my life right now?  She’s got a boyfriend, I’m a little packed with poly right now… do I need to feed this flame just because I believe every candle wants to be a forest fire?

I look at them, and weigh the odds, and stay very quiet.  It’s okay to have this crush hovering between us.  It still exists, even if I never force it into action.  It’s not pathetic to leave this marked as an unknown; it’s an act of strength, not chasing after every pretty girl like some dog chasing cars. It’s an act of respect, not forcing her hand to give me a firm and verbal “no” when she’s been signalling her lack of interest strongly through body language and shut-down avenues of conversation.  It’s an act of maturity, being strong enough that Gini can trust me not to fall in love with every kissable face that comes along.

And that’s fine, having a few unfulfilled dreams.  It means the rest of my life has less drama, is more fulfilling, and contains wonderfully sexy buddies.  Not a bad tradeoff for a little ambiguity, if you ask me.

3 Comments

  1. Lyn Belzer-Tonnessen
    Apr 30, 2013

    Yes! This, a lot!

  2. Megan Rose
    Apr 30, 2013

    I honestly thought this was going to be an essay about writing. About how it’s okay to not follow up on every idea you have, how to not panic about not doing that anthology. About the realization that yes, by the time you finish your current project, you might have forgotten all the details about the ideas you had for other projects and that’s okay.
    But I think the essay still works as a metaphor for that. Neglecting your current project to chase after a shiny new idea when it’s okay to have little ideas and not pursue them. Sometimes you can admire an idea or a person for what it is without having to make it part of your life. To admire something without having to own it.

    • TheFerrett
      May 1, 2013

      It could just have easily been. I wound up whipping this essay on a friend when she told me she had to go to this convention, they’d invited her. 🙂

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