Tuesday, January 30, 2007

lovesick... but not for long

Over the weekend, I met a girl waiting on line for the bathroom. She and I instantly bonded, so naturally, I told her about Barman Ben.

"Do you want to sleep with him, or do you want to be his girlfriend?" she asked.

"I just want to kiss him. Even once and it would be enough," I answered.

Her eyes widened, somewhere between awe and sympathy. "You love him a little bit, don't you?"

"I don't want to love him," I sighed.

I'm trying to get a grip. Yesterday, I signed up for a month's subscription to an online personals site, as a safety net. I'm still not actively looking, but going on a date or two might help put things in perspective. I'm busy with other projects, so I don't even have much time to devote to the site, but even registering felt like a step in the right direction.

There are moments when I get a bit overwhelmed. There's plenty to distract me, yet none of it is enough. I'm taking a big trip in March, to a foreign country, by myself, so I should focus on planning that forthcoming adventure. I wish the trip was tomorrow. I wish I could leave town for a few weeks, clear my head, get far away from Cozy Bar and Ben and these utterly irrational, overpowering feelings. I'll be able to avoid it tonight easily enough, and Friday I'm going to a party at Polly's place, but Saturday is the best night there (not crowded after 1:00am and Ben closes out the bar) and I don't know if I'll be able to stay away. Willow might have a small gathering at her apartment, which would be just the thing.

I need some kind of love intervention.

A person has only so much discipline. I've been focusing a lot of my energy on my new fitness regime and have been doing great. I've been doing a lot of thinking about my next career move. I've been putting a lot of effort into going to more events (readings, movies, concerts) and that's been fun, too. I was on this perfect streak of independence and self-improvement, content as could be, and was not expecting to be emotionally side-swiped like this.

I'm putting a plan into motion. I'm going to throw myself into my social activities, writing, etc. I'm not going to watch any more movies he's in. I am going to stay away from Cozy Bar, at least this weekend (if I don't see him, I think about him much less). I'm going to go on a date with someone else as soon as possible. There are already one or two potential prospects in the works (though ever since meeting Ben, I seem unnaturally drawn to tall handsome men in their early 40's).

It would, of course, be totally tacky to bring a date to Cozy Bar... right?

25 comments:

Ana Renee Jones said...

Yay! Dolly,

This sounds like a great plan. Keep to your guns and you'll be ok. It definitely sounds like the feelings are based off of hormones.

Rooting for you,
Ana Renee Jones

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Oh, darling.

This blog is just great. You have such a vivid and clear set of...uh...tendencies? Keep up the fight! Keep looking for some flat-footed calm.

It's amazing how every time you make an effort to 'just worry about yourself' and have your own life, this volcano of irrational exuberrance overcomes you. It really must be so hard - - I mean it feels so good, but it also feels not so good, right?

You'll come out fine!

I still think the best cure for this situation is to get the dude out for coffee and have your kiss.
The longer he remains an elusive, tempting, and essentially unknown quantity, the longer your volcano will erupt.

Anonymous said...

Dolly,

Have you seen the movie "The Tao of Steve"? If not, there's a quote from that movie that applies to your situation with Ben...

"Act like a woman can't join your club, and she'll do almost anything to get in."

Yes, you're smitten with him. I suspect that as time passes so will Barmen Ben...Get back into the dating world. There are lot of fish in the sea.

Cheers,
The Saint

Dolly said...

Ana,
Aren't all feelings based off hormones, though?

Stranger,
Hahaha, "irrational exuberrance". I love it. But I don't think he'll agree to coffee. I get the feeling he's still getting over the divorce, that it's too soon.

Saint,
Wait, you suspect Ben will be smitten with me or that he will also move on? And do you think it would be bad to bring a date to the bar, to show just how much I've moved on? Or would that sabotage everything?

ruuude said...

Dolly,

Why not just ask BB for a date? You're interested. I think he's interested. Unless there's something really serious holding you back, why not just pick up the phone and call him?

If he says no or if there's another problem, at least you've taken action. You can move on with other plans and/or remain friends. It's a simplistic breakdown, I know, but sometimes, it's the best way!

Cheers.

Halstead said...

Dolly,

Sounds like a plan. The working out, changing jobs, all things I'm doing/working on too. And a change of scenery never hurts. I have a friend who likes to travels a lot too. But if he can't afford to at the moment, he'll rearrange all the furniture in his house.

Still, I feel sorry for the next couple of guys you go out with. What would you call them? "Illusion rebound" guys? I know it's not quite the same thing, but I briefly dated a girl who went right back to her old boyfriend afterwards. If your "trying" to forget about somebody, it probably won't work.

One things for sure, you have an excellent attitude.

Side note, I know what my parents look like now. But in my minds eye, and probably after their deaths, I'll imagine them in their forties. Does this guy look anything like your father? I am the exact same height, weight, and build as my girlfriends father. I'm no psychologist, but I don't think it's a coincidence.

-Halstead

Anonymous said...

Dolly,

Here's my take on your situation...either ask Ben out or move on to bigger and better things.

I think he's interested in you, but either he's afraid to progress things further or he is telling you "LJBF".

From your postings it sounds like you're a attractive young lady that has her sh!t together. You shouldn't have any trouble finding a many worthy of your affection.

Rock on,
The Saint

tony said...

Dolly,

Can we move forward to one month after you date him? When you go to his bar and see him talking to other women. Will you feel worse then or now? If he is smooth he is smooth with everyone (all girls and boys) he's had a lot of time to hone his skills.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your response to the comment I left a few days ago (Jan 21, 11:55 PM). Before I comment, however, I want to point out that I am not a mental health professional. It's true that I have quite a bit more formal education in psychology and related disciplines than the average person (even most psychology majors), but I am not a PhD, let alone a clinical psychologist, let alone a psychiatrist. So please keep that in the foreground of your mind before taking my intuitions too seriously.

Now, unlike most of your other commentators, I am not interested in helping you start a romantic relationship with Ben, because frankly I am not sure that is for the best. So, instead, I'll just suggest some things that occurred to me while going back and re-reading all the entries pertaining to him, things that I believe will help you to get a deeper understanding of the nature of your attraction to him. So here you go:

• Yes, for long I'm afraid.

• I strongly encourage you to examine the history and nature of your relationship with whomever your primary male caregiver was during the first 12 years of your life. Just during that period. Don't focus on how it was afterwards. If you had both your biological father and one or more surrogate fathers in your life during that time, then take a hard look at your relationships with all of those men during that time. Now, I am not suggesting that you ever lusted for any of these men, consciously or unconsciously. In general, mental health professionals don't take the ideas of the Oedipus Complex and the Electra Complex seriously any more: they just goes far beyond what the evidence will bear. Nevertheless, how you experienced or perceived your relationship with that man (or your relationships with those men) during those tender years has everything to do with what kinds of men you will or will not be romantically attracted to once you go through puberty. I believe you will unearth a rich repository of insights if you follow this suggestion. Especially given the extent of his seniority, the intensity and obsessiveness of your attraction to him, and the fact that there is nothing R- or X-rated about your fantasy.

• In conjunction with the foregoing, I encourage you to do some research on two phenomena: attachment and transference. There's oceans of research and literature on both of these topics. So don't dive in too deep. Just get a good solid grasp of the basic concepts, principles, and findings (if you haven't already).

• Ask yourself, "What are all the things about Ben's personality and behavior that I love, like, appreciate, or find attractive?" Make a list and look at it. Now, think about whom else this list might describe (mind: it's not necessarily any of your male caregivers). Whom does it remind you of? Open your mind and let it wander.

• I discourage you from discussing your discoveries about your relationship with your male caregiver on this blog. I don't think you'll get much valuable feedback here. Although you are not crazy, it's better to examine such things with the assistance of a trained mental health professional.

I hope these (highly debatable) suggestions help.

Deep peace and joy to you,

Anonymous

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:22, you're a sicko. She's just a normal girl.

To all of you suggesting she ask Ben out. Just shut up. You don't get it. It's not the way it works.

Realtor Rick said...

Dude, get over him. Go out with someone else.

Rick

clarissa said...

i think you're probably more in love with what he stands for (inspiration, romance) vs. who he really is, since that's still somewhat vague.

as for taking a date to cozy bar, i'm going to say NONONONONO...i think you might end up running the risk of seeming really transparent to BB (he might automatically assume you are trying to make him jealous after a large gesture like the story)

the other thing that might happen is that you might end up inviting one disaster of a date...what if you spend more attention to BB than your date? how would it feel if you were on the other end of said date?

Rosie said...

Stop going to Cozy Bar, definitely don't go with a date... He knows very well that you're into him. He likes it, it makes him feel warm and fuzzy, but he doesn't reciprocate the feelings. He wants you to keep coming back and stroking his ego, because you're attractive, intelligent and unusual (the short story you wrote) but he just isn't into you.
Magazine Mitch will have spilled the beans from that night where you met -- and he will have done so in a very male way "She wants you, dude" and he will probably have smiled lightly on the outside, and grinned on the inside -- but they never stop to think what the consequences of encouraging a girl to keep coming after them are.

The consequences are: They get bored of that girl, because there was never that spark of interest anyway, and the girl gets her hopes up incredibly high (don't say that they aren't Dolly, because if you really didn't have a hope that he'd return your feelings, you wouldn't go on with this game) and then is so crushed afterwards that she takes months to recover.

I don't know why humans do this, play with other people who want them just, because it makes them feel good... but there you have it.

The less you see of him, the better, and the quicker you'll get over him. You've got only 4 weeks till March, make a resolution to not go to Cozy Bar all of February. And if he calls, don't pick up, just take the message. You're busy, not "avoiding him" -- that's just more ego-flattering, if he thinks that you're purposefully keeping out of his way he'll want to pull you back in.

Think of him as a traitor "You're nothing to me now, Ben!"

smoothlatinkid said...

ditto what realtor rick and rosie said.

Don't bring a date there. Date other guys. Move on.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm kind of surprised that Barman Ben is taking such a beating. Of course I don't want Dolly to get hurt but Barman Ben hasn't rejected her at all. To me, he seems interested and genuinely so. Instead of giving her a list of movies to see, he is inviting her to see him live in a play which will get them beyond the bar. And he thinks that she is a fantastically talented writer who just lacks a publisher so he thought he was helping out by introducing her to people in publishing. He was trying to do something good and he got negged both times!

When exactly, on a busy crowded work shift, was he supposed to ask Dolly out? Guys like to do the asking in private. Maybe when he shook Dolly's hand he was trying to tell her that he was leaving and he hoped that she would step out with him for a bit. But she made it clear she was staying put.

I guess I'm optimistic about crushes because I've had quite a few work out for me. My first boyfriend was a huge crush. I spent over a month concocting elaborate plans to get us together. It took a super long time for him to realize I was into him. But eventually we started going out and before our first kiss he said "It feels so good to get the one you want." And he said that he had just as much of a crush on me by then :-)

Not every crush has worked out, of course. The guy I had a crush on at the beginning of 7th grade actually came over and spit on me!

But when crushes work out they are soooooooooooo wonderful. And then you have lots of stuff to laugh about if you've done some goofy stuff (like my first boyfriend, I tricked him into playing a violin duet with me as if I couldn't find a dozen friends to ask, hehe).

Anyway, I still think Barmen Ben could work out if Dolly is still interested.

Becca

Anonymous said...


* * * HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. * * *


Goodnight! Drive safe, everyone!

Rosie said...

Becca, how old are you?

I don't want to sound patronising but the rules of the game change as you get older. The rules, and the aims. When I was younger I used to laugh at the Bridget Jones-style chick lit., because I thought it was so easy to get a boyfriend. I went through several relationships, some over a year or even two years (the longest was almost four years), convinced that it was easy.

But then men grow up and get weird, and get slippery, and for some weird reason... they "just aren't that into you" more and more often. I'm pretty, I have a nice body, I am intelligent, I'm fun, I've got experience of life, I'm well-traveled and well-read... but no matter how I persist in my crushes... they're just not that into me.

Just as I'm really not into the ones who pursue me -- men aren't the only ones who are more picky than they used to be, I suppose!

Anonymous said...

Rosie,

I'm sure you know this, but one of the main reasons for this is 'phenomena' is:

As a man gets older, his options open up. If he is moderately successful and put together, women 18-40+ years old are into him. When a guy is younger, he generally doesn't have the level of sophistication required by an older woman....so he gets girls his own age, and his options are limited.

Yes this a gross generalization....it is also many times true.

Rosie said...

Very true... *sigh*

Constant Dater said...

What Rosie said. So what Rosie said.

If he hasn't taken the bait by now, he's either clueless or not interested enough to make the effort. You deserve better than both of those conclusions.

I second Rosie's suggestion to make some space between you and Ben so that you can clear your head. Be too busy to take his calls (not really a game when you actually are legitimately busy) and take a break from Cozy Bar.

If you do ignore everyone's advice and go to the Cozy Bar anyway, definitely don't bring a "date." It'll look like transparent bush-league game-playing to Ben and would be unfair to Decoy Date--that's some bad juju to put out there, especially when you're just getting back on your emotional feet.

Remind yourself of Ben's "dealbreakers": He's an actor in his mid-40s--rather, he's a bartender in his mid-40s--and you said yourself you prefer there to be only one artist in the house.

Rosie: Take heart. I think part of the thing is that, as we get older--for both genders, not just guys' options "opening up" (ugh)--is that we've had our ups and downs, we've had our hearts broken, and we're not as "Why not?" open-minded as when we were 20. We think we know better what works and everything, but that depends on our self-awareness. It gets increasingly harder to look at each new person as a clean slate. Instead, we all weird ourselves into a corner somewhat, so the challenge is to fight out of that the best we can. Or drink more.

Transformer said...

Personally, I believe feelings are merely thoughts we've learned to habituate. into responses over various situations. No one really considers this, and it's why the world is generally the way it is, with everyone putting the responsibility of their ultimate happiness on others.

You see a guy, a thought arises. The thought produces biological responses (also thoughts), they in turn get you having other thoughts you're quite used to having in these situations.

All of the feelings and thoughts we have about someone are not contained in the other person, or our hormones. They're in our minds. If you can come to truly understand this, you'll see some incredible changes.

P.S. Yes, folks, I can get with girls.

Dolly said...

Halstead,
I wouldn't call the next guys I date "illusion rebound" guys. The last time I got obsessed with the idea of someone and then started dating a real person, I fell in love and had a healthy relationship. I'm just about ready to let this one go. And no, Ben looks nothing like my father.

Tony,
This comment really got me thinking. Yes, dating a bartender would probably not be too much fun.

Anonymous 8:22,
Wow. Thanks again for the thoughtful comment. I have to say that I think introspection needs to be balanced with action. I do a lot (A LOT) of thinking, and delve pretty deep (and you're right, my readers don't need to know about any "daddy issues" I may or may not have). Now I'm trying to get out there and enrich my life by doing more.

Rick,
Boy, you sure can be repetitive.

Clarissa,
I agree with everything you said 100%.

Rosie,
While I agree that I should stop going to the bar, I do think there is interest on his part. It's just not enough for him to get past whatever issues he has and act on it. Which is no good to me. Moving on.

Constant Dater,
Ah yes, the one-artist-per-household rule. Thank you for reminding me! That's one I seem to go back on time and time again.

Transformer,
I think a lot of feelings can be shaped and controlled by disciplined thought, and I think that is sometimes necessary (like in my current situation), but the spontaneity and even irrationality of emotions can be kind of beautiful, too. I wouldn't want to lose that part of me entirely. Hopefully, next time I'll have better aim with my emotions.

CoatMan said...

Dolly: There's something desperately sweet about your slightly hopeless romantic streak and your valiant attempts to come to terms with it.

As to online dating, do come and visit my 'blog, where I and a few of the commentators have been discussing that very topic of late :-)

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