Saturday, June 25, 2016

Do You Come Here Often?

“Do you like her?” I hear it again, a little louder this time. I turn to see the guy behind me pointing to a book that sits on his table. I am in my favorite coffee shop and have just sat down to read. He points to the book and asks again, “Do you like her?” I tell him I don’t know who she is and so have no idea if I like her or don’t. “She has her own television show,” he says as if this should cement my decision. Wondering why he cares if I have any sort of affection for this nameless woman, I tell him I really don’t watch television and so am unfamiliar with said chick.

He makes a lame attempt to redirect the conversation. At this point, I realize he doesn’t care about my thoughts on the book but is, in fact, hitting on me.

And here is where the judgment begins.

I have always thought myself an open-minded, nonjudgmental human being. I quickly learn this is not the case. “You’re not even reading that book,” I tell him in my mind. “Do you read at all?” It is apparent through conversation that he is not, how could I put this delicately, the sharpest tool in the shed. Thick neck, muscular build, and eyes that cut right through me, though, he is in no way lacking in the looks department. He does, however, have a strong negative opinion of those who are not white middle class American-bred males. I subtract points for this even given his pressed polo and perfectly white sneakers. Where did I learn this? How did I come to a place in my life where I could cut a person down quicker than he could finish telling me about the fifty-five year-old guy he met who got a twenty-five year-old heroin addict pregnant?

Did I mention he is thirty-eight? “I’m old enough to be your teen mom,” I thought.

Maybe this isn’t so much judgment as it is my way of pushing away the idea of guys. It’s not that I’m not interested in dating. I’m just not sure I’m ready. Though technically I am divorced, I feel no urgency to find myself a man. As with many things during this transition from thirty-year marriage to life as a single woman, I find my desires in direct opposition to the advice I have been given. I have been told by many well-meaning friends that I need to get myself back out there. Out there being anything from drinks and karaoke with friends to a presence on multiple dating sites. Not only do I have no desire to meet someone in a place I never care to hang out, I am also of the firm opinion that dating sites are the devil.

Is it okay to confess I just want to date myself for a bit? I want to buy myself something pretty, take myself out to dinner. Maybe pick up some flowers as a little surprise. I want to get to know myself better. How much of who I am is who I really am and how much is who I have been conditioned to be? Will the real Tammie please stand up?

Bookstore Guy meant no harm. And maybe he was just trying to start up friendly conversation with a stranger. But the situation gave me pause to think. Would I welcome the opportunity to begin dating? Yes. With the right guy. Do I feel the need to date? No. I don’t. What I do feel the need to do is to figure out who I am and what I am about and to let in only those who are on board with celebrating that. So, until I meet that guy, excuse me please but I have a date with a quirky writer chick I know.

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