Saturday, January 14, 2006

age, or maybe growth, revisited...

From ages 18-20, I was a party girl. Not in the sense of going to bars to pick up guys or be picked up (I've never left a bar with someone I didn't go in with), or having one night stands (something else I've never done). But I really enjoyed getting lost in the intensity of it all-- the lights, the loudness, the fog... By daylight, I was rather mild mannered, nerdy, and insecure. In the right lighting, I could pretend I was someone else.

I think there's just a little tiny bit of that party girl left in me, in the sense that I'm a bit of a free spirit-- fun loving and silly-- but it's different. I'm more of a party girl in the abstract rather than in the tangible reality of my life. As much fun as I have blogging about what a wild woman I'm going to be, given the chance, it just isn't really me anymore.

In true fashion, I talk a big game, but am really a homebody. This morning, I snuggled in bed next to my husband and watched the sun rise over the ocean. My day since then was spent sipping chamomile tea while reading my Bible on the balcony of our room, and walking the beach and nearby pier with my family. I have a feeling that the rest of the day will be about the same, perhaps with a hot tub soak or pool swim thrown in. Last night hubs and I did go to karaoke, which was a blast, and I've talked my sister and her man into coming here for karaoke tonight instead of hitting the hot clubs. I guess, in spite of my grandest fantasies, that I'm a pretty simple girl, easy to please, who just wants to be with her family. Maybe, just maybe, there isn't as much in my life anymore that I want to escape, and my life is satisfying enough without having to be obscured by disco balls, fog machines, and thumping bass.

Hubs and I talked this morning about the whole protection thing... I think we figured out a few contributing factors to why we felt the way we each did-- things relating to past experiences. You know-- the baggage we tend to drag into relationships and carry with us over time. So, it's resolved. If we can both afford to go, we will. If not, I'll go. Simple. No hurt feelings, no sulking, no nightlife. I probably wouldn't really want to go out anyway, given my tendency toward talking bigger than I'd ever really try to be in real life. But I am a big girl, and could make a trip on my own if that's the way it works out, and he knows I'd spend the whole time babbling to anyone who would listen about him and the kids. They are my heart.

The whole guy behavior thing is an interesting discussion, though. I think that some guys think women are stupid when it comes to knowing what some guys are like, what they think, and how they behave. I think women get it much of the time; we just don't necessarily react the way that guys think women will react. I've said it before and I'll say it now-- the manly man national geographic strut and preen mating dance that some guys do really cracks me up! It does not turn me on or weaken my knees. It's just anthropology in action-- a fascinating display of usually misplaced effort.

Last night, I went down to karaoke, and hubs was going to join me later. I walked in, ordered a beer, and immediately picked up the karaoke song list. I'm here to sing, remember? A small crowd of sixty year old guys (late sixties would be a generous guess on my part), one of whom was extremely friendly and had an earring, were flirting with me. Old guys-- well, that's just kind of cute. I flirted back, because they were so funny, and went back to reviewing my song list. Within a few minutes, 1/2 my beer was gone, and I had found my song. I couldn't find a pen to write my song on the slip, though, and was leaning in toward the bartender to try to get his attention. After a minute, he came and sat another beer in front of me. "No-- I just needed a pen," I said. "Oh-- the drink is compliments of the gentleman at the end of the bar." I looked, and there was a forty-something guy with a tropical print shirt smiling at me. "Thanks," I mouthed, thinking about how I'll never see California after this. Less than 5 minutes in the bar, and old guys were hitting on me while some dopey guy at the end of the bar was buying me a drink.

But see, here's the thing. I'm guessing (because I'm not a man) that tropical man thinks, "Hey, I bought this chick a beer. She smiled at me. That must be because she wants me. Maybe I'll get lucky." And as far as I'm concerned, I don't really care if that was what he was thinking. I was thinking, "Kind of dweeby, but seems harmless. Free beer-- not bad. If that guy is married, he's a jerk. Maybe he's not, though, but what do I care. When's hubs coming to the bar? I can't wait for him to get here. I'll drink my two beers and sing love songs to him all night."

A few minutes later, hubs arrived to find me with a beer in each hand (not a normal thing for me, just for the record-- I drink a couple of beers per month when I'm on a roll). I smiled at him, kissed him, and then gestured down the bar-- "The second beer is compliments of the gentleman at the end of the bar." Hubs looked, and tropical guy smiled at him. Tropical guy then walked over, play slugged my husband in the arm, and said, "Hey, man, I was just getting her another beer so she'd sing-- haha!" Hubs smiled, because truthfully he's not a very jealous kind of person, recent hooha aside, and slugged tropical guy back. "Yeah, she's a keeper," he said, and laughed. I then spent the rest of the night singing country music to my man (with my voice, everything is country when I sing it), and dancing with a group of forty-something women who were there. We really had a blast, and before long my husband was even chatting with the old dudes, even the one with the earring. They really were friendly guys, and had neat stories to tell (old guys usually do).

So, here's the thing. I think some guys are pigs. Back in my party girl days, I had plenty of married guys offer to meet me for flings, and brazen single guys who expected me to be something I wasn't. I've seen men at their worst, trust me, so much so that I went for years thinking all men were horrible. But truthfully, most of the guys I know now are pretty good guys. I think guys put on this silly show because they think it impresses other people, and who knows?-- maybe sometimes it does. But most men I know now, deep inside, just want someone to talk to, to listen to them, to believe in them, and to cheer for them. They just usually don't expect that other person to be a guy, because it might violate the man code, which really is a silly thing to begin with. And guys, most women are smarter than you think. Even when they go along with your manly man act, it is usually with the awareness that you are in fact doing the manly man act, and that they are doing the easy female act. Don't flatter yourselves too much!

This vacation is a nice thing. Time to chill out, time to reflect, is rare in the daily grind. It's nice to get away from it all for a while. I feel good.

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