Sometimes the most obvious of things can sneak right up on you and you can be too stupid, stubborn or just downright scared to deal with it.
A few months back, an old friend of mine let it slip that she found me attractive and wanted to discuss the possibility of us hooking up as a couple. I had known this woman for fourteen years — we met at a Halloween costume party in New Jersey; I was a giant psychedelic mushroom — and even lived with her as a roommate for about a year or so, but I had never thought of her as anything other than a friend, so her intoxicant-fueled Saint Patrick’s Day revelation came as a bit of a shock. I agreed to speak with her about it on my next day off, and we set the meeting at the pub two blocks away from my apartment.
The day for our meeting arrived and we went to the pub for dinner and drinks, however our intended tete-a-tete didn’t happen as planned since there was a birthday party going full swing and another friend of mine from my days at DC Comics was unexpectedly present. He did not appear to be having much fun at the party, so we invited him to join us. What I did not know was that the guy used to date the lady in question, and that she was in rather serious dating mode. When I could, I tried to communicate with her regarding my reservations about the whole thing and I basically stated that what with my nocturnal schedule I would be unable to maintain an easily-accessible role as her boyfriend, but I was perfectly willing to engage in a “fuck buddy” relationship, although I did phrase the proposal a lot classier than that. She had her own adamant stance as well, namely that she didn’t want to risk our friendship (despite the fact that it was she who got the ball rolling in the first place) demanding a guarantee that I would fall in love with her if we began something. I told her that I couldn’t make such a guarantee, so we amicably left it at that and she went back to the former boyfriend — for about five minutes, when she pulled the same ultimatum on him and he didn’t go for it either.
So the months have passed, and she comes to hang out at my place every Monday or Tuesday night, time that we use to catch up, expose each other to new and interesting media, and of course drink like fish and smoke water-pipe hits until we get giddy. I have come to greatly enjoy the time we spend together, and despite the fact that we lived together in Manhattan during the 1990’s, I truly feel that I have only really gotten to know her in the past few months. When she comes to hang out I have found my thoughts in realms that are very far away from the platonic…
Sadly, one of my deepest flaws is a genuine fear of commitment and intimacy to some extent; I have had many lovers over the course of my life, but only three of them really mattered to me in a serious emotional way and for a variety of reasons — my fuckups and theirs — things just didn’t work out. My fears stem from witnessing the balls-out failure that was my parents’ marriage and the lack of truly positive love in that dysfunctional hellhole that was my home in my growing-up years. I am terrified of how I might stack up as a potential husband/father, and I often don’t let the women in my life past my considerable defenses. I can handle the sex part of a relationship, but when it comes time for real commitment and letting someone really get close to me I am one scared shitless motherfucker. I think my lady friend has similar issues, but I can’t say for certain. However, I know fear when I see it since I am way too familiar with it in my own fucked up emotional life. Why else would she put the idea of romance between us on the table and then try to drive me away? Such tactics make her her own worst enemy, and that's a damned shame. But who the fuck am I to criticize anyone else's neuroses?
I freely admit that I am a very lonely soul, and I am going to bite down my personal demons and butch up.
That said, she and I are going to sit down and once more mull over the possibilities, and her natural relaxed air may be just what I need. She’s imaginative, funny, genuinely sweet and a damned good friend. She may have reservations about possibly ruining things between us, but I have no such worries. I hope to put her fears to rest and with any luck move into someplace good with all of this.
Fear is a bitch, lemme tell ya. She’ll probably read this, too, but I don’t think she’ll be offended; hopefully by writing this stuff out I can more eloquently make my case when it’s time for face-to-face communication. Well, I’ll just have to wait and see.
And I think she may be worth the wait.