I opine

A break from politics, sort of

Posted in gender by jaeminuf on September 10, 2008

I say sort of because Hanisch, nearly forty years ago now, cogently made the case that the personal is political.

Though it may not readily appear so, what I set out to write about is entangled in a thicket of weighty concerns, including first and foremost the 2008 Presidential Election, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailouts, the mortgage crisis, the credit crunch, Sarah Palin’s nomination as VP candidate, the necessity for women to remain economically self-sufficient…

Yesterday, as I was taking a break at my favorite…

Well, actually nevermind yesterday. Literally just this moment, at 2:32am, I received a call from a restricted number. I didn’t think it could be a telemarketing solicitation, although I would not put it past them these days. But it wasn’t a telemarketing firm. It could, nonetheless, be construed as a kind of a solicitation.

About a month or so ago, a man (No. 2) approached me as I stood before a mall directory trying to find the Apple Store so I could get my laptop fixed. He seemed innocuous enough that I consented to give him my number.

To be honest, at this point, I have zero interest in him or in dating. Period. Yet, over the past month, on the few occasions I’ve stepped out, primarily to study at my favorite cafe, I’ve been approached. One guy (No. 1) returned four times in one afternoon to ask me out to dinner, and I acquiesced because I was fading from hunger and because I found his persistence worth rewarding. He was an interesting enough of a person. And very enthusiastic about seeing me again. I appreciated his unabashed enthusiasm. And even considered the possibility of a second date.

But I was not and am not in a position to date. Or to make room in my life for anyone other than my own demanding self at the moment. So I turned down dinners, coffees, movies, a beach party, a bike ride, swimming lessons, drinks, with No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4…

And with No. 1 and No. 2 who have been persistent, I informed them that it wasn’t that I was playing hard to get but that my life was such that dating was a no go. It required some repeating but No. 1 eventually gave me space. No. 2, however, apparently will not take “no” for an answer. He has taken to calling at hours that are progressively more unacceptable. Tonight, from Hawaii of all places. Dude, enjoy Hawaii! No. 3, who’s from the neighborhood and hence knows where I live, apparently has taken to seeing if what worked for Romeo might work for him. I only know this because he has succeeded in garnering my neighbors’ attention, if not mine.

Yesterday, as I was sitting at the cafe with a friend during a study break, I ran into No. 1 for the first time in nearly a month. I simultaneously felt sorry, awkward, what have you. But I was determined not to let it be anything but pleasant. Well, apparently, he had other ideas. He was so out of sorts. So much so that he took out a pre-packed bowl and lit it right there, on the sidewalk, in public. My friend, I, and nearby patrons were aghast. Well, that was a deal-breaker if there ever was one.

Earlier tonight, I found myself trying to extricate myself from a potentially awkward triangulation between two fantastic young men.

Much earlier in the evening, a friend and I were commiserating about the tough economy and she jokingly professed a desire to marry a rich guy who would take care of her. I responded that, as nice as that might be, she wouldn’t. And somehow the conversation shifted to the ironic situation in which I find myself, of being unavailable and being solicited rather persistently. She commented that it must be because I am exuding the energy of finding fullness in my life.

And it’s true. It’s so full that I could use at least twice the number of hours per day, several more hands, or better yet several clones of me. My birthday is coming up shortly and fêting seems less and less likely. Some people can’t believe, given my age, I am not giving any of these guys even half-hearted consideration. And I tell them that it is because of my age that I choose to devote my energy to pursuing ambitions I had neglected for too long to tend to people and relationships that proved undeserving. Millionaires or multi-millionaires do not necessarily a good life partner make, as I’ve learned the hard way.

Just this past Sunday night, I caught the Zocalo Radio programming on women finding themselves destitute in their middle age as a result of having given up on their careers to take care of children, only to have their husbands pass away or otherwise leave them high and dry. If I end up destitute, it won’t be because I allowed myself to think anyone else, that a man, would take care of me.

Returning to my conversation with my friend, I replied that, of course, it was because my life is full that these guys are coming knocking. As we’ve all learned so well from pop psychology quizzes, a person is at his/her most attractive when his/her own life is already full. Why? Because people hope to partake in that fullness. Yes, I mean partake in the most cynical sense. As in, to come along for the fun without lifting a finger to ensure that the revelry continues to happen. Right. How do these people think I’ve gotten to this full life? It certainly wasn’t by making myself, my energy, my company, my “smile” available for their pleasure.

Honestly, the number of times I’ve been ordered – yes, ordered – to make myself, my time, my energy, my company, my conversation, or my smile available for their consumption has been astounding. Do they really think that issuing imperatives, calling at wee hours of the night, calling out my name from beneath my windows, etc. will prove efficacious? That I’d fritter away what little spare time I have on people who’ve done little but inform me of their idiocy, self-centeredness, and inability to respect another person’s autonomy? Right.



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