not so freeing…

I think that old adage is true. You know, the one that says sometimes traits you dislike in others are ones that you recognize in yourself. Because that certainly seems to be the case for me.

I’ll sorta come clean here. I have a single male friend whom I find rather attractive. Someone besides CuteNerdBoy. We established very early in our relatively recent acquaintanceship that there is a mutual attraction, that we really like each other as people and have enjoyed getting to know one another, but for various reasons I’ll not go into we’ve decided it’s best not to pursue anything more than friendship, either casually or romantically. And that’s fine. It really is for the best. I have a feeling that, without meaning to, he could break my poor lil’ heart all too easily if I allow myself to go down that road again. Frankly, I don’t think I’m up to that sort of pain.

(I sense eyerolling out there. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re wrong. I hope.)

Thing is, that doesn’t stop me from thinking he’s a damn fine looking man and that when we hang out – which is relatively frequently – he should pay most of his attention to me. Because I’m all about the ego, baby. Mind you, I try to keep that ego in check, but it’s a damn big one, I tell ya.

Recently I got the chance to observe him around a lot of people, including some very attractive women, and a light switch flipped on, illuminating something I’d long suspected.

He likes women.

Okay, that wasn’t a revelation. I had that one figured out a long time ago. When I say he likes women, I don’t mean in a sleazy way. He has dear friends of both genders and doesn’t seem to have more female than male friends, or vice versa.

But a person can tell that he just really enjoys being in the company of women, especially attractive dark-haired women. He has a way of talking to them, smiling at them, perhaps leaning in a little close to them with a flirtatious look in his eyes, that I haven’t seen him do with the men of our acquaintance. I can also tell that it’s more subconscious than conscious. And I admit I feel a flare of jealousy because, I’m ashamed to say, I can be a bit on the jealous side, even when I have nothing resembling a claim on a guy. Truth is, I tend to be more jealous when I’m not in a relationship than when I am in one. Probably because I’ve always been secure in my relationships.

So. Anyway. There I am, mingling amongst a large group of people, chatting with this person or that person, occasionally scanning the crowd to see where AttractiveFriend is, and I observe his interactions with these attractive dark-haired ladies. And I get a little jealous. And I talk to other people again.

Then it hits me. Most of the people I’m chatting with? Are men. Perhaps even men most women would find good-looking. And how am I interacting with said men, even if only innocently? In the same fashion that AttractiveFriend interacts with women, though perhaps in a more feminine manner. I smile, I flirt, I tuck my hair behind my ear or toss it back dramatically. I look at the men straight in the eye, then glance up at them from underneath my eyelashes. I’m both brutally direct and disarmingly coy.

I am the female equivalent of AttractiveFriend. And I realize – it’s not just that he likes women. But that he likes women the way that I like men.

Whoa.

So many things fall into place. Sure, I’m a little boy-crazy these days, but even if I weren’t I would still adore the existence of men in general. It doesn’t mean that I want to date or sleep with every man I meet. It doesn’t mean I would be anything other than monogamous were I to be in relationship, because I am inherently a monogamous creature. I just love being around men (well, most men). And he feels the same way about women.

One would think that such a revelation would cause a girl to sit back on her heels and say, “Fine, I get it, it’s all okay now.” Make her feel free about her friendship. Unfortunately that’s not always the case. Because now that I recognize that about him, I’m more keenly aware of my own tendencies and I wonder if that can be as confusing to other men as observing AttractiveFriend had, until recently, been to me.

Besides, that doesn’t change my gut reaction of, “Hey, Big Ego here! Pay attention to Me! MeMeMe!” Even when he is paying attention to me and seeking me out in a crowd repeatedly.

I never said I was logical…

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