20 October 2010

Manfast undermined

I've decided it's best for me to be single for a while, and I've been feeling good about that decision. Minimizing that distraction in my life may, I'm hoping, help me focus on what I need to: finding work, figuring out what I want from life independent of companionship over which I may or may not have much control, determining a career path, becoming financially stable again, finding community as needed, etc. Some people can do all of that and date, but for now, I see a personal need to become my own sort of monk.

But some little tyrannical part of my brain is staging a coup as it faces entering the romantic desert. The gym and streets and cafes have magically filled up with attractive guys. When I got back onto a dating site (I deleted all pics and info on my profile a few weeks ago) to check a message from a friend, I took a few minutes to look at profiles I'd previously bookmarked and thought, "Wow, there were some interesting guys in here I had forgotten about and never contacted because I was busy replying to messages from people who had contacted me. I was going to contact them when I felt ready to really start actively dating. But no, I'm not dating, so close the site and forget about it. You have bigger fish to fry." And I felt resolved and confident about letting go of the search for a while, even for a couple of years. And then an attractive, nice-looking, interesting-looking guy who shows signs of possibly being 'family' walked by. Yeah? Well, I'm not falling for it. *whimper*

Well dang, this feels a bit like back when I wasn't going to ever date guys and was going to be open to a relationship with a girl. For a long time, I've not really thought a lot about it. So there's a hot guy. Great. He's not gay, so no point in flirting, just appreciate and move on. Done. No big deal. If he seems gay, great, maybe a bit of eye contact or something, give him a boost, but I don't hook up with random guys from the gym, so admire and move on. Done. No big deal. After all, if I wanted to just have some fun with a hot guy, I have several options on that dating site who have made it pretty clear they're game, but that's not what I really want, even though part of me desperately clamors to keep itself alive.

Then the voice in my brain: "OK, so I'm not going to get emotionally wrapped up with someone, but what about just finding friends, and maybe some of those friends coming with recreational benefits? I mean, I've kinda been there before, and if both parties understood that's what it was, and you didn't have the whole conflicted Mormon thing mixed in, maybe it'd be fine. Most people live that way, right? Why impose the need to label a relationship or get emotions entangled with a little affection and fun?" Uh-huh, then I remind myself who I'm talking to, and I think of how grateful I've been that I haven't gotten caught up in that way of thinking despite nearly doing so, and I think of how great it was to be with someone who I was confident wasn't in it primarily for the physical because we were waiting until it was "right" and we had a great time together without leaning on physical stuff, and what affection we did show really felt, to me, like it was special between us, and that's what I really want sexual expression to be about for me.

The voice insists: "OK, that's what you want, but maybe there are different kinds of relationships, and it's OK to save physical expression of a special nature in the special relationships and let it be just for fun in others. Maybe it's OK to not ascribe all kinds of meaning to physical expression when you don't need to, as long as you're being safe and not risking your health." *sigh* No, I have to admit what I want and what I believe will help me build relationships worth building even if I don't necessarily see the alternative as inherently "wrong" or "evil".

Is my increased perception of attractive guys the product of facing a desert in which I won't have an outlet for flirtation and of subconsciously recognizing with dismay that I'll not be enjoying any romantic physical affection for a long, long while? Is it because I've been so disinterested in attraction with anyone else since the breakup that now that it's coming back, it feels more magnified again? Is it "temptation" whispering its dark seduction? Is it a non-warm-fuzzy truth knocking gently which I'm reticent to embrace, as I have been in the past with other concepts I eventually had to accept as true even if I chose not to live them, myself?

Do most missionaries preparing to serve have to keep reminding themselves of the purpose for locking their hearts, which works for a while, but then they see a hottie and have to shake it off all over? Ha, no wonder some of my comps were such drooling messes sometimes.

So here I am, re-training myself to acknowledge how nice and intelligent and physically attractive a guy seems but trying to train my brain not to look at anyone as a potential dating prospect and moving on with my business. This will probably be helpful if I decide I want to pursue one of those procreative companionships that are all the rage in mohodom. Maybe my manfast will lead me to a healthier, more hopeful relationship down the road, or maybe it will make me a simpering, withered, sexually repressed ball of awkward, or maybe it will ready me to have my eyes more open for attractive women. Or maybe it'll last for another few months until I meet the next irresistible prospect. Shoot, this is gonna be a challenge. Life needs challenges. Bring it.

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