Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Strange Case of Condiments in Flattery

At the Abq Polyamory meeting I made a mistake.  When Dallas* began introducing himself to the group, I made a joke based on that with which he opened.  He let me know that this was not in fact a joking time, that he was feeling some very deep and significant things.  And he did so kindly, and with concern for my feeling of horror that I'd just stepped on his deep and concerned emotions.  I was grateful.

I'd met Dallas one other time and hadn't been able to decide if I like him or not.  But whether or not I like him, I realized this night that I am attracted to him.  More on that later.

The meeting continued and had various threads of conversation.  At one point a few of us described why we choose the label "queer" rather than "bisexual", my point being that it describes more about me than "bisexual" ever could (as well as other reasons).

I approached him after the meeting in order to thank him for his care and kindness in letting me know how he needed me to respond to him.  He took my hands as I told him.  It felt close.  Maybe a little closer than I wanted, and certainly closer than I expected, but I decided he is probably someone who is very touchy feely by nature.  I can be cool with that.

After I thanked him, he wanted to talk about the term "queer".  I can't remember word for word what he said but it boiled down to asking if I really only get involved with women (no), and saying how much of a travesty it would be for men if I did because I'm so pretty and ... well, he went on.  He's still holding my hands.

I had no idea how to respond.  What was going on for me?  I'm sure my face was red; I was embarrassed.  I had these thoughts all in the space of a few seconds: "He thinks I'm pretty!", "Wow, he's too close to me", "Does he want something?", "Wait... a travesty for men if I was only into women???"

Do you see, dear reader, what again we have here?  This idea that, in some fashion, the role of a woman revolves around the needs of men.  That, and some blatant heterosexism whereby lesbians are just not as okay as bisexual or straight women (unless apparently they're ugly - right, prettiness is for men to enjoy). 

I'd like to apply two things I later heard to this situation.  One, a good thing to do if you wish to interest a woman in you, is to give her a sincere compliment and then WALK AWAY!  You see, she then doesn't have to stand there feeling awkward, thinking up a response, or -if you've done something like compliment her body- get uncomfortable knowing that you're looking at her.  It also gives her a chance to consider how she'd like to respond to you later.

The second thing is, perhaps we should try to offer only nice things in our compliments.  This compliment offered nice and icky things.  As a friend of mine told me upon hearing this story, "Wow, thanks for the waffle.  Did you have to put both syrup AND ketchup on it?" 

Yeah, syrup and ketchup.

*Names changed for the sake of decency.

1 comment:

  1. I understand why you took issue with the way this fellow chose to express himself, but I understand his sentiment. I think when a person's sexual orientation prevents them from considering an entire portion of the population, they're limiting themselves and potential partners. It makes me sad, regardless of the basis for the exclusion or my membership in the excluded group.