I’m Dr. Noah Tall, one of Gary’s alter egos. You may remember me from such blog entries as Dr. Noah Tall: A Hygiene Fable and Bursts of … Lard? and Dr. Noah Tall.
We also have Faffa. Please put down that vase, Faffa. It’s very expen… well, nevermind. There’s Emo. Hello, Emo. How’s your day going? Oh, that single grunt, bored sigh, and wipe of the dyed-black lock of hair obscuring the left side of his face is more social interaction than most are privy to. You should feel honored. And of course, Mr. Jazzhat. No, I said JAZZhat. That is quite humorous on your part, though. Well played. A finger-gesture gun and wink, to you, too, Mr. Jazzhat. Good to see you as always. Would you like to provide some musical ambience? A hearty “Well alright” to you, too, sir. Indeed.
Gary is indisposed at the moment. He came to me with some discussion about relationships and such. Apparently my advice of “There’s more than one fish in the sea” caused him to roll his eyes so hard that they rolled right out of his head. No worries. We’ve recovered both eyeballs, have cleaned off the dog hair and dander and are in the process of reinserting them. Gary is under sedation so until then I thought I would expound on some of his issues with you, the blog reader. I’m sure he’d approve.
Let’s get to the heart of the matter here.
Gary asked why he finds himself in the cycle of frustrated, dating-unrequited friend. Why and how. Although my degree is not in psychology I do have a few thoughts on the matter.
For one, I told him he should write a song about it to … alleviate some of his apparent anxiety. He informed me that he already has. He’s written a song entitled “Encore”. Interesting. Maybe I’ll give it a listen.
Moving on, let’s turn to the advice of Conservative Christian radio. There have recently been discussions of how to avoid infidelity in marriage. Regardless of your philosophical or religious bent, there is some good advice to be had. For example, I have a colleague, an attractive young woman whom I am fond of, I must admit. She is, however, married. Thus, there are boundaries established.
We’re good friends and enjoy each other’s company, but any socializing takes place within the context of her marriage. If I send an email, she will cc: her husband, for example. If we plan an event and her husband is unable to attend she will politely decline.
Any social bonding that occurs is the bonding of the group. We’re a group of good friends, as it should be. Not one individual bonding with another in a way that would encourage one to “catch feelings”.
Everything remains above board, every one has fun socially and there’s minimized or no room for an attraction to be fostered and nurtured.
A Rose by Any Other Name
Bonding between the sexes and attraction, emotionally and physically, occurs often over time. The quickest way to a relationship is to spend quality, enjoyable time with an individual one-on-one. It is a natural and beautiful process of introduction to friendship to relationship. And it’s called “dating”. Whatever your intent or expectation, two individuals of the opposite gender spending personal quality time together over a longitudinal interval is “dating”. No matter what you call it, the effect will always be the same. Someone is going to develop an attraction. Probably Gary. Ha. I’m glad he can’t hear me right now.
This is why, in my semi-professional opinion, women and men usually have a group of friends of the same gender. Those whose closest friends are of the opposite gender may find tension, imbalanced romantic attraction, confusion and awkwardness. Nature abhors a vacuum, as they say, and so this attraction will come to a head like meteorological low and high pressure zones. Either the friendship will dissolve, grow distant or those in question may choose to pursue a relationship.
Transition from friendship to the unlabeled state being “friends with benefits”. Transition to a monogamous relationship, often the next step, well good luck. Abbreviated relationships and relationship complexity, as other relationship prospects will invariably materialize, may ensue.
And so it is. If Gary were conscious at this point, I would posit to him that this development is entirely natural and to be expected. Unpleasant at times, yes. But where people are involved — their wants, needs, insecurities, hopes — chaos is involved. Beautiful, sharp, pointy, careless chaos.
But how to avoid the situation, one can’t say. Every situation is unique, no? Perhaps getting to the crux of the matter and being assertive earlier in the process would alleviate the surmounting stress and tension. This may pre-empt other suitors if that’s what one aims to do. Fight or flight. Does one fight for the romantic attentions of a desirable friend or flee the scene to pursue others? Of course, when it comes to people, seldom is anything simple. And timing is often inconvenient.
Pardon me for one second as I have to join the others dancing to Stevie Ray Vaughn’s solo on David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”. Yes, I was quite the cad at one time, though you couldn’t tell by looking at me now.
So where were we. Ah, yes. There are no easy answers.
The only “answer” I have for Gary is to have a healthy, broad social life. Options, for lack of a better word. Be a man, damn it. A good man. But a man. To make good friends, one must have many friends. To keep friends, one must nurture those friendships. To make new friends, one must give what one desires, whether it’s attention or time, affection, counsel, love. To obtain, if I can use that word so crudely, a desirable partner, one must make that person feel desirable.
Oh, this is also of interest. Gary posited the question recently, “How comes these conversations never go the way I fantasize they will?”
I asked the obvious question. How do you fantasize the conversation going? His answer was — I believe I have the transcript. We keep very thorough records here.
Well, you know. Something like:
Hey I figured that you were attracted to me. This is really awkward for me, you know. You’re not really my type, but … we’ve definitely established a kind of relationship. I don’t want to lose your friendship. It’s important to me. I wouldn’t be entirely opposed to giving something a shot. I mean, you’re not entirely repulsive. I do like your shoes. I’m still dating, though. I’m not looking to be tied down. I need for my life to be open, if you can understand that. But maybe we could go on a … a date? Sure. Why not. Any suggestions? I know a good Thai place…
I asked how the conversations usually go. Probably not the best time, as he conjured up power tools and pursued me around the offices here for a full half hour. He has been a bit testy lately. Luckily, being the health-conscious alter ego I’m much more fit and possess more endurance than him.
Oh, he seems to be coming around now. Time to take the bandages off.
Thank you for stopping by. We all enjoyed meeting you. We, here at “Why We Blog”, appreciate your time.
Do have a brilliant weekend.
-Dr. Noah Tall
[Gary stirs] “Wha happah?”
Stone Temple Pilots
Waiting for You