Okay, I will admit it. I was once in love with a very bad boy. He was a mess. He drank to the point of blackouts, he did crystal meth, he had unprotected sex, and I loved him with all my heart. I saw him recently, and he's cleaned up his act. He is not doing drugs anymore, and he is in a happy relationship that has lasted for months and months. He is faithful to his boyfriend, and he has a smile on his face that radiates joy. And, after spending some time talking to him, I realized I'm not in love with him anymore. I still like him, but he doesn't make my heart skip a beat the way he used to.
I'm worried that I'm one of those rescuer types, who falls for men who are "damaged goods". That would be so typical. When I was a four-year old child in Montessori school, my report card said, "Todd does not complete his own work assignments because he spends his time helping the other children with their work. He must learn to apply himself to his own work instead of wandering about the class helping others."
I used to think it was cool that I cared so much about other people. But it isn't cool to care about others to the point of neglecting yourself. I hope it isn't too late in life for me to really learn this lesson. I'm working on it.
I've heard it said that bad boys get more attention. I think, to a certain extent, that's true. I remember sitting in a Chicago bar several years ago while I was in town for business. I struck up a conversation with a guy at the bar, and he was really friendly. He asked if I had a boyfriend, and I responded that I did. At the time, I was still with CT.
"Let me ask you something," I said to my new friend. "It is really rare that strangers in the bar will talk to me. But you didn't hesitate. I just like to talk to people and make new friends, but so many guys seem like they can't be bothered to talk to me."
The guy shook his head and told me that he wasn't at all surprised by my experiences. "You send off a vibe," he told me.
"What kind of vibe?" I asked.
"You send off a relationship vibe. Most guys at the bar are here to hook up. They're here for a quick fling. You don't fit what they're looking for," he explained. "You're, like, boyfriend material or something."
I was somewhat disappointed. I kinda wanted to be seen as a little bit slutty or, at least, open to a quick make-out session. Even though I probably wouldn't have done anything that could be constituted as cheating on CT. Still, I couldn't deny that this guy was reading me accurately. With the exception of a few desperately horny months in the past couple years, I don't go out looking to get laid. I want the camaraderie. The connection with people. And, sure, it would be nice to meet someone who wanted something more with me.
Lately, I've encountered a couple bad boys at CC Slaughters. They are starting to recognize me and pull me into conversations on a regular basis, because I have always been friendly to them when other people probably aren't. These guys are ex-cons and drug addicts, and they are in need of saving. But I think I'm learning to be more perceptive of other people's energy. Auburn Pisces, a very wise friend, is teaching me to listen to my own instincts.
So, for the past few weeks, I have started sending off a different vibe. "Don't talk to me," is the vibe I have, quite intentionally, been putting out there. The other night I pretended to be very busy with text messaging just so this one guy wouldn't engage with me, because I can just tell he is trouble. I can't fall for any more "damaged goods". But it makes me feel just a little cruel to put that wall up.
I just wanted to admit that. I'm proud of myself, but I'm also sad that I have to be cruel. Especially to guys who seem so lonely and so lost. I bet I could help them feel happier...
No. No, I couldn't. I know that's a complete fallacy.
"Todd must learn to apply himself to his own work instead of wandering about the class helping others."