Category Archives: sexual orientation

I Am Chronically Unacceptable

I don’t like talking about romantic relationships. I find it a particularly unpleasant, uncomfortable topic. I won’t talk to most of my friends most of the time about my relationships because I can sense they don’t care, or they care up to a point–i.e. the “how we met” kind of details vs the “I’m having problems/need advice/feel hurt” type of stuff. They don’t want to hear the latter, which is all I have to talk about 95% of the time when it comes to relationships. I won’t talk to them about my lack of relationships because I know that they will poo poo the negativity, i.e. the “I will never find anyone”s and the “love is bullschitt”s. And I don’t like talking or hearing about other people’s relationships, especially if they’re happy. That’s just the truth. Keep your happy coupledom over there.

Now that I have work friends–another female has joined the mix after she walked over to me and Clara last week, told us we’re having too much fun and that she wants in on it (the adult version of “can I be friends with you?”)–I am getting badgered about why I say I am never getting married and tortured hearing about Clara’s boyfriend. That started last week. And then this past weekend, I made the mistake of stumbling across all this schitt that underscored just how unlikely it is that I will ever get married.

Dating and relationships are tough all around. I am exposed enough to the straight world to know it’s tough for a lot of straight people. It’s just a tough thing. But think about what it must be like, first of all, for gays and lesbians, who are dealing with a limited pool with somewhere between 5 and 10% of the population being gay/lesbian. And then throw being black on top of it, especially a black woman–the population that has the toughest time dating. And now I am in, I’d say, the two toughest populations when it comes to dating.

If you ever do an internet search on black lesbians and dating, you’ll probably run across a few blogs. Two of them are just…maddening bullschitt. Not going to name names, put links or anything like that. Not trying to start trouble, and I don’t waste time arguing with narrowminded people because…you might as well just find a nice, sturdy wall and yell at it. Could be because it’s that time of the month, but they pissed me off when normally I don’t get pissed outside of sports. What pissed me off is in these two blogs, black lesbians bash black lesbians. What makes me laugh is then these two b!tches wonder why they have such a hard time finding the right woman. One of them actually claims to want a black lesbian while the other one seems caught between wanting a black lesbian and being, like, a lesbian Tiger Woods. But neither get why they can’t find that right black woman. Wait, that’s not quite right–they think they can’t find that right black woman because, essentially, 99% of black lesbians aren’t good enough for them.

I don’t spend time in the LGBT community, although I have tried to do that in the past. But one thing I’ve noticed is several black lesbians are a cross between men and straight black women when it comes to the way they talk about what they want in a mate and why they reject others. I often find straight black women as snobbish and unrealistic [for them, not for all women–but considering black women aren’t on an even playing field with other women due to society’s ignorance, yes, unfortunately, unrealistic for them] with their standards. That’s not to say everything on their list is snobbish or unrealistic, but some of it is and then they wonder why they can’t find the man they want. More on that in a second.

As far as the comparison to men, what’s most notable and, perhaps, most disappointing is just the way some black lesbians describe other black women/lesbians with the tone of “you don’t match what I’m looking for; therefore, something is wrong with you” vs simply “that’s not my thing.” I feel like men indirectly send messages to women that because they’re not this, that or the other, there’s something wrong with them. That’s where a lot of our sex/gender inequality and women’s low self-esteem compared to men has come from, and, yet, we have a group of women doing this same thing to women.

One thing I notice the more snobbish, “you’re not this way, so something’s wrong with you” black lesbians always love to do is proclaim how intelligent and/or educated they are. I…????? Like, so? These women, straight and lesbian, are always talking about how black women are looking for someone on their level but they’re going to have a hard time finding it in another black person. I graduated from top-ranked universities, got a professional degree. Let me tell you–intelligence and education don’t have to come from school. Just because I attended elite schools and earned a professional degree doesn’t mean I must only date someone who did the same thing. For years, the smartest person I knew aside from myself was someone who attended one of those acting/music schools for a while and then left and just worked jobs…then eventually went to school for audio recording, and then again went to school for acting. She has never been to a regular ole 4-year university. But philosophy, sociology, literature, politics–you name it, she could go from topic to topic for hours and give good conversation. “Intelligent” black women really have their heads up their @sses about this one, just thinking they’re too intelligent for every black person and assuming they’re the only ones who graduated from college or that it even matters whether or not they did.

Another thing–you can be intelligent and educated but still be an ignorant @ss. I am one, but I recognize it, unlike these other chicks. I know that I have some narrowminded thoughts in my head. You can also graduate from college nowadays riting lik dis. It doesn’t always mean you’re all that.

“I have my own everything.” Okay, great for you–in times like these, you’re lucky if you’re able to have everything despite the fact that you got your degree. Nowadays, degrees are more of a liability than an asset because they’re so damned costly and, yet, employers value work experience far more than that costly degree.

“Where are all the good-looking black lesbians? Most black lesbians are ugly.” Chica, hit the mirror. So many black women, both straight and lesbian, think they’re way hotter than they are. This is not to say black women can’t be hot. There are plenty of hot black women. But I don’t know what’s up with black women and black men–they’re the first to call someone ugly when they’re not all that themselves. Some of the more physically attractive black lesbians I have encountered have also been some of the more open-minded in terms of what’s beautiful.

But the worst one, other than all this “I’m educated, I’m educated, I’m educated” snobbery has got to be the weight hate. Weight hate is getting out of hand in general, but up until this past weekend in the LGBT community I thought only white gay guys needed their teeth knocked down their throats for being such @ssholes about people being overweight. Apparently, a lot of black lesbians need to be kicked up to Canada. And the thing about being a black lesbian but being a complete @ss about women being overweight is…um, the majority of black women are overweight. If an Asian guy is an @ss about overweight women, if a white guy is an @ss about it…I can kind of see that. Asian women are rarely fat, relatively speaking, and white women are not fat at the same kind of rate as black women are. But if you’re black, then overweight women should be at least somewhat normal to you. So, again, where is all this snobbish bullschitt coming from? Oh, you grew up predominantly around white people? You were brainwashed by the media shoving white women with eating disorders in your face? What is it?

In any case of events, being overweight is becoming the norm. More and more people are going to have to get over it or be single, whatever you might think about how healthy it is or isn’t or it showing they don’t take care of themselves or whatever bullschitt excuse you have for hating overweight people.

I could keep going, but I’ve got work in the morning…so two last points: I guess black lesbians think they can get away with trashing black lesbians because they are black women or black lesbians. But being a black lesbian doesn’t make it okay; it makes it worse. We already get trashed by everyone else; we don’t need black lesbians to do it bigger and “better” than everyone else does.

Also, Atlanta is just that–Atlanta. Just because most black lesbians in Atlanta seem to be a certain way doesn’t mean that’s a reflection of how black lesbians are everywhere else. If you think that’s the case, you need to take some of that money you make from your good job and your education and your own everything and go see the US, something I have had the luxury of somewhat doing. If one city in the US makes you quick to give up on or look down on black lesbians on the whole and assume they’re all uneducated, all have slept with men, all have kids out of wedlock, all have nothing in common with you, all are ghetto or lack refinement, then you’re not as cultured as you think you are and you’re just looking for any excuse to “prefer” non-black women.

Over the last 10 years, it has amazed me the schitt black men talk about black women because, from my life experiences, I’d say no one has more reason to “hate” black women than black women do. Black women treat each other like schitt, and the things I’ve read from some ignorant black lesbians would have proved it even if I didn’t live it. And yet, these black lesbians who clearly don’t think other black lesbians are good enough don’t even really have much to offer as to their problems with black women aside from the shallow and superficial. I could provide story after story of bullschitt I’ve experienced at the hands of black women, starting from elementary school going all the way to as recently as law school. No one has more reason to hate black women than I do, and, yet, I don’t.

So, why am I going to be single? Because, yes, I do prefer black women–and I mean “prefer” the way it’s meant to be used, not the incorrect way most people use it when it comes to race and dating–the very women for whom I’m not good enough for, inevitably, about 5 reasons on a 21-demands list. I like women of color, and never say never but I don’t think I’d date a white woman ever again. But I’m not going to be by myself because black women aren’t good enough for me, like some people. Instead, I’m always the one who is not good enough–not for whites, not for my ex-girlfriends, surely not for Asians and now not for black women. That’s not a plea for sympathy–that’s just telling it how it is.

The end of my Crimson Wave Rant (cookies for those who know what “crimson wave” is and where it came from).

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Respecting Different Opinions

Today at work, Clara told me she is “against” people being gay. No, she doesn’t know I’m a lesbian. Work is probably the last place I’d ever come out, because you’re talking about putting your livelihood on the line…which I don’t think is worth it. I don’t have time–or money–to try to sue anybody, either.

Also, because work is the only place where I really interact with people, I get a kick out of a couple of things about being in the closet at work–1) how everyone assumes you’re straight, unless you are just obvious, and 2) the way people talk about gays and lesbians when they think they’re speaking to another straight person. I could never want to miss these two things.

In particular about #1, it’s not the assumption and its “privileges,” but the things I learn because of the assumption. What I love about #1 is, personally, I think there are too many signs that I’m not straight that people just don’t get. Lesson #1: Straight people do not have gaydar. Like, at all. Just because you’re straight and can recognize a feminine-acting man or a butch woman doesn’t mean you have gaydar. If you can’t figure out a female sports junkie who doesn’t wear makeup, never wears anything other than comfortable clothes, doesn’t wear jewelry, never does anything with her hair, doesn’t give men the time of day or talk about them romantically…just for starters…individually, these things don’t necessarily mean anything, but it should be enough to give an observant straight person (especially another woman) pause when all put together, I’d think. It doesn’t seem to, though.

About #2…I’ve found that people usually don’t, in my experience, come out and admit they have any issues with being gay or lesbian, regardless of whom they think you are. This is why I respect what Clara said to me today. Usually, people will bullschitt you in some way about gays and lesbians and their opinion. I can tell this is something other gays/lesbians haven’t learned, but I’m black. I know people are full of schitt when it comes to minority groups–all of them.

In the US, people love to do a black people vs gay people thing, just a way to make black people the bad guys because they’re sick of hearing about black people and racism. Finding ways to make black people incredibly intolerant is “in” right now. Usually, it’s white people making black people the bad guy when it comes to homosexuality, but sometimes you get some dumb black people joining in. Basically, according to these people, black people hate gay people. Black people are the only ones who hate gay people. Everyone else is so much more accepting, unless, perhaps, if they’re Republican or Christian or Southern (never mind that this is a good percentage of the population, much more so than black people make up, even if you exclude the black people who are also Republican, Christian and/or Southern. Incidentally, pointing the finger at any of these groups isn’t 100%).

I would say the majority of all [American] people fit into one of two camps: They are “against homosexuality,” or they are “okay with it” or “don’t care” at some point but say or do things at other points that indicate this is not entirely true. Personally, I’ve seen more “I don’t care, but then again, I do” stuff from people–black, white, whatever–than anything else. I know of so many black people who are like this–this is how my mother is. But maybe, just maybe, you’re more likely to get unapologetic honesty from blacks–and other racial minorities–than from white people.

I often find white LGBT allies and neutrals disingenuous in some sense, or exaggerated, or clueless, or don’t care/do care-ish. This is also how most white people are with race, and I do think the two are related–white people understand consequences of being brutally honest about gays/lesbians more than black people do, I’d say, because they’ve already seen or experienced white people suffering consequences of being brutally honest about blacks. We black people talk schitt about white people, and nothing happens. Talk schitt about Asians or Latinos…usually, not much happens, but sometimes it does (like, if the target is Jeremy Lin, NBA star). Talk schitt about gay people–surprise–schitt happens.

Bottom line–most people won’t just say what they really think about gays/lesbians or gay rights without trying to soften the blow somehow or without adding whatever statement that convinces them they’re not a bad person.

But Clara? Just flatout said she’s against women with women and men with men, and it’s not in the Bible and not what God wants.

Cookies for Clara. Seriously. I used to think that I couldn’t be friends with someone who thought like this…but…well…I am just not offended by her opinion. First of all, I view it as just that. I am not one of those people who thinks everyone has to agree with me about gay rights or else it means something really horrible about who they are or for my life. Her opinion does not make or break gay rights or any of my personal relationships [or lack thereof, on both counts]. She does some little bullschitt job for a major international company. Seriously, gay people, people who do little bullschitt jobs don’t mean schitt, unless they’re trying to cause you physical or financial harm.

Second, I don’t equate what she said to saying she hates gays/lesbians, and I think that’s the mistake most gays/lesbians make. Like I’ve written before at this blog, it’s about knowing how to read people. Even before our discussion about gays/lesbians came up, we talked about interacting with people. And she correctly pointed out several times that she talks to everyone. So, do I think she’d stop being friends with me if she knew I am a lesbian? No. Would she treat me differently? Yes, in the sense that it would end up part of our conversations and jokes/teasing, because that’s how she is. We talk candidly about all kinds of things most people wouldn’t, especially two people from different racial backgrounds. And she’s one of those rare women who doesn’t get offended by anything you say, and I always like to say I’m the same way.

So, no, I don’t have a problem with someone not bullschitting everybody, for a change, about her opinion on gays and lesbians. Of course, I had to give her a hard time about it, but she didn’t backtrack or try to clean it up–she stuck to what she said. I can’t stand people saying racist or homophobic schitt, then coming back with fake apologies and proclaiming they’re not racist/homophobic. We’re all racist, and we’re probably all homophobic to some degree, too. If you own your truth, I will respect it.

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Last Day of Work

It’s a great feeling to be done with tech support as a job. The only thing is, much like the last job I left, I am leaving a lot of people I’d rather not have to leave. I remember writing a long time ago in my blog that I didn’t think I’d ever really develop “work friends” at this company, but I definitely did. Even with employees who worked in other cities, some of them felt like work friends. As I wrote a couple of posts ago, I feel sorry for these people because I know they’re not going to get the same quality of tech assistance, at least not for a while. I also know some will seek me out and learn I no longer work there, and I know some will wonder why they don’t hear from me anymore.

I sent out an email on Friday to several people, most of them in the IT department, who helped make my difficult job at least somewhat easier and let them know I appreciated it. Most of them didn’t know I was leaving. My supervisor had only told the people whom it directly affected, and I didn’t tell anyone except New Tech because we talked about getting the hell off tech support all the time. I got several nice responses back. A couple of people came to see me.

At the end of the day, I stayed late and spoke with a couple of people. One of the guys I was talking to knows the whole story with Lazy Tech and how my supervisor wouldn’t give me back the position I enjoyed, etc. He told the other people to whom we were speaking that I basically got screwed. He has told me a bit before about how he had a hard time getting where he is in the company/IT department, but he had never told me that he contacted the EEOC about our company because of what he felt was discriminatory treatment. He basically told me that I was doing the right thing by leaving this company.

A couple of hours before that, my supervisor actually came up to me and said they didn’t want me to go but they’re happy for people when they find better opportunities, if I ever need anything to let him know, yada yada. If he didn’t want me to go, he could have easily found a way to keep me. Him and his supervisor went so far as to create a damn-near pointless position for a white guy–who now sits and texts on his iPhone or surfs one of the company iPads 75% of the time–they wanted to keep. I just wanted a position that I was basically told I would be doing when I first interviewed with him and actually had for about a month until he decided some lazy white guy who sucked at his job would be salvageable if he gave that job to him.

To be clear, I left not because of any perceived discrimination; I left because I reached my breaking point with tech support/help desk type of work. I’m not one of those dumb people who doesn’t get that racism still exists. I know it does, so it’s not surprising to me or particularly upsetting that this happened. I was looking for another job even before this happened, even before I ever was actually placed in the position I liked, because I didn’t like my job. I stopped for a while but started again when my supervisor gave Lazy Tech my job. New Tech feels that our supervisor refusing to give me back that job is a power trip, basically. I guess he doesn’t realize he lost and I won. He will start to realize that on Monday when schitt starts falling apart without me.

I hope New Tech makes matters worse and gets another job within the next few weeks, really fucking schitt up for my now-former supervisor. I’m going to get all the details from New Tech, too, because we exchanged contact info and he asked me to be a reference for him. So if he gets a job, I’m going to know about it. I already know he talked to Belinda and Belinda’s manager about the open positions in the Customer Service department, and he applied for those jobs, too. Belinda asked him if he was sure he was interested, probably because, as I wrote before, IT is generally better than anything in CS. She told him how much one of the positions pays (and, as I suspected, he’d be taking a pay cut), and she told him that he’d be interviewing with her if he is selected to interview. I don’t know if they’d want references since he already works at the company, but, I mean, Belinda and B’s manager both know me–especially B’s manager, whom I always helped several times a week. I would think my word would carry significant weight.

As far as B and I go…well, I only saw her on Tuesday and didn’t see her the rest of the week. I don’t know if she saw me or not because I looked away, so there was no smile/wave like normal. I did quickly glance around every day when I walked through the company restaurant to see if she was there but I never saw her other than Tuesday. Didn’t get any of her calls, either. I tried to cyber-stalk her, if you will, but she basically has no online presence. So, I can’t even add her on Facebook or LinkedIn. Of course, I have her company email address.

But I made the decision/realization that I’m not ready to date after several weeks of just envisioning all the bad ways trying to pursue anything with B could go. I don’t want to hurt anybody, and I most definitely don’t want to get hurt myself. So I need to stick to what I realized and just let the thought of B go. Easier said than done, but it needs to be done.

I’m probably as happy and stress-free as I’ve been in a long time, despite not getting to know B, just being done with answering phones and emails and all these annoying problems/people.

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Manic Monday

Yesterday I gave notice at work, but I gave it to the agency that placed me since they’re technically my employer. Immediately–like the minute I emailed them my notice–they started calling and emailing me. I mean, I happened to glance at my cell phone, and saw my recruiter’s name and number on the screen while I was in the middle of something. It’s just ridiculous how they always try to call me. I answer phones for a living all day for a corporation, and they know this–they placed me in the position. Why on earth do they think I can just take their calls on my personal cell phone whenever they feel like it?

So, when I didn’t answer, my recruiter emailed me the next minute asking me to call him. Then the other recruiter emailed me asking me to call him. Then my recruiter emailed me again, asking where I got a job. Then he tried to call my co-worker New Tech, who didn’t answer but told me they were calling him. These recruiters have a habit of contacting one of their other placed employees whom they know works near the one they’re trying to reach when they can’t get a response from the one they’re trying to reach–they’ve contacted me before trying to reach both Lazy Tech and New Tech. So, we knew they were probably calling New Tech to find out where I was or if I could call them.

New Tech and I were just dying laughing at the whole thing. I knew the agency didn’t expect me to find a job that quickly, or at all. It was just last Monday when they told me they’d spoken to my supervisor and he wouldn’t let me go back to the position I liked at the company. I told them I would find something else, then. I know they didn’t believe it. In fact, they scheduled a follow-up discussion for next Monday. Turns out next Monday I’ll be at my new job. I know they couldn’t believe it and that they’d want to know just how on earth I was able to get another job that fast. That’s why it was especially funny to New Tech and me when they emailed asking where I got a job.

By the time I called these guys one of them had told my supervisor. My supervisor still hasn’t said anything to me about it, the @sshole. He acts like nothing is happening. But New Tech told me he saw one of the recruiters today in the lobby. I told him they are probably talking about hiring someone to replace me on tech support, which wouldn’t even be necessary if the kid they brought in a couple of weeks ago had just been placed on tech support to begin with.

Obviously, my recruiter did ask me all kinds of questions about where I was going, how I found the job, etc. Even about how much it pays.

I got a bit of a surprise, though, because he sounded irritated last week when I reiterated I wanted to leave the company where he placed me…

He told me, “I don’t blame you one bit.” The way he said it, too…with emphasis, hit the “one bit” part pretty clear.

He knows that situation with my supervisor doing everything he could to keep Lazy Tech and nothing to accommodate me was bullschitt. For the record, my recruiter is Asian. I have found that Asians don’t usually side with black people when it comes to anything with racial undertones or even racially overt things, but he’s Filipino and Filipinos tend to be a little bit more…racially aware and black-friendly. New Tech and I also talked about how they would have gotten rid of a black person who acted like Lazy Tech did without all of that bending over backwards to prevent it…in part because my mother asked me if I had warned him, basically. Like I wrote before, I can definitely see New Tech’s inadequacies getting more exposed without my being there to pick up after him, and he’s African. They’re not going to put up with some of the issues he has for too long. If he can’t find another job fast enough, I see him getting fired eventually.

And with it being official that I’m out the door, New Tech has really started trying to step up finding another job…to the point where over the last two days he has just come across as desperate to me. Now he’s wanting to get out of IT altogether, saying it’s not his passion. He was talking about wanting to move into IT management. He is not management material, I can tell you that. Sure, plenty of managers suck–mine does–but there’s a difference between being a bad manager and just not having a manager’s personality. My manager is the type of guy you disrespect behind his back; New Tech is the type of guy you’d disrespect to his face. I would be the same way, I think–I know I am not “leader” material.

Today, New Tech actually took off work early to go interview with an insurance company. Um. All you’re going to do at an insurance company is sell insurance. Probably won’t get paid if you don’t, either. That’s the kind of job I looked at way back when I first got out of school and wasn’t hearing schitt back from employers and was desperate, so I know what those “interviews” are like. He has a wife and kids–you need something very stable in that situation, something with a weekly or bi-weekly paycheck guaranteed.

He also sits at work and looks at our company’s internal job postings on a regular basis, only now he is looking in the customer service department. Customer service? While there’s a CS component to working many IT jobs, CS is at least a step down from doing anything in IT, or at least the positions he might qualify for would be. And with the more entry-level jobs, which I’m sure is all he could really get, you’re going to get paid like it’s at least a step down. Maybe he thinks those jobs would be easier to get or something, but I can tell from speaking to him that he has unrealistic ideas about how much he’d get paid.

Still, Belinda is a CS supervisor at our company…so I smiled (thinking about her tends to bring a smile to my face or make me nervous) and suggested he talk to her about the job openings they have. Dude, I cannot imagine having to report to Belinda (although I’d probably love going to work all of a sudden). But New Tech seriously went looking for her so that he could talk to her about it.

By the way…the Belinda thing. I realize that now that I’m leaving my job, in a sense I have nothing to lose by approaching Belinda. Knowing this is my last week and that I probably won’t see her again unless an effort is made to do so, I’m a little bit torn. But I’m just not ready for several reasons, not just because I feel I still need to move on more from everything that happened with my “ex.” Also, given that Belinda is never alone–today I saw her with, like, four or five other people–I wouldn’t even know how to approach her. Plus, I have never approached a woman before, at least not out of the blue. I always get approached.

And speaking of the “ex,” I thought she no longer read my blog but maybe she does, because I haven’t seen her on Yahoo! since I wrote about seeing her online and how it made me feel. I don’t know, I just thought it was interesting that she no longer shows up after that. I know there are ways to kind of find out if she still reads my blog–I work in IT, after all–but I’m not interested enough to see if she’s still following me. I just assumed she wasn’t because 95% of the time I feel like she doesn’t give a schitt about me, so why read my blog (intriguing topic, too–inspired me to do a little Google search; still not sure what the answer is)? Why would anyone read this, haha? I have actual friends who won’t even read this stuff! Plus, I’ve been through worrying about who sees what I write, and I am past that now. My blog is my friend.

Bottom line–Belinda is someone I’d love to get to know if given the opportunity, but now is just not a good time. Really, I should be coming home and continuing my studies on programming (I’ve gotten really lazy since my class ended–which I aced, by the way, and only missed two questions out of about 40 on the final exam!!!), not checking sports articles on Yahoo! (easier said than done since I am all about the majority of sports now and have even added the Tennis Channel to my obsessive sports channel surfing, what, with the French Open having ended a couple of weeks ago and now Wimbledon is on) or blogging or going out on dates. I should be figuring out how long I’m going to be with my parents vs moving out…and, to me, moving out is all about moving to another city/state, which would also complicate dating anyone where I am now. I’ve really been looking at what’s out there in Austin, TX, San Francisco, CA and Ann Arbor, MI–the latter because that’s where I’d love to be, the former two because those are more so IT hotbeds. Right now, career needs to come first, as it has for the past year+, so I can stop being quite as big a loser. 😉

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

It seems like every time I feel I’ve turned a corner as far as my “ex” is concerned, I run smack into a setback. A couple of things have happened recently that make me say this.

First of all, I actually got to talk to Belinda last week. Belinda is my crush at work, a supervisor not in my department but in another department. When I sat down and thought about the potential consequences for me of dating a supervisor, even though she’s not in my department, it really made me…I don’t want to say “lose interest,” but it made it easier for me to step back and not really think about the romantic possibilities. And anyway, it isn’t/wasn’t like I know she’s interested in me.

I’ve never talked to Belinda before, and I still wouldn’t say we’ve had a true conversation. When I talked to her last week, she called tech support for help. Usually when she calls, my co-worker gets her calls (to the point where, according to him, she asked him–likely jokingly because she knows I answer phones and came down specifically to meet me a few weeks ago after she spoke to me–if he was the only one who answers phones). But he had left for the day when she called last week, so I got this particular call.

We have our greeting we typically use when answering the phones, but, instead, I picked up the phone and said, “Hey, Belinda” when I saw it was her on the caller ID. And then she greeted me by my name, and I think we did the “how are you?” thing and she expressed frustration with her computer. So, I knew then that, for the first time, I was actually going to have to help her with something and we might end up on the phone for a while. I started thinking about how I need to do a good job, just hoping it was something I could handle and I wouldn’t look stupid since it was her on the phone, haha!

What I got out of the interaction is she’s funny and she likes to shop for clothes (which kind of underscores why she comes to work looking like perfection every day–I even know where she likes to shop). She also seems naturally friendly/outgoing/talkative Southern style, which could explain why she started smiling and waving at me before we even met. She probably makes friends really easily, and, indeed, I never see her by herself when I see her at work. She seems like one of those people for whom technology just kind of goes over her head (which is probably one reason why my co-worker seems to think she’s annoying). It’s not like she was a complete moron like some of the people I have to assist, but I don’t think she’s a fan of computers and such or a quick study when it comes to them. But I think that’s normal for people who are 40+ years old.

Well, what does this have to do with my ex?

It shouldn’t have anything to do with my ex…except I then found myself comparing and contrasting the two of them–and not in a way that was favorable to Belinda. It was like, “Oh, my ex sounds smarter and probably is smarter” and blah, blah, blah, just based on the very little bit of info I got out of Belinda. The funny thing is…my ex and I had a little intelligence vs physical appearance issue where I think she would have loved to hear me compliment her looks more than I did, and I know I hurt her feelings at least a couple of times by suggesting I didn’t find her attractive or as attractive as other women.

I did and do find her very attractive, and, obviously, I think Belinda is physically attractive. It’s just that during the relationship with my ex, I was so wrapped up in how intelligent she is that I just never “got” it about her looks and her feelings on that and her wanting me to express that I found her attractive. I felt like, by far, the bigger compliment was how smart I thought she was. Intelligence is huge with me, great discussions are huge with me…you can find a pretty, well-dressed woman anywhere, and I, personally, don’t need to be told I’m attractive. And my ex is still probably the smartest person I’ve ever known, and I’ve attended elite universities full of bright people. Seriously, she knows words I don’t know. I love words. I minored in English. I took Etymology all the way back in high school. I used to get in trouble for reading books for “fun” while the teacher was lecturing in junior high. I was blown away at the time. I loved how smart my ex is.

So, when I tell you that there’s this beautiful, perfectly dressed woman at work and after speaking with her for 10-15 minutes all I could think about off and on for days is how smart my ex is…that’s nothing to take lightly.

This was on, like, last Wednesday when I spoke with Belinda…

And then a few days later, that weekend…I saw my ex online. I never see her online. I have a bunch of different email accounts, and I don’t really use half of them because I got sick of how they attract ridiculous amounts of spam. I tend to use my AOL account mainly to sign up for stuff/sites only now, and I use my Yahoo account for a lot of sports stuff, to give examples. I sign onto both regularly, although it had been maybe a week or so since I’d really been in my Yahoo account. So, I went in this past weekend to read some of the sports articles I get emailed every day, and there she was on IM.

I was kind of surprised. It has been well over a year since I’ve seen her on IM, so I guess I thought in the back of my mind that I’d never see her online again. And now I see her online daily. I know most people would say I should remove her from my IM list, but I hadn’t really paid attention to the fact that she’s on it since she hadn’t been online…and now I just don’t want to remove her, plain and simple. I will just stop logging into IM before I do that, and I couldn’t really tell you why. But the point is that seeing her online brings up one of the same old questions that has prevented me from really being able to completely move on, and that’s “why won’t she talk to me?” That is the biggest thing I’ve never been able to understand ever since we “broke up” and she said she can’t talk to me or have me in her life. And now when she’s sitting online and I’m online and she probably still has me on her IM list–I don’t know, maybe she doesn’t, but if she does, then–why won’t she talk to me?

We were friends before we were anything else, and now she doesn’t ever want to speak to me again?

I keep having to check myself and make sure I don’t send her an IM. It’s not going to happen. But still. The past 7 days have really let me know I still haven’t moved on, and it sucks because I’ve been stuck on this for too long. I know the main reason is because she has all the answers and I have all the questions. It has never been harder for me to get over someone, but I have also never been anywhere near as confused after a breakup, either. I know the questions will never be answered, and I know from experience that the more I try to get answers from her the more confusing everything gets. I’d rather pretend everything didn’t happen and start over from the beginning–I think I have too much pride/ego to truly want her back romantically–but she’ll never talk to me again. If someone treated you like crap, it makes sense to act like he/she doesn’t exist, but I don’t deserve this…

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Rethinking Workplace Dating

When you get older, it seems like you’re more limited in ways to meet the right person. For me, I feel I have basically two options–online dating and workplace dating. Between the two, I’d much rather meet someone at work. And one thing I will say for where I work, even if I don’t like my actual job, is there are tons of beautiful women there. I don’t actually recall the last time I’ve been anywhere that is full of beautiful, smart, successful black women. But my company is full of them!

Over the last few days, I’ve realized I really have a crush on the chick from my last post, whom I am calling Belinda here at LO. I’ve been thinking about her all weekend. I saw her Friday at work and got all nervous, especially since she looked so good. And while I was working, the co-worker who sits beside me got a call from her. He said her first and last name, and my head immediately shot around towards his direction. At first I sat there smiling to myself, and then I jumped up from my seat and ran over to him to listen to their call. Then after they got off the phone, I asked him all kinds of questions about why she was calling and how often he has spoken to her.

Gosh, I totally feel and sound like a high school kid.

But I have to forget about it, and her.

See, this weekend while I’ve been thinking about Belinda, I also realized that I can’t date her even if she wanted to date me. In fact, I probably can’t date anyone at my company. Or maybe not “can’t”…perhaps “shouldn’t” is the better word.

[Sigh]

I work in the f*cking IT department, man. That means we interact with absolutely every other department at my company. There is nobody where I work whom I can absolutely say our work would never intersect. In fact, I looked through my company’s directory and realized I interact with people in Belinda’s department on a damn-near daily basis from a tech standpoint…people whom I know she knows–especially her manager.

Belinda’s a supervisor in another department. She’s not even just another f*cking employee–she’s a goddamn supervisor. She’s the equivalent of the dumbass for whom I work in IT. And although I don’t know my company’s rules on workplace dating and though I don’t really think it’d be wrong or detrimental to her for her to date me since I’m not one of her subordinates, I do see ways that my dating her could hurt me at work. Liiiiiiike…if things don’t work out…she has the power to go to my supervisor or his supervisor and complain about me, say, the way people complained to him about Lazy Tech…and then it’d be my word against hers when she’s the one in a position of power.

And because of the nature of my job, I can’t just avoid people. If things didn’t work out and she continued to contact tech support for various things–which, according to my co-worker, even though I’d written before that she hardly ever contacts tech support based on my own experience, he says he gets calls from her just about every other day–I can’t pass her phone call off to someone else or tell someone else to respond to her emails. I’d have to deal with her, and if I didn’t then, again, she could complain to my supervisor.

This last point also makes me think about what it’d be like if I dated just anyone at my company and it didn’t work out. I’d never be able to avoid whomever it is. And if the person is vindictive, she could go to my supervisor with all kinds of lies or just silly complaints. And then what would my defense be? “Yeah, I was fucking her after work, and now she’s all mad at me and trying to get me fired.” Right, like I’m going to tell my supervisor my business…or like I’d want to be in a position where I might have to or even where people actually know anyways without my telling them. In my last post, I mentioned how one of my co-workers came up to me and was telling me about how Belinda wanted to meet me. It was kind of uncomfortable…I had to keep a straight face and act like it was no big deal. But it did matter, because I’ve noticed her. And the fact that someone came up to me and mentioned it…it feels like the person is trying to get in the middle of something or start something. Basically, why did my co-worker even tell me that, you know?

Part of me thinks that, hey, she’s a supervisor…she should know better, so that must mean that she’s just being friendly and that’s it. Of course, supervisors don’t always know better, but still. I’m also not going to forget that she was kind of a bitch with me one time because I wouldn’t do something she wanted. I felt at the time that it said something about her, and I still think that could be the case.

In fact, I’m starting to wonder if she’s one of those high-maintenance women. There are different ways to be high maintenance, but some of them intersect most of the time. I’m not saying it’s always a bad thing; my mother is a type of high-maintenance woman. It’s a little annoying waiting two hours on her to get ready just so we can go to Walgreen’s, but that’s better than being the type of high maintenance woman who will dump ya because you can’t or won’t go into the poor house buying her schitt–my mother’s not that type, although she definitely likes to live a certain way and admitted that, at this point in her life, if she were dating she couldn’t date someone who didn’t make enough money for her to live the kind of life she has gotten used to. Still, I do think a fairly good percentage of high-maintenance women have certain personality flaws that I probably can’t hang with, to put it euphemistically.

I have noticed Belinda’s physical appearance more, which I don’t know if she has just stepped her game up or I just wasn’t paying attention before or what. Like my mother, she’s one of those women whom you can tell likes to look good and puts the time and effort in. She’s got a great body, great hair and her clothes look like they were tailor-made for her. She comes to work looking more like she’s going on a date or trying to attract someone. I’m not saying she looks inappropriate, but sometimes she just doesn’t look like anyone else who is just going to work looks. She certainly doesn’t look like any supervisor I’ve ever seen. Between that and the mini-tantrum she threw the one time I didn’t do something she wanted, I just have to wonder if she’s the classic “pretty bitch” (and again, my mother is high maintenance…love mom, but she is at least kind of difficult and demanding). If she is, she’s not someone I want to take chances with at work as far as things not working out if we date. Who knows how she’d react.

This is all theoretical at this point–highly theoretical–but still very important to realize. With the type of job that I do, it’s probably best if I just look but don’t touch while I’m at this particular company. It sucks, though, because it takes away what is probably the most likely way for me–and many other adults–to meet someone who is relationship material.

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Women Who Smile and Wave From Across the Room

The last two days at work have been hysterical.

For starters, Lazy Tech finally got fired. I guess we’re not really supposed to cheer things like this, especially in a time when the economy and unemployment are just horrible and so many people struggle to find work, but some people really deserve to lose their job. I just wanted to burst out laughing all day after finding out he got fired. But the main thing that makes me happy about his getting fired is it gives me a little more hope that good workers really can be valued and bad workers can get what they deserve instead of always being tolerated or having their shortcomings overlooked because they are personable. You don’t see this all the time in the workplace, so it’s good to see it’s possible.

Second…so, a while back I wrote a little about this woman at work who works in another department. The short version, to recap, is she is someone whom I sometimes see in my company’s lunch area. We had never met, but she just randomly started smiling at and acknowledging me, which is not always about anything, especially in the South. I wasn’t sure if she knew who I was, but I didn’t think so. Unfortunately, we’re popular in tech support (and to think, most of us went through school wanting to be popular, and now here I am saying “unfortunately” I am–just want to be left the f*ck alone, honestly), so sometimes people know who we are when we’re away from the IT department just trying to take breaks or go to the restroom. Anyways, one of the last times she emailed tech support, she kind of got pissy with me, and I just thought she had issues. But that’s how I found out her name and that she was the same person from the lunch area. I am still not sure if she knew who she was getting pissy with, though.

Okay.

So, for the last few days I have seen her regularly in the lunch area, and I have also spoken with her at work via telephone most of those same days. Normally, she does not call tech support, but she has started calling with schitt that is really not a big deal, which is great–I like schitt that’s not a big deal…those calls are quick and easy. Anyway, she still has been smiling and waving and all this, as if we know each other. Again, we have never spoken in person or been introduced.

Yesterday, she called tech support and she asked me a non-technical question, just really simple bs. It was, like, a 15-second call, and I transferred her to someone whom I knew wouldn’t act psycho about me transferring someone to him. Just really no big deal. Next thing I know, this chick shows up in the IT department, pops her head into the cubicle where I work and then basically pops out. Without thinking about it, I said, “Hey, Belinda” when she popped her head in, as if we talk all the time and as if someone had told me her name or she’d told me herself. I hate it when people come directly to us with stuff, so I always overcompensate to not show my displeasure by acting very friendly and more than happy that they showed up. They are not supposed to come to us anyway–they’re supposed to call or email only–but I never tell them that. Prior to, particularly, this job, I had no earthly idea that I could be so f*cking fake. I really would talk bad about myself and my fakeness if I were someone else. It’s just sickening.

Anyways, when she just kind of stuck her head in the cubicle and said hi and then started off again, I was like…? I put on my fake friendly schitt and was like, in a very customer service-type voice, “What do you need?” And she said something like, “Oh, I was just in the area.” And then she was gone.

I’m like…”Okay, this is weirdness.”

Today when I was beginning my lunch break, I saw her in the lunch area. I didn’t stay there very long…I wanted to go outside, but it was raining. In fact, there is a psycho storm where I live now and the streets are flooded. So I went back in the building, walked through the lunch area and then walked out. And because I saw her, I started thinking about yesterday. And I passed one of my co-workers, who I pretty much never spend time speaking with and whom I’m pretty sure is a lesbian. My co-worker stopped me and was like, “You know how Belinda stuck her head over in your cubicle yesterday?”

Apparently, this chick told my co-worker that she wanted to meet me. That’s why she came down to the IT department. According to my co-worker, she said it is nice to call tech support and get someone who is nice on the phone (for the record, the only person who wasn’t nice was Lazy Tech–everyone else is fine). I don’t know what else, if anything, was said, but it’s just a little bit interesting that Belinda was talking to my lesbian co-worker about this. Now, I still wouldn’t exactly say we met. For example, I did have someone come to meet everyone in tech support last week, although I do think she specifically wanted to meet me (because I heard one of my co-workers ask if she was looking for me, and then there she was), and she at least stuck out her hand–not just her head–and introduced herself formally. We talked, and we found out we’re both Michigan girls–she’s originally from Michigan, and she was happy when she found out I attended Michigan. This doesn’t happen often, though, and when it does the people wanting to meet me/us don’t work at our location. They just talk to tech support enough that when they finally have to come to our location for some reason they might drop by.

Anyway, I did see Belinda today and she did her smile/wave thing.

So, what does this mean? Who knows. I certainly don’t. And I was thinking I’d never get to find out because I’d probably be getting another job soon, but I might end up staying where I am after all. The co-worker who told me about Belinda also encouraged me to talk to my supervisor about moving back off tech support now that Lazy Tech is gone, which I wasn’t going to do until she mentioned it. I did, and my supervisor said he’d see what he can do. Now, if I can go back to doing what I was doing back in March, I might actually stay where I am. I just don’t know.

Anyways, as far as Belinda is concerned, I’m probably thinking too much, and it makes me feel like I’m back in school a little bit. One thing I hate about being a lesbian is you just don’t have a clearcut way to read women in heterosexual environments, and it seems like the best thing to do would be to follow a male/female dynamic…despite the fact that you’re both females. This seems to necessitate that one person kind of “be the man,” i.e. just go up to a woman who smiles and acts welcoming and initiate things, and I think a lot of the time it would be expected that this falls to me just because I am not that feminine (Belinda is pretty feminine, as are all women I find myself interested in), even though I’m also hardly butch. And I have a problem with male/female dynamics anyways, plus I’m not an initiator at all. And I’m still not sure I’d want to initiate anything even if I were that type.

A guy knows (or should know) that if a woman is smiling, waving, looking he should go up and talk to her, and that if he doesn’t he probably loses out. It’s more complicated than that with women, unless you happen to be in a predominantly lesbian or LGBT environment. For starters, you don’t know if the chick even likes chicks. And then in the South, people often greet people they don’t know.

[Shrugs]

We’ll see.

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Maybe I Spoke Too Soon

I doubt it, but here’s the deal:

In my last post where I wrote about still having feelings for my “ex,” I mentioned that it takes me a long time to get over someone, unless someone else enters the picture. And I wrote that no one else would be doing so because I work with a bunch of men. And I do, and I spend so much time cooped up in the IT department because I have to be by the phones so that we don’t miss tech support calls from our company’s employees. We are allowed two 15-minute breaks, but I rarely take them because I am usually too busy. And because I have been leaving work early or taking days off due to doctor’s appointments over the past month, I have definitely been seeing less people outside the IT department lately. It had also been nice outside until recently, so I have been going outside more on breaks.

We have something of an on-site restaurant or cafeteria with a dining area at work, and I used to sit in there on a regular basis during my lunch break before I started missing work and taking off early weekly. This is the main way I encounter other people at my company who don’t work for the IT department, but I really don’t interact with any of these people. When I am in the dining area, I usually see the same people all the time. There’s a group of people who always either seem to sit with each other or have drive-by conversations with each other in the dining area.

I’ve been at my job three months now, and there’s one lady I have often seen with this group of people in the dining area. I usually either eat or just sit and mess with my phone (listen to sports talk shows, play games, listen to music, surf sites, IM or text someone, etc), so I don’t pay much attention to other people in the area. But I look around at times just to try and stay alert, and I had never seen this lady pay any attention to me.

As I mentioned before, the past three or four weeks, I have mainly either been outside during lunch or have not been at work for lunch time. But this week, parts of the South decided it actually is, in fact, winter time and now it’s all cold and rainy and 30-something degrees instead of 50 or 60-something and sunny. So back to the dining area I go this week after a few weeks of barely being in there.

As I was on my way there, I saw the lady coming out and she smiled at me. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything in the South. Southerners smile at and greet people they don’t know all the time, especially people they see often and get to recognize by face, even if they’ve never officially met them. It’s both good and annoying. I mean, when I lived in Illinois and Michigan, I got accustomed to people not doing that as much as in the South, and it was nice to not feel obligated to acknowledge, like, 80% of all strangers or else be seen as rude or stuck-up. When I came back down South, I had to readjust to the culture once again, and that was one of the more irritating things I had to get used to again. But in this case, this lady had gone two or so months without engaging in this behavior, and even in terms of now doing it out of face recognition I seriously did not know if she’d actually ever seen me before.

Yesterday, I went out to lunch with Lazy Tech and some guys from the employment agency that placed LT and I at this company. Ugh. The place we went to did not have one morsel of real “American” food or drink in it. Before I could even finish the first dish, my face and tongue were, like, 65% numb and I felt like barfing (even though the first dish was actually good). By the time I got back to work, my stomach was killing me, my head hurt, it was a struggle to keep my eyes open…I somewhat thought about going home (and to be fair, I get sick after eating a lot of the time after having surgery a couple of years ago, but it’s usually not this bad). Instead, I set out to find a real, refreshing “American” beverage and not Saki or some other weird schitt or alcohol. Yep, it was time to hit the soda machine in the dining area.

I raced to the dining area as soon as I got back to work, in dire need of a Dr. Pepper. And there the gang was in a booth near the door, with the lady facing in my direction. Even though I saw her, I didn’t really see her because I was in a hurry to get soda. My eyes glazed over the booth when I hit the room and then I looked away quickly, just focused on the destination. And suddenly my brain went, “Wait a minute. That lady is smiling at you.” So I looked back at her, and she was still smiling at me. I did the Southern thing and acknowledged her.

This time was a little bit different. She was in the booth with about three other people, and when I came in she stopped paying attention to them and looked at me the whole time. Even when I wasn’t really seeing her and was instead focused on my destination, looked away quickly and looked back, she was still smiling and looking at me in that way people do when they’re waiting to see if you will make eye contact with them. After I finally did make eye contact with her, I didn’t look at her again, so I don’t know what else she did after that.

And yes, she is pretty.

I’m not going to lie–there is someone else at work I’ve noticed, and she is in the IT department. There’s just something about her voice. And she totally sets off my gaydar. But I would not date her, for a few different reasons. One is that she is in the same department as me, and I see too many potential problems with that. Getting with someone outside of IT, like the lady from the dining area, would be way better, because it’d be way easier to avoid her if things don’t work out. I have to interact with the chick from IT and do so just about daily. And frankly, I mentioned in my last post that I don’t really want to date a white woman, and I’m not kidding. It’s hard to explain without writing another post…best way I can put it is I don’t feel like dealing with racial issues/differences. The IT lady is white, but the lady from the dining area is black. IT lady also smokes, and that’s just a big, um, NO.

Speaking of race, that’s the other interesting thing about the dining area lady being nice to me all of a sudden. Black women are rarely friendly with me, unless they’re significantly older than me. It’s usually black men, then white men (I get along great with white men, and they always end up my best friends at work, even when I worked at a predominantly black job–it’s really weird, haha), then white women and then black women. Dining area lady looks like she might be a few years older than I am, at best. I’m the youngest in my family and will be 32 in a couple of weeks, and the next youngest is 37 and a half…dining area lady just doesn’t look that age.

The one thing about black women, though, is they don’t play about living at home with parents. It doesn’t matter the reason why; they don’t date men or women who live at home. But I just can’t see living in the same city as my parents and not living with them, and I know that’s weird to a lot of people. It just seems like a huge waste of money to me, and maybe it wouldn’t if I weren’t planning to move back to Michigan or someone else eventually. That’s $600+ every month that I get to save towards my move or blow on whatever I want. I don’t think I could make most people understand that I love that and just like living with my parents, but definitely not a black woman, haha.

The point, though, is there might actually be someone in that big building in which I work. Maybe there will be more to come on that topic…

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I Keep Thinking About My Ex

Okay, I’m just going to say [write] it:

I still have feelings for my–for lack of a better description–“ex” after over a year has gone by.

What exactly those feelings are, I couldn’t say. It depends on what mood I’m in, it seems.

Sometimes I feel as if I’m making progress and moving on. But it seems that every now and then I have a strong urge to talk to her or see her, and it goes on for days. Last year the urges were basically irresistible in that eventually I’d break down and contact her. I still can’t say that the urges have lessened that much, but I think I’ve reached the point where I’ll never contact her again. For starters, I know that I’ve contacted her more than enough since she decided to end everything between us for good. But, perhaps more than that, I am just really tired of always being that person. I always love more, care more, do more, come back more, contact more, etc. She has contacted me, like, once since the end. I have to leave it up to her if it’s ever going to happen.

She basically wanted to do what a lot of people call “no contact” for at least a year. Technically, it hasn’t been a year since we last communicated because I broke “no contact” so much. But if you go by when it all officially ended, it has been over a year. She told me she’d probably contact me after a year has gone by, kind of like we could be friends once we don’t have feelings for each other anymore. I know how I am, and a year is not enough time for me to get over someone unless someone else comes into the picture (I know–sad, but true). With the way my life is right now, no one is going to come into the picture. I mean, I work in IT, which means I usually work around a bunch of white guys. I don’t really work with women, and the last female I worked with on a daily basis was absolutely loathsome. Plus, when there are women around they’re usually either straight, white or both–not particularly interested in either.

The last time I broke “no contact,” the “ex” indirectly told me that she’d decided she wouldn’t attempt to communicate with me again. We did “meet” online, and from what I’ve been able to gather on some of the occasions when I broke “no contact” she has had a couple of bad experiences with other people from the internet. So she told me a rule she came up with, which is that she would no longer communicate with people online, just people she can see face to face. I interpret this to include me. After all, while she could see me face to face, I just don’t think she would at this point. At the same time, I know we met online, but I still don’t think I should be lumped in with other people she talked to online as if we all had the same type of relationship with her and meant the same to her. She told me several times I wasn’t lumped in with those other people, but apparently I am.

I did at one point indicate that I didn’t want us to communicate again in the future, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

I know a lot of people don’t understand how it’d be hard to let go of someone you never actually met. But truth be told, I think that’s a big part of the issue. We did everything except meet, and it bothers me that we never did. I still want to meet, and I often feel like I can’t move on without doing that.

And there are people who poo poo online relationships because they feel they’re fantasy or that you can’t really know the person or that there are people in “real life” you can date. Now, do I think she was totally honest with me? No. And I think about ways in which I felt/feel lied to. But a lot of those ways could be, and probably are, the result of her lying to herself first and foremost or just being naive…not actively trying to deceive me. As far as basic “is she who she says she is” stuff, I checked that out and it’s pretty true. And I already touched on the “real life” aspect, at least for me. It’s tough to meet someone at work, and then after work presents a problem because I live with my parents, who don’t know I’m a lesbian (even though they’re kind of stupid not to know that).

There’s not much I put past my “ex,” so it’s not a fantasy to me. I’m aware of what I do and don’t know, and what all I’ll probably never really know. But I was pretty honest with her. There’s really only one thing I can think of about which I wasn’t totally honest with her, and she should probably already know what that is and likely wouldn’t be that surprised if I admitted it to her if she doesn’t already know. It’s just one of those things you can’t be honest with women about, especially with a woman when feelings for each other are involved, that’s all. It’s something probably every straight guy knows and has had to be less than honest about at some point. But I didn’t lie about who I am or pretty much anything else. So I’m saying it’s not impossible to have an honest relationship with someone just because you met him/her online.

Regardless of how I met her, I still think about her daily for a lot of different reasons, including curiosity due to the fact that we never met. Related to that, I guess, is that it feels like we started something and never took it anywhere, never tapped into the potential. It’s worse than bad breakups, which I don’t really think this one was, to not really let everything play out and to have to spend the rest of time wondering about it.

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The Reality of Online Relationships

Some of you might know that I’m a big sports junkie, but particularly college football and college basketball. I cover college football some and have been doing so for over five years. Well, there’s this big story in college football that I want to tie to the real world, because, ultimately, the story has nothing to do with college football…and the commentary by the football guys shows how out of touch they are while demonstrating a flawed way of thinking among many people, including many outside of sports.

You see, there is this football player at Notre Dame, Manti Te’o. I’ve watched the guy all season. My team/alma mater, Michigan, played Notre Dame and lost last year. Te’o had a nice game against Michigan, and his sob story was out there at the time. The story went something like his grandmother and girlfriend died on the same day. Te’o, as good a player as he is, largely rode the sob story to fame and very nearly to a Heisman Trophy (which goes to the best college football player each year…or that’s what they say; it’s not actually true…more like whichever player the media likes the best). Neither the fame level nor the Heisman campaign would have been what they were had that sob story not been out there.

Now it’s being reported that this girlfriend who allegedly died never actually existed. The question is whether or not Te’o made the chick up in order to get attention or if he was just tricked into believing she existed. Te’o had led everyone to believe that he had the kind of relationship everyone thinks of when they think of a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship, i.e. he’d spoken as if he’d actually met this girl before. He’d used the word “met” in interviews and made it seem as if they’d interacted heavily. He said he loved her. I read an article where his father said she could have been his daughter-in-law. Now that it’s out that she never existed, Te’o is trying to say it was an online/phone relationship and he never met her. In other words, he didn’t know she wasn’t real but believed she was. This went on for months. This is his story.

Now…sports media people, by and large, aren’t buying it. And if he didn’t know, then he’s “naive.” Translation: he’s stupid. So, to some, he’s either stupid or crazy for making up a story about a girlfriend dying of leukemia, but they don’t want to come out and say they think he’s lying. Then there are those sports guys who want to know how you can have a relationship with someone you can’t see, touch or be intimate with. That alone means he’s lying. There’s no such thing as having a boyfriend or girlfriend you met online and only know online, in their minds. Nobody does that.

That last paragraph is what my post tonight is about.

I want you to know this–all of these people talking about the Te’o story in the sports media are over the age of 40 and, I think, are all married. If you’re over the age of 40, you probably agree with these sports guys who think there’s no way someone has that kind of relationship. Perhaps some of you under the age of 40 agree, as well.

…there are those sports guys who want to know how you can have a relationship with someone you can’t see, touch or be intimate with. That alone means he’s lying. There’s no such thing as having a boyfriend or girlfriend you met online and only know online, in their minds. Nobody does that.

Except…there are people who do that.

Young people do that.

People who get cell phones as Christmas gifts at age 8, iPads as birthday gifts at age 10 and who have had a computer or a laptop for as long as they can remember do that.

People who work so much that they don’t have time to date the old-fashioned way or who have friends who met their boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance or spouse through match.com do that.

And I have done that.

I have “met” not only girlfriends and boyfriends online, but friends online. Some I met in person, but, honestly, most I haven’t. I’m in my early 30s, and I started making friends and girlfriends online back in my teens when technology still wasn’t what it is today. So imagine for a guy in his early 20s nowadays, when all young people do is stay glued to cell phones, tablets, laptops and social media. There is probably not a young person alive now who hasn’t spent quite a bit of time chatting with someone online he or she doesn’t know in person, and half have probably “dated” someone he/she doesn’t know in person. It doesn’t matter that he’s a football player and there are young ladies at Notre Dame–that’s not the point. This is a cultural issue. And today’s culture is that we interact with people in cyberspace in ways that some married 48-year with 5 kids probably can’t even begin to fathom, regardless of how hot or popular someone is.

My best friend right today is a female I met online in 2001. It’s 2013. We’ve been friends for over 10 years. We’ve never met. There’s no telling if we’re ever going to meet. We have discussed it, and there have been two or three times when it could have happened. It just hasn’t yet. There are things called life (especially when you’re older) and money (especially when you’re younger) that get in the way. Still, I trust her, she trusts me and I know she exists.

The last woman I had romantic feelings for was someone I met online. We never met in person, and not because I didn’t want to. I wanted to meet her, but we never got that far.

The funny thing is how people nowadays like to blame technology for everything. That’s why young people today are stupid. That’s why people today want everything now. That’s why people today are more violent and more sexual. You can’t trust people you meet online. You can’t have a real relationship with them unless you know them away from the computer.

In a way, yes–to all of it. That woman I met online romantically? I wrote to her once that I don’t particularly want to do a long-distance relationship. At some point, I need to be able to be with someone. At some point, we have to be in the same place. That’s true for every online/long-distance relationship. That was not initially why I wanted to meet her. Initially, it was because I believed pretty strongly that we’d get along great in person even as just friends and that it wouldn’t be awkward, which has been my worry before about meeting people from the internet–that it’d be too awkward.

Assume for a bit that Te’o really did believe there was this girlfriend who existed and he wasn’t just trying to get attention. Remember, he said he loved her. According to him, she said she loved him. But they hadn’t met. I went through the same thing. And then some months later, after a breakup of sorts, I was told by my romantic interest that she looks back and doesn’t think it was romantic love she felt. I thought it was painful and ridiculous at first. But now I’m to the point where it’s hard to blame her for thinking that. Why? Because…how do you know if you love someone romantically when you haven’t met her? You can feel one way online, and then when you meet in person it can feel different. Ultimately, that’s why we needed to meet each other, if either of us had been in the place to pursue a romantic relationship…which we weren’t.

That makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is thinking that you have to know people in person to actually know them. When online relationships or friendships don’t work out, people make the internet out to be the bad guy. It’s not.

“I’m not going to talk to people online anymore. Only in person.”

You don’t necessarily know people around you are more real than people online are. I know people who have realized they don’t actually know their spouse the way they thought they did. The spouse broke a trust through lying or cheating. It’s not just people online who do these things.

So, assume Te’o was fooled. Like we don’t meet fake-ass people in person? Like the chick at the bar who smiled at you and gave you her phone number didn’t give you a fake number just to get you off her back? Like a guy you wasted three years with has never told you, “I’m just not ready to get married” for two of those years, only to turn up married to the next chick six months after your breakup? Or like he wasn’t actually already married the whole time you thought he was single?

The internet isn’t the bad guy. Indeed, you can meet wonderful people online. I have. I met one of my friends online, spent a year chatting and emailing with her before we actually enrolled at the same law school and met in person there. We’re still friends. There’s nothing wrong with her. Have “known” her since about 2004, met in 2005.

I’ve had people lie to me online, but I’ve probably had way more lie to me in person. My romantic interest wasn’t always forthcoming with me, but I think I understand at least some of it. She didn’t tell me her real name. But she knew mine, so I dug around and found out. The first thing she did was beg me not to tell her parents. What??? Ohhhh….yeah, the lesbian thing. Never crossed my mind, since I’m not that kind of an ass. But yeah…now it makes more sense why she was secretive about some things. Still,  having met me online doesn’t automatically make me less trustworthy than the kid in the next cubicle at work. After all, she knows my full name and orientation; the kid in the next cubicle at work doesn’t. I have more faith in her not to blab it around than I do in him not to.

As always, it’s about judgment and alertness. Not seeing only what you want to see. People now question Te’o’s judgment, among other things. Assuming he’s telling the truth, meeting someone he liked online and sustaining a relationship with her for months shouldn’t be the reason why, though–at least not in and of itself. That happens. It’s a part of life today. If you’re 50 and don’t get it, then you’re 50 and don’t get it. But I’m 31 and I do. I’ve been there.

Oh, yeah…and I don’t believe Te’o. I think he was trying to see how much he could get out of the sob story. But that’s because, one way or another, he has lied to everyone. He definitely lied about how he and the chick met. When I realized he lied about certain aspects of his relationship with this mystery girl, I was done. Still, I thought the online dating spin on the story makes for a good discussion.

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