While cooking dinner the other night, I had one of those random "aha!" moments – totally out of the blue and potentially life changing.
|Image: Bosom Button http://www.bosombutton.com/|
Not a product I've ever had the fortune to need.
But the image reminds me of Cleavage.
I think it started after I had an enjoyable chat on the phone with my friend, Cleavage. Cleavage and I met quite a few years ago -- actually the last time I set myself on a friend-making mission. Back then I was not a gimp, so I chose tennis (instead of beer) as my hobby (and the gut's showing it, believe me) and joined a league. Cleavage was one of my first matches and I could tell right away she would be fun to know as a friend. After a few matches and amusing netside chats, I made my move with the old "we should hang out sometime" line.
I know it's weird to describe trying to make a new friend as something akin to a guy scoping out a chick, but that is exactly how I see it (without the sex part). See, I've never been that kind of nervous when it came to dating as an adult. As an adolescent, well, that’s another story. In middle school I was totally boy crazy and, because 12 and 13-year-old boys are the biggest pussies on the planet, I had no choice but to do the work myself.
I orchestrated the moments I would pass him in the hallways. I knew where I would sit in proximity to him at lunch. If I needed a date to a dance, I did the asking. And I issued the appointments for post-dance, behind the locker make out sessions (one middle school boyfriend, who went on to become a notorious ladies man in high school, recently admitted that he broke up with me after a week or two because I scared him with my make out request. Apparently the girls back in his home state of Wisconsin were nowhere near as aggressive.)
By the time high school rolled around, the boys were starting to catch up and the ball was heading in to their court. Not that I was volunteering anymore. It only took a few weeks of high school for me to realize I was no longer in my comfort zone. The popular junior and senior boys immediately snapped up all the cute, blonde girls I was friends with in middle school. The skater dudes veered off to the far side of the quad to hang out with all the other skater dudes. The surfers talked nothing but waves, and ditching classes to catch waves. The stoners went under the bleachers, the cheerleaders were watching football practice. I wasn’t any of those things.
I ended up sort of floating in the middle - part jock, part honor student, part partier, and really pissed off at life. Boys at school just did not interest me. I had plenty of male friends, and even made out with a few, but all I wanted to do was graduate and get to college. Basically, if a boy was genuinely interested in me, I did none of the heavy lifting like I did in middle school. Needless to say, I graduated a virgin.
Back to Cleavage, who bought my line and has been my friend ever since. Sadly, we never got to that "good friend" category because, a few months after we met, she starting dating a guy she met after I encouraged her to try online dating. They got serious fast. He moved in, they bought a house and got married.
I was there along the way but probably not like I would've been if we'd been single girlfriends just a little longer. It’s funny because the only reason this thought ever came to mind was because her husband came up to me one night during their courtship and said, "I feel kind of bad, DT.” I had no clue what he was talking about and asked him why. He responded, “I feel like I interrupted your and Cleavage's friendship.” I thought about it for a second and could see what he meant, but how can you begrudge somebody lifelong love and happiness? Besides, I liked him and was happy for them both.
Still, Wine Guy wasn’t all that comfortable hanging out with their circle of friends, which I understood (they were pretty heavy partiers). I didn’t have a lot in common with their group either. So Cleavage and I mostly saw each other every few weeks, sometimes months, for “girls night.” With no one else around, we always picked up right where we left off – and that’s how it’s been for the last five years.
And then, a few months ago, she invited me over and told me she's leaving her husband. A total shock to me. Apparently they'd been having problems and, even though I witnessed many of the incidents, I assumed they were perfectly happy. (That is one of my nastiest habits - assuming everybody else's life is supremely happy and "normal," and I'm the one who’s doing life “wrong.” But it doesn’t last long because, every six months or so, someone lays a whopper on me like Cleavage did and I’m reminded that nobody’s life is “perfect.”)
I was not happy to hear this news. I liked her husband and I'm pretty sure he liked me. And since I'd known them as a couple longer than I ever knew her, "they" were my friends. But after she laid it out all for me, I understood why she was throwing in the towel.
I'm not gonna lie. I was pretty damn excited to have a new single friend to hang out with. I remember how much fun we had hanging out, cracking each other up, flirting with boys in bars. I can honestly say I haven't done that since.
With a fresh marital separation and all the drama that entails, it's still too soon to dive in to manhunting, but we have put each other on the regular phone call rotation. It probably doesn't mean as much to her, but I currently have only one friend who meets that qualification and she lives 3,000 miles away and has a 3 month old baby to care for so, yeah, I'm jonesin' for some girl talk. Funny thing is, I loathe the phone. Avoid it at all costs (talking - not texting or emailing). But I have just enough patience for that one, gabby call per week. And now I have a standing appointment.
It was after our last appointment, while I walked my dog around the neighborhood, that I had my random "aha!" realization. After we hung up, I started making dinner and I suddenly said out loud, "So, I'm lonely." It wasn't a sad thought or anything negative at all. Just a statement of fact. I've spending a lot of time alone the last few months and, some of that time, I don't want to be alone. Those are the times I am lonely.
I sat with that a minute as I dredged my chicken (I can't believe I just typed that as I am so new to cooking). With the meat sizzling on the pan, I stepped away to the dining room table and had a second, less random thought.
I am lonely. But I'm also happy.
Until that moment, it had never occurred to me that I could be both.
So, Cleavage and I are meeting up on Saturday night for dinner, cocktails and a horror movie. I haven't done that in decades. In a few more months, maybe we'll take our friendship to the next level and go out and flirt with some boys. I've told her of my plan, saying, "With your blonde hair and big boobs, we're gonna get so many guys!"
She laughed heartily and enthusiastically, showing me she was neither offended nor uninterested in my proposal. That, my friends, is a girlfriend.