by Sandra

Ha-ha, that bit about the bad friends in my last post is getting quite a bit of heat. Not terribly surprising, but let’s put it this way: if I don’t talk to you directly about it, chances are it isn’t you. 🙂

So now that we can all relax, let’s talk about men for a moment, shall we?

HaHaHa…I don’t know why that’s so funny, but it’s f*cking funny right now….

Ahh, anyway, while I’m not cracking myself up, allow me to bring up a serious topic. Serious enough.

As I mentioned earlier, I got hit on by a gentleman yesterday who was substantially older than me. And it’s not that I have anything against older men. I know some of you have heard my laments about one older man in particular over the last couple of years, but this man yesterday was well—just not my bag. Our conversation started innocently enough, until about ten minutes in and as he’s speaking, I began to wonder “is there something more going on?” and also, “how am I going to side-step this one?” (let me just pause here and say how f-ing ridiculous it is to be a woman sometimes, these thought processes), and after another ten minutes of talking, I thought I was out of the woods because Older Man said something like “well I’m going to wander around the other booths for a while,” to which I thought “whew!” but then he asked if I was interested in “chatting” and did I have a minute to exchange email addresses? Well…I hemmed and hawed (and another side note, why do women feel bad about being direct and honest—even to people they don’t know!!?) After I suggested he give me his email address (code for: so I won’t have to email you), he took the hint and we shook hands and he was gone.

Afterwards, the only thing I could think was “why can’t this happen with young, attractive, single guys? Guy with potential?

And that’s when my mental wheels started turning, and I spent the better part of the rest of the day pondering this, and this is what I came up with:

I’m afraid of men. It’s true, they really terrify me. I know where this stems from, as well. Growing up, I was a really heavy kid. I mean REALLY heavy, like morbidly obese. And I would get made fun of—a lot, as is perhaps expected of someone of my girth. The perpetrators of much of the teasing? Guys. And packs of guys, no less, and usually packs of jocular white guys. So I grew up thinking that men, and white men in particular, and white men in groups even more, where enemies, a source of hurt and stress, and I just avoided them. Especially the popular guys, who would lob insults over in my direction with almost predictable regularity. Even in college, where the high school jocks were replaced with frat boys.

In the meantime, years have passed and pounds have been shed, but if I were to get down to brass tacks, I would say that I’m still skiddish around men. Especially packs of white men. But even when they’re single, on their own, I’m still on edge. Not because they’ve proven that they’re untrustworthy or mean-spirited, it’s just an almost Pavlovian response on my part. I can’t help it, it’s almost fight or flight, I cannot act like myself, or at least very rarely. Said older man from before is probably one of the only non-familial men I feel completely comfortable with. I would even get uncomfortable around poor Gabriel—upstanding, wonderful, excellent Gabriel, someone who I KNOW loves me for me, when he cornered me in coversation in the kitchen of our host family’s home in Turkey. As we were talking, I was so scared that I would say something stupid. And I always feel that way! Old Man the other day got as far as he did because I simply wasn’t expecting it from him.

And this is discouraging. Because there’s actually a lot that depends on a man. Romantic love, marriage, sex, children (in that order), but if I can’t get passed being scared sh*tless by the dudes I meet, I don’t think I’ll ever get there. It doesn’t make it any easier for me to know that aside from my actual ex-boyfriend, there hasn’t been one guy at church who has asked me out on a date. And I mean, even chronic, serial daters—guys who have dated pretty much the entire rest of the church. I’ve not got one nibble. To me that’s the polite equivalent of making fun of me. But then I think “wait a minute, these are godly men—surely they are at least somewhat more interested in just looks. Surely they want a godly woman, or are on the lookout for at least a woman with character,” which I think I have in spades (all humility aside for a moment).

But then, I realize that I must carry my fear around with me. It feels like a mask I hide behind. And I’m sure that others, men especially, can sense that feeling around me, and they don’t even try to come near. And for as discouraging as all this is to realize and think about, to be honest, I am glad that I finally to a realization that this is what I’m really afraid of, because now that I know, I can work on reversing it—I can give that fear to God and let him heal it.

In the meantime, anyone out there want to help me get over the hump?