Sunday, December 26, 2004

I am a cuddle slut

I’m reflecting on my interaction with women over the past couple of months. Well, two in particular. I have just procured the rights to share my recent story. The one I have been vaguely alluding too in the past couple of entries. This situation is particularly thought provoking because it is so similar to the scenario with ‘my new best friend’. Speaking of which, let me add a little side bar about her… She has purposely distanced herself from me to keep things from getting too hot. I kept inviting her to do stuff over the past several weeks, but there are usually reasons that she couldn’t. We were talking at our church group Christmas party about it and she told me she felt that she had to avoid me for the common good. I guess she’s right.
So back to my current mess. I’ll set the stage with a little history and personality profile. So there is this woman at work. I got the impression she might be attracted to me, mainly from my nosy coworker who sits behind me - we all call her Little-Miss-Takes-It-Too-Far. But anyway. So I keep getting all these signals. And it’s flattering and all. But as I’ve stated before, I wouldn’t consider being with a non-Christian, so I ignored it as best I could. Unfortunately for me, this woman is cute and smart and sassy, and lot’s of other things I like in a woman. Sound familiar? Oh, and she has really pretty hair. I’ll call her Pretty Hair. So I found myself somewhat reciprocating the flirtatious attitude. I didn’t mean too, honest! But it created some momentum that ended up propelling things into territory that I really didn’t want to navigate.
A couple of weeks ago I sent Pretty Hair a link to this blog because I thought she would appreciate my story about Charlotte Church. (She’s a writer and editor.) Well, being a bright lady, she found my one obscure reference to her buried many entries ago. It was where I mentioned that I had two women pursuing me, but one was easy to ignore since she’s not a Christian. Well, it turns out she was pretty hurt by this offhand comment since she had a considerable amount of feelings built up for me. She sent me an email elucidating her feelings and how this discovery made her feel foolish. I felt like a total jerk for leading her on. I took her out to dinner and we talked a bit. I did my best to console her without making any sort of commitments. We agreed that we didn’t have to have any weirdness between us, which was a relief to me. After that I set out to be much more careful in how I present myself. I failed.
That weekend was her birthday. My kids had just gone down to stay with my parents for winter break. I was suddenly free! So fulfilling my mandate to not be weird with her, I went and hung out at her daughter’s house for Pretty Hair’s birthday. That reminds me of another quirky aspect to this story… She has a daughter that is slightly closer to my age than she is. And get this… her daughter likes me too! Ha ha ha! (Apparently she has a thing for nerds.) Her daughter is a super talented singer/songwriter. She’s hot too. But not my type. Pretty Hair sings with her in a little band. It is SO cute. So anyway, I ended up staying way, way too late on the couch with the birthday girl. Snuggling is too innocent a word. It wasn’t sex or anything. But it wasn’t appropriate for an unmarried couple. And it really wasn’t right for someone who just decided two days earlier to be very careful about how he was going to act. Quite shameful. And furthermore, I believe that sexual activity has spiritual ramifications. And it really doesn’t make since that there would be some magical on/off switch that gets flipped at some arbitrary point activating said connection. So I have surely inadvertently caused spiritual problems with my less-than-sex-but-more-than-cuddling activity. I was dour and ponderous the next day, regretting my actions and hoping it wasn’t too late to keep any hearts from being broken. So after a couple of days of contemplation and recommitted resolve, I’m proud to say I made the mature and intelligent decision to invite Pretty Hair over to my place to sculpt with me later in the week. That’s right. I’m sure I had some kind of rationalization at the time. But really, it just boiled down to the fact that I like her, and being adored is addictive. Very addictive. I was never really adored by my wife. It’s obviously ego-gratifying, and I decided to put my ego before God and someone’s heart. Vile, huh? Yeah. I am.
It’s pretty bad that I would actually decide what is right, commit to doing it, then do the opposite. Well, at least I’m in good company. Paul - possibly the best Christian who lived - said he had the exact same problem. Not that that it makes me feel any better about being a heel, and hurting this poor woman. I’m so ashamed of myself I almost can’t admit to it. It’s taking all my will power to write about it now.
Not bad enough you say? Not complicated enough? Well, there is also the fact that I have apparently been a catalyst for her to start re-evaluating her spiritual life. Her dad is a pastor who loves her very much and told me he prays for her daily. Naturally, any spiritual activity that occurs in her has to be a separate process from what is going on between us, since mingling the two would call into question its validity. There are many bad reasons for conversions, such as fear, or social advancement. But missionary dating is one of the worst things I can imagine. We have had some good talks, but I’m being very careful not to have an agenda here. I’ve never been big on trying to sell my faith. I just don’t think God needs salesmen. He needs people who are willing to follow Him as well as they can, and share that experience when asked. (Hence, this blog.) I take some comfort in the fact that God’s plan for her life already takes into account my miserable failure.
So anyway… I’ve had a lot of fun with this woman. She’s a really cool person and I really, really hope things will work themselves out. I didn’t want to like her as much as I do. And that brings me to my next preponderance. Since this progression has happened twice, with two different women, I have enough data to start creating a theory. I need a third experiment to be sure, but I haven’t run across any other smart, pretty women who want me, (thank God!) so I’m going to need to speculate a bit. And my extrapolated thesis goes like this: I am a mirror. I reflect whatever passion is put into me. I imagine this is a common human behavior pattern. But I don’t see most people getting into the same trouble that I have. And this never happened while I was married. So something odd is definitely happening. Another problem I have, is that I have responded this way to 100% of the subjects. I wish there was someone else who started flirting with me that I soundly rejected. But that hasn’t happened. So either, A: I will jump on the couch with any girl who wants too, or B: it’s a coincidence that both women this has happened with are really special people that I could fall in love with if I let myself.
Since I have never been through that weeding-out process that most people who have been married have; (since I married the first pretty young thing that came along.) it’s hard for me to know how to asses a woman in that regard. Especially since I am convinced that I should not be assessing any women as marriage material right now. So I’ve put myself in this awkward spot where I am saying ‘no’ with my words, and ‘yes’ with my actions, hurting people I like a lot, and damaging myself and those around me spiritually. How lame.
Speaking of lame… After being as close to the Spirit of God as I have this past year, I must say how much it sucks to remove myself from Him by these selfish actions. It’s like when you are in a smoky bar, then step outside and realize how filthy the air you were breathing was. Then diving right back in. Now that I’ve had that fresh air of freedom and peace, I quickly recognize when I’m re-breathing my own polluted breath instead of His life-giving breath. I’m unsettled, uneasy. Just plain uncomfortable. Not because of shame. (Though I am ashamed of what I’ve done, I’ve brought that before God and dealt with it.) It is simply the natural condition of being a slave to myself. I’m not a kind master. And the new spirit that Christ resurrected within me shudders when he is bent to the will of my flesh.

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