There are some weeks when it's just kind of clear that God has a wicked sense of humor.
Early this week I was catching up with an old friend who I totally adore and who just got out of a relationship. I kind of enjoy doing the post-mortem on someone ELSE'S heartbreak and it's always fairly fascinating to hear a male perspective on why something didn't work out. We got on my favorite, and by that I mean very least favorite of all time, topic of how if women get too independent and men don't feel needed, they will bail.
I don't disagree with that fact or frankly with the attitude behind it. It's not like I especially want to be with a guy who doesn't need me either. But here is where I get so frustrated and frazzled when someone tells me that-then what on earth am I supposed to do? Sit around helplessly until a man comes along and saves me? Or learn how to take care of myself and have a full and active life until a guy comes along who digs a girl like that at which point I will gladly turn over auto maintenance and garbage duty and bug killing and dress zipping up aid and worry easing pep talks and all the myriad of other things that yeah, I can totally do myself but like pretty much all human beings, I'd sure love to have a teammate around to help with. I don't need a man in the sense that my life is a mess without one. But I totally want one. And I'm kind of looking forward to all those little compromises I'll have to make to let someone else into my life. I truly believe that going it alone for so long means an extra dose of appreciation when you no longer have to handle everything yourself.
So two things happened this week that made me think, "yep, I'm gonna be juuuuust fine."
My coworker Todd and I go for a bike ride every Thursday. This week I was having some ID badge drama and couldn't get into the locker room to change. I was kind of rattled and rushing around once I finally got in because I knew I still had to check my tires and fill my water bottle and I didn't want to hold Todd up any longer than I already had. I ran into the storage room and almost had a heart attack when I didn't see my bike anywhere. I came out the door practically in tears and there was Todd, with both of our bikes, tires ready to go and my water bottle full. It was such a small gesture but so kind. I was a bit overwhelmed in fact and Todd seemed a bit thrown by how pleased I was. I couldn't stop thinking about it all day and it struck me-Todd has been married for a long time to a very capable and talented woman. He has seen me fill my bike tires week after week and knows I don't "need" his help. But I think he could tell that I could certainly use a hand so he just did it. And let me just assure any gentlemen readers out there, the likelihood that you are going to do something nice and unexpected for a girl and she is going to lecture you about how she doesn't need your help is just pretty low.
Jump to yesterday. I was pretty tired from a long week and since I am headed to NYC on Wednesday for meetings and then sticking around for what will be a fun but exhausting weekend, I elected to let myself sleep as long as I wanted. I woke up at about 11:30 to my friend Dainon's daily Christmas song email which just happened to include a recipe for pumpkin pancakes. So I blew off working out (oops!) and invited my friend Ari over for what turned out to be lunch. Then I lazed around until it was time to go meet my friend Darius who was going to help me with a couple of electronic themed errands. I went to pick him up and as I was walking up his stairs, I heard a hissing sound coming out of my car. I mentioned my car was hissing, he said that didn't sound good and when we came back out, I had a flat tire.
Do you want to know how to turn me into a completely helpless female stereotype? Cars. They are my kryptonite. I completely freak out when something goes wrong with my car. So I'm starting to have a meltdown and Darius just gets in the trunk, pulls out the spare and jack and starts fixing it. I got a little jumpy because he was already taking time to help me with my Best Buy trip and now this! But we're friends right? So he changed the tire, gave me some advice about the sad, sad state of my front tires and offered to drive so I didn't have to put too many miles on the spare. And later when I told him I would cook him dinner because I owed him he laughed and said, "cook me dinner because you want to, you don't owe me at all."
So I've been thinking all week...I absolutely don't want to be the kind of girl who puts off a "stay back, I got this myself" vibe. But there are certainly a lot of men in my life who seem to be confident enough to realize that while I may be plenty cabable, I do sure like their help. And sometimes I even need it.
I'm sure there are dozens of things I can fix about the way I behave in and out of relationships but this is one concern I'm calling time on. I've lost my patience for any dating advice that begins in "this gender needs to _______". Relationships are complicated and every single one comes with it's own set of rules and oddities. I have been sort of shocked this year as I compare all the different boys I interacted with to one level or another (this was kind of a busy year dude wise) and how each situation brought out something unique in me. When I turned 30 I decided I was never going to make sweeping statements about all men every again. I guess now at 34 I'm also going to quit listening to sweeping statements about all females too. That sort of talk really doesn't accomplish much except to put us on opposite sides and love is enough of a damn battlefield without us making it worse.
So this holiday season, I'm grateful for the quality and quantity of good men in my life. From fabulous brothers and dads to terrific coworkers to dear friends, I am so blessed to have loads of examples of good, honest, supportive males in my life who keep me hopeful that there is one out there like that for me.