Last night, I attended a low-key happy hour with some people I know, two of the three amigos, and lots of interesting strangers. There are always 2-5 happy hours going on every night — we are a city of philanthropic young professionals, but this was particularly fun. I met some amazing people.
About 15 minutes before I left, I invited BFD and he declined, though he mentioned he’d like to go in the future. He encouraged me to go and thought it sounded very cool.
There were three men there who expressed clear interest in me. I am still not used to general male attention. I have looked basically this way since May, though I look more glamorous since I dropped the last 8 pounds and am now “socially thin.” (The look BP insists makes me girlish rather than womanly, and makes him feel wrong.)
I am, as I told two guys last night, an acquired taste, lacking general appeal. We were discussing dating and I was being playful, but I also meant it. I know my appeal — slightly older, successful, entrepreneurial men. That is who I date. It’s who I find interesting and who finds me compelling. I can be a badass in my own right, but I am also comfortable being the mate of someone much more successful than I am. I am not looking to be his equal in all things. But, I want to be taken seriously, to be loved, coveted, respected, and appreciated. I know those things have nothing to do with economic parity.
When they began asking me about BFD, who I told them I was dating, I was slightly uncomfortable. I could tell from their reactions that they did not like the idea of him. I need a better story for who he is and what he does. I should have been more deliberately vague, but instead I told them what he had told my friends. BFD is very open about his life and his circumstances, but it weirds out regular professionals. They said something like, oh, so he is really rich? I just looked at them, because, seriously, who would say such a thing? I said, I am not saying that, so then they launched into a side discussion of how rich he might be. Then they decided he was a jerk and could not for the life of them see what I saw. They asked what I liked about him — I said I understand him. They took that as a fucked up answer, not realizing for me that is exactly what I am looking for. Someone I understand, who understands me. I am not normal, not regular. My life is unusual. My values are different. I live in a slightly different world than normal lawyers and bankers and engineers. They do not know it, but I do. They do not get me. My friends think I am crazy most of the time. They cannot figure out why I think what I do. What they do not realize is that BP and BFD get it. My family gets it.
My conversation with those guys last night made me uncomfortable because it reminded me that I have to pretend that I am normal when I am surrounded by normalcy. I usually do a much better job. When asked what I do, I say lawyer. That’s a lie. Well, it’s not exactly a lie, but it’s far from the truth. Yes, I practice law at times, but I spend my days in a different world.
I am not making a value judgment about them or anyone else there. I just know that when I tell the truth, people get uncomfortable. If I told you what I really did for a living, you would think I was insane. I know this because I have had this conversation and I have had to refine my answer to make people more comfortable. (The response was always: “you do what?!!!!!” And then they looked uncomfortable.)
They instantly disliked BFD — no matter what I said, they heard “rich asshole.” Again, these are successful professionals to whom I was speaking, but they still find the idea of him offputting. It’s the same thing with BP, but because he’s 10 years older than BFD, it’s somehow easier to take. They just don’t realize he retired at exactly the same age as BFD did, so they would have the same reaction to BP if they had met him at BFD’s age.
The question with which I am often confronted is why do I want to date men like them. Aside from the obvious, I grew up in their world. My grandfather was a workaholic. Though he never had to work, he did this for fun. I cannot imagine that he ever made any money, but that was never the point. He lived a very comfortable life and loved working hard every day for no reason.
When you choose to work (rather than working because you have to), you have time to be very philosophical, very interested in the world around you, and you have the world open to you in a way not available to you when you’re working 50+ hours a week to pay for your house and your $50k car.
When I said I understand BFD, I was paying him the highest compliment I could, but all they heard was rich asshole. I have to do a better job pretending next time because they will never see the appeal, other than money.
It’s not about money, it’s about time.