There was nothing spectacularly different about tonight when I went downstairs for dinner. I’m almost always alone whenever I go for meals, and honestly, I prefer it that way – especially when I have a book to read, and a desperate need to get out from the confines of my room. I’m not a big one for conversation. I mean, I have conversations in my head, sure, very vivid, even argumentative ones between Me and Myself, but when it comes to talking to someone else – maybe not.
Halfway through my ayam penyet and rice, and a particularly pungent dose of tomato sambal, it occurred to me that in twelve days, I turn 43, and that it’d been a long time since I’d been to dinner with a man I was comfortable with. And by ‘man’, I mean, ‘single, available straight male who wanted to have conversation with me over dinner.’
In case anyone thinks that’s not only incredibly, stupidly, impossibly specific, let me just note that I don’t need nor want it to be a date, in that traditional sense of the word. I am well aware that my credit rating in the dating department is in the negatives, and that men don’t find me attractive or interesting. I’m the woman that all the married-or-paired-up friends skip over when they try to match make some attractive, suitable male with one of the available single women they know, because we aaaaaall know that the men would ask them why they’re being set up with such a dog.
Dinner, and conversation with a man who wants to be there, because he asked. Suddenly that sounds like a very tall order. My friends would probably put it on the scale of Coke and Pepsi doing a merger and coming up with some outlandishly pink, bubblegum soda product.
I’ve a personality like a porcupine. In fact, sometimes I think I channel a porcupine on a Spirit Animal level – my hair’s always spiky and short and has an attitude of its own, I like clean lines and sharp angles, and because I’ve been trying to drop some weight and tone up, I’m at least some part lines and other parts sharp angles as well.
That’s all well and good, but porcupines aren’t easy on the eyes, and they’re not big on conversation either (whoever heard a talking porcupine?) I have Opinions that rattle and clunk along in iron shoes and rusty chains. I try to stay quiet and to soften the words that come out of my mouth, but oftentimes they make their presence felt like a rain of assassin needles – small, stabby, out of nowhere. I couldn’t name a man alive who’d want to hold a conversation with any of that, nor would I expect it – not even the easy-going, phlegmatic boys of the gaming world that I’ve gotten to know so well.
Twelve days into turning 43, and I’ve realized that what I really want is a quiet, low-key evening of good conversation, and being with a man who wants that enough to ask for it. Not that I have anything against spending time with the rest of my friends – who, bless them, have put up with my existence for more years than they should have, and who have done their level best to love and care for a very unattractive, fairly hopeless spinster who probably should’ve been drowned at birth to rid the world of the blight of her existence.
But I’m being selfish here and stating what I want, not what’s going to be best for everyone around me (that would be my absence, which usually makes for a sigh of relief, because then no one has to deal with the Wallflower from Hell.)
To quote a dear friend, “…on a scale of 1-10, [that] is ‘e’.”
Or maybe that should be negative something something something.
What I want, versus the reality: rather than hope for it like some silly goose who doesn’t know when something’s so laughably stupid it’s impossible, I might just invest in a good bottle of cider, retreat to my room, and curl up with that, chocolate, and a good book. Or Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock Holmes.
That, at least, is doable. Unlike men.