You know, of course, that I do not have that J-degree, but I call them colleagues just the same. It may be why I stuck around for those 20 minutes at all.
Perhaps he was merely charmed by how I stage-whispered "I went to MU" to his Jayhawk-transplant ear (from a distance of 2.5 feet). I had already done the same with a woman, the one running the gallery space, who was flattering in saying to me, "I thought you were older." Oh, for the candid lovely things people say, especially when you've had a 2+-year e-relationship and find them amazingly younger in years than you expected them to be, based on their e-content, too. Yay for the smart and young and the smart who merely look young!
My telling her, "I'm almost 36," was not at all painful. I balance all that with frank admissions of having social anxiety, of being hand-flighty, of slipping in and out of serious "this is my business question" mode.
I tried to stay on task with this fellow … who, come to think of it, was all very forward in his method. It could have just as well been merely the only way he knew to talk to women at all. I was pretty much going on that assumption, until the e-mail came tonight.
It was charming, and I told him so, to receive a veiled and diplomatic invitation to see one another again — he'd even drive the hour out to my "neck of the woods" to grab a bite, or, "perhaps a drink." See? — how diplomatic!
Ah, while he could not fail to notice my giant label-free repurposed Gatorade bottle of tap water, he did, admittedly, fail to judge which hand (he said he looked for it) my ring was on. Another sign of youth and/or my (ha!) powers of distraction / failure to have learned to act my age and position.
I replied within e-minutes, with text you won't see until I am dead and have a biography out (another ha! is in order), indicating in the first paragraph a religious joke (5th day of Passover … as much enthusiasm as I and my husband spent Easter with his parents, etc.) — and he replied back with a decent and lighthearted apology … to which I sent a "seriously, keep us in mind re: student writers who have an art-bent" … to which I seriously never expect to see/hear another reply.
Since most of the males who express interest in me fall into the "weird man driving down the street looking out of the non-windshield and risking hitting potholes or dogs or whores," or "penniless immigrant who culturally misinterpreted her eye-contact or smile," or — since I'm white I can say this — equally penniless white trash-esques … this is a small triumph.
It's my first confirmed and actuated, "A younger man liked me!" that I've ever had. Cougar-T (who has three known hairs that happen to be white and are destroyed often) is TMI-ing it your way.
I shall not be satisfied until someone I care about (care, in the 1870s sense) looks back at me, male or female., but that's all pretend, not necessary and not going to happen — because I'm decreasingly paying attention.
I still maintain a terribly non-Buddhist (disappointed) vanity, but I have a devoted spouse who worships the ground I complain on; and while marriage, as I have told some of you personally, is no better or worse than being alone, I would not trade this or change it or end it for the world.
And not just because I think the world is stupid.
It's the most marvelous thing to have someone who has your back no matter what and vice-versa. Young is passing. New is nothing. Love is something. Commitment is everything.
I like it.