This week I did an awful lot of people watching. I mixed and mingled. I laughed and flirted. And all the while I took in how other people did the same. I truly enjoy the education exercise that is the male/female interaction (said in my best social scientist voice). It was New York Farm Bureau’s State Annual Meeting and the event is always ripe with observation opportunities.
Some men lavish women with attention while others sit nearby and just kind of hover. Some men use cool indifference as a tactic to get women to follow them. Some women are able to draw men in with a knowing laugh and a coy smile. Some women stand on the edges and pine for a particular man who isn’t even aware of them.
Why is it that you can always see other people so much more clearly than you see yourself?
I honestly don’t know where I fit in the mix. I tend to have interesting, funny men around – but they never make a move. I’ve had a tendency to fall for the men that will never give me what I need or deserve. The ones that are indifferent and kind of rude but draw me in and drag me along for long periods of time. The combination causes me to honestly wonder if I even register as a woman – or am I “just Jen?” But then, in fleeting moments, I notice a sweet man looking across the room at me.
And then I’m truly confused.
It happened the other night. I looked up a few times and saw someone that I like but don’t really know looking at me. So I smiled and he smiled back. I even went over and asked a question, giving the opportunity to start a conversation. In return I received a sentance-long answer as he turned back to the card game he was playing. Huh. So maybe I was wrong. Or maybe he’s shy…Or maybe I was wrong…I keep going back and forth on this one.
Instead, I ended up being propositioned by a very drunk friend. At least I think he was propositioning me – I couldn’t actually understand him. There was drunk hugging and drunk “you’re amazings.” There may have even been a proposal in there…Let’s just say there was an awful lot of drunk on his part. It was kind of sweet, but totally not going to happen. I gave him a kiss on the cheek and went to bed alone and wondered. Not about him, but about men in general.
I wondered about how I approach men, about who I show them I am. Do they think I’m just a flirt? Am I unapproachable? Am I strong and independent and terrifying? Am I someone they pine for or am I someone that doesn’t even register as a woman? Am I a combination of these things? I’m a natural hostess so I move from group to group, laughing and chatting, asking how people are and what’s going on in their lives. I’m a flirt, I guess, because I smile and tease and joke, making sure that everyone is having a good time.
But men don’t know what to do with that do they? And when I work the room all the man who may be interested in me sees is me paying attention to everyone else but him.
I have other thoughts from this week and my scientifically minded observations. I have theories developing on vulnerability and strength and how they are actually not what you think they are. I’ve got a few lines on how hiding from things only keeps you hiding. And a call to action for men to actually offer to help a woman out – lift heavy boxes, hold the door, be gentlemanly and well mannered…especially if you are interested in the woman!
None of these thoughts are fully cooked yet, but be sure there will be more from me soon enough.