A boy learning to be a girlfriend
More often, I find myself in positions that I have mostly seen girlfriends play. I’m struggling to accept it. I feel like it emasculates me but when I think of exactly what these positions contain, I feel equally ashamed of how long it’s taken me to become a girl friend.
A girl friend’s primary attribute by my twisted world view is one who sits like a dog and waits on her friend when all she needs is presence. One who can feel all the feels and process precisely the emotions of the moment without allowing herself get flustered or entertain the thought of escaping the moment to do anything but be of service simply by listening. One who relishes the thought that she is the first line of duty for a friend processing through life and its oddities; so much so that she takes pride in being included and primary to, well, listen. One who would serve last minute and plan ahead just because her friend asked and needs someone, okay maybe wants someone is often good enough. One whose identity is made up of being and whose doing is consistently enslaved to that identity.
What I am really saying is that for once in my life, I am not striving for the top of the chain but relishing a different kind of usefulness. Being available and listening are super powers that I didn’t Know had depth to them. It’s like there are onions to listening. There is listening; listening and attentive; listening, attentive, and engaged; listening, attentive, engaged, and empathetic; Listening, attentive, engaged, empathetic and ready only when applicable to offer a solution.
Oh, you see that last part is familiar except before now, I didn’t make it a point to go through all those layers to have a solution. Worse still, I definitely didn’t care to test for applicability nor did I offer a solution, I stated it with both my chest sticking out like a proud male cheerleader that just finished nailing the gymnasts kinda back flip.
I had solutions and you were blessed borderline lucky to have me in your presence to diagnose you and give you a solution potion. Like a love potion, it worked for everyone that needed love and you would be no different! Now I am peeling layers of listening onions and it’s so foreign to me, I feel like a Nigerian in Glasgow among the Québécois. Don’t try to find a connection there, none exists; moving on!
Being available. Oh my! This one is tough! In this age of hurry and time consciousness. Some people not only want you to make time; they want you to make time when they flip on their phone. Love is that I can reach you at the drop of a hat and in that moment, you prioritize me. And if for whatever reason you cannot that very second, then you are better be racing home once school is out. Yes, not even school should get in the way of your availability but since I’m paying for it; I guess, I can let that slide.
Did you notice some bitterness in there ? Yeahp. I am frustrated with myself because I just want to learn how to love and this one confounds me in a way listening did maybe a year or so ago. I guess sticking with listening has helped but this one just feels wrong. I feel like I am enabling someone else from taking my time and making their emergency my perOgative. But even worse, it’s not even an emergency? You know! Or maybe I just don’t know what is urgent to a woman. I have dropped everything a few times to be urgently available only to notice that she just needed an ear, any ear to listen to her rant about how she feels about the guy that double crossed her on her way to the grocery store. This was urgent. Very urgent. And I am the best girlfriend for being available. Miraculously, I have observed that our relationship has become deeper because I was there when she needed to rant.
So on the one hand, I definitely want to be closer to her. On the other hand, the cost is not an expensive gift or a flight to see her or a big hug. The cost is availability, on demand availability at that. Where my value is not tied to my brain and what solutions it can dream up but my brain’s ability to recognize the moment.
The moment to be available, to listen, be attentive, engage, empathize and especially offer no solution except when pressed to. As a man, it feels fundamentally useless to be useful this way but obedience.
Today is Thursday, another time to practice available active listening with no promise of dopamine at the end.
Serve, not because of the feeling at the end. Serve, because it is expresses love.
Disclaimer: she and her in this post range from sister, co worker, sexy lady friend, and any woman who love language is undisputed *quality* time. And there are many of them :)