An interesting situation presented itself to me recently. Not too long after I moved to SF, I was flirting with a guy online I had seen at the gym and around town several times. In my view he was damn near perfect. Perfect is always a subjective term but he definitely turned my crank. Now keep in mind, this was pre-mobile app world and even before blogging. Hehehe Anyway, he went out of his way to demean me and attempted to shame me for assuming I was at his level. At the time, I was still pretty dysfunctional and while I didn’t let him know it, his comments hurt my feelings pretty bad. I still had such low self-worth back then and it just fed into my compulsive behavior and insecurities.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, he literally runs into me at the gym, and clearly not realizing who I was, proceeds to put the moves on me pretty hard. How should one respond to that? How would you have responded?
Before I give my actual response, let me step back for a second. I’m not the man I was back then. I’ve found myself. I’ve struggled for sure but gone are the days where such comments would even phase me. While I certainly recovered from his slight, it did give me enough pause at the time to wonder if I had made a mistake in moving to SF.
Besides the internal changes I’ve made over the years, I’ve also packed on quite a few pounds of muscle from those days. Maybe that’s why he’s sudden change of “heart.”? Honestly, the why doesn’t really concern me. And in the simple act of realizing I don’t need to know what changed his mind, I was given an affirmation of my struggle. An affirmation to the near death of my crippling insecurities from those days. And I know I’ve posted several times over the last couple years about my random affirmations or epiphanies. I think there is a deep part of my id that refuses to accept my transformation. A tiny seed of doubt is still there. And because I recognize it, I stay vigilant against it ever growing into anything more than a seed.
At that moment, a lot of things ran thru my head pretty quickly. I admit a tiny part of me was tempted to say yes. I mean I am an opportunist after all, and he is still pretty hot in my eyes Heehee But My first thoughts were “why now?” And then my second thought was “why do I care why now?” That spawned an idea to test the waters so to speak. I declined his advance and began to walk away. As I did, I heard him mutter, “your loss.” I wasn’t even tempted to reply or act as if I’d heard his obvious barb. I just kept walking and went back to my workout.
A few things occurred to me as I walked away. One, he clearly hasn’t grown or changed since the first time we met. Two, the potentially delicious joy of rubbing his face in it after we’d hooked up would have been more about revenge than attraction. And three, I felt a great swell of pity for him. He is trapped by his own insecurities and his protective coping mechanisms are crippling him much like mine did to me. The problem is as he ages those protective acts/thoughts won’t hold up to the harsh realities around him.