Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics


Posted by shannonclark on September 16, 2002

What makes me jealous (but also strangely happy)

or how lucky some friends are

A casual friend of mine, someone I have met a few times at conventions, keeps a journal. In it, he just announced that his has completed his novel, the one he has been writing for over 2 years.

That, by itself, would be enough to me to be somewhat jealous, and yet very happy for him. Jealous because he finished – which is very impressive, and I have yet to finish a novel; but yet very happy for him because it is just such a very cool and great thing to have done.

However, though that was cool, it is not what makes me jealous, rather, what makes me jealous, but also very happy for him, is his descriptions of his weekend.

He talked about his writing, but mentioned also that he and his girlfriend (also a writer) spent hours this weekend both writing, alternating longhand and on the computer – and he then described how he has a ritual of “having someone he loves type ‘The End’ when he finishes a piece”.

What makes me jealous about this is the understated implication that he has always had someone around whom he loves to finish his pieces of writing. It is a very cool ritual – but one I could not even dream of doing myself.

So, while I am very happy for him (and her, she’s also a friend of the same variety), I am also very jealous of the image of having a loved one with whom to share writing (and ending), and their evening which he describes as “reading juevenalia to each other” – how cool would that be, someone to explore and share a lifetime of writing with? To open up one’s earliest journals and explore how they have changed over time. Amazing.

I’m very happy for them both – very cool, but I”m also increadiably jealous.

I noticed something this weekend. When my friends and aquaintances are asked about woman – either whom they are dating or interested in they almost always describe them in terms of physical traits “sexiest voice I’ve ever heard” or “great legs” etc. (This weekend my sample was all male friends).

While that’s not unimportant or something that goes unnoticed by me (I’ll confess, my head has been turned from time to time), I’m generally more likely to describe a woman I am interested in in terms of her interests, in terms of her mind and how we met or our shared interests – and with some extremes it is really what interests me in a woman. I fall for woman when they are someone I could spend hour and hours with – some in deep conversation, some just sitting quietly together – more than anything else really that is what I want in a girlfriend/lover/significent other – I want someone to spend time with (and who wants to spend time with me).

This is not to say that physical attractiveness is unimportant – there are indeed woman to whom I am more attracted than others – but if we don’t seem to be capable of spending lots of time together talking – my interest is not usually sustained.

So, I was most jealous of my friends for the fact that they are so comfortable spending time together – sharing their work as well as personal lives.

Perhaps I am “missing something”, perhaps there is something that you learn or become more interested in over time and experience – that leads so many to want a “trophy” s/o (or wife) – so many men want beautiful and dumb woman – or at least that is the stereotype, and there seems amble evidence that many people buy into it – both males and females.

I also read that smart, successful woman are supposedly less attractive to most men – that men are intimidated by successful intelligent woman.

I don’t understand that at all, the more intelligent and successful a woman is, the more I am likely to be attracted to her.

That said, there are a few other factors that are important to me – but again, these are mental traits, mostly not physical ones. An intolerant woman is a severe turn-off (whether because of religion or political background or both). Generally a very religious woman would be less likely to be someone I am attracted to (though mostly it is the case that I can not see myself in a relationship with a “Christian” woman – i.e. someone whose identity is defined by that). An unadventurous woman would also be unlikely to be someone I would want to spend lots of time with – someone who refuses to try new foods, to explore new films or arts, who is too defined by what she will not do – very unlikely to be someone I want to spend lots of time with.

I hope there is someone out there for me – I feel certain that I am not all that I could or should be, and that there are very large, very important parts of life – such as how to live with and be with another person – that I know little about. I feel that I have much to give and that I should not live my life alone – but I do worry that at some point I will, that someday I will look back and realize that I have live my life alone – sure I have parents and some friends, but they do not count in the way that being a part of a couple would – there is something very different – and it is that difference that I worry that I may never experience.

And yet, I do not know how this will ever change for me – I hope it will but at some level I also doubt that it will, certainly the past 28 years of my life do not give much cause for optimism – I’ve had really only two romantic relationships – one four years ago (for basically only a few months), and one 8 years ago – for nine months. And that’s it. All the other relationships in my life – in high school, in college, and outside of college, have been “friendships” – whether or not I wished for more than “just friends” they were just that, great and very important to me friendships, but friendships nonetheless. And while an afternoon or evening with a friend – talking and doing things together, is far far far better than time spent alone, it has a different edge and color to it than an afternoon spent with a “girlfriend” and it is that difference that is only a faint whisper of a memory for me.

The million and one ways to hold hands.

The difference in how your eyes meet, how you or she smiles.

The meanings attached to the strangest, but shared, things – a fortune cookie, a restaurant, a soup. (Supposedly “a song” but that has never happened for me yet).

The conversations where nothing is hidden – that can only occur in each other’s arms, entangled but disentagling truths and histories, hopes and desires.

The relaxation of shared warmth, of a great backrub, of eating breakfast together – how better a way to start a day?

All just whispers and faint distant many year old memories for me now – and I am not yet old, not yet “past my prime” – indeed, for most your 20’s is the time of meeting and dating and settling down. Even now, when people are waiting longer than generations before, at 28 I am getting “old” to still be single, to have been single for most of my life.

Yes, I know that I “should lose a few pounds” but I, while not a small man, certainly not the skinny scrawny kid I still think of myself as being, am also not a blob. Sure, I am not a male supermodel wearing size 28 jeans – but neither am I beyond the norm. I have been told (though rarely) that I am handsome, but I do probably lack some measure of self confidence and self assurance to project and attract.

Who knows?

So, anyway, that’s what makes me jealous of my friends these days.


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