***Edited to add: to my amazement, people actually read my blog, among them, a few old friends from Nova Scotia. I’ve received a few messages from them who asked if the post is about them. Goodness no. It’s about the boy who blocked me. If that’s not you, then this post isn’t about you. I value my old friendships. Oh my. Thank you for reading my blog. I had no idea.
Not too long ago, an old friend of mine from elementary school reached out to me. This happens from time to time, sometimes I do the reaching, but because I live on the opposite side of the country from my elementary school, the contacts are usually nostalgic and short-lived. This contact, however, felt a lot like a lot of contacts I get on this side of the country. It began with the question, “So are you seeing anyone?”
Tbis phrase is the warning bell of all conversations. I absolutely can’t stand it. Am I seeing someone? Why? Does that determine whether or not we can talk? Whether or not it’s worth your time to invest twenty minutes in me? Are you wishing to become my suitor? Will we be courting if I say no? But of course I am not a sniping shrew, so I answered his question with, “I’m too busy working.” (I prefer to keep my shrewish snipes in my publically accessible blog like a decent woman.)
As always, this provoked an all-too-familiar set of questions about what I am using work to hide from and how I need to spend more time relaxing and I need to let my hair down. Coming from a guy sitting in Halifax who I haven’t seen since grade two, the advice seemed a little creepy. I mean, let’s assume I have nothing but free time on my hands and I sit each night by the phone wishing for some gentleman caller to lift me from my loneliness. What, exactly, is Halifax Man going to do? Woo me with plans to sweep me off my feet next time I’m in Nova Scotia? (My last visit was in 1992.) Or maybe he will send me one of THOSE photos and I will swoon with delight because, I, with my unrelenting need to work, will be satisfied with a disembodied, unmanscaped beaver basher caught on film.
A girl can only hope.
As I said, I’m not quite as cutthroat in real life and I am a bit of a sucker for a sob story. I know he and his wife recently broke up and he has been forced out of dating retirement. Armed with thinning hair and (clearly) poor social skills, his single girl radar is at full force while he hunts for someone’s who will be his new life companion and I guess when you start thumbing through the Rolodex of life, the girl from grade two gets short listed. I was patient with him, but as weeks went on, his persistence became more difficult to ignore. It escalated to the offer that I take some time off work and fly back “home” to spend some time making out with him.
So first, let’s identify home. I’ve been in BC since 1995. I’m home. I have a child, a decent book collection, and a full set of cast iron enamel pots to demonstrate my permanence. I am undeniably home. But next, let’s get practical. Flights from BC to Halifax ain’t cheap. I would need to book off time from work, get someone to drive me to the airport, and don’t even get me started on the prospect of flying across the continent from where I have flowers in bloom in my yard to a place still buried under several feet of actual winter. I’m not in BC because I hung a left coming out of the gas station in Saskatchewan where I meant to hang a right. I’m here on purpose. And the dating pool here is just fine.
But then there’s work. Remember what started this is that I work a lot. I like working. It is immensely satisfying to me. I work in a field where I help people. Frankly that’s as addictive as a drug to me. I’ll take a medium double double of helping workers maintain their jobs all day, thank you very much. Am I hiding from the real world as it has been suggested? Maybe. But so far my understanding of the real world is that real people fill their free time with too much Netflix. That hardly seems like a good use of my life. I’d rather do something meaningful. Like work. Or post dumb stuff in my blog. See? I’m productive.
So here’s the kicker in all of this. After dodging the increasingly creepy advances from Halifax Man for about a month, I finally had to give it to him straight: I’m not interested and it’s weirding me out to get regular messages that start with, “Hey sexy. You ignoring me?” Yes. The answer is yes. And just like that, I was blocked on FB. You know things are bad when you aren’t simply unfriended, but blocked. I mean, ouch.
So here are my dating tips for anyone who needs them:
- Don’t look on the opposite side of the country for girls. If we wanted to live in a tundra, we would already be there.
- Don’t psychoanalyze why we work so much. Sometimes, as Freud says, a cigar is just a cigar. Do you question why your man friends who love their jobs work so much? If I swapped out “fishing” for working, would it still prompt you to ask what I am hiding from?
- Never undermine our careers. Like, just don’t. I make career choices based on my drive. It’s antiquated to think my work means anything less, and that I’m available for a quick cross-country set of connecting flights just because you have a hankering to see if I’m as cute now as I was in grade two. (I am, btw. Thirty-nine years hasn’t changed me a bit.)
- Don’t be creepy. No, really. I mean it. I have a lot of male friends. I have them because they aren’t creepy. They don’t start conversations with, “Hey sexy.” If you wouldn’t say it to your man friends, don’t say it to me. Also, consider using commas.
So, Halifax Man, I’m sorry to have lost a connection with an old friend. We had some nice chats about elementary school and I enjoyed those. But I’ll admit that I wish you’d been paying better attention to some of the stuff I said before you laser-focused your dating needs on me because I already have a date for prom.
I’m married. It’s in my FB profile.