I've hung out a few times now with this charming dude. He's bright and funny and says all the right things. I mean, really the right things. I call this type of talk "chick crack."
You know what chick crack is. It's when you hear lines like...
- "It's hard for me to concentrate on anything because you're so beautiful."
- "I've never felt so attracted to someone before."
- "I wish I could just stay here in your arms forever."
- "If we ever had children, do you think they would be blonde like us?"
- "You know, I think you might just be my soulmate."
CHICK. TO THE EFFING. CRACK.
Don't get me wrong, I love terms of endearment being whispered in my ear (and thanks to Nyssa23 for helping me identify the correct term for what the authentic, relationship-based version of this is), but I look at chick crack as being way different -- and here's how.
Terms of endearment = there's a real actual relationship in play and the man is walking the talk.
Chick crack = there's no real substantive relationship between the man and the woman, but the hyper-sweet, sensitive or thoughtful language being used implies a helluva lot more than actually exists, often inspiring the woman's sexual affections on the basis of some cracky sweet nothings being flung her way.
In this case, the charming dude is not deluding me of anything. I'm a horny chick who rarely finds someone I want to work out that sexual energy with where I can feel good about it afterward. I'm using him as much as he's using me. And we do have an authentic basis of friendly affection. We've talked for hours on the phone, and I think we genuinely care for each other -- as much as anyone genuinely cares for someone who they could also go months without talking to and be totally fine.
But this guy also throws down chick crack on the regular. And I don't mind it, really. Actually, I find it fairly delightful as it is so commonly used as parlance by men who are super charming -- and I love super charming guys. Happily, now that I'm a little less naive than I was when I was younger, I also pride myself on my Superman-like ability to X-ray-vision see through b.s. for the flimsy high it actually provides. That and a dollar will buy you a Coke. (Is that an old person expression? Crap. I think it might be.)
Do you know what I found myself doing last night? After puffing myself up with all my narcissism about how wise and resistant to these kinds of charms I think I am?
I found myself telling my mom about this charming dude even though I know it's just fun and games. It was a few hours after I got off the phone with my mom, I realized that I was doing exactly what I believed I was so evolved past in my evolution from caterpillar to chick-crack-resistant-butterfly.
In fact, the first time I hung out with this dude, I actually called him out and explained my theory as to what he was doing. Here was the particularly chick cracky thing he said to me:
"You're one of the only people I feel comfortable being with," he said as we lay next to each other.
Oh, yes. The tingles. The goosebumps. Until...
"You're so full of it," I said, sobering up, even though I've been sober for almost four years. "We've been talking on the phone for a year, and this is the first time we've hung out in person."
I felt proud of myself for not falling for the sweetness of the gesture, for smoothing out the goosebumps on my arm with logic.
"I wish I could communicate this kind of thing to women in their 20s," I continued to pontificate, so pleased with myself for seeing through the ruse. "Do you know how many girls would take that one sentence and go on and on to their girlfriends saying, 'Yeah, well. I mean we don't hang out that often, but he's really into me. Like just the other day he said I was one of the only people he felt comfortable being around. So you know, obviously, we have something special. I'm just giving him time, you know?'"
I laughed. He laughed. We enjoyed each other. Simple.
For the record: I'm not AT ALL saying these silver-tongued moves are nefarious on the man's part. Honestly, I think for a lot of charming guys, the psychologically seductive patter is reflexive, like a sneeze.
When I left him, I didn't obsess. I didn't think about him after. I didn't imagine there to be anything there at all.
But the problem with getting older (and being sober I would say) is that you become so much pickier when it comes to men. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy almost everyone. Really and truly. I always try to look for the good and concentrate on the qualities I like in someone. But for the most part, when it comes to pursuing anything intimate with a man, it's very hard for me to do unless multiple cylinders are hitting, which is very rare to find, and I would define as the following:
- There is an ease of connection. Meaning: I'm not bored to tears but am actually stimulated and genuinely (rather than politely) enjoying myself. We riff fairly easily, and it doesn't feel as if I'm a talk show host shepherding along the flow. He gets my deadpan and often very dark sense of humor and is not freaked out by it.
- I prefer spending time with this person over being alone or with friends, and I feel as if I'm getting something out of the experience: a physical buzz, intellectual stimulation, deep laughs, pleasurable storytelling, human connection. Something.
- I'm somewhat attracted to the person. "Somewhat?" you ask. Yeah. Somewhat. Attraction can grow or wane dramatically depending on that incalculable factor of chemistry between two people (which I think grows over time), so I try not to discount this when I'm first considering the possibility of being intimate.
- He doesn't need to put me down as so often seems to be the standard socially accepted way of pigtail-pulling, man-woman-teasing or negging form of communication.
- He doesn't seem terrified of life or of decisions or of me.
And that's pretty much it. No height requirements. No age requirements. No hair requirements. No weight requirements. But you'd be surprised just how difficult these kind of men are to find. So when I do experience that synchronicity with someone, I enjoy it, like a savory delicious meal. And that's how it is with this charming dude.
"It's easy with you when I see you," he says when I see him after I return from Austin.
We are silly and serious, and it feels wonderful being intimate with him. But I know it's just a movie. I'm taking in a movie for a few hours with someone who has done all but put skywriting across the clouds spelling out "UNAVAILABLE."
But I also recognize it to be a positive, very smile-inducing experience -- and one I am able to keep in check.
Or so I thought. Until I suddenly found myself on the phone with my mom the next day. Telling her all about the charming dude.
Oh, my God, I'd fallen for the chick crack without even realizing it.
Then again, if I recognize the illusion of the imaginary relationship I was creating in my head, maybe it also meant I could spot the Kryptonite in the nick of time.
I could order that popcorn, take in the movie of the experience and simply enjoy it for the rom-com fantasy it was until the lights came on.
Incidentally, after I wrote this and showed it to the charming dude -- as I do with anyone I write about -- he took me up on my offer to delete a few details about him, lest he be too identifiable. Story of my life with guys like this. It makes me want to puke whenever it happens. And colors just how idiotic my role in this tale really is. Talk about an imaginary relationship.
On the bright side?
I suppose now is as good of time as any to kick one more unhealthy habit.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.