when it comes to desire, when it comes to attraction, ...things are never black and white, things are very much shades of grey

I've been spending some time with a guy lately. Nothing serious, of course. He texts pretty often and we go to dinner now and then.

It was starting to get under my skin that it wasn't "going anywhere", as if that is a virtue in itself. I don't know why things have to be on some sort of measurable trajectory in order to make sense, but it seems like, in a lot of ways, they do. So I noticed it, and then it started to sort of bug me, and then I did something about it. (No, I didn't do that.) I told him, while conveniently under the influence, that I'd noticed that he wasn't making any moves. Without giving too much detail, he responded with both interest and reluctance, indicating that the last time he tried something (which was literally years ago), I turned him down.

That may have had as much to do with the location--my parents' driveway!--as the objective romantic circumstances.

Be that as it may. We've discussed, argued, debated, and attempted to set rules regarding the possibility that something is happening between us. I've come to a conclusion.

I'm bored.

Nope, not interested in him. Just...bored. And I don't think he's interested in me, just...a guy. (Guys: don't bother defending or explaining your gender. I get it. And it's not going to turn out to be germane to the overall discussion anyhow.)

When did this epiphany arise? This afternoon, at work. I was talking over a small problem with a colleague. We work together (our cubes are maybe fifty feet apart?) but rarely interact due to the disparate roles that we cover. I had, however, caught out something that he'd done wrong--or rather, left undone, involving a $75,000 mistake within a $4.8MM deal. It's no big problem and can be settled up in twenty minutes' work, but it was an odd interaction because of the power/status/discomfort differential between us.

We were talking in my cube, so I was seated and he was standing in my doorway. After the conversation concluded and he was walking away, I realized that we were both flushed red. I leaned back in my chair to consider what had gone on, and a few things hit me. First, he is powerfully attractive. He has deep brown eyes and a lovely voice. Under very different circumstances, I would have noticed him long ago. There would never be anything between us, however fascinating the discovery (close up) of his attractiveness...and maybe of his discovery of mine. I think that the mirrored flush was not in embarrassment over a work error.

On the heels of that revelation came one more: that fleeting vibe between me and the far-off coworker is far more powerful than anything that exists between me and the friend with whom I've been having dinner. However bored and intellectually convinced we can be, we're not really into each other. That's clear to me now, and I'm glad I recognized that before it got out of hand.

[the title quotation is by Brian Molko]


  1. This one knocked my socks off... it begs for thoughtful conversation.