Music of Conversation

11 09 2010

Five of us went a bar Thursday and there was a couple of guys speaking Spanish and Bubbles got excited. She is working on her Spanish abilities so ended up talking to one of the guys. She was obviously flirting with the guy. Body langue, hair playing, touching him when she could. I enjoy flirting, but something about the way Bubbles does it puts most of us on edge. It might be a level of jealousy but I think for me it is how oblivious she is to the guy involved. She uses men. She doesn’t care about them. In the five or so weeks I’ve known her I’ve seen her hurt really nice guys and not care and then try and find more guys.

We all finished our drinks and were ready to go around the agreed upon time. Bubbles having ditched us to flirt with the guy at the bar had just started another drink. I hadn’t realized this until I’d come up to her and told her we were all ready to go. I get introduced and then Spanish guy and I start talking about what it is he does and I do. What really surprised me was how easily I dominated his attention as soon as I was there.

I became very aware in a new way the rhythm that people have and how finding that and getting a similar patter is important. Only because Bubbles kept missing it. He would say something that was interesting and I would make a basic noise that would indicate that and encourage him to continue (is there a word for that?). Bubbles would try to get the attention back to her the same way but in a way that killed the rhythm of his story. Like the person who can’t quite clap right during a song. I wish I’d listened in to their conversation before interrupting. It would have been interesting to know if she was leading it or not. I suspect she was. Needing her rhythm to be the driving force.

It is fun to think about a conversation like a piece of music. Different parts coming together to make a bigger piece. Good groups of people to have conversations would be those who let everything blend together and flow. To engage an individual you find their melody and play harmony to it. Building it, accenting it. Letting them be the focus but not hanging alone as a solo to long. People like having attention played to them, so when you can draw that out and engage them they respond.

I’m reminded of a time in high school when I was playing my flute and a friend/crush of mine started playing the piano mimicking what I was doing. He then threw in variations of what I was doing that then I played off of and together we played something far more interesting than what I would have done alone, but it was built off what I started. It was wonderful to have him understand the feeling and rhythm and general direction, but to take it some where new. I was a lot bolder with trying something new with him there.

There is a certain value in having a melody people want to follow, but there is also a lot to be said for being able to play into someone else’s. From there you can change it and build on it as necessary. Bubbles needs people to play to her and she can’t adapt to a different song. She is one of those people when a conversation starts to establish itself with out her she throws in non sequesters, throwing off the beat. It works for her but I wonder how much she feels like an outsider. I know it is hard to be outside of group with an established rhythm

I’ve been considering my interactions with Theater Alpha and Drunk Alpha under that notion. I keep thinking of it as they take someone else’s melody and run with it. Changing the key and the tempo. It is fascinating to see what comes of it and the person is still invested in how it will turn out. You get hints of who they are by how they change it but rarely do you hear their own song. They play and dance with other peoples so well.

There are other people who are dominating by insisting on their melody being played. Often they can be abrasive at their inability to adapt to others. Those who are good at leading pull all sorts of melodies together and work them into a complicated piece of music. Holding many different moving parts together with a common theme. The chemistry between people is how well they can play together.

Theater Alpha and Drunk Alpha were both very good at understand my song and playing off of it. That was what was so wonderful about them. They didn’t play into me but with me, like me.

Fashion Show

6 09 2010

I volunteered a charity fashion show this past week. The money was going to one of my room mates work places and it seemed like fun. It certainly was. Even though I was mostly running around picking up empty champagne glasses and loose napkins, I enjoyed myself.

The guests were dressed up wonderfully and enjoying themselves. Lots of gay men. A few well known people in the city and basically people who could afford the expensive tickets. There was one guy who when I caught his eye smirked at me. (I have come to accept that this is a really good way at getting my attention. Didn’t used to work but does right now) Had I been a guest I would have figured out a way to flirt, but instead I wandered around occasionally catching his eye. I keep finding it so interesting how something as simple as catching the eye of a guy can be so exhilarating.

We were done when the show started and it was the first fashion show I’d been at so that was something I’d do again. I was in a position where I could watch Smirking Guy as much as the models. Almost all the way through the show I lost track of him. He had moved to speak to someone quite close to us. I was hoping to catch his eye once more but my room mates insisted on leaving. I was displeased but I’m not certain what I would have said anyways. Granted that might have been part of the appeal.

Not a very exciting story but I tend to take note of guys who with just a look make my stomach flip. There was one other recently. I was out of state with my mom and at a Barns and Nobel for internet and he wasn’t sitting to far from us. I caught his eye once and one of the few times in my life I couldn’t hold eye contact. Very attractive.

It makes me wonder what kind of things people think when I make eye contact with them. What impressions are formed. It is far easier for me to observe how it is important for men than it is for women. I will make a point to explore this as I can.

Street attention

5 09 2010

I’ve just had a very busy week and since I refuse to do anything relating to this blog at work I haven’t been on recently. I’m now playing catch up.

In this time I’ve had some weird run ins with men. My father is buying me pepper spray. I think he is being a little over protective but that’s what fathers do.

Part of my job is to get to know the area I’m working/living in. This means walking around a part of town 12 years ago was known as Crack Ally. It has gotten much better but I still get strange looks when I tell people where I am. The other day I was going on one of these walks and had far more than the regular series of cat calls. I had a few men stop me on the street to see if I wanted to grab a bite to eat, and then got belligerent when I declined. I had a man stop me and ask if he could tell me something, and which I proceeded to be told I’m the “finest white girl he’s seen in a long time.” When he saw me again at the other side of the street he started yelling at me again about how “fine I was.” The weirdest one was the man who stopped his car in the middle of a busy road to ask me out. At first I thought he was asking for directions. When he asked if I wanted to grab dinner I said no, not being particularly interested. I ended up almost arguing with him about it. I ended up telling him I had a boyfriend as previous experience has told me that arguing about why I’m not interested doesn’t work. He said that that didn’t mean I could even have a bite with another man. I said yes, and then he suggested I just not tell my boyfriend. I walked away. That was all in 45 minutes

Now this isn’t bragging. I don’t want this kind of attention. There is a line between a flattery and feeling uncomfortable in my neighborhood. I was wearing jeans, a button down shirt and sunglasses. If I was in a short skirt and tube top, I could see that I might have been inviting it. That was by far the worst day.

Probably the most frustrating thing about it however was when I tried to talk to my room mates about what was happening. It ended up with almost all of them worrying of why they weren’t getting hit on in the the streets. There were a few days where different theories where being thrown around.

In theory it sounds good. To walk down the street and get honked at and what not. But in practice it isn’t. I was contemplating if it would be different if I was in a place I haven’t had extensive lectures of the safety of. Probably not. I at lest like to pretend a guy is interested in more than just the way I look. If I get approached at a art museum, I can think we have a mutual interest in art, we can at lest discuss the painting in front of us before decision about coffee are made. A street however there is nothing. I’m walking to an unknown destination from an unknown destination. He would be doing the same. It is obvious that the only interest there is physical. There is nothing else to go off of.

Bar adventures

23 08 2010

Two of my room mates and myself went out last weekend. Just to get out of the house. We drove around a bit and ended up at a dive bar. Or a hipster bar. I can’t tell the difference and have only recently learned of the hipsters. I knew of it because a birthday party I’d been to had happened there.

The two girls I’m with are both pretty unexpereinced with guys. One’s had a few boyfriends, all serious and long term. The other has never had a boyfriend and is a virgin obsessed with sex (Sex Obsessed Virgin, from now on SOV). It was fun. They were compleatly oblivious to the guys checking them out until I pointed it out. We weren’t looking to meet men so were at a table that would leave us plenty of people watch as they came into the bar, but allow for very little interaction with anyone. I don’t think my companions were even thinking about any of this. But we weren’t there to meet men. Granted I don’t think bars are good for meeting men period but that is a different point.

To set the seen just a bit, the bar is set up with a narrow entrance with a bar on one side and horseshoe shaped booths on the other. Milling about in the space in between isn’t really an option as it is pretty narrow. The bar opens up to a few open rooms and has a smoking patio out back. We took one of the booths and I was in the middle. This was good for me. I couldn’t move with out upsetting one of my companions. Attention would have to be paid to them. This of course was not thought out, but instinctual.

I was most interested in watching my companions deal with men. There was one guy who not-SOV was checking out. There were a couple times she could have gone to the bar and gotten another drink and started a conversation, or at least smiled at him while there. She thought that tactic was dumb. It might be but it is also a very easy move to practice interacting with men. I think flirting takes practice, not necessarily to be good at it, but to have the confidence to have it be natural.

SOV talks about men with the strong voice of authority of one who has very little experience. She thinks my Art of Seduction book is silly and has no interesting in reading it or even anything to do with game. She however has research sex a lot. It is funny listening to her lecture non virgins on proper foreplay and how to have the best sex, what makes a woman orgasm, how to communicate with men in bed, etc. At the bar when talk turned to flirting she thought everything I said about eye contact and smiling was, well, dumb. When I asked what she would do, she didn’t know. But it should be natural. I asked what was unnatural about smiling at a guy you were interested in. Apparently nothing but that wasn’t the point.

There were two guys who came in late into the evening. Ok 12:30ish, not late but we were wanting to get home around one. They stayed standing at the bar for a bit, obviously checking us out. Soon the booth next to us cleared out and they grabbed it. It every time I caught them in my vision they weren’t looking at us, but something indicated to me they were paying attention anyways. Latter the room mate facing them would tell me they kept glancing at us a lot. When we got up to leave they blatantly stared at us as we walked out. I don’t know what their plan had been. I suspect it involved us getting a drink at the bar but when a waitress is wandering around doing that sort of thing we aren’t going to get up. If we had be interested in men flirting with us, we would have.

Sure we are young women who talk about men, but we weren’t interested in meeting them at this bar. I don’t know how my companions would have acted differently if they had been, but I know what I would have done. I would have sat somewhere more in the open, this would allow for easier movement. From me or men. I would have been able to see more people and the walk to the bar would be longer.

Two I would have gone to the bar for my drinks. Or at lest if there was an interesting guy at the bar gone to the bar for my drink. I wouldn’t have said anything but I would have made eye contact and smiled. Granted I was DD this time, and most times, but I can still grab free sober soda so the move still works.

Three I wouldn’t have been in the middle of the booth. Probably wouldn’t have sat at a booth at all if I could help it. It limits movement again. The person in the center is impossible to approach. The group must be addressed. This is hard.

Four rethink going with three girls or at lest be sure on which three. On one hand it is a good number as one person can leave with out leaving anyone alone. As a single girl at a bar my defenses would be up. I wouldn’t know what to do and would feel exposed. Two girls can flirt with guys pretty easily bouncing off each other if they are on the same page. Sort of a wing man thing. Three starts to be a group. Anything more is a no.

Dress however was the same. I like feeling pretty. I get made fun of by my room mates for always dressing up. My view of causal dress is different than theirs.

Again though, I have yet to go to a bar and do anything to try and meet men. I go to bars to hang out with friends. Even then not very often. I met a guy at a party that took place at a bar so a fuzzy area has arisen. Parties are better in my opinion for meeting people. Just by being there they have pass some sort of social test. People know them and if something is truly amiss they will warn you. Plus meeting guys at bars just feels weird to me. Art fairs, sure, grocery stores even, the hallway of my school, yes. Bars…. no. Something sleazy about it.

It however is a good setting to explain certain things to room mates. Who honestly probably will meet their husbands at church, or introduction by friend. It will just take them forever to realize a guy is interested or be willing to show they are interested. Not certain that is a bad thing, per say, but I worry they might miss out on a great guy in the mean time. I’ve seen that happen too.

Fitting in by refusing to conform

21 08 2010

One of my very best friends loves doing things because it makes him unique. He won’t do things because others are and will do things because others won’t.

I say that doing something because everyone else is is exactly the same thing as not doing anything because everyone else is. The “because” is identical. It is still letting others dictate what you are doing.

I remember a wonderful man I met in an Italian Market when I was about 15. I made some comment about enjoying being weird, but really everybody was weird. He said that by saying everybody was weird I was just stating how I wanted to be like everybody else.

He was right. Since I couldn’t be like everybody else I was trying to make them like me. I was doing it through a weird channel; thinking I was just more enlightened than everyone else. I knew I was weird and they were pretending they weren’t. I was delighting in being able to “be myself” while no one else was being true. Once they woke up they would realize they were like me.

I wish I could find that man again. He was one of those people who was in my life for less than ten minuets and changed it radically. It was a moment of clarity for me. If I really wanted to be myself I should wear what I want to wear. If it makes me look like I’m a conformist, so what? I should listen to the music I want or watch the movies I want. If I base my choices off how others would perceive me then they are making the choice for me. This isn’t to disregard others around me entirely. Everything has a cost and I need to be willing to pay it. Like I’m not going to upset my room mates by watching South Park downstairs. South Park is not more important that pleasant room mates. I can still enjoy it though. If someone thinks less of me, so what, I am enjoying something.

My friend says that he was teased a lot as a kid so by not doing what people want him to he is his way of being himself. I told him it was his way of identifying with a nitch social circle who were similar to him. Thus belonging.

If a group of kids decides they are going to draw a bee with yellow and black stripes, but they say that one kid can’t join them, that kid isn’t rebelling by drawing a bee with purple and white stripes to be the opposite. He is still drawing a bee. What if he wanted to draw a giraffe. Doesn’t matter though because wanting to belong over rode his or her wanting to draw. He or she felt like it was an act of defiance* but it was giving in to the need to belong.

I wasn’t every a popular child. I understand the power of a group to outcast members. How much it sucks. The need to belong. As I grew up I found places I did belong and I learned to be happy as myself. In college I did become part of the popular crowd for a segment of the population. The funny thing about that was I didn’t know that was what was happening until one day I was talking with my friend about all the graduate who had been the popular group, when we started figuring out who were the current ones we realized we were in that group.

It was when I stopped paying attention to what others wanted or were doing and just did what I wanted, or thought would be best, then everyone wanted to be around me. It was weird, this popularity. People knowing my name who I’d never met, or people coming up to me and acting as if we were good friends. I had stopped trying to have people like me or figure out what everyone else was doing. I was oblivious to a lot of it and strangely I found myself at the center.

I’m not always doing just what I want. I don’t do things I don’t want, but I own a certain brand of knife because a large group of my friends do. The knife is useful, good quality, and something that reminds me of those people. However one big reason I own that knife is so I’d feel like I fit in. I have no issue admitting that to myself. Honesty about motivation is very liberating. Multiple motivations for one action works even better.

No matter what we are told people are social creatures. Spending all our time though worrying about what people are or aren’t doing, so we can conform or not conform, judge or follow, is less time spent enjoying being alive. Unless you enjoy that sort of thing. But, again, honestly. At lest to yourself. I makes changing actions when situations change a lot easier.

*And considering we are a culture who adore the reble, it is really another form of conformity

I don’t care how you feel

18 08 2010

This will loose me girl points, I know, but I don’t care how you feel. I care what you think about something, but not how you feel. There are people out there who’s emotional well being I care about. Just they are very few and far between. Emotional connections are personal and special to me. I’m not going to pour out my heart to everybody nor am I interested in hearing about your emotional history when I meet you.

This makes me come off as cold and distant sometimes, I know. I’ve gotten better about showing my surface emotions to make social situations more pleasant, but if I just meet you I don’t want to have you start crying about your issues. Nor should you expect to learn my deep dark secrets.

I don’t care about how you feel on a social issue. I really just don’t. I want to know what you think on an issue. I can talk about thoughts. I can share my thoughts, thoughts can change and have reasons for existing. Emotions are whimsical and often exist for no reason other than to exist.

I don’t want to bond with everyone I meet. I don’t want to feel connected to everyone. I want to talk to you about why you think a certain way and then discus new ideas. I want to see how you think things through. I don’t care how your cat’s death effected you when you were nine.

I want to know how you reached a conclusion and if a personal experience ties into that, great, evidence. I want to know how you are going to change something, or why you think someone is doing a good job. Emotional connections aren’t something I just throw around.

Grocery Shopping

15 08 2010

Today I went grocery shopping with two of my room mates. What could go wrong? Well six people sharing food and a food budget a lot. I’m not having the best of times being out of control of my food but I knew this was how it was going to work when I got into this program so oh well.

Anyway I’m living with a vegetarian and a few people who don’t eat meat very often. It is a group of people who enjoy co-ops and organic. This tends to cost more money. There ended up being a bit of controversy over where to shop.

Now I’d have no issue with a discussion of this sort but it ended up being one girl (Bubbles actually) saying that we have to make sacrifices and not shop at the co-op because it was expensive. Some of the other girls tried to explain that they would rather spend a little more and eat simpler for their ideals. Bubbles got indigent. She has never thought about the food she bought. However she is also the one who speaks up strongly about how companies NEED to behave and what our government SHOULD be doing to help communities. When I point out she needs to be aware of what she is spending money. Apparently that is too much work.

I don’t understand. It really just doesn’t make sense to me. She is really passionate about certain things but makes no effort to actually achieve them. She thinks everyone else should do it for her. Sigh