Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wayback - Cradle Robbing

In 2000, I went to Italy for 12 days. While there, I got a crush on a boy many years younger. This is me explaining to two former readers of this blog. From August 25, 2004.

For Diva and Trillian, a tale of (almost) unrequited love.

He’s just adorable. Amused gray eyes, shy smile, large, strong arms and hands, tall enough to look up at, and smart, but oh, way too young. He came on slowly, just getting under my skin. It could have been the exotic location, or it could be that he’s just adorable. I found myself looking for him everywhere, wanting to know exactly where he stood with relation to me at all times. If I wasn’t looking directly at him, I used my peripheral vision to search for the black hair, the beard or the blue baseball cap.

In the cathedrals and in the ruins, I found myself standing in the back, away from the guide at the front of the crowd, just so I could talk to him and be close to him. He’s so eager to learn, so aware of everything around him, so positive about everything. I wonder if I was ever that young, ever that polite, or ever that enthusiastic.

I started to admire him in Venice, noticed his build, the maleness of his body and the way he moved. He held a beer, a Beck’s, in one hand as he saw me look at him, and managed to look sheepish and unapologetic at the same time. On the long ride to Florence in the bus, I played games with his cousin in the hopes that I could get his attention and talk to him. It took a while, but it seemed to work. We played card games and Uno, and I taught him how to play Gin. He proceeded to kick my ass in Gin almost every time thereafter, but I taught him. Maybe some day I’ll get to ask him his strategy, how he manages to win at least 3 out of 4 games.

In Florence, he mentioned going out at night so we decided to go together. We found the open-air bar recommended by the guidebook, and had a few drinks while listening to, of all things, a Dixie-land jazz band called Dixie Train. Had to go from Texas to Florence to hear that. He talked about music and movies, and was charming and funny. The next night in a Florentine bar called Be Bop, I was nervous that his leg was touching mine under the table as we listened to the cover band. I entertained fantasies about being alone with him, finding the courage to tell him that I found him attractive, or just jumping him in a dark corner of the hotel, but always turned away by the simple fact of age.

Thinking about him now makes me smile more than I have in a long time. Two nights in Rome I went to his room instead of going to bed, ostensibly to play cards and relieve my boredom, but in actuality just to be in his company for a few hours more.

I do wish to be 21 at this moment, more than anything I have wanted before. Does it count that I feel 21, that my heart pounds when I see that he responded to an e-mail, that at this minute I can’t imagine the rest of my life without being able to see his face out of the corner of my eye? (Maybe I can call him, and tell him that I just want to use him for sex. Any 21-year-old would go for that, right? I could call him and tell him that I have a crush on him, and he won’t think that it’s creepy at all. My family would approve, and so would his, especially since his mother liked me. When he moves to Seattle to go to stuntman school, he can just take me with him. That would work.)

I want the courage and conviction to do something about what I am feeling, or for the feeling to go away. I keep telling myself that there is no way that he could like me or be attracted to me. I am too old, overweight, too annoyingly sarcastic, and too passive to be someone that he could love.

Too many people were in the way in Italy, and also just me, embarrassed for what I feel, afraid of what my friends would think of me, terrified that he would not feel the same way about me. And yet, telling myself all the horrible things, all the ways in which it wouldn’t work, inventing flaws, I still feel these things for this boy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wayback - Long vs. Short Hair

Another Wayback, this one from the same month as last week, September 2, 2004.

About 18 months ago I cut my hair. Severely. I still have really short hair now, but my profile photos on the dating sites were old. When I joined my current pay site, I used a recent photo and I haven't had any responses. Yesterday I changed the photo to an older one with shoulder length hair to see if that might be why boys aren't a' callin', and I got 2 "waves" in 12 hours. After none for almost a month.

I am not ugly, with short or long hair. I have been called "cute" more times than I can count, which I hate, by the way. I am not a different person with longer hair. I even act the same as I did then, more or less. Why is hair so important to everyone?

When I cut my hair, everyone assumed something was wrong with me. Even a couple of my closest friends got worried, thinking that it was a symptom of a deep depression or something. One of them even took me out to lunch to try to find out what was the matter. Nothing is wrong, I just always wanted to cut my hair and see what it was like. I even made some art about it.

It was interesting to hear the responses from the different people. I got pretty much a gender-standard response. All the girls had to come up and touch my head. They walked around me and looked at it really closely and said, "What did you DO?" All the boys said, "Hunh. You have a really nice-shaped head."

At work everyone assumed that I was ill with something serious, and I hadn't even thought how much some of my students would worry or assume something was wrong. To me it was just hair, not my identity. Apparently I was looking at this all wrong.

Now I am sure that people assume way too much based on the length of a woman's hair. I must be a lesbian, I must be sick, I must be depressed, there has to be something wrong with me. (Okay, just so I don't get hate mail for this, NO, I don't think that there is anything wrong with being a lesbian but that is how many people look at it, unfortunately for lesbians. Except for almost every man who ever lived, but then the only use they have for lesbians is asking them if they can watch.)

Now I wonder what is the problem with a photo of me with short hair. Do the men assume that I am manly, or in the closet? Do they all have to subscribe to the feminine stereotype of long, flowing locks? Most of them don't qualify in that area. Why should I pull a bait and switch just to get the opportunity to meet a guy? If I start e-mailing someone, should I not tell him that my hair is short until I meet him? Why are boys so dumb?* (Don't answer unless you really want to. Most of these are rhetorical.)

*BTW, I am aware that I lapse too often into stereotypes. I apologize, most profusely. I have grown a lot over the past seven years, but didn't want to edit these to make myself seem a better person than I was at the time.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Wayback - An Art Teacher

This comes from October 6, 2004. There used to be links that now do't work. There is a blog called "Happiness Squared," but it's not the same one from 2004.

Found a blog the other day from links from others. I love to see what other people read, and almost always check it out to see if I enjoy it as well. I found this one, happiness is. . . when I looked on Metrotronic and I just had to comment on a post. The following was the result.

I'm an art teacher. That still surprises me sometimes. This was not my aspiration, as those of you who have read my "find your bliss" entry know.

What I didn't explain in that entry is my total lack of artistic talent. I didn't have any talent of which to speak. I still don't. I have learned skills that allow me to draw what I can see, that's all. Talent had nothing to do with that.

Now, Bear and any others who have ever seen my drawings are disagreeing with me right now. But. . .I'm right. Talent is the natural ability to do something, usually without formal training. That's not me. Without lots of hard work and learning a new way of thinking, I would not be an art teacher or even much of an artist now. Not that I am denigrating my ability to create realistic representations of things. If anything, I have great confidence in that skill, because it is a skill. I learned it, and am unlikely to unlearn it.

I try to teach this to my students. "Drawing is a skill." Sometimes your creativity can pair with your skill to reach amazing heights. If you want to be an artist, all you have to do is practice. I truly believe this. Hopefully it makes me a better teacher, but that I don't know for certain.

Yes, I believe talent exists. Talent, though, only takes you so far. Drive led me, a non-art person, to become an art teacher. If I had relied on talent, I would not be where I am now, with 650 loving, wonderful and open students willing to take a risk on my say-so. It feels pretty good sometimes to be me.