Thursday, March 25, 2004
      ( 9:23 AM ) Rebecca  
I do so love it when my readers give me good advice. Here is some I received yesterday regarding men in general, and the Captain in particular:

Go ahead and take chances...If you really like a guy, don't date three at once just so you don't feel exposed. I am not advocating that you hand over the you-know-what card, but rather let yourself be hurt if he turns out to be a sunbeam-walker or whatever your metaphor was. I have to believe that these guys feel your own hesitation to commit and back away. No one likes to feel like one out of three.

This "take chances"philosophy is the one I've been trying to live by the last couple months with the Cap'n. I'm constantly out there on a limb telling him how much I like him, initiating plans with him, and remaining (relatively) undeterred in the face of his reserve. In short, I am trying to coax him out of his big, thick tortoise shell with sugar.

But, I have, as my reader pointed out, been dating other people. And not so much because I want to, but because that's our "agreement." Because I don't want to put all my eggs in one basket, count my chickens, etc. And, because of it, I have had some steamy makeout sessions. Some fun, flirty times in smoky bars.

I think though, that is these other boys, not so much The Captain who feel the one-out-of-three syndrome. Take Hipster Hottie Boy, for example.

I have not heard from him since our group date last Friday, despite the fact that he was clearly into me. There seems to be a consensus among my friends that his feelings were hurt because after our drunken night on the town, I let GalPal #1 drive us home (instead of letting him walk me home), and told her, almost as soon as we got in the car, to drop him off first.

I didn't really think about what effect this might have on a fragile male ego. That, on a second date, after a long night of flirting, a boy's feelings might be hurt if I seemed in a hurry to get rid of him. If I seemed like I wanted to avoid being alone with him.

Which, in a way, I did. But I was one, shy (hard to believe yet true!), and two, hesitant, because well, you know. There's this other guy I'm into so I'm less likely to throw myself into the makeout arena (except when boys come up to visit from Oregon.)

And now? To my chagrin, no word from HHB.

It's such a fine line I'm straddling right now. In being patient with the Cap'n, I worry that I'm just opening myself up for heartbreak again. But I'm doing something differently this time, that I can't quite explain.

It has something to do with patience, and something to do with optimism, and something to do with controlling my own fears and looking at things from someone else's point of view (his.) It has something to do with positive reinforcement instead of pushiness, and something to do with trust. And most of all, it has something to do with me remaining in control and deciding what I want out of this situation - not letting him make the decisions for me.

Maybe my astute reader is right that it doesn't serve any good purpose to go chasing other boys down dark alleys. But it's easy for someone else to say "it's better to let yourself get hurt." How many more times can my heart get broken before it turns into a hardened mass of scar tissue? How many more chances can I take before I decide it's not worth it anymore?

These are the things I still don't know.
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