Me & the Boys

Just because I’m not making eye contact doesn’t mean I don’t see you.

I see you.

I’ve been seeing you since I walked in, and my heart gave an involuntary lurch when I realized we were seated near you.

You and all your ball cap, spray tan, white sneaker friends. I’m not old enough to be any of your mothers, barring a freak-of-nature situation. But I could have been your babysitter. Your older sister’s friend. Your camp counsellor.

One of you is wearing Ed Hardy, so I’m going to assume he’s the Captain of this Douche Platoon. I think there’s five of you, I don’t want to look at you long enough to count. Don’t want to encourage you; don’t want you to think I care. Because I don’t. And because if I don’t care, you can’t reject. Plus, I don’t care.

My table fills up. You notice. You want us to notice you. The laughs get louder, deeper, shifting from funny to dirty joke funny. Elbows in your friends ribs, and what you can get girls to do with you funny. The kind of laughs that start with silence then explode, and make me nervous, made me nervous before I knew what they meant. Pack of hyena laughs. Laughs of beasts who anticipate tearing apart fresh meat.

I give my head an internal, imperceptible shake. I am thirty fucking four. I have ten years on the oldest of you. I have seen enough, been through enough, lost enough, found enough, cried enough and risen above enough that you and your oozing testosterone should mean sweet bugger all to me.

And yet…

There is a piece. A small, insecure, half a lifetime ago piece of me, who wants to know. How I measure up. If I measure up. How far short I fall. Could the blue eyes, the smile, the laughter that shows I’m funny and carefree, and that I am surrounded by people who find me that way, could these things make you consider me? If I sit up straight enough, will you notice the lumpy stomach (the result of 2 huge babies and a 90 pound weight loss, but you won’t care about that)? What about the bags under my eyes, my I-give-up ponytail? The uber-sensible, opposite of sexy shoes?

And an even smaller piece is scared you won’t notice any of it, won’t notice me at all. That I missed my time to get noticed.

Then I hear the quiet, and realize you’ve gone. I pay real and good attention to my group, not the one ear, one eye stuff I’ve been giving them all evening. I relax.

I kind of hate you. It’s nothing personal. Really, it’s not you, it’s me. It’s the effect your presence, your existence, the idea of you has on me. It’s the feeling that time is sliding away, doors are closing. It’s the fact that sometimes, I’m failing to transcend.

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71 responses to “Me & the Boys

  1. Sounds like you’ve got a Situation on your hands. Maybe Sookie could help you learn how to interact with the Ed Hardy crowd successfully.

    • Oh my god, for a second there, I thought you meant Snooki, from Jersey Shore. And I thought, “Are you kidding, these are exactly the kind of guys Snooki would love!”

      I need to read more carefully.

  2. oh darlin’… 34 is so young. You’ve got years of being noticed ahead of you yet xx

  3. That hyper-awareness of disdain and desire I’ve experienced so many times, courtesy of teen experiences, too. I don’t know when it started to fade. It sometimes rears it’s head, but much less often.

  4. *sigh*

    I know… At 35, I know…

  5. biology. we all want to be desired… typically the female of the species wants attention from “the most powerful” male in range… the table of douchebaggers? it was a proximity thing, so yes, it makes sense that your limbic system kicked in and made you wonder…

    all that science aside? being invisible sucks balls. you’ve got 10 years before it gets bad… in another 5 years? i think i’m going to be so invisible that i can rob banks in broad daylight…

    • My limbic system, eh? Know where a chick can get a limbotomy? Cheap?

      I experienced the invisibility when I was overweight. Then I lost the weight, but I wasn’t in my twenties. And usually, I’m cool with it. Usually.

  6. Painfully true. 99% of the time it’s all just cookin’ along, this life of mine. Then there are those moments that practically slap me in the face with the reality that the time for fully shining in certain situations is over.
    Maybe that’s why I’m so attached to the fact that I can still kick somebody’s ass as long as I have my crow bar??? When that ability goes, I suppose I’ll just have to start firearms training.

    • Yup, that was one of those 1 percent moments. (And p.s., thanks for the inadvertent kick in the butt to get writing again. See, threat of a crowbar works wonders!)

  7. great snapshot of an important struggle for those of a certain age. and yes, it happens to men, too. it’s been five years since a waitress flirted with me in a restaurant.

  8. In the end, you know you’re a more well-rounded and interesting person. And they don’t matter.

    • Well-rounded is hard to show off, from 2 tables away ;). But I know what you mean, and it’s why most of the time, I couldn’t give a rat’s ass what they think.

  9. At 34, we notice. At 44, we notice. At 54, we notice.

    That laughter you heard, that was them puffing up in the presence of females. They were strutting for you. The Ed Hardy wearing king of the douches was probably the loudest.

    Most men are easy to predict. They’re not much brighter than pack animals, and they all present like peacocks when females arive. If you seek attention, the were giving it.

  10. something about the thirties is like the mezzanine of life…

    still possessing fibers of your youthful insecurity…but, aware, and experienced enough to see it all objectively.

    which is totally awesome…AND a huge kick in the ‘nads!!

  11. So achingly familiar… So very well-written… Lovely…

  12. (And still, I learn at your feet as the master of using, conjugating and otherwise toying with the word “Douchebag”…)

    • I’ll be over it by the end of the year, promise. Who knows what word I’ll stomp into the ground next year? I’ve been trying to work pulchritude in where I can…

  13. They noticed. And had you indicated, they would have pursued. Because perhaps, at a glance, you are not the you of yore. Or 24. Or whenever your sexiest was. But with age (snort snort, 34, aged HA – I mock you for your youth), but with age comes the sexiness of confidence. And had you given one a level look, a flirtatious smile, some friendly banter, some of your remarkable wit and deadpan humor, likely you would have heard an invitation to be woo’d. Somethimg along the lines of “Are you happy though? Do you LOVE him. I like older woman…”

    And perhaps to their 24, you are just another cute MILF, ah but go into any Home Depot and you will surely be the fancy of the over 35 checkbox set.

    And go to the drugstore at 11 am?
    Geezer Pleaser.

    You got it all goin on dear, you just aint 24.
    And good riddance.

    I’d throw you a bone…er?

    • I think that’s the cool part of thirty four, knowing that I have that capacity to turn it around; but it comes with wondering if the word “cougar” would be whispered in my wake.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the drugstore, to explore a heretofore unexplored demographic…

  14. It doesn’t matter what your age is, if you’re not one of their kind they won’t notice you anyway. I got ignored by those guys when I was a teenager, too. They give me the creeps, though, because those are the sorts who’d pick on me if they saw me.

    • I would tend to agree with you. And if I’m listening to the inner teenager, she doesn’t even like those guys, it’s the power of knowing she can get them to like her.

      I always pick the boys who are too shy to create a spectacle. And then I marry them. (OK, I only did it once. Whatever.)

  15. I think the I-give-up ponytail of the thirties is closely related to the I-am-so-carefree ponytail of the twenties.

  16. Oh, God. I feel that.

  17. You seriously could the Emma Bombeck of your generation. When’s your book coming out?

  18. Sorry, Erma Bombeck.

    • Oh my, Lynn, you are making me blush! I have a feeling Erma was a wee bit more disciplined with the whole writing thing. Plus, more talented, and funnier, and….

      • I’m not so sure Ginny. Perhaps if you used she was just as talented and funny, ect, you would be a little more correct πŸ™‚

  19. I don’t think you can set an age limit on the feelings you were expressing. It really never goes away. Even at freaking 64!

  20. Ah Ginny, you’re in your prime.

    Boys quit whistling at me when I was in my twenties. Around the same time the forty year-olds started staring at me.

  21. Trust me. The douchebags are all bark and no bite:)

    The fake tans, Ed Hardy clothes, white sneakers, gold chains, diamond ear studs etc. are part of the costume that hides their insecurities.

    We’re beyond anything those little douchbags could handle anyway;)

  22. Thanks, Ginny for so clearly expressing my thoughts. I’m 29 (+ 12.8 ) I seriously just had to break out the calculator to be sure I am truly 29 + 12.8 … wow … anyway –

    Something I’ve learned in the last few years is that the gravity of it all (all being life in this analogy), the brevity of it has just begun to sink in.

    It’s not that I am old. I know where I am chronologically and therein lies the angst.

  23. A post worthy of reading and then going on to read all of the comments. πŸ™‚

    As for your “Douche Platoon” I tend to use my mantra “I fucking hate (insert demographic here)”. This works for all occasions and people, not that it accomplishes anything. πŸ˜›

    As for that craving for attention, I’m pretty sure it never goes away, although I have given up on any expectations I’ve ever had. 😐

    Perhaps it will be more fun to find it when I’m not actually looking. πŸ˜›

  24. It may not accomplish anything, but it has gotten me through some tough times.

  25. They’re just running on cliff notes – they’re not ready to read the book. Live it full! πŸ™‚

  26. Now, I’m too immature for that. Because I feel that too, the whole “would you accept me?” inner-self routine. And then I get pissed off, and blame them for making me feel inferior.

    So I will make my friends laugh louder, you motherfuckers. I will tell better jokes and befriend the bartender and every patron outside of your table, I will make sure that we are the most valued individuals in that goddamn room just so you feel inferior. We will have a fan club, and you will have a $95 t-shirt, and when you finally approach our table (which you will, let’s face it) we are going to shut you down like a bootlegger during prohibition.

    Suck it, geeks.

    • “we are going to shut you down like a bootlegger during prohibition. ” Man, I am going to spend an entire day engineering a conversation so that I can work that in.

      You get it. You’re just better at handling it.

  27. I pretend like those people don’t exist, men or women, i’m an art snob or maybe more correctly stated, i’m the unhinged man in the corner with a graying beard who talks to himself to much and laughs for no apparent reason, there are places where i encounter this breed and when i do i tend to let them know that i would gladly fork out their eyeballs and step on them, i found out early that the women i like most are attracted to subtly, even when i was young and obnoxious and i learned from it, these types will be the same for the next 30 years, stagnating and all the while thinking they’re cool.

  28. michael.offworld

    I sure felt you in this one. I love your observing mind: outer world meets inner. Awesome.

  29. I think they are at that self-conscious age that makes you self-conscious in their midst. It happens to me around highschool girls. It’s not that I think they are cool, but I wonder if I am uncool in their midst because I am vibing off of them.

  30. Weird that you are replying to all the comments. Thats new. I can’t read through them all because I don’t have the patience but I hate the thought of repeating what someone else says. I probably will.

    Seriously, though. I’m 28 and you have totally completely just read my mind. On the few occasions I am out and about, if I find anyone around that is even close to my age and appears single, this whole thought process goes through my head.

    Not like I would do anything if I WAS noticed, but wouldn’t it be nice to BE noticed?? Isn’t it fun to peoplewatch and try and figure out what they are all about, and then remember what it was like when you were all about that shit too?

    Years and years ago I heard a radio program where one of the DJ’s said that “At 25 girls hit the wall” – damn if that hasn’t always stuck with me.

    • “Not like I would do anything if I WAS noticed, but wouldn’t it be nice to BE noticed?” Exactly. And that DJ needs to be smacked upside his head.

  31. I feel ya, Ginny – I feel ya. But as ppl have said, take pride in your prime. You are still hot and funny and charismatic and though I often wish to be head-turning ‘DAMN!’ hot – I think it is more fun to be mysterious, intelligent, cheeky and sorta cute.

    Being a teacher I am around this stuff ALL the time. I see all the lithe young gals and bemoan my wrinkled, veiny, cellulite-y self but then laugh that the boys want to talk to me during homeroom because they want to talk to someone who a) isn’t their mum or doesn’t b) giggle, hair-toss and eye-lash bat at them.

  32. Amen, sister. And, I, like you and a few commenters above, feel like I’m in my prime now, too. (33 in July) Some things take longer than others to outgrow, I guess. πŸ™‚

  33. God, I hate that. You never know if they’re talking about you, and 80% of the time, they are.
    You don’t need to lower yourself to even acknowledge douchers like that. I know it’s hard, but ignoring is the best way to handle situations such as those.
    Like people have said before me — you’re 34. In your PRIME. People look back on their thirties and go “wow. What I would do to be 30-something again.”
    So chin up, girlie. You’ve got lots of other things going for you anyway. Like your many avid readers. πŸ™‚

  34. Seriously, somebody should be paying you to do this. Because you do it *really* well. We have got to find you the right market and knock down their door…

    • You make me blush, most furiously. Thanks for thinking I’m skilled with words. Too bad I can’t play Words with Friends to save my ass…. πŸ˜‰

  35. Ginny i have felt this way so many times it shames me.

  36. We can swap if you like? I absolutely HATE IT when people give me that kind of attention. It doesn’t happen often, thankfully, and it may be that I misinterpret the type of attention given, but either way, most of the time it makes me feel utterly uncomfortable.

    In other news, I love the way you write and what you write about and your pretty face and .. Um. So, can I have your number?

    I think it’s most likely that you actually were noticed and being flirted with from a distance. They wanted You to notice Them. Had you smiled at them, they’d have been over like a shot.

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