Monday, July 25, 2005

 

In Which It Never Rains But...

I'm sure it will embarrass her no end, and I know it's just the most egregiously self-inflating manner in which to start a post (and you can see already how that's not going to stand in my way at all), but this entry over at Finn's Space just made my month (and yes, I know it's completely innocent, and in the same sentence she links to three other guys she's blog-crushing on, but who's #1? Huh? Well?).

The last time my name was linked with the word "crush" was longer ago than I care to admit, or remember. I was working with my pal C-Dog at the time, so it was more than 5 years ago, less than 10. I was sitting in the office, pecking away at some story or other, when one of the other editors--let's call her Abby--came by to talk. She had a bit of a bemused smile on my face and finally revealed the reason.

"So," Abby said. "One of the little interns has a big crush on you."

"No," I said dismissively, then drew a breath. "Which one?"

"Oh, it's [name of the cute intern with a weakness for form-hugging tops and skirts of a shortness not usually seen outside of music videos]. You should have heard her at the production meeting going on about how funny and charming you are. You lucky dog," she said with a smile.

"Yeah, I'm so lucky," I said, rolling my eyes. "Where was she in the late 80s, when I actually needed this kind of attention?!?"

"In the womb," Abby said dryly.

Oh, yes, ha ha, big laugh about that.

I was married, not dead, of course. And you'd have had to be dead not to notice that year's crop of summer interns, all them about 19 or 20, all of them women, and all of them exceedingly well-crafted by a kind and loving God.

I would be lying if I didn't admit to an instant of private and self-serving delight at the information Abby presented to me. Because, to be perfectly honest, this sort of thing NEVER happened to me. If experience has taught me anything it's that I'm just not suitable crush material, except perhaps in circumstances involving desert islands or being the last man on earth. I can count on the fingers of one hand--on the hands of a Disney character, at that--the number of times any female has ever regarded me as crushable (No, I can't even include Her Lovely Self. I've asked her, believe me, and for my pains heard a story that didn't include the word "crush" at all, but which did serve to remind her--and me--just how much of a factor pity was in her decision to go out with me).

But as soon as that instant of delight was over, I was filled with a certain frowning dismay. I'd been to enough corporate sexual-harassment seminars and sensitivity-awareness sessions that I could scarcely feel anything else. I realized--and realize still--that such political correctness in the working world is a vital and necessary thing. Make no mistake: I support it wholeheartedly.

(Not just because I have no choice, but because I've heard the horror stories. My own mother, during her years working for a sewing machine and fabric store, spent a miserable month dodging an ass-pinching manager who was smugly, supremely confident that she had no recourse. Boy, was he ever wrong about that. But then again, not every woman is married to a man willing to march right into the Bedford Mall, bend the ass-pincher over a sewing machine and threaten to stitch his penis to the inside of his trousers if he ever touched her again.)

And yet, it's kind of sad too. Because I knew myself and knew that my tendency from then on would be to limit my interaction with that woman. Sure enough, I became ultra self-conscious around her, and certainly less funny and charming so as not to exhibit any behavior that could have been construed by anybody as leading her on. I was dismayed because I realized even then that no matter what I did, I'd end up bruising her feelings in some way, which I hated to do. I have no desire to be unnecessarily mean to someone, for any reason.

So imagine my surprise, then, the day after the post over at Finn's Space, to walk into the office and get an email from that very intern. Who is, of course, an intern no longer, but now a colleague working in magazines. It was an exceedingly flattering email, thanking me for all my time and advice so early in her career, so I guess I didn't bruise her feelings or treat her as aloofly as I thought I had, after all.

As for the part of this entire scenario you thought I had forgotten about: No, this sort of interaction doesn't faze Her Lovely Self in the least, and not just because of the considerable infrequency of my being an objet de crush. I have friends whose wives would be supremely pissed at them for a situation like this--pissed just on general principle, you understand. One my best friends is a part-time professor at a local university. The guy's a certified genius in his field, but as he says, "I'll consider myself a genius on the day I figure out how to keep my wife from being mad at me." Granted, he's in a particularly hazardous situation. Unlike, say, me, he is a pretty handsome guy. A handsome guy who teaches college. You know the classroom scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where all the coeds are gazing dreamily at Harrison Ford? Well, that's what his life is like. At least once a year, he can pretty much count on one of his young female students to get all goo-goo eyed on him and make a pass. He does nothing to encourage this, nor would he ever take advantage of the fact. Nevertheless, it drives his wife right up the wall, despite his assurances that nothing has, is, or ever will happen.

"Don't you trust me?" he'll ask her.

"It's not that I don't trust YOU," she'll say angrily. "I just don't trust THEM."

How do you argue with that?

Luckily, when it comes to Her Lovely Self, I don't have to deal with this at all. I'm more or less in the same boat as my pal C-Dog, who is also married, and whose long-suffering wife has never seemed to mind his chronic case of Roving Eye, nor the fact that he occasionally gets a gaze or two from women.

"God, we're so lucky," he said to me recently. "It's a good thing we married the women we did."

"Amen, brother," I said.

"We're so lucky," he continued, "because it's absolutely inconceivable to them that anyone else would ever be seriously interested in us."

I was so tickled by this observation, I shared it with Her Lovely Self later. "Of course," I added. "I had to tell him that in our case it had more to do with trust and honesty."

"No," said Her Lovely Self. "He got it right the first time."

Yours,
From Somewhere on the Masthead


Comments:
Hehehehe, I like your wife.
 
HLS totally rocks.

Kathryn is right on with her post - and I agree holeheartedly. The only one I'd add to that list is Wil Wheaton.
 
I made your month? Really? I am so glad (and not embarassed in the slightest)
 
OK, now that we've determined NOT to be talking about the same person, I can share:
The intern that had the thing for me put together a news piece about Brand X, a former employer we share. I helped her edit the art, the story, lay it out and put the whole thing into a package that was a little more impressive than typed pages and color glossies.
"How can I thank you?" says she.
"Easy," says I. Then apparently another person stepped temporarily into my dark soul, "In fifteen years or so, when you are at the height of your career, I want you to take an intern under your wing and freely shares the gifts of your knowledge and experience. Deal?"

What on earth was I thinking???
 
funny ... :)

My love says the same thing. :(

She trust me because I am not a threat (or magnet).
 
I'm ashamed to say that I myself have used the "I trust you, I just don't trust HER" line. But my boyfriend is in the arts, ie theatre...and I KNOW how slutty girls in the theatre are to handsome (straight) leading men. So I have cause to worry... :)
 
You shouldn't be so hard on yourself - I've been TOTALLY blog-crushing on you (and Nick I must admit - but you're first in my heart) from the first post of yours I ever read. My crush is from afar though... I'm more of a lurking-crusher :)

Your wife rocks. It's good she's not the jealous type. Besides, it would never work between us, we are waaaaay to alike. Take, for instance, these words you wrote up there:

And yet, it's kind of sad too. Because I knew myself and knew that my tendency from then on would be to limit my interaction with that woman. Sure enough, I became ultra self-conscious around her, and certainly less funny and charming so as not to exhibit any behavior that could have been construed by anybody as leading her on. I was dismayed because I realized even then that no matter what I did, I'd end up bruising her feelings in some way, which I hated to do. I have no desire to be unnecessarily mean to someone, for any reason.

That's me in a nutshell.
 
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