#6 Dance on your Pedestal

Boys are not the only ones who can be complete idiots when it comes to the opposite sex. They just have a higher fail percentage.

There are some boys that some girls should just never meet. They especially should never become friends. They most especially need to stay away from the kind of relationship where the boy has created a man-made pond by drooling over the girl with little provocation. This is good for no one.

This is the sort of relationship I had with Mark.

Oh, you know, he used to look like a girl, but he and his brothers clean up ok.

Some men treat us like we deserve. Some men admire us and support us and refrain from always trying to fix our problems with unsoliciated advice. They also recognize our flaws, know which of our buttons they shouldn’t push if they don’t want an irrational outburst, and understand that sometimes we are wrong. Then there are some men who put us on a pedestal and stare at us with big doe-eyes wider than Bambi’s.

These men are enablers.

It’s hard enough to be a girl in today’s culture with its Olympic gold medal standards of beauty. The pressure for image control is everywhere. Why do you think girls are such Facebook addicts? And when someone, some poor nice shmuck, creates his own version of us and then actually shows a little affection–not like the loser who brought a rented movie over to our place, felt us up, and then didn’t even text all weekend–it’s hard not to feel a little soft for that guy. And once we start feeling for this poor guy, we realize–we can’t destroy our own pedestal. It would crush him in the tumble. All the poor dude wants is some untouchable muse [they’re usually artists, this kind of guy]. They adore devotion. Is it so difficult to grant him that simple prayer?

The prolem with Enablers is that keeping up a certain image is just exhausting. In my defense, my level of phoniness with Mark was minimal. It just required a certain degree of control over our relationship; I found out quickly that I don’t want the burden of control. Too much thought, too much at stake. And truly, these sort of relationships never work out. Being on a pedestal always keeps you distant from your adorer and gives you vertigo. If you don’t want true intimacy with a person, to be known and still loved, to be actually able to share your heart and your life, then by all means stay up there on your pedestal.

As for me, I’d rather just be eye level.

I have to credit Mark. Even though he was shy, he was brave enough to take his shot with me. The day I left my first university for good, and after Ex-Boyfriend and I were done, Mark kissed me. [Granted, I cried for the next half hour, which is never the response you hope for post-kiss, a combination of emotions, one hour of sleep the night before, a morning of packing everything I owned into a van, and my destroyed hope that Ex-Boyfriend and I would get back together and he’s be the only boy I’d ever kiss.] And over a year later Mark would take a chance again. It would never work out with us. And Mark’s now happily with someone much better for him.

I’ll always be grateful to Mark, not only for the friendship we did have or for the liberation his kiss gave me (oh, the boys I could now kiss that Ex-Boyfriend wouldn’t be the only one!), but also because Mark always seemed to see the best in me. Sometimes when it’s difficult to look at yourself fairly, it’s nice to have someone whose perception is skewed happily in your favor.