Monday, November 17, 2008

Seeing people, making soup.


After so much text-based crushing and interaction, it certainly can be bracing to meet someone like TD, who is emphatically of the three-dimensional world. It does undermine the tendency to project, which is so dominant in blog crushes as to be overwhelming. And bodies do matter, I agree---as much as minds, I'd venture to say, since our society's most obvious bright line for relationships is based on whether the body is in play. (In another context, it would have been no less so: if one of us had been had been a mass of tics and twitches, our first dinner would have been quite a different experience!) Even contact-averse me recognizes the fundamental appeal of physicality, given the right humans. Blog crushes just can't provide this, no matter how much flowery poetry or confessional email you exchange. Sooner or later, it comes down to two animals in a (backstage?) room and how they sense each other. If you and TD or you and your new teacher friend have chemistry in person, who cares about whether you have blogging in common or some textual connection? The latter is in some sense just a proxy for intellectual compatibility, and there's other ways of assessing that in a partner.

How often you see someone is entirely dependent on each partner's idiosyncrasies, and only the couple can know how much is the right amount. I once dated someone who expressed a preference for a situation in which partners could see each other every day with basically no "commute," but which maintained separate living quarters for both. This is easily realized for those living in college dormitories, but people in more mature living situations must accept and negotiate the trade-off between independence and distance from each other. It sounds like you and TD get to see each other quite a lot for two people with full lives, and you with no car!

How much you see your friends is a puzzle that I have a harder time understanding. You and I only see each other every few months, and we seldom talk on the phone, but we are nevertheless in almost constant contact. It's hard, though, to know how much one can hang out with a friend when both of you have full-time jobs and narrow slices of free time (which they are also allotting to a significant other, if any). I find myself reflecting on the fact that there are friends that I haven't seen in months, or even a year---do they still think of me as a friend? Would they be receptive to attempts to reconnect?

It's even harder with male friends, as you note, due to the potential for dual motivations. I can be friends with men who are romantically interested in me, but not the other way around; I'm so bad at concealing my emotions that it gets awkward and embarrassing. In terms of just-dude friends, I find that married/seriously partnered guys are pretty solid, but at in some instances I have found myself adulterating otherwise-platonic friendships with single men with a kind of stylized flirtation. This is deprecated.

I'm trying to keep my shopping down to household items and groceries for the time being, but if that Gracie dress had been in my size, this resolution would have been strained. I will also need to buy some Christmas presents for my various relatives who live in warm climates and thus have little use for heavy woolen goods. (I'm sort of looking forward to traveling over the next couple of months, business and pleasure, since it might provide the chance to work on some knitting projects, many of which are gifts for other people.) I've also been trying to economize by cooking a lot, but given the need for a special grocery store trip for each elaborate recipe, it sometimes seems like not much money is being saved. The economies only appear when the leftovers get consumed, which is not always. I didn't quite finish last week's soup before making this one's. Bad Amber.

I'd love to take this over to your blog! Perhaps after Thanksgiving we can swap venues?
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