Well, I did it. It took one or two more running starts since posting my last essay on the topic, but I finally spoke with my friend. You know, the one for whom I found that I was developing feelings beyond just plain old friendship.
I got the Heisman.
That’s a bit harsh of a description but that’s how it felt. What actually happened was more of the, “I’m really flattered, but …”
Since I’m trying to practice something new – namely, when I learn a lesson, I don’t belabour the topic, I make the changes I need to make and then move on – I won’t go into the details.
Suffice to say that in spite of a very lovely follow-up note in which she commended my courage and expressed gratitude for my candor, I felt pretty lousy.
A small army of emotional hobgoblins from days gone by took to arms and paraded through my head in lockstep: “Sorry kid, you’re just not hot enough for her.” “Nice try, chump. Try punching in your weight class next time.”
A couple of days … okay, maybe a couple of weeks is more accurate … anyway, a bit of time later and the feeling passed, leaving in its wake the reminder that being rejected is a bit like when you’re hammering in a nail and miss and thump your finger. It stings momentarily. Then comes the throbbing pain, which subsides at a rate usually relative to the strength of the blow.
In the big picture this particular thump wasn’t all that bad.
Nothing’s broken, and if anything our relationship will be an even deeper and more solid one, since it’s built on real honesty. Candor is about as solid a substance you can pour for the foundation of a friendship
Bruised ego and dented self-esteem aside, the truth is that I understand where she’s coming from. After all, even if you think someone is fabulous you can’t force chemistry. I’ve been in the situation myself where someone had feelings for me and I just … well … in the words of a dear friend, “If there’s no shwing. There’s no shwing.”
It’s an odd thing, attraction. On one level there’s an unquestionably objective aspect to it. I don’t mean to be cruel, but let’s be honest. Empirically speaking, some folks are just better looking than others.
Of course, the most dashing and sexy looks deteriorate rapidly if the individual isn’t also beautiful inside. Platitude? Perhaps. But we all know it’s true. The most stunningly handsome man becomes quite the troll after revealing that he’s a chauvinistic liar who cheats on his wife. And the most homely geek morphs into someone quite remarkable after showing an intelligent compassion for others’ feelings.
I could go on about the nature of relationships. I could wax on with my thoughts on the role that corporeal attraction plays. I could proffer pontification on the conundrum of physical magnetism and the difference between a purely physical charge and a deep passion that can evolve from a more solid connection.
But I won’t.
Because like I said, I’m trying to cut out overindulgent blathering, learn from my life experiences, and move on.
With that, I’ll call this the denouement.
And so ends this lesson.