Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The return of FR

Didn't expect to see that name again, huh? In case you need a refresher, Filthy Rich (FR) is a bi-coastal hotel mongrel with whom I once had an amazing conversation. Unfortunately, FR is probably about 30 years my senior...think wrinkles and sagging body parts.

Anyway, about a week ago, I ran into FR at a local dive bar. With a few drinks under my belt, I was very excited to see my old friend (no pun intended), even though I'd ultimately decided to blow him off after our previous meeting, mostly due to my aversion to liver spots and my acknowledgement of his intentions (I’m not cut out for the Anna Nicole Smith role). Within seconds, we were in the midst of yet another fantastic conversation, and what seemed like only moments later, the bar had closed and the bouncer was kicking us out.

FR: Let's go somewhere else and have another drink
TAF: I think all the bars are closed.
FR: Let's go to Bar X.
TAF: Pretty sure it's closed.
FR: Well, I'm pretty sure it'll be open, let's check it out.

Turns out Bar X was closed, but that they were miraculously willing to stay open just for us. I'm not sure if FR owns Bar X or if he just paid them to stay open, but we enjoyed another couple of drinks while the staff waited. Patiently. After pre-paying for my cab (which I didn't even notice) and saying goodnight, FR said that he wanted to see me again...the following night for dinner, if possible. I told him I had plans (which I did), thanked him for the drink and smiled coyly as my urban carriage pulled away.

FR texted me later that night to make sure I'd gotten home - no response (I was too busy passing out).
FR called me the next day to tell me that he rarely enjoyed an evening as much as he'd enjoyed our evening together, and to ask if my plans could be broken - no response.
FR called the following day to see if I would be able to have dinner before he went back to NYC - no response.
FR called again the next day to ask what he'd done wrong, to tell me that I was one of the most charming and interesting woman he'd ever met, and to beg me to please consider sharing one meal with him.

I knew I'd run into FR again at some point, and I certainly didn't want him to think he'd done anything wrong. So, liver spots and all, I decided to accept the dinner invitation with a resolution to make it very clear - in a breezy, classy way, of course - that things weren't going to progress past friendship. I finally called him back and agreed to have dinner several days later.

FR never contacted me to confirm the details for our dinner date. In fact, I didn't hear from him until late in the evening on the day we were supposed to meet. He'd suddenly had to fly to San Francisco for a meeting and hadn't been able to call. Luckily, a couple months ago I made a hard and fast decision not to wait around for guys - geriatrics included - who don't call. By the time FR contacted me to explain, and say that he'd just flown back down to LA and was hoping we might still be able to meet up, I'd made other plans. We rescheduled, but several days later I found myself stuck in almost the exact same scenario. There were apologies, compliments and assurances that this was uncharacteristic behavior.

I enjoy spending time with FR, but I have no intention of having any sort of relationship with him. Somehow this knowledge protects me against being too flexible (sure, life happens, and flexibility is essential, but there is a fine line between being flexible and not putting enough value on your own time and life), disappointed, or worrying what he'll think about me if do this or say that. It never occurred to me to change any of my set plans to accommodate his schedule. I wasn’t even tempted to down-shift our plans and meet him for late-night drinks in order to satisfy his desire to see me immediately.

After recent reflection about the behavioral differences between being in a Fan Club and having one, my situation with FR served as a case study. For me, the freedom of having no interest in someone comes from the previously discussed ability to be completely comfortable with myself and what I have to offer, and an absence of any premature fear that if I don't present myself or do things in a particular way, I might miss out on something that could be great...something that could be forever. After realizing this, I've decided it's not much better than expecting to be whisked away by a handsome prince and live happily ever after. With someone I'm not interested in, I take things as they come, without thinking about the future or putting unrealistic expectations on myself or the "relationship." Obviously it's easier to value yourself and your time when you don't have any real interest in someone, but I'm hoping practice makes perfect.

1 comment:

Laurie Stark said...

Goodness, your posts are always so interesting to me. I agree that it's so much easier to be breezy-yet-firm with someone you're not ACTUALLY that interested in. When you're feeling all a-flutter, it is SO hard to stick to your guns-- or at least it is for me! But I think it's really important and am right there with you, hoping practice makes perfect.