Search Me (My Blog)

Sep 11, 2012

Men 101: Physical Proximity

After my side-note on this post about long distance, I remembered something very interesting about how I relate to physical proximity with others.

I think -on the whole -we men actually build relationships of different kinds through physical proximity. For example, my gym buddy isn't someone I need to talk to about my personal problems or feelings. We go to the gym, have a workout, and go our separate ways. But after doing that for some time, I'm comfortable and feel close with him. Some of my best guy friends are dudes that I spend time with playing board games and card games, sports or just living together as roommates.

We don't need to sit down and talk about our deep feelings to bond, just spending time around each other, especially engaging in activities together, builds a connection. Kind of like the guys on a sports team. They don't sit around the locker room drinking tea and talking about their relationships and feelings to become friends -they do that after, when they already feel bonded by spending time together. 

 In fact, when some of my guy friends have moved away, our relationship somewhat stagnated. In person we are right back to where we used to be. But from far away, it's just not the same. Talking online or via phone doesn't really build the connection so much.

So I posit this: Men bond through physical proximity. Just spending time together. Perhaps not exclusively, but in a big way. 

I don't mind doing an activity as a date, as much as I enjoy talking. In fact, in many ways it's really more about spending time together than talking. Of course the exception is when information-seeking, but I'm talking about building a bond, not trying to figure out what a woman is going to do with her hair when she's married or what she thinks about television and movies. There's gathering intel, and there's bonding with someone; I think they are two different things.

Sep 10, 2012

Oh, Long Distance.

Sometimes we can be blissfully oblivious of what we're saying until after we've heard the words out of our own mouth, and then... Wham! We process what just came out. Other times, it can take a while before our words come back to haunt us.

I've had to eat my own words a few times. It can be so embarrassing, and yet so enlightening at the same time. I usually laugh -it's amazing how we can corner ourselves with just a few words. I relish the experience, the double entendre, the unintended (perhaps subconscious) meanings we convey, how simple it is to misunderstand or misrepresent what we mean.

And so, with reference to my abhorring long distance here and an entire post devoted to it here, it's time to eat my words, so to speak. I'm doing the long distance thing now. I think I dislike long distance more than ever, but sometimes the person is worth it. I certainly feel that way now.

Sometimes, I feel that life experience is telling me that ideals and reality don't always mix -it's like oil and water. Ideals can be lofty and light, rising above the realities of life. Ideally, I'd avoid long distance. In reality, it's something I'll put up with -for someone I feel is worth overcoming the obstacles. 

But back to the ol' peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich metaphor for long distance versus proximal dating:
It's like the difference between spreading peanut-butter and jelly evenly on two slices of bread versus putting a glob on each and smushing them together haphazardly. The two sandwiches may have the same ingredients, but there's a world of difference in their taste, perhaps in each bite.
With long distance, each bite is more intense. Spending time together can feel pressured -there's just so much I want to cram into every moment, unsaid feelings and thoughts, curiosity and so much I'd like to learn and see, wanting more time, always thinking about when the next opportunity might be, and fretting about parting ways until some nebulous, hopeful future time to get together again. And then the process repeats itself, feeling pressured and trying to cram too much into too little time.

Afterwards, looking back, I sometimes wish it could just be more relaxed and less intense. Being able to spend time together doing things and interacting rather than trying to cram two or three weeks' anticipation into a sliver of time. Talk about overwhelming!

It's all in my own mind, of course. I'm just going to have to put it to work figuring out how to chill and slow down, take the pressure for intensity down a few notches. Which is hard to do when I don't really want it to slow down, especially given that the distance is already built into the package. On the other hand, I'm learning that trying to compensate by cramming more intensity into less time (or fewer meetings) isn't a particularly effective solution.

[As a side note, I find myself trying harder to develop more of a connection faster (or a stronger connection), perhaps to compensate for the physical distance I'm forced to acknowledge and deal with. It's a push to handle my own dislike and frustration with the physical distance by trying to balance it with emotional closeness. I'm curious if anyone else has had that experience too.]

Balance, as they say. It's just a matter of time. Well, space and time. *Sigh* Oh, long distance.