I went out this weekend with friends in an age group ranging from 22 to 30. It was an evening well spent in the company of people who could be variously described as intelligent, witty, cute, silly and fun. And I was one of the only two women in the bunch.
Was I then ‘one of the boys’? No, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to that. Relationships, romance, love, flirtation and sex just make you view the opposite sex in a way that never quite leaves you.
Was I then flirting and being flirted with? Well, not exactly. I believe that there’s an underlying current of sex lacing every male/female conversation, irrespective of age, geography or relationship. It is after all an awareness of how the other person is different from you, in a complementary or an opposing manner (depending on a lot of other factors). But the conversation flowed easily around the table and across it jumping from movies to technology to other topics of common interest. It’s been so long that I’ve done this that I didn’t realize just how much fun it could be.
On a date or in a relationship…anytime where the situation is charged heavily by sexual electricity, I think it’s difficult to really see all aspects of a person. The attraction and all the rituals that we perform to sustain it and build it, seems to leave very little room for other things. Even in groups of people, you can tell the atmosphere is nearly crackling sparks, if its members are expressing their sexuality overtly or otherwise. All kinds of by-plays happen that overlap and occasionally conflict with each other. Emotions ride high in all directions and it’s a potentially explosive situation. Not that I’m saying that it’s a bad thing. I’ve enjoyed being a part of these for long enough and there’s much to be said for the mating dance in terms of its sheer entertainment value.
However, a different situation stands out simply because it is so different. There’s no heavy flirtation happening, no competition for attention, no charades. That’s probably true of the first few encounters of any group of people – at work, at school and college and even in social settings. However those first meetings are alternately charged with an acute curiosity about each other as well as a need to fit in or ‘impress’ the others.
This weekend party was one that had neither which is probably why I found it relaxing even in a noisy, smoky environment. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to be myself, not having to impress anyone. And alternately it was good to not have to keep judging various contenders for my attention, juggling them and playing them against each. Does that surprise anyone? Yes, I do it just as much as the next woman..or man for that matter. The party was great for not having to do any of those things.
All I was, was myself. A blogger, a twenty-something professional, an amusing conversationalist, a woman in the company of men.
Another step in being comfortable with your own sexuality is realizing that you need not use it all the time.