This Is…Enlightening

In June, my interest in men reawakened and I found myself wanting romantic male attention.  I didn’t want to start a relationship since I have one foot on a plane out of here; I just wanted that feeling again of being an attractive woman who warrants the attention of a man to whom I’m attracted.  You know what I mean?

I tried to tamp the feeling down but within a couple of weeks of this reawakening, a thought struck me like a bolt of lightning: I’ve been single for two and a half years and in that time, not one man has tried to put any serious talk to me.  For the non-Jamaicans among us, that means no man has expressed serious romantic interest in me.  This realisation surprised me because I’ve never lacked for male attention.  For the entire two and a half years, I had been oblivious to the lack and now that I was highly aware of it, I couldn’t reasonably account for it.  So I did what I do – I went in search of answers.

I started by reflecting on the last couple of years and found that they neatly split into three segments – 2015, 2016 and 2017 to date.  I decided to discount 2015 altogether because I spent that year beginning to recover from my wasted ten years.  Because of my focus on that emotional recovery process and on the process of sorting out the pieces of my life, I wouldn’t have noticed romantic interest from a man unless he clubbed me over the head and dragged me off to his cave.

I decided not to count 2016 as a part of my romantic dry spell either.  I spent that entire year in Indonesia, where, as I’ve previously explained, I was not seen as an attractive female who would warrant male attention.  There was no way any man in Indonesia would have been interested in me romantically and that was totally due to their own prejudices, which had nothing to do with me specifically.

But having returned to Jamaica in January 2017 and having been going about my business in society for six whole months, it suddenly struck me that not one man had expressed any romantic interest in me, not counting the occasional, “Whappen, baby?” from some random man on the road, which is standard fare for Jamaican men and therefore nothing special.  This situation stunned me simply because, from what I know of Jamaican men, they can sniff out a single (or not single) female from miles away and go in for the kill before a woman even knows what’s happening.  Even if they don’t outright “try a thing,” in my experience most of them still flirt – some harder than others, but most of them do it to some degree.  I was not on the receiving end of any of that.  There was zero serious interest.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.

So I started asking questions.  I wanted to know if I was unconsciously putting out some keep-away vibes or something.  I didn’t want the opinions of my female friends on this one; for obvious reasons, I needed the male perspective.  I polled three of my male friends to see what light they could shed for me.  One of them assured me that how I physically present myself was not wanting in any way and that I’ve still got it like that (I’m smirking), so physical attractiveness is apparently not an issue.  Between the three of them, though, I got  a total of five possible reasons for the lack of male interest in me.  Here’s the list:

  1. I’m a long-term kind of girl – wife material – and men can sense that with their spidey senses and therefore steer clear of me.  I immediately debunked this one because I’ve always been a long-term type of girl and that never stopped them before.
  2. The confidence that I exude can be intimidating to men so they don’t approach me in that way.  This one didn’t ring totally true for me either because I was getting serious male attention way back before I lost my confidence, so why not now?
  3. My long list of accomplishments can be intimidating to men so they don’t feel confident to approach me in that way.  I’ll discuss this one shortly.
  4. My high expectations may cause men to evaluate themselves and decide that I’m not worth the work they would have to do to measure up to my standards.  Again, I’ll discuss this one in a minute.
  5. I don’t send out flirtatious vibes so men don’t get any cues to know if I would welcome their advances and therefore don’t approach me.  I’ll also come to this one shortly.

So let’s talk about reasons 3 and 4, my accomplishments and my high expectations.  First of all, a man can’t just look at me and know about my accomplishments and expectations so I don’t see how these could be a deterrent for an interested man.  Additionally, my accomplishments are my accomplishments and I cannot and would not do anything about them.  I accomplished quite a bit in my former life and I’ll accomplish more in my new life.  I’m a high achiever – so what?  That’s not going to change any time soon.  And as it relates to my expectations, those aren’t changing any time soon either.  You saw what happened when I lowered my standards.  I’d rather be alone than settle for a man who has decided that it’s too much work and he’s too lazy to bring himself up to a level where he thinks I’d be interested in him.

I’ve therefore decided that my accomplishments and expectations are a great filter for the idiots and wusses – any man who is put off by my confidence, accomplishments or expectations is definitely not worth even a first look.

That left reason 5, the flirting.  I have to be honest – I’m terrible at flirting.  I had never thought about it before but this exercise caused me to evaluate myself in this regard and I had to admit that I don’t do well in this area.  I used to be passable at it but it seems that I’ve totally lost my flirting game.

Flirting is an art that involves subtlety; it’s a sort dance where the woman generally acts coy and gives the man just enough encouragement to keep him chasing after her.  And therein lies my problem.  I’m now a pretty straightforward person.  I speak raw truth (sometimes too raw); playing games about what’s going on in my head and having conversations rife with double entendres and vague subtexts that are open for interpretation, the way deliberate flirtation requires, is so far beyond the new me.  In fact, I can come across dorky or lame or brash when I try to flirt, but I rarely, if ever, come across smoothly flirtatious in that cute way many women have mastered.

I gave this some serious thought and decided that, even though I do need to work on my raw truth delivery (I don’t want to be hurtfully or unnecessarily harsh), I probably will never again be very good at subtlety and I’m OK with that.  Because if a man can’t accept me as I am – direct, raw truth and all – and still feel like a man, then he’s definitely not the man for me.

So where does that leave me?  I truly don’t know.  But one thing is clear: I am now officially beyond the interest of Jamaican men.  Apparently, they just don’t see me as approachable or look-worthy.  These last several months have presented me with sufficient evidence to acknowledge and accept that they’re not into me.  Therefore, I’m going to see how non-Jamaican men fare.  Maybe one of them out there will decide that I’m worth the effort – just as I am – to even take a stab at changing my single status.

I’ll keep you posted.

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