trying to pluck the low-hanging fruit

About a year ago…

A couple of jobs ago, I worked in a building on the other end of downtown, with a suave and charming guy who always had a bit of a thing for me. Despite not really being my type at all, we had chemistry. When I was feeling neglected in my marriage, I sometimes fantasized about running into him in the library and making out among the stacks.

He went through a divorce around the time I was moving on to my next gig. But we stayed loosely in touch, occasionally catching up over coffee. He changed jobs, too, and was now a lobbyist. I ran into him downtown one day and he hugged me longer than was comfortable. Pretty much everyone described him as “smarmy.” But that was all years ago…

Now I was newly single again and on the prowl — and Brendon should have been an easy target. Smarmy and lobbyist are irrelevant terms when one has a specific mission in mind. I had absolutely no interest in a relationship with him. In fact, I wasn’t even interested in him as a human. But sex, yeah. Think of Aaron Eckhart’s character in Thank You For Smoking. So I texted him, “What happened to that coffee date we had planned? Let’s upgrade to a cocktail to celebrate my being single and fabulous!”

“Well you’ve always been fabulous!” he replied. “Sorry to hear about your divorce. Pick the coziest place you can think of and you can tell me all about it.”

So you see, I thought this would be easy. Incredibly easy. The low-hanging fruit is always easy to reach and usually ready to be plucked, right?

But apparently smarmy lobbyists have an entire season of fundraisers to attend to, and his work demands kept getting in the way of any plans we’d made. When he cancelled on me for the second time via text, I ignored him. Note to men:  you may be able to cancel a date via text once. But if you have to cancel the very next one, it merits a phone call and apology.

He began texting me again while I was out of town on vacation with my children. We vowed to make something work when I returned.

One day, as I was walking downtown, I saw Brendon coming from the other direction. He excused himself from the work colleagues he was with and embraced me in the middle of the street. I felt butterflies in my stomach and weak in the knees — classic crush symptoms, which were even more pronounced than they’d been back in the day. Brendon had to endure a work dinner with an out-of-town colleague, who would soon become his boss. After the sexual tension I felt right there in the street, I was sure Brendon would call after dinner …but he didn’t.

Brendon’s inaction was not helping me achieve the mission my counsellor set me on. And it was killing my self-esteem that someone I thought would be so easy and seemed to be interested in my charms was not motivated to take action! In the end, I never did hook up with Brendon.

And, looking back, I’m okay with that.

falling into the feminine

I have already mentioned my all-out assault on beliefs and habits that have limited me, as well as how I’ve bungled many a relationship.

I’m ready for some major transformations, and I’m ready to invite some male attention back into my life. Rather than just flirting within the safe realm of old flames, I’m going to go out and meet some new men and start dating. I’m not ready to meet Mr. Right just yet, but I am ready to practice the things I’d like to do once I meet him.

Thus, after years of having to be the hard-driving, get-it-done masculine energy in my home, I’m ready to surrender into my feminine nature. And I’m turning to some experts to learn how this is done.

One of the tips I’ve gleaned from relationship expert Rori Raye is to say what you want, demonstrate emotional resilience and communicate clearly by using “I feel…” This gives a man an opportunity fulfill his nurturing role and take care of you. As an example, “I’m feeling a little hungry” gives a man an opportunity to offer to take you out for a bite.
You can add to this “What do you think?” to further appeal to your man’s desire to solve problems. Call it a new way of negotiating.

Since there is no man in my life, I asked a co-worker to test this new method of getting what you want. She and her husband have been arguing over the thermostat all winter. So… she went home and said, “I feel a little chilly. What do you think?”

He:  “You’re wearing three sweaters. How can you be cold?”

She:  “I had to sleep in my robe the other night.”

He doesn’t respond. She goes to bed cold and irritable, thinking that, yet again, she hasn’t gotten through to him. In the morning, he wakes up and says, “You know? It is a little chilly in here. Maybe we should turn up the thermostat.”

After weeks of arguing and a final night of thinking she was being dismissed, my co-worker was finally heard and her husband finally turned up the heat.

“I feel…” followed by “What do you think?” Pretty simple stuff. I think I’ll try it for myself next time there’s a man in the vicinity.

miss you already

About 17 months ago…

Two girlfriends and I were having a few cocktails after work, one of whom has been married for more than a decade — really married, and the other successful, single and not dating. In other words, I was clearly providing the conversation / drama / entertainment.

No one really ever wants to talk about divorce in public. The heartbreak, the pain — it’s all better swept under the rug lest the weepies rear their ugly heads. And so I told them about Max and what happened since I’d last seen him.

“You texted WHAT?,” Cynthia asked. “How could you?!”

“What?,” I asked innocently, “‘Miss you already’ is perfectly innocent. I would say the same thing to a girlfriend or a niece or my own children.”

“He’s not your girlfriend or niece,” Cynthia pressed. “It was suggestive. And he’s a married man!”

Seriously, it’s not as though I told him I wanted to get naked and rub my body up against him,” I argued.

Cynthia:  “No, that would have been being direct.”

Kristine, meanwhile, was doubled over with laughter and merely kept repeating, “Miss you already. Miss you already. That is priceless!”

They asked what happened next, they made me show them photos and then I told them about Max’s wife:

“You told her you had a crush on her husband?!,” they asked incredulously. I generally gravitate toward honesty. I may not always be appropriate or have the best boundaries, but I have my ethics.

“Yes,” I confirmed. “And she was cool, she was fun, and she was as inappropriate as any of us. And she would fit in perfectly sitting right here with us in this empty chair. We would have a grand time!”

Even as we put on our wraps, paid the tab and walked out of the bar, the girls were still laughing and giggling over what would become our inside joke:  “miss you already!”

how I became a text maniac

About 18 months ago…

As I boarded my flight home after my trip to Max’s region, I texted him a quick note: “Miss you already!”

I didn’t think much of the casual salutation — it was something I would have said to my children or a girlfriend — just a fun, breezy farewell. By the time I landed, there was a message on my data phone. It was from Max:

“You have no idea. We have a special relationship.”

Wha…? I reeled. Max had feelings for me. Here, in the palm of my hand, was actual confirmation that this gorgeous man reciprocated, in some form, the feelings I had for him. My heart was pounding; butterflies were fluttering in my stomach. I didn’t know what to think. I could barely resist the urge to board a flight back to Max. Of course in reality Max would be home with his wife and daughters…but he felt something for me!

There was so much I wanted to say. I tried to capture what I was feeling, and then edited and edited it down until it fit into the 160 characters of a single text message:

“I do have an idea…several, in fact. I will content myself with the quantum possibility that in some parallel universe we are free to explore them.”

Several hours later, Max texted back. “LOVE the way you put that. Talk soon.”

seeing Max again

Nearly 18 months ago…

When I got off the plane in Max’s region,  I couldn’t wait to get to work. I mean, of course, that I couldn’t wait to see Max!

After a couple of meetings, we got a chance to talk.

“How do you do this?,” he asked, “I mean travel, as a single mother, with your children at home?”

That was quite an assumption for Max to make! He must have been scoping out my ring finger (I was no longer wearing my ring). After all, I had yet to tell my husband that our relationship was over nor asked him to move out. It hadn’t even dawned on me that my girlfriend in Max’s region might have spilled to him that I’d asked after him.

Later I had an opportunity to ask Max about his own children. That’s when he told me: two grown children, four stepdaughters and two grandchildren. Grandchildren?! I had guessed Max’s age at 44. He was older than I thought — and, having married a woman with four daughters, he clearly had a great deal of capacity.

I reveled at telling my girlfriends about this development . . . their consistent response:  “Not only is he gorgeous, but also a saint! No wonder you like him!”


That evening, I had the pleasure of meeting Max’s wife. As predicted, she was a bottle blond. And she was an attractive mother of four, had crow’s-feet (or shall I say “laugh lines”?) and a warm, authentic presence accompanied by a boisterous laugh.

By the end of the evening, I was compelled to confide in her. “I have a huge work crush on your husband,” I admitted. “He has been such a joy to work with, communicative, cooperative, willing, steady and pleasant in every way. Not to mention, he’s hot.”

She laughed and leaned close to me. “Oh, that is so sweet — I can’t wait to tell him! He is every one of those things at home, too, consistent and steady and never raises his voice…” We laughed and chatted for a bit longer before good-byes. Then she insisted I come back to the area with my children on vacation and stay with them.

Um…maybe not a great idea!

Finally, as I hugged Max goodbye, I whispered into his ear, “I just told your wife that I have a huge crush on you…but I bet you already knew that.”

“I’m no fool,” he said. We smiled at one another and slowly released our embrace.

intuition, interrupted

About 18 months ago…

Let’s get back to the fun stuff!

As spring turned to summer, I had another opportunity to work with Max, my out-of-state office crush. We emailed and occasionally spoke on the phone to communicate. One day after I emailed off a request, I got this reply from Max:

“You should know by now I will do whatever you ask.”

I excitedly waved a co-worker into my cubicle and said, “look at this! I think this cute guy might be flirting with me!” She agreed that he was most definitely flirting. (Perhaps you’ll find it sad that I needed confirmation from another, but this was not the sort of thing that is always self-evident to someone whose primary relationship is spiraling toward Hades.)

And so things got interesting. A fairly attractive man (who was also a newly wed) was offering a little bit more positive attention than was strictly required by his job. Which was nice.

But there was something deeper and more profound going on:  I had gotten a vibe around Max, something that made me think he might have some special potential in my life (at least until I heard he was getting married). And now I was getting some feedback suggesting that energy was mutual. My feminine intuition seemed to be functioning properly! After years of being told I was “crazy” every time I verbalized something I was feeling intuitively, I was now getting affirmation of what my sixth sense was telling me. My mojo — I guess they call it jojo for women — was coming back!

And I had an upcoming work trip to Max’s region, so I would see him soon!