Coffee Shop Thoughts With Adrienne

I’m on vacation. I took a hike up to the Chief yesterday, an all day excursion. Today my legs are feeling the abuse and I’m laying low at my local coffee shop, sipping Rooibos tea, people watching, and thinking about my male buddies that are important in my life. The most interesting talks with men, are the men who are not available. They have nothing to lose with me. They talk unabridged and tell me things I doubt they tell their lovers. Here’s one such gem from an ex-roommate, Michael:

“Every man has in his life, a woman, who at one time drove him crazy. Like Jan. I could be turned on just by the smell of her breath,” my Michael informed me as we stand outside our back door, he smoking, and me listening. “When I told my counselor this, he agreed. He’s experienced the same kind of woman who turn men upside down. No one has ever attracted me like her—and after all she’s said and done—I’ve never felt such fury and… depression.”

Michael is a good man with integrity, but I know he did things during his recovery time that he’s not proud of, felt unable to control. Now, he cares not whether he ever falls in love again. Now, he just doesn’t care. He tried a mediocre relationship: read=normal, and rated it about as interesting as spam. He’s alone now, just like me. We text. We flirt. I resist. I don’t want to lose a male confidante if we get romantic. Example:

Hey, I’m conversing with a guy who wants to take his love interest on tour through Europe. (me)

Would you like to go to Spain with me? It would have to be in April. (he)

OK That’s a deal (me)

How about a stroll in the meantime? (he)

OK That’s a date (me)

Will you hold my hand? (he)

Of course! (me)

Well then that would lead to my putting my arm around you


I changed the subject. But I admit to imagining what his arm would feel like. Nice, I think. Stop that, Adrienne, he’s such a good friend to you.

“Men don’t really read the profiles on the dating sites. It’s like, we throw mud on the wall hoping some of it will stick somewhere. We contact anyone and everyone,’ Dale revealed to me over coffee. He’s been involved with someone for four years now. “I’m beginning to feel restless,” he revealed in the next breath, as his eyes traveled the body of the waitress.

Later on, the advice of another… “I would think by now, after five years, she and I would be at a different level,” Max said to me as he pumped gas into my car. He works part-time at a service station and paints abstracts at night. “She’s okay—the sex is good and all, but I don’t think I could live with her. After three days sleeping over at her place, I’m ready to go home. Is that normal do ya think?  I don’t think I’m capable of loving a woman that much—to live with her full time. Is it me? Or is it her? That’s forty bucks, Adrienne.”

And then there’s Jason, who performs music at the local coffee shop on weekends. He and I chat as he sets up; he’s obsessed to learn my latest internet escapade. I told him about the pilot and his intimacy issues.

“So, he didn’t want to come into your place because he said that he doesn’t drink tea that late at night? Wasn’t that a Seinfeld episode? That is too funny. Don’t get me wrong, I think that there is nothing wrong with taking your time getting to know someone and all, but it does seem a little bit like he’s afraid to get close to you. Does he worry you’re going to jump him?” We laughed together. “I love hearing your latest, Adrienne. When you ask me what’s new I say, ‘Nothing I’m married—nothing ever happens!’ “

That’s stability, I tell him. He strummed his guitar and asked if I wanted to hear a Neil Young tune. I nodded. As he played, Only Love Can Break Your Heart,  I thought of what my life would have been had I stayed in my marriage. Knowing what I know now, he and I could have been reasonably happy. Hindsight. Women approach me and lament the state of their dismal life with husbands and want me to tell them that the single life is better, that the grass is greener over here.

“Honestly, Ella, my ex seems pretty good compared to the guys I’ve dated.”

How disappointed she looked. But, it’s true. My singleness isn’t really about inability to find a proper mate, it’s more about my development over the years. I know now, how much I relied on my husband to do things that I just never bothered to learn, just because he was there, and I considered the chore to be a man’s job. I’ve had to forge ahead in life alone and muster all my courage doing so. Making decisions—like buying a condo, what car to buy, investments—all issues in life that are a blip in a couple’s relationship, but for a single person, it’s daunting. With time, I see that some decisions I’ve made have been good ones; I’m becoming confident, something I would have never experienced had I remained part of an equation.

So, I guess my advice to married friends is this: Don’t look at it like you want to turn in the old model for a better one. You’re just going to get a guy that will bring different problems. I can tell you that there’s nothing like living single to build character. At times I figure that I’ve grown strong enough and would just love to sleep in Sunday mornings next to him, feeling his arms around me, knowing that there isn’t anywhere else I’d rather be. But I know that’s a fantasy too—like the one about singles living the party life.

Oh! Another text from my ex-roommate:

Thank you, Adrienne, that was so nice what you said.

I sent him a message an hour ago telling him he is a very considerate and kind man. And he is.



Coffee Shop Thoughts © 2011 Adrienne S Moody. Read more of Adrienne’s exploits, click her tag.


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