Sunday, December 19, 2010

Archetypes and Internet Romance

We often enter into situations with a concept in mind and then discover that the concept doesn't exactly match reality.  I'm afraid that has happened to a fellow on the periphery.  No telling what he had in mind when he first contacted me.  He'd seen the blog so he had ideas about who I must be, but he hadn't delved into the archives or anything and learned the back story.  Maybe he thought that November provided enough information.

In the beginning, he said that I seemed to be discontented here in my self-imposed convent.  It's a lovely place to begin and not surprisingly, an internet flirtation developed.  It would be nice to say that this flirtation fizzled out naturally, but I nuked it when he admitted he had no interest in exploring a relationship in real  life.   I respect his reasons, and since we never did meet in person, I suppose there's no reason to take it personally.

I've always had a tendency to look at Life, The Universe and Everything through a lens of story.  After reading Caroline Myss, I've seen how Archetype and Story make human interactions easier to understand. For the purposes of sorting out this particular disappointment, it is useful to apply the conventions of fairytale  Let's start with a generic Lady in a generic castle.  I'm the one who prefers the castle to be a convent since I like peace, quiet and contemplation.  Let's say a minstrel wandered into the yard.

As the conversation between the lady and the minstrel progressed, he discovered that the castle was not a harmless diversion from the pressures of work.  He wasn't even in a conventional fairytale.  He'd wandered into Castle Antrhax from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

I freely admit that this prospect might seem alarming to a fellow who was probably just procrastinating at work when he first contacted me.  I figured he wanted to talk about his own writing or something equally as interesting.  I'm the one who brought up spanking. Like many problematic topics, it all started as a joke.  I suppose that's inevitable when your fairytale turns into Monty Python, but when you consider that the Lady we're dealing with here is me, there's really no where else to go except down the rabbit hole.

It's all my fault, of course. Once I got the idea in my head that a reliable source of outside discipline had found his way into the Triciasphere, I was eager to move beyond correspondence and out to lunch. I've always been someone who says, "No day like today," and the tendency is more pronounced now that the days ahead seem so dark.  Sadly, we hit a common but very unpleasant reality wherein he said he would call and changed his mind.  I'd seen his IP address in the blog stats at about the time he was supposed to call, which suggested that he hadn't forgotten.

In my mind, if he had enough time to cruise the blog, he had enough time to send an email saying he was too tired or stressed or whatever.  I knew he was busy with work and had additional concerns in his life.  All responsible grown-ups do.  If he had sent me a note, I would have let it all alone.  When he didn't, I feared he was another fellow interested in cybersex.

Since his study of the blog was limited to current events, the Minstrel had no way of knowing  that The Narcissist blogstalked me for over a year after we'd broken up,  hovering like Peter Pan outside the Nursery window listening to Mrs. Darling's stories.  I was a virtual girlfriend he visited when he wanted conversation which I suppose is kind of a complement since he liked to divert himself from work by chatting up virtual women on Adult Friend Finder.  A man is certainly entitled to pursue No Strings Attached sex with willing partners on Adult Friend Finder.  Why else have we been fighting all these wars except to preserve these freedoms?  I just thought he should have left me alone, especially when I had asked nicely.  He persisted for months because was getting what he wanted:  NSA sex and NSA conversation without the bother of a real woman. 

The Minstrel didn't know about Double Wide either - the married man who took me out to an expense account dinner and gave me a webcam (Stonerdate 11.13.08).  Double Wide thought that he could chat with me from his basement office while his wife cleaned up the kitchen after dinner and his boys did their homework upstairs in his big, beautiful home in an affluent suburb.  When I suggested that The Minstrel had similar motives, he was highly offended although he contended I had stereotyped his sexuality. 

I have to say, though, that I was impressed with the way he handled himself during that bit of correspondence.  He took responsibility for his actions, directly addressed my concerns and defended his own integrity in the process.  It was neatly managed, so we continued with the emails until he was compelled to inform me that despite my obvious merits, he'd rather spend an afternoon catching up on his reading than meeting me somewhere mutually convenient for lunch.  It would have meant an hour drive for him, and I know what it is to be stressed and exhausted.  I don't blame him and respect his candor.

At the same time, I had made matters worse by referencing him, albeit anonymously, in something I posted elsewhere.  He made a simple, justifiable request - to which I immediately agreed, but when I made a joke, he thought I wasn't taking his professional stature seriously.  Sadly, he sounded so pretentious, pompous, sanctimonious and controlling that he landed himself at this castle:

Apparently, that's more archetypal interaction than a man can bear, especially a man who is too busy and exhausted for lunch.

As an old woman myself, I can relate to being so drained that you need to conserve your limited energy for work and personal projects. I just wish he'd have procrastinated with somebody else.  Then I never would have imagined an interesting, attractive, witty straight man on the horizon.  But then, I'm an optimist who believes relationships can enhance your life, even when you're an old poop, so that you wind up with more energy and enthusiasm for everything.

When your only contact with someone is email, with no vocal inflections and without the ability to quickly correct a misinterpretation, confusion can rule the day.  Maybe I came off like a Disney Princess singing, "Some day my Prince will come."  Or maybe there's a Double Wide Princess or two in his own history.  What do I know?

Either way, we are in The Land of Shoulda Coulda Woulda.  At least we never had lunch. I might be taking everything personally. Now, it's just the internet.


okjimm said...

Wowsers& stuff.... I guess I should read your back pages. I almost... almost...flew to Oakland to meet someone....but it didn't happen. Which turned out to be a good thing.I think the idea of meeting someone on the Net that you would want to meet in person is really a stretch. Getting to know someone on the Net that you like and can honestly chat with is not. Be good, kiddo.

PENolan said...

Meeting anyone anywhere any time is always a risk. You're either open to possibilities or you're not. Certainly it's better to be honest about expectations to save everyone time and trouble. It's just a drag when you yourself are the Time and Trouble.

dissed said...

If you can't find the time, there's no chance to get into trouble. Sometimes, the trouble turns out to be worth ANY amount of time. No effort, no gain.

okjimm said...


"Time and Trouble"???
No no no....
"Double double toil and trouble
Fire burn, cauldron bubble"
seriously.... That Macbeth ran with some tough witches. just saying

PENolan said...

dissed - I can't say anything because I can't be nice ;)

okjimm, it can be alarming to hear us cackle, and next week is Winter Solstice

mac said...

Wow, I will never understand my fellow man.

In June, I flew to your fair city to meet a blog buddy. It didn't turn out like I hoped . But that's OK, I don't give up easily.

For what it's worth, I think he is a fool :-)

Beach Bum said...

I think I mentioned to you once about the time I actually met an internet "friend." She lived in another part of South Carolina and our encounter went very well but distance and family ties eventually forced us to end the relationship.

PENolan said...

mac, thank you. You are officially my current hero. Next time you're in the city, we'll have to have lunch.

(ps: I busted out laughing at the clip)

Beach, I remember. And I remember that you were both the better for it.

That's the thing about being open to possibilities instead of finding yourself isolated by your own self-protective caution. People like us get hurt more often, but we're resilient and have lots more fun.

Lisa said...

Well, I think that explains that. I wondered. Ah well. I agree, it's best to know intentions up front.

I've met so many blog friends in real life now. I can honestly say that none of them disappointed me.

Life is risk, right? I think there's a reason why my mother once said to me that my motto seems to be "why not?"

PENolan said...

Actually, I've never been disappointed in real life by a blogging buddy either. The worst part is that of all the complaints levied against me by any former lover, High Maintenance was never on the list. Hot tempered and Expensive and were more typical. Now that I think about it, with the exception of That Guy Who Won't Talk to Me, every former lover with whom I cared to stay in contact is not a FORMER lover. The relationships remain steady despite time, distance and circumstance.

Frankly, I don't understand how a man who doesn't have much time for outside interests would be opposed to a wild weekend every 4 - 6 weeks, but I never met a man who would rather catch up on his reading than get laid either. There may be more to this situation than we know. Still, rejection sucks balls.

PENolan said...

dissed, I just read your comment again and have decided that we need to get arrested together one of these days.
Maybe we can become Veterans for Peace groupies . . . Now that's a project for the Menopausal Stoners Militia of Love

Jennifer said...

I am currently on a "get the thing off the internet as soon as possible" quest because you're right - written communication - while it tends to be more intense, and sometimes more candid - lacks critical communication cues, like vocal inflection.

So far, given the latest in-person experiences, I continue to be mystified by the criss-crossing of intentions and pre-determined assumptions (some of which, I admit, are mine). Maybe that's the biggest issue with online 'shopping.'

But I soldier on.

And yes, rejection sucks, but really pal - if all he was looking for was online dallying, then who's rejecting who?

PENolan said...

In this particular instance, I believe my expectations were shaped when he made an unsolicited comment about his preferences regarding female pubic hair. I just thought he was interested in real women. Evidently I should have paid more attention to the complete remark because he did say that his preferences were influenced by Playboy magazine back before Brazilians. No real women in Playboy. Not now; not ever.

It's a puzzlement.

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