I got a great email today, which can be summed up as "Are these vibes? Am I just making it all up? How do make myself stop making stuff up?"
What was brilliant about this email was that it was evidence of a woman, one rather like me as I began to read the philosophy of Bernard Lonergan, S.J., slowly realizing that her thought processes might not be rooted in reality but in wishful thinking.
Is there any adventure more thrilling and important than the great hacking through mental fog towards understanding things and people as they really are and not just as we would like them to be? Is there any battler nobler than the great clash between Intellect and Will, in which Will, like an unruly dog, must be brought into proper submission and yet friendship with the Intellect?
Well, I suppose Virtue vs Sin is even more thrilling, important and noble, but personally I want season tickets to Intellect vs Will.
As far as I know, I am the only Lonerganian in the world to consistently apply Lonergan's thought to dating. You should see my Lonerganian paper on gas-lighting and emotional abuse. I got an A + from Robert M. Doran, SJ, people!!!
Anyway, my correspondent cited a number of things which made her believe in the existence of vibes between her and men around. They included glances and group invites and such other things that, frankly, suggest that my correspondent thinks men are as subtle as shy women.
In general, men are not as subtle as shy women. When a man is interested in a woman he is obvious about it, and even if the woman is oblivious (because, for example, she is busily measuring the vibes between her and some completely uninterested guy), he is still obvious to onlookers.
But the first thing we have all got to understand is that unless we are very pretty or very charismatic most men are not going to fall in love with us. You know your friend, the one that multiple guys are always in love with? Most of us are not like her. No. Most of us are The Friend of Beautiful. But that is okay because there are something like 3 billion men in the world, and even if we appeal only to 0.001% of them, that is still 3 million men knocking themselves out to bring us a coffee.
(Jeepers! Can that be right? Never believe any number I put up without testing it, girls, because I have dyslexia of the number, I really do.)
So do not be down at heart about being The Friend. Be happy and chipper and agree with Single male friends when they growl that picking up women "is all a numbers game." God has a plan, of course, but I don't see any harm in going to respectable places where you may meet new people. Look at me, exposing my sunny personality every day to hundreds of people on the internet. (Um, not that married I am looking.)
HOWEVER when you meet these new people you must think in terms of friendship, not of courtship, because there is a strong possibility that none of them will belong to the Golden Three Million and you do not want to make an ass of yourself.
If some guy belongs to the Golden Three Million, he will eventually try to bring this to your attention. There is no need for you to sift through his every word and glance. He will do the following:
He will consistently come up to you at gatherings and start conversations.
He will not go away at once when another guy comes up to speak to you. He will linger about. He may look faintly annoyed or distressed that you are speaking to another guy.
He will give you things. Not big things, I hope, but small things that cost very little money, e.g. his jacket because you look cold, his pen because you might need it, a coffee from the coffee table, a glass of wine from the buffet table.
He will ask for your phone number. He will use it.
He might blush. I would love to write that only good men can blush for no discernable reason (lots of men good and bad go red with anger), but I don't know if this is true. But at any rate, it is a sign of sincere interest.
He will get you alone in some sneaky way. He might ask you out to something. If it is a group thing, he will plot in advance how to get you alone eventually.
He will offer to walk you all the way home, without you asking, before sunset. After sunset, he might just be a nice, gentlemanly man you can be proud to know, but he is not necessarily that into you.
He will do at least three of these things. Please don't assume Scooter is in love with you just because he rushes up to you at every party and sticks to you like glue. Scooter might just be too cowardly to talk to anyone else.
You can seriously mess up your own ability to recognize one of the Golden Three Million if you take matters into your own hands and go after men who have not shown three of the above behaviours.
Again apologies for comparing men to dogs (although I very much like dogs), especially after comparing the Will to dogs, but if you set chicken before a dog who prefers beef, he will eat the chicken anyway because it is there. But when he smells beef in the vicinity he will rush off towards it instead of eating chicken again.
Oh dear. That didn't sound very elegant. But you know what I mean. Don't go after a member of someone else's Golden Three Million or you will be sorry.
Anyway, trust in God and trust in your own attractiveness to at least three million men worldwide.* Don't get impatient and make stuff up. As some other lady, one richer than I (I hope), said "You can't hurry love. You just have to wait." Put your energies into work, school, community service, hobbies and having fun with friends. Be open to meeting new people, but don't hunt them down. And, especially, make sure your Will is in the keeping of your Intellect, not the other way around.
*Don't think they are all abroad, however, as actually most men apparently are attracted to women of their own (or their mother's) ethnic group or race and this increases as they get older, as an over-40 Chinese guy made sure to tell me the one time we went to a restaurant together.