"you have nice shoulders and great arms." I get that a lot. From married women, no less. You'd think I'd enjoy it, but I don't. I mean, I do, but . Well, these women are married, after all. And I'm single.
The problem isn't that I'm unattractive. I think I've got a nice face, and I take great pride in my upper body. I'm blond and blue-eyed, too (really!).
Women want to be my friend. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I have no trouble establishing and maintaining close, friendly connections. But why won't young women lust after me? I know women are attracted to my intellect and my sensitivity. But I want to know that they lust after my body.
The problem is, I'm not a sex object. People often ask me if I work out, but not before they ask if I'm OK. Because of a disability, I fall a lot. And every time I fall I do a push-up to get back on my feet. After years of kissing concrete, I have an upper body women swoon over.
But that's where the head games start. It takes a good deal of physical effort on my part to get around. I don't own a car (although I can drive one), so I use transit. I end up arriving at social events or even from doing errands sweating and soaking wet, feeling sticky and stinky and ugly, even if I know I'm not. It's hard to feel attractive when you look like you've just run the four-minute mile even though you've only gone to the corner store and back. Changing into a clean shirt and drying off in a bathroom is sometimes an option, but not always. As if I weren't self-conscious enough, I walk with a limp, too.
I worry how I look to others on the street. I'm different - that much is visible right away. My gait is such that my arms swing out from my sides, my hips roll, and I have to be constantly (if not consciously) aware of where I'm planting my feet. I often have a look of concentration on my face that's unconducive to sharing a smiling glance with the long-haired, svelte woman with gorgeous eyes walking in the other direction.
I'm so focused on the impact my disability has on my mobility at that moment that I find it hard to figure out how to be sexy.
Sit me down for coffee or lunch and I'm charming. I'll be genuinely curious about a woman and want to get to know her - so much the better (and more fun) if we have things in common. And then, three dates in, I realize I have yet another good friend on my hands. She's already given me her phone number, e-mail address and maybe even a good hug, entirely of her own volition.
So I'm thinking, "All right! Wow, this is great! Someone's attracted to me and we've connected. Maybe this could go somewhere."
Then she tells me about her boyfriend. Which is fine. It happens that way sometimes. And if it weren't a pattern in my life, I'd be cool with it.
But it is a pattern, and I'm hot and bothered by it. I already have friends. I want a (potential) lover, someone who's gonna say to herself, "This guy's happening and he's hunky. I'm gonna flirt with him and see where it goes."
So I have some work to do. I need to get out of the house every day, learn how to flirt more ferociously and throw sexy signals as I throw my body into the rest of life. I need to get out and be with groups of people, not stuck behind a keyboard all day. And now I have homework: a female friend gave me an assignment the other day. "Go flirt with 10 women this week," she said. "You don't even have to say anything. Make eye contact. Smile that 100-megawatt smile of yours. Watch how women react to you. Be yourself."
Well, OK. Here I go. Wish me better luck this time.