Thursday, December 14, 2006

Plan C

Over the years, I have met person after person who has had not only a plan for his or her life but also a Plan B. But sometimes I think that acknowledging a backup plan is giving up on the original. Knowing that there is “something to fall back on” can cause you to put minimal effort into your dream.

At the beginning of my college career, I was a music major. My plan was to someday be on Broadway. But my dad encouraged me to think realistically and have a back up plan, just in case that music career didn’t work out. Well, the music career didn’t work out. In fact, I majored in music for less than a month of my college career because the thought that I wouldn’t make it terrified me. Preparing for the worst convinced me that I wasn’t good enough and I decided to pursue a different career. Just thinking about how easily I let my dream die makes me sick to my stomach.

Please don’t think I blame my dad. Because, I don’t. I am a product of MY choices. And I can appreciate the sound voice of reason that my dad provided in a difficult and awkward time of life. He was looking out for me but it was still up to me to decide which way I would go.

As the “good enough” attitude trickled into every crack and crevice of my life, I found myself taking “good enough” care of myself and dating guys who were “good enough.” Then, one day, I thought “OH MY GOD, what if I don’t find the man of my dreams in the midst of the ‘good enoughs?’ I better have a back up plan!” At 28, I met my back up plan.

He was a friend of a guy I was dating and I didn’t realize at first that he would my Plan B. I mean, I was dating his friend! But when that “good enough” relationship eventually fizzled out after a year of painful tribulation, we became friends. Good friends. He was far from reliable but he was pretty damn hot. Heads turned when he walked in a room. Everyone knew him. And I loved that. And eventually, I loved him.

For six years, we maintained a Plan B relationship. There was not a lot of effort on either of our parts. It was never a full time gig. In fact, it was a relationship of convenience. Whenever it worked for both of us, it worked. There were no family functions to attend, no stressing out over Christmas gifts, no answering to one another about “where you were last night.” It was nearly ideal. The long talks, the dinners, the making out, the stretches of seeing each other or talking on the phone 8 days in a row sustained us. Until my 34th birthday… (Every guy reading this saw that coming.)

One day, I sat down next to him and I told him that more than anything in life I really want to get married and have babies. He chuckled. And I told him that I could honestly do without the big wedding and even the ring but that I could not live without the babies. I really want kids. And then he said… he had done the marriage thing and he wasn’t good at it and he would never do it again. He said he never wanted to see the hurt on my face if he disappointed me the way he had his ex-wife.

That was the last day we sat down to talk. Fourteen months later, as I walked through the concourse at the ballpark, I saw him. From afar, I could see him looking me in the eye. He didn’t smile. In fact, he didn’t even really acknowledge me, except for the secret, silent glance. And then… he walked past me with his new wife in tow.

Suddenly I felt my broken heart. I cried. I wailed. I wept. For an entire day… My heart still aches.

So it’s on to Plan C. The Nothing Less than I Desire and Nothing Less than I Deserve Plan. No more “good enough.” Just good.

It’s Not Going Anywhere

If I haven’t written about this before, I have been remiss. And if I have? Well, it’s worth writing about again.

The distinction between the male and female anatomy is obvious to most people by the time they are two or three years old. My four-year-old nephew is very aware of breasts, for example. I believe his fourth or fifth word was “boobs” and he said it all the time once he realized that it drew a big laugh from everyone around him. Just the other day, as my mom hand-washed her bras and hung them over the laundry room sink to dry, my nephew watched patiently. Then he said, “Meemo, whose bras are those?” My mom replied, “They’re mine.” And my nephew stated simply, “I like the way you hang them up like that.” He’s very aware of breasts and the holsters that carry them. He’s a man in the making.

Women are as aware of their breasts as men are. We know they are there. They have grown up with us. And we know that, barring surgery, they aren’t going away. So, we don’t often feel the need to hold onto them.

Many men, on the other hand, have a preoccupation with their distinctive anatomical protrusions, which causes them to hold onto them constantly. On a daily basis, I come across a man holding his crotch. What reasons could one have to hold his crotch? Perhaps he is rushing to the bathroom because he has to pee really badly… Or maybe he just got kicked where it counts… Or could it be that he is afraid that on the day he doesn’t hold it, it will just disappear into thin air or it will drop off while he’s walking? Or maybe he will wake up and forget where he put it!

Whatever the reason, men can rest assured that it’s NOT going anywhere. I have polled many men who have had their private parts for MANY years and have never lost or misplaced them. Now, allowing those parts to make decisions on your behalf happens everyday. But that’s a topic for another time.