I will admit, that at almost 50, I have (at times) unrealistic expectations on what a good relationship is between a man and a woman. I blame my grandparents and Nora Roberts.
Now, I’m not saying my grandparents were perfect and as is sometimes the case, my relationship with them was completely different than that of someone else’s. My cousins in Wisconsin had an entirely different view of Grandma than I grew up with and while I’m sorry that they didn’t get the good parts, I’m glad I did.
See, my Grandma was a lady. In every sense of the word. Now, she didn’t grow up rich, in fact she grew up as opposite of rich as one can be. She did not have an easy life but she grew up with class and by the time I came around, I got to see how Grandpa treated her. Always loving; always respectful, never in any way that would give a stranger the impression that he didn’t adore her. He loved to tease her and she would reply with a calm smile knowing she was being teased but wanted to let her husband have his fun. One of my most special memories of Grandma was one of our last. When she was in the nursing home, had completely lost any memories of me and most of her husband but he was teasing her about donuts appearing out of thin air and she just smiled her calm smile with a twinkle in her eye and I could just feel her knowing that her husband was there having some fun.
And she let him.
Grandma always had her fingernails painted; I never heard her raise her voice yet her boys always showed her love and respect; she almost always wore dresses (I remember she had a pair of pink polyester pants she liked to wear. I just thought it was pretty cool that my Grandma wore pink polyester pants), and never ever, ever never, EVER showed any impropriety in any way. That was Grandma.
Now, clearly, I’ve not adopted all of Grandma’s traits. I was only 21 when she died and was 17 when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so the majority of my memories of her were from my childhood. But even in my early teens I was in awe of her and I just felt deep down that I would never quite match up the goodness of my Grandma. Which made her all the more special.
However, I am like my Grandma in one major way and that is of being Old Fashioned (not the tasty beverage but I love those too) when it comes to my behavior around men, especially as a wife of one. Oh sure, there have been times in my past where I was a silly girl with not enough self esteem so I went searching for some in ways that did not honor myself or my values but eventually we all grow out of those (ya, I know not all of us do. Kinda the point of today.) But I believe that how I behave around other men and how women behave around, especially, married men says a lot as to how they wander through life.
See, I’m nearly ancient. I believe a woman, married or single, should not put herself (yes, often times this is out of her control, not the point of today) in a situation where “grey” area becomes questionable as to motives. In simple speak, don’t be flirty with married men. Ever. Don’t hang on them; don’t constantly touch them; don’t behave in a way that if someone were seeing how you’re behaving from across the room, they could wonder if you’re coming on to someone. I believe all of that IS in our control.
Do we give hugs to other men? Yup! Sometimes even kisses (Marcel of Strongman Champions League will give you three, he’s special.) But we don’t linger in these hugs; we don’t portray in any way inappropriate thoughts where the receiver of these “good touches” feels uncomfortable. Matt knows this. It may not even be physical contact. When I have an interaction on the computer with a man, Matt knows about it (someday I’ll tell you about one of the funniest PM interactions on the planet I had recently with our favorite 3 Floyds bartender. When asking if we can do a little something special for Matt’s birthday dinner we have coming up there this coming Friday, he thought I meant a threesome with HIM being Matt’s little something special. We lulzed pretty hard about that one. I don’t think Gregg the bartender was serious but even so, we lulzed. I also told Gregg that he’s not ready for Matt;)
I don’t share these things to cover my ass with Matt, I share these things to avoid any type of impropriety of having a private conversation with another man, no matter how innocent the conversation may be. I dunno, I just saw my Grandma walk through life where no one ever questioned her actions and thought, ya-I like that.
I’ve known women (and men for that matter) whom are extremely, physically affectionate. In almost all cases, that’s fine. Whatev, that’s how they want to walk through life. I think I am too but I try to respect boundaries and I do understand that those boundaries are fairly subjective. We had a situation earlier this Highland Games season where one woman, a very nice woman, made my husband feel uncomfortable with her affectionate behavior. Honestly, that blew me away.
See, if you know Matt you already know that he’s kind, and funny, and smart, and strong, and super hunky, and a good person. What you may not know is that in most cases when it comes to women, he’s completely oblivious. I’ve seen women rub up against him when I’ve stepped away from my seat out in public and it cracks me up because he doesn’t even know it’s happening. I’m pretty sure that it would take a woman shoving her bare tits in his face before he realizes he’s being flirted with, it’s hilarious. So when he told me of this situation where he had to hotstep it da fuck out of this women’s personal space (that, it sounds like, she had invaded in the first place) so no one would take a look and wonder if there’s something going on between the two of them, I took notice.
Now, I know that there was never any intention by this person to make him uncomfortable (okay, I don’t know. But I trust it to be so. She and I are no longer friendly but I do trust this) but, in my opinion, there are times where she was too physical with married men. Again, this is most likely on me and my being so old fashioned. In fact, another man brought her name up at a post Games dinner later in the year about how flirtatious she was being. Matt shared his story and I chimed in, “At times she’s too physical with married men, or at least, my married man.” Now, she was not there to defend herself and this is something I’d gladly tell her face to face. Because I don’t think she knows that there are times where she may cross a line. But that was my feeling.
Unfortunately, my feeling got shared from someone else sitting at that dinner but instead of saying, “OMG Juli’s such a bitch, she said you’re grabby on her hubs and even Matt said that he’s felt uncomfortable around you” the message got switched to, “Ya, so Juli said that you sleep around with all the Pro’s and chase an old flame.” Um, ya. Not so much but whatev. I feel bad that two of us got played by one stupid girl who never left the junior high and likes to hurt other people with her words. I feel bad that she made this other nice woman feel bad. I wish I would have just grabbed her and pulled her aside and said something like, “ya know, I don’t think you know you do this but sometimes you’re a bit grabby on the married or committed men of the world. It may be I’m too old fashioned but it may be that it can raise flags as to your intentions and I know you’re a good person and would never want that to be portrayed. Cool?” I wish I’d have done that.
Anways. I never saw my Grandma put her hands on another married man and while she did give hugs, it was always in plain sight of Grandpa. I never once saw my Grandpa question my Grandma’s behavior . This wasn’t blind trust, this was respect for each other and their relationship. I like that. Yes, it’s old fashioned, but it’s me. Obviously, sometimes my delivery of that belief gets me in trouble. But I stand by it. I live it. My husband knows it, and, by the way also lives it.
Sorry not sorry.
Appearances are a glimpse of the unseen.