This new group of acquaintances was an enthusiastic, hard-working bunch, so things went along very well. I quickly hit it off with two people in particular – we’ll call them Dorothy and Eileen. In fact, I began to feel particularly attracted to Eileen. While Eileen may not have picked up on this, it seemed that Dorothy did, and she decided to give me some advice.
Dorothy and Eileen had gone to school together, and while they were certainly friends, they were also very different people. Dorothy took me aside one day and said, “Look, I know you’re attracted to Eileen, but there’s something you should know about her… She likes men.” Dorothy said this haltingly, as if she hadn’t quite put her thoughts into words before blurting them out.
Dorothy’s declaration confused me, and I responded, “Well, that’s the kind of woman I was hoping for – the kind that likes men.”
Dorothy sighed. “No, I mean she likes… LOTS of men.” I began to catch on. I thanked Dorothy for the advice and began paying closer attention to Eileen’s behavior. As I got to know her better, the truth of Dorothy’s statement became apparent.
Now let me be clear about this: I imposed no moral judgment onto Eileen or onto anyone else in this matter. She was of course free to date whomever she wished, and as many people as she wished, and it wouldn’t affect how I felt about her. But it would affect my decisions and actions. The simple fact was that I’ve never had any desire to view dating as a group competition, or even a group activity. I want my dating life to be about a relationship between two people. In my view, it’s hard enough to sort out a solid relationship between two people; the prospect of being part of a dating tree held no appeal for me. Clearly, many people take a much more open view to dating scenarios than I do, and that’s fine – vive la différence! I’m not prescribing this for anyone else – you’ve got to find the approach that works for you. Finally, in the spirit of full disclosure, I think my main reason for telling this story was simply to pass along the moment when Dorothy and I had the exchange about Eileen liking men. It belongs in a script somewhere, and if anyone would like to appropriate the line, you have my permission.