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January 21, 2006

I'm Cute

The two of us were talking, our heads close and turned sideways, resting against the high cushioned back of the sofa. She placed her hand on my knee, and while I looked at it, said, "You're so cute!"

"I'm sorry, what did you say?" I responded, making eye contact with her again.

"I think that you're really cute." She repeated.

"Oh ... thanks." I said, "You are a real seeker, aren't you? You're like me."

A moment later, her husband returned from the bathroom. He sat down on the other end of the sofa.

Twenty minutes earlier, I had come to sit by the inglenook fireplace and enjoy a glass of St. Francis Zinfandel. I had sat on one of the two large sofas and a conversation had struck up between me and this couple from Los Angeles. She was a film actress and he, a movie producer. We had talked about the film industry, about the many spiritual paths that she was exploring, and about the turbulence in my life.

I looked over at the husband and said, "Hey, I need to have dinner, and I don't have anyone to eat with. Do you mind if I eat with you guys? ... Unless, I guess, you were planning on having a romantic dinner together."

"Sure." He said, excitedly, "No, we'd love to have dinner with you." They both seemed very keen.

"Actually," I said. "I just realized that I might be having dinner with another woman. I need to check with her first. But if I'm not having dinner with her, I'd like to eat with you guys. I'm going to have my hundred minute Swedish massage in ten minutes, so I'd be ready at eight, but let me check with this woman first."

"Yeah, right, of course. We were planning on going to this Italian place in town. It sounds like ..." He started.

"I think that we should ..." She started talking, in friendly manner, half way through his sentence, and then stopped. He stopped also. She paused for a moment, her jaw tensing, and then glaring straight ahead, she said, "Maybe we shouldn't go to dinner with him, he'll probably be fucking that girl, anyway!" After a brief pause, she continued: "Or maybe the two of you can go to dinner together and then you can fuck each other!"

After a tense pause, he said, "Ooh, I'm in trouble." She turned her body forty-five degrees away from me, so that she was facing more toward her husband.

Feeling a little embarrassed and thinking that she was feeling angry that he had cut her off mid-sentence, I said: "You're angry aren't you? It's okay to be angry, I understand." She didn't respond to this.

I felt urgency: I needed to get to my massage, and I needed to resolve things quickly. So I got up from the sofa and walked over to the other side of the living room, "Hi Jean!" I said, inwardly chuckling, "Hi Duncan!" she responded. "Hey, are you available later tonight? Would you like to have dinner with me or perhaps a drink?" I asked her. I had told Jean two days previously that I thought that she was beautiful.

"Oh, you don't understand. I can't. I have a boyfriend ... I'm really sorry." She frowned and tilted her head slightly as she said that she was sorry. It was clear that she was truly regretful.

"Um, okay. Hmm, never mind ... I'll see you later then." I said as I stepped away, feeling some pain.

I returned quickly to the others. As I approached, I said to the husband, who was looking at me, "I really want to go to dinner with you guys, I feel that it's really important." He started agreeing with me and as I maneuvered to sit next to his wife, I said to her "You seem embarrassed; I can understand that, it's okay." As I sat, trying to talk with him, she turned her back towards me, so that her whole back was blocking the view of him. From my slouched position, I stretched my neck to see over her shoulder, and said "So that other woman can't go to dinner with me, so I'd like to go with you guys. I really want to talk with you about this; I think it's important. You've got my room number, leave me a message. My massage finishes at eight." He nodded in agreement and I said goodbye and rushed off to the massage.

On the way to the massage, I felt fearful. What was I getting myself into? I thought. Are they into group sex or something? I don't think that I would really like to have sex with a man. And I wasn't into her either. But as I walked to the spa, I felt a peace that told me that everything would be okay, that I would be taken care of.

When I returned to my room at eight-twenty, I found a message from the husband: "You know ... I spoke out of turn about dinner. We've decided that we'd like to have dinner on our own. But we'll see you around at breakfast maybe, or some other time." I didn't see them again.

I went back the fireplace and had dinner while talking with the Grouch Potato, and I'll tell that story another time.

This is a true story, except that the identities of the characters have been obscured.

I learned a lot about this interaction by thinking about it afterwards. At the time, I didn't realize consciously that she was coming on to me, I just thought that she was being friendly; of course I can't know for sure, but it's seems pretty likely. I thought at the time that her outburst was because their words had clashed, and I thought that she was angry. In retrospect, I can see that she may have felt fear when I asked if they wanted to go to dinner with me. Then, when I said that I needed to check with the other woman first, maybe she felt jealousy. Finally, at the time of the outburst, it may have actually been anger: she may have felt that her husband was arranging dinner with me, without consulting her, and without considering all those feelings inside of her.

I don't know for sure why I was so keen to pursue this interaction. I like to think that I wanted to help them, to facilitate them; I don't like to leave things in that state. Perhaps I just like experiencing crazy stuff, going to the boundaries of experience and seeing where that leads me.

"So fascinating Duncan! ... I can completely imagine you, the room, the couch, the conversations. Duncan, I guess I keep repeating myself when I say what a marvelous writer you are. Virginia Woolf expresses so clearly in that essay [How One Should Read A Book] the monumental challenge it is to describe in words anything! And you do it. Delicious." — Barbara


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