Langston hit me on Wednesday to ask my professional opinion on what I thought was common knowledge. "Do women get nervous when they like a guy?" he wanted to know.
"Um, I guess," I wrote back. I don’t, but I’m sure there are women who do. In the moment, I couldn't remember the last time I'd cared enough to actually have butterflies. Mr. Ex, maybe? (I was so jumpy at a lunch in 2005 that I knocked a glass off the table while he was in the bathroom.) That's not to say I haven't genuinely liked anyone since his departure, but as a general habit, I don't really get nervous over dudes. Stressed? Perhaps, but never nervous. I mean I’m damn-near thirty. My antsy days over dudes are long behind me.
"Do guys at our age still get nervous ?" I typed. ( I forgot to ask what inspired his query. )
Before Langston could respond about that, he realized it was time for us to meet for lunch in the atrium to people-watch. By the time we got up, we'd moved on to different subject matter.
Him: What percentage of women out here do you think are not wearing panties?
Me: I'm not a dude. I’ve never thought about it.
The following evening, I bail on meeting up with friends to attend the Jose Cuervo event on the rooftop of the Hudson. I hadn't been to the gym in a week and I could see the difference. I do two miles for endurance, another grueling, incremental uphill run for a mile to build my legs, then crunches until it's way past painful. (Summer’s coming, dammit!) I look a wreck by the time I'm done. And by the time I get to the locker room only to discover I left my flip-flops at home and can't take a shower, I'm pissed. Just horrendous and angry and funky and sweaty too.
The only small problem was because we’d never had a big blow out that killed all my feelings and interest in him, I still liked him. And his continued respect and easy demeanor when we encountered each other, made my like morph into some weird crush. It got so bad that I turned into a thirteen- year- old around this dude, hanging on his every word and trying not to gaze like a puppy at him. I like to think myself articulate most days, around him, I could/can barely get words out. I advocate daily for women speaking in their big- girl voice, but around him I squeak. I say all that to say there is probably no other person in New York proper that I care about looking decent in front of except him-- and I looked a hot ass mess.
Someone grabs my shoulder, I look up to discover it’s Him…and I get butterflies. Stripped of my heels and the accompanying strut, my hair looking raggedy and being in sweats and blotting perspiration with a towel and exhausted and caught off guard, I was without any of my external accessories to boost my external swag when the internal is running low (and in that moment it was. I was deep in thought about my life’s direction the whole time I was running. Looking in the full-length mirror at the locker room Exit didn't help.) He of course, looked flawless, as usual. (F*cker. LOL!)
For the worst two minutes ever, we exchanged small talk outside the gym. He was effortlessly confident, as usual, and I managed to stumble over my words and give awkward responses to everything he said. At one woefully pitiful moment, I realized I was absentmindedly shielding half my face from him with my gym towel. I was literally trying to hide. When he walked off in one direction and I went the other, I was beyond embarrassed at my inability to get myself together. For the whole, long train ride back to Brooklyn, every time I replayed our encounter (basically the whole ride), I wanted to kick myself.
What the hell was that, I wondered. How can I be damn-near 30 and still getting nervous over a dude? Go figure. I guess I’m not as immune to butterflies as I thought.