Tuesday, September 25, 2007

He Didn’t Mean to Seduce Me

The other day I had a conversation with a friend of mine with whom I haven’t spoken in a long while. This man is not histrionic, but he is prone to very intense emotions. And while we’re not at a point right now in our relationship where we share our more intimate thoughts, there were times in the past when we did. Point is, although we relate platonically these days, he is quite capable of showing his feelings, and has bared his soul to me more than once in days of yore.

This particular day the subjects of conversation still had nothing to do with our private lives. Nevertheless, by the end I felt he had, in a very real sense, seduced me. In fact, this particular anecdote is an excellent example of what this blog so often purports: “sexual” things happen in life when sex is the furthest thing from our minds.

So, as my friend and I conversed, he spoke with remarkable passion. By that I mean, I got the sense that the issues at hand had been provoking him for some time: his frustration, dismay, and aggravation were not merely intellectual. You know how it is typically when you talk to a male: he may complain or remark negatively, but the associated emotions don’t show much. Well, with this fellow they were so plain I could feel them myself.

I am a rather empathetic person, and it’s quite likely my friend feeds off that very phenomenon: sensing I am catching his emotions, he feels urged to reveal them all the more. This may also be why he often “tests” me in conversation. It’s like listening to a very charismatic professor: he will make a point, then ask me a question, and if I reply with the answer he was looking for, something that shows I “get it,” he will respond with obvious pleasure and enthusiasm. Yes, I know it sounds like a scene out of Pavlov and his dogs, but you know what it’s like when you please a passionate authority figure--it’s kind of a thrill.

To make the scenario just that much more interesting, my friend took me to a private spot for this conversation, and stood near me, and spoke nearly in whispers. Now this was a practical consideration, for we didn’t want to be overheard. But the whole conspiratorial atmosphere was pretty intense. He made it plain on a couple of occasions that he was telling me secrets maybe one or two other people might know about his thoughts. And he did all this with great fervor, as if unburdening his soul, as if I were the only person who could truly understand.

Now, I relate to you the mood of this exchange, the style in which it was conducted, but I remind you that we spoke of nothing personal. It was not in the least sexual in nature, not even romantic, not even familial. Nevertheless, I walked away half in love with the guy. And can you blame me? If the script had been different, it would have been a sort of love scene. The elements were all there: the emotion, the body language, the setting, the tones of voice...and the unique personality of my friend.

He is, as I said, a passionate guy, but he is also the sort who is reserved and has impeccable manners. Most people would never guess him to be capable of the ardor, zeal, and fury the man has demonstrated privately to me. How is a woman to react when such strong emotion is revealed to her? You can’t help but feel you hold the key to the guy’s secret heart, and wonder why he has chosen to surrender it to you. He may be talking about a movie, the cable company, shirt shopping, whatever mundane topic, but his heart is on his sleeve so plainly you can see its accelerated beating.

I let him run on as long as he was inclined to. He’s a pretty good-looking guy, he has a very pleasant speaking voice, and he smelled good to boot. Not wishing to sound shallow, I will quickly add that he is intelligent and his points were very well taken; I was not faking my empathy at all. Our like minds only intensified the experience, in fact.

And so, I walked away from this completely platonic conversation feeling light-headed, giddy, confused and curiously pleased. I’ve had men quite pointedly flirt with me to far less effect. My guileless friend I’m sure had no such intention. Nevertheless, his eagerness to unveil his secret emotions to me so unabashedly boiled down to a sort of plea to be understood, to form a private club of two, even to exchange affection. And by the end I was truly of a mind to give him any of those things. See what I mean? Seduced.

I’d hate to have to deal with this if I were any younger or less experienced. As it is I can smile and go on with life, figuring someday we may talk like that again sometime--like in six months. Anyway I completely understand he didn’t mean to have that effect on me and would surely be shocked to learn he had.

To me, it’s amusing little events like this that make life worthwhile. And I’ll bet I could use it all in a story one day....

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