Tuesday, April 08, 2008

American Guys

For the past two days, I have been putting my academic talk together for the interview I am giving for the "big job" this week. Of course, as I sit here clipping away, trying to sound erudite about social movements and the major ideological political shifts in the Middle East in the past 30 years and why, why, why, why all of it is so pressingly important to me (all the way down to my tips of my toes, the top of my nose and etcetera....clearly.)...the front of my mind is whirring away, while the back of my mind keeps thinking...

"Hmmm...maybe I should consider the idea of dating an American guy again."

Clearly, I have no specific American guy in mind. Clearly, this is just an object of fascination for me, simply because it just happens that the last long(ish) term relationship I had with an American male was...gosh...3 years ago. And prior to that? Yep, 3 years. Maybe my 3 year rotation cycle is up for American guys? (Yes, I actually think this to myself as my fingers keep typing at speed about the rise of Islamist political parties and the impact this has state making in Palestine.)

"Hmmmm. The American male. So monolithic...so white and burdened by their privilege and popped collar culture...so mass-produced by the self-help generation of our parents...and yet the rare few can be so tender, kind, inspiring...and real..."

That said, in my entire dating history, I have only seriously dated 2 American male folks. (Not much of sample, I know.) For what it's worth, both were very good male people. Both were fair and blond with blue eyes, which is also a serious deviation for me. (Even at the time, I knew that I was experimenting.) Both had limited international travel experience at the time and only spoke one language between them.

American Male #1 was a former U.S. Marine, very athletic and so very All-American in a number of genteel, Southern American ways. He was particular adroit at opening doors and walking on the proper side of the street with me. He was incredibly masculine, which I found incredibly satisfying, given that it is my first preference to be the woman in the hyper-heterosexual relationships to which I feel myself drawn. He also very social and had excellent manners, which meant that I could take him must about anywhere. This, and he was impeccably well-groomed without being high-maintenance. Although we weren't ever really "in love", we had a very healthy connection, and we remain good friends. He still shows me a great time whenever I come to town, which makes me forgive him (just a little bit) for being a life-long Republican...

American Male #2 was a advanced degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. All things considered, he wasn't my type from the start, but he was smart and I was drawn to him for being a few years older than me. He was also a licensed massage therapist, which I thought was really cool. I liked the shoulder rubs he gave me after class, during which time he told me what a great coordination and athleticism I had, which is really the only reason why I gave it shot with him. Otherwise, he had a very weird, somewhat demanding personality, which bordered on anti-social. I rather embraced his very illiberal brand of liberalism. Even when he told me that he believed in human compassion in one breath, but then went on to say that he had a difficult time "relating to people without Master's degrees". Even at the time, I knew this was silly, but I still went to great lengths to accept his veganism, which, by today's standards, I can honestly say would never make it to the first date, much less into my apartment. Nevertheless, he did teach me a thing or two about massage and cooking without harming animals.

"Hmm. American mens...there is just such a jumble of them out there...you really never know what you're going to get. Where the heck am I going meet one that is intelligent and kind without being a popped collar push over?"

Given my present location (in America), the question seems rather oxymoronic, doesn't it? While I haven't necessarily gone out of my way not to date American men, it certainly appears from my track record that I must not find most American men engaging enough to date. The other side of the coin is the obvious possibility that most American men have no idea what to do with me. For starters, I am not particularly good at any of the country club sports. I don't look good in khaki. I do not lounge. I do not have a rich father. I have an aversion to lawyers and dating them because I don't like to argue. I am direct without ever being not bitchy. I particularly don't like conflict, nor do I like to get into extended conversations about my "feelings". I avoid all guys who can't hold up their end of the conversation with me, which means that the one's who haven't traveled or read for pleasure or know anything about culture, history or life or have ever had an original thought in general...unfortunately don't get very far with me. I am not looking to get married, and yet I am ethnic, really ethnic, and this confuses American men very, very deeply. I tend to spoil the ones that I love, a kindness that American men always manage to confuse with weakness. I have hips. I like food. I am driven by my passions and creativity. I do not handle the stresses of the leisure class well, and therefore, I do not lounge. I also talk with my hands and regularly make friends with strangers. But, I'm more than this, so much more than this...and I realize that this is hard to take...

"Hmmm....Maybe this summer...who knows?...Maybe I should just be open to what comes along and not ask to see his passport straight away..."

But for now, back to the work. G-d, it's hard work. I am torn between whether I actually take myself too seriously or simply not seriously enough.


Either way, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. I will be in Washington, DC this weekend with all of my beloved American friends, some of whom are very good at country club activities. Come what may with the job stress of this week, I am looking forward to putting everything behind me and having some serious fun. (Oh, and non-American men need not apply.)



I-66 said...


I am American but clearly not white. So where do I stand in all of this? :)

Can't wait to see you!

Guy from the Bus said...

Darling, if you're in America, date an American. By all means, have your fun.

But the next time you're in France...

Jessica said...

If I may say my piece - there is not a man in the world, American or otherwise, who will EVER be worthy...

Prepare for what Jessica and Namaste call "an easy night out for just dinner" on Friday, ending no earlier than either 12 cocktails in, or 4am. Looking wildly forward to it.

Mujer Morena said...

"Hmmmm. The American male. So monolithic...so white and burdened by their privilege and popped collar culture...so mass-produced by the self-help generation of our parents..."....Ha! I love it! So true!

Very well put.
As I have been struggling with the same dilemma for quite some time, I've finally come to the conclusion that you just have to find a good mix - that American guy who has the ethnic "flavor." I know they exist; I've seen them. I just haven't been fortunate enough to catch one yet. They have a tendency to be paired up with the female version of the "popped-collar pushover."

Kim Ayres said...

Face it, what you're really looking for is El Guapo and haven't really felt satisfied since he stopped blogging :)

Namaste said...

Ah, Kim, you have no idea how much this makes me laugh. How did you know that I really have a thing for Guatamalans and mustaches?

66...one word: player!

Mujer--I agree--the female version is equally problematic. For sure.

Bus Guy...I thought you were Swiss?

Jess...it's on. I can already feel the rumble. :)