I had another laugh attack, and this time it was pretty embarrassing.
So, I don’t believe in having a “type,” but at the same time, I guess I sort of do have one. I like men who are traditionally masculine, even as I cannot stand a lot of traditionally masculine traits. Jimmy is a great “compromise.” He’s very emotionally developed, he has no qualms about crying in public and is very sweet and romantic, etc., but then he also loves watching and playing sports, he’s a guy’s guy, he has the capacity to get physically violent (he doesn’t, but he has the capacity to), and to be generally aggressive if the situation calls for it.
He also sometimes gets a little bit jealous.
I find all of these things arousing (and sometimes annoying, but at proper levels, mostly arousing).
With regard to the jealousy, it’s not anything out of hand, it’s just enough — just a hint.
For example, when I did the rock band program, it was me and four guys Jimmy didn’t know. For the first rehearsal, he insisted on coming along, so he could assess the guys. I still don’t fully understand what he hoped to accomplish — showing them he existed? Intimidating them? If the latter, his bright white sneakers, which made him look extra cuddly, were probably ill-advised. And as far as I could tell, all he did was say “hi” and shake their hands. I don’t know if some special “man code” thing occurred that conveyed to them something like: “Touch her and I will f*cking end you.” If it did, I couldn’t tell, it all seemed very polite to me.
There have been other times when I’ve met up alone with (male) friends of my sister’s who were in NYC for a day on business. He didn’t insist on coming along those times, but asked that I text him before and after, and grumbled a little that he didn’t love the idea of me going out to dinner with some random dude.
These are rare occurrences, and they’re pretty mild when they happen — but when they do happen, I sort of enjoy them. I guess it makes me feel desirable, or desired by him, or something, and it’s a little bit of a rush.
By and large, though, Jimmy rarely has any reason to have these feelings be awakened in him — because of how I am. Introverted, standoffish, not inclined to humor anyone (especially men), and generally closed to most people, and definitely most men. But, if I am in a situation where the situation itself calls for me to be open — like practicing music together in a band — and that situation involves connecting with men Jimmy doesn’t know — he sometimes gets a little bit jealous.
Side note: it’s sort of interesting when he doesn’t get jealous. For example, at work, I am surrounded by men all day long, and I have never experienced him as even the least bit concerned about that. I think because they’re all lawyers, and not at all my “type,” and he knows too that they aren’t especially attractive (either physically or in terms of personality)? Or maybe because he knows how am at work, and how there’s almost zero chance I would ever be flirty in that environment?
But I’m getting off track. The point is, in certain circumstances, Jimmy gets a little bit jealous.
So when Jerry and I started arranging our music rehearsals, just the two of us, he got a little bit jealous. He knew Jerry vaguely from having met him in connection with the rock band program, but he didn’t really KNOW him. I told him Jerry has a wife and daughter, whom Jimmy had met at one of our performances. Jerry is also a very smiley, positive guy — not at all my “type,” even as I appreciate those qualities in Jerry. I guess of all people, I would not expect Jerry to awaken feelings of jealousy in Jimmy (I don’t know if that sounds insulting to Jerry, I don’t mean it to be). But he did, and so I tried to comfort Jimmy by explaining that Jerry was just a nice, normal guy who had a family and a day job and wanted to play around with music just like me. There was nothing to be concerned about. I also told him that although we would be practicing at Jerry’s house, we wouldn’t be there alone — his wife and daughter would be there too.
So, after our first rehearsal, Jimmy grilled me when I got home: were the wife and daughter there? Because he was being kind of ridiculous (even as I sort of liked it), I played with him a little. I said, you know, I expected them to be, and he said they would be, but they weren’t — and you know, the lighting in the house was sort of dim, too, which was weird — and then he mentioned he had some music documentary he thought we should watch on the couch together…
I kept going on like that until Jimmy realized I was messing with him. From that point on, Jimmy lightened up about it (i.e., he realized he was being silly and got over it), and then it turned into a running joke — but an inside joke, between the two of us.
This is a long set-up, I know, but I’m finally getting to the punch line.
So, Saturday, I go to rehearsal at Jerry’s house, which is 40 minutes north of us. It’s a nice house, pretty big. Usually Jerry and I rehearse in the living room while his wife and daughter are cooking in the kitchen, or upstairs working on homework, etc. They periodically will check in on what we’re doing, or sit and listen to a song. During this rehearsal, about half-way through, they left to go grocery shopping.
So, for the first time, Jerry and I were alone together in the house.
There was no significance to this whatsoever, and it’s not something I normally would have noticed — but Jimmy’s jealousy, which had turned into our running inside joke, caused me to notice. And I chuckled to myself a little (inwardly, not out loud).
So far, so good, right? Nothing to write home about.
Well, Jerry and I have a set list of 5 songs — a lot of them are pop songs from the ’90s. One of them is “Kiss Me” by Six Pence None the Richer (maybe you are beginning to get an inkling of where this is going).
So Jerry and I are moving through the set list, starting off with “Dreams” (Fleetwood Mac, which is our strongest song presently), and then “Big Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” (KT Tunstall, a suggestion from Hadar to me from months ago that suddenly came back to me when we were choosing our songs) — and then we start looking at the other three, struggling over which one to work on in our last half hour or so. “Kiss Me” was almost there, we just needed to work on it a little more — the other two, we needed to work on a lot more. So we go back and forth about which one to spend our last half hour on, until finally I tell Jerry to just pick one.
So he pauses for a moment, then says (with confidence and conviction): “Kiss me.”
JUST before he says that, his wife and daughter walk through the front door, back from grocery shopping.
And I fucking lost it. Laugh attack, big time. I started laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe, tears were flowing down my cheeks, and I could not stop. Finally, I gained some (shaky) composure, trying to explain to Jerry that I had just gotten a random case of the giggles but we could go ahead and practice the song — only we couldn’t. I couldn’t get through the first verse (despite several tries) without breaking into the same over-the-top-can’t-breathe-tears-streaming-down laughter. Jerry was completely bewildered. He started frantically messing with the air conditioner, worried it must have gotten too hot inside the house and I was clearly descending into madness. I told him no, no, I just have the giggles, and for whatever reason that particular song is triggering me — we just need to move on to another song.
So we did, and I managed to keep it together. As soon as I got in my car to drive home, though, it started up again.
As I’ve said, I never used to laugh like that, and certainly not in public — it’s a direct result of the work.
My mom saw one of my laugh attacks too during her visit, and she was so confused. My sister had texted us a picture of a random old man in Santa Monica who is the spitting image of my father — down to the way he was sitting. We were out at brunch together when we got my sister’s text, and I lost it as we were walking to our table, crying laughing in front of everyone. My mom does not know me to ever lose composure like that in public, and certainly not because of laughing — she couldn’t stop mentioning to me afterwards how odd she found it.
Isn’t that crazy? That’s how powerful this work is. Yes, some changes are changes you have to be conscious of, and work on daily, through active choices, active reflection, active dialogue, more workshops, etc. But, at least for me, some changes are at this much deeper level — it’s like literally being rewired at your core. When I think about those changes, I really am in awe of the work, and what it can accomplish. There’s nothing like it, and as great as PSPLife is, it will never be that.
I don’t have any conclusion or moral to draw from all of this, it’s just something that happened that was sort of funny, and also a reminder of the power of the trainings we did.