What is Attraction

This post is going to be about attraction, and about how it is really confusing for me. But first, can we all please just agree with the following statements?

  • Texting with your best friends is the best thing ever.
  • Texting with someone you are or might be interested in is the worst thing ever.

Attraction is confusing enough as it is without adding text messages to the mix.  You can say nothing for as long as you please (even B.J. Novak agrees).

If I’m flirtatiously texting you, I’m ambivalent about whether I’m attracted to you.

If I’m all business, “I’m at insert-name-of-bar-here, are you out?” then I am trying to make things happen.

If I am using a lot of words to say very little, I’m not really sure what I want.

If I tell you “that was lovely,” I mean that whatever we did was lovely. And I want it to happen again.

What is attraction anyway? Or rather, what is mutual attraction? I’ve trained myself to deny, deny, deny. Nothing good ever comes of it. For elaboration see I’m Good at Platonic.

Legit mutual attraction (versus, say, business carding) has played out in the course of a single night exactly once. No wait… it has happened twice. No… once and a half. Maybe my brain is too big. Maybe I don’t drink enough. Maybe I’m wearing the wrong shirts.

Tonight I am interested. Tonight your hair is long. Tonight your shoulder is serving me your scent. Tonight your eyes are locking. Tonight I know what you want.

Tonight I am ambivalent. You are ordering me too many drinks. You won’t stop talking. I keep drinking these drinks. I have nothing to say. You’re looking for my hip. I’m looking for your arm. It’s late and there are too many people. Tonight I don’t know what you’re looking for and I don’t know about me.

Tonight rarely happens in a night. Tonight happens at 5am when the sun is coming up on this freezing city block. I am hanging on your arm and you’re talking to keep me awake. I keep losing my left shoe. We sit on a stoop 15 blocks from where I live. You’re so warm, I tuck under your arm. Tonight you tell me how you felt when I started dating him. Tonight you tell me how you feel. Tonight happens after a year of living in the same building. You’ll drop out and I will barely see you again before you leave. In a year I’ll write you a three page letter and send it to Bermuda. You’ll type me an email back and lose it before the last sentence. You won’t be able to re-create it, you’re not a writer. You’ll send me a summary. A year later you’ll have died from a blood clot. I will never know what you really meant to say.

Tonight will happen in a night. Tonight I send you a text from across the bar. I see your brow furrow and out of the corner of my eye I pretend not to see you try to catch my glance. We leave the bar with all our friends like we’re in on the plan. We go to my house instead. Things take shape and its stranger than I thought it would be. There are lines we don’t cross, moments we avoid, looks we keep to ourselves, words we breathe instead of say. We won’t talk about this for weeks until the night you get drunk and send a text you shouldn’t. We won’t see each other for months. You will rinse-repeat-rinse-repeat-rinse-repeat for months, for seasons, a year. Tonight you play the slow burn. Tonight you will try to stop me from going home with someone else you didn’t see coming. It will not work. I am leaving town and I have plan. Tonight will not happen again.

Tonight will not happen for two years. We will dance to trumpets and drums and shake, shake, shake. You will walk me home and try to kiss me at 2am on the corner next to a homeless person sleeping on a bus bench. Tonight does not happen. In a year I will see you at a bar and we will be surprisingly happy to see each other. I will leave to rescue my friend from a house party and we won’t find her car until the next morning. I will see you again in a month when I will invite you to a show. Between the bar and the venue you lose a button. Nothing I say or do brings you back. In a month from now I will invite you to meet me out. I am leaving in a month so I will be forward, forward, forward. I will be forward from the bar to your doorstep. I will be forward from your doorstep to your living room. I will admire your graphic novels and ask to see your room. I am forward, forward, forward but tonight does not happen. Half a year later I will visit our shared city. Tonight you are easy. Tonight you are clear. Tonight you hold my eyes. Tonight bluegrass plays in my car and I am moved. Tonight is lovely. Tonight is so lovely. I will ruin it all in three moons because my heart is closed, because I can, because I must. I don’t know if tonight will happen. I don’t know what I want.

Tonight could happen in a month. Tonight should have happened seven years ago. Tonight should have happened no years ago.

What is attraction? Who is in charge here? What is tonight?