Playing the Part

A revelation came to me at the most unsuspecting time. During one of the most mundane things I do in my structured and routine lifestyle, while reading my redeye on my daily commute home from the city. A seemingly average man sat next to me on the train and asked if this was the train to Lemont. I assured him it was and went back to my business. He was of acceptable appearance in my opinion, and honestly resembled most of my ex's, trouble I know, so I continued with my reading and kept my head phones on. Just as I suspected before our stop he struck up a conversation that lead to an invitation of a drink at one of the locals a block from the train station.

As we walked he told me his story, he was traveling from Sacramento to Boston to visit his friends and family and on the way back fell into some trouble that lead him to an extended stay in Chicago's roughest neighborhoods, and seediest areas. I was intrigued by his adventure and the after work cocktail turned into dinner. Being that I am grounded in reality, I knew that after this evening I would never see this provocative character again. This never at one time through out the evening struck me as distressing. I enjoyed his company and his opinions on life, his experiences where fascinating.

Another unconventional portion of my evening was that I never worried about my appearance or how I conducted myself. I was more myself than I could remember being around any man in my past. It wasn't that I was under the impression that this was purely on the friendship tip, I knew the second he smiled at me on the train that he was interested. It was the fact that I knew this was a Chance meeting of two souls just passing through that freed me from the pressure and pretences of traditional dating. Our time together was brief and enjoyable, and a pleasant memory I will always have of the traveling man who picked me up on my mundane commute home from work on a random Thursday evening in late May.

This chance encounter also made me think about dating in it self. Why is their so much pressure and drama involved? Why do we feel we need be and act a certain way to continue seeing some one? Men and woman alike carry on these stressful and tiring facades during the first stages of courtship. Why is that? Eventually our authentic self has to come out, or we just break up with out that revelation and start over. Are we afraid of our true self? Do we feel inadequate and unworthy of being who we really are? Why would we want to attract a man interested in something we are pretending to be? How disappointing is it to find out that the man we adored was simply a representation of his true self? A slick salesman of a company we really didn't want to make any business deals with.

Withholding information until a certain amount of time has passed is one thing. You defiantly don't want to share your past relationship scars on the first few dates, and you probably want to leave out most of your annoying secret single behavior until your stocks have matured. So many of us take it to the next level by covering up our true selves or in some cases completely masking our individuality for another's approval, what is the point? I have learned through experience that the physical flaws are usually the last thing most men are concerned with when the moment of unveiling occurs. For the most part, in my vast experience, men are too wrapped in the moment to be concentrating on any of your "problem areas". So generally it is our personalities and mannerisms that we are most avidly concerned with. If the true goal of dating is to land a life-time role, or maybe even just a mini-series, why play a role other than ourselves?

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