I would never dine with another man alone. And sorry, ladies, I also would be livid if my husband dined with you alone. For whatever reason, no matter how businesslike the meeting.
Now before you start labeling me as a jealousy-ridden woman who doesn’t trust her husband to keep his pants on, hear me out. My husband, thankfully (and sometimes for reasons I can’t fathom), is crazy about me. Over our years of knowing each other, he has given me no reason to be jealous. Many others are not so fortunate. Still, regardless how head-over-heels in love with me he may be, I still wouldn’t be comfortable with him dining with another woman alone.
It’s because of what I have learned about human nature and about myself over the past years. It’s because of my innate personality that I would never dine with another man alone. I don’t even touch men other than my husband and immediate family (except in social situations when I am caught off guard and not doing so would cause embarrassment — another article, I suppose). I consciously avoid situations with men that would seem completely innocent to the outside eye: playing chamber music without my husband present, walking to and from locations with another man, even speaking about serious subjects with a man alone. And certainly, I would never find myself alone in a room with another man behind a closed door, even for a business meeting.
Well first of all, let’s just be clear that for me, this applies to all men above the age of puberty outside of certain professional and emergency situations. While the other man may be asexual, homosexual, or for whatever reason, never attracted to me, I still have to define what my boundaries are due to my own orientation. And while those boundaries may seem extreme, for someone like me, they make perfect sense.
Here are a few things that others will notice within a few seconds of meeting me:
I like people. I really, REALLY like people. People fascinate and awe me. I may not remember someone’s name after meeting them, but I will remember how their eyes danced, their hands twitched, and how that color blue on the wallpaper really highlighted their face. I watch others, taking in as much as I can. I’m told that I smile a lot. People make me happy, and I am not shy about letting them know it. I compliment, I joke, I ask questions. I laugh, and especially since I have hearing loss, I lean in. I won’t hide it the fact that I like you. I marvel in the sparks of the infinite that reside in each and every one of us. It amazes me each and every day, with all the people that I meet. I truly get “people high” (a phrase coined by my best friend) when I am around others that joy is palpable.
To put it bluntly, I flirt.
This is the reason why I avoid all intimate situations with men other than my husband. And it’s not because I don’t trust myself or that I get some kind of ego fulfillment from flirting and giving men the wrong idea. No, it’s because I know myself, and I know that I want to be instinctually friendly with EVERYONE. And regardless of how righteous and non-romantic a situation could be with another man, I don’t want to risk going there. Ever.
I wouldn’t want to have dinner alone with your husband and I wouldn’t want my husband having dinner alone with someone like me. Because while the risk of defined adultery is practically nonexistent from my standpoint, the likelihood of flirting because of my very nature is there. And in my books, the potential of a raised eyebrow, or a smile that lasts just a tad too long is simply not worth it.
Yes. To me, this stuff really matters.
Others may find such things meaningless and wonder why I would make a big deal about it, but let’s admit it: you can make anything as meaningful as you choose. Sex can be the holiest act in the world, and can also be completely deprived of meaning. How meaningful we choose to make our lives our choice and ours alone. That moment of flirting with a man, however fleeting, is not something that I want entering my psyche. Because it affects me and affects my marriage, no matter how small it may seem. It matters.
I choose to put boundaries around the things that I value most. Let me tell you that even without my religious convictions, I still would have taken on these stringencies because of my friendly nature. I have decided to own up to my personality and choose to use my friendliness in the right place, the right context, the right time.
When my husband is by my side, my love for people, even the opposite sex, turns into something wholesome and beautiful. My ‘flirting’ when put in the proper context, is a wonderful thing, because it is genuine and makes others feel loved. In the right moment, it can even be lifesaving. But like any other powerful gift, it needs to be understood and used responsibly. This is how I choose to use it.