Let Down Your Guard
We’ve all been hurt. We’ve all experienced that emotional pain that causes us to begin to put up walls around ourselves in order to protect us from ever getting hurt again. We feel it’s the only way to survive life’s curve balls. Especially when it comes to relationships. That one heart break that we’ve all been a part of, can cause anyone to build a wall so high that it could take years before anyone can ever begin to tear it down in order to see what’s on the other side. Which got me thinking…is there ever a good time to let our guard down?
After spending the Fourth of July weekend in New Jersey with J.C., I was back in the city on Monday morning and ready for the week ahead. The blog had a lot of hits last week (guess being away for two weeks had readers missing these dating adventures) and I was also getting the opportunity to see some friends that evening.
After work and the gym, I quickly made a dash downtown to see the movie about the legendary fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent. After the movie, we all decided to have a few cocktails to enjoy the warm summer evening and catch-up with each other. Even though I kept in touch with my friends over the long weekend in Jersey; they of course wanted every single detail about my time with J.C. As I explained the weekend to them, I discovered something in myself happening. I discovered that I was letting my guard down by saying things like, “He’s really nice” or “I’m excited to see where this ends up.” It was sentences that I haven’t said in a long time and while there are moments where I get nervous about saying it; it felt wonderful to say it and mean it.
Tuesday, I was going to be meeting some friends of mine after the dinner they were having in my neighborhood. As I waited for them and contemplating what to do for dinner. I bravely decided that I should take myself out to dinner. Just me. No friends. No date. No books and letting my guard down. Most of the time when we see a person alone at a restaurant, you think they are traveling for business or they are single and have eight cats patiently waiting back. However, it felt nice to order whatever I wanted because I was confident and didn’t care what others thought. It isn’t a habit that I want to pick-up, this eating alone business but it was nice to feel secure in doing so.
After my solo-meal, I had my friends meet me at the bar, Barrage, for a few drinks. Over drinks, they asked me if I would meet them on Thursday at the Gansevoort Hotel to listen to a potential DJ they were thinking of hiring for their upcoming wedding reception. As we were discussing our lives, I received a text message from J.C. He was telling me that was done working in the city and that if I was free; he could stop by and say hello and even stay the night. I was excited for a few reasons. One: I loved the spontaneity of him wanting to see me. Two: It was providing some time for him and my friends to get to know each other and Three: I wanted to see him.
He arrived at the bar, I ordered him a drink and we all began to converse with each other. Just a couple of drinks later and we all decided to head back home. Along the way walking back to my apartment, he held my hand and it felt natural. We stopped at a Duane Reade to pick-up some snacks for him, a contact case and contact solution. When we got back to my apartment, something overcame the both of us. The passion was definitely present and what was even more present was my level of letting my guard down. There was passion, there was trust and there was connection. I went to bed that night and as I looked on my night stand that showcased his cell phone and all his contact needs; I was alright with it when normally I would be having a slight panic attack of another person in my room. Something shifted that evening and for the better.
On Wednesday, I realized just how fast the week was flying by. I also realized that that evening was marking the last time I’d be seeing J.C. for a bit due to an out of town friend of his visiting him and plus I had several things on my calendar as well. I knew that our date that evening was going to be quick just based on when I got into Jersey City and when he got off of work that evening. He picked me up in his car and we had to drive over to a friend of his apartment so he could quickly cut his hair. I didn’t mind because that allowed me to meet another friend of his and actually see him at work. His friends were kind to me and as he was cutting his friend’s hair; I made conversation with the friend’s partner. Later on that evening, J.C. told me that I got a great review from his friends.
Once the appointment was over with, we got gas for his car and picked up dinner. As we had dinner in his apartment, we both were exhausted from being on the go all day long. We relaxed on the couch, watched a movie and cuddled. That night wasn’t about passion but rather about comfort. I was comfortable and I had the very distinct notion that he was just as comfortable.
The next morning as we were both getting ready for work, I wanted to give him a little gift I had picked up the day before during my lunch hour. It was nothing expensive at all but it was something I knew he wanted. He has this issue with low cut socks not fitting his rather big feet. Being the professional shopper that I am, I knew exactly where to go and so I picked a few pair up for him along with a little card. I gave him the bag with the socks & card and he was grateful. He drove me to the Path train, gave me a kiss and wished me a nice day. I was disappointed we wouldn’t be seeing each other for awhile but between the Fourth of July weekend, the Tuesday surprise and last night; I was glad that we both kept wanting to continue to see each other.
I arrived first at the Park Avenue South-Gansevoort Hotel and promptly ordered a glass of wine. My friends arrived not too long after I did and we listened to the DJ spin her magic and we all approved her for the wedding. The happy couple, introduced themselves to her and she graciously accepted the gig. After we toasted the success of the hiring of the DJ, we all waked over to the Chelsea area. They parted ways and another friend and I had a very entertaining meal at, Dallas BBQ. As I made my way home (I had to walk off that greasy meal), I was truly grateful for how the week was playing itself out. Work was great, J.C. was moving along and seeing my friends always makes me extremely fortunate.
2 p.m. on Friday afternoon and I had my bag and sunglasses on heading uptown on Madison Avenue. The plan was to meet my friend at the Whitney Museum to see the Jeff Koons exhibit and afterwards we would be onto our next adventure. The exhibit was entertaining (even the actor, James Franco was there). After the exhibit, we jumped on the subway downtown to meet friends for a few cocktails. After the cocktails, we stopped over to our friend’s apartment to kill some time before our next adventure. The next adventure was taking us to a place none of us really have ever experienced. We got a cab on Seventh Avenue, picked up another friend of ours and told the driver to take us to Orchard Street on the Lower East Side. Our next adventure was taking us to a burlesque show! We all sat in wonder as the pasties swung from women’s breast and men used props to cover up their special place. We laughed, we drank and we were certainly entertained. Afterwards, we wanted to bookend the cultural day by going to a dive bar called, The Boiler Room. It was official…we all were drunk. I shared a cab with a friend and was passed out by 3:30 a.m.
My alarm went off on a Saturday morning, never a good sign but I wanted to see my friends that morning. A shower, two Advil and a subway ride took me to Brooklyn. I was hanging out with my friend and her two year old boy that I adore so much. We played in the McCarren pool for about an hour or so before showering up and heading for brunch. During brunch, the little boy kept giving me hugs and kisses and it was the best feeling in the world. We took him to the park where he showed off his scooter skills and then I walked them home. We wore the poor little guy out for I got a report later on that he passed out the minute I left.
Once I got back into the city, I met some friends of mine at, The Spotted Pig, after that we decided to lay out along the piers and enjoy the sunshine. We all were exhausted from the night before and while we were on the list for a new club opening, all of us had zero energy to put on our dancing shoes. So, instead, we opted to go back my friend’s apartment in Midtown East and there we ate, listened to music and of course…talked about boys. I left their apartment around 3:30 and it was official…I was exhausted.
Yesterday, felt really foreign for me. I was sitting on my couch and watching T.V. and it’s something I rarely ever do. I could only sit still for about an hour before I decided to clean the apartment from top to bottom. My friends were starting to text me and invite me out to watch the World Cup. A part of me told myself I should just stay at home, save money and save some brain cells however, one arm twisting and I was out the door. I met them at the very crowded bar, Boxers, where we watched the game with anticipation. After the game, we walked over to this cute little wine bar, had one drink there and then decided we all were hungry. We went over to the Grand Sichuan for some delicious Chinese food. We had a blast and it was the perfect way to end the weekend spent with some amazing people. I walked myself home, enjoyed the humid summer evening and when I showered and got into bed, there was a message from J.C. telling me goodnight.
When we think about someone letting down their guard, we think of someone waving the white flag to surrender. The war is over and now their vulnerability is exposed for the world to see. There is no longer a reason to look for danger. We build our wall to protect us, to shield us from any danger that might fall upon us. And while, no one out there actively looks to get hurt maybe it isn’t such a bad thing to let our guards down every now again. After all, all is fair in love and war.
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