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what happens when you go to bed with gilda
...and wake up with me?
by maigen thomas (@Maigen)

Sometimes, I feel as if I get more than my share of married or otherwise taken men flirting with me. It’s not just idle flirtatiousness that is publicly visible and harmless. It’s a hushed conversation, quietly discussing when the possibility of getting away from their wives might happen and wanting to meet me ‘for a drink’. It’s changing the subject when someone else comes within hearing range.

When I’m engaged in these conversations, I feel like I have my poker face on. I’m smiling, which allows the other person to feel like they’re engaging me. My eyes, though, are still and dead. Not only am I not engaged, my mind is racing. I’m wondering just how their wife would feel if she knew. I’m wondering how far this person is going to take the conversation. I am, essentially, letting them take enough rope and then walking away before I know whether or not they hang themselves with it.

Part of me likes being a fantasy, though. Like most people, I have an attention seeking personality, so it’s natural to enjoy that kind of interest. We all seek attention, whether it’s praise that we’re doing a good job or notoriety for consistently failing to meet the expectations of others. It’s integrated into us as children, seeking the attention and affection of our parents.

Why would I encourage someone to pursue thoughts that may potentially cause them to stray from their happy home? Is it healthy for them to have an almost-but-not-quite-attainable fantasy? Is it healthy for me to encourage this fantasy, instead of insisting on the unsympathetic truth?

I’ve been told many times that I’m ‘mysterious’, ‘hard to get to know’ and ‘untouchable’. I don’t think I am, but I don’t discourage anyone from thinking otherwise. I flirt with everyone. It’s a natural part of my personality, and it’s what makes me good at whatever it is I do, whether it’s being a flight attendant, a waitress or an executive assistant. I’m charming to women, I’m charming with men. If someone is particularly attractive to me, it’s true they’ll get a little more attention.

Most of the time, these men instigate our conversation in a brush-off-able somewhat serious, somewhat-not way. Essentially, they start their own fantasy. They begin a dialogue. A conversation. And some part of me picks up on it. I recognize what they want. And I allow them to follow those daydreams. With a smile I encourage them. “I can be what you want me to be”, I say. “For now.”

The beauty of being a fantasy is that, like a costume, you can take it off and leave it. You can put it back on when you want, or you can choose to never wear it again. It’s a façade. A charade. Stage makeup.

Temporarily, I am able to give them what they’re seeking. I’m not a drama-driven kind of girl, looking to break up someone’s happy home. My hope is that, after these flirtatious encounters, these men return home to their wives with a bit more excitement and enthusiasm, not having been able to follow through on any of the scenarios that may have passed through their minds. I’m a card-carrying member of the Catch and Release program. I don’t want to stick around to see what happens.

After all, real life doesn’t interest me.

Real Life is boring. Real Life is “the baby needs changing, the car needs gas and we’re expected at my mother’s for dinner in an hour”. Real Life is “we had sex on Thursday. Is it Thursday again?” Real Life is your boring job punctuated by bills and dinners and fighting about sex, money and children. None of that appeals to me.

Fantasy is stockings with the seams up the back. Fantasy is being fucked against the door of the bathroom, with party guests on the other side of the wall. Fantasy is illicit glances and surreptitious touches, feeling seductive and being the most desirable, wanted one. Fantasy is leaving before someone starts snoring.

Real Life is all of the mundane things that bore me. It is sensible shoes and panty hose. It’s folding clothes. It’s putting away dishes. It’s watching the same television shows on Monday, having pot roast (again?) on Friday. It’s hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock. Real Life is having a schedule of when to be at work and how long it takes you to pick up milk at the grocery store. Real Life is about planning and saving money and having responsibilities.

Fantasy is sex appeal and sensuality. Fantasy is fresh and revitalizing. It’s about being surprised and titillated. It’s about spontaneity, a departure from the same thing you had yesterday. It’s having a wild night not believed possible, and then leaving before the sun comes up.

Even in my own fantasies, however, I leave while the mask is still on, while the scent is still on the sheets. I leave before the light of day reveals the sensual beauty of the night before to be nothing more than a creature made of makeup and glitter, hairspray and sequins, heels that hurt my toes and a thong that was ridiculously uncomfortable all night.

In the fantasies, I enjoy myself, but I worry a little that anyone I actually invite into my life would rather have those than what is actually available.

In the harsh light of day, when the truth is illuminated, it’s just me. In Real Life, I throw on some yoga pants and a tee shirt then curl up on the couch in front of a chick flick – just the totally normal, mundane kind of thing a girl like me does. And, just like Rita Hayworth famously said, I’m afraid they’ll be disappointed that I’m no longer a fantasy.


Maigen is simple. is smart. is wholesome. is skeevy. is spicy. is delicate. is better. is purer. is 100% more awesome than yesterday. She';s traveling the world and writing about her experiences with life, love, yoga, food, travel and people. Mostly people. Because they';re funny. hear more of her random thoughts @maigen on twitter.

more about maigen thomas


you really can have a wedding for $1000 or less.
...why are you still laughing?
by maigen thomas
topic: general
published: 10.16.06

bring your own toilet paper
and try not to freak out
by maigen thomas
topic: general
published: 9.25.09


maigen thomas
12.20.10 @ 10:37a

As a bit of additional commentary on a very sensitive column, I'd like to add that I hope I conveyed what I intended to convey. Like Joe's column on losing friends on facebook, I feel that this column is too personal and can be misconstrued or perceived differently than I intended.

I'm frustrated by the lack of depth I appear to have, by how I come across to people and by how singular perceptions are developed. Part of me - like anyone - enjoys these fragments of time.

The other part of me truly wonders if anyone will ever take the opportunity to get past this 'flashy' exterior. And if they do, will they like the real me inside?

steven willcox
12.20.10 @ 8:59p

But therein lies the appeal: this is a relationship for kids, not for adults. Talk with them, instead of at them, inviting them to join a conversation usually relegated to the shadows. Life educates itself on issues of true importance under its flashy exterior — a feat very few "teen" mentalities can say with a straight face.

adam kuehn
1.3.11 @ 10:31a

You say that you aren't hard to get to know, but then you also talk about leaving with the mask still on. For someone to get to know you, you need to take the mask off. Really off. All the way off.

And Real Life is not boring. Yes, it is about planning and saving money and having responsibilities. It is also about experiencing all there is to experience about another human being. It is about learning, teaching, and growing together. It is about acceptance and depth. And it can still include that wild night not believed possible, except that you don't have to leave before the sun comes up.

After all, watching a sunrise together is a nice fantasy, too.

steven willcox
1.3.11 @ 8:43p

well said Adam...

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