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Jewish Journal

Dating 101: Men vs. Boys

by Ilana Angel

April 1, 2014 | 4:43 pm

Men are fascinating. I have read books about how their minds work, followed the rules of how to be with them, learned something about them from every relationship I’ve ever had with one, and am raising one. The truth is they are complicated in their simplicity and it is funny we think a book will help figure them out, when the truth is women will never really get them.

There is value of course in all the things that have been written, but all men are different and so shoving them all under one umbrella makes no sense. I have officially given up trying to understand men and am instead taking each one on as an individual with his own set of operating instructions. The first goal is to determine if I am dealing with a boy or a man.

There are men who are mature and clear on who they are, what they want, and what they are capable of. There are other men who are immature, have no idea who they are, and are so clueless about what they are capable of, they miss out on great things. There is a lack of emotions, or perhaps a misdirection of emotions, that can really screw up men. Bless them.

I love men and truly think they are fabulous. I have an old-fashioned view of how I see the man in my life. I don’t need him to take care of me financially, but I do need him to take care of me emotionally, challenge me intellectually, and inspire me spiritually. I want a man who not only teaches me things, but makes me want to learn, and is able to guide and protect me.

I have sadly dated more boys than men. I have hung onto boys hoping they would become men, and left men because they forgot what it was to be a boy. In the end I am the type of woman who enjoys men. I want someone to lead me, but still be able to lean on me. I like a man who has a history, stories to tell, lessons to teach, and a desire to keep learning himself.

I have a new friend and he is really lovely. He is confident, charming, funny, and kind. He is complicated and I sense in him a real need for someone in his life who comes to the table with no judgment and no agenda. It is nice to be friends with someone you can learn from, teach, and know that their intentions are kind and they want you to feel safe and talk freely.

Sidebar:  He is sexy as hell. When he saw me today he slid his hand across my face, into the back of my hair, and pulled my head to his to kiss me on my cheek. It caught my breath for a minute to be in the presence of a real man. As we chatted it occurred to me that I don’t have any male friends who are not gay. I think there are blessings in knowing this man.

He is smart, well traveled, experienced, has known love, lost love, and speaks of his children in a way that inspires trust. I have been looking for a man because I am lonely and want to be in love, but in meeting this new friend I see that having a man in my life does not need to be about falling in love, but rather just caring about someone because they matter.

I don’t trust myself when it comes to men. I have been hurt and there is a lack of trust. Not in men, but in myself and my ability to make wise decisions. I am an inherently kind human being and today I saw kindness. It was good. We are all surrounded by kind people and if we can simply stop worrying and just look, we are reminded life is grand if we keep the faith.

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