You don’t have to be a dedicated fan of TV show Sex and the City to be familiar with its characters Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and, of course, Samantha. Mr Big, Carrie’s on-again off-again love interest, also made the jump to pop-culture consciousness. His high-powered job, expensive suits, cigars and emotional unavailability were constantly the topic of conversation among the show’s four female friends.
Not too long ago I dated my own version of Mr Big. She was beautiful and curvaceous, with long dark hair, green eyes and a perfect heart-shaped face. When I first met her I was stunned by how beautiful she was. We met at a mutual friend’s party and when she walked into the room I was instantly attracted. Enough so that when we bumped into each other a few weeks later I made a point of flirting shamelessly.
Ridiculously mismatched, we were doomed from the start. Everything about Miss Big was crisp, well-ironed and well put together. She worked in finance and her fashion sense reflected her high-roller status. (I once made the faux pas of questioning if her Louis Vuitton handbag was fake; the look she gave me in response was priceless.)
I, on the other hand, am a slightly disorganized, maybe even scattered writer with a serious love affair with vintage (read second-hand) shoes and scarves and dreams of someday having a walk-in closet.
But opposites attract and there was something about her alpha woman walk and talk that I found very attractive. She commanded attention. Whenever she entered a room, heads turned.
We’d go out to dinners at restaurants I couldn’t possibly afford otherwise. Everywhere we went restaurant owners knew her by name. She was treated like family and we never had to wait for a table. I admit I was impressed. I’d never dated any girl who owned her own house, car and could afford a trip to Ibiza on a whim.
When she asked me how I felt about Paris I almost choked on my antipasto. “Paris, France?”
I felt fantastic about it all but I doubted if my stimulating personality and skills between the sheets would be enough of a trade off. Was I really that good? For a trip to France I’d have to be.
Miss Big was used to being in control. Looking into her beautiful face I could see how easy it would be to let her seduce and take over. The problem was that I like to be in charge too. Needless to say we had some control issues.
She would come to my burlesque shows and watch me perform _ always from a safe distance and ever so slightly disapproving. She didn’t like the idea that so many people got to see me half-naked on stage. She wanted that privilege for herself.
I wanted to believe she really liked me but I couldn’t quite allow myself to relax enough to trust her. Despite the fact that we shared a lot of the same personal beliefs there were too many glaring signs that we weren’t truly compatible.
I couldn’t see myself fitting into her life. There would be too many corporate dinners that I’d have to tone myself down for, too many times where I’d have to wear the proper clothes and too many conversations in which I’d have to refrain from talking about performing burlesque.
The fact that she was “very private” meant I’d have to get comfortable with being introduced as her “friend.” She wasn’t fully out to most of her family and certainly not at her workplace. While I respected her choices I didn’t want to feel as though I’d always have to sensor who I am.
Miss Big had mastered the art of evasiveness. She knew how to answer a question without really answering it all. I would always be trying to get the full story out of her and continually failing. Our relationship was progressing at the speed she’d set and, no matter how hard I tried to keep up, she always seemed to be two steps ahead of me. I wanted to be with her but I wasn’t willing to risk not being able to be myself.
Needless to say the relationship didn’t last. I wish I could have trusted her more than I did; I certainly wanted to. But it seemed all too obvious this was only going to lead to heartbreak. I called things off, quite certain I’d regret it.
I still see her from time to time. We go for coffee, talk and enjoy each other’s company as friends. I can’t help but wonder what I may have missed out on but, unlike the fictional Carrie, I have far too many self-preservation skills to take that chance.