I have not posted, as you can well see for yourself, in quite a long time.  I keep meaning to, and then I remember I have to read some Syntax or some such.  Besides, it would be just a post wherein I bitch about my shabby shabby life.  And I don’t want to do that, not so much because I don’t like to bitch (because I do, franchement); I just feel like a world class fool, and if I don’t poke at that with a stick, maybe I won’t feel like a world class fool.

But it’s too late for that.  I am a world class fool.

This is what I’ve been avoiding bitching about:
After GSS and I came to our understanding, things became really nice.  Now that everything is established, we have a nice, easy-going friendship (and, truth be told, I find it much more enjoyable than the flirting – though that had been fun).  I had claimed that I wasn’t going to flirt with The Young Man, because he was age-inappropriate, because I didn’t want to be a cougar, because I wanted a grown-up relationship, because my ego was still a little battered, because blah blah blah…That lasted until I actually saw The Young Man at work.  Then I flirted with The Young Man, because he smiled a great big smile when I came in, because I was in a good mood, but mostly because he is really, really good-looking.  And flirt I did.  I laid it on a little thick, as Spring Break was the week after, and I thought it might behoove me to make a stronger impression.  We went over some things for a paper he was writing, and I gave him some pointers.  I offered to proofread it when he finished, and he asked me for my e-mail address.  That weekend he sent me the paper, and I gave him some notes, and he thanked me profusely.  Having established e-mail contact, I kept up a light little e-mail correspondance – nothing big, and he responded.

All was good at this point.  I thought I was damn clever, and quite sassy to boot.

Back at work, I flirted when I had the opportunity, and I thought I was doing well.  After we finished, we walked out together, and reaching the point where we were to part company, I gave him A Look, ran my hand down his arm and said:

TSS:  So, I’ll see you soon? (Subtext:  if you were to ask me out, I would say yes.  You should ask me out.)
You know in cartoons, when something happens and they put in the sound effect of tires screeching to a halt, usually followed by crickets?  I could have sworn I heard that.

TYM:  Yeah, I’ll see you soon.  (Subtext:  We work together, of course I’ll see you soon.)

Humiliated, I slunk off to the bus stop, hoping beyond hope that I hadn’t made as giant of an ass of myself as I had previously thought.  But my instincts are that I did.

The next night was Bad Influence’s birthday, and there was a bash.  I recounted my tale of woe, and while KSP tried to argue that maybe The Young Man didn’t quite catch the overture, and while another friend (an actual straight male, so definitely an important resource) tried to argue the same thing; once I gave the play-by-play, all were agreed that I had, indeed, been blown off.  I had sent a couple of breezy e-mails, the kind he usually responds to, in a feeble attempt to cling to the tattered remains of my dignity – alas, no response.  This is a bad sign, even when I try to tell myself that GSS always maintained e-mail relations (even though he had no romantic interest in me), so e-mailing is not a foolproof yardstick.  I have since seen The Young Man in person, and I still get the wide smile in greeting that I always have, and he still is always ready to chat, and all in all, his demeanor toward me hasn’t seemed to have changed.  But again, that’s nothing to hang my hat on.

So I think it’s safe to say that my career as a cougar is over before it began.  What mystifies me was that I was so sure I correctly read the signs.  And apparently, I did not.  So what do men do when they’re interested in a woman?  I thought I knew.  I do not. 

And what cheeses me off (other than making an ass of myself with such shocking regularity), is while I am not one of those women who always needs a man to get validation, I am getting increasingly nerdier and nerdier.  I don’t need a man to validate my worth as a woman; I need a non-linguistic outlet, and a man would do nicely for that.