“No boys allowed at the rock gym.”
You might think the above was a sign scrawled by a first grader in crayon, but no… these were words uttered by three adult women whose ages I will keep concealed because mind your business.
“No boys allowed at the rock gym” became a very spoken rule amongst our group. Now, keep in mind, most people would not have to have this rule. Most people that made good life choices regarding men, that is.
“That’s all we need is your ‘ghosts’ to come around ruining our gym.”
Here was the concern. One of us would invite some man to the rock gym that we were currently in love with. That man would in turn love the rock gym. At some point it comes to the attention of many that the man is actually not a man at all and a literal bag of trash. Trash cannot be ghosted. Trash is now a member of said rock gym. Awkwardness ensues until the heat death of the universe.
Now, you might see this line of thinking as incredibly negative and you would be correct, but that’s just how it was. Until recently. You see, recently, I broke protocol.
I brought a boy to the rock gym.
What led to this breach in our self-imposed “climber girl code” was done by some “self-authoring”, which is essentially a writing program that forces you to think out your desires for the future, etc., etc., yadda, yadda, yadda.
(I say “yadda, yadda, yadda” but I do highly recommend it. Non promotional)
Anyway, the self-authoring stuff made me feel like I should stop being such a sissy and take a chance on something. Why not give a guy a shot instead of flirting heavily over text for several weeks, you know? So, I did it. Very un-millennial of me. I invited my tra–…er…man…my friend?…my good man friend that might turn into more?…I invited…hmm…I invited this dude to the rock gym, ok?
He did not like it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. He didn’t say that he didn’t like it. But I saw it.
This is partially my fault. Overwhelming a date with climbing factoids might not be the best way to woo a man. Surprisingly, a way to a dude’s heart is not through an oral dissertation on climbing grade systems. Who knew?
To give him some credit, despite my incessant need to fill the void with information that would forever be useless to him, the guy tried.
First, we went to the boulder wall. He is very tall, so could almost reach the top of the wall just by standing there and did pretty well. This actually annoyed me greatly, but I’m a good sport. He wore a harness the whole time, which was super nerdy, but I didn’t tell him.* That was my revenge for him being decent at something that took me forever to get decent at. Ok, maybe I’m a horrible sport.
*I did tell him later. Talking shit is basically how I flirt, all right?
After a couple routes he asks if I want to eat.
“What? We’ve barely started. You haven’t even used your harness. The best part is yet to come, unestablished man-friend relationship!”
I push down my empathy and ignore his lackluster response. We check out the auto-belays. Let me tell you this dude would not let go of the damn wall and trust that thing to carry him down. And I have this horrible trait where if someone is doing well, I give them hell (see above), but if they’re doing poorly, I overcorrect by a hyper positive attitude. It’s the teacher in me, I guess.
“Oh my God you did soooo good for your first tiiiiime! I would have never made it that far when I first started oh my Goddddd.”
I hate myself.
I offer to get him on a top rope. I show him how to tie the knot for a painstaking amount of time even though I DAMN WELL KNOW this man will not be tying this knot ever in his life. I could have probably turned the conversation of knots into some sort of sexy innuendo, but I’m pretty sure my tying face looks something like this:
“Actually, I’m pretty pooped. Want to just eat now?”
We climbed maybe a total of three things. “Oh yeah, totally,” I say.
So, we go and shovel greasy food in our face, an undeserved meal for the amount of exercise I got in. I tell him about Alex Honnold and El Capitan, and he acts interested. He tells me about some football players I’ve never heard of, and I act interested. The date ends. It was not a bad one all in all, actually. He just didn’t like what I liked. But maybe that doesn’t matter.
In all the scenarios of one of us bringing a man to the rock gym, not once did I think that the guy would show no interest in it. Perhaps that’s some sort of “passion blind spot” on my part (although I’m also a theatre kid and have always been very aware that there would be a lot of guys apathetic to that part of my life). The question is, how important is it? Do opposites really attract, or is it just a fleeting excitement about someone who’s different…and down the road we’ll end up annoyed that we don’t want to do the same things together? At what point is it a deal breaker? What about you? Are you in a climbing relationship or does your S.O. hate the sport? Give a girl some advice.
I hope you imagined me as Carrie Bradshaw a la Sex and the City typing up all these relationship questions.