what began as an open letter to the boy who followed just behind me in the park yesterday.

{disclaimer: this whole thing only makes half-sense to me, so expect confusion.}

i knew immediately i wasn't attracted to you.

call it female intuition.

but i was impressed.

impressed that you asked for directions (a lie, no?) and then proceeded to follow two paces behind me as we crossed to the west side.

and then annoyed. annoyed that the guys who follow girls home in the parks are never the guys you'd like to interrupt your meditative walk.

you kept the conversation going (difficult since i gave you one to two word answers), you in your floppy hat and me in my black, below-the-knee boots.

and still i wasn't interested.

and you asked what i did, and i said writer. and you asked if i self-published and i said no (known lie #2) and you wondered why not, after all, you had a blog (discernible turn-off #2 {ironic, no?} the first being the hat). you went on to talk about grad school and working in a restaurant (turn off, again).

and i felt bad judging you harshly for those things that i myself did. but then you did it. you said you were off to the Met with a friend where you'd smoke pot and wander around the galleries marveling at all the artwork.

and there it was.

i have passed the point of finding such cliche's attractive (though i'm quite sure that was never a line that impressed me).

but bottom line is this: you're a boy. you're still a boy.

it's funny how taste changes over time.

but it does.

quickly, sometimes.

and you wake to find you want something else entirely. because the things that used to draw you in now serve as warning signs. index-finger-ring? keep walking. silver pocket chain? not for me. the brain has evolved into a multi-layered thinking device. step one: tatoos, heavy scruff, no nine-to-five job? immediate interest (and this is where it used to end), but now, the mind continues on to step two: that interest muted by other more pressing matters. like the knowledge that in the past, men with those things never provided any kind of meaningful relationship.

and believe it or not i do learn from mistakes.

yes, i want adventure. and yes, the bad-boy will always hold a certain lure, but i want so much more than that.

i had a conversation with a male-friend a few months back where i spoke of a changing set of attractions--one where stability ranked much higher than a proclivity for the grunge-band look.

and said friend said i was settling.

and instinctively (female intuition once more) i knew he was wrong.

this biological clock thing isn't just about wanting children. it's about needing to provide for those children. about choosing the right partner to bear children with. and as a woman you start preparing for the final step (children) years before you've ever even met the man.

(i think.)

because it's biology. evolution, even. it comes down to a working science that we don't even realize is in operation until long after the plates have shifted.

my friends used to joke about what high standards i have. and i would balk and say no. take me to a ballgame, feed me a hot dog and call it a day. i'm easy in that sense. but you know what? maybe they were right. take me to a ballgame, yes. but the guy sure as hell has to be worth it.

no floppy hats here, please.