“Everyone come back with me to my dorm room. I want to put more mascara on the tips of my lashes,” said Dana. With that simple command, I and four other college girls turned on our heels and followed Dana back to her dorm room so she could mascara up. We were her groupies.
Dana was beautiful in a simple but commanding way. It wasn’t just her long, thick dark hair, big brown eyes, and petite ballerina shape. It was her bearing. She floated into a room with a slight air of detachment. Oozing confidence and without saying a word, Dana telegraphed that she couldn’t be bought and you’d be lucky if she became your friend.
You just wanted to be around Dana. She held us at arm’s length and gave us just enough of herself to keep us hanging on and wanting more. Dukie was a blonde cutie not much taller than her. All male, tough as nails, football star, and a fool for Dana.
Dana did like Dukie. He was her on-campus love interest. But Dana traveled home each weekend to see someone else. Dana had a boyfriend back home. Her parents liked her boyfriend. Dukie was swimming upstream.
What was that thing about Dana that kept us all hanging on hoping for more? Even Dukie hung on, knowing she had a boyfriend. I think it was because she was elusive. We couldn’t own her. We could only get so close.
Ultimately what it boiled down to, Dana was unattainable. It drove us all to her. What’s that tell us about human behavior? As we search for love, sometimes it’s right in front of us but we reject it.
“If only he weren’t so nice,” I’ve heard lonely women say.
“She’s too good for me,” men have said about the woman who devotes herself to him. Meanwhile, he remains uncommitted.
Why do we have to make things so difficult? Why can’t we accept love as it flows to us? Why do we always want what we can’t have?
Dana was probably not even aware of the real reason why people clamored for her. I doubt she sat out to be elusive. She easily could have thought it was her cuteness and her specialness that kept us all swarming about like bees serving the queen.
No. It wasn’t her cuteness. Nor her special-ness. At least not in and of themselves. It was the combination of all things Dana and that irresistible unattainability.
Before I unlocked my own inner joy, I once told my beautiful young niece about this thing that Dana had. I told her to always remain just a little bit detached. It would attract men like flies. I misplayed my hand on that one. Thankfully, I don’t think she listened to me.
What I needed to tell her is to give unselfishly to others, to love with a big love, and to be the most generous person in the room. While that won’t make her unattainable, it will make her better.
As she practices giving love and receiving love, her heart’s capacity to love will increase. As love grows, her joy will grow. Her life will have been worth living.