Can I walk you to your car?

“Can I walk you to your car?” I asked her.

“Oh, don’t worry, I can walk myself,” she responded.

The boy inside me thought, yeah, she can walk herself; she doesn’t need me.

The Man inside me thought, yes, she can walk herself, and I will walk her, anyway.

It was dark outside, a bit after 11pm in this quiet Santa Monica neighborhood. Probably safe. But you never know. I had just spoken at an event in a friend’s home about a personal story of transformation and how to step deeper into the challenges Life is calling forth from each of us.

I met this delightful woman shortly after my presentation and we laughed most of the rest of the night together. At one point during the evening, someone convinced us to swap shirts in the middle of my friend’s living room, a challenge we gladly took on while surrounded by amused others (she had an undershirt on and so remained fully covered during the swap, though I did not … and thus I did not). Her dainty white shirt wrapped itself tight around me like a cotton torso Speedo, my forearms bulging out of its elastic sleeve cuffs like sausage being squeezed out of a plastic wrapper. My silver embroidered Japanese koi T-shirt draped her tiny frame like, well, like a petite woman in a man’s T-shirt. She still looked good. I apparently looked like a pirate … or a young, gay-ish Bradley Cooper. Whatever. I was thoroughly enjoying the presence of this playful feminine woman.

The Man in me asked to see her again soon.

The boy in me whispered I wasn’t Man enough.

“Where is your car?”  I asked as everyone was leaving.

“Oh, just … right around the corner … somewhere over … mmmm … there-ish.”

“Ok, I’ll walk you,” the Man in me told her, sensing her uncertainty in the darkened street.

“No, really, you don’t have to. I’ll be ok. I’m from Jersey!”said the man inside her.

The boy inside me eagerly agreed I didn’t have to. He actually thought I shouldn’t, anyway, since she clearly communicated she didn’t need my presence. I’m probably just gonna make her more uncomfortable by insisting, and the boy inside me has always been mortified to impose upon a woman. Better to let her walk the dark streets alone than risk imposing my presence upon her. I’m sure her car is close, even if neither of us can see it.

The Man inside me said, Nonsense. I’m here.

She’ll be more safe if I walk her to her car than if I don’t. She may not know or fully trust me yet. And while that may be wise of her … I know me. She will be safe with me. I’m just walking her to her car. I’m not asking anything of her other than to let me help ensure she gets safely on her way.

As a Man, in this moment, that alone is my sacred duty. I want only to keep her safe … even from me.

Where is the line?

She told me at least twice I did not need to walk her. She wasn’t upset about my insistence. We had a good rapport going, and I believed she instinctively trusted me, but should I have let her walk alone?

A lady friend I shared this story with today told me that many women in our culture are taught two things: (a) to be independent and not need men, and (b) to not inconvenience a man.

I don’t know what was at play for this woman. I did notice that as she expressed not to need me, lots of internal programming implored me to back off and let her walk herself into an unnecessarily risky situation.

The boy in me urged me to let her go, mostly from fear of her rejection. The Man in me wouldn’t hear of it, knowing the risk she was taking if I didn’t step up despite her assurances.

Had she really been committed to refusing my presence, I would have backed off and let her go to whatever fate awaited her choice. Which in all likelihood was simply to walk to her car alone at night in the dark, with only her thoughts as company. I would have moved on to wherever my masculine self was being called to serve (which at that moment was to my home, to write and to rest).

Again, where is that line? … between her resistant assurances and my steadfast presence as a Man?

I do know she got to her car safely. We stood and talked a few minutes in the street, enjoying the full moon while laughing some more about this and that. Finally, we shared a friendly hug and she got in her car.

As I began walking away, she lowered her window and with a grateful smile sent these delicious words floating towards me on a silver moonbeam: “Thank you for walking me to my car.”

“Thank you for letting me wear your shirt,” I responded.

We both laughed once more, and she drove off into the night.


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  • WELL DONE. This was really well done Bryan. Well written, well represented. … It’s not easy trying to capture the thought process and internal conflict we go through.

    I’m always deeply fascinated by it though and it’s how I largely try to do most of my raw writing because there’s something very powerful about it…about trying to be aware of and understand the internal bantering that is going on inside of us at the same time that we’re experiencing both IT and the moment itself that is triggering it’s occurrence.

    I’m on the feminine side of this equation but I can identify with you (and her) and I think you did a great job in your attempt to represent both sides fairly.

    The internal process and conflict that YOU were going through as well as trying to understand the one she might have been going through at the same time.

    It’s a hard place to be.

    Where is the line indeed? Both people trying to “do what is right” while at the same time trying to figure out what that “do what is right” really means?

    The girl trying to decide whether doing whats “right” means being strong, standing up and being independent OR if “whats right” means letting her guard down, letting go of control and leaning on and trusting in a stranger who she wants to trust but doesn’t yet know if she can or should, (…or to add even more complication…) even what she might be risking by NOT doing so. … I.e. the possibility of the guy deciphering her attempt to not impose (and or be strong and independent) as rejection and not being wanted and needed etc.

    Where as the guy trying to decide whether doing whats “right” means backing off and respecting her space (and whether to believe her soft request for independence or whether it’s a mask she’s wearing because she thinks she’s supposed to) and letting her walk alone OR whether doing “whats right” means being a little pushy, being her friend and guardian regardless of the consequence of possible rejection.

    Trying to judge whether the instinct and concern is founded or is hypertencious, and wanting to protect and be trusted while not wanting to appear overbearing and dangerous himself. :/

    Which “right” is the right “right”?

    When? and how does one decide?

    When does one stand firm? and one acquiesce? … when is it too pushy? when is it not pushy enough? … It really is confusing for both sides.

    I’m one who doesn’t believe there is ever a one-size fits all “right” answer (…excuse the excessive and repetitious pun btw ;)) but as far as “conscious relationships” go: I’d definitely say your on right track.

    The best way to have the best chance to make the best choice (situation-dependent) deeply resides in our continual striving to being in tune with, conscious of, and trusting in ones own SELF first and foremost.

    “She may not know or fully trust me yet. And while that may be wise of her … I know me. She will be safe with me.” … What an awesome statement. Truly!

    “We had a good rapport going, and I believed she instinctively trusted me” … It’s hard to know if what we think we are picking on is accurate or biased based on wishful thinking, but there ARE natural energies and I DO believe in intuition and that we can be pretty accurate in picking up on these things and what we need to do as we work on being harmonious within ourselves.

    And don’t forget “asking” is a big key here. — I know personally…that I would way rather have someone I don’t know very well but have gotten a really good feel for walk me to my car in a dark and unknown neighborhood over that of walking it alone, but as far as trust goes to let someone I don’t know do that…a very large deciding factor lies in him being courteous enough to ask and double, even triple check :).

    Thanks for sharing!
    Keep up the conscious work.
    ~ Vanessa

    • Ha. Vanessa you and I think so much alike clearly … which means to say we think A LOT! Both a blessing and a curse, wouldn’t you say?? I’m truly grateful for being able to see so many perspectives in any one situation, but at times it can be debilitating. What I’m finding exhilarating about really owning my masculine nature is that I find myself taking action more instinctively, rather than letting myself be incapacitated by so much perspective! After nearly 40 years of sometimes tortured introspection and intellectual analysis, I find myself simply arriving home to an effortless nature. It’s pretty awesome … anyway not sure that’s so relevant to your comment, but I really appreciate your insight and acknowledgement, Vanessa. I’ll check out your website, Lifeskope. Looks interesting. Bryan

  • Haha. Agreed, double agreed and absolutely :)… Good old analysis paralysis right? …alas our friend and foe? ;P.

    I personally LOVE introspection, I think it’s one of humanities greatest tools that can assist us in living an examined life and incredible existence -BUT- it’s a tool that can also be the very thing that keeps us from it.

    As they say: every strength can be a weakness and every weakness can be a strength (under the right vs wrong circumstances).

    🙂 Thanks for responding Bryan and Eek & squeak (re lifeskope) ^_^ (;-P) There ain’t much on there yet 🙂 It’s a work in progress but it’s coming! 😛
    Thanks though 🙂 Take care and have a good one.
    ~ Vanessa

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