Human behavior is so incredibly fascinating. And how we deal with pressure is a big fascination for me. I still am trying to understand my own behavior, let alone what others do...and how we all feed off of each others' energy and actions.
In the last week, the 'busy season' of the semester has ended--not only did I have a lot of grading to do, but I had exams to create, final plans to set up for, and general bookkeeping to do. I have a tendency to just bear down and slog through everything, finishing on time, and not losing any sleep. Well, that's not exactly true; when I'm stressed, I tend to fall asleep just as quickly as ever, and I think I'm sleeping well, but I don't wake up refreshed in any way. In fact, I start off the day very sluggish, and get through on adrenaline. The other element that crops up when I'm stressed is an absolute craving for carbs--pasta, rice and potatoes especially, but even sugary yummy stuff. This time, the big weakness was Nutella...though at least I had the sense to spread it on whole-grain bread. Of course, considering the amount of work I'm doing and the effort to just get awake in the morning, that's probably the explanation for the carb-craving.
Last week also saw the 'ending' of a 'relationship'--the quotes being employed because the thing lasted a month, and we hardly saw each other, perhaps once or twice a week. Evidently I'm a hard ass...or so I was told. Well, I am, especially when I think someone needs to toughen up. And 'hard-ass' doesn't quite explain it...it's more of a mentality of: 'I have enough stuff going on, and you're whining about trivial crap. Let it go, deal with it...I'll help you find an answer, but, dude, seriously, grow up.' And contrary to opinion, I am in fact very nurturing, but I just can't stand weak men. They don't do much for me.
What qualifies someone as being 'weak'? Whining, for a start, especially since the person in question has a very good life, has always had a very good life, and evidently has never had a moment where his checking account was below $200. And everyone has down moments, periods of frustration, and times where a good cry is necessary--male or female. But acting upon the perceived need to curl up in a ball and cry for hours on end because work is hard and you feel like you bit off more than you could chew because you procrastinated for 2 months on major projects before you started a huge new job, well, that doesn't do much for me. It's unattractive, regardless of the gender of the person. Get your tears out, feel relieved, and then get to solving the problems.
And because I was perceiving this series of emotions emanating from the gentleman in question, I could feel myself gritting up around him. He wanted a shoulder to sob on...and I felt the need to wear my spiked shoulder pads. Completely subconscious in the reaction, but honest nonetheless. So when I was told that he was looking for someone exactly like me, but with the added trait of allowing him to cry all he wants, well, there wasn't much I could do. I agreed that we weren't a good match, and that was that.
The funniest part of that whole exchange was that, perhaps 2 days later, I had two students thank me for letting them vent their frustrations (with tears) and helping them through their very real problems (family issues, in their cases). And when I facetiously told them, bah, I'm not nice at all, I'm a hard-ass...they just busted out laughing. "Only at first, profesora, to keep us in line...and then you show your soft side." See? The students get it.