Universal Law: Like Attracts Turtles

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Crimes to the Third Degree.

When Grendel found the two turtles mating in the flower bed Saturday morning, I suddenly realized what’s been going on with my romantic life. It all goes back to that Universal Law, that like attracts like.

Flying by Night

A man I’m working with on a special project has expressed interest in me again…and again, to another coworker about me. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and for the work he does, but my interest in him stops there. I’ve had many business conversations with him, and just by being around him and by our few brief discussions regarding those taboos—politics, sex, religion—I can tell that our relationship best stays as colleagues.

He, on the other hand, is confused by me. He’s seen me wear suits for years. He’s seen me act a certain way for years. I’m now relaxed in our meetings, no longer stressed. I’m not spun up in the way I used to be.

And now, suddenly, I’m wearing shiny things. He wonders if I have any shoes that don’t have sparkles on them.

He doesn’t like sparkles.

But that’s how it is with most of the men I meet at work. The only thing we really have in common is work. I’m expected to dress a certain way, act a certain way, be a certain way…that I’m really not. But they see that shell, that facade that I present to the world as a result of the profession I’m in and they don’t see the real me.

Could there possibly be some other breed of animal under their shells, too?

I’ve looked. I’ve poked at their shells. I’ve asked questions. If there’s something else in there besides turtle, I’ve yet to find it.

People who are a little different advertise it to the world, at least in some subtle way. It’s our way of sending out signals so like can attract like. And if others see those signals, they tend to come running. A mention of this, a mention of that. A certain necklace. Sparkles on my shoes. A comment here and there, meant as an invitation to anyone who might know the secret password.

But the men I meet at work tend to be more one-dimensional. They’re not really interested in shiny things. They’re not really interested in much else past their careers and getting promoted. They tell me about their lives outside of work. They go home by 5, read the paper and watch TV. And that’s what they do every night. On the weekends, they might mow the lawn. Most of their home lives center around the TV. They don’t have friends. They don’t have hobbies. Everything’s focused on their careers.

I know. I’ve been there, too. I’ve seen what a lack of balance can do. But they talk of work and of being bored at home and there’s little in between.

As far as it goes at work, I’ve given up on finding any good discussion about music, literature, religion, or any topics other than work that interest me. But I keep trying.

And though I may regard most of them as one-dimensional, they describe me as too complex and too…different. But then, like attracts like.

As for the turtles, when Grendel and I came back from our walk, they were long gone.