Polynesian men. My major is Pacific Island Studies for the noble purpose of bettering myself and studying a rarer type of major than most college students. I expected that in Hawaii the same rules applied that racial groups would just kind of stick together and I would end up being friends with a bunch of white girls- despite the fact that my friend group in Arizona was full of Indians, Japanese, Chinese, and all kine people. And my two best guyfriends were Polynesian. However when I applied to BYUH I hadn’t factored in the fact that I’m that person who doesn’t fit into societal lines in any capacity whatsoever.
So I show up, still dealing with all that horrible tragedy and trauma, and guess what? Guess who my friends are in the first few weeks? Tongan men. Samoan men. Fijian men. Japanese men. Filipino men. All of the above! But mostly I was adopted by the Polynesians. These men just fell into my lap I swear I did nothing to attract them I just showed up and they did that thing where they check you out and flirt with you and you sass them and then all the sudden it’s a very easy casual friendship. And I had at least 20 of those.
And then of course you can put in my Samoan father. Adopted Samoan family from Samoan village. (and some jerks from Samoan village but that’s okay I’m not bitter). And then Tongan village! Day 1 I show up and Sione comes over and gives me a hug and kisses me on the forehead. My Samoan father serves as my counseling guru and master of dating. My coach. He is an amazing craftsman of traditional Samoan things, wood carving, jewelry, clubs/weapons, tribal art, basket weaving all of it. So most days you would find me in a Samoan fale sitting next to a Samoan man in a lavalava talking and laughing and learning just about everything.
Or you would find me in Tongan village at the Polynesian Cultural Center where the Tongans are constantly trying to set me up. They have a really good concept of traditional medicine and in their heads traditional medicine for someone like me, who seems sad and depressed and stressed out and is always at the doctors- isss, let’s say it together- A BOYFRIEND. He’ll cuddle all my problems away and give me a relaxing massage and be there for me… Those crazy Tongans. Telling me to get another man in my life. I already have what, 30? And that’s enough drama already. And you’re also talking to the woman who was born independent. For me, between being vulnerable with a man, and having my arm hacked off with a saw and fed to a shark, I would choose the shark!
In Tonga they have a sacred traditional greeting. Upon meeting a Tongan you embrace and share a breath “hongi” or a kiss on the cheek and then you will be asked to recite an answer. Every word of the question and the response must be perfect or you will offend the entire tribe. The question you will be asked is-
“Where’s your boyfriend?”
The response people ignorant in the proud, ancient cultural customs of the kingdom of Tonga would give is “Oh he’s at the ___-” or “I don’t have one.”
The response that is time-honored and very appropriate is
Or “I don’t know, why don’t you tell me?”
This guy is always punking me. Always. Okay so for an example one time while I was in treatment he calls me…. At the gym. And he runs his hand over his bicep and asks me if I would please kiss it and does it look good? And I say no, I’m not kissing that. (I have so many regrets in my young life…). Or I answer the call and there’s a shirtless Samoan frolicking around the room behind him- or he is the shirtless Samoan. When I’m at the gym and he’s doing deadlifts right, I’m up there doing steps and he watches my back on every break and you know what he’s really looking at and he always calls me over like “Hey you look good. You look so good.”
And there was the other incident where I was doing pushups on top of weights and he reached over to feel up my traps. Guys like my triceps. We know this. But still! And then the pet names. My lady. Madam. My muffin. Little Bear. Sweetie. And then he brushed his teeth and said “Would you kiss me?” And I said “No, I’ m good.” And compliments my voice. And my face. And we all know he’s lookin at that booty kay. Not gonna lie pretty much every man looks and this one is no exception. I hate that men can like, measure in their heads, what size you are! One of them guessed my waistline, okay? Just one look and he’s like “Are you ___ inches?” “Yeah.” Back to Teddy Bear he was the one who cuddled me on New Years when I was crying all over the place. And the one who saw me off to the airport. And used to call and text a lot.
I told him about my favorite manspray Kane Sport and how I’d kiss any guy that smelled like that.
Teddy Bear: Oh you should buy me that
Me: The Kane Sport? NO I can’t buy you that, you’ll never get the women off of you
Teddy Bear: Don’t worry, I’ll only wear it when I sleep
Me: This is BYU-Hawaii, women will crawl in through the window, and you know it.
Teddy Bear: …. please? ❤
I go to the gym and while I’m doing pushups on top of weights because #dedication Teddy Bear reaches over and puts his hand on my arm to squeeze my bicep. Walking to his job Teddy Bear sees me, takes my hand, and presses his forehead to it which is a weirdly chivalrous gesture. Teddy Bear calling me on skype when he was at the gym and having me count his reps for him. Teddy Bear calling me when he’s less than half dressed and hiding the phone to his chest so I don’t see. But he’s sure to let me know that he’s “hakuna matata” for the night. Sheesh.
I go to the gym and do squats on top of an upside down bosu ball and I get “accidentally” bumped into by a Tongan man while another one laughs at me. Samoan men walking me home nearly knocking me into the bushes because they’re so big they don’t even realize that “objects in mirror are wider than they appear”. Samoan men telling me “Oh, his pants size is bigger than mine. His is bigger.”….. Kay guys. Noone cares. Samoan men singing songs and putting my name in and telling me they’re singing a song to me in Samoan about a dream about sleeping with your lover.
I go to Tongan village and again “How’s your boyfriend?”
“The Samoan one”
“Don’t have one.”
“The Tongan one?”
Also uh… When I went out with Apple and his buddy… They’re both single.
I think I was on a date with both of them
But yeah I’m still single and it’s not just my issues! I mean, they don’t help. And maybe there’s 99 women lined up who would love to be in my shoes but probably the reason I’m around men like this, is because I can’t appreciate it like a non-PTSD chica could. Suck it, ladies. Despite this, I do appreciate my guyfriends who were the best and saved my life and how much I love all the men in my life who are good friends. They drive me crazy but I love that too. And even when I fight with them it’s because I care.
Conclusion is that it’s not just that I haven’t found the right guy. The right guy is probably right in front of my face. The problem is that I’ve been through a lot of experiences with men that make a healthy romantic relationship impossible. I can’t be intimate with them right now. And men know if you have that block, that wall. Some men will see the crack in it and break in and take advantage. Others are kinder. But men really do like the conquest part of the relationship game. Not if it’s too hard because then they think they don’t have a chance (I need to add that part to coaching), but just enough to stay spicy. That really it’s me. I need to let go of that illusion of control and not just put on that independent sassy single woman show all the time, I need to actually feel my feelings. I need to feel my feelings about men. I need to open up to the good men in my life and conquer my fear. Conquer my rape.
And TBH I was in love with KT. To this day if you ask me who I miss the most, his is the first name. He meant a lot to me. I never kissed him or held his hand and I’m pretty sure he never returned any feelings and probably never will. But the depth of what I felt for him still reverberates in me everytime I look into a pair of Polynesian eyes. I hunger for that connection I had with him. The feeling of wholeness. The feeling of being safe. I haven’t had that since he’s been gone.
I compare every man in my life to him whether I mean to or not. Because sometimes when they show characteristics like him- good listener, safe, supportive it makes me go the opposite direction because then NOPE we’re not doing feelings he’s just going to abandon me. NOPE. There may come a day when we have fall for Tongan boys, but today is not that day!
And men were the source of the problem. Which means men, will hold the solution to the problem. They will be a key to healing.
If I just gave them a chance, a little at a time, to show me more of what a man truly is- protective, loyal, strong, tender, and passionate then slowly I can come out of where I am and come to a new place where maybe a relationship is in the cards for me. A relationship might be part of that path. But a conscious effort to nurture good feelings and impressions of men, a sense of safety, will go a long long way.
In the meantime while I’m up alone at night crying about being single, here’s some memes.