I originally published this post back in May of 2012 but thought it would be fun to revisit – especially after Martha and I shared some crushy ramblings over Justin Timberlake last week.
What first appears to be a cougar-y moment for me with a staggeringly young JT look-alike is actually something more. Read on…
HOW I WON THE HEART OF JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
I knew I was staring but couldn't stop myself. He tapped his foot on the floor to the rhythm of the music as he silently mouthed the words to the song, with a slight exaggeration to his expression. He was completely into what he was doing. He was adorable.
My girlfriend was right. The DJ did look like Justin Timberlake. Except the "real" JT was older by comparison. This kid could not have been more than twenty-three? Twenty-four?
He provided the entertainment at the First Holy Communion party for one of Miss F.’s friends, held at a banquet hall tucked away in a quiet pocket of suburban New Jersey. I am feeling particularly confident this afternoon, out of my yoga pants in exchange for a little black dress with heels and a touch more mascara than usual. I am gazing at the young JT, admiring his Justin Timblerlake-ness, when he catches me in the stare and smiles.
I hold his gaze, shrug, and smile back. I am so busted.
He wanders over. "Your daughter's quite a dancer," he says. "She's hasn't stopped since the minute you got here."
“A testament to the DJ, don’t you think?”
We chat. He talks about growing up in the town where I now live, his day job, and his budding DJ business. He lives with his parents, and I detect there's some embarrassment in that for him, as he justifies for me (or for himself) that they have insisted he stay with them to save money. Within a few minutes, he is called back to the DJ booth for work, but I have learned a lot about him in that short amount of time.
JT is not the first younger man who has engaged me in conversation. I've crossed paths with "JT’'s" before, at parties or at bars, on the rare girl's night out. Believe me, I'm no "cougar." I am more approachable than I am attractive, and that's just it. I'm easy to talk to. Plus, I am a good listener, an excellent listener, and when I listen to you, it's with full concentration. I'm not checking my phone for the score of a game or to see what's new on Twitter while you talk to me. I am engaged in the conversation. Listening with full concentration is a lost art form. We are all multitasking, even during what should be the most intimate moments.
To the JT’'s of the world, I am the "cool aunt" to whom they can pour out their hearts without judgment. And because they're not trying to pick me up, there is no pressure on them to impress me. I remember how difficult my 20's were. I relate to them with empathy. I provide reassurance, praise, where appropriate, and only offer advice if asked.
People want to be heard. We need to be heard. It's part of being human. If you want to win the heart of anyone, all you have to do is listen. It's that simple.
How are you at listenting?
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