Tuesday, January 5, 2010

read at your own risk

Four days stuck at home with strep throat will sure as hell give a girl the idle time she needs (or rather doesn't need) to process.

So many things have ended. Old years, relationships, decades, delusions. I can hardly keep myself straight among all these endings, and certainly there is little closure to be found in this big, bad world of ours these days.

I am lucky to live with Peter. It has forced us to sit next to each other at night when we might have retreated into our corners to fabricate our own petty revisionist histories. We have managed to maintain our easy intimacy without sacrificing our newly minted privacy, fumbling our way back to a state of friendship that has proven and will continue to be invaluable. For both of us.

I only wish we weren't both quite so analytical. Otherwise we might resist the temptation to till the mutual soil. We might thereby avoid conversations like the one in which he finally confessed he was never in love with me. (A refreshing revelation, however insidious and, ultimately: devastating.) Thus I could have been spared the virulent doubts that now descend, ruffling my hair and telling me to "move along, kid." Chin up.

I'm not discussing this to solicit your pity, please understand. Quite simply, I would like to put forth a hypothesis I have been grappling with—for the further scrutiny of posterity: that I am just not the kind of woman men fall for that way. I've been loved, but not adored. I've been the fling, the pal, the Oedipal enabler, the science experiment, the convenience store, the savior and the saint. I've been just about everything you can be to a fellow without him ever falling in love. They've called me "babe" once or twice and I've been "sweetie"-d and "kiddo"-d all over the place; some have been terribly fond of me. I've just never shaken a one of those trees to their roots. And I know it.

Spare me the buoying band-aid compliments. I am not fishing for them. I have myself convinced and, I suppose, only time can change my mind. So I ask you just this one thing: hold your tongue. Sit still and watch. As the irate tailor in Swing Time said, "I would rather be not wrong than right."

So there you have it, Interwebs: my greatest fear. That I am somehow fundamentally unloveable. I mean, people love me, sure, but it's all pathos and storge and phileo and, while I am grateful for every ounce of it, I was secretly hoping for some eros someday, not to mention agape. The kind of love you close your eyes for.

I said "these days" before, referring to our unfortunate Information Age, this (so far) dreary new century of ours, all profiles and portable devices . . . text exchanges in which conversations never end, one party merely loses interest and puts down their keypad. Punctuation and syntax are all but outdated. In my more dramatic moments, I imagine that we will one day become barbarians, burning books in our wake and grunting out short, abbreviated cybersentences.

heyyyy yo how r u cuming over?? plz tx miss u xxx brb gotta runnnnn u r kewl

This is my version of hell. I already feel that people don't understand half the shit I say. Now I can barely decipher the response (or lack thereof). I am an analog watch in a sea of atomic clocks. Either too much to take or—worse—deficient in some innate, inexplicable way.

Now I am single. Responsible for my own fate again, sink or swim. Risking the big Alone, the No One Cares, the Jimmy Stewart "I wish I'd never been born" nightmare sequence, only in this version there is no difference. When the men I've met count up their greatest loves, I will not number among them, which is not to say I'm not fantastic . . . just not the sauce for their particular spaghetti.

Perhaps it is only fitting that I face this transition while embarking on this Dorothy Parker project, bringing her acid wit and bitter neuroses to the stage and showing the world at large that, all feminism aside, we still don't have it together. Men and women may never manage to communicate with any degree of satisfaction. They (meaning men) survive in spite of this. We do not.

I have become the girl who waits by the telephone, waiting for some boy or other to call.


Shannon Mac said...

Except most telephone-stricken maidens rarely traipse the all-night milonga...

Not waiting so much. Too soon for that. This transition, too, shall pass.

And as I've heard, Eros is arriving at 9:15pm on Saturday. Will you meet him at the gate? Or will he have to ring up the ol' receiver whilst you pine in your lavender-scented, drowsy love fug?

Anonymous said...


Scarlet-O said...

But, you are brilliant... so there's that. My therapist/unrequited love/subject-of-my-blog would say that jealous people choose cheaters in love, and I would say that you, Cerebral Romantic maybe choose the less-than-demonstrative? Either way I'm sure Edna St Vincent Millay has felt like you are now. I know I do...