Friday, February 19, 2010

near miss

It is official. I do not understand men.

I had been thinking, all this time, in re: the G.I.Q., that I was playing it tres cool—never initiating a kiss, never interfering on the dance floor, staying coolly a few paces out of his eye line (you know, just in case he didn't want to have to look at me.) Worst part is, I thought this was good behavior, enviable behavior. Worthy of mention or medal. I was the Girl Who Doesn't Take Up Any Space and I thought that a laudable pursuit.

It also bears mention that every time I've relaxed into this "thing," whatever it may be, there have been curve balls. This speaks to a much larger trend with me and Romance: the minute I get comfortable, the sky falls. Or so it would seem. Maybe the sky didn't fall last night, but there were plaster flakes drifting down like snow into my hair, and I looked up to see a big fat fracture in the firmament.

I want to be upset with him for playing mind games, for appearing to demand space, then wondering why I hesitate. That was the rant I had in mind at 2:49 am in the cab last night, zooming over the bridge to catch a pathetic four hours of sleep, but here it is morning and (shock of all shocks), my mood has shifted. Today I want to rant at myself, to slap myself across the face with a leather glove and say, "What the hell is the matter with you?" or "This means war." Sometimes I think if I actually followed through and spoke to myself in these bold faced platitudes, I might fare better. Who knows.

What I do know is this: I am a mess. What kind of self-possessed woman deliberately makes herself invisible to appeal to some fantasy she invented about what men want? Am I really so pathetic to think he won't want me if I show up and stand before him at full height? Short answer: yes. But nobody wants a stoic, stony-faced girl who doesn't order what she wants and who swallows her sentences so they won't be too loud.

He wonders why I couldn't hug him when he gave me those beautiful books, those glossy first edition Theroux tomes and the perfectly suited copy of Vox salvaged just for me from the floor to ceiling shelves of the bookstore. This is the moment I remember: when all I wanted was to throw my arms around his neck, one little shift in his seat, an almost imperceptible turn of the head in the opposite direction, was all it took to scare me into stillness. I choked because I thought he'd find the contact inappropriate. I cradled the books to my chest instead because I couldn't bury my face in his sweater and say thank you like I meant it. And then last night he wants to know why such a basic response eluded me.

What I should have said was, "Oh, I don't know, maybe because I imagine you sizing me up all the time, narrowing your eyes and planning your exit."

So now, instead of the cool and detached woman I thought I was playing, I am the little girl caught by her teacher. I have to own being so tangled in my own crippling insecurities that I can't even properly thank the man I'm involved with for his incredible thoughtful present. That I wait for him to invite me in because I'm afraid he'll cringe if I touch him.

Then I remember I spent the last three years with a man who recoiled at my kisses, who extricated his hand from mine after five seconds flat, and who would pull back from a hug so abruptly that I'd be left tottering in space to regain my footing. This was a man who loved me very much, just never in that one fundamental way.

So great. I think this is what we call a breakthrough. Who needs to cough up the co-pay for therapy?

No use standing in the corner until he loses interest, right? Because surely this meek and feeble chick routine will get old fast for both of us.

I need to learn how to be a girl. A girl who likes a boy, but isn't yet too far gone to see her heart poised beneath the guillotine. But a girl who can still say it to his face.

"I like you."


Anonymous said...

Be real, be honest, be authentic. And then if doesn't work all you've lost is someone with whom it's not going to work. The real you is going to be the most attractive person of all.

オテモヤン said...


Anonymous said...

how is she supposed to understand that?

糟糕啦 said...