Friday, October 17, 2008

Spare Change

He was a terrible kisser.

I mean, like, beyond bad. I'm 31 and I've kissed a lot of frogs, but this one was toad in the tongue department. What, exactly was he trying to do with that thing?

I thought this the entire 11 hours we kissed. Well, it felt like 11 hours. It was probably a minute or two - a minute or two too much. Although I liked Surfer Dude, I wasn't sure if I could really teach a 37-year-old dog new tricks.

But when he dumped me, my heart and my tongue were crushed. "What? No more make-out sessions?" I thought.

So let's just get something straight: I'm terrible when it comes to change. What I mean is, when it comes to men, I seem to change everything about them in my head. I make them up. Here they are, live in front of me, yet I'm dreaming about a totally different man. I'm creating a fantasy.

I've done this with the last few relationships I've been in. To start, they weren't even relationships, so this alone is the first mistake I make. I create more than there really is.

The second mistake comes from the fact that I change them from emotionally barren, inattentive jerks to lovable, passionate and kind images of perfection. So when they lose interest or go away, I become devastated - the way you'd feel as if someone ripped off your left arm. That's how I'd imagine it feels to lose your soul mate and in my mind, that's exactly what I lost.

But really, I lost the fantasy. The poetic, sensitive Mr. Corkscrew really wasn't all those things. What he was, was a lust-filled Harvard man who knew his way around words almost as well as he knew his way around the curves of my body in the darkness of his bedroom. And The Mad Scientist never promised me a committed relationship. But he did buy an Amtrak ticket and a box of chocolates on his trip to KC, which I mistook for something serious. To me, chocolate is serious.

And although Surfer Dude enjoyed learning yoga, gave me 20-minute massages (that were terribly inferior, but I somehow wax poetically about now) and paid for two barf-worthy dinners out, that's all he gave me. That, and a really bad gag reflex. But here I was, for weeks, lamenting my sorry state for losing him. "He was perfect," I heard myself telling friends. "We shared the same fundamental views."

But little else. That's the thing. I changed his story in my head because it looks so much prettier.

I've finally realized just how much I love writing stories. I write my own all the time. I'll spare you the fictional version next time. And spare myself a lifetime of unnecessary editing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Why I Love Men

Why do I do this? Get rejected from a guy and immediately go into “not enough” mode? It makes no logical sense. I know I’m a groovy chick. People like me. Men have liked me – a lot – in my short life. And somewhere deep inside, I really like me too.

Yet it’s my knee jerk reaction to being dumped. I blame it on King Kong and the slue of men I hurled myself at after his complete dismissal of me, but I know I have to start being accountable for my actions.

I really wish I didn't love men so much, because they wreak havoc at every turn. They think they want something, go after it, then change their mind. This guy I started dating, Surfer Dude, was saying things like, "I'll take you to Ikea, of course i'll help you move, I'll paint your toenails, grill you tuna I caught in mexico..." Barf.

So many men out there just do whatever and don't give a flip about what it does to someone else. I know this is a human thing. Plenty of people do this, but it's just not in my understanding of life. I don't get it. And it makes me sadder each time I see it happen - to me or someone else.

When something ends abruptly for no logical reason, it stings. You're attracted to a person, they laugh at your jokes, they don't want to leave when they hang out with you and you have to kick them out, you talk on the phone hours on end, they make promises and say things like "we will" and "next time." Why?

As much as men have confused, hurt and completely messed with my head, at the end of the day, I still struggle endlessly in this murky abyss because I love men. I love that they don't make any sense. I love that their skin is rougher, their touch calloused. I love their wiry hair and the way they smell of earth and sweat. I love their strong hands and muscular arms, the way they wrap around me with the force of a tornado, keeping me swirling around in their cloud of chaos and confusion. I love it when they look at me. The way their eyes turn to chocolate and my insides turn into molten lava. I love their warm breath, how it feels to connect at the core in a way a word or a smile never could. I am a total sucker for the idea of a man. And even more, the idea of sharing love with one. Even if they hurt me again and again, I feel like i'd give it all away for just a taste. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so darned hungry.

Conversations (in my head) On a Bus

Waiting for a bus is like waiting for a man. You keep looking around the corner, hoping the next one is going your way, will stop to let you inside, not leave you standing in the cold.

“Excuse me, sir, do you mind holding me? I’m sure the woman behind you wouldn’t mind moving. It won’t take but a moment. Just wrap your arms around the left side of my body. Brush my cheek with your wrist as you check the time. Bump your leg against mine. How about a handshake? A smile?”

Sometimes I am this hungry. My emotional stomach is growling. I guess I’m not the only one who thinks these thoughts. In her song, “Summer in the City,” Regina Spektor sings:“Summer in the city, I'm so lonely lonely lonely
So I went to a protest just to rub up against strangers”

Sometimes, when I'm standing there in the crowd, I look over at the man in front of me and move my hand so that it brushes his, or make sure I lurch forward with the bus, right into the man to my left with his groceries. And I wonder, do they need to feel something too? How cold is it in their world right now? Do they notice me? Can they hear the growling?

I don't think so. Everyone is going through their own type of hunger. We all need to be filled in different ways. Usually, my urge for touch subsides. If you don't eat for awhile, eventually you forget you're empty.

Truth or Aware

I was talking with a friend the other day and he was telling me about his male friend who is hopelessly in love with a girl he broke up with because he suddenly became terrified of the idea of forever. So instead of telling her he was scared, he just left. That’s what so many men do. And we generally have to suffer in the wake of those consequences.

Of course the guy realized his folly and decided he wanted the girl back. But she found herself another guy (good for her). So he is stuck dating a bunch of girls he doesn’t like, making them think they might actually have a shot with him.

“What should he do?” my friend asked.

“It’s simple,” I said. “Tell the truth.”

I told him – nay, I begged him – to encourage his friend to be truthful with all the girls he meets, lest he create a trail of broken hearts across the country.

“I wish a man would just be unafraid to be honest. Whatever it is,” I said. “When you meet a girl, why can’t you just say, ‘hi, I just want to sleep with you and never call you again,’ or ‘I am needy and passionate and I want something that lasts forever,’ or ‘I just want to casually date you because I’m afraid of my own shadow, let alone yours.’ Seriously. Why not give it a try? It could save us years of therapy and feelings of inadequacy.”

Even if the truth hurts, lies hurt too. And disappearing in a plume of smoke hurts even worse.

A week into my new life out West, I met a guy I thought seemed super cool. We talked on the phone for hours, hung out for hours. It seemed like it might go somewhere. So when he offered to help me move, I was stoked. Until he didn’t show up. Or call. Or text. Nothing. Made a promise, then bailed. That was his way of saying bye-bye. Funny, because he was all gung ho on communicating, being honest and me saying what I thought rather than holding it all in. I assumed he would have been the same. If you don’t want to take someone to Ikea, don’t promise to take them to Ikea. If you don’t want to help them move (or ever see them again), don’t say you’ll get your truck and be there on Sunday.

This whole truth thing is really about being aware. Being aware of your intentions and how you plan to carry them out. Being truthful to others is all about being truthful to yourself. I believe men can do this. I've seen it happen. Just not in a long time, unfortunately.