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On Bromance | 2009 | When I Was a Girl

09.23.09 11:40 p.m.

What else is love but understanding and rejoicing in the fact that another person lives, acts, and experiences otherwise than we do?  

-Friedrich Nietzsche


On Coupling

She doesn't really think you know what you are looking for.

They want a relationship, but they don't care with whom. This kills their chances again and again, since they are trying to throw themselves into something intentionally ill-constructed. They fling themselves from bad coupling to worse, because the people who momentarily occupy their time (or hands) are only convenient. There is no commitment, devotion, or actual interest beyond, "You happen to have the set of genitals I want at this moment." I realize how pat and dismissive this reads, but that is because I slogged through it too often in the past and wince as a spectator now. I thought for too much of my life that I needed a girlfriend if I were ever going to be happy. I didn't care so much about compatibility as constancy and suffered for it, since I was putting out my heart for quantity over quality. Yes, I got as lucky as a teenager could, but would have been far better advised to learn to enjoy my life on my own and work to become more whole.

In a recent conversation, I told Melissa that she can't save men with her vagina. This, I think, is the crux of it for many. They think that, through acts of lust, they can shape the person beneath them into one who has never existed outside their own heads, someone worthy of their attention. Any attempt to change another person (unless they want to change on their own and not to please another) is met with nothing but frustration, because it runs contrary to nature.

I didn't fully trust Kate when we were together, which is why I wanted to exert a veto power over what she put into her body. It wasn't so much that I was concerned for her health - though I was - but that the right substance would make her lose her will and focus, or that she would fall in among those for whom recreational drugs loosened morals. I was not raised in a drug negative environment and was exposed to the legitimate and realistic effects of the majority of that which Kate wanted to experiment with, but I couldn't stomach experimentation (even as mild as cigarettes) because, somehow, drug use meant that she would leave me. When I began to come around and accept that she loved me and nothing she smoked out of a pipe was going to change that, she left me (at least partly because I had given her such a hard time). The issues were obviously a lot more complex than that, but my neuroses only accepted this simplified retelling.
Yeah, love's kind of like that

But nature births hyenas more than steeds. Melissa told of a guy who was interested in her years ago. She admits that he was physically attractive and had a good job. She felt nothing for him, aside from deciding that he was pompous (which may have been true). Pomposity isn't a sin she is willing to forgive in a potential sex partner (though she apparently forgives it well enough for me). However, she allows a glut of mortal sins (such as chronic and willful addiction, indifference to her, untreated mental illnesses, and professed commitment to another person) that I would consider an immediate deal killer. Give me a woman who thinks a bit too much about herself over one too busy thinking about the vodka in the cabinet or her husband at home. However, what I am looking for in the person in my bed is not the same that she is, nor should it be. Nor, in fact, is there anything wrong with either side of our difference.

My father says that, aside from being a born starving artist, I am blinded by pussy. This is his wording. Because it upsets me, I feel that it bears scrutiny, since something can't upset me if it doesn't push a button. I see now how I was mentally occupied with Emily, though not owing to her gonads. I wanted someone who was there for me, someone who wouldn't leave but would grow together. Though we were sexual, our relationship was more that of fraternal twins than lovers, someone I felt I had always known and someone ostensibly like me. I was blinded but my own unspoken fear that I would be left alone. In the past, I have clung to women without valid discrimination and against my better instincts. However, my father's criticism was not past tense. I disagree, as I would, that I am currently blinded.

Still, I understand the position of those who continue to stumble through romance and sex. I never felt as strong and whole as I did this summer, finally allowing myself to acknowledge that I have Melanie's love not because I need it but because I earned and deserve it. Partnering well, knowing you have found that person for whom you will give up snacks if it means another day holding her hand when you are ninety, is transformative. I know how invincible love makes you and understand why people are willing to suffer for even a taste, even if it isn't ultimately worth the calories, even if it is made of artificial colors and flavors.

Soon in Xenology: Maybe a job.

last watched: Singin' in the Rain
reading: Skinny Legs and All
listening: Garfunkel and Oates

On Bromance | 2009 | When I Was a Girl

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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