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Quite So New | 2011 | The Rest of You


'Cause I really like you as a friend
But there are things I can't pretend
Know I would love you 'til the end
But there is just one problem


No amount of alcohol
Could change my mind at all
Our lips will never touch
So kiss that thought goodbye

I would never have sex with you
Believe me you'd know it if I wanted to
I already would have held hands with you
But that will never happen  

-Garfunkel and Oates, I Would Never


I Would Never

This shouldn't come as a surprise
You should've seen it in my eyes

In the nearly two months of my singledom - still not quite broken, however much Amber is making me doubt its continued practicality (we have long texting conversations as to the addictive qualities of her kisses and message each other for hours every night) - some friends and family members have pointed out (or sought to become) attractive people in my strata. When they do, I all but wrinkle my nose in disgust. "Her? Are you serious? She's my friend!" If I wanted to have slept with her, I would have long ago (if not independently proposing it while I have been single).

There is a quirk in my psychology in the vein of the Westermarck Effect, the condition that makes it so children reared together in the first six or so years of life have no sexual attraction to one another - which makes evolutionary sense, as we do not want incest befouling the gene pool with British royals. I, on the other hand, fetishize monogamy such that I overcompensate by rooting out every flaw in anyone potentially attractive when I am contentedly occupied in a relationship (which is the only way I am willing to find myself in a relationship). Should the romantic relationship dissolve, as with Melanie, I could no more find a friend appealing than a brother could his sister. "Yes, yes, I suppose she is a pleasing enough sort, if you are into that type, but I grew up with her." This makes me a devoted boyfriend but likely infuriating to anyone catching me at the wrong period in my life, as the process of unrepulsing (pulsing, I suppose) is only facilitated by leaving me alone for a few years - if one has yet to transcend too far the threshold into Sister.

Studies have shown I am not alone in feeling this way. Men in committed relationships are inclined to rate as less attractive women who are at their most fertile, which is the time that single men find them most attractive, because they represent a threat to the established bond. This also makes evolutionary sense, as nature would reward those who could not only produce offspring but would stick around to make sure they matured into viable adults.

Since I have been single, some people seem to believe or wish they are entitled to arrange my next relationship without even showing me the courtesy of throwing in a head of cattle or a few dozen fainting goats. I am thirty. I can handle my affairs on my own by this point. I would caution those inclined toward passive-aggressive badgering to remember that I am also a writer. I like my solitude and break it only because I wish to, not out of obligation and certainly not because of attempts at guilt. Both assure I will make up an excuse and sit on my bed, scribbling out how much this behavior makes me want to shoot them with Nerf darts until they are suitably chastened/bruised.

For some who seem to wish to bother me until I either love them or tell them off, it reads as entitlement. "You are single after a three year relationship, you owe it to me to be my lover because I waited for you, without your asking, knowing, or desiring. If you don't do what I want, I am going to throw a fit and we can't be pals any longer!" Particularly annoying are those few women who I met after the breakup who I told I was only interested in friendship, who felt that their desperateness overrode my consent. These women are the reason I felt so confident in wanting to be solitary, because they demonstrated how much worse it could be. It horrifies me how badly much of the dating pool behaves, how they think the rest of the world exists to reenact trust issues they should have gotten over with their fathers about thirty years ago (or, at the very least, a competent therapist fifteen years ago). I may have a bit of my own work to do, but I am not casting strangers into Freudian dramas.

I hate having to even be a part of this dating paradigm - the needs and expectations of other people - but I am not going to let my romantic aspirations die because Melanie couldn't handle our relationship any longer. Further, I resent in the highest people acting like I am rebounding by going on a couple of dates with Amber, especially as I see every indication I will continue to enjoy her company until I decide if our relationship should progress further. If I were going to rebound, I do not think I would have declined so many other people and waited sixty days. Yes, Amber was the first person I considered for dates, but this is because I am selective and had no lasting taste for other women prior to her. I do not cope (and never have) by giving up and waiting for some Princess Charming to kiss me out of a coma. I have had a great and active couple of months on my own and it would take a biased exegesis of my recent entries to think otherwise.

Soon in Xenology: Amber.

last watched: Repo: The Genetic Opera
reading: Blink
listening: Bjork

Quite So New | 2011 | The Rest of You

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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