Tag Archives: relationships

I was never one for boxes.

19 Jun

Sex is a basic human instinct. It’s on the lowest wrung of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as one of the fundamental human experiences necessary to accommodate higher-order concerns, such as belongingness, self-esteem, and self-actualization.

It’s something we share with animals. Males and females have sex in order to reproduce. Simple as that.

Some species have sex for pleasure, but far and wide, its purpose is to carry on the genetic line for survival.

What I argue — and what’s born out of this whole frustration I’m reconciling with my family and “what I am” — is that to define a human experience by something as basic as sex limits the potential for growth, not only individually, but as a collective consciousness.

My mother and sister — and I’m sure other members of my family who are trying to “cope” with this “crisis” that is my sexuality — have verbalized that they “just don’t think I’m a lesbian.” So “what are you” is where this conversation ultimately leads. And each time, I say, “I never said I was a lesbian. I’m in love with a woman. That’s it.” Still, it turns to categorization and associated meanings with that terminology.

What does it mean to be a lesbian? There are the stereotypical attributes of adopted masculinity, Birkenstocks, flannels, and unshaven legs. On the opposite side of what’s allowed on the lesbian spectrum are the “lipstick lesbians” who can still dress pretty and embody what it means to be “woman.” But that complicates this whole idea of lesbianism, because what does it really mean to be “woman”? I suppose it can be defined as simple as “not man,” which then calls into question what it is to be “man.”

Judith Butler builds her phenomenological viewpoint of sex/gender in “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory” (1988) in part on Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex which claims that ” ‘woman,’ and by extension, any gender, is an historical situation rather than a natural fact.” The distinction de Beauvoir makes is discussed by Butler as an underscore of sex; that is, a separation between “female” and “woman,” with “woman” operating as an historical situation, distinguishing “female” to be what Butler calls a “biological facticity.” Gender is a project to cultural survival, which calls to it a performance to survive “because gender is not a fact, the various acts of gender create the idea of gender, and without those acts, there would be no gender at all.” To fail to do your gender right, according to Butler, would elicit punitive responses.

The punitive responses are the objectification and isolation of those who challenge their gender performance.

I am not performing according to my gender. Therefore I am being punished by rejection. Which throws off my quest to achieve self-actualization (which is going splendidly, really, because I feel I’m not reliant on the biological, physiological, and safety needs, and aside from the acceptance by my family — who insists they love and support me, and I truly believe them — the social and esteem needs of mine are finely balanced and fulfilled, purely and simply, through my healthy and mutually supportive relationship with Smiles).

In an interview with Rosi Braidotti and Judith Butler (can you tell I’m a fan of Butler?), Braidotti discusses the linguistic challenges that arise in discussing feminism and gender studies internationally. Braidotti notes that “the notion of ‘gender’ is a vicissitude of the English language, one which bears little or no relevance to theoretical traditions to the Romance languages. This is why gender has found no successful echo in the French, Spanish or Italian feminist movements.” What is curious to me — and will likely be a further point of research — is how this is reconciled in the scholarship of Romance languages.

Why does this have to be a bad thing? To not perform to my gender? To not be “woman” because I’m not in love with “man”? To, perhaps, be “less than woman” because I’m not in love with “man”?

Why does my person have to be defined by a romantic relationship? Or better yet, why does my person have to be defined at all?

The impetus for this entire post came from a conversation I had the other night when my sister and I finally talked about my “phase,” which, I pointed out, I hate labeling as a “phase” because it wholly minimizes the very real feelings I have for Smiles who is, officially, my “girlfriend.” I asked her how she felt when her fiance wasn’t readily welcomed into the family. She said it’s different because he’s a guy.

So it’s anatomy, really, that makes this such a difficult thing to grasp. Because although he did not meet our familial “expectations,” he allowed her to perform in accordance to her gender.

Which is perfectly fine.

As is my difference.

My mother has always instilled in us that people are born gay, which I’ve always accepted, until I started to think about the limitations even that puts onto people. That very notion maintains that there is no fluidity to the human experience. You’re born as you will die. While you may learn things along the way and grow as an individual, your fundamental core can never change.

And that I absolutely don’t buy.

As humans, we like to categorize things. We like our boxes. We like organization. We like order. Aristotle’s “The Polis” outlines what it is to be part of and apart from a society. To abide by social norms and expectations is to reside within the polis, granting those the protection and safety of the society. But to be cast out of that is to reside with the beasts — gods and godly figures — those who are apart from the rest of society, and consequently the benefits of being within a society.

We also know from ancient rhetorics that the ethos, pathos, and logos are fundamental aspects to appealing to an argument. The very word “logos” is derived from the Greek word “logo” which translates into “word.” That designation itself creates order. It creates organization. It categorizes what is and what isn’t.

So as much as we try to legitimize sexuality differences as genetic “mutations” and can — while still somewhat anecdotally — serve as indicators of homosexuality, such as the notion that lesbians’ ring fingers are longer than their index fingers (mine are, if that means anything to you) that order is still limiting. There can — and I’m sure are — lesbians whose ring fingers are not longer than their index fingers. Should they be cast out of the lesbian world, strewn into the streets of heteronormativity, expected to survive on rain water and toe nails?

What I have difficulty understanding is why this should matter to anyone. If, at the core of the polis, is the requirement and standard for morality and ethics, isn’t character what matters? For isn’t that what “ethos” really is? And aren’t the restrictions and limitations we place upon one another based on sexuality (or gender or race or socioeconomic status or shoe size) contradictory to a moral character?

While I was performing to the expected cultural norm of heterosexual conquests, I was confronted with asshole after asshole, but it was okay because they were men, and because I was fulfilling my gender performance role. I was living in accordance to the ethics and morals predetermined by my polis.

What if we allowed people to live to their own potential, without judgment or the minority placating the majority? What if we stopped defining a person’s character by their associations? What if we opened our hearts to see the potential for the expansion of our own experience by welcoming the experiences of others into our realms?

If the relevance of the human experience can be whittled to appropriating relationships with the asymmetry of gender/sex difference, I’m not entirely sure I want to be included.

But on the flip side, the Hegelian notion of the self/not-self is how I sleep well at night, acknowledging that my existence is allowing those around me to experience their not-self, if only vicariously.

That, and knowing I’m in love with the most beautiful woman in the world — who actually loves me back — helps me sleep at night and start each day with hope and conviction.

— AM.

Well that wasn’t what I expected at all.

30 May

I’m in love with a woman.

And the best part about it is that she’s in love with me, too.

Surprise couple!

I’d say I never thought I could be with a woman but 1) that’s clearly  not the case and 2) I’ve been living on a happy little island called “Denial,” population: me and a liter of wine. I know I talked about a square peg and a round hole before. It all makes so much sense now why I’ve had so much trouble finding someone.

I found land — and struck gold — with her. It’s like fighting an icy cold current and succumbing to the acceptance that this is my life, and then suddenly I can stand on my own two feet on solid ground.

We met on my birthday last November. Barista Boy #2 brought her with him. I distinctly remember the second I met her because she has the most amazing smile. She calls it “malleable” and I think that’s a pretty fair description of her face. I was standing at the bar in my silver dress, several shots and a couple cucumber vodka waters into the evening, when they walked up. She wore red and has short, black hair that changes shape every day. I adore it.

She added me on Facebook a few days later, and I would catch myself feeling jealous when she’d post about going on a date with a girl, or post about someone flirting with her. It drove me insane. Then I finally realized that I wanted to be on the date with her.

I didn’t see her again until January when we had a writer’s meeting. We both write for the same local magazine, and I tend to write feminist prose pieces (surprise?) while she writes the horoscopes and video game reviews. We laughed through the entire meeting — which is why there’s a “no eye contact” rule our publisher bestowed upon the two of us — and exchanged numbers. Over the next month, we’d text periodically, but those messages started gaining frequency.

We’d go out to lunch, strategize about articles we collaborated on, and get drinks together. We even explored the tunnels under the city we live in. We never run out of things to talk about. She speaks in puns.

Next thing I know, it’s mid-March, and we’d spent nearly every day for two weeks together. I went to Las Vegas for a conference with BFF, and she was all I thought about. Her birthday was the weekend I got back, so I told her I’d cook for her. I made her Guinness beef stew and brownies from scratch. We went out and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and took our first picture together from a friend’s phone. He sent it to me so I sent it to her in a text and said we looked good together and should take more pictures; we’re painfully attractive. She agreed.

The first time we held hands was after we compared the sizes of our hands — the exact same size — despite our height difference (I’m about 5 inches taller than her and have freakishly small hands. Seriously. It’s abnormal and hilarious to watch me play the piano. Or type. Or do anything people with “normal” sized hands can do).

I can honestly say without a shred of doubt in my mind that this is by far the healthiest, most beautiful, most supportive relationship I’ve ever been in. She’s beautiful and brilliant, and we can laugh for hours about nothing. Nearly everything we say is an inside joke that we both find delightfully hilarious. She loves my goals, and each day, we both end up pointing out one more thing about the other that we love.

She told me she loved me first. We hadn’t become official — and really, still aren’t “official,” although we have agreed to not see other people — but it just fit so seamlessly into our conversation. I told her I loved her, too. I realized it the night I picked her up from work and took her out to the lake to watch the sun set. I brought a bottle of wine and two glasses. We laid on a blanket, watching the stars come out, listening to the water lap on the cliffs and the crickets chirp. I wanted to tell her then, but I didn’t know if I was rushing into things or if I was making this into something more than it was. It wasn’t even a week later that she told me she loved me.

The hardest part with us is that I’m moving. I was accepted into a PhD program a 15-hour drive away. I have to go, and she has to stay. We both have commitments here, so we’re spending this summer loving each and every moment together, and hopefully, paving the way for something down the road. Who knows where we’ll be six months from now. Hell, who knows where we’ll be tomorrow.

I hadn’t planned on telling my mother when I did. I spoke to my younger sister about it all — about Smiles and how happy I was — and she was ecstatic for us. Then our conversation turned to telling the family. What do I tell them? How do I tell them? When? Who all can know? Certainly my strict, southern Baptist family wouldn’t approve. Would my picture be taken off the family wall? I was indignant. I am indignant. I don’t care if they choose to disown me. My mother is having a tremendously difficult time with it all. She has it in her head that I’ll never marry or have children. I told her before I even met Smiles, I wasn’t convinced I’d get married or have children. I don’t know how to help her cope, and I’m not entirely sure it’s my job to do so.

Little Sister’s focus — and what’s been the primary focus for my immediate family who have since been informed of my “life decision” — is what am I? They want the label. Am I a lesbian? Am I straight but just experimenting? Am I going through a phase? Am I just so lonely and desperate that I’ll jump into the first relationship that comes my way? My mother’s never believed in bisexuality, that much I know. I wasn’t ever convinced until I started realizing little things in my past and letting myself accept it.

Like when I was in the fourth grade, and my friend held my hand when we watched a scary movie. I felt the same way, lying in our pajamas in the dark and holding hands, as I felt holding the hand of my first “boyfriend” who ran for class president in the third grade (I was his “first lady.” How fucking cute was that). I kept it out of my mind because girls like boys, and boys like girls. I learned later that sometimes girls can like girls, and boys can like boys. But both? That’s just being greedy.

To be honest, I don’t know what I am. I don’t know if it really even matters when it comes down to it, because at the end of the day, we’re all just a conglomeration of atoms somehow interacting with other chunks, all whirling around on this tiny planet, in this tiny solar system, in this great big universe.

The only thing I know is that I love her. And that’s enough for now.

— AM.

I prefer the end. Probably because of my rockin’ ass.

1 Dec

Most people can start something. I start ten thousand things every day. I counted. Well, I started counting, but then I got distracted. To make beginnings really count, it has to be something worth sticking to.

I realized today that I’m much better at ending things. When I create my semester plan, I start at the end and work my way back. I just have to figure out how to get everything that I plan on being completed, completed. The end of the semester feels way more controlled than the beginning of the semester. I enter in final grades and I feel peace. All of the t’s are crossed and i’s dotted.

I have several novels and a couple screenplays that I’ve written the ending to. I just don’t want to deal with storyline that leads to the ending. The end is really all that matters. The rest could easily have just been a memory forged in my own subconscious, so why bother dealing with the hassle?

No one remembers famous first words, or famous 12,843,756th words. It’s the famous last words that count. The end of someone’s life, the final breath, the last brush stroke, the last poem ever penned. It’s eternal.

It’s the same with relationships. I’m awesome at breaking up with guys, mostly because one of my more marketable skills is getting them to break up with me first.

“My band is really getting off the ground. I should focus on my music. You want me to be happy, right baby?”

“I’m so ready for marriage. And kids. Ohmygod I love kids.”

Or I’ll disagree vehemently with something they’re passionate about so they think they’re deciding it’s over. I’m not too proud. He can claim the termination. As long as I don’t have to deal with the real beginning or middle of the relationship.

“Star Wars is way better than Star Trek in every way imaginable.”

“Oh I totally voted for Obama. Twice. I’d do it again if I could. He’ll probably change the presidential term. And take away your guns. But he should. Guns are stupid.”

I think that’s why I tend to skip over the beginning. When I became single again, my mother would encourage me to date because the beginning is just so much fun. I’d tell her I hate dating. It’s stupid. Like guns. She’d tell me to relax, be happy, enjoy this time. Fuck that noise. I’ve already determined his biggest flaw so I can point it out and be done before we even meet for coffee.

Like on this dating site. I’ve maintained conversations with two guys. There was a third, but I told him the theory I prescribe to about reptile aliens so he’d quit calling me. One is Muscles and that’s fizzled out — any guy that looks like him and describes himself as “shy” is full of shit. If I wanted a man with that much shit I’d have to clean up after, I’d volunteer at a senior center. The other is Rockabilly and that’s still going. He doesn’t like dubstep, so I think I can use that to my advantage later.

Every other one I judge immediately and with good reason. For instance, there’s absolutely no honorable reason to send me a message at 2:00am. On a Tuesday. There’s also no reason to take pictures of yourself with a girl kissing your cheek saying she’s “just a friend,” followed by an image of $10,000 cash laying on the steering wheel of a BMW while saying you’d like to meet me. I’m sure you would. But you, sir, are too sexy to handle. “I’ve recently taken a vow of poverty. Also, I’m celibate.”

And guys I meet in real life regular ways that are actually reasonable choices for a relationship, like Barista Boy, I’m so good at skipping ahead to the end that I somehow manage to fuck up any potential opportunity to make the beginning happen. I’ve known my end lines to him since the first time we met. “Maybe someday you won’t feel guilty. And maybe I’ll still be around.” It’s always a tiny victory when I prove myself right and get to say my parting words.

Tonight I saw what will probably be the last thing I see before I die when that day comes. He was a tiny — and I mean tiny — cholo with pants that I could fashion into twin sleeping bags. He was belligerently drunk, swaying his hips that could very well have been the size of a new infant around, and pointing to the band on the stage like they were beckoning him to return to his homeland — Lakertya. I don’t trust small things.

They’re too close to the beginning.

–AM.

I take RuPaul very seriously.

4 Nov

I’ve been single for two years, and by “single,” I mean my relationship status on Facebook has been “single” for two years. I’ve also lived alone for the last two years, during which time I’ve learned a considerable amount of things about myself that I otherwise wouldn’t have learned or appreciated. Shortly after ending that relationship (which lasted five years), I worked on rebuilding friendships that I’d let slip away, which brought me to a love of all things drag and all things RuPaul. I’d watch RuPaul’s Drag Race with my GBF (gay best friend), and by far my favorite thing from that show is her sign off phrase: “Honey, if you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love someone else? Can I get an amen?” After all, I spent more time with myself than with anyone else.

So I’ve worked on loving myself, and in this process, I’ve learned the following things:

  1. I buy pickles when I’m stressed. I currently have three jars in my fridge. Claussen. Kosher dill.
  2. I hate pants, so much to the point that the second I walk through the threshold of my home and make it twenty feet into the door, they are on the floor (something I tend to forget when I bring company over — sometimes after drinks, sometimes before drinks).
  3. I don’t particularly like to be touched when I’m sleeping. I barely like to cuddle with the cats. Instead, I prefer to starfish it, one limb on each corner of the bed, not touching anyone or anything else.
  4. I can go weeks — I mean, weeks — without going to the grocery store. If it wasn’t for the cats, I’m sure I could make it months. I hate grocery shopping, loading and unloading my car, putting groceries away, etc.
  5. Doing dishes sucks. On the rare occasion I do go to the grocery store, nearly all of my purchases don’t require dishes. Juice in small cartons so I can just drink from the box, string cheese, lunch meat, pickles (obviously), apples, break-away cookie dough — you get the picture. Same goes for wine: why dirty up a wine glass when I can just drink from the bottle? I’m not planning on sharing. Which brings me to my next point,
  6. I don’t like to share.
  7. Closed bathroom doors make me feel claustrophobic. That’s probably also because my bathroom is smaller than a handicapped stall.
  8. Shoe graveyards/battle fields are much more efficient than having a shoe room. I have both, so I speak from experience.
  9. I’m resourceful. Duct tape can fix nearly anything.
  10. I get bored easily. I rearrange furniture on a nearly daily basis.
  11. I own way too many clothes. When I’m stressed, I shop. When I’m happy, I shop. When I’m drinking, I online shop. As a result, I have a full closet with clothes double- and triple-stacked on hangers, a hall closet with two rows for hangers (the second made out of a curtain rod), two full dressers, a stack of clothes on a shelf, a box under my bed for tank tops, and another box with stuff I don’t wear as often so I get surprised when I dig through it because it’s like shopping, only I don’t spend any money.
  12. It’s shocking, but I really don’t like talking. I talk all day long when I teach, and when I come home, I’ll say hello to the cats and ask how their day went just because they can’t respond and I have no obligatory conversation to hold with them.
  13. I’m a vault, which is probably my best quality, because I can be told secrets and I take the oath of secrecy extremely serious. I’m also good at pretending I have no idea what people are talking about in order to keep the secret safe. This is a result of not talking to people all the time or having that trust with someone that goes along with being in relationships.
  14. I laugh out loud, obnoxiously and hysterically, when I’m amused, which I’ve come to learn annoys people, as so delicately pointed out by my sister who judges me when I exert a squeak of laughter at nothing in particular.
  15. I cry when I’m happy or mad, but rarely ever when I’m sad. I’ll often go through phases where I watch nothing but cute proposal videos, surprise homecomings, shocking talent on shows like The X Factor that I can find on YouTube so I can fulfill what I think to be a crying quota out of happiness in the comfort of my home.
  16. I, like honey badger, don’t give a shit.

–AM.

Flogging Molly wasn’t a coincidence.

26 Oct

There’s really something magical about the first snowfall of the season.

The leaves are still dried, rotting away in gutters, illuminating the grayness of cement with the colors of their death — reds, yellows, and oranges, turned a musty brown as the moisture seeps into the skeletons left behind. All bets are off when it snows.

It snowed today.

I presented with BFF and a few others tonight to a large group of eager (for extra credit) students, discussing history and travel and humanity. BFF, D (who also presented), and I decided we needed to catch up. D has been teaching several counties away, and we no longer have classes together since he’s working strictly on thesis hours. We wound up at Jonny Carino’s splitting a pitcher of Bellini with three straws since it was too thick to pour into our glasses. The three of us became friends on a trip to Italy a couple summers ago, and our decision to split the pitcher was familiar territory, ringing distant memories of bottles upon bottles of wine in Florence and Rome, huddling up to keep our shit together. D and I almost had a thing on that trip, but he recently began dating his roommate’s ex-girlfriend before the trip, so nothing came of it but dancing, holding hands, and sharing drinks.

We asked how things are going with the two of them, since the last time we drank together his apprehension about a serious commitment wavered. He pulled out his phone and said “Check out what I’ll be picking up when I go back to Indiana over Christmas.” It was an engagement ring. Beautiful. Classic. “It was my great-grandmother’s.” Of course it was.

BFF and I reacted appropriately, offering congratulations and excitement and suppositions that “we’re of course invited to the wedding, right?” but when we made eye contact, like true BFFs do, we knew we were both screaming on the inside.

“I bet you’re jealous, huh? Since you don’t have this,” D said to BFF, who has been in a relationship for the last few years. What a little fucker, I thought. Somehow we changed the subject, but the sting of it stuck: when the hell did everyone decide now was the time to get married?

We said our goodbyes, and BFF and I decided we needed to continue drinking (even though it’s Thursday and I teach in a few hours). So we went to our favorite bar. Well, really it’s my favorite bar, mostly because the bartenders know me by name and have my gin and tonic prepared as I’m walking to the bar. I spent about 82% of my weeks there over the summer getting pre- or post-drunk. I’m an extremely good tipper for those who are responsible for my drunk.

“Dude, seriously, what the fuck,” isn’t really an uncommon way for us to start conversations, and this was no exception.

I mean really, it’s like someone decided that the second you hit your 20s, you’re supposed to have a ring on your finger and a zygote growing in your uterus. College? Careers? Post-graduate degrees? Na, bro. That shit’s for fools.

Clearly we’re fucking fools.

BFF hasn’t been out drinking with me when I’m in usual form for quite some time; mostly because she’s in a relationship, and single beast-me knows how to welcome conversation from strangers.

A homie with glasses and a satchel sits down across from us, offering his hand and a name. [Okay, total side note, but my radiator just kicked on and it almost made me piss myself. Damn old radiators.]

We spent the next hour or so accepting shots of tequila and chatting it up with homie with the glasses and satchel and his friend, Twitchy. Twitchy is awkward as shit, which I find ridiculously adorable. So much adorable, that when they got up to close their tabs, I told BFF I think Twitchy is super adorable and I could totally fix him, to which she replied “Bitch, I swear to God I will smack you in the face if you say that again.” Reason why we’re best friends? I think yes.

I’m not one to refuse strange conversation, especially from not-entirely-creepy guys who tell me I’m pretty, so I allowed it. Where was I from? I’m a German Jew, abandoned in the corn fields of Nicaragua. “Really? I’m a first generation American, too!” Hell-fucking-yeah. Making headway.

I spent most of the night awkwardly laughing, grateful that homeboys came around. I’d finally admitted to myself and to BFF that no matter what pseudo-homeless guy says or does, I forgive him and I never hold it against him — that much in love. (He’s a whole other story and kind of makes me turn into a Debbie Downer, so maybe I’ll save that for another day, but the quick and dirty version: I’ve been madly in love with him for years.)

I know it’s a good night when I (mostly soberly) tip 80% and can’t stop smiling as soon as I sit in my car. I live up the street from this bar, which likely contributes to my frequency of it. The ride home was brought to me by Flogging Molly’s “The Times They Are A-Changing”:

It’s no accident that tonight, when we learn of D’s engagement, we’re also reaching epiphanies of our (hopefully) inevitable happiness in relationships and how ridiculous we’ll feel in a few years (again, hopefully) when we’re with whoever-his-face-is while being courted by nice, drunk-as-fuck awkward guys who buy us shots and listen to me lie and tell us we’re pretty, the first snowfall is here, masking the death of summer in a blanket of silence.

The times are a-changing. I can feel it in my bones.

Or maybe that’s just the gin.

–AM.

The best way to get in my pants.

24 Oct

“You know, I find you incredibly attractive, and I definitely want to have sex with you. I’m just a shitty guy, so I know I’ll disappoint you and will be a terrible boyfriend.”

Be still my beating heart.

Also, probably the best compliment I’ve ever received. Like, ever. Because above all else, he thinks I’d be worthy to have sex with. Also, he finds me attractive, so win for me.

There’s absolutely nothing more irresistible than when a guy is so blatantly honest with me. I mean, it must truly mean he loves me since he’s comfortable enough to not beat around the bushes. I appreciate directness in courtship.

Other things men do to demonstrate how much they love you (ladies, pay close attention, because although these are based on true stories to my experience, yours may differ slightly, but don’t worry, he probably still loves you — which proves that you’re great. Men, take notes — these are incredibly effective tactics):

  1. He insists that he wishes it wasn’t a platonic relationship; he’s powerless to his ability to remain friends with you. You did put him in the friend zone with flirtatious pictures after all, you silly bitch.
  2. He invites you over to watch Futurama at 1:45am. Because really, who doesn’t love watching Futurama at 1:45am?
  3. He calls a psychic and asks about his future with you — on speakerphone.
  4. He makes little cinnamon hearts in the chai tea latte be brings you and vents to you about his girlfriend. They can be so demanding.
  5. He lets you know he doesn’t want to do anything to lead you on, then proceeds to kiss your neck.
  6. He breaks up with his girlfriend after he cheats on her with you, then decides he doesn’t really want to be with you after all — it was all just too hard on him, and he wants to just play it safe for now, you know, to protect his heart.
  7. He talks about your intelligence AND your beauty, and because you’re such a rare bird, he’s afraid he’ll fuck it up if he tries for anything serious. You’re too smart for him, and you wouldn’t want to set him up for failure.
  8. He prefers for you to come to his house; he doesn’t like the way your wood floors feel on his feet. Plus, he simply adores the way you make him sandwiches in his kitchen because you have the tendency to clean it up as you go.
  9. He introduces you to his friends, and then suggests you come over to be with them. At the same time.
  10. He tells you that someday, you’d be a perfect wife. But for now, he knows he’ll just break your heart, and he respects you too much to put you through that sort of pain.

Fuuuuck that.

–AM.

There’s no expiration date, right?

23 Oct

I called my dear, sweet grandmother in Alabama on the phone the other day to see how she’s been doing. We always have the same conversation: an overview of her current health status, how school is going, how my sisters are doing (which always starts with their schooling and jobs and ends with their relationship statuses), and then we discuss why I’m not married and have no current prospects.

“Well damn girl, when you gonna be able to start havin’ babies then? You’re runnin’ out of time!”

Oh, how I love the obvious markers in the differences between generations. It probably wouldn’t be as bad if my 20-year old younger sister who, when we were in high school, brought home — on separate occasions — a homeless looking stoner, a guy who played in a metal band (in all fairness, so did I — long story), and a guy who ended up being sent to reform school, is now planning a wedding.

Her boyfriend is terrific. He recently took her away to a cabin in the mountains for the weekend to celebrate her birthday. He has or is about to purchase an engagement ring, and is working up his whole “can I have your permission to marry your daughter” speech to give to my dad. This past weekend, we got together to have a birthday dinner for her combined with an anniversary celebration for my parents (34 years — holy shit). She detailed us about this church they saw on their trip where they want to get married in fall 2014, how his dad’s girlfriend will make their cake, the dress she looked at. They routinely make it a habit of triggering my gag reflex. I feel like if I spend any more time with them, I’d become bulimic.

Although my older sister, at 28, isn’t married, she at least has a 3-year long relationship to fall back on to ease the minds of our grandparents.

I have degrees and cats.

My other grandmother who lives a short drive away once told me she doesn’t want me to be bitter because I’m so alone. She’s German, so I appreciate and understand the honesty. They’re not ones to mince words. (She’s incredibly useful to take shopping. “How does this dress look?” “Oh, no, you look pregnant. Do you want people to think you’re pregnant? Take that off.”) I’ve insisted that despite all reasons to be miserable — which, really, is simply just the absence of love and all that shit that goes along with it — I’m actually happy and loving being alone. Half-truths are fun like that. Sure, I’ll go through bouts of self-loathing, fueled by a bottle of wine and Nickelback songs (if you choose to leave this blog now, I probably don’t blame you. It’s been fun), but I get over it and realize I’m kind of awesome.

So every once in awhile, I’ll start talking to someone new and give the family just enough information to know that I’m not bitter or alone or unloved or a leper. Then when it doesn’t work out for a whole slew of reasons, they’re mildly disappointed, but proud I gave it the ol’ college try.

I’ve been single now for two years. Before that, I was in a five-year long relationship, and before that, I was with a guy for a year (the one in the metal band), and before that I was fourteen. So me being single is strange, not only for me, but for the family who was sure I would be the first to get married and pop out a screaming chunk of flesh that owned half my genes and twice my time.

After that last break-up, I was pretty low and had zero confidence or self-esteem. If I’m really being honest with myself, there wasn’t much of that while I was with him, but I had the whole “look, world! Someone loves me (kinda)! I’m not horrendous!” thing going for me, so it wasn’t as obvious as it was when I was suddenly alone. I’ve made considerable leaps and bounds since then (which I’m sure I’ll cover in later blogs — it’s been entertaining), and have never felt more sure of myself. So the other day when I was out shopping with my mother, our conversation turned to my semi-non-existent love life.

There’s a guy I’m sort of talking to (see brief mention of “Barista boy” in the previous post that had something about Tums in the title), and I’m in no hurry to see where things lead. I’m leaving to start my PhD in a year, so I’m not trying to get serious any time soon. No one in my family is pursuing academia, so there’s very little actual understanding; mostly just sympathizing, which I kinda hate.

I posted something on Facebook about a conversation I was having with BFF (mentioned in first post) and how I’m somehow a beacon to emotional fuckwits (only I didn’t say “fuckwits” on Facebook — and I’m pretty sure I stole that from Bridget Jones’ Diary) and socially awkward jackasses (I did say “jackasses”), then a quick note about my cat’s bathing habits and that it wasn’t a euphemism. My mother is my friend on Facebook, and called me earlier that morning before we shopped to see if everything was okay (and to remind me my grandmother is on Facebook — something about appropriateness). I said “I’m fine. I’m not worried. I’m fucking awesome. I mean, you’ve met me, right?”

The conversation then continued in the car, her reassuring me that I’m great and someone someday will realize that and he’ll be awesome and perfect and she’ll remind me how worried I was about finding love and she’ll say “I told you!” and I’ll say “I know, mom, you’re the greatest” and then the camera will freeze on that image of the family gathered around the dinner table as the credits flash on the screen to the sound of an upbeat, feel-good hit from the 80s.

Maybe I’ll even get my own spin-off series.

–AM.

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