Sunday 7 September 2008

Hopeful Monsters For Sale

I set out in the previous post certain conclusions I had come to vis a vis my own existence.
Some thought them rather bleak.

Bleak, maybe, but true nonetheless.
There are certain facts about myself which must be accepted- at least by me.

jmb suggested in the comments that maybe I should stop seeking 'love' on such superficial terms. That maybe I need to let someone in to see the 'real' Crushed.

The irony is, the post was inspired by a private admission of what doing that leads to- can only ever lead to.

I have several close female friends, people I've let in to see that. And that is what they become, close female friends.
I've let in the only woman I think I'd really want to spend the rest of my life with and what do I now have? Probably one of the best friends I'll ever have, but that is all she'll ever be. She has shown through all this that I mean something to her at some level, clearly, but that can never be any more than platonic.

She could never see me as anything else. And this is the point. Seeing things from where she stands, she couldn't. Any more than any other woman I've let in that close.

So I have several close female friends, and I have no difficulty in attracting on a superficial level, but the two are and always will be poles apart.

And it needs to be understood why.

I don't think the face I present to the outside world is a fraud. It's me, it's genuine. But at first sight it bedazzles and blinds you to the hidden character flaws.

At the end of the day, I'm a salesman. Quite obviously I'm able to communicate well. And I'm actually a reasonably caring person in many ways. I tend to be nice to people, simply because I like them to be nice to me. And I'm good with words and good with gestures.

And I'm quite spontaneous. I get caught up in things very easily.

I guess generally, my sexual/romantic relations with the opposite sex fall into several broad types. A fair bit of casual sex which never even made it as far as anyone's bedroom, names not exchanged or if they were they never made it to my long term memory. Then we have the ones that in one sense or another one shared a bed with, sometimes for sex, sometimes just to have someone to sleep with. Sometimes, just for the night, sometimes it went on for a bit longer. But the fact it started in such terms usually precluded it from ever getting serious. Having said that, I slept with Joanna before I knew what her name was.

Then we have the ones you might term relationships. By these, I mean ones where they lasted for a period exceeding a week or two. And usually they fit into a certain pattern. There was an element of courtship involved before things progressed towards the bedroom and even when they did progress to the bedroom, sex rarely took place the first time we slept together.

And the average duration was probably between one and three months. That is the standard. When I say standard, I mean that of the women that I'd list as being in some sense ex-girlfriends of mine, I can only see two on that list that lasted over three months. And the vast majority are closer to one month than three. None lasted less than a month for the simple reason that these things take at least a month to see where they're going. Or actually that isn't true. Ultimately I always knew where they were going- absolutely nowhere, but that doesn't mean that these things don't have a value in the here and now.

Because I know. I always know that they're going to end. Within three months. I KNOW.

And within three months, they realise too.
The penny starts to drop.

Because it always starts well. I guess I impress on a first date. And I continue to impress, in that way. Being the gentleman. Buying flowers, getting them little gifts, paying attention to them, being sensitive.

And it's not long before we get 'I was telling my mother about you. She thinks you might be 'The One'.'
Or you get introduced to their friends to be evaluated. And when you turn back to look at them as you're at the bar ordering drinks, you can see you've been approved. Her friend is saying 'Oh, x, he's lovely! Just what you need right now.'

And this is when you start to worry.
Because it happens so fast.

I'm thirty now and I've been bitten in the arse by this phenomenon enough times to be wise to it, but I wasn't always. I guess it's kind of a buzz. You know they're falling in love. And you're not falling in love, but you're in love with the idea of someone falling in love with you, and you can't help BUT lead them on.

But you know in time they'll see the light. They'll tire of you. They will see, eventually, that you were too good to be true.

And it is those hopeful monster genes. They KNOW what they need to do. They know they will not be selected to be someone's life partner. Their best hope is to dazzle long enough (three months) for successful fertilisation to take place- or it would do in a world without contraception.

Because the facade they fall for, it isn't a facade, you really are being you. But not the whole you. And what they see encourages them to fill in the blanks the wrong way. They think that you are someone they can reform, someone they can rescue, someone who their love will turn into the person they always should have been if they'd had someone to truly love them. That's what they believe.

And time shows them they are wrong.

And sometimes, I think it hurts them. One or two felt deliberately misled. Most take it in a resigned way. Most of these relationships just fizzled out gradually, ending, not with a bang, but a whimper.

In some cases genuine hatred seems to have been the outcome. But more often, some strange kind of nostalgic regret seems to linger. I was stopped by a barmaid recently in The Star and she said that she thought I'd had a relationship with someone she worked with in her day job. It turned out she was right, but what was odd was that it happened a very long time ago and wasn't for that long, so quite how a barmaid at The Star I'd never spoken to before should know on first meeting that I was someone who'd once slept with someone she worked with in another place is a mystery to me. Then again, I think I have a reputation in that pub for having done the rounds a bit.

I suppose now we need to look at the other angle. and to do that, we need to look at how D and I ended up living together.
It started out as an exercise in cynicism. D lived with her boyfriend and it wasn't going well. I worked with D and figured out that taking her for a drink and being a shoulder to cry on was a good tactic to getting her into bed.

What actually happened was we BOTH got drunk and ended up crying on eachother's shoulders.
I told her what I thought was the worst thing I've ever done, the one thing in my life I'm THOROUGHLY ashamed of. And she held me close and told me it wasn't that bad, that anyone in my position would have done the same.

And I got quite attached to her in an emotional sense. Things got blurred.

We'd often go for a drink together- I'd keep pushing the going to bed together thing when I'd had a few, but D made clear it wasn't happening. She didn't see me that way.

And it culminated in a night that she actually did go out and find that kind of solace somewhere and I had a fit of pique which lasted...

...till she texted me and suggested going for a drink.

She'd become a mate. Yes, I went for a drink with her. She had decided to leave her man and find somewhere to live.

By the time we moved in together, we were good platonic friends. Nothing beyond that was ever going to happen between us. I think both of us separately 'christened' the flat within the first week.

I count D as being like a sister in some ways. She got me in a way so many women never have and never will. And was able to handle actually sharing a living space. There was always a huge trust between us.

I think sometimes she was quite protective towards me. As a lot of my friends are.

She knew what it took to get it to work. In many ways, there was something slightly couple-ish about it at times. And certainly, when she started seeing The Baker, when we went out it was often as if I was has stand in. I was quite protective towards her if strange men started chatting her up.

And I can remember one rather strange moment in the Westcroft. There is a curious tradition round here where 'The Proclaimers' are played last thing on a Saturday night and everyone dances on the tables topless. Well, I wasn't doing it until D shouted 'Come on, get your top off, you have a good body!'

And it was wierd. Because it must have looked to everyone else as something so very different to what it was.

Because yes, D has seen me countless times sitting on the couch in just my boxer shorts flicking through the channells with the remote. But that's all it ever was.

D knows me. As Dizzie knows me. And now, the way Haydee too knows me. And they all see me in the same light.
They're there for me as friends. Good friends. Closer friendships than usually seems to be possible between people of different sexes.

But they know why it would never be more. They see me at close range and they can see why I'm not boyfriend/partner material. Seeing me this close, they could never look at me that way.

In my case it really is true, being a close friend means you would never want to be my lover.
It is only possible to be my lover because you cannot see what a friend would see.

What is that?

It's what I am when I'm being myself. And once you're used to what that is, you can deal with it. I guess it can be unnerving and difficult to handle, something that in some sense you can feel something for, evidently, because I know those close to me genuinely DO care.
I think they accept they can understand, but never QUITE see through my eyes.

I am that precocious child. A precocious child with a fair bit of life experience, but still, someone ultimately vain, capricious, petulant and with no real sense of any time other than the here and now. Someone for whom life itself is fairly trivial. Someone who lives to be fascinated and amused, but ultimately is driven entirely by the need to sense and experience.

And causes. Someone who needs to be driven by causes, someone who thinks entirely in terms of ideals and structures.

And it's hard to reconcile that with the fact I am at the same time someone with high intelligence and good interpersonal skills.

But it's a theme that fascinates us in human myth and art.

The Elves of Germanic legend, perhaps. Wise in knowledge yet ultimately capricious.

I guess I am somewhat otherwordly to those who really know me.

And I guess any woman who knows me well enough to want to have me in her life as a friend can see that I'm not something she'd want, not in that way.

It is the mystery that fascinates, the mystery that attracts and when you know the answer to the riddle, you realise it was like El Dorado; You thought there was a City of Gold, but all there is, is a fetid swamp.

It's not that a woman who gets to know me that well is revolted by what she sees, just she knows that it's not attractive, not at all. There's enough there for her to want to be good friends, but the idea of anything more doesn't appeal- not when you can see from that close an angle.

And so I find myself where I do now. Haydee. She is perhaps now one of my best friends, certainly I talk to her more than most people I can think of. And we both know that if the choice was down to me, I'd spend my life with her. But it isn't.

Sometimes I think we should just end the agony, and just completely break contact. But I can't bring myself to do that. Because what I DO get from her is more, a hundred times more than any other woman could ever give me. It's not quite what my heart desires, but still, why cut off my nose to spite my face?
And anyway, I don't think she'd let me anyway. That's how special she is. She works to steer our friendship past this problematic obstacle that I'm madly in love with her.

And it will get steered past, of that I have no doubt. I guess we will talk pretty much everyday, maybe forever. And every day there will be a part of me that wants that something more but knows it will never be. I guess it will be something that will always be there, just we'll both get used to it. In time it won't even be talked about, it'll just be something taken for granted.

I've said to her that it may well be for the best. I guess in spite of my beliefs, I find it hard to escape that cultural conditioning that tells you that one day you'll find Ms Right and settle down. I found Ms Right and it turns out I'm Mr Wrong...

I suppose there is something ever so SLIGHTLY dispiriting about finally stumbling across that someone. It actually does feel like you loved them all your life. You didn't. It's just you had a hole in your soul that was made for someone to fit and one day you found someone that fit. But you don't fit into theirs.

It's the one thing we all kind of hope we won't be found wanting in; being the one the one we love, loves.

But there's no point throwing your rattle out of the pram about it. The responsible thing to do is admit to yourself and everyone else that that position is kind of closed.

The fact is, we all market ourselves in two ways. But you can't market what isn't there. You can only sell what you have in stock.

We market ourselves short term to get laid and we market ourselves to find a long term partner.
We do the first by dazzling ourselves like a peacock displaying his plumage, showing off the genes we have to pass on.
We do the second by letting someone into see what those genes have made us.

And the fact is, there are buyers out there for the first.

But not for the second. Not anyone I'd ever want to sell to.

So I think, really, I'm just going to stop selling the second. It's a White Elephant. It belongs to Haydee, kind of, but it's something she can stick in the garage with the rest of the junk.

As for the first, I reckon I've got another ten years left of selling that.

This is reality.

This is life.

My life, anyway.


Anonymous said...

*slow smile*
one of those posts that has me holding my breath. captivating, engrossing :-)

> It is only possible to be my lover because you cannot see what a friend would see...I am that precocious child.
Couldn't some women want that? maybe not all are looking for the 'protector man'; you might get a slightly more dominant woman, who'll enjoy catering to your whims...? :- )

> But you know in time they'll see the light. They'll tire of you. They will see, eventually, that you were too good to be true.
Haha... I actually often start like that... but the other way around, in the sense that I see the end... I fear the day when I open my eyes one day and think, "who is this?" 'cos after all, one was overwhelmed at the start, but then boredom sets in, plus you see they aren't the hero you thought... i think it happens commonly ;-)

>And you're not falling in love, but you're in love with the idea of someone falling in love with you, and you can't help BUT lead them on.
*nods* I get that. But I don't like to lead them on... it troubles me. But who knows; one can accidentally fall in love, in the process ;-)

Anonymous said...

If you really want love, you gotta have friendship, caring, consideration too, or in the end…

If you think women can’t look at a guy, see his faults and still want him,if she likes him then you are just being dumb. Most all guys have feet of clay, but still the human race continues.

Who collectively washes guys socks, puts the loo seat down, caters to you when you have ‘man’ flue, listens to you when you are drunk and helps you to bed, cleans you up, apparently believes inches are more like centimetres, sees you at your worse… and best?

You do put yourself down, just don’t believe yourself too much;-)

Anonymous said...

Eve- Ah now, your first paragraph encapsulates so much of the problem...

Because actually, I'm still a highly dominant quite assertive male, highly terriorial and yes, protective. I have very alpha male instincts in some ways.

I don't respond well to domineering women- at all.
And those why try to mother me get their heads bitten off.

The point is, people like D knew how to deal with it. D could ses that if I wasn't reminded tp pay the bills, I wouldn't pay them, but even so, I'd never allow anyone else to pay them. She could see that things only ever got done by her reminding me, but that ultimately any attempts to wrest control from me would provoke a hostile response. I'm comfortable having people to delegate to and am quite happy to delegate pretty much EVERYTHING as long as I feel that ultimately I retain control.

You need to be thinking more in terms of the child that cannot be disciplined, the child who is outright hostile to all attempts to rein them in and can only be bought by buying them a bag of sweets to shut them up.

That sort of child.

I'm not a child in the sense I need protecting- I prefer to have that role in the relationship and most women can se that I can do that bit fine.
It's the fact that I do what I want, when I want on a whim and get very hostile when people interfere.

Living with me means living a state of total suspense most of the time, because I don't say where I'm going or when I'll be back and I may be vibrant company or I may ignore you all night. I have the mood swings of an adolesecant girl.

And I can be quite frustrating.

You need to be passive, tolerant and TOTALLY non-confrontational to an unusually high degree to live in the same living space as me.

I guess at first, the sorts of things I tend to talk about sound interesting. But when you realise that I'd still be thinking about the global significance of Islam while you're trying to plan a shopping list, that I do indeed 'say that to all the girls', that Ispending 'quality time' together is quite low down my priority list and that I tend to retain a whole secret life, or at least large areas of my life I will keep fro you, just because I prefer that way- that I will just go out and not say where I'm going, it's just too much for most women to take.

And they realise they're better off out of it.

I don't like to lead them on either. But I kid myself I'll grow to love them. Doesn't work. And usually they go out of their way to scare you off, anyway.

Moggs- The things you list I HAVE with all my female friends...

I think most of my female friends see me as kind of an errant older brother. Or something like that.

I think it's more that seeing the faults, she knows that she doesn't want the sort of relationship she'd inevitably end up having with such a person.

A woman once said to me 'If I were lieing on your bed naked and you were in the middle of writing a post, you'd ignore me and make me wait till you'd posted'.

I replied 'Well actually, you'd still have to wait. I like a pint after I've posted'.

I'm not actually joking either.

Anonymous said...

> And usually they go out of their way to scare you off, anyway.
Heheh :-)

For the rest of it.. yes, I see :-) It's cos you plan on living your life the way you see fit, and not changing your plans for anyone... ;-) whereas many women are equally demanding and capricious, so it'd be a tug-of-war...