Against all logic and things that are holy in this world, I have eased into the role of romantic adviser in my dotage. All the men who have ever had the pleasure of my company are now doing a collective eye roll (or grave roll, where applicable). Because prior to continuing it must be announced to those who don’t know me personally or are new to this humble blog, that to many from my past, I am a complete nutjob.
When Drew and I first got together, people told him he was asking for trouble. My own brother pulled him aside and said, “Dude, she is smarter than you, and meaner than you, and she will crush you like a bug. Run!” In this lifetime I have been called maneater, psycho, crazy bitch, witch, stalker, slut, skank, prude, pushy, obsessive and too nice. Most of which are true, or have been true at various times.
My very brief marriage after a long on and off relationship looked pretty much like a standard day with Ronnie and Sammi:
Note how she screams repeatedly that she wants nothing to do with him while following him around the house as closely as possible. Wise girl. Repeating your point in a loud tone while acting out in the opposite manner is a perfectly effective way to create healthy communication between two people.
I have wrecked rooms, started bar brawls, cheated, been cheated on countless times, slapped, screamed, thrown glasses, hit someone over the head with a bottle, hit myself over the head with a bottle, called obsessively, gone to jail for assault, broken up and reunited repeatedly, cried, cried, cried, cried, cried. Once I got so crazy and angry during an argument that I stabbed myself in the arm with a fork. And eventually spent a nice chunk of time and cash on therapy. And frankly, I’m still nuts. But it’s manageable now.
About eight years ago divine providence saw fit to send me a very attractive and intelligent person whose imperfections mesh very well with my own, and who has the integrity necessary to sustain a healthy relationship. My first reaction to this arrival was to embrace it heartily for about two seconds. My second and much longer reaction was to examine it with a microscope for the fatal flaw which would send me back into the usual spiral of depression and destructive behavior. When I couldn’t find any major flaws or betrayals, I made them up and did my best to fuck things up first, so I could at least have the upper hand when it collapsed. And yet, despite my best efforts at being the worst, it remained solid. Or rather, he remained solid.
It is the weirdest thing. I give him the side eye when we’re watching TV and think, “You still here? What is wrong with you?” But after these happy years together, I have come to the conclusion that the Universe, in its infinite wisdom, decided that it was time for me to learn some lessons through joy instead of through agony. And my karma for that, I believe, is that I must pay it forward whenever possible.
So I give my friends decent romantic advice, not because I was born wise, but because I know firsthand the consequences that arise from pretty much every dumb move that a female can make in the struggle to obtain or maintain a relationship, or even a date. I simply explain what happened when I did the wrong thing over and over, and how it feels to get slapped down heartily by the hand of fate. And their eyes widen and they say, “Ooh. That doesn’t sound good. Maybe I won’t call him obsessively/date an alcoholic/have an affair with that non-single man.” Sometimes they follow the advice and sometimes they don’t, but at least I know I’m giving them solid information.
I work with a young girl who is pretty, somewhat gothy, and very dramatic. She suffers when it comes to boys. She obsesses. She festers. If I’d ever had a daughter she could have been just like this kid. Recently there was an office discussion about her ex, who she hates, but loves, but hates, but loves. Of course he’s gorgeous, as those ones always are.
So I said, “All right, show him to me.” She pulled up a photo online and there he was in all his sullen glory. To me he looked like a child but I recognized the heartbreak oozing off of him. The fine features, the great hair, the perfect shitty attitude. Ah, the potential for exquisite anguish contained in that capsule, I know it so well.
I said, “All right. Let me show you something.”
I pulled up one of my ex’s facebook pages. This was the guy that I really hurt myself over for years. Poems and sobbing and phone calls and long nights of painful obsessing and when we were together just staring at his perfect, exquisite face. He was so beautiful I ached. The thought of him touching another girl was unbearable to me. And of course he was ALWAYS touching other girls. I could not imagine a life without him and yet life with him was horrendous and painful. I suffered. Oh, how I suffered.
Back to present, I said: “Here’s my ex then.” I clicked on one photo. “Amazing, right?”
She said, “Yes. he’s hot.” I said, “Here’s another. See how perfect his cheekbones are?”
She said, “I get it. He’s great looking.”
I said, “He was beyond great looking. Light bounced off of him in a way that I’d never seen before. So you get the picture?”
She said, “Yes, got it. Very hot.”
I clicked on a photo of a paunchy, puffy, haggard old man in a Hawaiian shirt, sitting on a lawn chair with a can of cheap beer in his hand, and said, “This is him now.” Clicked back to an old photo, “Then.” Clicked back to the recent photo, “Now.” I was like an eye doctor: “This one, or this one…”
She gasped. “No way!!!”
Yes way my dear.
I said, “This is what is going to happen to your ex. People get fat. People get old. Everyone ages, nothing stays the same, and all that suffering for beautiful boys, although enjoyable to a certain extent, is pointless because eventually they become your dad, belly hanging out on the couch, droning on about the good old days when he was in some crappy punk band. So you’d might as well try to enjoy your youth while you can.”
She said, “Wow. That makes me feel so much better.”
I said, “Good. Then my work here is done.”
We’ve been joking about starting a web page called Hot Guys Who Aged Badly. I actually took the Tumblr url, but I haven’t put anything up yet. It’s not like I haven’t aged too, and I don’t want to be mean to people, there’s enough of that online. Still, perhaps in the name of public service…