Promiscuous Cookware

A text conversation with a slutty friend of mine…

Me: How was your day?

Friend:¬†I fooled around with another guy this afternoon. I feel weird now, like empty and without feelings. Besides that it was good, I got a new cookware set ūüôā

Me: The guy gave you a cookware set for sleeping with him?

Friend: No.

kama_sutra_cookie

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When I Made the Leap But No Net Appeared

I thought the path was concrete
But really it was water vapor

My instincts were like iron tanks
But the bridge was made with tissue paper

For someone who claims their lenses so clear
He was keeping his distance
I thought he was standing right here

Crossing that kind of gap
No smile would be wide enough
I embarrassed myself but I got him to laugh

People say, “I bet guys fall for you all the time.”
Well it’s quite the contrary

All the people I fall in love with
Turn out to be imaginary

"Like Tears In Rain" by Martin Wittfooth (2013)

“Like Tears In Rain” by Martin Wittfooth (2013)

Le Crush Redux

I saw my “going-on-two-years” crush again today.

Virgo

“Virgo” by Julie Dillon ¬© 2012

It was through a pane of glass Рand just by chance (and my passing by) Рour eyes met and he smiled at me. Instant emotional sunshine bomb in my whole day.

I realize I am tending a soil that will never turn a decent crop, but simple actions that produce radical endorphins are difficult things to stop yourself from enjoying. Couple that with an overactive imagination residing in my neural network, and you have a lovely mirage of a bountiful harvest. That mofo’ doesn’t know what he’s missing. This creative sombitch does birthdays and anniversaries like nobody’s business.

 

New job titles I am up for: Illusionary Zoo Keeper, Pipe Dream Smoker, False Impressionist, or perhaps just an Apparition on a Hard Drive Partition.

The Kitten In the Cactus

I think one of the most difficult situations is one where you must provide comfort to someone while simultaneously causing pain to yourself.

kitcactus

I call it “rescuing the kitten in the cactus” because it’s excruciating as hell, but sometimes you have to do it. What I am talking about of course, is when you have feelings for someone and they either don’t like you in that way or they don’t know it yet (but it’s not a good time to reveal that information). I recently had a friend (who I’ve harbored some intermittent heart palpitations for) confess to me his undying love for some tramp that broke his heart years ago. He metaphorically cried on my shoulder via text message (such a strange communication method for an Oprah-style conversation), and although I guess I didn’t have to, I do care about him and I wanted to be the good friend. Now, I’ve made it clear several times in the past that I’d be cool with dating him but he always retreats or changes the subject. I don’t have to be C-3P0 – or fluent in six million forms of communication – to know his answer is probably: “No. Like never.”

In any case, I can’t help but hold back the bitter swallow when someone is lamenting their shitty situation and I’m thinking, “What am I? Chopped liver?”

Well, I guess I am. So come here and seek refuge in the cold comfort of my chopped liver hug, you goddam bastard.

The Inability to Quantify Love

Love_by_arlek_in

“Love” by Nikolai Bashkirev (2006)

At the age of 39, I find myself in a quandary: After years of dating and assembling personal relationships only to have them collapse like a house of cards, I decided to try to quantify what makes people “fall in love.” As you can imagine, it’s virtually impossible to determine a definitive answer. So after surveying the wreckage of my past attempts, I tried to glean from the remaining particles what forms the axis of a potentially solid foundation. In much discussion with friends, I often feel ping-ponged between opposing view points. They often contradict each other in advice and approach, but somewhere between the refractory points of view, I settled on the following factors:

1. Humor: There must be laughter. If no laughter, then what will sustain you both when you’re in wheel chairs with leaky colostomy bags? You better have some jokes for glue. Several friends say that only one person in the relationship need supply the laughs and that as long as the other person is entertained, the circuit is complete. Since I’m a moody bastard, I feel like I need both ends. Sometimes I like being the magician, and sometimes I like being the audience. I am not sure if it is reasonable to assume you can be both. I do know that a good laugh dismantles emotional walls, it coaxes smiles out of the fox hole, and it disarms the nuclear trigger of a raging temper.

2. Intelligence: Not IQ-driven, but a certain level of intellectual compatibility. Everyone’s mind is a satellite adrift in the Nothing, but when transmissions fall upon familiar frequencies a reciprocity is created. I’ve always believed that two people need not work for NASA to communicate effectively with each other. But a similar level of idea exchange turns consonants and vowels into construction material. Can’t cross that violent river? No problem, we’ve got sentences stronger than the thickest bridge cable.

3. Self-Responsibility: I think a lot of people drive their relationships without this one. I find that being with people who are not very responsible is ultimately detrimental to both parties. I’ve also been weary of those who would not provide an equal contribution to the partnership, and I’m not necessarily talking about money. These are the cleptoparasites who will feed on your emotional well-being. I’ve often found that people with a good work ethic, the ones who will do a good job – even if the job itself is not particularly prestigious or profitable – are sterling examples of this cardinal attribute. It may not always carry over to other parts of their life, but it is often a divining rod to a quality person. In my experience, it denotes a person unfettered by obstacles who is willing to work on something, rather than give up at the first sign of trouble.

4. Decent Hygiene: I know this is a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people come up short in this department. No one has to be OCD, or carry anti-bacterial wipes in their wallet, but a modicum of cleanliness is like having a home with good manners. I’ve certainly let my apartment go to hell during a busy week at work, and I get behind on laundry just like everyone else, but there comes a point when even I cannot stand it. I once read a book on playing chess that said, “An ordered system loses less energy.” Well, in my book an ordered house, projects good energy. I think of all these points, this could probably be the one I bend on if the other factors were strong enough. After all, I would be willing to have a pet in the house (if I really wanted one). I just can’t kiss one that smokes.

5. A Physical Connection: Ah, the great differentiator. My mind has a habit of drilling down to the essence of what makes something stand out. I was raised to believe that you seek out someone in life to be with as an extension of the family you are already born into. Of course, in my teenage mind, the physical obligations of a marriage seemed contradictory to that line of thinking – so you add this person to your family except you have sex with them? Seems weird and metaphorically incestuous. However, I think a sexual relationship is quite important (at least for myself) if you’re going to be bound to the Earthly plane for 70+ years. Judging from my more liberated friends, sexual attraction is relatively easy to find and I think that’s probably true. Surface quality is the fastest thing to identify, especially with the Internet’s one billion profile pictures. Unfortunately, many are false advertising for the empty containers they merely decorate.

Despite the accumulations of this list, I still can’t help but think I am missing something. That unknown factor. I am hesitant to call it “supernatural” or “extrasensory,” but I do know that I’ve met people who satisfy all of these criteria and still my mountain within is not moved. The heart is a fickle invention and it excels at cryptography.

Damn you, human heart.

In The Company of Donuts

This morning, I sought emotional solace in a complimentary, office donut.

For whatever reason, I had a mood swing last night about being single and nearing 40 faster than a bowling ball toward so many standing pins. The feeling lingered well into my morning commute. And as I now stood there in the break room, I stared at this maple-iced confection knowing it would never reject my surly advances. It would remain inert to my bad jokes. Yet if only it could engage me in a fierce political debate, make a wisecrack about vehicular decapitation, or critique science fiction movies with swift and ruthless judgment – I would have found “The One”.

But alas, it was just a donut.

And I destroyed it with my digestive juices like so many that had come before it.

mapledonut

The Silent Fury of a Secret Crush

There is something uniquely painful and delicious about a secret crush. I’ve been harboring one for the better part of two years with no signs of abatement.

"The Ecstasy" (2011) by Martin Wittfooth

“The Ecstasy” (2011) by Martin Wittfooth

I have never been the bold and brash type to throw myself at people and brush it off if they reject me. I am usually quite cautious – like a medical professional – gauging the temperature of the situation, feeling for a pulse of reciprocal attention, and then making an educated assessment on the survival outcome. ¬†I guess you can say that I’m not one to dance in the spotlight of public humiliation (although I have done it on occasion for comedic effect).

Last spring, I made some subtle overtures toward this quiet gentleman to see if there was any interest in the shallow tides of our interactions, but my net returned nothing of substance. But still, to this day, when I see him in passing or when he responds to my random greetings or casual conversations, I experience nothing short of the 4th of July in my cardiovascular system. My synapses align and fire like a 21-gun salute. I am happy for almost 3 full hours simply because he acknowledged me.

He’s not Gerard Butler or anything, but he’s got a quiet power about him. A solid, slightly introverted, state of mind. Hair like crushed coal and mischievous eyes.¬†Regal but with a hint of darkness, like an old Victorian clock or a wounded soldier still keeping watch at the checkpoint. He wreaks of responsibility and work ethic – the cologne of a good man. And trust me, this is truly a rare aura for someone in their late 20’s.

But at the end of the day, he’s beyond my reach for whatever reason. Perhaps he is with someone or not interested in me. Perhaps he’s not looking. Perhaps he’s not “playing for my team”. I may never have the answer, and so I have to swallow my hope. It feels like a grenade gift-wrapped in a cactus. But better that than follow the bread crumbs up the mountain of expectations that I’ve constructed, over the peak of my own hype, and off the cliff into oblivion.

There is no pain greater than that of suppressed elation.

Ok, maybe dental pain.

The Valentine’s Day Massacre

Valentine’s Day is truly a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, you have a number of people who appear to be blessed to have someone they love in their lives (and who presumably love them back). Many enjoy reflecting that sunshine out into the eyes of everyone around them like a little kid with a pocket mirror by posting endless proclamations on their Facebook and Twitter accounts for all the world to see. On the alternate hand, you have single people who fear this holiday more than a paper cut in a lemon juice factory. I probably fall into the latter group this time around, however I certainly do have a sliver of happiness for my friends who have managed to find people to “enhance” their lives.

However, this Valentine’s Day I spent a good amount of time reflecting on whether or not I would want trade places with some of them and surprisingly, the answer was a resounding “No.”

Exploration of this thought took me deep into the caverns of my own psychological choices. Why not trade places with those who seem to have it all? Why would you not want to have that affection and closeness on a day such as this? The answers were relatively simple. I do, of course,  wish to leave this heavy coat of loneliness in a Goodwill donation bin but not at the price of leaving something else in its pockets which is of far greater value: my principles. All but perhaps 2 or 3 relationships that I witness in my friendship orbit involve some kind of horrible compromise. Whether it is broken trust, covert infidelities, or mutual hatred of being alone, these compromises Рwhile not entirely visible to the untrained eye Рharbor something I would never want in my future: a false promise. A marriage built on something that may not be entirely real or lasting. A carnival trick created by slight of hand (and heart).

In my discussions with many friends, I have been told, “You will never find the perfect relationship so you may as well give up some of the things you are looking for,” but does this mean core things like trust? I don’t think so. I do think that holding out for solid, common values does mean your journey will be likely be unpleasant. I think it might be that you will be lonely more often, your wait will be longer. The road to an Olympic Gold Medal is certainly much more difficult than winning a red ribbon at the county fair. It takes both ruthless dedication and an inordinate amount of time. And in the end, there is no guarantee you will find it.

Facing this goal is daunting – like a standing at the base of a Himalayan mountain with but a single climbing rope to help you. The quest seems hopeless from the very start, but you have to ask yourself if that is what you really want. Are you truly capable of achieving this?

When I look at the mountain in front of me – with its icy top and treacherous slopes – I can see why people succumb to the fear. It is far easier to say, “This person doesn’t make me laugh or spark my intelligence but they are reliable,” or “I have to go outside the relationship for fulfilling sex, but I don’t want to be on my own again.” So, in some ways, I get it. I may not agree with the choice, but I do understand it.

Or perhaps it is better to say that I understand human nature and that the path of least resistance is usually the one most traveled.

three_swords

Here, let me help you with this completely useless clich√©…

I’ve been complaining to my close friends a lot lately about the misery of dating in your late 30’s. I find that most people have settled down (or let’s face it, settled¬†for less than they deserve) by this age so much of what is left on the dating scene is some severely bruised fruit. I’m in that lot, so I will admit I probably have some unattractive baggage as well. However, as they say, it’s ok to have baggage as long as you meet someone who has a set that matches yours. Admittedly, it’s certainly not fair to lump them all into that phylum, and I imagine there are some diamonds in this clogged toilet of a dating scene – I just don’t relish the idea of putting my hand in there.

Anyway, I’ve discovered that my friends (bless their hearts) have finally run out of encouraging words, or at the very least – creativity, when it comes to advice. Here are my most hated words of dating wisdom and my passive-aggressive rebuttals to them:

Friend: “It’s going to happen when you’re not looking! It always happens when you least expect it!”
Me: “Oh thank you for that. I could use that very same sentence to comfort a family whose mother was shot by a sniper hiding on the roof of a local library.”

Friend:¬†“You should use this time to really embrace being alone. Time to yourself is truly a gift.”
Me:¬†“You’re right. You know, I think I will start advocating that they write those very words on every single life preserver on every single sailboat. That way when people get lost at sea and are being circled by sharks, they can be grateful for that time alone.”

Friend:¬†“God’s just making you wait for the right person because he wants you to be grateful when it finally arrives.”
Me: “If God exists, I seriously doubt he or she has time to play the part of Chuck Woolery for me on Love Connection. Have you seen the news footage from Sudan lately? I’m pretty sure any potential higher power is shitting its pants over a mass genocide…and not my dating life.”

I am mostly just kidding here. I know my friends are just trying to help make me feel better, and often times I close my eyes and try to “hear between the lines” the real advice when they say these things:

“I don’t know what to do to help you. I don’t have any answers, but I love you and I really hope you find somebody. I’m just trying to give you a gallon of gasoline that might get you another few miles down the road, and then maybe someone else can get you through a few more after that. Eventually, I hope that guy that makes you laugh so hard that your teeth explode will intersect your path and make this long knife of waiting worth it. However, I don’t know when or if that day will come. I’m just trying to get through this life as best I can, just like you.”

So, to all my friends, I appreciate your sincere (but canned) advice, but there’s no need to sugar coat with this old goat.