The Nice Guy
There was this girl from high school who was extraordinarily beautiful. Blonde, blue eyed, tall, built like a super model. And I mean built like a super model the way you think a super model is built, not the weird Auschwitz giraffes they are when you see them live. The way you think Christie Brinkley circa 1983 looked. Except better, because there was always something sinister about Brinkley…
Anyway, I digress. The point is: Great tits.
She and I had one of those horrifically unhealthy high school relationships where I was her “nice guy.” Her confidante. The non-threatening fucking little dogsbody who gazed adoringly at her and was, really, deeply in love with her, if love is possible with (a) a 16 year old and (b) me.
That’s a story we hear a thousand times over and see in every teen movie. If I can say anything, I can assure you that I’m living a cliche.
She’d sit there, half a foot taller than me, heaving breasts against wildly inappropriate clothes, sleek legs crossed, and she’d confess her wild outings to me over a bagel at the little deli next to our school. Of course she was dating college guys. Of course they were abusing her in every way possible. To fulfill the cliche, she’d always ask something like, “Why can’t I find a nice guy — like you?”
Jesus Goddamned Christ.
Of course, I was a “friend,” she couldn’t date a “friend.” Of course not! Friends don’t rape you and push you out of a moving car which, as we all know, is the benchmark for a lasting and rewarding relationship. That’s how I treat my women. And, maybe, if we get really, really deep into a serious relationship, I carve up her face a bit.
Right? No? Well, tell that to beautiful young women who all appear to think differently.
This proved too much for my feeble mind, so she and I drifted apart and I quietly avoided her. That was that.
A couple of years out of high school, walking to Borders in White Flint Mall, I passed one of those ridiculous high class clothing shops and there she was, short skirt, fuck-me boots, tight top, on her knees scrubbing the glass in front of the display. I moved to her like a moth to flame, called her name, received a delicious hug, and learned about the last couple of years where she was a troubled shopgirl in the mall.
But the magic was gone. I entertained a few stalky thoughts…planned to return to the mall more frequently and drift around her store. Full of desire still, but, as with all of us, the world had changed after graduation. We all begin the path of life at that point. And then we meet girls with no shame, trash cans full of grain alcohol and fruit, and the general parent-less adventure of college life.
From time to time, she entered my thoughts. During a nigh-shift job in 1996 editing shit for a major press company, I had lots of time to think about my life. There, in the deep, lonely AM hours, with just the cleaning staff occasionally buzzing in the shadowy hallways, I’d sit in a pool of light and pour over transcripts written at America’s universal 4th grade reading level. An easy job. At 3am, I’d leave. Maybe stop by the 24 hour grocery store and moodily get some shopping done, dodging the floor waxer, waking up the cashier. As with any night shift worker, it was an upside down life. A lonely life. You become anti-social, nocturnal by force. Your only interaction is with the people who make the world go around — and those cleaners and floor waxers look right through you, man.
I found her, using insanely primitive 1996-internet search methods, and wrote her modelling agent. He forwarded my email to her. She replied briefly, happily, and I sat staring at her email. Unable to reply. It was over.
Sixteen years later and we’re in the land of the social media. No one required to forward my email to anyone. Hell, I plug in your name and I can see your tits because you posted those Mardi Gras pics, you stupid drunk. I plugged in her name and, my god, even in the shadow of the big 4-0 she’s still gazelle-like and stunningly beautiful. Heart-meltingly so. And…single.
So I read about her and what’s the first thing she says about herself? “I’ve found God after a long love affair with the bottle.”
She goes on to say that she’s survived cancer and a whole litany of similar horrors. Like, all right there. When anyone in the world clicks “about” for this girl, this is the shit you read.
Isn’t all that, like, second date material?
I always take issue with the “finding God” thing, anyway. Especially if God is somehow related to sobriety. We’ll not talk about the indoctrination practiced by AA, we’ll just address the general stupidity of “finding God.” I hate our megalomaniac relationship with our chosen supreme deities. Like we’re so important. Like we matter so much. We’re insects. That’s why we drink too much and/or “fall from grace,” if you will. Because we don’t matter at all. Yet there’s this superior fucking snobbery with the God people.
I know, I know. I’m talking all crank-like again. It’s just that I hate this shit when it’s worn like a badge. Your “about” section should say something like “I work at Target and like cheese and live outside of Detroit and I try to keep it real and not strangle kittens at 3am.” Or…whatever. It should not say “I REJECT SATAN AND AM A FORMER ALCOHOLIC AND AAAAAHHHHHH CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY LALALALALALA!!! Single. Interested in men.”
Um…sorry lady. I…have to…go and… *runs away*
I’m not judging her for the god stuff, or the cancer stuff, or the booze stuff. I’m just saying — have a shred of decency. At least a ghostly whisper. I’ve got my story in the news, and I lean on it to sell shit, but it’s not really me. Know what I mean? Maybe not. I sometimes wonder if telling my story to the public (for fun and profit!) takes the power from it. If it somehow moves beyond me in that sort of showmanship way. On stage, I’m the guy you read about in the paper. At home, I like to watch bad sci-fi and cook and put on a horsehead mask and stare at my neighbor. The separation becomes so complete that the answer to “about me” is not that I survived nerve pain, and a horrific family, and all this other shit, but is, instead, mundane, innocent, uninteresting.
Which is a good thing.
Maybe others struggle with that? Maybe making your “about” section on Facebook and being brutally honest with the world is the same thing? I don’t think so… I think it becomes an identifying mark, a crutch. In my opinion, if you aren’t using the bad, scary stuff to make money in some way, or to amuse yourself and your friends, then you need to not mention it at all. Because, whew, you’re gettin’ me down, sister.
So…my high school sex symbol fades again into the mist. Another lost soul. Another person I can’t find myself caring about. The path of life continues.