One of the things I struggle with is why I so often go girl crazy. I don’t enjoy relationships, I don’t enjoy sex, I want nothing but to be left alone, and, yet, time and time again, I’ll fall instantly in love with a woman and be willing to trade anything for her.
I spend far too much time trying to figure out the cause for what I can only describe as a defect, or, perhaps, a mental illness. I’m not lonely or starved for love. In fact, even though I just threw about the “love” word, I despise even the heady, early days of relationships. I despise the process of falling in love. Here we go again – what are your likes? Dislikes? Dreams? Fears? Hopes? I sit there and say all the same things and, after all these years, I start to feel like some senile old man telling the same story over and over again.
I sometimes try to play with this a bit. I adopt this persona of Nacho Sasha, only to realize that the persona itself is getting old and complicated after 11 years of Greatsociety madness and 21 years of pseudonymous writing and publishing. Sometimes I just write everything out and hand it to the girl. Homework. Go home and read this. We can talk about you if you want, or just start with tonight, right now, and go forward.
While my own story is exhausting and tedious, the problem is really just that most other people are very dull. So there’s no reveling in her story during those early days because, without fail, her story is a variation of everyone else’s story. We lack the events and the common culture that can make us interesting to each other. Life is dull and boring and, so, are the denizens of this life. Those of us who do have a story to tell usually have it because of some extraordinary personal tragedy. We are a small percentage, and an even smaller percentage of us are able to view our story not, necessarily, as heartbreak but, rather, as adventure, absurdist comedy, and lessons learnt.
On top of that, those early days in a relationship are just damned inconvenient. I hate going out on work nights. I’m always conscious of that 6am alarm the following day, and the always tenuous day job managed by small, petty monsters. The ideal girl for me only goes out on weekends, and leaves me alone during the week. Maybe a text here and there, or an email to finalize weekend plans. And, if my seasonal weekend job is in action, then forget it. A twelve hour shift on Saturday ruins my Sundays. I’d rather lay around on my own and be filthy, and quiet, and not speak or interact with anyone. My life turns to darkness if I don’t have at least one period of 24 consecutive hours where I can seal myself away in my apartment and live on my own terms.
God forbid I actually share living space with a woman. 24/7/365 on the ball, socially functional, aware of my emotions, responsible for my actions, and present and accounted for? There is no greater hell than that. Perhaps I could tolerate shacking up with a girl if we had a giant house, separate bathrooms, and maybe even separate bedrooms. And if she worked nights and I worked days. Ah, perfection.
So that scratches loneliness and a desire for love off the chart. I do not pine for companionship in the least. I celebrate the slow passing of family members as a great relief. Eventually, I will have no one to call on the holidays, no one to worry about, no one to remind me that our family has always been woefully broken. I maintain a small group of friends, most of whom see me once a month if they’re lucky. Being companionable is exhausting. An effort. Played out only on my terms – I’m here at a bar, why aren’t you you sticks in the mud?
I attempt to embrace a small amount of spontaneity, if it suits me. If a location I’m asked to meet someone is within a mile of where I currently am, then why not?
As to love? I don’t even really know what it is. I come from a family of people who never told me that they love me, who never hugged me, who never encouraged me. Half the time, I don’t think they knew I was there… Which was fine by me. I didn’t want them to know I was there. I spent my childhood obsessed about how I could get out and vanish forever, and regret only that I did not vanish forever on my 18th birthday.
Maybe it’s the sex, eh? But I don’t like sex, either. For most of my adult life, sex was merely a trigger for the crippling nerve pain in my face. Sex was pain. Agony. Something that would take weeks and medication and maybe even a hospital stay to recover from.
Now, in these bright and glorious days after a miracle surgery healed the nerve damage, sex is still associated with pain. That’s how my brain got wired over the course of 12 years. It’s hard to shake. Hard to rewire the old gulliver.
The problem is made worse by my chosen partners. As far as I can tell, most women are of the school of thought that they should lie like logs and take whatever comes and treat semen like battery acid. Those who are exciting in bed almost always are diseased of mind, body, and/or soul. When dealing with creatures as fickle and shallow as women, it’s tough to accept any baggage even if the sex is passable. And it’s never more than passable.
I blame this not on my partners, but on our society. I understand it’s not them, it’s everything around them. So, sexually, I try to be forgiving. I try to lay the faults on my own PTSD. My own fears. My own shortcomings. That’s the gentlemanly thing to do but, let’s face it, if the bitches are lousy in bed they really serve no purpose in this world, do they?
So sex sucks. That gets rid of all the normal reasons guys go ga-ga for girls. Where does that leave me? Sometimes I think I just get bored. I get involved with women like a cat plays with a toy. A feeble batting paw, the occasional burst of energy, followed by general dismissiveness and the odd desire to skulk off and shit in someone’s shoe.
My evidence for this theory is that most of my relationships begin in the winter.
Since 1991, I’ve worked no fewer than three jobs at one time. Currently, I work six jobs. The jobs that take up the bulk of my time and energy are my thankless and soulless day job, and my long-running weekend job. The latter often sees me squeezing 12-36 hours of work into every 50 hours. That weekend job is seasonal, starting up slowly in March, hitting a maniac stride in May, and then petering out in October. So come late autumn and winter, I suddenly find myself with two free days a week and no clear idea as to what I should do. Recently, and for the first time in nearly ten years, I’m also flush with cash. Something that makes boredom a bit more intolerable. There was nothing wrong with whiling away the winter weekends with Netflix and Ramen noodles as long as I just glanced at my bank statement every once in a while to remind myself of my mortality. This winter, though, a glance at my bank statement on a dull Saturday afternoon would only make me ask, “Why aren’t I getting a last minute first class flight to Paris to live with my buddy for six months and volunteer at an English-language bookstore?”
So I go out. And, for some reason, women find me attractive and I go home with them. I do nothing to encourage this. I drink in corners and wear ugly clothes I’ve owned for 15 years. I have crooked teeth, one of them stained blue as it slowly dies from a 13 year old root canal. I lurk in shadows and read a book, or stare blankly at a rugby game, and drink like a fish. The first words I may speak would be not an introduction but probably a complaint about gentrification, and the sad state of Bethesda or Silver Spring, MD.
Somehow, out of that, love blossoms. And, bored kitty cat that I am, I shrug and dive in. The routine again. Getting to know your boring self, telling you about my tragic self with a sick tinge of humor surrounding it. The bearing of two souls – one dull and lifeless, the other bitter and broken. The annoying weekday meets, eventually fading away in the light of my excuses. The weekends leading only to sexual encounters that make me pine for masturbation and gently disgust me. Maybe it lasts a week, a month, a year…but it’ll end, and I always know it will, in tears and heartache. Another pointless waste of everything. Most of them will take money from me. It’s a rare pleasure when I walk away from a breakup in the black.
All in all, I don’t regret them. They helped me pass another season. They got me through the boredom. Even if they are boring, it’s a different type of boredom. Something that mixes things up. Then, come spring, I can go back to the normal working routine.
So relationships, it seems, are a wintertime habit. Fueled by an extra dose of boredom. Resented the moment they begin, never fully enjoyed, and always troubling. Troubling because I see them as a weakness. Why do I bother? I should be home writing, or playing games, or reading, or just fucking lying on the couch staring at the ceiling.
But then I sit there in the shadows of some horrible yuppie bar and She comes in. She approaches me and She speaks to me and, I think to myself, here I go again. Don’t know why, don’t understand how, but here I fucking go again.