The façade of my vociferous "happily single" column onslaught can no longer be kept up. That really bums me out. It has nothing to do with putting my foot in my mouth or the painstaking conversations that will ensue once a certain few get their hands on this confession. No, the lies can no longer continue because an amazing woman has crept under my skin. "Under my skin" is such a disgusting and horribly visual phrase. Like a splinter starting to fester, turning red as it swells. That exactly is how it figuratively feels. That's right, I just said exactly and figuratively in the same breath.
"You know what I mean though" as I scratch my head and start to back-peddle. I had just finished explaining to one of my many "relationship experts" how I've finally found someone who has everything I want in a girl but that I just don't want it right now.
She looks at me like a disappointed mother, "what's wrong with you?" Her eyes were piercing and the question was so simple and direct.
I took a deep breath, my mind raced with thousands of brush-off answers until 'fuck it' popped into my head. I stalled for several more moments, looked her right in the eye and said, "I'm scared…"<
"Sean, I've never taken you for a liar but that's one of most honest things you've ever told me…" The disappointment disappearing from her face was followed by intrigue that my pea-sized heart might actually be beating. "This girl is good for you," she continued.
"Yeah, as good as a hole in the head." I've always had a way with ruining moments.
The fear of the past, while still ever present in my mind is greatly overshadowed by my fear of the future. Things are good. Yesterday was good, today wasn't bad and I'm sure tomorrow will be fine. I love that. Life is stable, controllable and running fairly smoothly. Allowing someone to become close to me could seriously screw that up. I mean, for all intensive purposes, life has taught me that things will eventually become messed up. I'm not necessarily saying that the girl who gives me the warm-fuzzies will be the one who fucks it up. I'm pretty sure I can handle that on my own. That scares me the most- I don't want hurt her. Not now, not ever.
I try to look at things as objectively as possible and I realize how pessimistic that sounds. What else do I have to go off of though? The formula I've concocted to achieve life's goals over the next several years is an extremely selfish one. There's never been a thought of someone else in my plan and I'm struggling to figure out how to incorporate that.
"Woah, slow down, Sean." I keep telling myself. "You're not even with this girl and you're talking about 'life plans'." However, this is a declaration of honesty and it is something that honestly needs pondering. I'd hate to sabotage something before it begins. Scratch that, I refuse to sabotage something before it begins. If I'm going to allow this constant festering to grow into a full-fledged infection then I need to be prepared for the sickness. Too bad love isn't something that a dab of ointment and a few days rest can cure.
As it stands at the moment, I am certainly not "happily single". I am horribly confused, brain beaten, stomach twisted and trembling with excitement as I write this. Though a splinter is the perfect analogy for what I'm going through, it's a horrible representation of what she means to me. I'll work on that. Along with allowing my mind to wrap around the concept of someone becoming significant to me. And me, possibly, becoming significant to them….
I have a picture hanging on my bedroom wall of a beautifully discontent woman. The LA skyline is in the background, black and white. The woman’s tank top is white and her hair is black, rich sun-kissed skin glowing. Her eyes are closed but if she were to open them she’d be looking at her shoes. Her posture, however, is what ties this picture together. She’s confident. Her shoulders, cheeks and lips have not been defeated. Her head is heavy but her spirit is on fire.
I find myself thinking about her, usually before I fall asleep. I lie there and wonder what went through her mind 3.7 seconds before the picture was taken. 3.7 seconds is the amount of time I’ve decided it would take to position herself in such a way once this particular thought crossed her mind. People rarely carry themselves with this subtle indestructible confidence- and then her head lowers. It’s like she filled her lungs with that smog soaked air and is about to take the first step into her newfound realization.
I have the timing down but I can’t figure out what’s running through her mind. I’m afraid if I did, the picture would become meaningless to me. The mystery and my interpretation is all that matters. The truth would shatter that along with the 3.7 seconds of perfection leading up to the click of the shutter. Is that what I want though, the bliss of my imagination?
As the last few paragraphs have proven, I have the ability to build things up beyond their straightforward impressions. Given the right circumstances I can completely disconnect from reality altogether. That somewhat worries me. How many times have I been wrong? I’ve stepped back for several seconds, taken a breath of sweet mountain air and marched on into my perception- possibly not reality at all.
I’ve found it hard to stay grounded lately, especially when I’m left alone with my thoughts….
I read something the other day that made a lot of sense to me. I wish I could remember what it said.
I’m so sick of television, music, movies, and books that I actively go out of my way to watch even more TV and listen to more music. I’m a media masochist. I’m not completely sure why I enjoy torturing myself. Like at this very moment No No No is playing through my stereo by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. My heart sinks in such a beautifully content way.
I suppose I could relate it to all the women I’ve agonized over but that doesn’t make much sense. What do the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have to do with my first girlfriend? How could Karen O be crushing me just like Carrie H did? She can’t. And why would Karen O want to crush me? She wouldn’t. Unless all girls want to crush me…
I’m beginning to understand that women crushing guys is a common theme. I mean, other than Karen O, I haven’t been crushed in a long time but that’s only because I haven’t allowed myself. The fools in the television, music, movies and books I’ve been absorbing aren’t so lucky. They keep going back for more and lose a piece of themselves each time. It’s a train wreck taking place on the most gorgeous spring day of the year and that’s why I can’t stop watching.
Perhaps the distance I’ve created between myself and vaginas has everything to do with Reality Bites and nothing to do with Carrie H. It’s completely possible because no matter how many leather jackets I own I will forever be Michael Grates. Women know this. At least those who know me do. What’s wrong with that though? I rooted for Michael through the entire movie. I actually took his side and was outspokenly upset when she chose The Douche. It wasn’t because my life roll was similar to Stiller’s character but because he was a nice guy. A good guy. His heart was always in the right place while The Douche had a bad haircut and took up couch space. It broke my heart, and that’s what made it such a good movie.
Possibly my heartache has nothing to do with all Lelaina Pierce’s of the world but the Chloe’s from Sol Goode. In fact, I’m certain of it. Chloe is the girl that’s always been there for you. She’ll always be there for you. You drink beers together, sing along to Jimi Hendrix, make fun of mutual friends and feel utterly empty when she’s not around- never realizing why. You’re blinded by her beauty, to point of not accepting it. Chloe is the reason why you never have any successful relationships. Every girl you meet is compared to her, knowingly or not.
Chloe terrifies me and that’s why when Karen O explains “and cool kids, they belong together” I’m crushed. Crushing so hard over my Chloe…
Being the 20 something single that I am, dating is not only on my mind but also the people I surround myself with. Not necessarily even those who are single, in most cases it’s friends in relationships who try to live vicariously through my encounters. Most of our conversations are concluded by them accusing me of being a moron, I guess having the reassurance of someone at home gives them the confidence to make such statements. However, I can’t argue with them. I am a moron, or as I like to put it “relationship challenged”. I’ve been told that I need to be a little more PC so here’s my effort to make my disability sound as warmfuzzy as it could be.
“You haven’t called her back? Jesus, it’s been two days!” One of my ball n’ chain cohorts snapped.
“Two days…” I think out loud, “I haven’t even called my Mom in two days.” I say defensively as I glare back.
“You’re an asshole.” That seals the conversation. There’s nothing I can say that will change her mind, I might as well run with it.
“No, I’m a romantic. There’s nothing more alluring then stripping a girl of her self confidence and letting her neurosis run wild while waiting for the phone to ring,” I say as condescending as possible. “Plus, what makes you think she even deserves a call back?”
That pretty much sends my friend over the hill at which point she mutters “moron”. The conversation changes gears but I can’t help but think about this quandary later.
To me, two days is nothing. Two weeks is nothing. Call me chauvinistic but I often miss the days when corresponding with woman took place by horse and buggy. After the Pony Express, dating became so much harder.
See, we live in a society of instant gratification. Are you hungry? Pop something in the microwave. Missed the weather report? Hop online. Lost? Hit up your GPS. Can’t wait to see the highlights on ESPN tonight? Bust out your cell phone. Can’t sit through a goddamn movie without gossiping with your girlfriend? Send a text message! Relationships have fallen somewhere between Paris’s last “newsworthy” exploit and Howie Mandel’s nightly Indian casino guessing game. My inability to conform, according to my relationship experts, has made me an asshole.
I’m okay with that. I’m still young enough not to feel desperate and fortunate enough not to have felt like I’ve lost the girl of my dreams due to my phobia of the phone. But what will happen when that day comes? Either day, desperate or twitterpated. Am I just too old fashion to be in a relationship? Is there no room for taking time to reflect upon someone or having a sense of absence to make the heart grow fonder? Possibly.
If women of today have taught me anything, it’s that waiting is inconceivable. It’s something that you do at Planned Parenthood or the DMV and is looked upon as the same such chore. There’s no Christmas morning with these chicks, no tropical vacation you’ve saved up for. According to them, for all intensive purposes, that is what a credit card is for. I don’t believe it’s solely their fault however, they’re a product of their environment. Nothing in their lifetime has ever told them to slow down.
Somewhere between the first Iraq war and Al Gore discovering global warming, our government decided to raise the speed limits across most of the country. As these girls were entering college, a dial up internet connection seemed obsolete at which point Americans decided it would be faster to walk to the Starbucks on the corner rather than boiling water. Yet it amazes to see Carrie Bradshaw bitch about a guy who gets off in under ten minutes. You wanted everything in a New York minute baby, you got it.
Which leaves me on Island Time. I’m no Axl Rose sweetheart, but maybe all we need is a little patience? Let the butterflies turn and the anticipation eat you alive. Maybe I need to wait until my next paycheck before I can afford to take your ass out again. Or maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones and I’ll never call. After all, I am an asshole…
Recently I've been faced with a lot of questions about mortality. Just seems to be a constant issue in which all endings are bleak. Think about it, this little journey we're all on. The young years, all of which you are in who would be reading this, are great. Everything is new, we have dreams for the future and ideas of how we want our lives to turn out. Does anyone really think past 55 or 60? I mean, once you've risen to the top and you've gracefully bowed out of your professional life? You might still have another 40 years ahead of you, have you ever thought about that? What are you going to do with them? I mean, in your young years you're completely consumed with finding a partner, finishing school, getting that perfect career, raising a family, and achieving personal greatness. Then what? Your kids are all grown up, you're forced into retirement, and all you have to look forward to is your next sugar-free jello cup and death. Death is the next step after all...
Basically once you hit that ripe age where your contribution to society stops, all you have left is Matlock and water aerobics. It's like you're just hanging around until one of your vital organs quits and you never have to worry about bending over to tighten up one of those velcro shoes. Sure, you might get suckered into watching the grandkids every now and then but no one takes you seriously. Think about it. How many times have you blown off the wisdom of an old man or just smiled and nodded as grandma tells you stories of the great depression? Or maybe it was Gone With The Wind with a hint of The Wizard of Oz? Doesn't matter, "she's old" you tell yourself.
Then you have the group who say "the golden years are the best years, that's why they're golden". No, they're golden because your teeth, toenails, and cholesterol pills are yellow. No matter who you are, your hair is going to start failing out, your eyesight is going to fail, your skin is going to sag, and your love for pudding will grow. Chances are, at least in our society, you'll wind up in a nice little home with a bunch of strangers and insolent nurses who forget to bring you that cholesterol pill which you for some reason want so desperately so you can cling on to your existence for a few more months.
So what are your alternatives? You could die early. I mean, you could not waste time with professional success or the family thing. That would kind of make your young years pointless though, wouldn't it? You can't plan an early death, maybe that's the trouble. It just sort of happens. Often times it happens to those who don't want to die early, robbing them of the joy of finally understanding The Bill Cosby Show. Nope, can't plan an early death. You can't plan a midlife death either. It's unfortunate that you can't say "well, I'm as far as I'm going to make it in my career, the kids have finally stopped leeching off me and I really don't feel like catching 60 Minutes next week. Let's do this." You can, however, plan your feeble bedridden death. You'll have plenty of time to make casket arrangements, explicitly tell those who will still listen to you where you want your ass planted, and divvy up that precious stamp collection in your will. An old death is a looming death. You've already lived and all you have left to think about is dying.
Here is my nugget of wisdom for those still reading, remember that life doesn't stop at 60. You may still have the better part of a century ahead of you and plan accordingly. Maybe look past your future and into the present, acknowledge the old people in your life now. Chances are, with modern medicine, they'll be around for a while and are miserable. Do something unexpected to make things new for them again.