Friday, February 16, 2007

How Do You Mend A Broken Heart? (The Friday List)

Readers. I made a right mess of everything.

Here's the short version: last weekend The Australian was into me but also a self-centered prick, The Puppy was lovely and slightly elusive, as usual, and The Longshot and I had the most amazing four hour phone conversation -- the first time we'd ever spoken directly to each other.

The next day I freaked out a little. The day after that, I realized I really, really am falling for The Longshot, distance be damned. The day after that, I told him so, and asked him to meet me in our halfway point this weekend, sane mid-March plans be damned. The day after that, he dumped me for The Teacher, because she's, y'know, in his area code.

That was yesterday. Last night I took the high road by going out and getting completely smashed drunk on tequila and finally sleeping with The Puppy (!).

Now I am massively hung over and have had under three hours sleep. I have to get my ass up so I can get to a work-related meeting and then plow through a day at my place of employ.

And then it will be the gaping, unstructured weekend. The weekend I only a day ago had hoped I'd be spending with the truly spectacular Longshot, a person so awesome, so extraordinary, so insanely well-matched to me on so many levels, that just knowing he exists has blown the curve for anyone I may date from here on out. And I can't even blame him for making a sane decision on his own behalf and communicating it to me in the most sensitive way possible.


So, readers, I turn to you. I don't even know how I fell this hard this fast, but I guess I did. I've been handed back my heart and I now have no idea what to do with it. And so, this Friday List is dedicated to any and all suggestions on what to do with this fragile, raw, open, wounded, still-pumping muscle.

Besides tequila and The Puppy, because clearly I've got that one covered.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

On The Other Hand...

Here's a fun way to find meaning in the day:

Straight People: Go In The Closet!

A Couple More Strikes Against Valentine's Day

1) Those roses could be killing you or the workers that harvest them.

2) It brings out these assholes (although also, WIMN's Jennifer Pozner, who is in the plus column):

Monday, February 12, 2007

I Hate Myself For Loving Valentine's Day (The Fri(Mon)day List)

Oooooooooooookay, kids. I have had just about one of the most overwhelming weekends of my romantic life that didn't involve a breakup. Certainly the first time it has involved three separate prospects, each upping the ante in some way. And, ironically, absolutely zero sex. Not even a kiss. Though it did involve a significant loss of sleep.

While I am trying to keep my emotional circuits from shutting down entirely, and sorting out what the fuck to say about it all, let's return to the familiar comfort of The Friday List, which I had the foresight or something to postpone for my use in this very moment.

Obviously, we must discuss the imminent arrival of Valentine's Day. I've had a love/hate relationship with V-Day since I was in elementary school and 2/14 was one of the days you had your social status measured (via how many valentines you got from other classmates).

You would think, given how I ranked at the very bottom, that would make me just hate/hate the Day, but I always really liked the idea of a day in which you're encouraged to express feelings you might have been holding back the rest of the year. I always hoped maybe someone secretly liked me, but was too scared to say it (given that I was a social pariah), and would use the day to break the silence. This actually even happened once, in fifth grade -- I got a handmade "secret admirer" valentine, which turned out to be from the heartstoppingly cute Israeli boy whose family was in the States for the year. He liked me! For a minute and a half before my pretty friend L. turned her attention toward him. But still, it gave me a dangerous taste of the possibilities of V-Day.

Since then I've had some fantastic Valentines (I still remember my high school boyfriend taking me out to a fancy restaurant on a double date with his parents one year. I know that sounds weird, but we were pretty serious and it felt oh-so-very-adult and intimate. Also, I tasted lobster bisque for the first time that night. I can picture the bowl of thick reddish soup with a demure white swirl of cream in the middle, and how rich and intense it tasted. But I digress.). I've had some disastrous valentines (like the time in college I sent a guy I'd been dating for just a week and a half a written invitation to dinner through the campus mail, trying to be cute and romantic, and he broke up with me before it arrived in his box.)

Mostly they've been unmemorable (as in, I literally can't remember them) or unpleasant, a clash of pressures and expectations and realities, not infrequently ending in tears. Add to that the nasty capitalist shadow-side of the holiday, and the fact that it's basically a day for people who are already happily in love (which -- why do they need a holiday?), and you'd think I'd be done done done. But still I can't manage to properly hate V-Day the way I should. Maybe it's just how much I love roses and chocolate and grand romantic gestures and the color red. Maybe it's because, whatever evidence I may have posted here to the contrary, I'm generally optimistic about people. Maybe it's because I keep hoping to have an experience that erases all those years of getting the fewest votes in the ILoveYou Olympics. But as the stores fill up with hearts and flowers -- even this year, when I'm not (really) with anyone and will be getting nothing myself -- I try to scowl but I just can't suppress a little smile. Maybe I'm just glad to think that someone, somewhere will be taking this all as an opportunity to express a good but scary feeling they've been holding back too long.

And now you know I'm a big, hopeless sap. What about you & V-Day? Love it? Hate it? Or stuck in the middle with me?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Longshot

[In response to commenter demand, we interrupt the regularly scheduled Friday List for this Special Report.]

So, there's this guy. And he's smart and thoughtful and funny and interesting and articulate and curious about the world and doesn't take himself too seriously yet is introspective and has this irresistible shy charm and cares about finicky semantic issues like the difference between "hard on me" and "hard for me." Um, and he's pretty cute. Also: a feminist. A real, actual, thinks about it in his daily life & on a deep level feminist. And not even the kind who wants a gold star for being a feminist and a man at the same time.

And he lives about four hours away from me by plane. Yeah.

Also (and those of you who read the comments thread as well as the posts will have guessed this by now), he reads this blog.

Gentle readers, I present to you: The Longshot. (Hi, Longshot!)

I "met" The Longshot a few weeks ago when my friend M. decided we would really like each other and put us in touch via OK Cupid. This seemed like a doomed and somewhat stupid idea at the time -- what's the purpose of meeting someone hundreds of miles away when I can't even get something off the ground here? But OK Cupid said we were RIDICULOUSLY compatible and M. is generally the opposite of stupid and I didn't have anything better going on, so I sent a little email saying hi.

And now I am so crushed out on him that I'm having trouble focusing at work. (Hi again, Longshot! Is this awkward yet?) And I'm suddenly feeling shy and vulnerable about saying more. Let's go to the bullet points:

-Constant emails (this week we have hit several times a day) in which we are always bemoaning the fact that there's not enough time to say everything we want to say.

-We are developing a plan to meet on a weekend next month in a small city we've identified as equidistant between us (and therefore drivable for both of us).

-He gives his niece gender counterprogramming toys, like a Mr. Potato Head with all Mrs. Potato Head accessories.

-Obviously, him reading this blog is in multiple ways hella awkward. He actually volunteered to stop reading if I preferred that, but that seems pretty unfair and I don't want it anyway, at least not right now. (And obviously he's consented to me writing about him here.) But just in case you feel bad for him reading here about The Puppy & The Australian, know that he's got a date with some kindergarten teacher coming up, and he's being all kind and open and wishing me good luck with my megadate but all I can muster (and I haven't even said this yet to him) is to wish him a pleasant time. I hope she likes him, and he likes her, but not as much as he likes me. Which I'll openly admit is kinda ass, since best-case scenario for us is some tortured long-distance thing involving a lot of shuttling back and forth (or to the middle city) on weekends and no real idea of what we'd be like together on a day-to-day basis, whereas maybe he and The Teacher could have, y'know, an actual functional relationship. But I'm committed to staying fully honest here even though he's reading, so there you have it.

-He promises he's never sported a mullet or worn a leather jumpsuit, so we can only assume he's not this guy.

I was about to ask y'all if you think this whole thing is ridiculous when I remembered that The Longshot & I have already explicitly agreed that This Is Ridiculous. But also: it's still kinda great. And now you know.

A special V-Day edition of the Friday List on Monday, I promise.

A Puppy & An Australian Walk Into A Bar...

So, y'know how I said I have a blind date this weekend? Well, it's more of a setup than a proper date -- my friend H. is bringing The Aussie with her to a social event so that the two of us can meet & hang out. It's nicer that way -- more low-key.

And y'know how I got that lovely email from The Puppy and mentioned in the comments that of course I'd write back and confessed to still harboring a secret hope that we'd start to be in touch again and things might be rekindled from there? Well, I did write him and we've since exchanged a few mildly flirty emails (which probably mean nothing more than we're both flirts. Just so you know that I know that.). And last night he asked me if I'd be at this thing this weekend, b/c he's going and it'd be nice if I "said hello."

The thing, of course, at which The Aussie & I are set to meet.

(Did I mention I haven't been in the same room with The Puppy in over two months?)

I feel two ways about this:
1) Like I'm going to throw up in my mouth a little bit.
2) Perhaps having two people to flirt with will take the pressure off any one interaction going well?

And to think two weeks ago I was more or less without prospects. I haven't even told you about The Longshot yet...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Postcards from Craigslist

It's come to my attention that our very own ruby has a story out in the latest issue of Instant City. Turns out she's been writing her very own postcards from Guyville -- more specifically, from the Casual Encounters section of Craigslist.

I'm not someone who's found the stomach to do Craigslist's Casual Encounters, but I'm sure glad she is. These stories are pretty fab (even if some of the men she Encounters are jaw-dropping assholes). Check out a tiny selection:

Dreamy Mama's Boy, 27.

I could not believe my luck when I met this one, he was so totally my type—skinny, curly hair, glasses, seemed kinda queer. Oh, and way messed in the head. But I didn’t know that yet when he walked into Mission Bar with his knitting project (“I wanted to have something to do if you were late,” he explained) and bowled me over with his sweet, smarty-pants, self-deprecating manner. When he asked me if I wanted to see his sublet, I was touched by the earnest euphemism, and further charmed by his breathy admission, after the kissing started, that “I’m so glad you like me.”

We went to second base and I slept over; by morning I was so crushed out I was almost too nervous to ask if I could see him again. I was even undeterred when he said he would have to consult with his therapist. Lucky for me she gave the go-ahead, and I entered full-on compulsive-e-mail-checking, holding-evenings-open-for-unconfirmed-non-plans, thinking- about-touching-his-hair-when-I-should-have-been-working mode. Even though we were getting progressively more naked each time we hung out, and trading flirtatious e-mails in between, I sensed ambivalence, and it made me nervous. When I brought it up, he wrote, "I'm trying to tease out how I feel about physical appearances versus personalities. But, that said, what went down the other day was pretty fantastic in a way that I'd never experienced before.... We can be friends. Or ambiguous friends." Translation: I’m not attracted to you but I really loved it when you stuck your finger in my ass, so I’d like to reserve the right to mess around when I feel like it. When I ran my interpretation by him, he corrected me: “Actually, you physically resemble (a young version of) my mom. And it turns me on. And scares me.” Yeah. Okay. Bye.

Perfect Technique Man, 34.

Man made me realize that I might be even more messed in the head than the Mama’s Boy. He was interested in hanging out once or twice a week; could hold up his end of a conversation very well; made it clear just how very attracted to me he was; and was honest, straightforward, and self-aware. The cherry on top of his cake was that he loved giving head more than anything else, and he was damn good at it. So why didn't I think he was dreamy? I don’t know, but perfect technique only gets you so far. There were lots of orgasms, but no sparks. I had to end it before it made me feel totally dead inside.

The One Who Licked My Face When He Came, 33.

Needless to say, I did not see him again.

You can buy the ish with the story in it right here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

On Fight Club

On Roy's suggestion, I read Fight Club this weekend. Now, the first thing you have to know is that I don't usually even watch violent movies, and these people are intentionally destroying themselves and each other as a… spiritual exercise? It was very, very hard to read.

That said, I certainly don't think Palahniuk is saying this is a good way to be, this is the way to redemption or freedom, which I know is the way many people took it (perhaps the movie had something to do with that? I've certainly never seen it and don't plan to). But my problem is that the condition he's describing stems from class struggle and economic oppression, but he's making it about gender, and making gender invisible at the same time.

Palahniuk clearly doesn't see his own whiteness and maleness, so he doesn't consider why women who are in the same class position as his hero(s) react differently. Think of Marla's violence – it's all against herself. But she is never given any agency, and her own rage at being an anonymous bolt in the capitalist machine is never considered. Ditto people of color, queers, etc. Which is exactly how the people who are really in power want it. In the meantime, women are Tyler's scapegoat and Palahniuk's deus ex machina (it's Marla's "like" which redeems our hero at the last moment), but never are they agents of change in their own right or on their own behalf. And the book comes to be about "maleness," when really it's about a white male reaction to a struggle and and oppression shared by the majority of people in industrialized nations.

It also – and this may even be the greater flaw – posits the "fight club" response to oppression as the only response. In the world of the book, people either accept the conditions of their oppression, or they join fight club. The world he's created is agnostic of all other movements for social change. Maybe Tyler thinks the ways oppressed peoples have been fighting back for centuries don't work as well as his method – but if that's the case, I'd like to hear his argument. Instead, it's as though he (and, by proxy, Palahniuk) invented the very concept of revolution, erasing the work of billions of people across time.

What's even worse, the edition I bought has this afterword in the back in which Palahniuk totally disavows any political agenda in writing the book, claiming it was just a little short story exercise for which he needed to make up some rules he could use as transition points to make jump cuts more clear in the narrative, and that it could just as easily wound up being called Barn Raising Club or Golf Club (these are his examples, not mine). To which I say: fuck you, you fucking disingenuous millionaire hypocrite. Easy for you to say now that you've got all our goddamned dough. Perhaps some nitroglycerine is in order?

Monday, February 05, 2007

And Sometimes You Actually Get Closure

Got an email last night, the way you get any email. Just logged in and there it was, nestled among the spam and the social invitations. An innocent, inconsequential little email. From: The Puppy.

My heart began gently to pound in my ears. What could it say? Had he finally come around? After nearly a month since my last email, what could it possibly say?

What it said was this:

Thanks for the message, it was really nice. Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. You're probably one of the sweetest most genuine people I've met [where we live] and I want to apologize for flaking out and sorta just not calling you, cuz that's a pretty ass thing to do. Not that it's an excuse, but I was fairly rapidly losing my shit for a good while with life being as crazy as it can be...

Anyway, I hope you're doing well.

-[The Puppy]

Can I just say, awwww? I don't know about you, but the longer that passes where I should write back to someone, esp. about something important, and I don't, the harder it becomes to actually write back. He may be effed up, but that Puppy sure is a good egg.