is it really so strange?
well i saw Tread-Lightly the night before last and it was all beautiful. i can’t write all the beautiful things—as desperately as i want to document them—well, i can write them, but i can’t write them here. i’m abashed. the man abashes me! rightfully so, somebody should. i will tell you one beautiful thing: i’m holding him, sort of rubbing his back, in sort of a foreplay phase of the evening—let’s say we were in the forecourts—and he whispers, ‘this is what everyone wants, isn’t it? to be touched like this?’ ‘i think it is,’ i said. and he: ‘to feel at home like this—to come home to someone every day who holds you like this—and you can let your stomach muscles unclench.’
okay sort of a weird ending there, not totally sure what it meant, but that’s part of why it was a beautiful thing.
he drives me crazy. but i think i might be able to hang with it. the hanging, by the way, turns out to be just a thing he says all the time, a verbal tic like. it doesn’t have a lot of meaning. like when i was complaining about a finger i broke several months ago—it was a bad fracture, but as the hand surgeon pointed out, hand surgery is also bad, and in my case probably wouldn’t be worth it—but so now the finger is (i guess) always going to be crooked. ‘and you can hang with that?’ or the other day when we were planning to go to annapolis but he was tired and wanted to stay in town: ‘can you hang with baltimore?’
the funny thing was, when i discussed the hanging thing with my panel of experts, everybody had their own wildly different interpretation, obviously based on their own insecurities and personal histories…it was really a rorschach test. probably worked so well because the sentence truly had no meaning. my bartender colleague said: ‘it means he wants to fuck other women!’ my sensitive gay hippie friend: ‘it means he wants to make sure you can hang in there, long term, while he deals with own issues. he’s 36? he’s probably had his heart broken before, maybe more than once. and he has to be cautious.’ a not-so-complicated female friend: ‘he hopes you can hang out. fit in with his friends and the stuff he does.’* a much more complicated one: ‘ugh, men in this town. they think they can play the field, find someone better. like we’re all just supposed to do our own thing, pretend other people don’t matter, blah blah blah. it’s disgusting. who does he think is out there?’
i think i’m kind of done asking other peoples’ advice. (okay, i’m sure i’m not really, but.) i have been soliciting a lot of advice. and been advised by some parties to just drop the guy, the suffering isn’t worth it. i point out that the suffering is mostly self-inflicted. ‘yeah, but he isn’t good for you. you need somebody to be there for you consistently. you need to tell him what you need and lay it all down and blah blah blah and then move on.’ i think that is orthodoxy. i know it’s pragmatic. (somebody not too bright but sweet and kind/who would try and get you off my mind?) (Tread-Lightly himself reminded me of that tune last week—texting me Magnetic Fields lyrics—possibly lacking a little self-awareness that day, because he a grown man actually smokes cloves.) i’d like to be pragmatic. often i am—ruthlessly so. but sometimes you can’t be! sometimes you want what you want and there’s no substitute. i serve drinks to a lot of bland prosperous young couples who talk incessantly about real estate and whose names i can never remember—kate and john and jenny and chris and ashley and will and and and well to me they’re the world’s interchangeables. you could shuffle them and i’d never notice. (well, i would, i’m a noticer, but for the sake of argument.) and it’s hard for me to imagine that they would notice themselves. i’ve got somebody distinct—and who cares about me in a very serious way, of course i should add that—who’s a little nutty—(he admitted as much on tuesday)—who makes me suffer a little. well, i’ll take it. i think it’s a better suffering for me than to be always sitting across from mediocrity and smiling politely at it. (=dates with internet dudes.) than to be frantically soliciting Good Advice and trying to follow it.
fuck Good Advice. (i wish i really were bold enough to give up on the whole concept. i’m probably not. but maybe i can be agnostic.) worthwhile people are uncharted territories.
do you like how i’ve been having a whole fraught debate with nobody but myself, in the idleness of the afternoon? well, i’m a little nutty myself, of course. Tread-Lightly just doesn’t really know it yet. (‘i can’t imagine you ever crying,’ he said. ‘oh, that’s funny. i cry all the time, just like everyone.’ ‘everyone cries all the time?’ ‘i mean, uh, i cry as much as everyone else does.’)
* à la Spice Girls? (hahaha, watching that video just now was really satisfying, let me tell you. i highly recommend the nostalgia trip.)