A non-emo post about my love life

I always intended to be candid about my dating life in this blog.  Why?  I don’t know really.  I’m candid about most things, and lack the foresight to comprehend the potential repercussions of blabbing about my personal life all over the internet.  Also, sometimes my love life is kind of interesting.

For example, on my 2009 trip to New Orleans (back in the heady days where I could only imagine the day that I might actually get to live here) I mistakenly embarked on a holiday romance with a young man who I later discovered was on the run from the law, having breached the terms of his bail in Kansas, where he had served a sentence for aggravated assault.  Through circumstances beyond my control, I ended up living in a garage in Kenner with this young man, sleeping on a futon mattress and surviving primarily on a diet of pudding cups.  The more time I spent with this individual, the more the fantasy romance began to wane (although being me, I wanted to make the best of a bad situation, and somehow got it into my head that we’d get married so I could return to America and be with him).  He thought he was a werewolf, as it turned out.  One night I awoke to him standing over the bed, Paranormal Activity style, swaying slightly and making small grunting noises.  He then attempted to climb out the tiny window above the wall mounted air conditioning unit.  Wisely, I pretended to be asleep.  He left through the garage door and, not wishing to pursue the issue further, I fell back to sleep.  When I woke up the next morning, he was there, and when quizzed about his nocturnal activities, he simply replied “Huh?”.

He also drank roughly 1/4 of a bottle of whiskey a day, and it turned out later that he was a paranoid schizophrenic.

My point here is: I know how to pick them.  If I like you, you are probably insane, damaged, or an asshole.  I don’t blame the other party for any of this: it’s entirely my fault.  I simply don’t want to fuck nice, normal, pleasant people.

Skipping forward…

Before I arrived in America, I had set up an OkCupid profile and set my city as New Orleans.  I was a little bit stunned to find that, unlike the majority of Perth OkCupid users, by and large the Louisianans who messaged me were pretty decent looking and mostly literate.  I found a couple of fun people to talk to, added them to Facebook, and set about chatting to them in the lead up to the move (side note: I have met several of them at this point, and all of them have, for the most part, been utterly delightful).

One of the people I started talking to was a ridiculously attractive young man who I seemed to have a fair bit in common with.  I wasn’t really expecting much from the exchange, but he was fun to talk to and seemed keen to actually meet up when I arrived in America (he went so far as to offer to pick me up from the airport, which I thought was incredibly sweet – although naturally I declined, because when one disembarks a plane after 30+ hours in transit, one does not generally look ones best).  I really didn’t think much would occur with this person – they weren’t obviously flirty online (friendly, yes.  Flirty, no.) and furthermore, they’d previously dated one of the semi-finalists from America’s Next Top Model.  Now, I think I’m okay looking, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve never had a mirror cave in on itself at the very sight of me, and as far as I know my face has never reduced small children to tears.  But Next Top Model I aint.  For a start I sometimes like to eat food, so that makes maintaining an anorexic physique a little bit tricky.  Also I have breasts.

But I didn’t expect to be found attractive by the sort of person who finds whimsical pixie girls attractive.  I’ve always wanted to be a whimsical pixie girl, but I tend more toward the amusing goblin stereotype.  Or perhaps the reclusive drow.

So it was quite surprising to me when, on my second night in New Orleans (still sleeping in a hotel, still living out of a suitcase, having only just acquired a mobile telephone) said attractive young man called me, picked me up from my hotel, took me out for drinks (which he PAID for – unheard of, in my recent dating past) and then took me to his parents mansion in the Garden District to watch horror movies.

Holy shit, I thought.  What is this?

I’ll spare the details, but parts of me were very sore the next day and then he cooked me bacon.  Those two things aren’t really related, but I feel the bacon is an important detail.  Thus began three months (well, two and a half and some pocket change, if we’re being technical) of what I like to call ‘mutual limpet syndrome’.  There were, perhaps, a total of six nights in that entire time that I slept by myself, in my own bed.  He drove me to and from school.  He helped me organise difficult life-relocatey things.  He made me tacos.  He took care of me when I was sick.  We took baths together and washed each others hair and I read him spooky stories out loud whilst he was driving.  I met his parents (they are lovely).  I went to his mother’s birthday lunch.  During hurricane Isaac, I stayed with his family and we spent the whole time watching Breaking Bad and How I Met Your Mother.

Now, I was coming at this…situation…from the point of view of enforced celibacy to the tune of 18-something months.  I hadn’t dated anyone, at all, in about three years.  My last significant relationship (read: something other than an accidental drunken thingamy with a friend) had been with a boy named Terrance who I had dumped after approximately two weeks because he was far too attentive and emotionally available, and kept insisting on being nice to me.

In other words, I felt at ease with my own company.  I was not looking to date, necessarily, but I was ready to do so.  My romantic equilibrium had been restored.

Here are out hands, arranging M&Ms into an adorable rainbow heart. Our love was crunchy and delicious.

Naturally, this would not last.

You see, aside from being delightful and sweet and lovely, the attractive young man also had several issues which, for the sake of privacy, we won’t delve too deeply into.  For a start, he felt the need to issue me with a verbal disclaimer roughly four times a week to the tune of: “WE’RE NOT DATING”.

Look, buddy – if it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck…

Anyway, I ignored this.  I figured he was just scared or something.  Isn’t that what women’s magazines always tell you?  That men who fail to commit are just terrified of having their tiny innocent hearts smooshed by some vile temptress, usually because of some past trauma involving a former girlfriend and a greased up lifeguard (or something).  He would, I assumed, admit to himself at some point that what we were doing (being adorable, meeting each others parents, spending all our time together, not sleeping with other people, having unprotected sex, using the ‘L’ word) was a relationship of some type or other.  It didn’t greatly concern me if he didn’t see it as having a particularly lengthy shelf life, but I did start to become a little tired of his continual insistence that WE DEFINITELY WEREN’T SEEING EACH OTHER NU UH NO WAY NOPE NO SIREE.

I started to wonder: is this because I wasn’t a finalist in America’s Next Top Model?  Am I, somehow, something to be ashamed of?  The last time I checked I had a university degree, several published works, a pretty good head on my shoulders, interesting opinions and ideas, good taste in stuff and a booty that looked pretty darn good in pencil skirts.  What was going on, here?  Why would he jump away from me like he’d been stung by a hornet if I happened to accidentally (and rather innocuously) touch him in public?

The answer, as it turned out, was that he was a former addict with the emotional maturity of an adolescent.  And I don’t even really mean that as an insult; frankly, I have the emotional maturity of an adolescent.  In fact I think that was part of the reason we got along so well; it was fun feeling like a sixteen year old again and doing silly things like having sex on top of the washing machine and on the kitchen floor.  In fact, it was the first time I’d had the chance to be that intimate with someone in a very, very long time.  I am usually an extremely guarded person.  Incidental touching (even from friends and family) usually causes me to recoil, and I dislike most forms of intimacy and affection (unless I’m drunk.  In which case: helllooooooo, ladies).  Perhaps it was the child-like thing, the innocence, the lack of complexity that made me let my walls down more easily.  Or perhaps it was just because I was in a new country and foolishly assumed American boys didn’t have the propensity for douchebaggery that Australian boys did.

Either way, we were clearly on a different page, and I blame a lot of that on his being an ex-(cough-always)-addict.  Honestly, I believe most people are selfish are their core – but most of us try to override that at least a little bit in order to spare the feelings of the people we are close to.  Addicts, on the other hand, are used to relying on themselves and only themselves, and in a system of self-reward that involves instant, consequence-free gratification.  So did he want to fuck me?  Absolutely.  Did he want to snuggle and be adorable and romantic?  Yes.  Did he want a relationship?  Evidently not, as I found out when he went out for drinks with an old high school friend then promptly informed me the next morning (after waking up in her bed not really sure of what had occurred the night before) that we were “on a break” until she decided what she wanted from him.

This pick-n-mix style of dating isn’t exactly foreign to me, but it is, how you say, pretty fucked.

In any case, in his mind, the verbal disclaimer of NOTDATINGNOTDATINGNOTDATING should have been enough to prevent my feelings from being hurt in the event that he wanted to upgrade his not!girlfriend to a newer, fancier, quite probably thinner and blonder model (no pun intended).  And so it goes.  It was a pretty hellish weekend, involving a staged intervention which will go down in history as one of the least pleasurable four hours of my life (and it wasn’t even MY intervention), but we endure.  I don’t know who ‘we’ is, here.  Myself and my imaginary boyfriend, probably.  The one who isn’t an alcoholic, doesn’t take my medication, never calls me fat under the pretense of ‘being honest’ and would never dream of telling me how to dress myself (because honestly?  My style is kickin’ rad.  Right now I am wearing an oversized pink night shirt with screen-printed angry Persian cats on it.  The nightgown also has pockets – you know, for all the condoms you’ll need, when the boys see what a stunner you are in your disturbing night attire).

It is what it is, it was what it is.  Do I miss him?  Yes, terribly.  It’s awfully weird spending three solid months with someone and then having them not be around at all.  It’s also weird letting yourself feel comfortable with intimacy again, only to have life backhand you in the mouth and declare “HA HA!  SUCKER!”.

But there it is.  I wouldn’t trade the experience.  It was actually really lovely in parts, and it was nice to know that I actually wasn’t stupidly broken and was, somehow, capable of having an enjoyable intimate relationship with someone.

But if I ever end up in ‘an arrangement’ again with someone who looks at me for a time and, after lengthy consideration, declare “You know, you should really get your teeth fixed.” I now know that the correct response is not to bow my head in submission, but instead to look the knobjockey in the eye, smile sweetly, and then rearrange his own teeth with my fist.


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