Amanda has a new girlfriend, who is transitioning from a man into a woman. I'm not sure how far along the process is. Amanda is fully in love.
" - and then we met up the other day and we went for lunch and we talked non-stop for four hours. She's so amazing, Alice, she's a really deep, thoughtful, beautiful person - "
I order more wine. While it is one of the duties of friendship to listen happily to this kind of bollocks when one of your closest friends falls for someone, it doesn't mean you have to be sober.
Also, I want to talk about Chris.
" - it's like we just understand each other. The first time we met, we just clicked emotionally on this fundamental level. We've got so much in common, it's incredible - "
This is reminding me of the hours of rubbish Amanda listened to from me when I was in love with Andreas. I suddenly get distracted by all the As - Amanda, Alex, Andreas, Alice, what does it mean? - and then get aware I'm losing the thread and try and tune back in. I am happy for Amanda but people are just impossible to have a two-way conversation with at this stage in a new romance. It must be something to do with hormones and pair-bonding. We are designed to get obsessional about our mates, at least until one half of the couple gets pregnant.
I might as well just resign myself to the fact that she's going to be boring for the next few weeks.
Amanda met this woman, Alex, at a party given last weekend by another transwoman we both know, called Lisa. I was invited but hadn't gone because I had already said I'd spend the evening with Sally. Gin rang me the next morning and told me that Amanda had met Alex within an hour of attending and they had almost immediately buggered off together to Alex's house and left Gin stranded in, as she put it: "a decomposing mass of Goths, transsexuals, hippies, drag queens, herbalists and maths teachers," leaving her with no option but to get drunk on Cointreau and monopolise the Singstar.
Since that evening Amanda and Alex have been almost inseparable. I haven't met Alex yet, but I've gone through her facebook out of curiosity. She is blonde with brown eyes and very pretty, with some beautiful tattoos, but she has publicly posted a lot of pictures of herself in lingerie which I always think is a bad sign. Also, Gin described her as pretentious and Gin tends to have a good instinct, so I have reservations.
I was reading The Secret History a while ago. In the first few pages the narrator, Richard, is talking about fatal flaws. A fatal flaw is the literary trope that some people have some major weakness, some compulsion or obsession or need, which will destroy them if they aren't careful. Othello's jealousy, Dorian Gray's susceptibility to corruption, Norma Desmond's narcissism.
He describes his as "a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs" which made me smile because it chimed with something in me. I like, no, I require things and people to be exotic and strange and exciting and beautiful. While this is fun, it also means that relationships don't tend to last that long, because the people I'm attracted to are by definition not good bets for the long haul.
I strongly suspect Amanda has the same tendency. I hope this Alex does turn out to be everything she wants, but I'm worried Amanda may be falling in love with a fantasy rather than a real person.
" - watching Firefly and drinking tequila -"
What? I realise I have been minimal back-channelling without paying attention. I suddenly feel very guilty because Amanda is trying to share something with me which is important to her and, while I'm bored, she's my friend. The least I can do is look interested.
I hug Amanda and tell her I'm delighted. I ask when I can meet Alex.
"Soon," says Amanda.
"So what about - " I say, and then stop. What I want to do is ask about sex simply because I'm really curious to find out what Alex has going on in her pants, but it occurred to me halfway through the question that this is probably offensive.
However, on second thoughts, this is Amanda and I'm asking her, not Alex.
"So what does Alex have going on in her pants?" I say.