Sunday, 28 April 2013

56. The time has come

The time has come for me to reassess my relationship with Chris. I'm sad about this, but as I've got to know him he's got less and less attractive to me. And he is not treating me well. I know that. I'm not always good at recognising these things, but once I've seen them they can't be unseen.

Last night he texted at 5pm to ask if he could come round. He came round, we had sex, he left. This is the third time this has happened. We talked briefly about our relationship status and he told me we were seeing each other and not to take it too seriously. That it was a bit of fun.

Surely if it's fun I'm meant to be enjoying it?

I remember how I felt about him when I first knew him. That feeling's gone.

How do I feel when I meet a man I'm really attracted to? Stunned by his beauty, too tongue-tied to say a word. Clumsy. Afraid to look into his eyes in case he sees how I feel. Sometimes maybe even I forget to smile, I forget to be nice, I might even look like I don't like him because I'm trying so hard to hide my feelings.

What do I want? Really? A combination of intense passion and intelligent conversation. A meeting of minds and a meeting of bodies. Someone who actually wants to talk to me and spend time. Someone who actually wants to have sex with me. Not someone who comes round and screws me and then leaves, just because they can. I can almost see him thinking that I'll do till someone better comes along.

The problem is this: once you know what is possible, you can't settle for anything less. You can love McDonalds, but once you eat perfectly cooked fillet steak a hamburger will never be the same. You can go back and have that hamburger whenever you want one, it'll fill a hole, it'll even taste good. But you will always know there are better meals in the world.

Once you know something, you can't unknow it. I know the levels of passion I'm capable of feeling, because I've felt them. And that means that anything less doesn't really work. It's....boring. It feels pointless. Why would I hang on for Chris?

Well, we're having reasonably good sex. He's attractive and intelligent. He's good company, when he's in the mood to be.

But I know what the possibilities are, and that means he is a waste of my time. If I was to remain involved with him, I would not be living to my full potential. If I remain involved with him, it'll be hamburgers all the way.

I cry a little once I admit this to myself, but there's no going back. Once you stir the milk into a cup of tea, you can't take it out. You could wait till the end of time and the milk and tea will never separate. You can't undo it.

Sometimes I think I know too much about too many things. I once knew a female to male transsexual who had kept his female genitalia intact so that when his penis - which had been specially constructed to his own specifications so it would bend in directions not normal for a penis - was fully complete he could film himself fucking his own vagina and make his fortune as a porn star. He told me about how he planned to do this over iced raspberry muffins and espresso at Lombardo's. At some length.

That counts among things I wish I didn't know. I could have been quite happy without knowing that. I'm not judging and I hope it all works out for him; after all, he's not hurting anyone and I'm sure there will be many people who will be interested in viewing this material. I just...wish I didn't know that. But you can't take the milk out of the tea.

But then, am I being unrealistic? I'm 35, and not exactly a beauty. What is the point of holding out for love? Who'd fall in love with me? Chris will do. It's just a bit of fun.

But it's not fun. And anyway, once you know what love is, that question becomes meaningless. It's not a question of holding out for anything. It's more a question of what the alternative is. If you reverse the question, it is essentially: why don't you get into any kind of relationship with anyone who'll have you, because it's better than being single?

Once you put it like that, it sounds less attractive.

I know people who settled for the mediocre - who wanted to be in a relationship so badly they grabbed on to the first person they found who would accept them as a partner and hung on grimly. It does not look like happiness. If I was a different kind of person I could lie to myself about my relationship with Chris, about what's going on, about where it's going, about how I feel.

It would be easy, and it goes like this: I love him. I am having sex with him, therefore I must love him. He loves me too, he just needs a little time to come round. He's mixed up. He must have been treated badly by some other woman. He just needs a lot of care and attention and before I know it I'll be waltzing down the aisle with Amanda as my bridesmaid.

What a load of bollocks. And even if it actually got to the point where I manipulated Chris into unwillingly proposing to me, probably with a ring that fell out of a cracker or something, what on earth would Amanda come up with as an outfit? It would be worth getting married just to see. Given her opinion of Chris and her penchant for graffiti, she would probably protest the wedding by turning up naked with FUCK YOU scrawled on her cleavage in Sharpie. Which would be a wonderful moment, a tribute to our friendship, and completely in keeping with the tone of our life together so far.

At the moment, although I'm a little lonely, I'm not responsible for anyone but myself and Rammstein. At least if I'm alone, I get to please myself. If I was in a relationship with someone I didn't care about, I'd have to consider them all the time and eventually I would hate them for being in my space. 

It's hard enough spending a lot of time with another person when it's someone you actually like.

I sigh. I take out my phone. I compose a text asking Chris to meet me this afternoon. If he can't make it, I'll have to call him, although I think it's rude finishing with someone over the phone. This needs to be done now, while I have the resolve.

My reality is that I want to be happy, in as far as I can be. And the only romantic relationships I'm prepared to have are ones which add to my level of happiness. Whether they are serious or otherwise, if they don't add, if they detract and make me less happy than I am now they aren't happening.

Of course, that may mean that relationships never really happen. I find a lot of people tough company, and I'm sure they think the same of me. Being smart ruins a lot of things; I get bored easily and when I'm bored I find it difficult to hide it. I accept this. Sometimes it makes me sad, but I don't honestly see how else to play it. Any other route is not authentic.

What is love? What is desire? What is friendship? Well, these are things you can't ask for, you can't demand, you can't treat as a right. They have to be given freely as a gift, and what right have I got to complain if they don't get given to me? None at all. But I'll keep holding on for them anyway.

As I said, what's the alternative?

I press send.

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