Sunday, November 11, 2012

Damaged Goods, Or, The Female James Bond

Oops, I did it again.

I seem to have broken another heart.

I didn't mean to. I thought I was giving him a fair chance by letting him kiss me, something not enough people have tried to do lately. And lucky for me, he was a good kisser, so I let him kiss me again.

It didn't mean anything. A kiss was just a kiss.

Well, at least, to me.

But it turns out, it did mean something to him, and the fact that I didn't reciprocate his desperation to lock lips again (and to be in contact daily by multiple forms of communication via social media, phone, and txt) hurt him.

He says I must break a lot of hearts.

I'm baffled that anything meant something to a guy.

After all, I'm damaged goods.

Nothing - much less just a kiss - ever meant anything to the guys in my romantic past. Once, many years ago, I was on a road trip that happened to include a guy I'd actually dated and his new wife, who asked me how I knew her husband. I made up some story, and then confronted him later, asking, "How could you not tell her how we know each other?" He said, "I didn't think it was important."

I took that to mean that he didn't think I was important. I still think that's true.

My acceptance of these heartbreaks has become so commonplace after nearly 20 years of dating that I've come to expect them. In my older, wiser years, I no longer pine after those who once touched me so tenderly, brushing a hand against my cheek or the hair away from my face, and then disappeared or, worse yet, turned against me. I no longer question the guy who stole one of my hair elastics from me as a souvenir one night and then, not so many nights later, shouted at me, "I'm not interested in you, OK?!"

I recently met a guy who professed his passion for hiking and exploring LA, and promised to accompany me on one of my adventures. I laughed at him. When he asked why, I said, "Because I don't believe you." He then protested - too much - and demanded I put him to the test, swearing he would hang out with me the very next day.

Of course, although I invited him, he did not. He proved me right. I gleaned a certain satisfaction from that.

I think this pervasive dysfunction has tainted me for any of the few freakish exceptions out there who do form quick, perhaps genuine attachments through conversation and innocent physical contact. Their infatuation seems ridiculous to me, unbelievable, laughable. They seem clingy, needy, naive, immature, feminine, delusional. Whatever they're experiencing can't possibly be real. They must be convoluting our times together into some kind of fantasy togetherness.

I recoil.

What's wrong with them? I wonder.

But perhaps the real question is: what's wrong with me?

Why has my well been so poisoned? Why have I lost all hope? How have I adapted so adeptly to a situation which is so unsatisfying and makes me so unhappy?

Then again, I'm not as unhappy now as I once was, agonizing over unreturned calls, unrequited love. I've learned to move on gracefully, and sacrifice the love I might have for the sake of my own sanity.

And so, I must ask: if I am merely taking on a more masculine approach to love and sex, is there anything really wrong with me at all? Aren't I merely mirroring the behavior that I constantly encounter?

With the release of the critically-acclaimed new volume in the James Bond saga, Skyfall, the media has questioned why - after 50 years - Hollywood has been unable to create or conjure an equivalent female character. One blog suggested it was because women "don't bang just for the fun of it."

Don't they? Ever?

I can't be the only one.

In my attempts at seizing the day, occasionally I am inclined to seize a hand or a face or a pair of lips or some other satisfying bit of anatomy. I'm lonely in this city. I've been on my own for a long time, with no end in sight.

I've learned to live without promises. So I'm not making any of my own right now.

If you don't crowd me, suffocate me, smother me - and just live for today - I'll come around. I'll learn to believe you.

But you can't force it.

Related Posts:
Of the Brokenhearted
Could I Love?

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