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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Valentine

I'm not one for this sort of holiday. Yes, it's a commercial holiday and what not, I know. It's not exactly what I'm talking about. It's bad to be a single hopeless romantic and have a day dedicated to remind you of it. If I weren't single I'm not sure I would do an awful lot to celebrate it, except, perhaps, use it as an excuse to have sex (which I hopefully wouldn't need). I know it's trite to talk about love on a day such as this, but it's precisely the thing I feel like writing about.

First, let me tell you about my day. I went to the gym and hurried off to university, hoping to catch a talk hosted by the maths club. I got there early enough to know it wouldn't be hosted in the usual classroom and went into the classroom late enough that I got to sit in the back without drawing too much attention to myself. I still did. Especially about 20min into the lecture when people kept arriving late and couldn't get seats because the unthoughtful people who took the seats on the other side didn't think to take the harder-to-reach seats first. I couldn't help but feel like a bit much of an outsider. I'll confess I hesitated about going in on the first place and thought to myself that the change in classroom was a good enough excuse not to go and then convinced myself to go in anyway. Even if I'd get a little stared at. Even if there were very few women there. Even if the PhD student who goes to tango was there. Let's call him CY. CY was the first person to talk to me in the group theory class, namely to ask if I was there for the class and not lingering from a class that had just ended. He's been in the PhD program for 4 years and had to ask what a linear order was when it was mentioned in class. And he asked if I could follow what was being taught. It felt condescending on his part, to be honest. It's one thing when he's trying to tell me what to do when we're dancing, he does know more than me and I can take the critiques, but I didn't have a mind for those questions. They resonate with the biostatistics professor who, upon consultation for something regarding research, insisted I wouldn't understand, I couldn't do it and variations of ANOVA tests were way above me. Even after I pointed out I had a Bachelor's degree in maths. He commended me for my enthusiasm and acting like I could understand things that were clearly too hard for me.

When the conference was over, when the furtive glances and ensuing paranoia were over, when the tasteless jokes and awkwardly-too-loud laughs were over, when I made to leave and get out unnoticed, CY followed me out. He wanted to know if I'd be staying for the colloquium starting in a few minutes. I'd considered it and I had thought of staying, but I'd had enough. I also get an uncomfortable feeling from CY sometimes. Though he "rescued me" on Wednesday night from the other keen partners (completely helping me avoid last week's green shirt guy on the dance floor) I also started to feel a little uncomfortable around him. Something's just off there and I don't want him getting ideas. I don't want anyone getting ideas. Frankly, I'd much prefer it if they all thought I was a lesbian and just let me be.

What else was there to my day? I made plans to grab my birthday lunch. The common element in all the greetings I got was the wish for me to eat delicious food. Mum even sent some money especially for the purpose of me getting a nice lunch on my birthday. I'd packed a sandwich and that's what I ate but, in spite of my lousy appetite, I decided to get that lunch. I asked both mum and my sister what I should get and it's funny my sister suggested something I'd sort of been thinking I'd do and just hadn't gotten around to. It was all right. Mum said I should get a nice dessert too, but I frankly couldn't, so maybe some other time. I stuffed my face with chocolate to compensate. As for my afternoon and night, I spent those sleeping a bit, watching a few (I do mean a few) YouTube videos, perusing the usual internet websites and playing hashi. I found suggestions for Valentine's day films, romcoms, and I fell for it. The first pick was Beautiful Girls. I couldn't watch it after seeing a 13 year old Natalie Portman flirt with a fully grown man. The review I read said it was somehow not creepy. It was very creepy. I went for I give it a year instead. It was quite good. I can't spoil the film for you, but I'll say it got me thinking of love in long term relationships.

You'll have to excuse the mention of it, but I left EBF a message that's been burning in my head for a while now. The message, as it left my fingers, was "The brutally honest, sorry-I'm-not-sorry thing to say is: wtf?" And I meant it. What the royal fuck is the matter? At this point, having given up on SmTn and things being what they are with EBF, I frankly just don't think I have anything left to lose if I get drama queenish and we stop talking altogether. If anything, I'll rest easier knowing I will have avoided the future feelings of being an idiot for wanting to talk to him and feeling like I can have a conversation and being excited only to end up disappointed. 

Having never been in a long term romantic relationship I have to relate to them through friendships. And my friendship with A doesn't quite tick all the boxes, especially because she makes me uncomfortable at times (like today when she insinuated that her day would include watching porn). The first such long term relationship, then, is that with EBF. I told him I loved him and I meant it. I looked forward to talking to him. Spending time with him felt natural. I didn't mind him hugging me, or even kissing me on the cheek. We got along remarkably well. We understood one another really well. At one point, at any rate. Today I'm angry at him both for talking and not talking even though talking was about all we did for the greater part of most days. I still get excited when we talk, it's just that the feeling is quickly bashed by the realisation that it's just a leftover Pavlov response to absolutely no stimulus at all. I don't know what went wrong. I still care for him in some form. I still get sad thinking of not being his friend like I once was. Sad enough that the medication won't help me hold back tears as I type these simple sentences. What is love, then?

Is it what I feel for SmTn or what he feels for me? We also get along great and a lot of it, unlike it was with EBF, is each of us wanting to please the other. Granted, SmTn was a bit secretive, a bit reserved, he didn't share quite as much as I ended up sharing. How can I know if I knew the real SmTn? What could I know of his life, pursuits, motivations and desires? What precious little I knew was enough. He's kind and caring and intelligent and nerdy and silly and strong and contemplative and handy and vulnerable and sweet and he communicates his feelings and he gets me and he comforts me and he likes the way I laugh. And I broke up with him. I made a sober and completely conscious decision to not talk to him again even though he seems to stand for everything I yearn for, both in a friend and this onerous idea of what a perfect man for me is supposed to be. 

Maybe that perfect man could be a lot like LesMisGuy but I'll tell you one thing: LesMisGuy ultimately didn't like me and didn't come to care all that much about me (not that he should have). He didn't put much effort into anything working out. Compare that to SmTn building castles on clouds. Just as beautiful, just as inhabitable and ephemeral. Compare that to SmTn remembering my birthday even though there's now officially no mention of it anywhere in the social media. Compare that to SmTn's interest in me and willingness to even bear with me through my silliest and most immature phases. See now that LesMisGuy couldn't be it.

And maybe I'm at fault, in my hopeless romance, for seeing so much more in love than shaggability. It did not escape my attention that when the teams listed the characteristics of the perfect man and woman in class the end result was the sort of thing that belongs in a dating profile. The perfect person is the one worth having sex with. And falling in love with, if you're into that sort of thing. 

You have to admit this stupid description of perfection is objectifying people as sexual objects and I feel it's a lot of what I'm a bit too acutely aware of when I feel observed and shamelessly stared at. I look like the sort of person people wouldn't mind banging and after that they may be impressed by my personality and my (shit for) brains, but it's a lot more common for them to be underwhelmed/confused/intimidated/disgusted. All the while the thought in the back of their heads is "what's it like inside her pants?" and there's so little else going on... I wish I could say I've had lots of fulfilling, interesting conversations to prove me wrong but the closest thing to intellectual conversations I've had lately are precisely the ones where I'm deemed too stupid to follow. And I'd never ever run into that and I'm insulted because I'd never before been judged for my appearances to the point where people actually thought they somehow hindered my ability to think. 

I'm the first to say I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but to be talked down to like that is just too much. I know my limits and I know prejudice and stupid bloody remarks like that. It all boils down to being objectified before going into what should have been a clever exchange. I guess that's a great part of what I miss in talking to friends. I no longer have (m)any of those. I can talk to CtThumbe and A but not quite have the conversations I yearn for. Those only happened with EBF, AOB and SmTn. Silence, silence and more silence. Not the same kind, as it's more accurately listed as indifferent silence, silence and longing silence. None of them's that much louder for its more accurate description, though and it's still lonely around here. 


The burning question in your mind, blog, may be "why don't you open yourself up to meet new people?" and the answer is twofold: one, I'm discouraged and, two, I'm afraid. I'm discouraged because I haven't been able to make a single new friend since forever ago, instead losing the few I had, and afraid because it must point at some unforgivable fault I can't quite seem to figure out yet. like being unlovable. 

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