K is effectively getting herself into a situation with a guy who is the second coming of L – still older, still married AirCanada. This is perfectly fine, but goes against everything she says she wants – to be married and having a child before she’s 30 (she is 24 now). She’s always been adamant that this is her long-term plan, and while she understands that the relationship she has with L sabotages her chances of finding someone who would be a suitable partner for her, she can’t seem to stop seeing this guy. I understand that his dick is apparently a national treasure, and by now there is a force of habit and a Pandora’s box of emotions that are involved, but it seems so painfully obvious to me that nothing good will come out of it. And to top it all off, no one can fix this situation other than her (which she says she understands). It really got me thinking about the long-term plans in general and how committed one has to be to make them come true. Also, is there really any reason for having such specific criteria for “happiness”?
I knew when I was 16 I didn’t want any children, and I remember the conversation with my mom when it came. I think she cried… Now, whenever it comes up in conversation, the most common reactions range from “you will change your mind” to “you haven’t found the right man”, which I find pretty patronizing and funny (it’s a good thing I am generally pretty difficult to offend). I don’t know particularly why my version of a desirable future does not include a traditional family with kids, a house in suburbs and a dog or two, but maybe it’s because I’m not big on unrealistic expectations that someone else made up. Also, technically, I did have some parts of that American Dream™ (husband, business and a glorious house in the suburbs) and I didn’t care too much for them. Real life is not a series of glorified movie sequences about happy breakfasts and kids rushing off to school, but rather a mash-up of people with their own ideas, feelings and expectations. I have never considered “having children” as “having a baby that will complete our family unit and be a perfectly controllable extension of me/my name/my clan”, but rather as “raising people”, and I have no interest in doing that. It’s probably partially because of my selfishness, overreaching sense of responsibility regarding people around me as it is and general distaste for anything that I see as limiting my freedom. K and I went to NYC a few months ago, and her ex (with whom we were staying) spend nearly an hour at dinner telling me how I will change my mind and will realize I am wrong now in how I view myself and the world in general. He went as far as bet me $20,000 that I will have at least 2 children by the time I am 30 (which is ridiculous, especially considering I am 27 now and feel the way I do). I was pleasantly surprised when K actually took my side in the discussion and said that, while she had the same opinion as him when her and I moved in together 2 years ago, she truly believes now that not only I have reasons for my personal choices, but also that I probably shouldn’t have children.
Frankly, I don’t know why she and I have such different ideas about what we want in our lives. Maybe it’s the whole nature vs nurture debate. We come from same country originally, we made it to Canada around the same age (14 or 15), and while we may have similar views about some big ideas, we are drastically different in what we think will make us happy in the long run.
I often think she is more calculating in her relationships. Last night, however, after a few drinks, she said how she is actually excited about AirCanada in the way she thought she forgot how to be. Even though she has feelings for L, and had a long-term boyfriend before him, she says she hasn’t felt that “butterflies” feeling in a long time. Maybe this is precisely what allows her to be pretty selfish and controlling in her current relationships (which is not a bad thing in itself, just the way she works). I don’t really know what this means for her current long-term plans. For as long as I’ve known her, she has been semi-actively looking for a man to marry and have a child with (she wants a girl, to be exactly like her). She has her standards, which range from age (older, at the very least by 10 years), religion (Jewish), looks (tall, attractive), compatibility (very high sex drive, very good in bed) and income (significant, though not for her own well-being but rather so he can support the child(ren)). She is also a hypochondriac, demands copies of recent STI testing results (hard copies, mind you) and will absolutely not fuck before third date. How exactly she’s maintained a long-term affair with a married man is beyond me. I think part of the reason all of her dating results in nothing lasting is because she cannot give up sex with L for long, and ends up comparing every new guy to him, which never turns out well. But it all works for her, so I hope she gets what it is she wants.
I still have the first gift S ever gave me. I usually feel uncomfortable receiving anything, and prefer experiences over things. Well, this is still something that makes me smile. Between us, we had a running joke that I was the curveball (heh, yeah, I’m sentimental) life threw at him, because I was everything I was not supposed to be – 10 years younger, a virgin and a friend who understood him better than anyone else he ever met. So this one day, he got me a baseball, on which he wrote this message:
“Rule #1: Be nice to curveball. Rule #2: Give her lots of chocolate. Rule #2: Always remember rule #1 and rule #2”.
Now, years later, this seems to be the defining philosophy of my love life. All it takes, really, for you to keep me in your life (after I am attracted to you), is for you to be nice to me. And feed me, occasionally (I can do a lot of things for food – first time I ever had anal sex was for blackberries in the middle of the night). Other than that, I don’t really have any criteria. Of course, I guess the whole “being nice” thing can be extrapolated, but in the end, it’s really not complicated. Be considerate, respectful, keep me safe, fuck me hard, make me laugh, slap my ass, let me suck cock in the middle of the night, don’t try to change me, occasionally listen to me bitch about something or other, make me feel wanted and take me as I am. I think this is pretty much it. In return, I will do exactly the same (except possibly for the ass whipping, but I guess that depends on the individual). Lately, I keep hearing how this is not “normal” (D said it’s “not normal, but not in a bad way – more like new and different”), and I get it, I guess, but I don’t know how to operate otherwise. Or, rather, I can see it from people around me, with all the rules and disappointments, and I’m not interested.
I’ve thought about it, and I think it might be because I don’t have a lot of experience with “conventional” relationships. It does sound a bit ridiculous coming from someone who lived with a man that she was married to for 5 years, but maybe what we had was, while common in some ways, still built on grounds I was figuring out as I went. I was the only one of his women (3 marriages, countless girlfriends and lovers), who apparently never asked him to be “official”, never wanted a ring, didn’t ask him for kids, didn’t get jealous and didn’t complain that he was spending too much time with his business. Yes, we were completely monogamous, and I am glad that there were no promises broken – but our agreement to be so was along the lines of “you are enough for me, if that changes, I will let you know”, and not some demands. The morning after we had sex for the first time, he drove me to school and kept asking if I’m ok – I think he expected things to change between us in some way – but for me, virginity was simply a matter of not wanting anyone enough to have sex with them before, not of any expectations of “waiting for the right man”. Other than S, I had a “boyfriend” in grade 10, who was this boy from another school who asked me out, and I said yes. We proceeded to “date” for the following 5 weeks, during which he came to see me at my school a few times, gave me a flower for my birthday and chocolates for Valentine’s, and… did nothing more but hold my hand. That was a bit confusing to me, so after those few weeks I took him for a walk around the field and told him it was not working out. A few years later, I found out he told the guys he didn’t get much further than “a few fingers on his part”. It made me laugh. When this came up in conversation this week, D’s reaction was priceless – “so are you telling me I’m your second boyfriend ever, or as close as that gets?” Yeah, I guess so. That’s why sometimes it feels like I’m fumbling about with what makes sense to me and what feedback I get from people. My “criteria” are about how someone makes me feel, about what they do, and about how the interactions work between me and the other person – not about something tangible and easily assessed. While K can meet a guy and know fairly instantly if he fits her model of potential partner, I need to be around someone to know how they make me feel, and how they treat me. Also, add to that that I don’t have a deadline looming over my head, I have no interest in marriage or children, and I feel perfectly fine on my own – I don’t need companionship. I get terribly horny, but I also don’t have rules about how long I need to know someone before I fuck them. Unfortunately for me, I seem to suck at finding NSA partners that I want to keep long term (and constantly looking for new ones is a bit of a drag). N’s friend Spiderman was great in bed, and got new restraints attached to his bed just for me, but I don’t feel much of attraction for him. S&M were a nice kinky couple who fulfilled a few of my fantasies, but I cannot seriously call a guy “Master” every morning. The Neighbour tried to reappear, but he wasn’t that great and I didn’t like the vibe I was getting from him. Other guys I meet are either looking for commitment, think that because I list “casual sex” on my dating profile means I am indiscriminate instead of available, or don’t really appreciate me telling them I already have a lover and am not looking for exclusivity. Maybe if I was looking for something specific, it would be much easier to find it, but all I know is how I want to feel – and that’s not as easy.
I know that wants and needs change over time, and sometimes it takes a while to really understand what is the underlying motivation. I do have many friends who were unsure of what they wanted from life, and then found surprising answers later on. D just decided that he does want to have children someday, as he is “the last of his name”. I get it, and I want him to have all the experiences he wants for himself, but I told him – I’m not his girl for that. And if/when he meets one who is, he should go for it. If it’s Trivia Girl, his ex or someone new – I hope he finds it. He asked me where that leaves us, and, specifically, me, but that’s really beside the point. I told him that yes, the ideal for me would be if this woman in his life would understand me, accept me in his life and we would be able to carry on, but I am not naive and I know how unlikely that is. Yes, I will miss him, and yes, I don’t want to lose him, but I cannot be what he needs in this situation. Sucks for me, but this would not be the end of the world.
Sometimes when I look at other people, their goals seem to be completely arbitrary and dictated not by who the people are and what they are like, but rather by what they are expected to do at a given point in their life.
You are single? – You should get a boyfriend.
Have had a boyfriend for a while? – When are you guys getting engaged?
Engaged? – When is the wedding?
Been together a significant amount of time? – So, when are the kids coming?
Some end up ok, and others are terribly disappointed when they figure out that by following what they’re told they end up further away from happiness. In light of that, maybe me being lost occasionally is not such a bad thing if I’m the one who finds myself in the end. I remember 9 years ago saying “all I want is to be happy”, and as long as I figure out what that means for me, I’ll be fine.