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I am...a New Yorker
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Thursday, June 6, 2002
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Watchng...
The season fnale of Six Feet Under and a September 11th documentary from a few months back.

Wishng...
We could all see how simple the truth really is.

Observng...
Too many cops walkng across West 4th Street.

Smokng...
An aromatic blend of tobacco (yes, really and not of the "wacky" variety), out of a tny, corncob pipe.

Eatng...
It wasn't even memorable, but it was probably somethng I've had 3 dozen times snce I moved n.

I am...doomed to repeat history, it seems.

It's funny, really, as Barbera wrote me back last Friday and said I was repeatng the same patterns. If my laptop worked, I could quote her with complete accurancy. In particular, she cited that I keep "choosng men who are unavailable" to me As with the "team" comment, I had a wry, ironic laugh over that.

I've let that idea marnade n the back of my mnd for a few days. You see, the comment presumes that I have actual choices, a variety even, and some of them are decidedly good. The choice has always been to be with an asshole or to be alone. I am 30 years old and I have never had a boyfriend -- name anyone else you know who can say that and tell me anyone would choose this life if there were other options.

Oh, I had one guy I fucked for a few months who referred to me as his girlfriend, but I've felt more connected to a stranger on the street. He didn't care to know me as a person, he only cared about my body, or, more accurately, what he could do to it. I wasn't put on this earth with a genius-level IQ, natural writng ability and an extraordnary sensitivity to be somebody's pet orifice. He had utterly no clue of the layers, breadth and depth of beauty n me.

In my own experience and n my observation, many men simply have no concept that women are people, too. These are generally the men who approach me on the street and who pursue me.

I genunely appreciate and am mostly amused by the irony of this. I am told if I altered myself physically, someone could love me, as if love had anythng to do with our earthly shell. The other layer of the irony is that I have utterly no trouble attractng men based on my physical appearance. No fewer than 4 men gave me the onceover as I sat on a stoop on West 4th Street tonight and another told me I have cute toes.

Then there are the lovely nerd boys. I cannot resist a big, fat, juicy bran. Havng never successfully negotiated a relationship, I accept that part of the problem is me. If you want to write a 5 paragraph essay, or a straight news article -- I'm your woman. How people ever get on the same wavelength and get nto relationships is simply beyond my comprehension. Like Calculus.

So, for the most part, I just accept my fate and thank my lucky stars that I don't fall nto the common traps. I see so many women accept and even seek out bondage to antiquated ideas and roles and I'm simply not havng that.

Every once n a while, the loneliess becomes acutely crushng and I start to wonder if the grass is any greener outside of Spnsterville. Or maybe, they start to fall nto my lap and so I dabble, lookng to see what's out there.

There's rarely anythng to take too seriously. Sometimes I decide this is just as well and I have my fun. Sometimes I figure it's not worth the trouble. Sometimes I detect some game-playng or attempts to fool me and I run, screamng the other way.

Every 5 years or so, I meet someone who I deem worthy. It's the conversations that get me. You can teach someone to be a better lover, but you can't make them a better, smarter, more nterestng, or sensitive person if they don't have the desire to develop such traits. Even if they possess such desire, they simply may be ncapable of these thngs.

So, you see,when I fnd someone who stimulates my mnd, makes me laugh and who appreciates me, I am delighted. I naturally tend to gravitate toward thngs that seem good. Somewhere, however, thngs go bad.

Me: What big brans you have!

Him: All the better to sabotage relationships with, my dear.

The part that kills me is that they complan, and this should be my red flag next time, about their bad luck with women, or no luck at all. So, essentially, I get rejected by rejects. Woo hoo! I guess where I fuck up is n thnkng that people actually want to be happy and that they'll choose someone who accepts them for who they are, without regard to their appearance, net worth, or neighborhood.

Silly, naive Erica. Evil, manipulative, nasty women are preferable to open, honest, carng women like yourself, because they make for a great scapegoat, you nnny. It's never the nice guy's fault that the relationship didn't work out, it was all the dong of some evil woman who treated him badly.

Once cloaked securely n victimhood, they can elicit sympathy and shirk any responsiblity for their actions. See, where I fall for it is n feelng empathy, because we've all had a bad break, or two. But some of us learn to stop puttng our hands nto the fire. Or, do we?

Would that my sense of self-preservation was half as strong as my empathy. I'm not completely devoid of it, I do recognize abusers and avoid them like scabies. Sometimes, they are more skilled at manipulation and it takes a while to pick up on them. Take The Greek, for example.

He puzzled me, because he seemed to be an entirely new knd of experience and I was delighted. He is ntelligent and recognized that I am, too. Nerd Boys do that, as well, but he possessed a confidence and drive that they generally do not. I was happy to go along for the ride and see where it took us. I wasn't sure if this would be somethng serious, or just play time, but I was open to the possibilities.

I should have known by how he overreacted when I teased him about beng "mysterious" because he had plans after our second date and had to rush. He orignally wanted to have brunch, but I didn't want to miss a meal at home, only to have to buy dnner later (as with most residences, "dnner" on the weekends is at lunch time, so the staff can go home early and there is no evenng meal).

The fact is, it was only our second date, I didn't feel he had any obligation to me, obviously. However, it is rather uncouth. He could have made it any other day, but he chose one n which he had later plans, so I was rushed. As we said our goodbyes, I marvelled at how many pockets his shirt had. I lamented that women's clothes were not nearly so practical. He said, "Women's clothes don't need to be practical, their purpose is to be sexy." Another moment when I should have known.

Our third date was fun, a little evenng n and I made dnner. He complimented me endlessly, as he always did. Part of me knew by then that my role was to be pretty and keep my mouth shut, never somethng I excelled n. I wonder how thngs would have transpired had I worn pants that night. But I didn't. We kissed for hours.

I thought it was nice and that I was glad I'd kept myself open to other possibilities. The next day, his mother came from Greece for 10 days. Obviously, it was far too early to meet mom, so I had no expectation of seeng him until she left. Then her return date changed, only he said he'd never told me 10 days. I traned to be a reporter, I remember conversations verbatim. Don't tell me you never said somethng when we both know you did. It wouldn't be the last time.

Afterward, he had his wisdom teeth out, but we kept n touch with emails and telephone calls. That's understandable.

The other thng I should have picked up on much earlier was that he kept askng me to "write him a story." He didn't want to read about my adventures n the Tenderlon, you must know. He wanted me to write to him about sex. It seemed cute and funny the first few times, because he could make almost anythng seem charmng. But he kept dong it. I said no; he asked agan. I said no agan; he asked agan. I explaned that I don't write about sex, that it's just beneath my abilities and borng to boot; he asked agan. I said that it was the sort of thng one was better off dong than writng (or talkng) about; he asked agan.

I even went so far as to say writers prefer to show, not tell; he asked agan. He had asked me to sleep with him, but at some pont he decided this was conditional upon me "writng a story." He'd say thngs like "well, you're the writier" or "you should entice me." I'm sorry, but who's the one with the vagna here?

He said he didn't understand my "violent" reaction to this. I responded that if he wanted to contnue to play this game, he would be playng it alone. I had already stated that I would not do this several times and that he should respect my wishes. I said it wasn't violent, I just wasn't nterested. I asked why he contnued to try to force this on me, when I had clearly and repeatedly stated that I was not willng to do what he asked? Even n S&M, participants do not do thngs they do not wish to do.

I just remember what Gavn DeBecker said n The Gift of Fear -- when someone tries to get you to do somethng you don't want to do, they are manipulatng you. Period. I could see him askng a couple of times, although even that is manipulation. Perhaps he thought I was beng coy, snce we'd had one rather ntimate encounter. I could grant that someone would misunderstand at first. But to keep harpng on it, really, is tryng to force your wishes on someone else.

That's how date rapes happen -- men assumng she's just playng coy and women beng too nice to know when to kick someone n the balls. Thankfully, I learned that skill at 14, when a senior n my photography class would corner me n the dark room. He turned blue, purple under the red light, but he never told a soul, because then he'd have to admit what he did to warrant my nstnctive reaction.

I just thnk, "would I tolerate that sort of behavior from a good friend? A stranger?" and that takes men off that white horse/pedestal quite effectively. If more women applied that logic to their lives, they would avoid a lot of bruises, nside and out.

. . .

Not that I have much more luck with friendships, mnd. There were several people at my last job whose company I genunely enjoyed and they just don't return my calls. After a while, I gave up.

The person most persistent n tryng to be my friend at the moment uses the word "nigger" n casual conversation, the way some would use words like "man" or "cat." It's one of those "no offense" situations. There are other people who I've had great times with, but their social calendar is quite full. We have mutally good times when we see each other, but their schedules make that impossible more often than every 2, 4, or even 9 months.

Once agan, caught between the Scuylla and Caribdis -- suffocatng lonelness or complete annoyance? I vacillate.

Note: this entry was previously part of #160, but I decided to separate the two. This one should come first, but snce the comment was posted to the previous entry, I kept it with the relevant content.

[Next entry: "Fat, Not Stupid"]
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