I have shoveled shit in the form of first date (and further) conversation for 6 years. I have heard ridiculous, stupid, offensive things. I used to think that these guys were feeding me these lines because they figured I was stupid. But mostly it’s that men think they are terribly smart and very sneaky.
To the men who have told me on first dates that they are nomads and can’t be tied down to one woman, I say this: You are not Genghis Khan. You are not a nomad. You do not travel the Earth. You won’t even meet me on my side of town for a drink. You have lived in Traverse City for 10 years. You are not a nomad. You just want to fuck around, with anyone who will let you. And that’s fine! But don’t present this to me as some fucking philosophy, some adherence to your primal roots. I’m not stupid and you, again, are not Genghis Khan. You work at a car wash and can’t cut up a chicken. Spare me your high-minded thoughts on monogamy , which – if I have not made myself clear – is completely unrelated to being nomadic. Which you are not.
I have heard more and I have heard less.
I don’t want to talk to you because it’s a beautiful day.
I can’t sleep over because my cat is afraid of the dark and I really need to be home with him.
I can only meet at 3:30 and if you can’t meet at 3:30 WE ARE NEVER GOING TO WORK.
I just never know when I’m going to want to see you.
If you’re lucky I’ll make plans with you.
I don’t have to give you money for Plan B because I would help you raise the baby if you got pregnant.
I wasn’t tricked by any of this, you know? I go in with my eyes open. My heart and libido lead the way. But I know what I’m doing. I just don’t know why.
Who are you, my sweet readers? I see you behind the scenes. How did we find each other? Have I loved you? Why don’t you ever say hello?
The last time I had sex with Elijah, he choked me so hard that I saw stars. I couldn’t tell him to stop and I probably wouldn’t have anyway. We were both drunk and had argued most of the evening. I tried to speak to him during a guitar solo at a bonfire. Big mistake. I was stupidly in love with him and I let him treat me like shit because that’s what he wanted to do. And ever the faithful woman, I wanted my man to do what he wanted.
I woke up in a panic in the middle of the night, though. My throat was tight and incredibly painful. I felt bruised on the inside though there were no marks on me.
The next morning, I sat naked on his couch and smoked a cigarette. I told him that I didn’t think we should see each other anymore. He shrugged and agreed, saying, “My memory of last night is very different from yours.” He didn’t apologize for scaring me or hurting me. It never occurred to him, like so many before and after, that he had anything to be sorry for. He told me that he didn’t love me and I would find someone better than him.
I don’t hate him. He was plainly a monster. I hate myself for allowing him in my life. So even now, he avoids consequences.
I want very little from the men in my life aside from the truth and a little discretion. Which, of course, I never get.
I have dated since Elijah, men that are more or less disappointing in equal measure. Maybe less aggressive in bed, maybe more. Still, though. They are all very busy. They don’t ask me questions about my life. They interpret my kindness as love. It is usually just human decency. It is never love. And who can say when it will be love? It’s hard to have a heart of any kind – broken, open, adventurous – when I don’t even feel like a human. I don’t feel like a real girl. I just feel like someone’s doll, his hands around my neck.
My mother was a big fan of MTV when I was a kid (it’s not for nothing that my little sister’s first words were to “Welcome to the Jungle”) and I remember being totally enraptured by Prince’s music videos. Very clearly I recall sitting on the floor in the living room of our 2 bedroom duplex and whispering to my older sister, “I think Prince is probably kinky.” I didn’t know that word in any context other than Prince.
In college, I used all my tips from a night of bartending to buy a ticket to see him on his Musicology tour. I was recently obsessed with “When U Were Mine” because Crooked Fingers covered it and I have, if nothing else, a perpetually broken heart. He played “Cream” on acoustic guitar, alone on the stage in the round, and in that moment I am pretty sure I became a woman. Menstruation and maidenhead paled in comparison to seeing this tiny man sing.
At my wedding, after we danced to an appropriately lovely love song, we chose “Let’s Go Crazy” to play right after. And we did, for three immeasurable years.
I bonded with my therapist over our shared love of Prince – she had actually seen him in Minneapolis and I felt she had sufficient good taste to guide me through my madness.
I am selfishly sad that he died because I wanted to enjoy more of his music. Like most people, I am greedy even in my grief.
I can’t remember the last time a man wanted to know a goddamn thing about me, aside from what my tits look like.
I have squandered so much in my life. The buoyancy of my breasts, money I have made, several thousand kisses. I have gifted nearly all of my good feelings and starved my own self of good things in the process. Lately I feel radical in the affection I feel for myself, completely wild in my confidence that I am worth something, that I am doing a good goddamn job.
I have learned what love is, and what it cannot be.
This morning something swept through me and I was very briefly very certain that you were thinking of me, and I could feel it.
Then I realized it was just my uterus contracting around the piece of copper I had shoved in there so you wouldn’t get me pregnant.