I wrinkle my little nose, "Hmm, like I think 5?" He laughed incredulously.
Not to give the impression that my life is but one long soiree of men, I actually DO get other non-penis centered things done. Last night for instance, I saw Rihanna with Frugen #1. I realize he has one however inapplicable it is to me, still I consider a Gay BFF a must-have accessory to a diva pop concert.
We'd planned this months ago, more in reaction to how we got sold bogus tickets to Lady Gaga last year and were shamefully turned away from the door just as we were thrilling to get monstered. Frugen #1 turns to me excitedly and asks, "So, dahling, have you practiced ALL your Rihanna songs before we got here??" I shrug sweetly, "My love, I have a confession to make. I have this terrible habit of showing up at concerts only knowing a handful of the songs, this way it's like I'm getting to know the artist ALL over again, you know?" He looks at me in shock, "So how many songs do you actually know?," he asks.
I wrinkle my little nose, "Hmm, like I think 5?" He laughed incredulously.
Five days ago, it was my birthday. I used to think it was irony for a Moon Child to be born on the Summer Solstice, literally the longest day of the year. However, after my stint in Hades, I've begun to view this paradox as befitting my Return to Spring, a continuation of transformative renewal.
Unfortunately, ALSO because of the same said stint, I dread it with a rising tide of fear I can't even coherently describe. As long gone as the Sewer's been, the emotions I encounter when the day approaches makes me feel like I'm greeting Death first before I can properly say Hello to Life. There's a chime of reasons supposed by the Nearest and Dearest. Is it Age? Is it Being Alone? Bad Memories of Sewerage? Or worse, Bad Gifts??
It is A LOT of things. Yet with regularity, it settles upon me in the same manner June Gloom arrives to confound every tourist in search of the LA sun during the month of. I feel weaker, even fragile, held together by a single tissue-thin piece of membrane. It's Emotional Tax Season, and I've Gots To Pays. Every little request friends and families are so used to having fulfilled from the Cancerian Coffers of Compassion begins to feel like I'm spilling blood. Yes, even a question feels like I'm being cut.
I was understandably nervous when B suggested we go out for drinks. Excited as well. And all that being very much umbrella'd by Confusion. The last time we'd left it, we were on a Booty Call Format.
It was so clear, it cut like glass. Just Sex, Nothing Else. At least theoretically. Needless to say, it deviated in practice. It usually does when you genuinely care for each other.
But as it turns out, B ends up taking me on various dates where there is little doubt from anyone on the outside looking in, that we are in fact, Seeing Each Other. Not hanging out. Not booty calling. Would you sweetly kiss your booty call on the head like they were a child, suggest a couples' dinner and introduce them to your friends? All of which B did.
At one point during an evening out at a soccer game, a professional photographer asks if he could take pictures of us for the stadium website. "So, you know, people know it's a good place to take your woman for a date," he explains grinning widely. B looms over me, flashes a dazzlingly symmetrical Libran smile and clutches me with such a force my feet come off the ground. We smile obligingly, all charm for the paparazzi.
But inside, I was like that Double Rainbow guy sobbing in half-wonder going, "OMG, What Does It Meaaan??"
As I survey the debris left in the wake of Kentucky and the Serb, I don't feel much of anything. There's really not much to judge, and more to just let lay. A bit literal I know. I soldier on, since analyzing at this point gets me nowhere.
Rumination is not the purpose of the Rotational, Delighted Distraction however is.
Still, I succumb naturally to reflection the moment there's a lull. Here on one hand is Kentucky, articulate, smart, polite, and even, yes, caring. Wholesome as milk. Unfortunately, he has me wondering if an arsenal stocked with tantra, the full measure of my sexual experience plus some old school Dr. Ruth will ever help me pave a longer road between start to disheartening finish. I don't think I've ever mapped the Start-Stop technique as thoroughly as I've had to with him, no matter that I've been nimble as a mission impossible thief racing a 2 minute window against certain death. I'd have more success therapotting him myself and extracting the tricky little bugaboo living in his head so terribly fond of ad hoc sexual re-wiring.
The decks begin to clear in the weeks before my birthday, as if wave upon wave had claimed it's chosen sailor leaving but a single one standing. It was time for the Rotational to die.
I was dispassionate about Dragan's lies, that alone was proof he'd never managed to storm the real breach. In the peacefully cool marbled halls of my kingdom, the inner sanctum laid unseen by Serbian eyes. And Kentucky, well, I assumed he'd continue on his weary travels, happy to pass on by. Instead, I hear from him again and realize he intended to linger. Was there some jewel I'd not seen? Something else I'd ignored in the encounter?
These are the questions I usually ask myself. Not to say I didn't have my fears or my desires. I do.
I am happy to leave well enough alone with Dragan, figuring it would be simple enough to let slide into ambivalent decline, not unlike a rotting corpse. While we had no agreement to be exclusive, I'd made it clear the burden of proof for commitment would be his. After all, he was the one hankering after an arrangement which would take at least three years with most of the sacrifice on his future spouse's part. To my mind, it's as simple as a business proposition, even if swaddled in mild affection.
It's an investment, and to get a backer, he would have to prove he was solid. And I don't just mean in pictures. Maybe he got lost in translation?
Dragan and I have breakfast the next day, lounging around after dressing, too lazy to go anywhere on a Sunday morning. Like anyone foreign, the weekends are times of catch up with family overseas. He video chats with his sister and a female friend he used to work with, apologizing as both conversations draw out. And completely oblivious he was giving me a demonstration of exactly what I'd outlined were my concerns if this were to go any further.
But he's happy and gregarious, I hear the sister ask what he's eating and realize I'm beginning to digest Serbian words here and there. Prosciutto Italiani, he chattered in Serbian, wrapped around melon slices and it was very good. I glimpse the female friend as I flit by, attractive with cheekbones I'm sure could double as paper cutters, but Dragan while not introducing me, makes it clear to both of them he's with someone as he translates parts of what he said. He tells me about the friend, "I talking to Iliana, she work with me before and her boyfriend also, they send me the Serbian cds." They continue laughing as they catch up on old times, I'm both happy and sad to see him like this.
Happy because home is not just a place, but the people and sad, because I am absolutely right about everything I'd said. It will be a few days before this sinks in, I think and all will depend on what he does. It's past noon by the time he leaves, off once more to yet another Serbian party, he kisses me with familiar affection like we'll be doing this over and over again. Certainly it has that feel to it, but I know this will be the last time. Somehow.
Dragan is decidedly more relaxed once we get back to my flat, the almost altercation at the fair already forgotten. The pleasant heat of the day has dwindled off with the dusk taken by the unfolding cool of evening. We're both relieved to be inside and cozy, having been out for most of it. I kick my shoes off, and head barefoot to the kitchen.
In a rhythm as old as time, he leaves me to it and takes himself off for a shower. I hear Serbian words mingle with the spray of water as he sings muffled through the door. The last time I saw this kind of quaint domesticity happen was with the Sewer, and yes, in a black and white film. It was oddly comforting then as it was now, I shiver at the memory.
The only other men I cooked for were the Frugens and B, well, formerly. The Frugens usually occupied themselves happily kissing or sniping at each other like naughty puppies, and B would either hover round me chatting or watch tv nearby to keep me company. I was surprised to realize that I'd actually been cooking for B for almost a year, he used to tell me he was the envy of the office break room as colleagues leered drooling at one of my artfully packed leftover lunches. It was a sweet thought of curious belonging.
The festival weekend finally comes. LA for all her smog and wonky multi-lingual signage is for the time, sunny and bright. A strange feeling of familiarity has begun to settle between Dragan and I, by virtue I think of having seen each other more consistently.
Something I liken to how a prisoner starts to view their captor as human, just because he always happens to be there. In retrospect, way too Freudian a thought.
Dragan's comfort is such that he arrives an hour early just as I pull up my driveway, sweaty and flushed from a run. I bounce out of the car with a "Hello, Bossy! Here already?" The question doesn't daunt him, and I'm wondering if this was his way of shifting himself from someone I'm "seeing" to "official boyfriend who can come round whenever". He eyes my hot pink towel shorts, the wispy steamed tendrils of hair and hugs me anyway, as if he wanted to try out the glistening gym version. Surprising, considering how stringent his post-coital hygienics had been. Maybe the comfort zone is a spectrum, dare I hope that this may later manifest itself in the bedroom? I notice him riveted by my bottom as I run up the stairs. Hmm, promising.
The festival is a slice of longed for summer. The day is so crisp and lush, we cannot help but attack it with relish. Revving the engine up, I give Dragan a conspiratorial smile and ask,"You up for discovering LA, Bossy?"
I seem to be running into this a lot lately like a wall that greets me at every turn whether low or tall, or thick or thin, I crash into it. It's the same question disguised different ways. For weeks it's been on my mind, lurking under conversations and yes, annoying me at every opportunity. When I do my daily read of newspapers today and find each publication screeching about the latest study from the Psychology of Women Quarterly, I'd finally had it.
The research essentially notes that our daily lives are still teeming with "unnoticed acts of sexism" implying women are less than capable without a man's help. And that we are all guilty. Ticking time bomb or not, I'm here with my two measly cents about it. NOT about the research per se, there are reams of witty/enraged/informed reaction on that already but on something far more relatedly personal.
Besides if you're a woman, you already KNOW sans the benefit of arduous costly study, it simply isn't true. The slander on capability, I mean. You're also likely far too busy, too tired, too pissed off and way too smart to give it any credit.
FA on feathers, fangs, furies and all sorts of folly, yes, even the serious kind.
content copyright 2011
Yep, my life, my insanity, my copyright. If you like what you read, let me know :)
Did I use your image & attribute it incorrectly? Sorry! Let me know and I'll take it down. "Sssshhhh" image on blog header by Deborah Azzopardi. It's an amazing print now available thru Ikea.