For every woman, there is a defining moment where we realize that boys, with their flesh wands and war whoops, are maybe not so unpleasant. For me, the defining moment was at a skating rink in rural North Carolina. I was in fourth grade. I looked like Little Orphan Annie with owl-rimmed glasses and I suddenly realized that I had a crush on a neighbor boy. This crush was not mutual, although it would be at some point 12 years later when certain inescapable facts had intervened hindering it forever.
For the sake of the fakest sounding pseudonyms out there, I will call him Edwin. Prior to this moment, we hated each other savagely - a hate largely fueled by academic rivalry and an equal talent for swimming. I also hated him because he was good-looking and I was not, and he loved to point this out. But mostly we hated each other because everyone in our two families thought we should love each other because we were, at heart, so alike.
Then came the magic onset of the era of schoolgirl crush. Knowing that I didn't stand a chance, I hid my little secret in sickeningly perfumed diaries. I hid it when he dated all my friends. I watched him from afar. I watched him from nearby. Our families were close - on drunken Christmas Eves my sister and I were left with him and his brothers to devise such brilliant games as "who can survive being crushed in the couch." Later as we entered high school (and I got just as good looking), we begrudgingly became friends.
Unfortunately, as we both entered high school his older brother made the moves on me one night when we spent the night at his family's house when my parents were out of town. Because his older brother was in a word, one of those boys who everyone admired and who epitomized (if not truly justified) the topic of many "who would you fuck" girly conversations, I was smitten. It did not matter that he had a girlfriend, was four years older than me, and had little future except living with his parents and laying brick - what mattered was the random nights, spread out over the rest of my high school career, of meeting in our neighborhood under various species of poplar for some intense making out.
And so, I decided he was the one. He was the one despite all the boys I would date in high school, who would often get frustrated at my lack of emotional (and sexual) availability. What did it was the magic combination of a clandestine affair (he was still dating the girlfriend), my wild imagination and a longing for that perfect man, that perfect kingdom, and that happiness that I knew was just waiting for me in his arms. Oh, how dangerous.
Like all mediocre high school dramas, it ended in consummation the summer after I graduated high school, and like the majority of high school consummations it was high on the grand scale of "meh." That fall, I went to college. When I returned and he called, I just ignored it. Life had moved on, I had found other men to transfer this obsession to. And the transferal seems to have never stopped.
It is true that I was not totally unaffected. I got horrifically drunk at his wedding my senior year in college, and threw my shoes at a mutual friend. (It's also true that the mutual friend then went on to be the singer in a popular band - thus making this weird high school obsession inescapable to me by two degrees.) It is also true that four years later, when I came home from abroad and its own disastrous amorous experiments, his mother called me to ask me to talk to him because of his depression over his impending divorce. I did not do it, not because I was heartless, just because I blamed him for the ugly pattern of becoming reliant of the dream of a man as a necessary goal to keep me happy, this sick sick obsession that kept me bouncing from bed to bed, drama to drama, daydream to crushing reality and back again.
I felt that it was only fair.
On a New Year's Eve not too long after, when Edwin randomly called and took me to visit some of his friends in Chapel Hill, when we spent the whole car ride, and the whole of two days laughing like we had known each other forever (I mean, in some ways we had), when things had suddenly all fallen into place - from the skating rink to his car in my parents' driveway - yes, when he leaned in to kiss me, I did the perfectly logical thing. I bolted from the car, and from any possibility of being with someone that I realized I loved dearly. He did the logical thing of course, and married a nice girl some years later.
You see, it was all ruined, and I could not get it back. So, as much as it hurt, I went back to the drawing board - to many many drawing boards - all of which, unfortunately contained the same formula of obsession and reliance. Always needing someone to fuel this weird almost masochistic desire to fashion a prince out of thin air, to build a castle in the clouds, to breathe air into my eager heart. And each time I made a mistake, I would cover it and shuffle on to the next.
In the spirit of insanity being the repetition of actions with the same results, I have determined that this shit has gotten old. Really old. Ever since my fourth grade skating rink revelation, there has never been a moment when a boy or man or need for one has not crowded my thoughts. This little problem has kept me from being productive, has wasted my time, and has left other things in my life greatly unappreciated. And it has, like Edwin, left other things that could have been appreciated by the wayside. Enough already.
This blog is about 86 days - from here until February 21, 2012 - Mardi Gras here in New Orleans - in which I will not let a man - or even the thought of a man - stop me from living my life to the fullest by my glorious self. Where I will stop thinking of lonely nights as lonely nights and more as nights where I can reach out and love other things, including myself.
The topics of this blog are simple and incredibly self-involved. Remember, no one is forcing you to read this shit. Sometimes it's heavy. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes it will make no sense whatsoever or reveal my perusal of far too many self-help books. But the important part is that I write it out, and when I hit Lent, I will be a happier person who knows she can survive quite well without thinking that she needs a penis to sort it all out for her.
Or something like that. There will probably be a lot of hater entries too. Those are fun.
I don't know if I anticipate any rich closures at the end, just one small little (and apparently normal for everyone else) goal to achieve. And god, I dearly hope if there are any revelations, they aren't something cliche like "Dear God, I'm a lesbian," or I meet the perfect man on February 22, 2012 when I achieve my true self. I will never claim to be a particularly deep person, but I'll be damned if my life is only worth a romantic comedy.