So, this week has been all about moving. Compiling 32 years of life into cardboard boxes, bags and any random receptacles to shift the shit I can’t bear to part with (and taxes). Let’s not forget the taxes. Gadzooks, do I really need to take up valuable space in my 12x15 with boxes full of statements, spreadsheets and receipts? Seriously? It is area I could free up to learn circus tricks, yoga or contortionism.
But this blog isn’t about the physical and emotional trauma that was EGJ Moves to Brooklyn. Because you know what? Moving is hard. You have to part with things you love. You have to grow up, kiss teddy goodbye, and dispense with all those love letters and photographs you have held on to with the vague premature nostalgia of being able to tell your grandchildren that, “Yes, once Grandma was young. She was relatively pretty and some boys liked her.” You have to be ruthless.
But you probably know this already. You have had your own moving trauma and you sure as Scooby Doo snacks don’t need a vicarious dose through me.
So, I’m not writing about moving, but rather moving on. I was caught reading a tweet whilst innocently noshing on a tuna sandwich. It read:
Don’t meet your girlfriend’s exes, it’s their shoes you are filling. And by shoes, I mean vagina.(@Luke Romyn)
It was fortunate, indeed, that my fellow diner was familiar with the vagaries of the Heimlich manoeuvre, but after I had cleaned my computer screen, I thought more about this.
How can you not eventually see on Facebook or hear on the grapevine, or—egads!—meet in public, your exes? What is the right protocol? What is the wrong? And what is the God-awful-Larry-David-type behaviour that will make everyone in your general vicinity cringe with embarrassment and forbid you ever to go out again in any locale that might harbor an ex?
If you are a nice person—and I hope you are—you will consider your ex’s feelings in this. But it’s bloody difficult to look out for someone else as well as care for yourself. We are, as humans, ultimately selfish. The survival-of-the-fittest instinct precludes any altruistic sacrifice, so it is unlikely that we choose a life of enforced celibacy to save the feelings of our exes; but how can we still date in a small gene pool and not stab the sensibilities of those separated from us? What limits and rules should we apply? Where does it start, dear Reader? Where does it stop? When can you date and not feel guilty?
|Oscar Night at Amici, with hosts Mark Masetti & Michaela Moore|
Let’s take the example of my beloved adopted home town of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. It’s a small town. In my 7 years in the environs, I have met many people. Every first Friday, the art walk in Scranton brings out the same warm-hearted arts supporters; every Wednesday a great crowd toe-tap to the jazz night at Amici; on warm summer nights, friendly faces congregate under the pagoda at State St. There is always a guaranteed sighting of someone you know. It’s like friggin’ Cheers. Only there is not one bar, there are many.
You’d be hard pushed to find more than one degree of separation in fair ol’ Scrant. It’s comforting in that way. Unless you have exes, because then it is a little too close for comfort.
I read somewhere that, when on a date, you should never go somewhere you really like, because if it doesn’t work out, now Unworkoutable knows YOUR place, and imagine you go there and now he/she is cozied up at the bar chatting with your friendly bartender, arms/tongue around someone else! Not good, dear Reader, not good.
I confess, once I went on a date with a certain Scrantonite and after dins we went to one of my favourite places. I perched at the bar, engrossed in the tennis playing on the screen above. I ordered a glass of my usual and Date order his. It was about ten minutes before I turned to my left and realized sitting RIGHT BESIDE me was—Oh Gawd, shoot me!—a chap I had dated briefly and become good friends with. There was no ill-will, but I felt terrible, because I genuinely cared for the non-date to my left—much more than the one to my right. I glowed puce and drank quickly. The tennis was, I believe, riveting. Date vs Gwyn-Jones: 40-Love.
But let’s not get into my dirty laundry. Let’s return instead to our beloved couple, Daisy and Armando, as introduced by Michael J. Coene in his response to Manopoly and other Bastardly Dicktards: http://www.eleanorgwyn-jones.blogspot.com/
It’s been months, maybe even years, and Daisy and Armando have reached the point of no return. They finally face their silent disappointment and resignation; or maybe they engage in vocal, vitriolic warfare; either way, their relationship ebbs or explodes and they are left, two halves. Splittsville.
No longer ‘Daisy and Armando’, but ‘Just Daisy’ and ‘Just Armando’. Singledom has branded them a new title. And whilst they will wear it for a while and spurn talk of ever yinging their yang ever again; whilst Daisy takes a vow of celibacy/ice-cream/commitment to learn a language or maybe ballroom dancing; and while Armando goes out with his boys, peacocking it up at the Hardware Bar, letting the semi-clad Barely Legals straddle him in the dentist chair and swallowing the Jack Daniels poured lasciviously down his gullet, making his Adam’s apple bob eagerly; the chances are that, at some stage—maybe not at the Hardware or at Blue Ribbon Ice Cream Parlour—these two love-lorn halves will find other shapes to fit with.
And that is when the holy shit splatter can really start pelting. The Oh My God, Run for Cover, Nuclear Flying Fecal Fallout that is going to take Daisy down, and Armando, and all of their friends, and their new halves and the friends of their new halves.
This is more than a case of Sharks versus Jets, more than a Soprano fracas. This is where loyalities are tested, solidified or whacked… ‘You’re dead to me.’
So, what is Daisy or Armando to do?
|Lady G celibate? Nunsense! She's virgin' on the ridiculous!|
We’ve already taken the celibacy option off the table. This is the age of Lady Gaga and the Kardashians, after all.
Daisy and Armando cannot deny their genetic predisposition to couple. But what is the best way to be kind without being cruel? How can they stay friends if they have been lovers? Lord, sounds like a terrible Michael Bolton song, don’t it, eh?
You see, I’m interested, I genuinely am, because I always try to be kind and stay friendly with ex-partner/boyfriends and was quite proud that I boast a healthy wodge of Christmas cards each year from chaps with whom I have, at some stage, exchanged saliva. It is rather pleasing to think that, in spite of not working out, I can, at least still exchange something with them.
It didn’t occur to me before now, that, perhaps, being friends was the very worst thing one could do. When Daisy sees Armando enjoying the chaps-wearing and sequin-bra-ed Tiffany gyrating over his crotch, aiming another shot of amber nectar down his throat, how can she just laugh it off and be happy for him? That was her crotch to gyrate over. She may not be jealous, but odds are a silent fist hits her right between the solar plexus.
And what of Armando? When he looks surreptitiously in Daisy’s direction and sees a likely suitor swoosh in to the bar stool next to her, engage her in witty banter and offer her a drink; when he watches as she accepts, lowers her head demurely and plays with her hair; he is conflicted.
Daisy and Armando are over, after all. Haven’t they agreed to be friends? ‘Heck! What does it matter if we happen to see each other out and about! It’s a small town. Forget about it!’
But it does matter, you see. Daisy cannot forget the little looks and smiles he used to throw at her and now she can see him flicking at others. She cannot bear to watch him laugh at some random woman’s unfunny joke and casually slip his arm around her, a silent admission of his new ownership.
Armando looks up from his table, where he is trying to fake a smile and appear as if he is concentrating on this groupie—what’s her name again? Melanie? Melissa? –and he sees Daisy. It’s over, he knows it, but seeing this dude sidle up to her in his indigo jeans and button down shirt, and that Daisy--who never liked engaging with strangers anyway—suddenly seems rapt in his presence, is torture.
They know they are not supposed to be together, that it didn’t work out, but they have shared so much with each other, it sucks the air from Daisy's lungs to see Armando with another her, standing in the spot where she used to be. No one likes to be replaced. Not at work, or in sport, and definitely not in relationships.
But let’s add another glug of scenario sambuca to make the shituation really flambé! What happens when Indigo Jeans knows Armando, or when Tiffany, Melanie or Melissa is acquainted with Daisy? GAH! I’ll tell you what happens… emotional holocaust.
When a good friend was matched with my former chap on an internet site, I almost shaved my head. Freud would have lots to say I am sure. I was just so desperate to protest in some way, but I was powerless. What could I say? Nothing. He was not mine anymore, and any vocal protestation would have shown me up, not him. It was so horrid to imagine him with anyone but me. It still is.
In Clarks Summit, the chances of dating someone none of your friends/acquaintances have ever dated is slim to none. Seriously, good luck with that. I’m not paranoid, but everyone knows everyone. They know where my car is parked, they know how long it’s parked for, and they know exactly where I was and how many cookies I ate while my vehicle was stationary. Think you can keep any Summit hook up on the QT? Think again, my friend.
So, what is fair? What are the rules for sexual second helpings? Is it okay to ask for more? Without it, in a small town, one might starve! I mean think about it, does Daisy have to deny any suitor who knows Armando? Is Armando forever forbidden the fruits of Daisy’s friends? Is that practical? It’s logical certainly, but here’s the thing: passion is not logical. The heart is the most illogical and non-negotiable organ and we’d be fools not to consult it once in a while.
I suppose, therefore, there is no easy way to move on and be good friends. That must be why so many halves have to cut the ties and be done, never to speak, nor exchange Crimble cards again; but, forgive me, Readers, I can’t give up that easily. I have cherished these people and I still want to be friends. I want them in my life and I want to know that they are okay—perhaps not who they are knobbing or how hard, or how blissfully happy they are without me—I do want them to pine for a decent amount of time—but then they can be happy. (Preferable when I am deliriously happy too.)
And, hopefully, friendship, true friendship—when two people care about each other, without sexual bullshit fucking it all up—will win the day. Sure, meeting each others exes is never going to be a hoorah fest of mutual appreciation--you are standing in vagina-shoes--but if you value your friendship at all, you should be able to wish them well.
Daisy will know that she will always occupy a little space in Armando’s heart, as he will in hers. And as both pursue other passions, they may forget the aching and become desensitized to the thump that hits them in the guts every time their eyes meet, but their lips can’t. Maybe.
Moving and moving on. It’s brutal. It rips out your innards and wraps them around your neck like an Isadora Duncan scarf. But, just speed through it, ignore the choking, and, when you can breathe again and sleep again, and not be conscious of the space beside you, it is quite liberating. You got here. The wind is blowing through your hair. You survived, and today is a new adventure.