Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sexual Seconds! Please Sir, is it wise to have more?

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 flamb√©!  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.


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  2. I hate to start off with a salesman’s answer, luv, but it all depends.

    It’s usually easy to remain friends with somebody I’ve dated, but not always so easy to remain friends with someone with whom I’ve had a longer term entanglement. At least not right away.

    Consider the ingredients in the alchemy that comprises the broken up couple.

    Who broke up with whom? Was there infidelity involved, or perhaps some other betrayal of trust? Financial misdeeds? A dirty, not-so- little secret that’s come to light? Or simply the discovery on some deeply fundamental levels that the match wasn’t nearly as made-in-heaven as one once felt?

    Or one of the many other reason’s one half of a couple makes the decision to trade in for a new model or worse, strike out on their own. Choose solitude – no one and nothing - over you and all you have to offer.

    Take into consideration the high probability of emotional immaturity that permeates our pop culture and Madison Avenue-sculpted psyches. (Did you say Kardashians?) The dreaded Expectations, spoken, and most insidiously, unspoken. How the lens of these expectations can color one’s love from a warm rose to cold and resentful black.

    And let’s not forget the vast cultural chasm between your Euro sensibilities regarding such matters and those of the Average American Male.

    You’re a scientist. You know.

    Take all the ticket stubs and mix tapes, all the mortgage payments and dirty diapers, the secrets, lies and broken promises, dump them into the cauldron of a broken heart and hope that when all that is vile churns and boils and wisps away with the smoke of time, that sweet friendship can remain. That friendship’s original ember may glow in the heart warmly enough to be rediscovered.

    It can happen, even though it often does not.

    And the prospect of seeing ones former paramour in the arms of her next? That’s a tough one, again, deeply dependent on a myriad of what-ifs, most importantly, in my opinion, the amount of time that has passed.

    Girls are hard wired so differently than boys anyway, which is a whole ‘nuther story, except to say that in time, Daisy will no longer feel that same punch in the gut that comes when she sees Armando fumbling and stumbling and following his lesser head toward his personal vision of happiness, as we boys are prone to do. It’ll be a different kind of punch in the gut, more akin to “What was I thinking?” or “How lucky I am.”

    As long as Daisy is looking amazing that day.

  3. All great points on an universal dilemma E!

    I have found that (for me) the amount of effort put forth to avoid the ex and the length of that avoidance is in direct proportion to the level of emotional connection. If I fell head over heels? Oh dear. See you in the next life. If it was more casual and lighthearted...then no prob! Which is the ultimate irony since those that you were the most connected to are the ones you hate to lose the most....as either lovers or friends. Sigh...

    People should just act EXACTLY as we want them to. It would be SO much easier! ;)

  4. What food for thought. It is subject-specific obviously, and, in the light of infidelity, lies and emotional fuckwittage, I can sympathesize that Daisy might wish to kebab parts of Armando's anatomy (or vice versa) rather than see him.
    But in the general, with the slow fade of things, or mutual declaration of incompatibility, can't the Separators be mature enough to respect what they had, and honour it with friendship?
    Why is it, that when the crap is shot, the splitting pair can't shake hands and wish the other well. I know, Don, perhaps I'm being naive, but I like to think I am being mature. It's just all so highschool! 'If you go out with her now I am never going to speak with you ever again and I will make a Voodoo doll and poke pins in your Play-doh penis!'
    I mean, really? Gah. And yet, I don't mean to be flippant. I know it is hard to see your ex-half with some one else but, here's the thing: if it was not meant to be with them, it is kinder to know now and be available to the more suitable options in the future.
    20 months since my own cleaving, I wear the scars. Does it sting to see my chunk of Pennsylvanian with others--oh God! I can't breathe--but the thought of never seeing or talking to him again is far worse than ever seeing him happily in the arms of another.
    So long relationship or short, intense or just casual, I want to believe we can retain something. I have to believe that I meant something. Something that cannot just be ignored or chucked away like piece of worthless rubbish.

  5. Wow, what tangled webs we have woven and in which we have been caught.

    What if the amputation approaches best, and if we are starfish who can grow new, prettier arms upon severing one or losing one? Don't the gains and the realization of the wisdom of our ways and the potentially fatal bullets that we have dodged outweigh the short-term losses? Let's face it--some people deserve neither our friendship nor our regrets.

    E, you were writing about moving on and having to clear out some of the baggage. If we are so lucky not to have indelible ties to the ex (I.e. offspring who require the regular interaction of both parents), I say run like he'll and don't look back. It only gives you a sprained neck and causes you to fall when running ahead, or worse, to miss the new, wonderful sights made available by the discarding of the blinders. What if we count our blessings that we got out with our souls, an ounce of dignity, and a good mattress?

    No seconds for me. I want what is fresh. Moving is such a great time for new starts--and some new shoes in which to decorate your lovely feet while you keep moving forward.

  6. CC, you have me pegged! I do have a tendency of being both Eurydice and Orpheus. I have been bitten by vipers, I have been saved. I have run into the wind, but always forget not to look back. I must stop this. I must sprint away, face forward.

    And my mattress is quite lovely! ;)

  7. Daisy needs to let it go. Armando may come around in time, but she can't count on it. Too many emotional planets must align to risk happiness on the maturity of a boy.

    And, at the risk of writing the most cliche' line on the Interwebs today, truly letting go of that which we love really is the purest demonstration of that love, and the surest path to peace.

    As an English poet once said, You can't always get what you want...

  8. I can safely say that I will most likely never run into an ex here, simply because those few men that I had any kind of relationship with are in Texas or NYC. So I have very little practical experience with this.

    I'd like to think that I would be mature enough to remain friends, but honestly, that's not how I'm built. Maybe that speaks to the men that I've dated- I just don't care enough about them to maintain a relationship if there isn't the eventual payoff of an orgasm involved. Or maybe it just means that I am a self-centered biotch.

    Ooh- I did have one experience with reconnecting with an ex. We had carried on a whirlwind 6 month romance before he dumped me as I presented him with Christmas gifts of homemade cookies and a cert for a massage (he did have the grace too look a little guilty accepting them). Completely shattered me- I fantasized for ages about what cutting things I would say upon meeting him again. Fast forward several years and he contacted me- wanted to get together for a drink, just friends mind, I was in a serious relationship and he was getting married. My dreams of revenge had long since passed and although I wasn't that enthusastic, I thought, why not? Well, my answer to that came when he suggested we have one last fling before he entered into wedded bliss with his poor, deluded fiancee. Needless to say, I hightailed it with my panties and dignity in tact.

  9. Okay, TVJunkie, you got me. I *just* remembered a Shapeshifter I had filed away/ blacked out/consigned deep into the grey whirls of my mind, who I am not 'friends' with.

    Oh, oh, we are still Facebook friends, but that's a joke. This Bastardly Dicktard behaved heartlessly and caused my usual happy-go-lucky demeanour to evaporate, along with my hopes, for a good stretch of time.

    He was your classic cad. I should have listened to the teachings of the sage Bridget Gwyn-Jones (A.K.A. Mum) and kept my cards close to my chest, but I thought--ridiculously--that being in my 30's, I could be straight and dispense with games.

    I shall spare you the specifics, you only need to know this: he owns Bastardly Dicktardedness. The term was created in his honour.

    So, we are not friends, we don't talk and I very much doubt that I will be receiving a Crimble card, or even Chanukah greeting. Yet we are still FB-linked.

    Why do I not block him, you ask. Surely, I should exorcise him from my life, never to gazed at his stern Griffin-Muppet-like brow again. But illogically, even though he behaved abominally, even though we never speak, I NEED to keep the corridor of connection open.

    What, so I can stalk him? No... (Besides he has the least exciting FB page ever... oops!) But, I suppose, I harbour some vain hope that one day he will click on a post of mine, read my writing and regret the way he acted.

    I suppose it goes back to needing to know that I mattered. As the famous American Businesswoman, Mary Kay Ash, said 'Everyone wants to feel important,' and he made me feel like a disposable, snot-caked tissue.

    Perhaps he'll read this. Then again, he'd probably take pride in the fact he was the original Bastardly Dicktard.

    PS: TV JUNKIE You are a Sweetheart still giving your Dicktard the massage and the cookies. I think I would have been sorely tempted to pluck them from his ungrateful hands and wave him a hearty 'Fuck off!' Or maybe my instinct to 'be nice and friends with everyone' (stylings again from the Sage BG-J) would take over. Yeah, probably the latter. ;)

  10. I'm pretty zen about it all. I don't get the continued adherence to the Virgin delusion that underlies the tweet you quoted, and I'd love to have maintained platonic relationships with old flames. For one reason or another, the other halves have generally been ambivalent about that prospect. I like to think that this ambivalence is due to what Michaela is talking about, but it could just as easily be due to the fact that they were just plain done with my bullshit :)

    Anyway, you need to put history aside (you can always come back to it later, that's the thing with history) and hit the feckin' town, lass! NYC, w00t!

    ps I saw the Orange Girls (a Saint Louis company now closed unfortunately) do Sarah Ruhl's Euridice a coupla years back. I love that play.

  11. DSKS I can hear your voice when I read your words. Love it. What a shame we never played Obernon and Titania. That would have been fun.

    As for your content... perhaps that's the difference between men and women, if men are 'done' they are 'done', game over and never darken my door again, wench. Whereas, I think women want to hold on to some element, friendship, photos, old T shirts.
    There is only one of those three E has room for in a Brooklyn apartment only just big enough to swing a kitten.

    Meh, it's bullshit. Attraversiamo!