The bizarrest thing happened today - two women competed over me.
At least, i'm pretty sure they did. It was so subtle that perhaps it didn't happen at all.
It was bizarre, because i haven't had sex in three years. It was also bizarre, because even at the height of my attractiveness (which, given this upside-down society, possibly hasn't even happened yet), i have very few memories of being competed over. I'd like to think this has something to do with my calming aura, but it probably has more to do with how i perceived the world for many years. I was quite literal-minded as a young adult - i wasn't interested in people's well-hidden (or even poorly-hidden) feelings. I perceived how much of a disconnect there was between what people think and what they feel, and didn't want to waste time in speculations over anybody's emotional/intellectual state. If someone wasn't capable of speaking directly, i'd already moved on. I wasn't coldly dismissive, but the point stands. So even though i was never a lothario, i'm sure i was "competed over" more than i can recall.
These days, i deal with the disconnect between what people feel and say by paying more attention to intentions than words. I suppose i'm still trying to avoid wasted time.
Today i went to visit my friend irene in an assisted living home. Soon after arriving, i went to one of the nursing stations to ask for a folding chair. The woman behind the desk was intrigued by my Lez Zeppelin shirt. I explained, to her amusement, that they're an all-woman tribute band out of New York (and quite good, too). Actually, i said "all-girl", and immediately kicked myself inside for infantilizing women. The woman at the desk was alone, and pulled me into a conversation about music. "Pulled" is the correct term, as i was being polite and businesslike. Not that i minded - she was enchanting. She told me she was more of a Pink Floyd fan, and i eagerly concurred. She went on a tangent about her age, and i very nearly bet her that i was older. Had i been more of a flirt, i would have done so. As it turns out, i would have lost. We talked more about our Floyd passion, and were well on our way to me inviting her to enjoy some music together. Then the bizarre thing happened. Another staff woman appeared, and jumped into the conversation. Her entry felt a little manufactured, but i found her delightful too. All of a sudden, i became pretty sure she was there simply because of me. She wasn't even a Floyd fan, she was talking about Creed, and it must have been clear that the first woman and i had been having a bit of a moment. My mind went into overload - i have no patience for small talk, especially when there's another reality clearly going on. For a second i thought about doing something abrupt and honest, like laying two of my business cards on the counter and saying that i hoped very much to talk more with both of them. But i didn't want to draw attention to the strange dynamic that had arisen, so i excused myself with a warm handshake for both (I suppose i was instinctively following Romance Commandment #4 - thou shalt never leverage one suitor against another. It's just not nice.)
This article is not about my attractiveness, though (or just a rare good day), it's about how degrading this society is. We live in a circumspect, competitive (and thus dehumanizing) world. We're taught to treat others (and ourselves) as commodities, and nowhere is this more obvious than in romance. We all learn how to instantly assess a potential partner for their positive or negative value. We tabulate all the pluses and minuses (in approximate order - looks, age, status, wealth, personality...for women, it's wealth, looks, personality, status, age). We reduce people to an equation, and it's generally not even a conscious process. Things like honesty, empathy, or trying to love and nurture all our fellow humans, get tossed out the window. It's also a world where "both" is almost never an option - you can't have your favorite AND second-favorite lover, without paying a high price in deceit and guilt.
Here's a general rundown of all the degrading, dehumanizing nonsense that played out in my head during those three minutes (the last third of which involved all three of us).
WOMAN #1 - Bright, beautiful eyes. Gentle energy. Playful, maybe even mischievous. Wonderful skin. She's sitting, but seems to be in good shape. I wasn't interested in her age, but she was clearly interested in sharing it...plus the fact that she has two kids who are out of the nest, with a conspicuous non-mention of any father/husband. I sense that she's ready to live for herself in ways that were denied a long time. I'm both physically attracted and think she might be wonderful company before, during, and after anything we might do.
WOMAN #2 - Intelligent, striking eyes. A tiny bit beaten down by the world, but she hasn't lost hope. Even more beautiful skin...but that's perhaps about my ebony fondness (If the world humps away all our skin differences, racism will be done!). I'm not interested in her age, but in hindsight would guess that she's at least ten years younger than the first woman (STOP COMPARING THEM, IDIOT...AND DON'T FALL FOR THIS SOCIETY'S AGEIST "YOUNGER IS BETTER" BULLSHIT!). She's standing, so i'm even more sure she's in good (maybe great) shape. (STOP OBJECTIFYING THEM, FOOL!)
WOMAN #1 - Hold the presses. Yes, around her neck, that's a...crucifix. Feel that wind disappearing from my sails? But maybe it's okay...she seems so non-uptight, maybe she's that one in a million believer who's not a myopic boor. I know, i shouldn't let this one bother me so...but really, do you know what it feels like to make love with someone who sees not two, but three people in the bed? It's disconcerting. Imagine loving someone who still believes in their imaginary childhood friend. At a certain point, it's creepy. But she loves Floyd!
WOMAN #2 - Oh sadness...she straightens her hair. Are there NO black women who have read "The Autobiography of Malcolm X"? Why can't black women understand that we want to touch them, feel them, and love them, just as they are? Straightened hair is just unpleasant to touch, and anyone who says differently is blowing smoke up your ass. Natural black hair feels sooooo nice.
I want to love anyone who comes to me, in any way they need! But romance is such a hopeless minefield. I don't know who's worse when it comes to possessiveness and jealousy, men or women, so when you risk getting involved, you'd better be damned sure you really, really, really feel strongly. DON'T do it just because someone clearly needs love. You...will...be...sorry.
Black women tend to have less of a pole up their ass than white women (STOP USING GENERALITIES, THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR GENERALITIES!). Or is that just another way of saying that the power dynamic is better weighted in my favor, with a non-white woman? (STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT!! I DON'T THINK LIKE THAT! THESE ARE HUMAN BEINGS! CAN'T WE JUST DROP ALL OUR FEARS, AND TELL EACH OTHER WHAT KIND OF LOVE WE NEED?)
I guess we can't.
I don't want to be in a power dynamic with anyone. I just want to try to love, and be loved. Not one person, but whomever i meet. But this world forces us to make these assessments, and snap decisions. Or measured decisions - it's dehumanizing either way. Rejection upon rejection, no matter which end we're on, by the time most people hit thirty, they're either hopelessly hardened or broken beyond repair. I could have something wonderful with either (or both) of these women, but most people can never see past our never-ending search for THE ONE.
As i walked away, i hoped i would meet one of them again on my way out. That didn't happen, but i don't doubt that we'll meet again soon. But which one? And which do i want?? (STOP MAKING WALLS!) On the way home, i decided that i'd let my subconscious take over. The next time i masturbated, i'd let my thoughts flow, then know which way to go.
Which i did. I've been having lurid, beautiful dreams about one of them ever since. Which one? What, you can't guess? It's...
But wait...what if i end up befriending and sparking with the other one, and she starts reading my site, and...
We are all so fucked. And not in the happy way.