May. 26th, 2008

plural: (bowler)
Of course, drinking the better part of four liters of whisky (split two ways) will do that, as will sleeping with a three hundred pound man.

I suppose I should illuminate

I went to one of my dearest friends home for a poker night with some of my closest friends. I started off killing half a bottle of bourbon that got me through the first hour of cards.

My drinking buddy for the evening, the aforementioned three hundred pound man, yes, I went head to head with a man who has more than a hundred pounds on me and lived to tell the tale, and I decided it had been too long since we had some heavy drinking and a night of falling under the wagon was in order.

the game started at 9pm
the game ended at 5am
no bottle was left standing

I do not approach poker with friends, the same way I approach poker with strangers. With the latter, it is for me an attempt at perfection, playing the game to the best of my ability and usually taking everyone chips. When I play with friends, it is all about action and thrills, having a good time as it should be.

We play low stakes, twenty dollar buy in and twenty five fifty blinds. I generally win a few big hands up front
get myself a respectable chip stack then spend the rest of the night slowly losing it. Prior to last night I had never bought in a second time but last night we were just having too much fun.

I got taken out on a beautiful bad beat and so I took over as dealer for a while. Then someone else got busted and called it a night, we were down to four and what fun is that? So I bought back in. My second hand I took down about fifty bucks so I paid myself back the twenty for my second buy in and kept playing. I built that stack up to about a hundred and eighty bucks, it was some beautiful playing on my part, if I may say so myself.

At five am we decided to crash and my drinking buddy and I, being in no shape to drive, crashed out on the spare room. Fortunately I was too drunk to remember any prison style raping which may have occurred.

All that in itself, is really just the prelude, after all my drunken misbehavior and luck with cards is all old news and even I get tired of writing about it again and again.

It was a conversation which happened this afternoon while I sobered up enough to drive myself home with the wife of my host (a lovely lady whom I adore) that brought about this post. She recalled something I had said in passing during the nights inebriation. A recent revelation that I had attempted a previous post on but found that I had not processed it enough to write it up properly. Todays conversation helped me process it quite nicely, so here we are.

The comment itself was quite offhand, a passing reply made in jest, that I was a quixotic man. She wasn't familiar with the word so I explained that quixotic refers to a person who is love with the idea and feeling of being in love. And the game went on with nothing more being said.

This morning she brought it up again and we talked at length about it. I think it comes from Charlie's death actually yet another aspect of the residual baggage I usually keep neatly stowed in the overhead compartment.

The revelation is this; I find it safer to be in love with love than to be in love with a woman. After all love cannot die. In all of my many years and for all of my many women, love has never died. I've walked away more times than I can count but any woman I have ever loved, I still love to this day.

She can kill with a smile, she can wound with her eyes,
She can ruin your faith with her casual lies,
And she only reveals what she wants you to see.
She hides like a child but she's always a woman to me.

Of course the same is true with anyone really, friends, family, once I love someone it is permanent. It doesn't go away That is just how I am wired.

With family it is a bit different because I can't walk away from family but with friends and lovers is it remarkably the same. The friends and lovers who I have cut from of my life, I did so not because of a lack of love, in fact with my lovers it was usually for an excess of it.

I've never in my life been dumped (well except by Samantha but since she called me a week later and wanted to get back together, I don't really count that. If I'd called her and convinced her to get back together I would count it however, just so you understand my thinking).

However that is merely a statement of who ended the relationship, not who was at fault and contrary to common perception, in most cases the reason I ended my relationships was not from a lack or failing of love but because I simply recognized that my lover was unhappy. I recognized what she needed and/or wanted from me to be happy and recognized that I was not now, nor planning to become, that man.

Call me vain, call me shallow but I won't date a woman I make miserable.

It would be nice if they actually liked me but since I haven't dated a woman who actually liked me in almost ten years, those that are willing to sleep with me despite their dislike will have to suffice.

She can lead you to love, she can take you or leave you,
She can ask for the truth but she'll never believe you,
And she'll take what you give her as long as it's free,
Yeah she steals like a thief but she's always a woman to me.

Who am I to judge? After all I dislike most people. It would be quite hypocritical of me to expect them to like me. However dislike and miserable are two very different things.

You can have a lot of fun, create a lot of meaning, enjoy mind blowing sex, (the best sex I've ever had was with a girl I could not stand and who absolutely and completely despised me) perhaps even a beautiful life with someone you dislike.

Hell, half the married couples I know have managed it for nearly a decade. Even miserable is quite doable
I can think of plenty of people who have spent forty years making their spouses miserable (and being made miserable by them).

While, for me in almost all of my relationships, I was quite content. My vanity will not let me go to that extreme, will not let me take the easy road. So I end the relationship even if they are willing to suffer me, I am not willing to be suffered.

So anyway, back to the main thrust of this revelation.

I have always been a hopeless romantic and when Charlie died. I needed company, affection so overwhelmingly and legion were the gentle women who were kind enough to open their legs and share their beds with a broken grieving man.

Oh, she takes care of herself, she can wait if she wants,
She's ahead of her time.
Oh, and she never gives out and she never gives in,
She just changes her mind.

An underage Thai hooker giving tourists two dollar rides on the beach doesn't see that much ass in a year.

It was a foolhardy approach, it cheapened me, it cheapened them, but happy was I for the distraction however much I may regret it now. I think somehow in that process, there was a transference. I had not even started grieving Charlie but there I was, in the arms and beds of other women.

I could not love them, regardless of who they were or were not, my heart was broken. They were but substitutes, a way, a path for me to experience the love, the affection, the companionship, the intensity of connection that sex contains. Those things that I missed so dearly once she was gone.

I could not obtain what my heart desired but I could revisit in some small way what I had lost. Like getting your photograph taken with the statues in a wax museum. It isn't the same as the original, it won't replace the original but if you don't look too closely, you can fool yourself for a while.

The booze helps.

And she'll promise you more than the garden of Eden
then she'll carelessly cut you and laugh while you're bleeding,
But she brings out the best and the worst you can be.
Blame it all on yourself cause she's always a woman to me.

So I created a checklist in my head, the things I wanted a woman to be, and pursued that. I met, dated, loved and made love to many a woman.

Or so I thought.

I thought if I just checked off enough boxes, I would be ok, it would be good. And, I suppose I wasn't far off, at least from my perspective, after all I was frequently in love with and frequently making to, lovely lasses with outstanding pedigrees.

Or so I thought.

I am the great deceiver, the flim flam man, the prince of lies and perhaps more importantly, my own betrayer. I have long told myself that the most dangerous lies are the ones we tell ourselves, my pride and my vanity, gloated ever so lovingly over that fact. I looked with barely masked contempt at the masses who paraded around believing their own lies, and savored the fact that I was free.

Or so I thought.

Now I sit here humbled still with enough whisky in my veins to stagger a horse, realizing, soaking in the truth of my lies, of my life. Awash in the stark reality of the past decade of my life, finally exposed to the light of day. What to do now? I suppose the answer is change it but I don't know where to start.

Oh, she takes care of herself, she can wait if she wants,
She's ahead of her time.
Oh, and she never gives out and she never gives in,
She just changes her mind.

I was, of course glib in todays earlier conversation with my friends wife. I just smiled and remarked that it was time to throw out the old list, to come up with a new one and I did. Only one thing remains from the old list, because it was something I never put on that list to begin with. The question of class, grace and intellect. All are traits I admire, and am attracted to in a woman, but in truth, they are more a function of how my life works, the obligation which I must uphold, and I simply can't have a wife who cannot perform alongside me at those functions.

Perhaps it is shallow, but like my family (as in fact it comes from them, though I doubt they would admit it) it isn't a part of my life I can walk away from.

The new list, is much shorter, has only three items in fact.

I want a woman who can perform the following:

Find my mischievous ways endearing
Disarm my stubbornness with a smile
Get me out of a third world prison

I'm even willing to teach the last two items, and as for the first, well, I am toning down my wicked ways some in my old age and while I will always reserve the right to act like a jackass from time to time, but I understand that some compromise needs to be reached. In many ways, I rather see any marriage I have as having some similarities to that of my good friend and last night's host's marriage.

He behaves himself, has made some accommodation, but keeps a couple of bad behaviors around for old times sake, properly sanitized to be in accordance with his marriage vows of course, and she just winks and teases him about it. I could compromise a lot of my mischief if I knew that I wasn't going be ragged and nagged about the little I keep to make sanity fun.

So that was the plan I gave her, but I have to wonder, is that just another way to mask the problem, just a new illusion to drape over my eyes so that I can ignore the bitter taste and swallow my lies? Sure, it is my usual charming and glib, with a dash of amusing self, but I don't see how it changes anything.

I suppose what I really need to do is find a way to move on from Charlie, but it has been more than a decade now but it still feels like yesterday. I still remember how she smells, the feel of her hair and her lips on my face when she kissed me. The way she fit so perfectly against me when we slept.

She was, and I suppose in a disturbing way, still is, my everything. How do I escape the reality, that I want nothing more than to feel her arms around me, to be magically transported back to how I felt when I was in love with her, and she with me. I can look in the mirror and tell myself that I am not trying to replace her. How can it not be a lie, when she set the standard for love, sure I can be content with less, but however much I try, I have to wonder if I am not unfairly holding women up to her standard. How can I not put her on a pedestal, even if it is a flawed one, as she was.

What am I? a man, a boy, a monster? I was a disaffected youth, a foolish boy doing foolish things but what about now?

What is left of me.

As Peter De Vries famously said "The value of marriage is not that adults produce children but that children produce adults." In many ways my relationship with Charlie molded me into a man. Not because she sought to shape me or fix me as so many other women have done, but rather because she gave me a reason to be something better, a reason to get my shit together, a reason to be a man.

She had a way of looking at me. Something I had never experienced at that time, and have never experienced romantically since.

When she looked at me, she was so sure.
sure that I was her man,
sure that I could protect her,
sure that I would never hurt her,
sure that I would care for her,
sure that I could handle whatever happened,
sure that we could handle anything that happened,
sure of everything.

Where as I'd never been sure of anything.

It is that look which I miss, which I yearn for, it inspired me to be the best man I could manage, to be man she saw, or die trying. It was the most powerful drug, the most powerful aphrodisiac, the most powerful experience I've ever felt. Remembering that look, the sensation floods through me, it builds me up and tears me down in an instant and I am left a wretched pathetic excuse for a man. I have never felt half as much of a man as when she looked at me and I've never managed to be half the man I was with her.

Her love brought out the best in me, her death brought out the worst, and ever since I feel like I've been standing in a desolate wasteland trying to remember how to breathe.

I suppose I could give it another go, spend another decade trying to work through it but what then?

Get a bottle in front of me, then a frontal lobotomy, marry a playboy playmate and live happily ever after in blissful ignorance on a sunny beach somewhere?

She is frequently kind and she's suddenly cruel,
She can do as she pleases, she's nobody's fool,
But she can't be convicted, she's earned her degree,
And the most she will do is throw shadows at you
But she's always a woman to me.

Fuck, I just don't know.


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May 2009

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