Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sticks and Stones May Break My Phone, But Men's Words will Never Hurt Me

Towards the end of May, I was receiving some nasty messages. Well, nasty . . . they felt nasty to me. An acquaintance I met on a game show, an older, professional who works out of Los Angeles and formed a Facebook friendship with me left a comment on my status update that felt aggressive. The status was insignificant enough, I thought, something about how I was cutting alcohol out for awhile and detoxing while being on the tail end of getting over Abe.

He wrote "How long are you going to milk this break-up ..." [to justify your behavior]. It felt like someone walked up to me and shoved me. I challenged him at first and he wrote, "Oh I get it, the only person who is allowed to be totally honest is you . . ." I deleted the comments. I can't remember the exact words and I deleted them from my email as well because it felt like a slap in the face.

I did send him a private email telling him I thought he was getting nasty and to "Take a step back, please."

He wrote back, "One giant step. Please let me know when I am able to speak truthfully in our relationship. You boast, "I don't lie" and then require me to step back when all I have done is say a "truth" from my POV? Very revealing.
Perhaps if some of your other "friends" spoke a little more candidly with you, you may be enjoying your life more, drinking less, having less despair.  My friends tell me the truth and I welcome it.  I don't do though is tell them to back off, I would rather I hear it all so that if they have any withholds, or special insights, I get to know them.  After all, I am the benefactor of their caring.  Of course if your friends feel like they may have you or are required to "step back" every time they have something they think is valid, you are the ultimate loser from not getting or honoring their thoughts about you."

The email conversation went on, though it was pointless. He was upset about something else, I am not quite sure what. I don't know him well enough to rationalize why there was such venom- but he may feel he knows me from reading this blog.

Me: "The postings didn't inspire thought, it felt like a push. I don't like being pushed. I like being engaged.

You don't have to keep private and are welcome to address all these thoughts publicly and see what comes up. I understand now we are going to the extreme from public to private because I, in a way, reprimanded you."

Him "I don't like being told to step back, or being told I am getting nasty, or sounding like an asshole yet I applaud you for feeling free enough to tell me that.  It is an acknowledgement to me.  I however am now carefully screening my thoughts when writing to you and that sucks.  You are going to end up getting cheated in the end as what I am telling you has been pre-screened for your acceptance. I think I have lost interest and will not post again. I am stepping back completely."

Me: "I hear what you are saying and have plenty of circumstances, events and thoughts pushing me. I also have good friends that talk very candidly to me about my life, and I am grateful to them. They do it to my face and with great understanding.

I don't feel regret about creating a boundary with you because in the end, I would feel resentment and a loss of respect. Therefore, its worth it to me to tell you to step back."


Then, another man I have never met before, the lawyer from New York wrote me after reading my blog:

"I think you are selling yourself short because the guys you are giving serious romantic consideration to all seem to be -- and I know this is harsh -- total losers. Your blogs, particularly your recent blogs, are cringe worthy. They are not romantic, nor funny nor poignant. They are mostly sad. Now, I fully understand the there but for the grace of god go I, but the people you are spending time with seem barely above street people, and a number of them (Joel and cokehead Costanza) are either using you and/or blatantly manipulating you (as if you were being directed by Nora Ephron).

Anyway, because I don't want this to be a moralizing tirade against a cadre of losers I don't know and am making snap judgments about, it is perhaps more productive to concentrate on you. To be sure, you have a liquid silver mind that has so much of interest to offer. But, you seem to be drifting from loser to loser in a haze of dope and booze and despair, with intermittent flashes of brightness and the now and again funny joke. That kind of drift seems beneath you, because you can and should command the attention of someone who is succeeding in life in some meaningful way and thus brings as much to the table for you to devour as you have to offer them. In other words, demand an equal.

In addition, your constant stream of vulgarity and sexual reference, while disarming (and often funny), is also a rather transparent safety mechanism. It seems that this type of constant banter is intended as much to protect you from real intimacy by creating a veneer of superficial honesty. Sure, sure, you may call them like you see them, but you are also so busy giving unfiltered feedback to the world that you seem to be starving yourself the opportunity for deeper and more satisfying discourse."

I wrote back:

"1) I am not taking any serious romantic consideration in anyone, so I am mystified why you think that. The men I am involved with are purely a distraction.

2) Joel and the stand-up comic support themselves while pursuing a dream. That hardly makes them losers, rather heroes in my mind. I respect them, more than a sell out working a miserable job behind a desk.

3) "seem to be drifting from loser to loser in a haze of dope and booze and despair" HAHAHAHAHAHA! What an exaggeration! I am not and I am getting over a relationship, so I don't think letting loose and nursing a few wounds is anything out of the ordinary. There is certainly no despair.

I don't know what to say about it. I don't need a man who has a job like everyone else. I don't need to get over heartbreak in a month. I don't need to stay on sexual reserve and manipulate someone into supporting me. And most of all, I don't need your approval.

I guess I assume you don't respect me because you don't respect the men I am dating or surrounding myself with. I don't see a dramatic difference between their life and decisions for my own. I am just a girl.

Its hard not feeling attacked when someone who isn't really inviting you into his life starts challenging yours. It comes with the territory. I am a very open person and advertise my life, thoughts and decisions on FB and the blog, so I will have to take the judgement. Its inevitable. And I will take the heat, hopefully people are still getting something out of it as they continue to stay engaged in my material. "

He wrote: "Regarding the you are one of the boys thread, I have greater insight into your sparkling mind than into any of the boys who populate your nights and the blog. Your mind is amazing with a gravitational pull that reaches all the way to the leafy suburbs of the east coast. So, for me, it seems more like a goddess cavorting with trolls and fools.

You definitely do not need my approval and I offer none."


THEN, Frank from my last two blogs was upset by the last one . . . which I expected:

When he read my first blog about our 24 hour whirlwind romance ( he texted me:

"I had all this (good) shit to say about the blog and was debating to wait. Then I saw someones post about Frank being a master manipulator and I am ROTFLMAO in a way its flattering. Me? Master manipulator? Sweet! I really thought you were honest in the blog and felt it deeply. I guess reading about yourself is an ego trip. weird feeling I never expected. [Re: Pt 2 of the blog not yet written or posted] I know u will say whatever u have to and want to without fear. With me, u always have a fan and a friend no matter what."

Then I posted Pt. 2.

That morning, I had no money for gas and needed to get to work in the afternoon. I thought Frank and I could talk in person and though he paid for my stripper, I paid for the pills and thought he might come out to visit me, grab a cup of coffee and help me get a few gallons of gas.

He called me and was livid.

He said he was upset about the blog, it wasn't at all what he experienced or what he felt- not that it matters since the blog is not a balanced article in the NY Times, its a blog about me and my perceptions.

Then he said, "And after reading that, to get a text asking me to drive out and get you gas ... you are just using me."

That's when I backed off. I told him I could rely on Em to get me gas and tried to wrap up the conversation as quickly as possible. I may be desperate, but I am not a user.

He ended with, "I am not judging you."

I said, "I don't care if you are judging me." I AM SO SICK OF PEOPLE SAYING THAT! Everyone judges everyone. We are human beings. And guess what!? I DON'T CARE!

He said curt and coldly, "Alright, you got gas, you are going to be ok?"

I said, "I already told you I did."

And he said, "Alright." And we barely said goodbye before hanging up.

All of this was getting to me. It's just a blog. IT IS JUST A BLOG! I am not determining who you are, I am trying to determine who I am.

On a night not long after, I asked to drive over and see Joel. I wanted to be comforted. As I mentioned to the NY Lawyer, I know part of putting every piece of myself out there comes with a few stones. You can't have attention without criticism. I am not saying I don't want criticism, but all of these disgruntled men pushing me just over a week's time was hard to take. I was feeling beaten down.

Joel was waiting for me on his futon.

I said, "Where is the welcoming committee?" The golden retriever and two pugs always greet me when I walk through the back gate and escort me out.

He said, "I don't know. I am beginning to think I am not a dog person."

I froze.

He said, "Are you going to leave now? Is the date over?"

I said, "No not the date. But we have no future together."

He kind of chuckled. I didn't.

He said, "Dogs are for people who need emotional validation all the time."

I said, "I have heard that theory. Everyone needs emotional validation."

He said, "But dogs are in your face about it. I like cats, we give each other space and see each other when we want to."

I said, "I am a cat person, too."

He mentioned he wasn't feeling good from too many cigarettes. Then he asked me if I had any. I didn't.

I poured myself a glass of chardonnay and cuddled up next to him. I told him about the acquaintance on FB, the emails from the NY lawyer and Frank calling me a user.

He said, "They don't understand its your perspective. The way you perceive the events doesn't mean that is how it happened. When I read your blog, I had a totally different experience than you did. That doesn't mean one is right over the other."

I said, "You can't experience all perspectives, all the time. Everything comes from one perspective."

I found a warm spot under his arm and felt my eyes get wet. I mumbled, "I am just feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. I mean . . . its just a blog."

He added, "On the widest publication in the world . . . the internet."

I said, "But the world isn't reading it. Only friends and a few strangers."

My body was aching from falling on the Doggie Daycare playground again, on my other hip this time. I was tired. Joel sat up to massage my feet, but he did so lightly as if it was an effort purely to seduce me not to genuinely make me feel better.

I said, "I feel like there is a thin wall between you and your personality."

He said, "This is my personality. This is what I show people."

I said, "I think we are misusing the word personality. I mean it as autopilot."

He said, "Exactly, its what I give people when I am bartending."

I said, "No, its who you are without thinking. Unaware."

In no way can I form an intimate bond with Joel. I have no idea who he is.

After one glass of wine, I was slurring. He said, "I forget you are a light weight." Jesus, does everyone think I am an alchy?

I said, "I don't like it when men are always offering me things, like money or gas or food and other things. I feel like there is an unspoken contingency and they get a piece of me. But I need those things so bad. That's what makes me angry."

He said, "Well, men want to take care of you. I want to take care of you. It doesn't mean I want to own you or use you for something." This was kind of sweet.

We had sex and I fell asleep on top of him. He says he always has to push me off when he is ready to fall asleep, and I never wake up.

In the morning we had sex again, and he said, "I put some gas money in your purse."

I said, "Thank you."

He said, "For services rendered."

I said, "Uhhh"

He said, "For the company. Not the sex."

I chuckled. He didn't. I felt myself totally withdraw . . . from the feeling of his body heat under my cheek, from the smell of his deodorant on the bed, from the semen drying on my bruised hip.

I got up and showered then walked over to a small kitchenette in his studio. I said, "I am looking at your paycheck, is that wrong?"

He chuckled again, as if to acknowledge he heard me without knowing what he thought about it yet. He made as much as I did working as an assistant before I was fired . . . and became an actress.

When I left, I looked in my purse and saw a check for $100 and $40 cash. Sex with me would be worth a hell of a lot more than $140, right? I mean, really, I wanted a friend and a lover and he just bought a piece of me somehow.

The money threw me off. Joel, I believe, wants to be in my life. I also think, ultimately, he is a good person who is a little lost. Nothing will change how the money made me feel. I felt better about rent. I also felt like I had to see him again so he wouldn't feel used. And for how long does that sentiment last? Until he gives me money again?

I suddenly felt desperate to see Abe again. He was the last intimate connection I had that didn't feel off kilter. It felt natural and romantic and friendly. My experiences recently feel like somehow I scare off the young men before I can form a bond, and I capture the older men before I can form a bond.

I called and texted Abe every day for four days asking for my hard drive in his possession. It felt like he was holding it ransom, until Tuesday when he dropped it off in my apartment and left before I could get back from work.

I asked him to stay through rush hour to see me after my shift. He said he had drums at 7pm.

I texted, "So I am never going to see you again?"

He wrote, "Maybe some other day."

I wrote, "Please, Abe."

He wrote, "I can't. I have to go."

I then pushed to go down and visit him that night. I was happy with the possibility and in a noticeably better mood at work.

He wrote, "Had yr key in my car. Things by the coffee maker."

I wrote, "Goodbye Abe."

He wrote, "Now who is being an extremist? Snagged a hit for the road." The fucker took a hit off my pipe.

I wrote, "Stopping by tonight. I don't care what you say."

He wrote, "Why?? So U can watch me be a loser. I slept 3 hours. Work for 7. Drums for 2. Im smokin, eating and sleeping. Don't swing by."

I wrote, "No, I am sorry. I am coming over. U have to face me. Just deal with it. It will be painless."

He wrote, "I did what I said. Now spare me the bs. Don't bother me."

I snapped back, "Say it to my face, asshole."

All night, I was bouncing the $100 check and text messages off Trent and another boy at work.

Before I left my shift, I asked the boy at work (who just broke up with his girlfriend of 7 years), "Final thoughts, should I go down there and see him?"

He said, "No. Crack a bottle. Take a breath. Then think about it tomorrow."

So that's what I did. And in that $4 bottle of Forest Ville, I thought, "What a fucking asshole."

The next day, I had another date with Joel. While waiting in the afternoon, I finished the bottle of Forest Ville, played on Facebook and watched Dr. Phil.

The show was on women who thought being pretty was more beneficial than their education.

Dr. Phil mentioned, "When men approach a woman they want to be involved with, they think what can I offer her, what can I give her to make the relationship worthwhile. They should be thinking, is this a partner I can build a life with."

By the time Joel showed up, he was drunk from hanging out at an old bar he worked for in Burbank and I was hung over.

He came up in a nice button up top and khakis smiling. I greeted him and let him in my apartment. He immediately laid down on my bed and my first thought was I didn't feel like having sex.

He confessed he had about 10 units of alcohol but was not slurring nor were his motor skills affected. He mentioned he had to urinate twice before finding my apartment and pulled over in my neighborhood to relieve himself. It was daylight, did I mention that?

I said, "Did you have to get out of your car, or is your shlong big enough that you just had to turn out of your seat a little bit?"

He laughed. He did get out of his car, right in front of my next door neighbor's house and made a small lake on my street. I wish he hadn't done that.

Then he obsessed about how my cat looked almost exactly like his dead cat. He kept saying it was freaking him out, which was in turn freaking me out. I told him, "You need to just get control over your mind. Your mind is affected by the alcohol and weed."

He said he knew but was afraid the vision of my cat would replace the visual memory of his dead cat.

Then he laid back to tell me about the cat; how he (the cat) was hanging out in back of a bar he worked in and Joel kept taking the cat to the back of the parking lot so it could return to where ever it came from. After three escorts back, the cat continued to follow him back up to the door of the bar. A bus boy agreed to take the cat home, but when Joel closed the bar and walked to his car, there he was again. The cat.

So he took it home. He said the cat decided it didn't want to live with him at some point, but he kept him anyway. He was now Joel's cat. They moved together a few times, and the last place had coyotes. Here is where his voice changed.

I said, "Its not your fault."

He said, "If I didn't let him out the way I did, it wouldn't have happened. So yes it is my fault."

I said, "People and animals get hit by cars, they get disease, any number of things can happen to any of us at any given time. We can't decide how."


I continued, "Trust me, I have my own crosses to bear."

His head nodded, and he continued trying to get my cat to come to him. He said, "She is totally focused on you, look at that. She won't even look my direction. That makes me want her more."

I said, "That's telling."

He said he wanted to feed me, so I suggested a Chinese restaurant not far. I only know a few places, and if I have dated you, you have probably been to all those places.

He spoke about his father, the trouble, I gathered, was that his father was still treating him like a boy: dismissing Joel's opinions while forcing his own. Joel kept apologizing for being candid, but even in this state, intoxicated, tired and eating, he was still not himself. He was controlling what he said and how he said it. There was emotion there, mostly portrayed as anger, but even greater restraint. Men are often only comfortable emoting in anger. It is acceptable as masculine, but paralyzing as a listener.

The blog kept surfacing in conversation, it just would not go away. This time, Joel seemed more frustrated than I had ever seen him before. He said, "When I read your blog I didn't like you anymore. So I stopped reading it, because I like you in person." That stung a little.

I said, "You are so sensitive."

He said, "You sound like such a woman right there. Saying the total opposite of what you have been saying all along, that I am tough and strong and can take anything."

I said, "That's what I thought before, but now I am seeing that you are affected by it."

We got our fortune cookies, his was an American Airline ad. He asked for another fortune. His said, "Throwing mud will only make you lose footing."

Mine said, "To not point out the faults in others is a fault in itself."

He said, "First I get an advertisement then I get a fortune that is the exact opposite of your fortune. What a rip off."

We went back to my place.

In my shell of a living room, he got acquainted with my dogs because he asked to. He mentioned that Esther, my deaf dog, looks like a scary, tough dog and kept pushing for me to acknowledge that, which I did under the umbrella of stereotype and perception.

Then he said, "She has such gentle eyes. A tough head but such sweet, gentle eyes." He grabbed her head and baby talked her with, "When all the men fix you up and you don't need their help anymore, they are all going to disappear. Yes they are."

I turned to look at him with wide eyes and a smile, "Did you want to tell me something?"

He said, "No, I was talking to the dog."

I said, "Do you hear what you are saying? The dog isn't dating men and isn't in need of assistance."

He said, "I can see how you would make the connection, but I am really just talking to the dog."

He was still drunk.

We then had sex, of course.

Post-coital, I said, "It was a little weird that you left that money in my purse and mentioned it was for 'Services Rendered."

He said, "Did I say that?"

I said, "Yes."

He said, "That was a joke."

I said, "But then you said for the company, not the sex."

He said, "I don't know why I said that, maybe because I was worried about the joke. I didn't mean that. It is just a gift from a friend. And if you need money for a security deposit on a new place, $800 or $1000, I can do that for you, too."

He was spinning some kind of web, not because he wanted my body, but because he wanted me to stay around. Then, he left before he could fall asleep.

A couple days later, I went to Em's house for coffee. Her husband and brother were there, too. I was still caught in the sentiment of Abe.

Em said, "No more tears for him. You are done."

I gargled a little.

Her brother said, "Some of us knew he was wrong for you from the beginning. He just wasn't good enough. Not too long ago I was crazy about you. There is a great person there who deserves more than he had to offer you."

I said, "People keep saying that, but I don't think I am that great."

He said, "You will find the right one."

I was emotional and said, "I will never fall in love again."

He said, "Was it not long ago when you said you would never have sex again?"

I said, "But I am going through my sexual peak, so that wasn't realistic. I need to eliminate sexual frustration so I don't get confused."

He said, "You will love again."

I said, "Great, I can develop a platonic relationship with someone who I occasionally muster up sexual feelings for so we can procure a child."

Em turned to her brother and said, "Good job."

I said, "I loved Abe."

Her brother slammed his hand down on the table and said, "Damn it!! That makes me mad. Why? He doesn't deserve that."

Em's Hubby came out and said, "Who are we talking about? Abe? Don't waste your time. He isn't worth it."

For the first time I actually believed someone, maybe because Em's Hubby is like the Simon Cowell of my life. He said, "Abe now will be Abe 10 years from now. He will be doing the same thing. You need someone who is going to make something of themselves. I can't figure out if you are maternal and liked mothering him or if you just masochistic."

I said, "A little of both."

He said, "And you like the bad boys, don't you?"

I said, "Of course. Everyone does."

He smiled and said, "Ahhh!"

I said, "Look, I fell in love with his potential. He had a lot of potential."

He said, "You were always working though, it always felt like you were pushing to get more."

Em said, "Don't you remember how unhappy you were towards the end of it?"

I said, "When Murray (my cat) died, yeah."

She said, "No. Even before that. Around Christmas."

Em's brother said, "You just want to be in love so badly that anything close to it you accept as love."

I thought about how I sat on Abe's back giving him a massage when it turned into an impromptu drumming lesson, where I learned how to play certain beats by tapping my hands on his overturned palms. I thought about his room and how much I loved it; crystals in the corner, light bulbs set up in different directions with different primary colors, the smell of Abe. How he broke into a whistle, his eyes got big and his upper lip stuck out like a little boy. Are the good memories just hanging around my neck? Am I confused?

Em's Hubby moved Rook to King. "Let me ask you, do you kind of get off on reeling men in and hurting their feelings? Its kind of a revenge thing for you, isn't it?"

I said, "Not at all. I am always upfront-"

He cut me off, "Yeah yeah yeah- you are honest and tell them how it is, but don't you bring them in a bit, encourage them?"

Em got upset and eventually left the conversation. I was curious about his line of thinking, because I have never thought that about myself.

I said, "The only person I could possibly hurt is Joel. And the only way to not do that is stop seeing him I guess."

He said, "No, there are others. You take a tank of gas from him, and whatever else from some other guy. They think its going somewhere."

Later, I wondered if he was talking out of spite for maybe leading on Em's brother a little last year. I did. A little. I always felt like I should have behaved more responsibly with his heart instead of with my reckless curiosity. I just didn't know what I wanted until Abe was back in the picture. Then I knew I wanted him.

(Blogged about it! Of course:

Now I was back in the same tail spin but this time, I could never go back to Abe. That makes me feel cornered.

My shift at Doggie Daycare started in 20 minutes so I walked in to find Em in the kitchen almost hiding from the the conversation. She just said, "I am sorry, I am so sorry."

I said, "Don't be. This was interesting."

We hugged goodbye and I went to work. Before starting my shift, I went to the bathroom and saw a fallen eye lash on my cheek. One of the first lessons I learned from my mother was if you blow your eye lash away, you have to make a wish. For the first time since I was four, I didn't blow if away with a wish.

I will not find love, and if I did, I would probably sabotage it. I will not become rich or successful. I will be a creative fuck-up for the next ten years.

Fuck it.

Then, someone swept me off my skeptical feet.


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