Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Everyone has their own opinion on whether or not guys and girls can be friends. My opinion on that has never wavered: they can not. One is always in love with the other. The length of the friendship is determined by how well the lover can keep his love for the lovee under wraps. And if it isn’t love, by God, it’s lust.

J. was in love with me from the minute we met. He told me I was “different” and that he knew we could be really “special” together. He’s an actor. And I know actors. He fell out of love the very minute I fell in it. He wasn’t smooth about ending it and while I harbored a grudge for about six months, when we saw each other again I remembered why I had been drawn to him in the first place. We made peace and I felt content.

Cut to last week.
J.: Plans tonight?
L.: Having dinner at 8:30.
J.: Pool after?

This was my chance to test the theory. I had never actually experienced this before: dating a guy, hating him, getting over it, and being friends. But I did go to pool and I had a great time. Granted, his roommate came, too, but I had fun. Only one lingering “Remember when?” glance across the pool table (why do ex’es do that?!) and a hug goodbye. I got a text later.

J.: Really good to see you.
L: Good to see you, too. I like this friend thing.
J.: Me, too.


Monday night.
J.: Plans tonight?
L.: Watching a documentary on Everest.
J.: Bring it over and watch it on the HD big screen. I’ll make dinner.

Friends! So glorious. And it was… until half way through the movie. A hand on my thigh. When I didn’t react to it, after a minute he took it back. He leaned close enough so we were semi-cuddling and I should’ve known then what was coming. The kiss.

I had to leave after I gave my “we can be friends or we can be nothing” speech, and I did so with a heavy heart. I didn’t want my theory to be proven correct. And another “friendship” bites the dust.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Not so secret

I read a blog post today on one of the random silly websites that I would never really own up to reading but that sometimes make me think about interesting things. This blogger asked: can you sum up love in six words? A modified haiku, shorter perhaps because of the breadth and depth of the topic at hand – love. Readers had posted some responses – some were hilarious, some were sad, all were wonderful.

This also reminded me of a book I recently received as a gift – A lifetime of Secrets. Frank Warren, the author, started up a website where you can send in your secrets and he will post them up for you. Because of the power of anonymity, everyone who sends in their secrets is starkly, painfully, horridly, beautifully truthful. A woman who knows her lover is having an affair, a man thanking a teacher who saved him from molestation, people’s fantasies, their desires, their dreams, their fears, their truths. Catharsis.

So I thought to combine the two and write down some secrets or just some thoughts in six words each. Of course I am not, after all, anonymously posting on someone else’s blog or writing an anonymous postcard. Perhaps not completely catharsis. But still, something.

  • When I’m with you I’m happy.
  • I see through you. Won’t tell.
  • You’re not funny but I laugh.
  • Will you be at my wedding?
  • She used to smile. He died.
  • I’ll always be in your life.
  • I am not exotic. Just me.
  • You were beautiful; now only thin.
  • Thin paper stretched over dead wood.
  • The only one with sparkling eyes.
  • I really truly laugh with you.
  • Since when do you smoke? Why?
  • He liked the idea of me.
  • I wish you had lived longer.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An Apple a Day

I like to consider myself a writer but occasionally, I find myself echoing my favorite lyricists because their words are emblazoned in my mind. And today, no one says it better than Fiona Apple:

"I don't understand about diamonds and why men buy them.
What's so impressive about a diamond except the mining?

But it's dangerous work trying to get to you, too.
And I think if I didn't have to
Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill myself doing it
Maybe I wouldn't think so much of you..."

We won't admit we like the games but we can admit we like the chase. There is something incredibly off putting about a guy who puts in too much effort in the first place. This weekend I ran into The Kiwi at a random bar on a random street where he randomly happened to pop in to use the bathroom and I randomly happened by a birthday party for a single random drink. The Kiwi asked me out last year (he bartended near my old retail job) and he took me out for Indian food -- a meal during which he confessed that he was married. But don't worry! Only for the green card.

"I hope that doesn't change things between us."

The Kiwi was more than a little excited to run into me last weekend and I've received at least eight texts in the last few days asking how I've been, what I'm doing, and if he can see me this week. It isn't even the fact that he's "married": he's just too into me. Meanwhile, I'm still smitten with The Boy whom I haven't heard from since a sweet kiss goodbye last weekend and an, "I'll see you Thursday" to follow. Truth be told, I'm sure if I didn't have to kill, kill, kill, kill, kill myself doing it...


I admit it.

I troll Craigslist Missed Connections every now and again. Not that I need to justify this behavior, but it is the single most interesting cross-section of humanity possibly ever. From the pathetic to the perverse, the hopeful to the hateful, it's really unbelievable what anonymity and technology provide. End of justification.

I never expected to read one about myself. Actually, that's only half true. Deep down I secretly wished that that adorable spectacled fellow at that cafe sipping that latte would write about that time we caught each others' eyes while reading those books. Or something of the sort. Realistically, I knew the chances were slim. And then I read one about myself.

Oh, here's one from the concert I took that dumb boy to! Girl was at show with boy who seemed bored out of his mind, we made eyes, you pick the next show, and I promise to have a good time. How funny, I think, this could've been me, though in all likelihood it's not me ... meh, I'm in a silly mood, I'll just reply anyway and ask what row.

We went on three dates. He was a great guy, but it wasn't really there, great story notwithstanding.

That was two and a half months ago. Haven't spoken to him since. Then I saw him last week at (where else?) another concert.

I grabbed his arm. Mutual surprise. He was with a girl. Exiting the venue, we chatted for a minute. And then, in the cold night, we looked at each other unblinkingly for a couple of seconds, bemused expressions on our faces.

How funny indeed.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In the cracks of the pavement

It was about three years ago that I was walking along somewhere between Little Italy and Soho with a couple of friends. He held her hand, she and I murmured a few disconnected lines here and there, he cracked a joke, we chuckled. It was a crisp autumn evening, warm enough that I was wearing sandals, but just cool enough for a light jacket. I was cozy in that comfortable peace. We were walking by all of these restaurants filled with people who seemed hell bent on having the merriest night of their lives. The lights were extra sparkly, their laughter extra tinkly. It was the kind of evening that comes around once in a while when everything is light and airy and possible. You could run into that knight in shining armor around the corner – and he’d be wearing a light sweater and carrying a jacket which he could proffer for your use if you happened to catch a breeze and get goosebumps on your arms.

And my heel got stuck in the pavement.

There I was, stuck, in the midst of all this possibility. That knight in shining armor probably took a cab and went home without ever having the chance to offer me his jacket. The laughter suddenly seemed as if it was either too far away or too close, mocking me. The lights were now too dim for me to see as I struggled to get my sandal unstuck.

I got it free and hopped once, twice, steady. My friends were waiting for me and we strolled off again. That little stroke of reality lingered on but possibilities enveloped me once more.

I must remember this.

City Love

Sometimes I hate New York. I hate it because it is busy and impersonal, loud and angry, blindingly fast and achingly slow, all at once. I love it for all the reasons I’m supposed to, but occasionally hatred gets the better of me and I scowl at the streets themselves. And sometimes I hate it because I’m convinced that if I didn’t live here, my love life would be normal. I know… normal. What the hell is that?

I’ve had more awkward, end-of-date goodbyes at the Union Square subway station than should be allowed. I’ve had “dates” with actors that involve little more than a late night board game and a sleep over because rehearsal kept him from actually taking me out. I’ve dated the bar owner, the bartender, the waiter, the probably-gay actor, the probably-pedophilic screen writer, and the iPhone obsessed college boy who literally couldn’t put it down during dinner. I have to wonder – would I have met these men if I lived in Des Moines? San Diego? Austin? Or would I have met a slew of even weirder dudes (hicks in Des Moines, bleached out surfers in San Diego, music geeks in Austin)?

My best friend lives in South Carolina and she told me one time an old boyfriend of hers called her when they were dating in a pure panic. “Baby! Come quick you have to help me! I’m in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart!” She dropped everything and raced over to the Wal-Mart where he was sitting in the parking lot of his pickup truck. In his thickest Southern drawl he said, in all seriousness, “Thank God, Baby. Can you watch my tools in my truck while I run inside?”

Maybe it isn’t just New York – losers lurk in every corner of the world.