We've all dated a few duds in our lifetimes, but I think I possibly hold the record. Ever since I first started seeing people, I have had one bad relationship after another. And the few good ones that happened by chance, fleetingly, pausing to caress my soul before they moved on, just showed me how awful the other men I was choosing were.
My friends claim their exes were bad too. After all, exes are only there for us to abuse, for us to squeal, "Ohmygod, what was I thinking!" Okay, p'raps not. I mean, I do have some exes who I am still friends with. But being friends with someone is very different from being in love with them and I have a theory that you can never be friends with anyone you were once in love with. Seriously. Or if you can, you're a better person than me.
Take David for instance. Oh, I loved David with all my eighteen-year-old heart. I loved David with the kind of passion I imagined, and living up to my imagination is pretty hard. Many dates I've had have bombed because the real thing never lives up to the blow-by-blow I've been doing in my head for many days before the actual event. David slouched, he was bohemian in a way I longed to be, he smoked cigarettes with consummate ease and he quoted the Smashing Pumpkins. He was just so cool. And I was fresh out of school, recently returned from a trip to the States and had gotten into the college of my choice and I thought life was pretty good. Only it wasn't.
David had an ex, looming in his recent past, an ex he had dated for some five or six years before she decided to take a break to "find herself." Leaving David growing wistful every time he mentioned her and leaving me to grit my teeth and love him harder. He was a decent guy. He liked me as much as he could. He played Bittersweet Symphony over and over again while we talked because I liked the song so much. He actually got down on his knees to ask me out and then gave me a bubblegum-tasting kiss. He was the one who produced the grass the first time I mentioned wanting to experiment with marijuana. I had never seen him more excited than when he rolled that joint, looking over at me animatedly, smiling as I broke into very stoned giggles.
But he cheated on me. With his ex-girlfriend who was having several flings of her own but couldn't stand the idea of him having any. Or maybe she resented that while she was having only flings, he was looking and sounding happy. I found out about the cheating and broke up with him, only to have him woo me again with promises. And his quirky mouth and his labrador eyes melted my resolve and so I agreed. And the second time he cheated on me wasn't that bad, I fell ill briefly, but soon recovered. I was in college by then and somewhat independant and when he appeared at my doorstep with roses, I found it in my heart to refuse him. But I never blamed him. I blamed his ex instead and when she came to my college a year junior to me, I'm sorry to say we ragged her quite a bit, making her buy us stuff and generally being snotty. I was friends with a popular, influential lot you see, so by the virtue of my connections, I was able to make her a little unhappy for some time. But soon we relented and when she and I interned at the same newspaper a couple of years later, we became good friends. David and I are almost out of touch though. He's now seeing an acquaintance of mine, and I hear that he's doing well, still in college (muahahaha) and still in and out of drugs.
I don't know why I've always chosen men who are unavailable. Tariq, this other guy I had a brief fling with, seemed okay and he knew his Iliad and that was a very big deal for me then. But then one day, just after we finished making out and I lay happy and content in the dreamy stage that always happens when you've been kissing someone for a really long time, I asked him sleepily, "So now what?" And he looked all sheepish and said, "Well, see the thing is I'm kinda in love with my best friend." And what did I do, ladies and gentlemen? Did I dress rapidly and storm out of there? Did I slap him and tell him he was a bastard? Noooooooooooooo, coz see that would've been a sensible thing to do. Instead, I sat there and gave him advice about his love life.
And K with his two-year relationship that I speeded up the ending for, and Golfer Ex who "just wasn't looking for anything" and Yudi, the boyfriend of a classmate who I attempted to seduce, only I chickened out once I thought he was interested. Why am I choosing guys like this? Maybe it's something in my mechanism, maybe I'm setting myself up to be hurt. What else would explain the Boston Boys, the Whippersnappers and all of this world that just seem to fling themselves into my orbit.
Oh well, the good news is that once I'm done hurting about the end of yet another relationship, they make for good stories to tell my friends. And to blog about, of course.