I’m a misanthrope; it started out as a hobby, but now I do it professionally.
Once upon a time you could mop the streets of this city with the wetness in my panties; somewhere along the line my soaking panties were unfortunately replaced with my raining tears. And every knows that tears are salty and salt leave stains, so it's no surprise that the city that once sparkled with opportunities now looks worn, used up and unworthy to me. This whole city is now just full of ugly reminders of my wasted life. It's gotten to the point where each corner — each curb — holds a memory from my romantic life: a kiss shared, an "I love you" uttered, a river of tears shed. Everywhere I turn there are reminders that men chose me and I chose not to choose them. I had my reasons and to this day I stand by them, but they all haunt me, my rejects. They are ghosts that occupy the bars, the cafes, the restaurants, the apartment buildings where I allowed them to prove themselves to me. Places where I gave them chance after chance to enthral me and satisfy me, and where every one of them failed, though maybe not always at their own fault.
My attraction to the guys I date seldom goes beyond a singular thought: "Well, he's not unattractive." I've lowered my standards and I've altered them, I've changed my dating habits, practices and beliefs, but all I've got to show for it is a scrapbook in the shape of a city that is filled with the memorabilia of my romantic malaise. And what a malaise it is! A lifetime of overwhelming sadness with lust accompanying it like an unordered side at a restaurant. Afraid to waste either, I end up tackling both with the same cure: sex.
Some people are people-people and are excited about humanity. Then there's people like me who hate people and prefer cats. But we cat folk still get lonely and have difficulty revealing our introverted hearts and souls. The kind of people I want in my life are the ones who calm my soul, soothe my emotions and touch my intellect. People who will make me glad to be alive and make me want to be vulnerable, to love, to smile. Everyone ought to fill their life with these sorts of people, but these people, I'm starting to believe, are purely figments of my utopic imagination.
I spend my life dreaming of some Kerouac look-a-like who is as creative and troubled, but whom I don't find as pretentious. It's a pipe dream, but I can't shed it. If not a Kerouac, then some tattooed dreamboat with a body like Adonis and a mind like Nabokov who can massage conversation out of me, but who isn't much to look at unless I’m drunk. And then, because I’m so often drunk already, I can pretend to have in real life the sort of man I only ever dreamt about. This has been my general practice thus far in life and I’m so used to it that it seems more than acceptable. The only downside is that awful moment of budding clarity when the whisky starts to wear off and I see his true face which is never as devastatingly attractive as whisky led me to believe. But, I figure, the alternate is continuing to be both picky and sober and thus having far less sex than I care for.
I think often of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and how despite Zelda's sad life, it's enviable that she found a devoted partner in Scott. Beautiful, troubled Scott who so often put aside his own emotions to cater to Zelda's: her jealousy over his talent, her jealousy over the women he inevitably attracted, her crippling insecurity and inability to believe that such a man could truly love a woman like her. When I was younger, this was my mentality as well. I cracked jokes citing Alvy Singer claiming that my love life was summarized by that quote about not wanting to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member. To an extent I still think this way.
So, I scour the subways and fantasize about the men I see. The reading, sleeping, staring-off-into-space men who never seem to notice me and whom I desperate wish would. I’ll spot a ginger-blonde with matching scruff whose limbs lounge on the subway seats and I’ll imagine him naked in my bedroom, alive and existing solely for me. Or maybe I’ll spot a stocky, well-built man whose probably far too young for me but who reminds me of that actor from that recent summer blockbuster. And I’ll fantasize bringing him home and having him pleasure me till I’m physically and mentally exhausted. But in all of these fantasizes, they fuck me and then we say goodbye, by my choice. And they never argue; instead, they happily let me use them and then leave to return to their own lives. That’s just the way I like it.
Real life seldom mimics that fantasy, though. In real life, I bring these men home and I use them, but when it comes time to leave they decide to stay. They decide that they’d like to cuddle with me and spoon me and be my boyfriend for one night: caressing me and almost-loving me in the darkness of the night, in the privacy of my bed. The bed which I consider a sanctuary from the world and which I always prefer to have to myself. I find it rude to just ask them to leave, so I allow them the one night of fantasy where us two are a couple and then I tell them I’ve lost interest.
“Join the club,” my other rejects welcome every new member. The existence of the club is only known to me, but I imagine them having monthly meetings in a large oak-panelled room filled with plush, high-backed chairs and a walls of books. I imagine them discussing the innermost details of our times together, comparing notes and reminiscing. That beautiful, hapless bunch of “Thanks, but no thanks”; my rejects.
I may have once fallen in love with one of my rejects, or I became so heavily infatuated that I call it love because calling it anything else feels inadequate. I met him when I was overseas and for that reason alone it could never work because neither of us were willing to relocate, not even for love. A dirty black felt fedora coupled with a beat up green trench coat was his winter uniform. He'd stroll down the street humming Cole Porter songs with a Marlboro between his lips and a paperback stuffed into his coat pocket, and was always talking about his two cats: a fat, old rescue cat he'd named Minnesota Fats, and a younger, handsome, formerly-feral tomcat called Fast Eddie. How could I not fall in love? His wife may have been a good reason, but what does my heart care about details like that?
He was one of those rare examples of my feeling more for a man than he does for me. He always complimented me on being a great fucktoy, which is lovely to hear; but at the same time, wouldn't it have been lovely to be on the same page of an emotional book as another human being? He would cook for me and tell me stories about his rural childhood. Almost every tale featured the villainous McGaffin brothers, a trio of teenage terrors who toured the countryside in a trumped-up pick-up truck wreaking havoc at the drop of a hat. I’d heard so many stories about these hellions that I felt like I’d known them all myself.
Needless to say, it didn't last long, but not for the reason you'd suspect. I didn't care that he was married — his relationship was his own and none of my business. I was just out to get my kicks, but, as my luck would have it, my kicks turned serious and I was elated when I admitted this to him and found that his was actually an open marriage; he and his wife were of the "don't ask, don't tell" sect.
"My dirty little whore," he would call me and the possessiveness was wildly arousing especially since he never used those words with his wife. A better woman than I may have taken offence at this crudeness rather than consider it a cute little term of endearment, but I liked that it was only I who was the little whore. I would think of how he used me like I was nothing but his own personal fucktoy, the little slut with whom he could live out his dirtiest fantasies, and my clit would literally throb.
I was his liberation. I brought out the beautiful monster in him that his wife kept caged. With me, he was truly himself. That was quite an ego boost, but it wasn’t enough. I started feeling I wasn't getting anything out of it. Sure the sex was great and it was more than a little fun being someone's dirty little secret, but that wasn't good enough. So, I fucked him and left.
“Chronic dissatisfaction.” I heard the term in a movie once and couldn't believe how aptly it described me and my life. I've had the best and I've refused it because I just didn't want it anymore; because the best wasn't good enough for me. Even when the best was chased by the worst I didn't regret giving up either, yet through it all I continue to lament on my dissatisfaction. Nothing pleases me, and I'm surprised this isn't a criticism I've regularly received from my rejects. Nothing and no one satisfies me — I’ve pretty much accepted that; still, I choose to ignore this shiny fact and weep and wail when it inevitably proves itself true time and time again.