February 19, 2007
Love me, love me, love me!
I want your hands on me!
MY CAT ZZYZZY
squawks like a parrot as I pick up his dreaded rival for my attention, my laptop. He’s been rolling around exposing his belly to be rub, rub, rubbed, and I accommodate him for quite some time, but then a sentence enters my head and I move for my Mac. He knows the love massage is over and settles his brains for a long winter nap on my feet.
LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS
Just came in from the Castro, from my umpteenth viewing of “Children of Paradise,” the epic tragic-comedy of undying love, rejection, betrayal, art, artifice, money and murder, which, set as it is in a performing arts milieu, is comprised of many plays within plays of people following their passions and paying the consequences. When at the end of the film, curtains close over carnival on the Boulevard of Crime, we realize that the entire movie, and life itself, has been one tragi-comic play all along. As ever it has been, so always it will be. Then comes that thrilling, chilling moment when the actual curtains of the theater itself close upon the closing curtains of the film. You’re still in the play, but it’s time for the next act, of which you are the star.
Reminds me of the Stevie Wonder lyric, “All in love is fair; it’s all a crazy game.” Reminds me of the Edgar Allen Poe line, “All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream.” Reminds me of the scene from “Mona Lisa” in which Bob Hoskins’ and Cathy Tyson argue passionately in tremendous pain, while wearing silly joke sunglasses. No matter how much gravitas your love has, there is always something absurd about it.
I take a bath at 5:00 pm and don’t intend to go out again, so I put on the snowman-laden blue flannel pj’s my sister Cruella and her partner Xena gave me at Christmas. I don’t usually bother with pj’s unless it’s cold, and sometimes I collapse in the clothes I’m wearing, but tonight I’m in a flannel state of mind. So I flannelize myself. Though not even working anymore, I still love those days and nights when I have nothing scheduled and can free-fall through whatever comes my way.
HMOOB SPEAKS—BUT WHAT DOES HE MEAN?
After partaking of the film’s heart-wrenching treatment of unrequited love as if I’m in the movie myself (I am, everyone is; I’m both Baptiste and Nathalie), I remember that not long ago a guy, whom I will call only “Hmoob,” said to me, “Stop hitting on me, I have a girlfriend.” So taken aback was I that I stammered only “wha…huh?” Because though he immediately blew from my mind what I’d said to merit this response, I press myself to recall later that we had been waiting to cross on the side of a busy road en route to the Queen Mary spectacle, when I said, to caution him against the advancing cars, “It’s a good thing you’re wearing reflective orange.” To which he replied, “Stop hitting on me, I have a girlfriend.”
I treat the bizarre episode as one of the anomalies that appear in nature. Later, I join him at the edge of the bluff to get a better look at the ship, and acknowledge his presence with, “Up close and personal,” meaning I’m here to get a closer view of the ship. Then I think, wait, was that weird? So I playfully punch his arm and say, “I wasn’t hitting on you, by the way, with that up close and personal remark.” “But you did,” said he, “you just hit me.”
I still don’t know if he was just being weird or thought he was picking up on a vibe I never once aimed at him (in which case he still picked a weird time to deal with the situation). I rarely see the guy, hadn’t seen him in over a year, in fact, but after this exchange I encounter him three days in a row. He comes over to offer me a “Free Josh Wolf” stick-on badge, giving me the opportunity to tell him, “Stop following me. And stop hitting on me.”
Zzyzzy is now on the rug happily licking a Caesar salad crouton.
Hmoob was a false alarm, but surely you have been in the position of having your soul scream Love Me! Love Me! Love me! I want your hands on me! to someone who simply doesn’t hear you? “What have I got to do,” you think, “to make you love me? What do I have to do to be heard?” Perhaps it’s true of this sad, sad situation, which is growing more and more absurd, that sorry seems to be the hardest word.
WELCOME TO THE HOUSE OF PAIN!
as h brown yelled at Mayor Newsom.
IT MAKES ME WONDER WHY
some guys gladly set you straight, and others don’t say anything, ever, and just let you keep hit, hit, hitting on them like a velvet hammer, sometimes for years at a time, and never tell you to stop it. My love of my youth did that to me and it was no favor. He lived with another woman, and let me write him five years of love letters, which he would silently absorb without mentioning them when we saw each other, until I had to forcibly remove myself three thousand miles away to break my attachment to him. It’s what my novel is about. “I got your beautiful letter. I think you know I find you very attractive, but I’m sorry, Your Name here, I can’t do anything about it; I live with someone. I hope we will be good friends.” Is that so hard?
IS NO RESPONSE A LEGITIMATE RESPONSE?
How are you supposed to take “nothing”? He doesn’t care enough about you to say boo? He cares too much about you to say boo? Your letter was a gnat he brushed off and forgot? I mentioned in another column that one guy whom I knew in a business setting, responded to a love letter I gave him before I found out he was engaged to be married, with a form letter, on company letterhead with a hastily scrawled “personal” note. I suppose the “personal” me was supposed to get the message from the “professional” him. No, some guys can’t respond in any way but not responding directly, skirting the issue and in doing so, your humanity.
And if it’s someone he is bound to encounter now and then, how is he supposed to have a relationship, even a conversation, with this person whom he won’t pay the respect of acknowledging her feelings? She deserves better, right?, than being left to think, I know you know what I know you know, yet you refuse to let on to me that you know it. But we still know we know it. What am I supposed to do with that, because I can’t avoid him, he’s in my world and I see him again willy-nilly. The topic is simply never dealt with so I go on with my life. After all in the meantime he has gotten married, which speaks for itself.
YOU, YOU KNOW, YOU KNOW MY NAME. YOU, YOU KNOW,YOU KNOW YOU KNOW MY NAME. LOOK UP THE NUMBER.
With another guy, a risky proposition who was dating casually and whom I couldn’t really read, I roll the dice, and he avoids me like the plague for weeks, never mentioning my gift and note–but it’s obvious when we bump up against each other, that he enjoys my attention and expects it. I even think he loves me, a little bit. When I see him I don’t know how I keep my hands off him. I don’t dwell on him, because I have a life. But when I see him again, I am lost again. Anyway he’s on the blast list for my column and we go on to develop a subterranean communicado of suggestive banter that he does not respond to in kind, but then again never tells me, stop hitting on me!–by then he had a girlfriend–that there’s no point. But as I live to amuse myself, I enjoy occasionally testing him, sending him silly stuff, making bold cracks.
SECRECY CAN BE SEDUCTIVE
But I don’t want to seduce the guy. If he doesn’t see enough in me to want me for myself, what would be the satisfaction? In its way this silent permission he has granted me gives our bizarre duet a strangely personal cast, because no matter what I say he won’t call me on it, and I don’t call my own self on it because I keep sensing the potential for that thing I just plain want and need, intimacy. I’d have to penetrate the suit of armor the guy wears, but just now this is not a relationship, not with one half of it denying the other the face-to-face interaction her courage merits. If that describes you, I’m telling you, lay aside the lifeline to your ego and think about how she feels. You’re being cruel. The time will come when she will cease to serve as your intermittent ego rush.
I AM NOT THE KIND OF WOMAN
who will walk away from a man without stating my case. Does this scare guys off? I don’t care. I don’t belong with someone who scares easily. But some things take time, and for some things I will wait. And for others I don’t have time. I’m about to tell this guy, “Remember that affair we never had? Well it’s over.” In the end though I have an honest air-clearing conversation with the guy over beer and we become good friends. All these years later, the intimacy I wanted is real.
Zzyzzy attempts to butt my hand off the keyboard by wedging his head in between it and my palm. How cute is that? He succeeds for a bit. After all fate stepped in and rescued Z from abandonment so he could live a life being loved by me. Lucky little guy.
They love me, love me, love me!And don’t mind letting me know.
THEN WHY DID YOU LEAD ME ON!
My young love wasn’t exactly “leading me on.” I knew where I stood as soon as he told me he’d met someone, that our bond was to be a friendship—I just so deeply wanted those moments of pure communication and physical (not sexual) intimacy we occasionally shared, that it kept me seek, seek, seeking a way in. I couldn’t order those times up, they just happened. But I was addicted. As long as I knew part of him was needing my feelings for him, I kept it up like a goddamn assembly line, one letter after another. He was the toughest nut I never did crack. Decades later he told me he’d been so needy at the time that he just had to accept love wherever it came from.
“If you’re touching this letter, you’re touching me,” a random line I heard on I don’t even know what TV show—wait, “The Dead Zone”–was always my motivation in continuing to write to him. At least while he read me, we were intimate. I just wasn’t there with him.
We’re now the best of friends, of course, because he did honor me as someone he wanted to keep in his life, and valued my love for him. And if you feel the same about some tragic hero who is suffering behind her joke sunglasses over you, it is within your power to set things right. Right?
AND NOW, A RANDOM ACT OF WRITING
THE VAGINA IS A SELF-CLEANING OVEN
says Dr. Oz on a late-night encore of Oprah I’m barely paying attention to. The question was, to douche or not to douche? The “Va-jay-jay” as Oprah calls it, needs to be in its natural state. That’s what nature intends. I’ll say it again, a self-cleaning oven. Now you know.
JONES FOR JONES
Thanks to that certain person, listening to my CD “Songs from the Ax Files,” who clued me in that a LOVE JONES is not what I thought it was, simply to desire someone. “It is,” he said, “but more specific.” “What you do mean? What do you—you mean, like an erection?” my voice going up. Mm-hmm. Well I don’t buy it. I say a love jones is a love jones is a love jones, man, woman or man or other. Have one for someone today! But should you tell him, Love me, love me, love me! I want your hands on me! ?
You’re on your own there.OK, kids, time for bed. Meow! Sweet dreams.
Not “just” friends–friends on an epic,lifetime friendship odyssey.
Thou art the grave where buried love doth live.
You got a love jones?
copyright Alexandra Jones 2007