It makes sense for a person all bundled in a safe, zipped-up chest not to feel either rejection or being in love.
The human search for an other is as cliché as it is inconvenient. The end result might be all butterflies and bliss, but the journey is hoary. Ask just about any long-time single person.
As for me, I can see why it might seem like I’m on a man-crazy manhunt for a…man.
For one thing, I keep writing about it.
For another, I’m in loving pictures with a variety of different men. But if you look carefully, you’ll see loving photos of myself with many women too. It’s friendship.
Of course, maybe you’re a girlfriend of mine and your phone is flooded with pictures of another sort, those I’ve sent of the various men I seem to be constantly interviewing. In fact, your own boyfriend stumbled on them. Only after you both confusedly stared at the collection — musicians, stuntmen, vampires, Vikings, Sexy Jesuses, Dirty Viggos — did understanding dawn on you.
“Oh!” You said, easing your own and your boyfriend’s tension. “Those are just GG’s men.”
I’m only looking for one man, but it seems I have to go through hundreds to find him. If that’s a cliché, see my opening paragraph.
One would think it’d be an easy quest when the notion of good husband/father/provider means little to me. But even though my set of requirements — compassion, a measure of brawn and geek, and an overlap of mutual aesthetic — is an uncomplicated ingredient list for which to be on the lookout, time and time again, it’s my stomach that makes the decision. It does so through a series or lack of flutters. So the guy might end up being a barefoot anarchist who set fire to his mansion to go live under the pier, and becoming a couple with him would mean eating barnacles and plankton for the rest of my life.
Being me comes with a lot of rejection. An untrained eye might read that as the babbling of an ingrate with entitlement issues. After all, how dare a person who has decent health, decent brains, decent loved-ones and decent looks whine about rejection? Here’s how. First, I’m an actor, so I’m rejected as a whole person on a daily basis unless I book something. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
Being “me” is being open, expressive and inquisitive, which in turn means I constantly take chances by putting myself out there. It means because I imagine I see a flicker of light behind a set of eyes, I can scoop out a bit of my soul, cup it in my hands and extend it to some low-brow early man type as easily as I would to a worldly aristocrat. But he is often no more equipped to navigate his own emotions than the Neolithic inventor of the wheel knew to join it with an engine. What that amounts to for me, is rejection. That same pier-dwelling scraper of barnacles holds the power to make me feel unwanted. Momentarily. So yeah, I’m not likely to be torn up about there being another and another fascinating option out there. If not the Barefoot Anarchist, then the Poet Lumberjack, and if not him, then the Sensitive Skydiver. And so on.
Rejection, of course, never fails to hurt. Sometimes it’s for a minute, a day or ten. It all depends when the brain decides to crash the sniffle fest with a helping of sense for the eternal naïf that is your heart. The world swarms with subjective inhabitants with different wants and kicks, so rejection isn’t about not being good enough. It’s about what doesn’t work for someone else’s individual idiosyncrasies. But even when we know that it’s the beholder’s perspective rather than an inherent repulsion mechanism residing in the size of our chest, shape of our nose or timbre of our voice, not being prized by someone whom we prize, sucks.
It was from a 6-year-old that I learned the fact that someone rejects me hasn’t much to do with me. The child was my half-brother and about ten years ago, he had a crush on another 6-year-old whom we’ll call Babette. My brother was born in the United States, but prior to assimilating in grade school, he had adopted my father’s mode of English, which was accented, dignified and slightly professorial.
“What’s Babette like?” I asked my little brother. He didn’t hesitate to tell me.
“Well, she is quite pretty and a bit fat.” He had a way of landing hard on his T’s and R’s. “And terribly shy. She never speaks to me.”
“Because she’s so shy?”
“No,” he let out a sigh. “She simply does not like me.” He pronounced it wistfully, but without a trace of shame or self-pity. In later years, he lost his foreign accent and bookish phraseology. But the objectivity in his description and analysis, along with his acceptance of both, left an impression I haven’t forgotten.
I’d like to think people are subject to the same amount of rejecting and rejection. But there are those who proclaim they’ve never been rejected. Good for them, I say, until it turns out they are the same people who say they don’t know what it feels like to be in love. Here’s what it feels like: Opening your chest like a coat and letting in sunlight. Naturally, you’re then open for the cold elements and letdown too. So it makes sense for a person all bundled in a safe, zipped-up chest not to feel either rejection or being in love. For myself, I choose to walk coatless.
But something is off.
“What’s gone damaged in me, all of a sudden, that I don’t want the guys that want me, and pick ones that don’t?” I asked a girlfriend who possesses my favorite human traits — wisdom, humor, charm and wonder. “And why do they frighten off? Am I scary? Do I smell?”
“You’re a little intimidating, but–” began Charming Wise One.
“–me?! But I’m a clown, a monkey!”
“You put out a vibe like you don’t need anything from anyone,” Charming Wise One said. “It probably makes certain types nervous because they’re used to leveraging what they can offer.”
She managed to both enlighten and flatter me, even as she scared me a little about my future. I assured her that obviously, I do need many things from human beings, since I am one, but I also wasn’t upset about any apparent aura of unbreakability. Good for me. When you wear an open chest, a shield imagined can be as useful as an actual shield.
So as I drown in dichotomy, yes, I can see why it might seem like I’m on a man-crazy manhunt.
But I’m actually quite consistent and loyal. I want what I want and do so for years on end. If I look for alternatives, it’s only because that which I want isn’t wanting me back. Sometimes the one and the alternatives can’t tell themselves apart. This, I suppose, like the imagined shield, is okay too, because those who walk coatless can use cover now and then.
It might be a while before the sea of dichotomy lets me above water. In the meantime, I don’t mind emulating that stalwart 6-year-old who spoke with a foreign accent, and I won’t feel shame for love, loss or expressing either.
After all of that, you probably think this post is about you.
Since there are a few of you, you’re probably right.
- It’s all well and good to be “open” and “vulnerable” when you’re adept at dodging and ciphering.
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That dichotomy is something we have in common. I’m currently writing my love story, and I waited for a few months because from the very beginning it seemed impossibly doomed — sabotaged by me, actually, as I did everything in my power to dissuade him and deny the possibility that he could actually be interested in me. I’ve been down too many dead end roads to get my hopes up too quickly.
But I’m happy. And he seems to be, too.
I’ve just read the chapters of your story, and they make me happy. I’ve left you comments on each one.
By the way, I always mean to tell you, you have divine taste in music. I love that he’s a musician, your man.
Why, thank you, darling. I’ve loved music since before I could walk or talk, and I’m never without it.
“Run Away! Run Away!” – Monty Python – The Killer Rabbit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmu5sRIizdw Where the cute rabbit is GG and Arthur and his men are her suitors – attempting to slay the piercing focus of GG’s relationship armour.
Haha, HILARIOUS, that adorable teeny white bunny! I have to watch it with the volume up next… I bet I’ll think it’s even funnier.
It’s not about me but I like your ciphering and the bits of sounding-board I get to be. Especially when we sing 😉
We hurt much because we love much. It’s still better that way, somehow.
Of course it’s better that way — we are not complete idiots, after all!
You are a good sounding board, no question, and as good a singer. You almost snatched the Perfect Man from me… You may do so yet.
Speak for yourself, GiGi – I make no claims to be anything other than a complete idiot, nine times out of ten.
Ohhhh the Perfect Man is quite divine, but I must have more than a voice in the aether, darling…
Have you not seen his pictures all over my FB?!
More than a voice and a face in the aether, then. Friendships over the internet are easy, but until they create a remotely-guided USB fleshlight, anything more is…complicated :p
Sounds vaguely phallic, but dropping it…
😉 nvm then :p
Silly mood tonight. Found a new song I love and it’s made me giddy 🙂
The dialogues with your brother and then with the Charming Wise One were fascinating. I really liked “It does so through a series or lack of flutters…” also. I was sharing that exact sentiment with a friend just last week. Maybe your ideal man isn’t the one you’ve envisioned in your mind but instead someone you have never considered before to be Mr Right For You. Rejection on an interpersonal level is never pleasant and like you shared, it does bring on self-questioning. I think the most important thing I see in you with regard to That Man coming into your life is that you continue on your vision quest with your head held high and your smile continuing to beam. Terrific post, Gunmetal, and my best to you always my friend 🙂
You always say the loveliest things to me, Mike. Thank YOU, my friend.
Wow I’m so glad I read this this morning. I’m wallowing through the ‘feeling worthless’ phase of breakup, and by breakup I mean being dumped. As you said, ‘not being prized by someone we prize sucks.’ When someone is the sunshine, when it’s they who makes your day, every day, and suddenly the thing they want to change about their life is seeing You every day – that hurts. It makes a hole. It feels horrible and bitter and, while you’re still utterly in love, utterly immersed in someone else, their rejection of you makes you feel less and less in love with yourself, makes you feel less full stop. If the person you placed at the centre of your universe can’t love you, how will you find love? But you’re right. You’re right, you’re right, you’re right. I’d rather walk through this world with coat cast off and feel like this right now than never know love in the first place. So good luck on your man-crazy man hunt – it’s a worthwhile cause. As I said to Aussa in delight when she announced The Engagement – there Can be lasting love…
Sara, thank you for making me feel less self-indulgent for a such a post. I’m thrilled that the words had a positive effect on you. Please know that you’ve given me a gift by letting me know. Thank you so much.
I’m proud that you are proud to be exactly as you are. May your transition out of the breakup be swift.
Excellent writing, btw.
Anyhow, you deserve EVERYTHING.
it’s just a shame you must kiss the idiot, slimy frogs first!! xx
How sweet you are, thank you!
I happen to love actual frogs, so we must find a different metaphor… In truth, I don’t mind the rush of different experiences as long as I don’t make — irreversible — mistakes. Could be a writer thing.
[…] to say, and I couldn’t quite say it. Then I read this post this morning by Gunmetal Geisha, You Probably Think This Post Is About You. Needless to say, I did. The messages in it are exactly what I wanted to […]
Of course it’s all about me. I can’t wait to read more about me.
There will be more, don’t you worry.
Did you watch that show “Married at First Sight?” I know that some people think getting set up by professionals to get married to a total stranger is crazy – but it seems like it might have better odds than working out than slogging through the hit or miss of the dating scene. I’m waiting for them to have a show like that for the older set – I’d totally be on board.
Ha, no, I’ve never watched it. I suppose the dating world doesn’t have to be as frustrating as all that if one views it as some sort of sport for its own sake, and not the end result. It certainly makes for a lot of stories, anyway…
I have so many things to say about this post but most of them are wrapped up in real situations that would take too long to unravel. So… I will only say this affected me deeply and I felt you. I think you are amazing.
I really would love to know something of these situations, Hasty. I’m going to go tool around your blog.
The Coatless Martian. It sounds like the name of a book or maybe a band. But you know me. I am the giant squid that never falls in love. People say there are plenty of fish in the sea. But giant squid only eat fish. And there aren’t plenty of giant squid in the sea. Falling in love someday is on my bucket list. We’ll see.
That’s a great title. It feels my head with ideas. How about The Giant Squid Who Fell in Love? Also, I can think of a fish or two that could stand to be eaten by a squid.
It took me many years to figure out that without pain we wouldn’t know what pleasure is. I think being heartbroken is the worst, especially since it so often includes the person who filled your heart up in the first place. It’s okay though. I’d much rather feel heart ache then nothing at all. Great piece of writing. Hang in there.
Very true, all of it. And thank you.
I will say that your wise friend has a point. You seem so incredibly together, strong, and self-sufficient. I don’t know you incredibly well but I’ve seen photos and vlogs and your independence is evident. I admire that about you very much.
I tell my husband all the time I am happy to be married. I don’t miss this part you write about…the hunt, the rejection, the wondering.
I trust you will find him-the one-and he will be spectacular.
Thanks, Sandy, that’s lovely.
The hunt and rejection aren’t so terrible. But god, the wondering… That drives me crazy, I admit.
Well. I most definitely think this is almost entirely about me. Ha!
You would “most definitely” be “almost entirely” correct, Charming Wise One!
Really? It’s not all about me?? You sure do make a bloke wish it was, I’ll give you that, Lovely.
It turns out that it’s about anyone who wants to be about them (see Sara Litchfield’s comment from earlier). I find this very pleasing.
I can only offer a little story as a quantum of encouragement. A woman I know had been through two failed marriages and was left left emotionally and financially destitute with two children to care for. She swore off men, even completing a lesbian relationship, before many years later, as she struggled through her circumstances and heartbrokenness, she met a man who asked her out for a drink. Her initial reluctance was overcome both by the charm of this man and the urging of her own daughter. The woman and the man she had accidentally met, and was not at all looking for, fell madly in love with each other, and eventually the man won her trust and she surrendered her heart to him and they started a new life together. True story. The ending has not been written yet. My point? Never lose heart GG. I am sure you won’t.
I can relate to that dichotomy, although I think I’ve softened over the years and don’t put off that vibe like I used to when I was single. I remember finding out that my employees had a nickname for me when I managed at the Improv comedy club. It was “ice bitch”. Me. Ice bitch. hahahah it’s laughable to me now, but I think I did give off that “I don’t need anyone” vibe. The night I met my (future) husband, I was absolutely indignant and practically dared him to call me. He did.
Incidentally, despite my ice bitch vibe, I found my soul mate. You will too. You’re effing amazing.