Thursday, August 1, 2013

sometimes i write things

inspired by this piece: I have seen several things that encourage men to go for substance and women to be that kind of person. I haven’t seen any that encourage women to demand more and inspire men to be that more. This was my answer to that lack:

You should date an average boy.
Date a boy who doesn't read. Find him in the sports bar down the street. Find him in your last college class. Find him at a friend’s party, an acquaintance for years. He’ll be surrounded by friends, all interchangeably alike. Remember how long it’s been since you got laid. Stare at him until he looks at you. Engage your practiced move of holding eye contact for a second, then smiling and looking away like he caught you out. Go wander to an empty area so he can come talk to you. Accept his pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Get a little bit more drunk than you meant to. Kiss him and inwardly blame it on the vodka. Go back to his apartment. Fuck him. Pretend it was fantastic. Congratulate yourself on being great in bed.
Stress out about the state of your relationship for months. Overanalyze every exchange and carefully keep this anxiety from him. Read dating articles until you’re convinced men are an alien species. Talk to your mother for some sensible advice. Tell her about him in glowing terms. Ignore the little things he says and does that make you cringe inside. She tells you he’s a nice boy, don’t be ungrateful, he’ll call. There’s nothing wrong with him. No reason not to date him. Ignore the wild best friend from your early 20’s who now only lives in your head. The one who got drunk every weekend and arrested once a year and tried to teach you what you were worth. Over the months, check off the boxes: has a job, doesn’t hate his mom, wouldn’t hit you, attractive, polite. His watching the game and playing xbox are proof of his ability to fit into society’s mould of a guy. He’s nice to the waitress and doesn’t object to your feminism.
Start to wonder where your life is going. Take out your frustration by picking fights with him. Focus on improving your career. Complain to him about having no purpose. Drop hints that he should fix this for you. Pretend to be surprised when he proposes. Tearfully accept. If you have doubts just dismiss it as cold feet. Get married with all the trappings your parents can afford. Consult 10 websites and magazines about the best way to do this. Paste 400 generic pictures into an album. Tell everyone it was the happiest day of your life no matter how stressed or scared you were.
 Have children because it’s expected of you. Constantly worry about being a good mother. Prioritise your children above your relationship until sex is a distant memory. Switch to only working part time. Tell yourself that raising children is more meaningful than anything else you could be doing. Try not to think about the hobbies and dreams you used to have. When the children leave home, sink into a deep depression. Mope around refusing to do anything to feel better until it becomes a massive fight with your husband. Go on vacation. Come back feeling much better about life. Within a month return to most of your old habits.
Get cancer. Battle it as long as you can. Come to terms with your life and all it’s encompassed. Try to be grateful for all the love and the lack of serious strife. Everyone has to go sometime. You could Have been born in a third world country where you would have been illiterate and married off at 12 to a stranger. Tell yourself you’re at peace and your life has been all you wanted it to be. Push away the thought that your husband is still a stranger or what else you could have done.
Tell yourself these things are what life is about. Do not hold out for a man who reads. That man will drag you on all his adventures and make your heart sing. He’ll waste your evenings reading Homer and Nietzsche and Rowling. Relating fantasy novels to psychology and the nature of our relationships. That rare man who reads thirsts for knowledge of himself and anything he doesn’t understand, including you. He will want to hear your story and how you think and what things feel like to you.
Nothing is worse than a man who reads because he knows how to be quiet. and still. and next to you while you’re both in your own little worlds. He knows what it is to weep at the beauty of words and how they can paint a different picture for each person who reads them. He understands the artistry in the simple and the relatability in the awkward. He sees sharing your most personal secrets as an act of courage on par with fighting in a war.
Stay away from the literary man because he will crave adventure. Eventually the numerous stories will filter through his soul and demand action in the real world. He will make you travel and push your boundaries and try things that scare the shit out of you. So many authors have told him that never trying is worse than failing and the big wide world is a wonderful place.
He has romantic notions about transient beauty and the impermanence of life. He doesn’t see any need to do things just because it’s expected of you. He will absolutely fuck up your mother’s plans to see you settled and give her grandchildren. He will ruin you for sex with any future man because he owns 4 instructional books on the subject but finds better inspiration in sonets and Henry Miller. His passion means you will fight regularly and be drawn back to him every time. You will defend this decision to your best friend and your mother more than once. You will never be able to rationally explain the way he feels like the other half of your soul. An addiction you don’t want to be free of. The most beautiful obsession of your life.
Date an average boy who doesn’t read because a man who reads will change you. He will challenge you to grow. To question what’s so wrong with conflict. To follow your own path and demand more. To trust that you will find your way back to each other, or at least where you’re supposed to be. He knows that there is a time to hold firm and a time to let go. He has absorbed the lessons of story and poem and instruction manual and blended them into something uniquely his own. He will put books and articles into your hands and want to discuss them when you’re done. But he may not decide that his story includes you and he happily ever after. Maybe this chapter is about a lesson. Maybe you’re a recurring character. Maybe this is to be continued and not the end. And you will reread those chapters in your mind the rest of your life.
So be gone men who read! Take your Tolkin and your Shakespeare and walk into the sunset you’re going to take pictures of. Or stay, and change my life.