I’ve been doing a lot of examining lately on the part of my feelings, specifically for another person. I promise I’m not delving into any sort of territory close to that of a teenage blog riddled with sob-stories of unreturned crushes and OMG!-worthy love declarations. However, to get an accurate picture of a person, you have to observe all facets; otherwise, you’re going to get a very one-dimensional impression. That being said, please allow me to indulge myself today. This blog comes in two parts. This is obviously part one.
First, some facts:
1) I am not a serial dater. I’ve had like, one actual boyfriend in my life, and lots of sort-of-almost-but-not-really boyfriends. No, I’m not a lesbian; I’m just picky, awkward, busy, and a whole host of other excuses that don’t really completely explain my lack of romantic male companions. My brother, on the other hand, has dated numerous girls, been engaged once, and now is dating a girl younger than me. I wouldn’t necessarily say this bothers me (okay, it bothers me a little), but I don’t understand why my brother is such a serial dater, and I am not. It’s weird because we balance each other out in a way: he is never alone, and I am always alone; well, independent, which leads me to number two…
2) I have always been an independently minded person. My mother, for a woman who got married at a fairly young age (uh, nineteen to be exact), has always sort of instilled in me this feminist view of being self-sufficient and strong. I am the baby of the family, so I’ve always been a little more outgoing than my brother who is the stereotypical protective first-born. I’ve always been more opinionated; I’m more liberal. I grew up thinking I could do anything and be anything I wanted to, because my mother told me I shouldn’t limit myself. My mother never has wanted me to feel I had to rely on a man for happiness, and because of her, I don’t. I rely on myself to get things done and make my own way, and I’ve never tied my personal happiness to whether or not I had a boyfriend or garnered attention from the male species. Though I am, by birth (and of course, occupation…actor. DUH.), a bit of an attention-seeker, I try not to base my personal worth on someone else’s approval of me, especially men.
3) I have a lot of gay male friends. This is a double-edged sword. I love my friends, regardless of their sexual orientation, but I admit I have sometimes relied too heavily on my asexual relationships with them instead of allowing myself to be open to sexual ones with men who are decidedly not into Youtube-ing videos of in-her-prime Whitney Houston and fawning over Jake Gyllenhaal. My gay male friends are my soulmates. Every woman has one who is the Will to her Grace, and I am no different. The problem is that as great and wonderful as they make me feel, there is one thing that gay male friends cannot provide their female companions with, and unfortunately, that is a very important thing. One friend, in particular, encompasses pretty much everything I want in guy; he’s my gay version of the straight man I want, and though our relationship is all kinds of wonderful and full of love, he can’t love me in all the ways I need to be loved. It sucks, but I don’t fault him for who he is, because that’s precisely why I love him. Gay friends are great…until you mistakenly date one, which leads to number four…
4) Yes, I have dated a guy who is, in fact, gay. Every woman in the performing arts has lived this story at least one time. I dated a guy who came out two months after we broke up. There were tears. There was outrage. There was disbelief. There was a huge fight. There was a year and a half of silent treatment and bitter feelings. Then there was growing up, acceptance, and reconciliation. Now, he and I are just good friends. Needless to say, it isn’t a pattern I really want to repeat, so I feel that in many ways, this has influenced me more than any other factor. I am more cautious because of this situation.
5) I am more than acquainted with the tricky devil known as “unrequited love.” I have harbored more than my fair share of crushes on people who didn’t feel the same way. A lot of this silliness occurred in high school when all I wanted was a guy who wasn’t my gay best friend Taylor (no offense, baby boy! I love you!) to sit next to me on the bus on the way to marching band competitions and hold my hand. Yeah, I know, nerdy and silly, but that’s how I felt every time I saw yet another slutty flute player seducing a percussionist (the percussionists are the ultimate marching band bad boy) every Saturday in the fall. I won’t pretend that there probably wasn’t a boy or boys who maybe had a crush on me, but if they did, I certainly didn’t know nor did they try to make a move on me. I seemed to like guys who were unattainable in some John Hughes-ian way: Jake Ryans and Blane McDonnaghs who happened to play trombone or sing baritone next to me in choir. Pretty much all my serious dating attempts in high school failed terribly except for when I dated the gay who I didn’t know was gay. But let’s be honest, my unrequited love led me to date a GAY MAN. To be fair, he was pretty straight at the time, but still.
6) I have often been the victim of a terrible syndrome called “She’s One of The Guys”-iosis. What? You haven’t heard of it? Well, let me explain. This syndrome often occurs when a guy deems a girl cool because she can hold her own at Halo multiplayer on XBOX, can quote every line of The Empire Strikes Back, enjoys watching baseball, hates Katherine Heigl rom-coms just as much as he does, idolizes the Beatles, and can hold her liquor with the best of them. He loves “hanging out” with her because she will debate with him over who was the best captain of the Enterprise (uh, Jean-Luc Picard OBVIOUSLY) and watch multiple episodes of Family Guy without complaining. She doesn’t talk about Ryan Gosling obsessively or wear a mile of makeup like Kim Kardashian. She can tell a raunchy joke like the guys in the Hangover but still seem classy about it. She’s cool. She’s funny. She’s “just a friend.” THIS is “She’s One of The Guys”-iosis. It’s THE absolute WORST, because no matter what you do, he’s become blind to the obvious observation that you are, in fact, NOT a guy. These guys like having you around because you’re good for a laugh and aren’t annoyingly ditzy. You don’t get grossed out by them. Because you happen to be smart, funny, and enjoy things that aren’t necessarily “girly,” you thus become a dude and not a desired (and sexually desired) object. Emma Stone is doing a lot for us that fall into this category right now, thankfully. She’s proven that it’s okay for girls to like dude things but still be feminine and sexy and desirable. I’m pretty sure every guy on the planet wouldn’t mind nailing Emma Stone. Guess what? Emma and I are about a week apart in age and have the same type of personality, gentlemen…except that I’m not famous and therefore, slightly more attainable. It’s so annoying when a guy says they like Emma Stone because she’s sexy but also sort of a dude. I’m like, well, she’s not the only one, if you’d tear your eyes away from your all-engrossing game of Madden NFL and notice me, you fucking idiot.
7) I refuse to dress slutty to attract attention. Okay, I’ll admit I love a good see-through blouse, short skirt, or plunging neckline as much as anybody, but I don’t make it a habit of wearing that stuff regularly. I’m more likely to be a little fashion-forward and daring if I’m going to a gay bar with friends than I am at a regular “straight” bar. The gays make less of a deal about this kind of thing (probably because there’s usually a lot of half-naked shot boys running around and drag queens with outfits that would put Gaga to shame), only acknowledging that you look “fierce” and hot. There’s not really a competition. I can dress for me. Every time I go to an every day bar, I hate looking around at all the girls dressed like they’re auditioning for an even trashier version of the Bachelor (is that even possible?), flipping their hair and guzzling drinks so they’ll seem witty and cool like the Sex and the City girls. Of course I want to look good, but I dress for myself. As a Scorpio, I’m all about the mystery; if you give everything away, he can’t wonder what you look like naked because he’s basically already seen it. I pretty much just stick to something showing off my gams and some red lipstick, 60s style eyeliner, and mascara. That’s my standard bar outfit. Take it or leave it, gents. Hope you’re happy with Slutty McSlutterson because I guarantee that the only thing deep about her is the deep V she’s wearing to show off her tits.
8) Like everyone else on the planet, my first kiss was terrible. I was sixteen, and he was seventeen (Quick! Someone find a gazebo. It’s a Sound of Music moment.). As I’ve mentioned, I was a little starved for male attention in high school, so when he started giving me some, I jumped on it and clutched on for dear life like I was on the sinking Titanic. He was all involved pretty heavily in theatre. We were in Seussical together and also the same choir. He was nice, but I should have realized he was taking advantage of my naïveté and inexperience. He had long-ish red hair and was rather fond of wearing a camouflage army jacket with pretty much every outfit (what a rebel). After several long, flirtatious MSN Messenger chats (Oof. Dating myself with THAT reference.), we decided to meet up one day to “hang out” at the park. He didn’t have a car (batting 0-1 already there, kiddo), so I had to pick him up. We sat underneath a tree and sort of awkwardly talked for a while, anticipating the real reason we were there. Finally, he stopped the awkward conversation (thank god) and started kissing me (Uh, God? I’ll take that awkward conversation back now.). It was beyond terrible: sloppy, too fast, a lot of shoving of the tongue into my mouth. Of course, I hadn’t really kissed anyone before, so I didn’t have much comparison, but I had watched enough soap operas, John Hughes movies, and Moulin Rouge to know this just was NOT cutting it. I mean, I enjoyed it in a I-can’t-believe-this-is-actually-happening-just-go-with-it-because-it’s-better-than-nothing way, but I knew then and there that this was all he wanted (well, I’m betting he wanted to “MSN Messenger” with my pants too, but LOL, that just WASN’T going to happen. C-ya L8R!). After about thirty minutes of pure tongue ravaging (batting 0-2 now, sir), I finally was able to pry myself away from Mr. Army Jacket and kindly suggest I needed to meet up with my parents for dinner. After driving him to his house where he insisted on Sloppy-Joe-ing all over my lips yet again (uh, that’s 0-3), I said goodbye and drove away. After that, I pledged to never let myself be so desperate that I make out with a guy who just throws an army jacket on over everything because he thinks it makes him look rebellious because it’s not rebellious; it’s lazy and kind of gross. Also, he was preying on my inexperience and insecurities, and THAT is DEFINITELY not cool. Also, I’m pretty sure he gave me mono that following summer (0-4, dude. Your batting average sucks.), which was one of the most miserable experiences my tonsils have ever had. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I stay away from redheaded men who aren’t Ron Weasley, Rupert Grint who plays Ron Weasley, and well, any Weasley or actor who played a Weasley. To this day, I can still almost feel and taste that tongue in my mouth. (0-5, Clayton. TKO!)
9) I have never been in love. Of course I have experienced the familiar accelerated heartbeat, the butterflies in the stomach, the sweaty palms, and the goosebumps. I have felt desired. I have felt lusted after. I myself have lusted and desired, but I have never been in love. Yes, I love my friends, and I am completely smitten with several of my gay best friends, loving them as much as a person can love another person without romantic feelings involved. I would take a bullet for some of them. But I have never felt that euphoria, that overwhelming feeling of two halves making some beautiful whole. Sure, I’ve had that sort of “first love” thing where you like someone on a pretty deep level and you know you’ll always be tied to them in an emotional way because they were the first person who made you feel a little special and prized, but that’s not love, really. It’s more akin to admiration or something. It’s people like me who can’t wrap their heads around what it means to be in love because we don’t know. We’re the people who get jaded because it’s like a special country club we don’t have the membership to. I want to play golf with love! I want to play racquetball with love! I want to have a pool boy bring me free drinks with love (well, who doesn’t?). In all seriousness, though, I keep hearing this whole “you just know when you know” thing, and all I can wonder is when it’s going to happen to me. Will it ever happen to me? I know, I know. This is one of those great, unanswered questions about life. There have been so many poems and songs and great pieces of literature written about love. So many movies. Yet, I just find no solace in that. These people are describing their version of love, what has happened to them, born out of their own experiences. I just don’t think anyone can actually really tell you what being in love is like. The famous authors can get close, but it’s still just words on a page until you’ve felt it. I think love brings transcendence. Add love to those words, and they transcend the page into something else; something purely mythic.
I want the mythic. I want the transcendence. It’s getting it that’s the hard part.
Stay tuned for part II.