Archive | February, 2012

The male-friend Conundrum

22 Feb

I generally reference When Harry Met Sally in everyday life. It is second to The Rules in importance, relationally speaking. In the movie, Harry sets forth the idea that men and women cannot be friends because the sex always gets in the way. My mind always then wandered into the realm of friends with benefits, which many of my friends (and recent romantic comedies – i.e. Friends with Benefits) could never truly work since feelings generally got in the way. In this post (in direct correlation with this past weekend), I would like to explore both.

The easiest to begin with I believe will be the first. Can men and women ever truly be friends? I would like to reference the story of TOGA and I. He and I began as friends, lacking any other choice, but its was more a story of acquaintances due to outside commitments. When those ulterior commitments ceased to exist, a true friendship was created out of common experiences and mutual respect. Eventually I came to consider him one of my best friends and valued his companionship more than those that had initiated its creation. Then what? A summer of confusion followed by an expression of what I thought to be mutual affection. Pain, betrayal, yearning…and so on. And yet, we remain friends. I will not say the feelings I had found for him have subsided nor will I say any hope for the future is absent, but that does not keep him from being anything less than a confidante and friendly escape when I need to reboot. There is certainly something in the middle, as Harry had warned, but does that mean that our friendship is not intact?

Perhaps TOGA is unique in some way, or perhaps our friendship has an expiration date, but he is part of something beyond romantic connection in my life. He is part of my heart in a way no romantic relationship has ever been. I have no fear of him walking out or finding me incompatible with his life. He has seen me at my worst and loves me regardless. Perhaps that is why Harry supposed men and women cannot be friends. It is not the sex, but the intense emotional connection that can form in any friendship, only social conformity tells us that we should care more for the men we are able to form that bond with since, in the end, procreation dominates. I would argue then that in modern society, men and women can in fact find a way to balance that connection to one another outside of a romantic commitment, even if at times our social responsibilities make it difficult and/or painful to do so.

Now, as for the FWB relationship, I am less certain despite multiple experiences with the idea. I tried to create such a relationship with HB which ended in a broken heart on his part. Before him was Mr. Big, who is a conundrum in itself. Some days I feel more for him than I should, others, his emotional instability makes me dizzy, but the sex is still entertaining. Then there are the ones in between where I could care less if we slept together, his companionship is enough. However, we all start somewhere an I started exploring this idea with Jordan. The nic-name is a complicated one, and not entirely positive. He had been a thorn in my side and an irresistible temptation.

I met him towards the end of my freshman year of college. Right away, I knew he would be trouble, something about him sparked something inside of me and he was the catalyst for so many things that led me to where I am. It was early sophomore year I began playing with fire. He lit a flame in me, made me feel special, beautiful, wanted. All the things Mr. Wrong struggled with. I could talk to Jordan, not that we did much talking while we were alone. It began simply enough, a walk, a movie, I’m not sure when the first moment was I let him touch me in a way I knew I shouldn’t. He reminded me recently of the first time we crossed the line we would never retreat from. We were watching Resident Evil in my dorm room, only neither of us really watched the movie. From that point forward it moved quickly. A tryst in the woods, fooling around on the tennis courts, sneaking into the library in the middle of the night. We broke all the rules we could muster and were excited by the risk of it all.

Then one day we took it too far, got caught and paid the price. I nearly lost my job, we both came within a breath of being kicked out of school, and I lost my first real relationship. Did I mention he was the one I cheated on my first boyfriend 9mr. Wrong) with? The result of my decisions hit hard and hit fast. It broke my heart, and part of me blamed Jordan. He was an easy target. However, instead of taking it out on him, I tried to force him to replace something I had lost. I kept up the charade as best I could because in the few short moments I had with him, I could pretend he really felt all the things he made me feel. I knew it was a lie, but we were so good at the motions.

It was at some point during our junior year he met Hannah. I’m not positive when they started dating as out friendship was fading, but, senior year they were full-blown despite him no longer attending our school. I saw him on occasion when he came to see her, but we both knew we needed the space to allow something else to take its place.

Its been years and yet, still, every once in a while my mind drifts to him. Things have change, we have changed, but there’s still something haunting about what passed between us.

Recently, we’ve been calling now and again. This last weekend, somewhat out of the blue, I decided on my way to Vermont I would stop in NH to see him. It had been years, literally, but it was oddly thrilling. I have to say, the fire never faded. We went to find somewhere to grab dinner, but upon finding a half hour wait where we wanted to go, we wandered back to his work where he just so happened to have a key. The intension was to put his jacket away, but I knew from the get-go he had other intensions, all part of the carnal connection we share. The appetizer was sweet, tempting, and still makes me shudder. We did actually get dinner, but it was a blur. There was talk, stories exchanged, emotions traded, and yet the whole time the electricity was vibrant. After dinner we returned to the chocolate shop for dessert. It was sweet and bitter and perfectly blended to perfection.

Some people enter your life to drive you insane with desire, I am convinced. Jordan is one of those people, but I constantly struggle with the idea that those carnal desires could be channeled into something greater. I wondered in college, but it was impossible, we were both too…immature. Today is a different story. Both os us have matured, found new ways of being who we are. My heart contends with the concept that he could be more than what I have made him into. The question is, is my heart telling the truth or is logic correct in assuming it is an impossibility and I should be satisfied with what I have been given?

Hence the FWB dilemma.

Obviously I have no answers as of yet and only time can really tell wtf is going on, but curiosity gets the best of me more often than not and despite my best efforts not to over think things, I often do.

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My Lucky Penny

8 Feb

There are people that walk into your life and become more to you than you ever imagined they would. I’ve already written a little about Mr. Wrong, TOGA, and HB, but this isn’t about that kind of love. The last few days I have ruminated on the limitless amount of shapes love can take. The romantic kind generally gets a spotlight. In my life, in the stories I hear from others, in the media, we just seem to hyper focus on who we are with or finding the person we should be with. I would beg to argue that we cannot put that much pressure on one kind of affection to fulfill us. We HAVE to have to fuel ourselves as a whole being and romantic love is simply not strong enough for that task.

Over the weekend I helped a dear friend of mine pack to move across country. She and I have spent a lot of time together as of late and she took a piece of my heart with her when she left in the wee hours this morning. Driving home last night, late, and exhausted, I couldn’t stop the tears from falling until I had cried them all out. Reflecting on the road that had lead me to that exact moment, I was amazed at the unexpectedness of it all.

I had met Lucky Penny at a Halloween party in 2009. She was TOGA’s new roommate and part of me was jealous of this girl living with my best friend because he couldn’t stop talking about how great she was. They had clicked right away, I can’t say the same for LP and myself. Those were the days of the infamous Red Room and mid-beginning of the crazy years we now sometimes look back on with disdain, but yet still aren’t entirely over. She was like a firework – loud, bright, colorful, but could explode in your face if not handled correctly. Something about her rubbed me the wrong way that first weekend we met, and I don’t think I entirely got over it until she moved out. Maybe it was all those latent romantic feelings for TOGA I was harboring, maybe it was the general negative attitude my college confidant, Mrs. F, had for her, maybe it was her ability to control a room that I envied, whatever it was, it made us becoming a friends a slow process.

After LP moved out of TOGA’s she was still around often. She’d come over and invite us out on adventures, we’d meet her at the bar, mostly our activities centered around drinking of some sort. That first year is fuzzy. She didn’t play a starring role in most of my memories of trips to the NEK, but she was in the background, intriguing me. The first solid memory I have of an outing of just her and I was exactly a year after our first encounter. I had gone up to TOGA’s for Halloween and we had had a mini-party the night before (the same party that destroyed any remaining hope I had of TOGA and I ending with a happily ever after). LP wanted to go to another house party and dropped by to get us to go. TOGA of course was not entertained by the idea, but I certainly was. We found some hats to wear, took some pictures, and ventured out into the night. The party was lame and if not for it being a meaningful step in our friendship, it may have faded into the recesses of my memory.

LP and I began hanging out more and more. slowly at first, and then she became a part of my Vermont trips I looked forward to. She moved often and towards the end of her senior year of college was within walking distance of TOGA’s house. One of my favorite memories is drinking with TOGA and realizing I was out of alcohol. I was teasing the idea of going to Cumbies to get a six pack of Smirnoff which I probably wouldn’t have done if not for TOGA betting me that I couldn’t get crazy Mary to sell it to me. I determinedly put on my winter boots and jacket to make the quest to Cumbies. After successfully completing my task, I wandered to LP’s to tell my tale and share a victory drink. We had a dance party and I disappeared there for a while, leaving TOGA to wonder what had become of me.

I loved those few months she lived in that apartment because she was never more than a walk away and always up for adventure. Like midwinter snowman invasions, wandering the streets with a beer in hand, determined to build a snowman on the library steps with snow that just wouldn’t stick. Or random no-pants dance parties. Why I hadn’t seen how much we had in common before is still a mystery, but one I’m glad I got solved.

The summer after she graduated college she moved on what felt like a weekly basis. She finally semi-settled near Concord, NH near the fall and I went to go see her more than I saw her the previous year and a half combined. We quickly discovered a shared passion for football and watched more than half of the Patriots games together this past season. Then, after the falling out with my roommate, she became such a huge part of my life, I couldn’t imagine living without her.

That’s the thing about letting someone mean too much to you though, eventually there is a good chance something will happen. In this case, LP got fired, got sick of New England, and drove across country to Arizona to start over. I can’t express how hard it was to not be selfish and convince her to stay despite knowing she needed to leave. Love will make you do selfish things, but real love, forces you to set aside your own needs and lift up the needs of the ones you care about, no matter how much it hurts.

Saying good-bye never gets easier. There are always so many things you want to say, always knowing that whatever you say will never be enough. You have to say it everyday, because if you don’t, those last words are meaningless anyway.

Aside

Tragic Girl

1 Feb

1. Weezer is one of the greatest bands of all time.

2. I meant to write a post a while back around this song theme type thing, but it never happened.

3. This song definitely fits the theme of today’s post, so I’m throwing it out there as a supplement.

Alternate ending to When Harry Met Sally

1 Feb

I met him while I was falling in love with his best friend. I never really saw him because I couldn’t, it wasn’t allowed, off limit in more ways than one. It took me years. Its funny what you can find when you really look though. How much you can realize you have missed.

While I was dating Mr. Wrong, he was a member of the group. When Mr. Wrong lived with him, he was a drinking buddy. After Mr. Wrong broke my heart, he was a shoulder to cry on. Somewhere along the way he became my friend. Then he was a good friend. Then somehow, I woke up one day and realized he was my best friend. Despite the 200 miles, I was seeing him more than I had even seen Mr. Wrong when we were together.

It was a drunken night with SMC when I realized The One that Got Away may in fact be my soul mate. I sent him a text. A TEXT! (just say it, juvenile) and that’s how I told him I liked him. An agonizing 14 hours later, I was granted the gift of hope. Hope that maybe I was right. Hope that I now wish I had never had because that was the moment it all started a downhill spiral that is still making me woozy. I apologize if you were starting to look forward to the happy ending, but that’s the thing with love, sometimes it’s perfect agony.

After the text, hope set its barbs into my heart. I wondered why I had never seen it before, how perfect it could be. Who doesn’t want to fall in love with their best friend? Isn’t it a story we have all seen played out on the silver screen a million times? Tell me you don’t envy Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink when Ducky rescues her at prom. Or Julia in The Wedding Singer who finds the love of her life has snuck up on her when she’s engaged to another man. Hell, I can quote the entire ending monologue of Harry at New Years telling Sally he loves her. However, how often do romantic comedies ever play out in real life? Now that should have been my first question, but it wasn’t.

Nothing happened for four months. I mean nothing. I kept waiting for him to ask me out, or confess his undying affection, kiss me, something, anything. I thought if I was just patient, he would make his move and it would all be worth it. I knew him well enough to know he liked to take his time, and I was willing to wait, but by the time Halloween approached, the falling leaves had tarnished the summer glow I had been feeling.

I went to his place for Halloween weekend festivities. I met his ostentatious roommate I had heard so much about. My yearning heart was charmed into a bitter entanglement and in that moment I hurt TOGA, and not for the last time. I tried to make amends. Tried to convince him it was unintentional, it was the alcohol, I wasn’t thinking. When that wasn’t enough I let disappointment turn into anger. How dare he lead me on for months and then get upset that I made out with another man! He had made no claim on me, what right did he have to judge me like that? You can imagine that this attitude could only make things worse, I’m sure, and that is exactly what it did.

You should know a thing or two about me at this point. I am relationally inept. When Mr. Wrong broke my heart, something else inside me broke. I have yet to fully fix it. Its not my heart, that’s just fine. Its something worse. Something deeper. I can’t even put a name to it, but it makes commitment really menacing. What do girls do that are petrified of commitment? They run in the opposite direction, right into the arms of military boys, bad boys, inaccessible boys, boys that will never ask of them anything more than their first name and who will never meet their mother. Simplicity, however, does not satisfy entirely. It always leaves you wanting, yearning for just a little more. Just one more taste, one more touch, one more moment where you can pretend you aren’t completely terrified. When a man stands in front of me and offers the world, all the things every girl dreams of, stability, love, a future, I cower into myself and make brilliant excuses to convince him I’m not the girl for him. When he pushes, and keeps trying anyway; when there’s a chance he sees past that wall I’ve put up for the world, I push back and prove it. I lie to him, I hurt him, but mostly, I prove it to myself, because its when they don’t just walk away like all the rest I have to convince myself he’s not the guy for me. If he really had the ability to love me, he would fight, right? He could take it all, without tiring, with no encouragement on my part, of course…right?

I can exhaust the most valiant of heroes, only I’m doubting I want to anymore.

TOGA and I are still friends, best friends. My head has given up on him, but my heart can’t. Not yet. I look into those soulful brown eyes and my heart melt. I hang on every word because it comes from his pouty little mouth. Despite everything we have been through he is still there, still supportive, still the one I want to call when things turn out right or I’m just having a really bad day. We fight, we fight really well, but it never seems to keep us from moving forward. Maybe he’ll never trust me enough, maybe we’ll always stay stuck in this relational ditch, but at least we’re stuck in it together. I’ll always love him, even when we both find our rights, I just hope I find mine first. It sucks being in love with your best friend, especially when you realize life isn’t the movies, and sometimes fate has other plans for you, but you still can’t walk away. Its your best friend for crying out loud!