Week 12 of Brahmicharya
I have decided to start thinking about my love life from my left brain instead of the right, just to see if logic over creativity will make a difference in the outcome. It is working for my career, so why not indulge in the metaphor?
How do I go about doing this? Start mentally Googling the dialogue files. I happened to write out every “scene” of my relationship with my soul mate last year. The first draft of any piece of writing is all stream-of-consciousness, right brained creative activity. When you begin the editing process in order to create a more refined second draft, the left brain takes over. You begin to see the “underlying text,” the themes, the psychology, the patterns…the keywords, which is why I like to use Google as a metaphor…and which is why I call myself the Femmebot. I am a woman who can look at life in terms of a Googlebot. Kinda scary, but if I am to figure out how to navigate my life in a positive direction, I will use all the tools available to me.
I can start with the first scene. My soul mate said everything I needed to know about his value system.
For example: “Relationships don’t last in Buenos Aires because there are a lot of women.”
At the time, I thought this statement could apply to Miami as well, but I decided to stay on topic. I asked him if Buenos Aires is not rooted in a very traditional culture. He talked about its Catholic history, but then said that Buenos Aires isn’t like other Latin American countries – it is more European, which you can see in its architecture.
All true. However, knowing that people are not objective, I should have known that this statement reflected his personal track record, and wasn’t really a commentary on Buenos Aires’ religion and architecture. Here is a translation of that statement:
“My relationships don’t last because I am really good looking and there are a lot of women for me to choose from.”
Perhaps I already noted this at the time, but I decided to ignore it, along with all his other statements: “Romantic love doesn’t last” and “American women are too robotic. Latin women are more carinosa.”
Although my soul mate hails from Europe, he has spent enough time in America to be absolutely American. The fact that he has so many women to choose from is the reason he doesn’t choose one. We have so much choice in America that it causes paralysis. While I have been thinking a lot about all the other women hollering at my soul mate, I hadn’t really thought about his point of view until I watched this video:
Barry Schwartz says: “When there are a lot of options, it’s inevitable that our expectations about how good the chosen option will be go up. For years and years I bought jeans and they came in one style and they fit however they fit, which is not very well, but you break them in, you wear them forever because it wasn’t pleasant to break them in. When I went to replace my jeans at the Gap, there was slim fit, easy fit, relaxed fit, stone washed, acid wash – I tried on every damn jeans and I walked out with the best jeans I ever had. But I felt worse. I did better and I felt worse. When they only came in one style, I had no expectations. The more options there are, the more options you look at.”
Women in Miami are like jeans?
For my soul mate, yes. He has a closet full of jeans – more than I have ever seen in my entire life in one person’s closet – man or woman.
And yet, he wore only a few of them. The others were just piled up…his mother actually organized all his jeans into neat piles on the shelves when she came to visit. This is how she spent her time while her son basked in the sun on the beach. He could have said, “No, ma, don’t do that. Let’s spend quality time together.” But he didn’t. And you know what I know after dating a few men in my short life? The way a man treats his mother is indicative of the way he will treat you.
Suddenly the fact that my soul mate is my soul mate is not a good reason to choose him as a long-term mate.
“Everything was better back when everything was worse…because expectations were lower.”
I am a pair of jeans. I am competing with all the different styles out there. I want him to realize I’m a good fit…and yet I may never live up to his expectations even though other men are telling me I am “unique,” and “the most interesting girl they ever met.”
But that’s how he felt when he first met me.
Maybe I am starting to get smarter. What if I am the pair of jeans that got up and walked away? Now that I know how his mind works (because he is more than just a soul), perhaps I should pay more attention to it? And yet, I already know I am not the first pair of jeans to walk away from him, and that men in Miami don’t chase women. Why should they? Just like jeans, there is an endless supply of them, and they are much more fun to be with in the beginning than they are after a year, when they start to make demands and start asking you how you feel about them.
I could be the type of woman to be all, “Whatever, I don’t have time to play games.” But I do have the time. My biological clock is NOT ticking. I truly love this man, and I want to continue getting to know him. I’d like to tango with him on a long-term basis. I’d like to play chess with him on a long-term basis. It’s fun. He keeps me on my toes. I keep him on his toes. Because according to the above video, we will both continue to question the choice we made to be with each other, even after making the initial choice. Oh yeah. This is actually true. Because we both made our initial choice three months after we started dating…the standard vetting period for new employment in a company. And we all know how often people change jobs these days, thinking everything will be better with a fresh start and new co-workers and more money.
“Costco is the store most people leave with a smile on their face because there are fewer choices.”
My soul mate and I shopped frequently at Costco. Not sure he always had a smile on his face afterwards because he generally doesn’t like to spend money on necessities. He prefers spending money on luxury items that make him feel good – like headphones with extra bass (I know how he feels now that I could afford my own pair this week), a camera with the highest definition quality, a Porsche, 2 Ducatis…need I go on?
And now that I am at this left-brained conclusion, do I start to look for my own better pair of jeans – a pair of “mom jeans” that might be more comfortable? If I did, I would be acting exactly like my soul mate – always shopping, always looking for a better deal.
Makes me remember another metaphor during the first few months I started dating my soul mate: I went shopping for a pair of sneakers in San Francisco. I got off the bus at the correct stop (and not one stop before, or after like I used to when my head was in the clouds), walked into the store directly to the section with my size, saw all the selections of sneakers, but for some reason, honed in on one pair because they looked like my style, tried them on, and then bought them within minutes. For the first time in my life, I was focused and knew exactly what I wanted.
Why? Because I had spent all of my 20s shopping, testing, experimenting…all trial by error.
Another reason? I remembered what another soul mate told me once about art galleries: Focus on the paintings that grab you, that move you immediately; don’t try to figure out the ones that don’t. There’s too much to look at and too little time. It’s the same with people. Both my soul mate and I felt the same when we first met.
“I could read your stories for a whole lifetime,” he said.
“You’re the most interesting person here,” I said.
What if I flipped all these statements around? What if HE is a pair of jeans, too? Maybe HE is afraid he won’t live up to my expectations just like all the others didn’t. He knows my track record (I think).
Last night he finally called. He was shopping for food. Apparently he thinks of me when he is shopping for food. Last time he called, he was shopping for food. What’s wrong with that? In my nit-picky female mind apparently he is supposed to call me from a variety of venues: his bed, his car, a party, the beach, his office.
He was calling because I had sent him a birthday card with a $50 gift certificate. If I hadn’t, we would still NOT be talking on the phone. And just like all our conversations since I’ve been here, there were awkward silences. Him asking what I’ve been up to, me telling him about my activities while he wasn’t listening, me asking him what he has been up to, and him not telling the whole truth – “Oh, just working” – when I know he’s been going to art shows, hanging out with friends, blah, blah…although later in the conversation he finally admitted to it, saying he didn’t know how many good years he had left to live it up now that he’s almost 40. Is he suffering from an early mid-life crisis? At least there are plenty of 20-year-old girls to help him in that department…
Makes me think of the last pair of jeans I wore. He rarely complained because he had survived cancer. He always made the best of his time and he would criticize me for complaining all the time for not being happy. Not that he was perfect. Far from it. I wouldn’t call a verbally abusive man perfect.
Is there ever a perfect time, a perfect match, a perfect life? I am like April in “Revolutionary Road.” Swept away by the romance and excitement in the beginning and as time goes by, disappointed by the mundane moments and normalcy of the man by her side.
“It’s been so long since we’ve talked!” I exclaimed last night, in my stupor at seeing his face on my phone.
“You can call too, you know.”
“What do you mean? Last time we talked, you said you didn’t know how you felt about me. I thought you wanted me to leave you alone.”
“Hey, what goes with pulled pork?”
That’s his way of avoiding the drama. He abruptly changes the subject. And I don’t want to be a pushy woman, so I let him. And I don’t particularly care for arguing on the phone either. Did that plenty of times with all the previous jeans I wore.
“I’m coming down in June,” I say. But then I pause. And apparently I laugh nervously, but I’m not aware of it. “Do you…wanna get together?”
“What kind of question is that? And why the nervous laughter?” he asks.
“Because you make me nervous!” I say. It seems like the most honest thing I’ve said to him since he called.
“Of course I wanna get together.” He says it in such a way that is absolutely genuine.
This man keeps me on my toes. He’s a pair of jeans that fit one day, and the next day, maybe they’re a bit too tight. He also keeps me inspired. That night I figured out why I am attracted to someone like him – he is a hero out of a historical fiction novel. I like playing the role of the submissive female who melts and quivers at the touch of her man. 21st century relationships make women lose their femininity. Just because they can be all they can be at work, they bring that attitude home and it’s exhausting for men. I think I understand now what he means by American women being “robotic” and Latin women being more carinosa.
Oh geez. Here comes the Madonna influence again. Her “La Isla Bonita” and “Evita” phase. Didn’t she date Antonio Banderas for a while? I think this was when she conceived Lourdes. I probably shouldn’t have told my 10th grade English teacher that my hero was Madonna. Now I am truly following in her messy footsteps. Cuz what comes after playing the submissive role? Yep. Dominatrix. This is why I am dangerous on my own, living without my family’s boundaries. If I continue on this solo path, who knows what kind of Lady Gaga shenanigans I will get myself into?
And to top it off, this past weekend I hooked into the gay network of DC since one of my gay boyfriends is visiting me right now. My ego has shot through the roof because they are all telling me how gorgeous I am. It’s really too bad that I am so superficial, and let their accolades make me feel this or that way. If I were a true yogi, I wouldn’t ever succumb to the perils of flattery or insults. Alas, I am not the enlightened being I thought I would become in this crazy celibacy experiment.
However, the open sexuality of gay culture has helped me put my lackadaisical attitude toward fidelity into perspective. I met a married gay couple that regularly hooks up with other men. They are committed partners in life. They support each other’s careers, share a home, and climb the economic ladder together. It’s kind of like a business. Having sex with another person is irrelevant to the business model. I think that’s what I thought I wanted with my soul mate. I don’t know anymore. I am starting to wonder if being alone is truly the best way to live. Is it possible that I will be practicing celibacy for the rest of my life?