I was super sad last week. A real bitch, too. Always one extreme to the other. Very Al-Anonic. No shades of gray. A crying depressed feeling-sorry-for-myself bitchy sad sack.
I sent Corynne an email that said, "THERE ARE TWO OTHER PEOPLE WHO USE THIS OFFICE. GET A CONFERENCE ROOM." Emily tried to tell us about her poop story, and I just changed the subject back to me, me, me, because I'm really special, and I have so many problems and no one else has ever gone through what I'm experiencing right now in the universe.
"You are wallowing," Emily said. I pummeled my fists and said, "No, I'm not!"
"You need to be solution-oriented," she said. (I later incorporated this into my dirty secretary roleplay talk, so thanks for that, Em.) I don't like the idea that I'm not solution-oriented, but she has a point. Wallowing is not taking right action. Wallowing is just complaining about shit, and flailing around like a crybaby rather than taking small actions that lead you to a different, better place.
Also, she didn't think my plan of making a man fall in love with me instantly so that I can move into his place was the smartest strategy.
"Stop looking for a man to solve your problems!" she said.
I responded logically to this by asking my friend who I had meaningless hotel roleplay slutty secretary sex with if he wanted to go to Vegas and get married. Fascinatingly, I had also just asked my 27-year-old friend to do the same. Jesus Christ. I'm not just whoring it up, I'm also, like, emotionally whoring it up.
Which leads me to what exactly happened with my 27-year-old friend with benefits -- and why he can't really be my friend with benefits anymore.
First, I went to therapy. Then I told my therapist about how this guy ,who I had been actually for-real dating -- I will call him the Clever Sexy Guy -- and who I thought I really and truly liked, was actually not so healthy for me. Then my therapist gave me this cloth bat, and she had me bat at the couch. It seemed kind of dumb, but I cried when I did it. I was mad. I told her a bunch of things I was mad at. I batted the fuck out of that couch.
Then I went over to the 27-year-old friend's place.
"Hey, buddy," he answered the door.
"OK, I get it," I said. "'Hey, buddy.' Right. Got it. I'm just going to stay a minute."
"Sure you are," he said with a smile, and then we watched some YouTube videos. We started talking about some of the girls he was dating or trying to date, I gave him a little advice and soon enough, I started whining about how all I really wanted right then and there were three things:
- Clever Sexy Guy and
Just those three things. It felt good to identify the addictive cravings I was having. I didn't want to kiss the 27-year-old because he called me "buddy," but it didn't matter -- because we were soon on his bed, having sex. Because that's being solution-oriented. Right?
The last time we had sex, one of the reasons that it was so fan-fucking-tastic was that we hadn't had sex in a year, and I told him to meet me at a bar, and say nothing, just kiss me, and then lead me back to his apartment and ravage me. I was wearing my failed naughty schoolgirl outfit that I had first tried out with Clever Sexy Guy.
When the 27-year-old friend met me, he followed my "say nothing" instructions brilliantly. When I whispered to him, "So, this is pretty hot," he read me instantly and knew to commit. He turned to me and asked, "Why are you talking? Not yet."
And, oh, my God. So hot. So fun. Then he ripped my outfit off at his door -- except for the little red Velcro necktie -- and all bets were off.
But this time -- when we had sex, I was being all Julia Roberts "no kissing because it's too intimate" in "Pretty Woman" like, and then suddenly mid-act he looked straight into my eyes, semi-hypnotized and we just stared at each other for several minutes, and then he stopped. He climbed next to me and said, "I don't think we can have sex anymore."
"Why?" I asked.
"I don't want to tell you," he said.
"Because you were feeling love?" I asked.
"Yes," he answered, considering. "Or more specifically -- other emotions. Which felt like love."
"What other emotions?" I asked.
"Let me see if I can describe it," he said. "I was feeling sadness. Accomplishment. Privilege. And dread."
"Holy shit. That's amazing," I said. "Privilege and dread. I love that."
The 27-year-old also said that the vague unease he felt was almost like he could feel himself as part of some unconscious pattern that was being repeated. Which is probably understandable. Since his body is just like my ex-husband's. He has the same first name as my ex-husband. He looks a lot like my ex-husband. And he's at the age that I was at when I was with my ex-husband.
"Uh, yeah, Mandy, I totally feel that weirdness," he said when I laid out all those creeper similarities. "It just feels like a loop. You know it's not quite right."
"So if I'm hearing you correctly, did you just ask me to marry you?" I asked. "Let me think about it a minute. OK. My answer is, 'Yes. I do.'"
He laughed. Yeah. I'm annoying.
"I think Imaginary Me and Imaginary You would be great together," he said. "But Real Me and Real You, it's not quite right. There's like an 11% chance."
Then I put on a funny voice, and I looked around at his apartment and his possessions and mocked his entire life. "Look at me, I'm a 27-year-old and I do yoga and watch soccer and watch Netflix and go to my job and play Call of Duty and ask girls out from OKCupid and sometimes I fuck them and I go to therapy and watch YouTube videos. Blah blah blah, look at me. Look at my great fucking life." I turned to him and glared. "I hate you," I said. Then I buried my face in his chest.
"Yeah, that's about right," he said.
"Thanks for letting me be such a little shit," I said.
Then we wrestled on his bed. Then I left and the next morning I woke up, determined to spend the rest of the weekend looking for solutions. Stupid solutions. One of which may be that when I move out of my place in Long Island City, which I have to leave in two weeks, I'm probably going to live at the 27-year-old's for a month. Maybe. I'm not sure. On his couch. I don't know. I'm trying to look for solutions. I really am. I'm trying not to seek a man to save me. I'm trying to be Real Me -- not Imaginary Me. I currently have $200 in the bank. Solutions.
Oh you know something else that really helped me? Reading Henry Grayson's "The New Physics of Love."
I G-chatted the 27-year-old about this exciting development. I told him, "Dr. Grayson talks all about how when we see ourselves as separate from love, that it is something outside of ourselves, that this is an illusion and that's where the problem lies."
"What?" he G-chatted back.
"It's God shit," I said. "Whatever. I like it. It works for me."
"Good!" he said.
Good. Exclamation point.
I told Jane today about how hilarious I thought it was to specifically identify the things that I was craving when I was with the 27-year-old, which were in my case, when I was in the throes of the obsession and desire (but which I managed to tough it out and resist): wanting the cigarettes, wanting the Clever Sexy Guy and wanting the love. (Haven't had a cigarette in five days now. So I'm past the hump of the physical addiction -- yeah! Not seeing the guy. And focused on self-care, hard-core.)
"What are you craving right now?" I asked her.
Which I get. I want to be done with my addictions. My unhealthy ones. Being attracted to unavailable men. Being so love-addicted. Being in such a perpetual state of chaos. I'm ready for that to be done.
And I think my cravings have changed -- for the healthier. Now I would say I crave: self-love, an apartment and time. Those three things. HEALTHY. Right?
So -- what are you craving right at this exact moment? Are you wallowing? Am I? Do you think "sadness and accomplishment and privilege and dread" is the best, creepiest, most maudlin description of "love" ever articulated?
And do you think I'm in the throes of love and sex addiction? I don't. My bottom line is not doing things that are unsafe, and I really am working on the self-care and the self-love. Emily disagrees and thinks my behavior is pretty damn "active." What do you think? Am I not only full-on wallowing -- but also in denial? Oh, shit.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.