My friends have been hearing me say it for years and years, in a surely grating array of variations, like so: "He's a super-sweet dude -- so kind and warm and generous and awesome, but something's missing. He's got no … EDGE."
You've probably heard it before, too -- maybe from lonely but well-meaning friends -- even if you're all, like, Miss Enviably Healthy and Mature enough not to bother uttering those sad, sad words yourself.
And believe me, those words ARE sad. Because underneath it all, what I'm pretty sure I was truly saying I was looking for when I said I wanted a man with "edge" is ... well, see these handy translations below.
Oh, and I'm not totally past all that edge bullshit, either -- I still find myself drawn to dark, brood-y, questionable men. But I'm trying really hard to move past that. Hi, I'm 37 now (happy birthday to me!). I can see, finally, that my edge requirement is pretty much bullshit -- just my own fears and fuck-ups and neuroses on parade, dancing around and blowing horns and throwing confetti in a desperate attempt to distract the healthier part of me away from decent, available men who might not be pretty, melancholic Proust fans, but who might actually be, like, SOLID, TRUSTWORTHY, LOYAL PARTNERS. Whoa ... the concepts! They're revolutionary!
Anyway, here's what "edge" basically meant for me.
FUCKED IN THE HEAD! (LIKE ME!)
Yep -- what the sick, self-pitying part of me meant when I said I needed an edgy dude was that, at heart, I needed a man as confused and depressive and addictive and crazy as I thought I was. Now, I'll be real -- on the Greater Overall Fuckup Scale, I'd probably rank pretty low; I'd probably come in at, like, 3 on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being batshit insane).
I'm a functional fuckup. I get out of bed. I do the work that's required of me; I even pursue new work when the urge strikes. I try to be mostly decent to most people. I don't spend my days upper-case scream-tweeting or my nights drowning in a faceless sea of strangers and vodka (not anymore, anyway). But I still identify with the younger, more extreme, more fucked-up version of me -- the me who thought, when it came to men, that she couldn't do better. And that the only type of guy who would understand and/or put up with me would necessarily have to be pretty miserable and damaged himself. I can finally kind of see, now, that I actually ... don't need that at all. I'd prefer someone a bit mellower and more stable to counteract my occasional foray into random hysterics. I'd like someone sane and calm and ... non-fucked.
NOT A GROWN-UP!
If you're me, when you hit 37, you kinda realized, for once and for all -- irrefutably, NO QUESTION, NO WAY, NO HOW, NONE -- that you're officially a grown-up. No more youthful folly-style dancing around the issue. You're old, and it's time to get your shit together.
So why have I largely kept finding myself drawn to men who weren't grown-up and had anything but their shit together? I don't mean "grown-up" in any surface-y, mundane "Makes Lots of Money/Has Nice Car/Owns His House" way. I don't really care about that stuff. When I say "grown-up," I mean mature. Self-possessed. Kind. Decent. Generous. Instead, for most of my young adulthood, I found myself drawn to men who were the opposite. Sometimes they were extreme examples -- manipulative, vindictive, and evil. Usually, though, they were less insane, though still … painfully, remarkably, visibly NOT GROWN. Still drifting along with no clue who they were or what they wanted from life; still a little boy in an adult's body. Those boys can look deceptively charming and alluring at first, but NO. Trust me, they're manthrax. Run.
"I want a man who'll understand me," I always told myself. And the guys I assumed would understand me? The crazy ones (see "Fucked in the Head" above). The dark ones. The "complicated" ones. Often, also the befuddlingly mysterious, excruciatingly ambivalent ones.
The ambivalent ones are my heroin. They're the ones I've longed for and pined after for pretty much my entire life, at least since my very first Super-Legit Schoolgirl Crush in 6th grade (which swiftly morphed into Super-Legit Insane Obsession that very same year). The ones who say one thing and do another. The ones who tell you that you're the coolest, prettiest girl in class ... while trying to make out with your best friend. The ones who say they have strong feelings for you ... but not, like, RELATIONSHIP feelings, duh. The sensitive ones who tell you they want to wait to sleep with you until you're officially their girlfriend ... then proceed to dump you immediately after making you their girlfriend (and sleeping with you, ughs). The ones who know a little of everything about everything ... EXCEPT what they're looking for and whether that person could ever be me.
Here's to getting over my need for "edgy" boys who don't give a crap about me; here's to moving in healthier directions. Have you ever said you wanted to date someone with edge? What'd it mean for you?
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