Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
When my first boyfriend killed himself, I dated a series of men who were no good for me, with no intention of ever seeing them again. I didn't tell them absolutely anything about me, especially the whole My First Ever Boyfriend Just Killed Himself thing.
When Sora and I broke up, it felt like a death. Three years. Boo hoo hoo. Mellow melo drama. The clear solution was to once again date a series of men. But this time, maybe, just maybe, make them good for me. Maybe try and establish some sort of connection. Maybe actually talk to them about who I was, and why I felt the need to date several people at once. I wanted to be Open. But without hopping the line from Open to That Fucken Guy Who Won't Stop Talking About His Ex.
#1 and I had hooked up a couple of times, always at his apartment. We'd spent some time watching Top Chef together, we'd discussed exes, and he even introduced me to his Drag Persona.
#2 was a stripper. A gorgeous, finely tuned stripper. His name was Loleye, he was a show...no.
Like most of the numbers I would meet, I first encountered #2 on a dating website that was roughly half a step above Craigslist, and about twelve steps above ManHunt.
He lived roughly down the street from me, and we intended to meet at a coffeehouse to hang out the first time, but had somehow missed each other. This is how I ended up sitting on his bed on our first "date", listening to him talk about his roommate.
His bed is in what, in most apartments, would be the living room. You open the door and BOOM! Bed.
#2's roommate barged into the room, yelling into his cellphone in what I, at first, thought was a foreign language, but turned out just to be ScreamingFagese. "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?" he missled at me.
"Excuse me." #2 said, and he and his roommate went into the only other room in the apartment to talk.
When they emerged from the bunker, the roommate said "I'm really sorry. I'm having...a day." And he giggled. He was all smiles and giggles and polite conversation, and "What do you do for work?"
"Oh." I said. "I work in a comic book store."
"Really? I love comics. Are you familiar with" and here he mentioned a name I'd never heard before.
"Really, he's very well known, and super influential. I have some of his books in my room, hold on."
It's a good general rule that if you don't know someone very well, if, in fact, you have known someone for less than ten minutes, and your conversation has been purely platonic in nature, that it's probably considered gauche to break out your hentai collection and start showing your favorite tentacle rape scenes. Probably.
But I smiled and nodded, and mentioned that, in fact, we didn't sell very much hentai at my store, that we were more of a family friendly comic book store, which means all the gore and violence you can imagine, but very little sex. So, I guess American Family Friendly.
"Your roommate is a little..."
"I don't want to talk about him." #2 said. "How about I make us some tea?"
I don't enjoy hot liquids, but a quick scan of his refrigerator revealed 1: mine was not the messiest, emptiest refrigerator in Boston; and 2: any liquid he was going to offer to me should definitely be boiled before I put it in my mouth.
I drank the tea very slowly, as #2 regaled me with terrible stories about his terrible roommate. When I was finished, I walked the tea over to the sink.
"Wait!" #2 said. "I haven't read the leaves yet."
"You read tea leaves?"
"Why else would anyone drink tea?"
He had me there.
#2 took in a deep breath, covered the cup with a saucer, and flipped it upside down. "What does that look like to you?"
Somewhere in my childhood, a psychologist was picking up a notepad and a pen. In Florida, my mother was craning her neck north. And dozens of midwestern American housewives who spent the last five years reading my Livejournal rubbed their hands together in glee.
The bottom of my cup was the most bizarrely clear inkblot I'd ever seen. It was a cat. In an airplane. And it was waving. The airplane had a crack in the center of it.
"What the fuck does that even mean?" Jackie asked, when I relayed the story.
"How the fuck do I know?"
"He didn't explain it?"
"Of course he did. It has something to do with deceit and a terrible journey." I said.
"Unshocking!" Jackie said. "Your entire life is a terrible journey filled with liars."
"He didn't know that." I said, attempting to...wait, why was I defending him? Right, I wanted this to work. I wanted to date a series of guys with different attributes, and find either The Mythical One, or at least figure out what horrible thing they all had in common that I didn't like, so I could avoid that in the future. I didn't want to do anything to damage anyone of these possibly blossoming relationships. With strippers. And Drag Queens.
"Why not just round out the drama with a theater major?" Jackie asked.
I bit my lip.
The theater major was meeting me for Vegan Chinese food the following day.