Well, now, see, the thing was, he was beautiful, and I'm a sucker for that. Even if I seem like the sort who isn't. Even if I like to think I am above it. And sure, we all have our types, and not everyone thinks the same people are beautiful, but I'd venture to say that most people in my demographic or social circle couldn't have denied his allure. You know the type. My friend noted that, years later: "that's him, huh? well that was your first mistake. never date a guy that good looking." But I didn't know. I didn't KNOW. I didn't know. I never even expected it and truth be told I was chosen, because people that beautiful, well, they are the ones that choose.
It knocks the natural cycle of things off it's axis. We young heterosexuals, well, we mostly have it down. Boy chases girl, girl runs or pretends to run. She's got the goods, he's got the mojo. If she's lucky. If he's lucky. She's got the pretty, he's got the capable. You know what I mean. At the very least, she's prettier. Softer and sweeter and shinier. And sure, there are pretty women and ugly women and everything in between. But they are still doing the same jobs. Peacocks in our midst, grooming their feathers.
And then there is this wildcard. Some guy just that beautiful. And he's the goods. And he knows he can choose. And he knows he can do whatever he damn well pleases. Look out for those guys. Sure, they aren't all like that. I had a beautiful boyfriend in highschool who just didn't give a shit. Seemed oddly immune to the politics of aesthetics like those born rich might not care or know what things cost. But most people, most people haven't been beautiful their whole lives, and if they have you can bet most poeple wouldn't shut up about it, otherwise smart, savvy, and charming as they might be. When you've got a thing that trumps, an ace in the hole (no pun intended), you take notice and you take stock. So most people like that, they know their market value. They know the score. They haven't had to chase, really, in a long long time, and they haven't had to compromise in even longer.
So there is this boy. This beautiful beautiful boy. And then there is me. And don't get me wrong. I know I seem like I might lack something key...in the self esteem department, sometimes. From what I say. But it's not like that. Really. I like myself. I'm worth happiness. I am a unique and beautiful snowflake. I get it. But come on. I'm also aware. Self aware. And my appeal, it's niche. Limited. I'm best friend. Side kick. Chick you tell stuff to. I make you comfortable. And part of that is being reasonably attractive. I mean, you'd never feel sorry for me or anything. Then a whole new politic settles in. I've got something to sell, too. But it aint on park avenue. Perhaps in a special boutique. Who knows, but you get it. Maybe, out there, much like the GF (girlfriend) experience, people are looking for the (BF) best friend experience. Who knows.
Another story. or sideline. My best friend in college. She was beautiful. B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. Still is. People take note. Damn. Have you seen her? She's just so pretty. Wow. And don't get me wrong: I know her and how smart and funny and totally cool she is. But the point is she's hot and sexy in the room and you can't miss it. She's got style and lips like Ingrid Bergman. Most guys are interested. Even if she isn't their type. And then there is me. Friends with all these guys who love me and adore me and tell me there every deep dark secret and always want me around and raz me and, you know LIKE me. I get this. I'm their friend. And some of them date me. And even love me. I know this. They love me. And like I said, I'm not a dog. So I've been chased. Woo'd. But in the end, it's me, the friend. And I've got staying power. But when she is around it's different. They want her, and they want her now. Like candy. And they'll do stuff. Stupid stuff. Stuff you'd do for a girl. Irrational soft stuff. She's the goods and they are at market and I may be the greatest friend ever, but when she's around, I'm the side kick. Coolest chick in the room, and thanks for bringing the hot girl.
And hey, ever heard that old addage: "always tell a smart girl she is pretty and a pretty girl she is smart"?
Well it's true. Unless that smart girl really is smart and then you might have to sleep with her to prove it. But thats besides the point. If she's wise you'll have to woo from both angles. We all bang against the confines of our self made prisons. We all love the hero who comes to free us from a cage.
And so then there is me, out at drinks, with some friends and the pretty boy. And I was relieved that he had a girlfriend. She came up briefly. Called, long distance. He got up like a good boyfriend and took the call and came back looking slightly stressed and I saw some of his lines but he was still beautiful. B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. And I appreciated it like a fine piece of art out of my reach. Good for you, hot guy. And he talks a bit and proves to be smart, and I think. That's cool. This hot guy with his incredibly smart geeky job and his girlfriend who calls and, well, cool. I can appreciate that. From a distance. Way to go g-d! Score a bonus in the design department!
And a good time is had by all and they go home and I go home and think little of it.
And a few nights later my friend calls again and says he and his hot friend (we'll call him "rocket") want to hang out and would I hang out and since that was all I was doing that summer: pimping liquids of various addictive properties, and hanging out, this seems reasonable. About ½ an hour before they are set to arive I get another call. Friend sick, or tired, or who knows, but definitively not coming and could I entertain this rocket boy? He's from out of town after all, needs people to hang out with and I remember thinking, oh crap. I dont want to entertain a total stranger.I mean, I'm shy, it's stressful. But before I can say no he's at the door glowing like he should, and we are out on the town.
And it's great. It's easy. It' fun. It's non stop conversation and immediate familiarity and flirtation, but I'm not thinking twice about it. Because look at him. LOOK at him. Never mind the girlfriend. He's making fun of me and his hands on my KNEE and I'm still having a great time and thinking "boy this guy is flirtatious" but still, it's just a thing because LOOK at him. And it's the best date ever with a man who would never be interested in me and he's saying nice flattering things and his girlfriend by the way, well, they are polyamorous and it's still innocent.Because look at him. LOOK at him. It's empty flirting and a it's great time. Really. One of my favorite first dates ever, to this day. I stand by that. Because when he kissed me, even though his hand was on my knee and he was whispering in my ear and he was going on about this and that and giving me THE look it was still as shocking as a pig snout on a bird. I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT SEE IT COMING. BECAUSE LOOK AT HIM. LOOK AT HIM.
And that's as far as I'm going with the narrative of that story. Due my mother's new found talent with internet search engines, seems only fair.
But ,it's not the end of that story. There was more, and I stand by my word. Way to go g-d! Score a bonus in the design department! Great lines, quality workmanship.
I think about all that. I look back. At me swooning and in his power and never ever even imagining it's going anywhere beyond that bar stool and the obvious chemistry and how, in my eyes, for most of it, I was not even a girl. I just shrank right back into that best friend side kick role like it was second nature and was shocked when the prince sidled up and asked me to dance, skinned knees and all.
And the funny thing was he didn't even seem to get it. That I was not THAT girl. That I was not the girl he meant to ask to dance. That it was completely ridiculous and that I didn't trust him one bit once he asked because on some level, so much of it made no sense. Because there was a system and he was breaking the rules. And he was a Casanova in the truest sense and I guess, maybe, that was one of the those rules the rocket had license to break because he was already breaking the system. Just by being there. Just by walking in the room and making everyone question their place.
And he told me things. About myself. That there was something about me. That he was there for me that night. That it wasn't an accident. He told me that I was sexy and pretty and that I should expect these reactions from men. He reminded me that he was not, in actuality, my friend. That prince. That cad. Oh the things he told me. Like a bee to honey, I fly.
And it was fun. Not just because I had a good time. Which I did. Not because I swooned. Which I did. Not just because it was sexy and exciting and the view went on for miles. Which it did. It was fun because I was surprised. Caught off guard. Kept on my toes. Because I understood myself in a role I seldom allowed myself to fill. The girl. The pretty pretty girl who had the boys attention because she was a girl. Look at me, I'm a real live girl. Give me those heels. Watch me strut.
And I learned something. That is me. Sometimes. Sometimes that is me. And no rule holds fast. And you shouldn't just walk in a room and put on the same hat every time because it feels familiar. Look at the other hats, man. They might suit you too. That sombrero might compliment that outfit you never wear, but put on today for some unknown reason. Look at you shine in that fedora. Look at you shine.
See, I brought it back. All about clothes and skins and the shell that covers the outside of our bodies. Meaningless, shallow surface politics of style and beauty. Except when it's not. Except when it's not.