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I wrote this on July 8th of last year. And now it’s time to do a follow-up.
At that time, I was at a crossroads in my life. I had just broken up with my long-term girlfriend, and I was trying to figure out what I wanted next. As the post indicates, I was a confused man, aimless, directionless, and searching for purpose. Through the magic of social media, my soul was bared – laid out for any wayward double-clicker to gaze upon. Strangers could freely psychoanalyze my innermost thoughts, insecurities, and judge.
So, what reaction did this digital slice of honesty conjure from the closest of my friends?
“OMG, did you cut your hair?”
Perhaps they got around to reading what I’d written eventually, but nobody seemed to get past the photoshop that I ran next to the article. Depicted was me, angel on one shoulder and devil on the other. It was only supposed to be visual accompaniment to the textual emotional outpouring. Because the picture represented two possible paths a newly single man may consider – crudely and inaccurately represented as good and bad. I included it with the hope of enhancing the overall themes of the piece, but instead, may have confused people with a wildly unusual hairdo. But at least one person read the words, and I’ll come back to that in a bit.
(FYI: It was up in a clip, folks. I didn’t cut it. It’s long as ever and when I do decide to chop it off, I’ll again donate it to Locks of Love)
Anyway, the conversation about the hair came back to me when I revisited my post and saw the picture. I wanted to take a look back at what I’d written before embarking on the follow-up post to accurately gauge my progress and growth – in other words, to see if I achieved whatever the hell I was looking for last summer.
Standing where I stand now, I most definitely look back over the piece with a slight smirk and a greater understanding of where my head was at that particular time. It reads as though I was trying to convince myself that living the swinging bachelor hook-up life was beyond what I obviously wanted; it was something that my ‘time served’ had earned me.
Though I did offset these potentially polyamorous proclivities with musing about relationship life, I can see a distinct glint of hopeful virility underlying my tone. Now, I most certainly heap a thick helping of levity into every word I write, but I can definitely detect the swagger of a newly single man. Indeed, this attitude crept into other facets of my writing as well.
My band plays a song poignantly titled “Direction.” Written within days of the break-up, it tells a story of departure, moving on, and thinking onward. I also was falling in love with the piano at that very same moment, so some of the metaphors are less than subtle. Here are some verses:
There comes a time to say goodbye
These things they happen every day
So as I face this new direction
Gonna let the organ guide the way
Gonna play me a song for you
Gotta find out who that you will be
I might make a couple dozen mistakes or two
Just gonna have to wait & see
I have me manual dexterity
And gets a little better every day
So if you wanna give attempt at my temerity
I reckon that we can find a way
88 little ladies to finger
Equal attention to them all
Ain’t no sin to let them linger on
Gonna live my life right off the wall
Yep, that’s a Michael Jackson reference.
There are some catchy choruses and a guitar solo to break up the monotony – but as you can see, I was even trying to convince myself in my own songwriting. I keep returning to the word ‘convince’ because truly, that’s what I may have been trying to do. Convince myself of something.
That ‘something’ was the slutty, chauvinistic mentality popularized by such titans of intellect as Mike the Situation and Mr. Charles Sheen. The Don Juan lifestyles these morons purport is inexplicably idolized and thus desired to be emulated; I’m just as guilty as anyone.
But, in my attempts to convince myself that I had tiger blood coursing through my veins – I ultimately failed. It’s just not my way.
Chasing tail 24/7 would probably be fairly awesome, if a flawless physical exterior made up for a complete lack of personality, self-worth, conscience and emotion. Because aside from the fleeting nanoseconds of sexual ecstasy, the other 23 hours of the day have to be positively unfulfilling. Even if you’re banging at a record breaking pace, there’s still a lot of day left to kill. That’s where the ‘other stuff’ plays a pretty central role.
I daresay it’s better to wake up cozily snuggled with a dear friend and lover to warmly reciprocate the love you see in their eyes, than to shuffle a random slag you picked up at the local dive & struggle to remember her name as you hand her bus fare quickly escorting her toward the door (hopefully before your roommate can get a glimpse of the committed atrocity).
One-night stands don’t get you NyQuil when you have the flu, and random whores rarely take their turn doing the dishes. On occasion, even a chaste, professional woman lets her guard down for a quickie, but the bottom line is this: the typical woman that will sleep with you, no questions asked, is probably not worth it in the end.
I suppose it all depends on what you’re looking for at the time. Those not looking for a lasting relationship should, by all means, explore whatever random sexual deviance they can get a willing partner to consent to. Yet for me, while perhaps truly tempted by the lurid lures of a lecherous lifestyle, in the end, it was never what I really wanted.
Thus, my previous post was definitely an attempt to convince myself of something that I wasn’t. Maybe it was a rhetorical exercise played out like a demented debate team in my head. In the end, the angel on my shoulder won out. And, whether I like it or not, I’m a schmaltzy romantic guy, not a lascivious lothario focused solely on skin-deep pursuits.
Yep, I must be a sensitive guy or some shit. I need and want the support, intellectual stimulation and cuddling no stripper offers in exchange for cash. I’m a Pisces, and though I don’t put much stock in astrology, we’re supposedly both crybabies and nurturers. We need to care for and be cared for. This type of relationship simply cannot be cultivated anew each weekend. And basically, that clears up my confusion.
It’s not uncommon to feel slightly lost when suddenly presented with a seismic life shift. For that reason, exploring all my options seemed like the right course of action. But, one needn’t necessarily act on these sentiments purely because one can. No one would have begrudged me random rebounds, and a year later, if inclined, I could probably still be playing that card game – trying to internally convince myself and condone whatever actions I was taking. Better, methinks, to weigh these thoughts judiciously and not resort to snap decisions that could lead to broken hearts and mounting piles of additional confusion.
Instead, the introspection of the last piece, combined with my own further self-analysis, shows me to be an advanced male.
Around that same time, I remember reading an article stating that monogamous atheists tend to have the highest IQs. The reason is that the specific choices of both monogamy and atheism break free of [what is assumed to be] normative behavior. Animals, in the wild, mate freely with the intention to pass on their genetic material in furtherance of the species. Therefore, the studies flatly state that the discipline to maintain a single sex partner places that person on a plane of thought slightly higher than the rest. Plainly, monogamy is a concept that requires free-thinking and personal restraint from what is considered ‘normal.’
Perhaps these studies and statements were made by people of similar mindset, but if they’re going to tell me I’m a mentally and physically evolved male – who am I to argue?
Oh, and earlier, I mentioned that at least one person read my previous WTF?! post and reacted positively to it. Turns out this blond girl happened upon the piece and sympathized with the confusion. Having freshly broken up with her long-term boyfriend, she was also unaware of how to proceed into single life and reacclimatize into the dating world. So we got to talking and became fast friends.
The original post opened up the lines of communication between the both of us, the bond grew, and we’ve been together ever since.
Follow Matthew on Twitter @MatthewFuntime & visit his blog at https://matthewfunti.me
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I am also attempting to find out exactly what the fuck is up with my love life.
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