The Magic Number
I really couldn’t tell you why some people spend their entire lives waiting for that special RIGHT ONE to come along, only to die alone, while others effectively make a habit of jumping in and out of relationships, never truly settling down. I couldn’t tell you what it is about me that seems to attract stalkers, the needy, the clingy, and the obsessed, though I can honestly say I’d really LIKE to know. I can’t say which of my personal characteristics have the impact of taking an otherwise intelligent human, and turning him/her into a blundering imbecile, or a crazed lunatic.
But I hope one day to find out, and maybe cancel out the firing of that particular synapse for good.
And in the meantime, I hope that the people who’ve tried to connect to me more permanently in the past have been able to have more positive results in the relationships they may have tried to develop following ours, and a better success rate with their intentions.
For me, it really all comes down to the motivations.
Here are a few impulses that DON’T WORK for me. So feel free to grab a cuppa joe, have a squat, put your feet down and poke around a bit... no particular order required. Think of this as an anecdotal catalog of how NOT to get me to marry you.
When I was 16, my high school
sweetheart fuckbuddy asked me to marry him.
Terrence finished high school with a GED at the end of my first year, and spent the next 18 months or so loitering and moping about town, occasionally grabbing me from school for an afternoon tryst, or intermittently kidnapping me from home for an evening rendezvous between shifts at his fast food job. By the time I was starting 11th grade, he’d had enough of the tiny little podunk town we both called home. So, on one weekday siesta at the local pool hall, he asked me to run away with him and get married. The look on his face as I guffawed uproariously told me he wasn’t kidding, and I snorted instantly in an attempt to choke down the first response, trying to backpedal my way out of my initial outburst. I reminded him that I was still in high school, but he argued that I didn’t need it. He was right, of course… I’d been bored with school since my first year of junior high, had tested out of most of my classes as a sophomore, and was now getting college credit for the majority of the schedule I kept. Well, so, okay… but, there still was the little matter of, neither of us really loved each other; we were just the most consistent booty call that either of us had ever had, and that could hardly be considered the makings of a functional marriage. Even at only 16, I knew the reality of the situation was, he hadn’t made decent enough grades to get a scholarship to college, his parents couldn’t afford to send him, and he didn’t want to work at Burger King for the rest of his life, but lacked the creativity of imagination to figure out what else you’re supposed to be when you grow up besides married-with-children. A quick sample vision into my mental forecast of that future told me I didn’t want to wake up 25 years and 4 kids later, working three jobs to make ends meet and support a family, and realize in a fog, this-is-not-what-I-meant-to-do-with-my-l
I told him NO, of course.
Because BOREDOM is not a good reason to get married.
When I was 19, my
boyfriend escort/bodyguard assumed I would marry him.
Henry treated me like he owned me, while at the same time he was immensely turned on by the fact that I never tolerated that. He’d push the right buttons to piss me off just enough to get me worked up, and we’d work it out in the bedroom. The more ferocious the fight, the hotter the fuck. But I can’t say I ever really thought of him as a boyfriend. He never really asked me to marry him, he just regularly talked about the future of a life we’d have together after we were married, as if it was such a given we would be, that he didn’t even have to bother to ask. He talked about his family as if they were mine, and mine as if they were his, though none of them had ever actually met either of us. Sometimes I even caught him absentmindedly deliberating over details of our wedding ceremony. But he kept forgetting that I refused to belong to him, that I was still growing up, and that some day the best sex in the world wouldn’t add up anymore to compensate for what was lacking between us. When the day came that I'd simply had enough, when I finally reached the last straw, I just shut the door and never looked back.
But I would never marry Henry.
Because SEX is not a good reason to get married.
3. Carisa (“REESE”)
When I was 24, the first girl I was ever crazy over desperately wanted us to be married.
Reese and I were always only friends, nothing more, but not for lack of trying on her part for us to be something else. She was fond of “surprising” me with an ambush attack, tackling and pinning me, because at 98 pounds soaking wet, she was well beneath my weight class, and it made her feel good to think she’d got the drop on me, and that she could “take me down.” She was always just tipsy enough to not bother to think about the fact that I was sober, or be aware that she has the subtlety of a blue ox, and that I always saw, heard, or felt her coming, and that even if I didn’t, I can bench press three of her at once, so I was never exactly under her control. But still, I enjoyed the game. She’d hold my arms above me head and sit on my chest, look down into my eyes, bring her lips close to mine, and whisper, “Marry me, Mick. You’ve no idea how happy I could make you if you were my woman.” I suppose she was probably generally looking for an answer, but I usually just shrugged it off with a wry smile, or a slight chuckle, since it was a moot point, anyway… this was Minnesota, not New Hampshire. It’s true that I have no idea how happy she could make me. But I do know she’d have spent her life trying. I just wish that could have been enough. But there were other factors. Reese was a mess. She drank enough that I hardly ever knew her when she didn’t have alcohol in her system. She used it like a shield, to block out the ugliness in the world. What she was often left with was a place that looked good to her, that felt good to her, and that she could breathe in. But the rest of us were still stuck living in reality. She needed someone to take care of her. Someone to hold her back when she was feeling too brave and decided to get in-yer-face and lippy with the lumberjack at the bar more than 5 times her size, to prevent her from getting her face ground into the next morning’s coffee. Someone to drive her home at night. Someone to clean and wash her clothes, her place, her hair, and her. Someone to get her changed and put to bed, and up and dressed to work the next morning. Someone to listen to her stories, to laugh with her when she made no sense, to stroke her when she cried, and to hold her when she raged. And I was good to her, so, she thought she loved me, because she needed me. But she needed too much.
So, no, I couldn’t marry Reese, either.
Because NEED is not a good reason to get married.
When I was 25, my live-in boyfriend suggested we get married.
Liam knew when we first met that Gareth had been my first love, that that relationship had cooled just 6 months earlier, and I was still feeling tender from the sting of it. Just about a year or so after we’d been together, Gareth got in contact with me and requested that we rekindle our romance. Liam was excited for me. He told me to go for it. He knew how I’d felt about Gareth, and wanted me to have every chance at happiness. As one who’d never been inclined toward exclusivity, this did not seem unnatural to me in any way, so I accepted the offer, and we scheduled a date. It was awkward… there was still a lot of unresolved emotion between us, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with it all. I spoke with Liam about it when we were having drinks at The Club the next night, needing the rational sounding board of a good friend to help me sort out my feelings. We talked about a lot of topics related to matters of the heart, including relationships on multiple levels. He was both supportive and empathetic, and personally engaged. We discussed how I’d dated mostly older men to that point, and how he felt I really deserved a partner who would settle down, get married, and raise a family with me. I protested that whether or not I wanted that life should really be my decision. He lamented that of course he agreed, but that he felt a world without my children in it was missing something so profound it could never be quite complete. And then he volunteered to be harvested (he’d been fixed at age 24 after his second child), and make me an “honest” woman. I was floored. He never really said the words directly, but the intention was clear. I asked if he meant what I thought he meant. His response? A shrug, and a “Meh, why not? Stranger things have happened.” I didn’t know what to say. By that point, I was crazy in love with Liam; I was devoted to him, and would have happily agreed to spend the rest of my life with him… but, wow, MARRIED? It’s not that I was completely opposed to the concept, but I couldn’t shake the suspicion that he didn’t really want to get married... he just didn’t want to lose me to Gareth. Not to mention, there was the minor complication that he was still married to Marien. They’d been unofficially separated (as in, not legally), but not divorced, throughout the duration of the time I’d known him, and he hadn’t made any efforts to change that status, nor had I put any pressure on him to do so. It simply wasn’t of interest to me to tell him what his status should be. I floundered for words, and eventually came up with the idea that we should discuss it later at a date when we were both sober and the timing seemed right. It never came up again. And Gareth and I never had another date.
Though under different circumstances, I might have wanted to marry Liam, I just couldn’t agree to it then.
Because JEALOUSY is not a good reason to get married.
When I was 29, my long-distance part-time lover hoped to simplify his life by marrying me.
The first time I went to visit with him for a few weeks, I looked at where Brock's life was at the time, and encouraged him to do a little growing up; after all, his daughter, Cassidy (who was 4 at the time), deserved something more from her Daddy than just an occasional playmate. I helped buy healthier groceries, cook more nutritional meals, and get his house in order; I worked with him to put systems in place that would keep him on top of the dishes and the laundry, and showed him how to properly clean his bathroom. I helped him fill out and submit the forms and contact the parties necessary for him to get his license back, and impressed upon him the importance of maintaining his auto coverage. I helped him make connections to get a decent paying job. I persuaded him to dial back the hours he spent with friends away from home, so he could devote more time and energy to raising his daughter. I offered advice on how to become more than a fun Daddy, and concentrate on being a good father, and a stable role model for her. I gave suggestions on activities they could share together which would be both entertaining and educationally stimulating for her, and enjoyable for him. I met his parents, who greatly appreciated my influence on him, and who encouraged me to stay in touch. A few days before it was time for me to go back to my home, Brock was trying to figure out how to make other arrangements. He said there were three women in his life he considered himself “married” to, and he’d like me to be one of them, but, in my case, he’d be interested in making it “official.” I was five years older than him chronologically, but that distance between us was probably closer to fifteen emotionally, and from his perspective, I had my “act” more “together” than he was accustomed to seeing. But in so many ways, he was still a child himself. Getting involved with him for any more than eight weeks out of every year would be tantamount to taking on a project, and I wasn’t ready to be responsible for raising an adult kid. When the supportive nature of my maternal instinct kicks in, it should really be for the sake of a child who needs it, not to enable a grown man who should be a friend and companion. And, marriage is not a commitment I am willing to make for the convenience of tax breaks or insurance advantages when there’s an otherwise unequal partnership. I told him just at that moment, we were as “married” as we would ever need to be.
Even though some part of me did love him, I just had to turn him down.
Because NURTURING is not a good reason to get married.
6. Camila (“CAM”)
When I was 32, my
roommate live-in stalker decided it would be a good idea to “formalize our union.”
We lived together for about nine months in a house that she’d recently purchased. She was a good roommate. We got along naturally at home, and enjoyed each other’s company socially, as well. I had a lot of other friends I saw regularly, and since she didn’t know anyone here but me, in time she became connected to them, too. But I began to see a pattern in her need for me… no matter how much she had, she always wanted more. She got most of my time and attention, being the one person I both lived and worked with, and we had a very relaxed familiarity between us, but she thought she loved me, and most everything she did, or wanted me to do, was colored by that. I drew some pretty clearly defined, deeply entrenched lines in the sand about what the nature of our relationship was, but she always saw them as fuzzy grey areas. I told her she was a great roommate, and I was happy for us to be great friends, but I couldn’t give her any more. It wasn’t because I didn’t have it in me to love or want to be with a woman… I just didn’t have it in me to fall in love with her. And it wasn’t because she wasn’t good enough, she just wasn’t right for me, on so many levels, and soon I realized that sharing space was not healthy for either of us, because she was never going to be okay with my boundaries, and she was never going to be able to accept our relationships as-is. She tried to convince me otherwise… tried to show me how right we were together by listing everything she felt she’d done for me, and was often wont to throw in the claim, “I bought you a house!” When it was all too painfully apparent that she could not buy my love, however, she asked me to move out, and I agreed. I made arrangements to move in with Homebuddy, and set the plan in motion. As the day approached, she became increasingly restless. One Sunday morning, I woke to find her in my bedroom, slipping into bed with me. “Don’t go,” she’d begged. “I love you. I don’t want you to leave. We’re family. Don’t throw that away. Let’s just go get breakfast, and we’ll figure out whatever we need to, and just make it all work.” She had the hope that we could make a ceremonial agreement… she justified it by saying she’d even be willing to put me on her insurance, because she knew I needed health coverage, if only I would sign the document that formalized our domestic partnership. She had it all figured out. Her marriage was over, but she couldn’t undo it… they’d have to both live together in Vermont as homeowners for a year before they could legally be divorced, but, since it wasn’t recognized by law here, she decided she didn’t need to. All we really needed was for me to sign the paper, and it would be approved... we would be a couple... on paper. There was only one problem… we were NOT a couple, and WE were not in love. And even if she wanted it to be just a document to me, I knew it would have a much more significant meaning to her, and I wasn’t willing to be one-half of an imaginary relationship. I moved in with Homebuddy, as planned, and I’d have been willing to stay friends with Cam, but she took actions that made it apparent she wanted my all or nothing from me. So, since I couldn’t give her all of me, she ended up with nothing.
I couldn’t go through with it, not even on paper.
Because OBSESSION is not a good reason to get married.
A few years ago, a goofy new acquaintance decided to add himself to the long list of previous hopefuls seeking my hand in marriage.
Homebuddy and I used to be a lot more involved with Meetup events than we have been in recent years, and for a while, our Annual Joint Birthday Bash became the stuff of legend. Marco and his wife were members of a group who showed up at our place for our second (and biggest to date) of these festivals, where the invited guest list was over 400, and the signatures in our guest book alone surpassed 150+. We got on the road to getting to know a lot of people that way. Marco was genuinely amusing, grandly entertaining, and we both liked him instantly, but, a gigantic shindig where I’m obligated to hosting duties is never the best setting for really learning about someone new, so we set up a double date a few weeks later at a local Mexican pub. I don’t remember how the conversation rolled around to it, but, I’m sure it was probably in the basic small talk 20 questions… Homebuddy has been married and divorced twice, and so has Marco. When the question came around to me, I made the same joke I often do… “I’ve had to work hard to stay single… I’ve turned down 6 marriage proposals.” Without skipping a beat, Marco leaned across the table, and winked, “Hey Mick… will ya marry me?” I laughed, and told him of course not, to which he happily explained that now I could say it was 7. I've often since wished, just for fun, that I’d been quick-witted enough to accept his offer, just for the sheer thrill of watching him stammer.
But, of course, marrying a virtual stranger like that would have been an obvious mistake…
Because, HUMOR is not a good reason to get married.
Life has been a roller coaster ride, to be sure… at least when it comes to my relationships, anyway, though probably in a few other categories, as well.
But as for those… I don’t know what the magic number of proposals is before one will hit me in such a way that all factors fall into place, and everything else is right enough for it to make sense to accept it. Quite honestly, I never would have asked for most of those I’ve had. In my world, you’d almost think strangers dole out marriage proposals as easily as a handshake, but, I know that isn’t true for most. Though, I do seem to attract a lot of types that don’t quite fit the norm, but they are for me. Like, take single-fathers-recently-divorced-with-so
And so has collecting geeks (a collection I actually happen to be rather proud of), stalkers, lesbians, and wanna-be lovers who find themselves crying on Tuesday after they met me on Saturday because they’re afraid the intensity of their emotion will drive me away, and they’ll lose me.
…um… self-fulfilling prophecy, much?
I’m often reminded in situations like these of the scene with the dead bird in Of Mice And Men.
*sigh* Why do I keep ending up with the Lennies of the world?
The stories laid out here have been just a few brief summaries of the times I chose not to go down the road of locking myself up in a cage, and throwing away the key.
It’s not that I don’t believe in marriage, it’s just that I value freedom more.
But, even so, in the right circumstance… who knows? The way I see it, marriage doesn’t have to lock you up, or hold you down, nor should it, cause I would never settle to allow that. I’m just not the kind of girl who can be kept that way. But, I can be willing to share my life with someone(s), so long as no one tries to own me. Maybe someday I'll create a catalog of how to make THAT work... maybe you could keep an eye out for that at a later time, if you’re so inclined.
…then again... it shouldn't be that easy, should it? ;)
I believe that love knows no bounds… and if that’s the case, then why should I attach any?
Because after all… no one who really loves me should ever feel the need to keep me.
LJ Idol | Season 6 • Week 17 - Topic: THE CAGED BIRD
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