Well I guess I’m free. After two years of man mania, I have washed myself clean. And I don’t know if I’ve ever felt this naked, open, and vulnerable. I’ve scrubbed the dead skin from my limbs, from my hidden places. I’m shiny, now. Shiny, new.
These past two years have held such promises and at the same time abrupt dead ends and disappointments. Yesterday I ended the last tie to any extra-friendships I had been grasping. And doing this made me think about where I started. And where it all ended is where it all started, with J.
Two years ago was the beginning of J. The best beginning—and middle—I have known. We loved abruptly. There were promises in that love. There was depth in that love. Whispers in that love. Truths and secrets and meaning in that love. There was electricity and shaking hands in that love. There was so much happiness, there was pain in that love. Angst in that love. An end to that love.
Then for me there was months of pain. And longing. I questioned myself and my judgment, which I had never done before. No relationship ever made me do that. I relieved the 7 months of that relationship in my head for five months. I spent a sticky summer cooped up in a tiny subletted apartment full of wiener dog figurines thinking. I made food, sat on a drooping couch, thinking. I didn’t write. I didn’t read. I thought.
And I don’t know when but sometime I stopped. Maybe it was Tess. Tess. Who has saved me in so many ways so many times, and she’ll never know that. Tess came home, and I was free again to have confidence and be the me that Tess and other people know when I am with Tess. The me I love. The me I don’t question.
And I met Jo, who I couldn’t stand initially. Jo with his glasses and his music and his voice. Jo who liked me immediately and intensely. Jo who kissed me and covered me with a blanket that smelled like dog piss. Jo who sang. Jo who saw the intelligent, musical, artistic teacher he’d looked for but didn’t know. Jo who I couldn’t stand initially. Jo who cleaned his room and put clean sheets on his bed when I came in town. Jo who didn’t sleep with anyone for two months, and that was a feat. Jo who was random for me. Jo who was my wild oat. Jo who thought I might be the one. Then there wasn’t Jo anymore. Jo who I hurt but somehow convinced hurt me.
And while there was Jo, there was also Josh. Josh was my friend all through college. Josh had piercing green eyes, and I just knew there was so much behind those eye all through college. And there was a moment in college, my junior year, when I explored those eyes. I wanted that exploration, but Josh ran from me. So, while there was Jo l there was the exploration of Josh’s green eyes. But I found out that I was wrong, at least for me. Some girl somewhere will find something between those eyes. But I didn’t. And yet, Josh found so much inside my eyes, and in my hands, and inside me. And the religious Josh who didn’t drink in college gave me everything he could. Opened his green eyes for me. And I took it all. But I found nothing there. And I ran full speed from him, and pretended there was no Josh and no eyes and no exploration… twice. And Josh did find someone who found something somewhere in his eyes.
And then there was Kevin. Kevin. Kevin. Kevin. Kevin. Kevin. The guy I wanted since I was barely old enough to know what want was. Long night phonecalls sporadically. About quilt festivals in upstate New York. About my awkwardness that he knew so well. About everyday oddities that he and I both loved so much. Kevin and I kissed, which had been coming for years. This was an anticipated kiss. Anticipated by me, by Kevin, by Tess, by every friend we have. And I never wanted to stop kissing Kevin. I never wanted to kiss anyone else. Kevin was a dream. I don’t understand Kevin. I never understood Kevin. I will never understand Kevin. But I wanted Kevin more than I have ever wanted another human being. I wanted his awkward speech and his sarcasm. I want his nodding head. I wanted his smile. But Kevin ended before Kevin started. Kevin ended before infatuation turned to love. Kevin ended before Real and Truth were introduced.
Then to get over Kevin, there was J again. This time sans love and affection and emotion. An empty, empty nothingness. A five month nothingness that turned into a futile, meager somethingness. That provided a shadow of support and happy. A shadow of good. A fuck you to what we had. And, of course, an end.
So, here I am. A tiny, new baby with occasional waves of feelings and flashbacks to a former life. But a baby, nonetheless. A baby with hopes, riddled with original sin.
Four reasons why I love the Bloody Mary:
4. It is both a meal and a cocktail
2. It is named after a British monarch who slaughtered her people over a tiny (Protestant v. Catholic) dispute
1. It is and always will be socially acceptable to drink it at any time of day.
To create this elixir of queens, mix the following in a tall glass:
Do you have socially-deemed inappropriate questions about sex, relationships, or life in general? You’ve come to the right place. I have taken a drunken oath to neither scorn nor judge. Been in compromising situations? So have I. Let’s talk.
Dear Drunk Slutty Aunt,
I have recently realized that I’ve been living for something that may never exist: true love. I’ve never even had a boyfriend. And yet, I wake up every morning, smack my alarm clock, and say a little prayer—to whomever may be listening—that I happen upon my true love that day. I am now 25 years old, Slutty Aunt, and I’m tired. Exhausted, actually. Should I keep looking? Should I quit? Help!
Yours with Hope,
Dear Ridiculous Romantic,
Many times I have spent frantic minutes searching for important items, usually my keys, in vain. These are usually precious minutes, probably because I am late, but mostly because I am engrossed in one occupation: searching. I usually begin to sweat, become frustrated, speak in angry tones, and lose control completely. In my haste, I have missed a certain beauty in life. However, once I have given up, calmed, and let go of my anger, I find that the keys are somewhere obvious: my hand, at the bottom of my purse, beside my front door under a wayward scarf. I breathe. Smile. Walk away satisfied.
It seems that you have found yourself in a very similar situation, just magnified. You’ve spent so long searching, my dear Romantic, that you’ve become completely obsessed with the act of searching. I will not give you what you want and are probably expecting here, though. I will not tell you that as soon as you give up you will find your true love, what you’ve been seeking. I will not tell you that you will breathe. Smile. And Walk away satisfied, hand in hand with your soul mate.
What I will give you, however, Romantic, is you. Give up this addiction that you have been feeding since the time you could comprehend the words “Happily Ever After.” You are missing so much beauty in life because you are sweating, being frustrated, speaking in angry tones, completely out-of-control. And in search for someone that will make you whole, you’ve missed a wonderful and liberating notion: you, yes, you yourself can make you whole. There is such love and beauty in the world that you can uncover, and it has nothing to do with the mystical soul mate. Reality, my dear Romantic, can and often is so wonderful that it is magical. And love is most enjoyed when you feel it for yourself.
Yours also with swelling hope,
Drunk Slutty Aunt
Dear Slutty Aunt,
I have recently been dumped by my boyfriend of three months. I am absolutely devastated. I am positive that he was the one. It was love at first sight. We really had something: he was beautiful, well-spoken, and the best sex of my life. I am so hurt I can barely get out of bed. You are the one person I can turn to, Slutty Aunt. What should I do?
Needing your advice desperately,
Crying in Carolina
Dear Crying in Carolina,
First and foremost, go to your kitchen. Take out your vodka. Take out a breakfast drink: cranberry juice, orange, or tomato juice (my personal favorite). Mix. Drink. Mix again.
Okay, my love. If your slutty aunt doesn’t tell you, who would? So, here it goes. What you had was not love at first sight; it was in fact lust at first sight. You had passion, intensity, and hot hot sex. This—lust—can and often is mistaken as love by dumbasses and romantics. You, my girl, are neither. So, get over it. How Slutty Aunt? I can hear you asking me, and I am so glad you did. Lust is not a bad thing when thought of in the correct mindset. The best and most thrilling way to get over this case of mistaken love for lust is to take it by the balls and use it to your advantage.
Two boyfriends. Yes, I said it: date two at once. Now this is not as simple as it seems: there are rules you must, must follow to be successful at this endeavor.
The point, Crying in Carolina, is that crying over a man that you dated for three months will always be in vain. Life is short. So date several people while you’re hot. Enjoy your sexuality and your senses. Eat. Drink. Get laid.
Drunk Slutty Aunt