Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The things we do for love.

"You married? Got kids?"
"No sir. Single."
"I have to give half my life to my wife, the other half to my kids and that still isn't enough. Stay single. It's better."

A warning: This entry starts with some angry ranting. If you feel like skipping it, then do. There's a story for you.

I'm usually pretty strict about when I work. Not for how long, mind. But I'm particular about the days. I avoid mondays (because monday is when restaurant/bar workers go out to party, and while I find them kindred spirits while sober, they're just awful while drunk). I avoid Sundays, as that is the Sabbath and should be kept holy (or so I'm told.). And finally, I avoid Tuesdays, because Tuesdays fucking suck.

Nothing, absolutely NOTHING happens on Tuesday. People have the good sense of staying home. Those who do venture out can rarely be called people. Much like World War 1, its equal parts slow misery and gut-wrenching horror.

"Dude! Not cool."

"Dear God, Crabby," you say. "Another rant about how awful the nightlife is?"
To which I say: No. I just had to get that off my chest. Tonight's story is not about that. Tonight's story is about love.

It's still awful, but it's love nonetheless.

I picked her up at Iron Square. Short and stocky, with pale pink hair and a skirt blazing in all manner of unsightly colours. She got in, said hello in a voice that was a little too excited. I replied in a voice that was a little too un-excited.
"So, how are we doing tonight?"

"Well... I got a boyfriend tonight."
"... as opposed to other nights?"
"No, I mean... We made it official tonight."

As she spoke, I noted that she sounded a bit anxious, unsure. So naturally, I asked her if she was attracted to the guy. And she immediately replied "No."

So here's her story:

She loved this guy. They had been very close friends for very long. He had been her bridge over troubled waters, her rock of Gibraltar, her lantern in the dark, etc. And she had been so happy in their friendship. But then he told her that he had fallen in love with her.

Not so strange, huh? Just wait. It gets better.

He had fallen for her, hard. The very idea of being with her without being with her was unbearable. If they couldn't be lovers, they couldn't be friends. In essence, he gave her a choice: be my girlfriend, or get out of my life.

This girl, not being an idiot, promptly told him to fuck off. However, a week later she realized that she "couldn't live without him", and so decided that if the price she had to pay to keep him in her life was to be his girlfriend, then it would be a small one.

"And now I suppose we'll have to have sex too..." she murmured.
"Hm," I said. "I don't know you. And you don't know me. So take what I say as you wish."
"All right."
"I foresee complications in your future."

We talked on for a bit. She posited that perhaps she could grow to fall in love with him, something that definitely isn't unheard of. I said that it could happen. And, she went on, he was such a lovely guy. How much could this change, eh? They could sit up for ages, drinking wine and loving each others company, whether or not they were a couple.

True, said I. But of course, you may have to screw at some point.

This too was a price to be paid.

Perhaps I'm a cynic, but something about emotionally blackmailing a someone into being your girlfriend doesn't sit well with me. In fact, it kinda made my blood boil. Its the kind of spineless behaviour that makes the world just a little sicker. Because here's the secret that most storybooks try to gloss over: the thing about love, crushes, attraction, is that it passes. I don't deny him the right to express his feelings to her; he took a chance, hoping that she'd share his feelings. But the thing is, if the person -your friend- says No, then its your goddamn duty as a human being and a friend to nod and bear it until the feelings have passed. Because they will fucking pass.

Instead, this guy gives her an ultimatum. A fucking ultimatum, with the delightful subtext: "Your friendship isn't worth half as much as the validation of my feelings for you".

And I think that in her heart, she knew it. Not once did she say she wanted this, or that this was a good thing. What it came back to was "I want him in my life" and "this changes nothing", and "Everyone thinks we're such a cute couple!"

But not once did I hear her say: "I believe in this, and I long to see where it goes."

Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer my relationships to be based on mutual consent, rather than taking friendship hostage.

Finally, we reached her destination.

"It was great talking to you," she said.
"Likewise. I wish you the best of luck. I really do. Maybe this will grow into something beautiful."
"Oh God, I do hope so..."

 Me too, lady. But I'm not counting on it.

"Seriously, dude. 
Totally inappropriate, what you said up there."

Edit: a friend of mine had the following to say on the subject:

CW: i think it's completely acceptable to feel like you can't be friends with someone because you have feelings for them and can't deal with just being friends. i think the mistake is in giving another person an ultimatum

Crabby : Its mainly the ultimatum that I have trouble with.

CW: you made it seem like the only appropriate thing to do was to suck it up and keep being friends though.  that's how i read it. And i just feel like, it's totally fine to tell someone you can't deal with just being friends and need some space if that's all it is.

Crabby: That is a good point actually.  Sucking it up and waiting for infatuation to pass is the way I've dealt with similar situations in the past five years. It has worked fine for me. But yeah... if your feelings make you miserable, nobody can force you to maintain the friendship.

CW: yeah, i think it's totally fine to get some distance if that's the best thing for your mental health
CW: in fact i think it's the best thing
CW: it's weird to me when people feel like they have to sacrifice their own health and resources for a friend. friends are great, and it's nice to be nice to them, but there are limits

Agreed, CW. Views adjusted.

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