16 November 2010
Reptile Romance: Part 1-Loveless in Lizard Skin
Harcken and be glad; the gospeble of Henry Rollins. My daughter is convinced this would be me if I hadn't gotten together with Sabina...
Perhaps the best place to start would be the winter of my twenty-fourth year. A week or two before Saint Valentine’s Day, to precise. A few days after the year had shed its chronological skin, I’d broken up with a girl, whom one of my closest friends took to referring to as my fucking psycho x. My divorce had been official for almost a year, and I was living in, what felt like exile, back at my parent’s house out in the badlands of eastern Colorado.
I remember days of feeling angry and defeated. There had been the thought of reenrolling in school for archeology, but somehow, life kept getting in the way. I was trying to have a relationship with my then two year old daughter, but often felt like little more than a glorified babysitter. Living back with my parents felt like a gigantic step backward and my father and I were not getting along terribly well at the time. Of course, the fact I was into far, far eastern philosophy, the works of Freddy Nietzsche, Henry Rollins, and industrial music might not have helped.
There was the documentary I watched about the science of romance and sex. I remember thinking its timing was so ironically appropriate, what with being in spitting distance of Saint Valentine’s Day. It went through to describe how everything from holding hands to the drunkenness of infatuation hormones to the proclamations of amore to foreplay was all for one express purpose; breeding. The perpetuation of one’s genetics. The act of an animal in heat.
In reducing it to such clinical terms, making romance so reptilian, it seems little wonder that I was able to go for five years without romantic companionship and not really have a problem with it. Perhaps all that far, far eastern philosophy, Freddy Nietzsche, and Henry Rollins helped. That, and a discussion Jezebel and I had once regarding romance and codependency.
We discussed how relationships were something of a social expectation. If one was alone, they were broken somehow. But, in truth, it was more of an act of strength to go it alone. To, if that type of relationship did present itself and was pursued, it was done, not on the whims of primal biologics, but because it was freely chosen. If there was one even more hardcore anti-romantic than I, it was Jezzy.
We were in our twenties. Shy, but angsty. The two of us would go monkey watching, and she would delight in my psychic dissections of our subjects.
Although it was my fault she asked her husband out on their first date. When I caught the scent of infatuation hormones on her, I was more than a little merciless with her. Even though I helped those two get together, maybe I felt betrayed that one of my best friends, my monkey watching partner, was leaving me for a boy.
“Are you going to start wearing pink by choice and carrying a fucking purse?” I asked her at one point. When I did catch her with a purse the taunting was legendary, even for Hell.
Jezebel and her husband had been dating about a year when I ran into Lee again. After I helped him up, we engaged in a bit of ketchup. He was tattooing for money and hanging around the vampire caste. As always, he was quite the playboy. Man-whore is probably the better description. If anyone seemed to personify an almost junkie need for the first kiss, first passion, first fuck that made infatuation hormones oh so intoxicating, it was Lee.
On occasion, Jezebel and I would go out for coffee or a spot of monkey watching along the Sixteenth Street Mall. For the most part, though, I kept to myself. I monkey watched and wandered around used bookstores. Drank coffee and scribbled in notebooks. That was my life, and had been for the last three and three quarters years with very little variation.
“Are you seeing anyone these days?” He asked me.
“Naw. I don’t need that sort of brain damage,” I told him.
“How long has it been since you’ve been involved with anyone?” He inquired.
“It’ll be four years in two weeks,” I said.
“And…um? Since you got laid?”
Along with Jezzy, Lee was one of my best friends. So, I told him how long it had been since I had copulated. He was shocked.
It wasn’t that the sex was horrific. I just wasn’t interested. After the novelty of the physical wore off, about halfway through, I found myself kind of bored. To this day, I feel bad for that girl. I made out with her one other time, and I could not find myself interested enough in her to do much else, which was too bad, because she was pleasant to talk to and hang around with and not stupid by any stretch of the imagination.
Well, to Lee’s mind, this would not do. These solitary tendencies of mine were ultimately self-destructive, probably driving me slowly insane, and would one day swallow me whole. I needed to go out and interact. I needed to get laid sometime before I turned thirty.
He didn’t believe me when I told him I was completely fine being on my own. Oh, sure, sometimes I got a little lonely. There were thoughts or observations in those notebooks that might’ve been neat to share with another biped. The occasional moment of observed everyday simple humanity or a tender moment between young lovers could pull at my heartstrings, but it was not something I required.
Besides, women seemed to either have a problem with the fact I lived with my female best friend or that I was a divorced single parent. The few times my interest started to be sparked, this somehow came up. With a growl and shrug and slink away into the shadows again to watch those half-bald primates called man.
But Lee was persistent. That was just part of how he was. The friend who didn’t like to take no for an answer, which I know all too well from my years of friendship with him.
“If I do this, will it shut you up?” I asked him finally. An old question I’d put to him more than once.
“Yes,” he said triumphantly.
And there’s where the trouble starts...