No Winning For Losing

There was an interesting (and extraordinarily) painful discussion this evening. Short, not sweet. It came from nowhere, swept through the core of me, and whisked itself away, taking a significant part of me with it. A part that I couldn’t afford to lose.

The conversation went something like this:

ME: [making some reference to having no interest in men these days]
HIM: So does that mean you’re going to start [vulgar description of a heterosex act].
ME: Maybe I should think about women. At least they act like grown-ups.
HIM: Well, aren’t you just above everyone else.
ME: No, I’m outside of everyone else.

It was a sucker-punch on his part, because he knew the things I have suffered because of lover and friends. Betrayal. Lies. Selfishness. A best friend whose selfish and petty actions destroyed a years-long friendship in a matter of moments as if he planned it from the start. And for what? A meaningless titillation and something he absolutely knew would be dangerously hurtful to me. And of course, the expected response to being confronted? Lies.

But at least he got some affirmation of his sexual attractiveness from a much younger man. And the crew behind him, the rest of the gang moving slowly enough and in small enough steps to push me out of the main because my directness often threatened, my disagreement with the status quo of a hirsute ghetto often disrupted the safe, incestuous bubble of contentedness and-we-can’t-have-that-can-we? Offers of comfort that felt more self-serving than selfless (we can’t have around someone who reminds us of the world of pain outside those doors of this vault).

But the aftermath of the conversation continues to erode my state of mind, diminishing those thoughts that had any lilt to them. There happened to be very little pain today—a lovely change of pace—but this lack of sunny-side thoughts threatens whatever got me to this detente between self and body. Still threatens.

So no, I don’t feel above any of these people, I feel estranged, am estranged. And for a bunch of people who still mainly act like 15-yr-olds (comic books, video games, treating others as disposable sexual objects while expecting others to respect their own relationships, dances, almost cruel attention to detail in, of all things, dance remixes!), I’m just old. Death of a loved one never stole the joy out of my life, but it did leave my eyes permanently open and leave me utterly unable to ignore consequences. Of anything.

And, at least relative to those people, I am alone.

If…

you ask me how I am, expect a short and vacant answer, all generalities and no content.

If you feel like I’m dodging the real answer (which I am) and (where “and” is positively crucial) you’re ready and willing to hear the unvarnished truth, then ask again, imploringly and convincingly and do not brace yourself for the answers: prepare to receive them.

Unvarnished communication is precious thing. You don’t trap it, or look for it. You don’t feel around for it, but most of all, of course, you don’t hear it.

Measure a friend not in good times: everyone is a “friend” in a visceral Prosperity. Measure friendship not according to a label assigned: the word’s meaning has changed here, casting so wide a net it captures everyone, capturing no population that maintains any specificity. If everyone is friend, no one is: you are alone.

In the solitude, silence is companionable and nothing else is, save the darkness. So if words offered are only according to Form, empty boxes in boilerplate—a perverse Mad Lib—save the postage. Save the postage and remain silent. Silence is easy to interpret because of its blunted thrust, which is to say, no interpretation is necessary at all.

At this point I should consider it a blessing, these Madlibs condolences? There are worse reactions to someone who’s miserable and dispirited: earnest words for betterment? Yes, I have received those as well from ‘friends’ (wide nets are euphemistic) but the earnestness is misplaced: misery in its midst breaks the seal on a hermetic (both definitions apply) bubble of contentedness and false comfort and many offer condolences in order to rid the air of difficulty in Contented Land. Yes, I mean to say that I have been offered comfort directly to restore contentedness for themselves.

The braver and more candid thing—which ironically would bring me solace—would be banishment: go away until you’re better and then you can rejoin us.

Is it simply age to say that this is no longer the San Francisco I so cottoned to so many years ago? Maybe. But maybe it’s just, as they say, the company you keep. In other words, am I generalizing the City based on a small, pathetic self-serving, self-imposed ghetto?

GoB, I hope so.

Your Arm’s Too Short To Box With Grrrr

In one of my rare, blatantly-contrairian actions, I committed what most Bears would call a “hate crime” and most Bears will cringe next time they see me.

The sanctum sanctorum of the Bear Community is facial hair. Yes, seriously. Facial Hair.

I don’t recall how long it’s been since I shaved my face completely, really I don’t. The only time I can actually place in time was back in 1996 or so, when on complete whim—just as today—I dug the razor into the bearded area and dispatched with it without a second thought. I know that time was 1996-ish because it served as an inspiration for a character in the novel that I wrote, A Strong Sense of Place.20080229JeffShorn.jpgI know I’d done it at least once or twice between then and now, but I never did understand the big deal. This must be the equivalent of a woman going for a short haircut, or—gasp!—bangs and feeling traumatized by the whole thing.

No trauma here, but there is a small delight in making a change and a small boost in having committed the murder of a beard.

I do remember that whenever I’d shaved it off last time, the outsized men had an outsized reaction. Well, a couple of reactions anyway:

  • they failed to recognize me for a few heartbeats, and when they did, there were involuntary cringes on their faces, sort of like when Gwyneth Paltrow showed up at the Oscars wearing that hideous dress that made her look like she was perpetually hunched forward and also made her breasts look like they just joined AARP
  • I got smiled at and cruised by men (and boys) who previously paid no attention to me

I swear to GoB that these things happened.

You’d think I drowned a kitten just to watch it die.

Come to think of it, that may have been the first time I started to realize how dead-serious the Bears take their body hair.



O, the Gore!