Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pussy on a Platter

"You know what your problem is?"

"Do tell, Clint?"

"You're giving your pussy away on a platter."

"My what on a what?"

"You're coming across as desperate."

"I am desperate."

My about-to-be ex-friend (and oldest brother of the Brothers) is explaining to me in his distinctly blunt way that giving some guy my number last week was a fail on my part.

"Was he supposed to hunt for it or some bullshit like that?"



"Get out."

And for the third time in a year, I throw Clint out of my house. He slinks down the steps like a lazy lizard, an unlit cigarette in mouth, mumbling something under his breath.

Clint looks like a bootleg Kurt Cobain with tangled blonde hair and crazy blue eyes. He’s handsome in that cavalier kinda way, like he could care less what he looks like and it makes him that much sexier. Because he’s a little older than the other brothers, I often rely on him for maybe an ounce of maturity. This wasn’t going to happen today.

The thing he doesn’t get is that I’m an outlier here. Single 40-something female with no children in a bland shore-based suburbia.

She must be a weirdo or a slut. Or gay. Or a gay slut. Watch out. She wants to pounce on our husbands and with their paunchy bellies and baseball caps.

She’s a cougar. Pouncing on some young dude and “teaching him the ropes” sounds extra unsexy. It sounds like fucking work. Like something I should get paid to do. I’m looking to be pounced and taught. Not the other way around.

For a long time here, I played it safe, not really hooking up with locals. (And frankly, nobody was knocking down the door for me anyway.) These square pegs did not want my round hole. So to have some “scandalous” reputation when in actuality I was living the life of a reclusive nun kinda hurt.

Especially when it came to my old friend George.

George is an older Jesus-looking, beard-wearing, guitar-slinging hippie type. He dated my sister for years when I was a child. During that time, he served as a surrogate brother, protective, kind and instructive. He took me to see a meteorite shower one night at the Jersey shore, which still remains one of the shiniest memories of my life.

As a little girl, I desperately wanted to believe in magic but an increasingly difficult life kept getting in the way of such delight. But that night, as George and I watched the sky explode with light, I believed in magic once again. My heavy, little soul lit up. From that point on, George and magical things were indelibly entwined.

When I moved back to the Jersey shore several years ago, George and I giddily reconnected after decades apart. Picking up where we left off, he quickly became that warm and watchful friend, helping me whenever possible.

He taught me how to make small car repairs and fixed up an old bike for me, with a cardboard license plate that read my name. He made a concoction of oils for surfing-induced ear infection. He showed me how to tell the wind direction by letting sand run through my fingers--kind and gentle brotherly acts that fed an undernourished side of me.

After some time, I noticed he hadn't invited me to his home. When I asked him, he told me that he was afraid his wife wouldn't understand our friendship.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, she gets jealous."

"But we're just friends," I said, neck tensing. (It was disturbing to think that anyone would consider George as my romantic partner. Incestuous and creepy.)

"If you can't tell your wife you're at my place George, it’s probably best we don't hang out."

"And you might want to grow some," I wanted to add but said instead: "I'm nobody's secret."

But that wasn't true; I have been someone’s secret. My friend Andrew only calls me on his drive home from work because he's afraid to talk to me in front of his wife. I've been his friend for over 20 years.

When I dated a man in New York, he always felt uneasy bringing me around his "baby's momma."

"I just don't want any problems with her or the custody of our kid. I don't want to upset her."

"But you have no problems insulting me by keeping me a secret?"

Before you suggest I toss these jerks to the curb, understand that these are men who have served special roles in my life. They have been my guardians and mentors and friends.

George came to my house, desperate for my help. His wife had found out that he had stopped by my house weeks ago (to fix a shower head—oh the scandal of it all!) and went ballistic. Would I please go over and explain to her that nothing is going on?

"Oh god, George. Don’t ask me this, dude!"

He implored me and I finally relented. Before leaving, he asked me to dress down a little. I put on a flannel shirt and a baseball cap (so I didn't appear the supermodel threat that lurks underneath).

When I entered his home, the tense energy was palpable. I decided to swallow the poison quickly. Marching over to the kitchen sink. I stood behind his wife, her back to me, as she washed the dishes. She was sniffling, post-cry.

"Hi there, Janet. I'm Beth. I'm sorry you're upset. I've known George since I was 5. He dated my oldest sister. The thought of anything romantic with him makes me, um, queasy. I can assure you nothing has happened nor would it. He's a friend and that’s all."

She didn't turn around. She simply asked me, very quietly, to leave.

I walked out of the house and away from a friendship I had had since childhood. It hurt but one gets tired of these unfounded mistress-like roles based on the fact that you’re single and available.  

“He's doing it to protect his family”, a friend countered. What am I, a communicable disease? What kind of marriage are you protecting when you resort to lies just to maintain a friendship? What are you teaching your children? How to be in a deeply dysfunctional family that stays together at all costs? That’s protection? Please.

So while I do the “right” thing and continue to not sleep with the wrong person or the right person or any person, my scandal quotient continues to grow. An “older” woman who hangs around young surfers and dares to be free and sexual and creative and doesn't have children? Off with her head!

So why aren't you married, people have asked curiously? Why don't you have children?

Perhaps the need to marry and procreate wasn't hardwired into me, like so many others. I didn't dream of a wedding dress or a fat rock on my finger. That doesn't mean I don't want to get married or have a family. It just hasn’t dictated the direction my life.

That's one take.

The other? When you spend a lifetime simply trying to survive or battling depression or stuck in relationships that you think might last but end up shattered over and over again, it eats up a lot of fucking time.

Clint knocks at the door.

"Do you want to go grab a beer?"

"You're an ass, Clint. An ass."

"Sorry about the pussy on a platter comment. Do you want to grab a beer?"