Chapter 57. Crocodile is in love

Very in love, he says, he sold the house, the company, the racing car and wants to move to Puerto Rico with his 28 year old girlfriend that makes him feel X and makes him look Y. That is the key. He also wants me to tell his mother about his plans. This love he feels for this woman, this rush, makes it impossible for them to be apart which only proves how scared he is to be alone.

Crocodile and Miss Reggeaton (which is the term that I use to decribe a young girl that listens to that kind of music and postes pictures of her butt on Facebook) have been together for six months. During that time, they got matching tattoos and posted pictures on Facebook of their naked tattooed bodies, of them holding hands, at a spa, drinking champagne at fancy restaurants. They want to share with the world how happy they are. They travel each weekend, stay at 5 star hotels, go to Michelin Star restaurants,  announce their relationship, their engagement to be married. The beauty of social networks, the perfect life. Yet, every once in a while, I get a message from crocodile in distress:

“Miss Reggeaton is leaving me, all because of you. She says that I gave you everything, too much…and that she cannot deal with that…” A couple of days later they are off to a new destination.

“Miss Reggeton is coming to town on Sunday, it might be the last time I see her. She does not undestand that I have a daughter and that my daughter will always come first so I will make it very clear to her” A couple of days later he is gone and does not call or see his daughter for two weeks.

Manipulate and you might find yourseld manipulated by someone smarter than you.

So I called my best friend the other day “Hey what is going on, why do I feel so unhappy sometimes and what do you think people could hate the most about me?”

“No way, I cant´t hate you, you are perfect, and your life is perfect, I see it on Facebook. Everything that you do is amazing, and you look great all the time. So happy, so perfect. I coud not say….Rachel, please focus on your moments and truly enjoy them, they are nobody elses´business…my wife is obsessed with that shit, she spends three hours in bed looking at what other people post and she suffers if her friends´s kids appear on this blogger´s blog and ours don´t. I think you women are crazy”.

I have deleted my Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Chapter 47. Your booty call is not answering your text messages and you just feel kind of unwanted.

Men no longer fall in love with a woman the way they used to in Oscar Wilde´s novels. These days men are just warm. Room temperature, that means, not too involved,  not too cold either, simply detached, self centered, boyish is you want,…call it whatever.

This is the new concept that I have acquired as of late. My single ladies say it, I came to understand it and they might very well be right.

The guys they like are warm, not cold, not hot. They won´t ignore you completely, but they won´t fall for you either. So how do you handle that kind of socially accepted apathy if  in the end all we all want is to have a man to fall head over hills for us? Do you text the guy and ask him if he cares about you? No way! That is so old school. Better to play the room temperature game for…well…ever.

It does not matter if you are looking for a serious relationship or just a booty call. In either case, women want to be the center of their men´s attention. But far from that, guys remain silent these days, they do not open their mouth to say how pretty you look or send a message asking how you are doing. Many of them master and play the “room temperature game” that is: You now I like you enough, right? We have been together and I proved it because I came so you must be reassured. But girl, I love my life as is and  I will not go out of my way to show you how much I care and bring you into it the way that you think you deserve. Rather, I will keep you hanging, I will keep you around like an unleashed dog that knows its way home when I call, when I think is a good time to show that I miss you a bit and that I care, in case I care, which by the way, I am not sure….

Are you a girl just wanting to have casual sex? Well, think again. Because room temperature guys might not even respond to your casual sex call. What? Yes, that is right, something that seemed unthinkable in the past. Something that should be any guy´s dream, no longer is. You put it out there, simple, no strings attached, just the fun, and they pass on it all the same. So warm.

Are they gay? No, they are not. They are simply warm, don´t have to sweat for it so why should they? Girls no longer get seduced, they seduce, they do all the work, they are the ones chasing after boys while the boys show little interested and prefer to spend the night hanging out or watching their favorite TV series.

It is Saturday, your booty call is not answering your text messages and you just feel kind of unwanted.

You are not alone.

Chapter 33. The crave

Early love is a drive. People live for love, kill for love and die for love. It provides great joy and great sorrow to those who dare to experience it. When in love your brain gets a rush, some say similar to a drug, and you feel invincible for a few weeks, maybe a few months, maybe a few years. Your obsesion for another person is powerful. Suddenly it gives sense to your life and all those inherently human feelings of insecurity, sadness, anxiety or lack of satisfaction disappear. You feel, you really feel everything in the air, you no longer think to much, at least you do not worry so much, and that not thinking and all that feeling makes you simply and wonderfully happy.

The bothers of everyday life, the feelings of emptiness at work or in general that we all feel at times, in sort, human despair, is gone while early in love. Your mind is now governed by the craving for another person, that you feel is there to complete you. The sole comfort of imagining that you might have a chance at being with that person is reason enough to forget about your worries, some say that this time of uncertainty is precisely the sweetest part of early love (infatuation). You get to fantasize for hours about the object of your desire, you can observe him or her from a distance, your look for that person’s car in the parking lot, at the gym, you go out with the hope of running into that person, you long for their number to show up on your telephone screen and of course you think about sex. Some say that this stage exists only to ensure human procreation, that is, to trick us into having babies… You try to find out everything that you can about that person, focusing on what you like and not seeing what you might not like because love, in that sense, is as blind as people say.

Many people (men or women) are known for not giving themselves completely into the madness that love is. You have perhaps experienced or listened to stories about guys that have commitment problems. Perhaps these people have decided (after a bad experience) that the rush is not worth the suffering, perhaps they never dared to go for it or perhaps they feel that their life is better when is them in control. Like death, love happens to everyone at some point, we can even say that love is life and love is death. The difference is that those who experience romantic love or love at all its stages, live to talk about it, to write about it, to make movies about it or like in my case, to blog about it. Sometimes people going through love don’t even need to talk, you can just see them go up and up in excitement for a while to then observe how they fall and hurt themselves badly. When that happens, it is only natural to remain cautious. Even Prince Charming broke up with me after a wonderful month of dating in France. I never understood his reaction. We were crazy about each other. Now, twelve years later, with a son across the ocean, a broken heart and a divorce on his back, I can understand his hesitance.

So is it worth it? Is it an intelligent thing to fall for someone that way to only find out  later that after some time, in the best case scenario, you will spend the rest of your life with the same person, putting up or tolerating all those things that you dislike about yourself with him/her? The very same things that you were unable to assess during the early love stage? Will you be happy having three kids, a dog and a mortgage? Will you be happy evolving into the love stage that civilized people call “mature or affectionate love” based on companionship and mutual respect? What will you do when those human feelings of anxiety and insatisfaction come back into your life?  What if after falling for that feeling/person and going through all of that you discover that you miss your former self? What if you fall for someone else after having started a family with another person? What if your partner falls for someone else and says ciao overnight?

If someone invented a pill to stop infatuation from happening once you get married would you take it? Would you take it in order to skip the craving or would you skip taking it and go again for the ephemeral  illusion of a happy human life?

Of course happiness can be found in the sense of family, watching your children grow, striving at your career, humanitarian causes, etc…but that is not what I am talking about.

Chapter 25. Impossible love is more fun

Eccentric couples are more interesting. Cross cultural marriages and different age unions no longer surprise us.

They came in vogue when Bowie married Iman, when Nicole Kidman started dating Tom Cruise. Michael Jackson, Priscilla Presley and Woody Allen consolidated this trend, setting the bar quite high for the rest. Katherine Zeta Jones married Michael Douglas, Aston and Demi did the same. The list is long and continues to expand today even amongst royalty.

From this I conclude that people are looking for challenging projects and “rare” animals to domesticate that make their lives more interesting, entertaining, unique and meaningful. We are looking for a meaningful existence.

Movies have always contributed to the trend of impossible love stories. Think of Tarzan and Jane, King Kong and Anne, Pocahontas and John Smith, Aladdin and Jasmine, and of course, Crocodile Dundee (Mike) and Susan, last but not least, Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Yes, impossible love stories make better blockbusters. We want to believe in their feasibility.

Most of those couples were unlikely to stick together and if they did, they probably had to work really hard for it. The reason, always the same: cultural differences.

You don’t need to marry into another country to marry into another culture. You don’t even need to marry into another culture to marry into another culture. Simply try marrying someone 25 years younger or older than you or marry into a family with different political views or different level of education or something as simple as a different zip code or region. Any of these factors suffice to have challenging family gatherings.

When choosing a partner some people are looking for compatibility of characters and hobbies and values while others feel more attracted to the opposite pole which explains why nice girls from nice families have always had a tendency to fall for the rebel kid in high school.

But when you are a middle age woman you understand that life is challenging enough, so your partner or the person that you choose to create a family should not add more stress to the party. Rather, the sensible thing would be for your family or couple to provide a sense of comfort and a refuge from the harsh outside world. But after a while, we find that boring and unfulfilling.

Charles Dickens, known as the urban writer, had a feeling for human character. He lived during the Victorian era and Victorians were great cultivators of family life. Dickens described the family as “the subculture where the distressed can ultimately find hope and refuge from the ruthlessness of society at large” so why would we want to take a crocodile home for that matter? or a guy like Tarzan? Why would we want to fall for the rebel of the class and expect him to become the perfect companion or father to our children later on? No, women at a certain age should know better than that. And yet we don’t.

There are way too many successful middle age women dating impossible projects and adding more stress to their naturally stressful lives. There are way too many women complaining about the lack of rush in their marriages, the lack of excitement and claiming more individuality in their relationship. The same can be said for men who have beautiful loving wives and still feel the need to have an affair with pretty much whomever.

Could it be that we want the excitement and the comfort at the same time?

 

Chapter 24. Marriage after love

Watching a 60 year old couple dancing happily or holding hands after many years of marriage is the most conforting thing.

I was watching my great aunts’ favorite tv show and there was this couple who had met 47 years ago at a ball and there they were, on a prime time tv show for retired people, performing together while looking into each others eyes. Normally this could be considered an example for all of us who struggle to just keep the same pace when the song starts.

This couple was nothing like that, they seemed to really enjoy each other and that is more than most couples can say nowadays.

Many couples stick together for the sake of their kids or for their own well being. They base their marriage on patience, mutual respect and understanding that their union, once sealed, must be preserved in spite of their own needs or feelings of boredom and apathy towards one another. They justify their marriage on religious or moral beliefs, whatever works. They enter the universe of marriage after love (by love here I mean infatuation). They find happiness on watching their project (family) grow in a safe environment. Because the truth is that family as a whole does better when the family sticks together pushing and pulling in the same direction.

Perhaps there are couples who are able to put all of this together while keeping the flame alive, those are the really blessed ones. But the large majority settle for the comfort of having someone else calling the same place home. To pick up the mail, to collect the kids, to help pay the bills, to look after the dog, to have lunch on Sundays when the kids are gone, to be better off, to go to dinner parties with other couples who are on the same boat, in short, to grow old more comfortably in a more bourgeois setting. Because there is something worse than being alone and that is to be alone and not have enough to make ends meet, and there is something worse than to grow old and that is to grow old alone.

So is marriage after love a matter of convenience or an act of love by itself?

In many cases we could say both. All human beings are looking for happiness and in many instances, that means personal satisfaction and convenience as well. Convenience sometimes means staying in an otherwise dead end marriage, they experience (as Charles Dickens calls it) the clash between the individual and society. They go with society, so that a mutual project can unfold, children can have the bigger house or take that family trip, to make sure that they go to a good university when they graduate high school and still have a place to call home.

If you are unable to settle for that conventional lifestyle or you don’t feel like doing the family/couple thing because you are more of an individual, or if circumstances force you to live your life differently, do not panic, you can be just as content, if not more.

Chapter 23. Under the crocodile spell

Being infatuated is a state of grace. You can spend countless hours thinking about the other person. You die in anticipation to see him or her and you feel like you are floating. Nothing bothers you, you are at peace with the world and the only thing that matters is your obsession towards the object of your desire. They call it cloud nine.

We rush to call that feeling love when in fact is sexual attraction, infatuation. The same reason that makes you feel that that person’s body odour is pleasant or inexistent. We pay little attention to how important BO is when in fact, it plays a very important role in this thing that we call “love”. When you are “in love” you find your partners natural odour delightful and when you are “out of love” you find it disgusting. It is as simple as that so take good note of that sign.

They say love makes you not only happier but better looking. Whenever you are in love “you glow”, your teeth are whiter and you look great in all the pictures.

Perhaps you have to go back to those first days or months of infatuation to justify your relationship today. You may find yourself wishing to feel the way that you felt back then or you might have to admit that thrill is gone and you feel bored and anxious because you are lacking some excitement. Or the day might come when you have to admit that your partner has “fallen” for someone else.

Love is in that sense, ruthless. They say it plays by its own rules or lack thereof and that we must simply admit that it is the way that it is.

I recently read the following sentence “The death of love is life and life without love is death” and I am not sure if the author was referring to rational mature love or crazy infatuation. Perhaps humans have always felt confused and writers, when writing about love, have referred to both concepts indistinctively, which has caused great confusion amongst readers and what constitutes love.

Some people are more romantic than others and are able to live and preserve a romantic lifestyle. Others, like crocodile, think that romantic love is silly and unnecessary. They will feel infatuated because after all, they posess the animal instinct that it entails, but they will fail at developing romantic moments that go beyond sexual encounters.

Don’t try watching a romantic love movie with a crocodile. If by the end you are crying and feeling sad or happy for the main characters, crocodile will look at you and start laughing at your face.

“I am sorry for you. You are frozen for love” I said. “Maybe, but I’m a good fuck”.

Fair enough.

Chapter 21. Brotherly love

Sometimes men might do things that seem completely ill intentioned to a woman and totally innocent and logical to them.

Imagine being a nice British girl from London proper and planning a vacation on a boat with your boyfriend, his five friends and their girlfriends. You might not like the idea at first. After all, you and you boyfriends´girlfriends don’t call each other sisters (according to Oscar Wilde, a woman has to call another woman many things before she calls her a sister) and your boyfriend’s friends are not your cup of tea either. There have been way too many the nights where you have been late for things that you had planned for the two of you just because they were having paints together at the pub after work.

Now imagine that after careful consideration, you decide to put together the vacation plan and you are off to a beautiful island with your boyfriend, his friends and your boyfriends´friends girlfriends. Not a bad plan considering that the boat belongs to one of the boys and that you and your sweetheart will be sailing the coast of Italy and France for almost two weeks.

Now imagine that your boyfriend spends most if the time getting drunk with his friends and disappearing to go meet and have fun with other women. Older women, foreign women, French women! As far as they were concerned, there were only Parisians on our boat.

Now imagine that your host, the owner of the boat, who is the only one single, invites those ladies from their boat over to his for drinks. Not only you had to go through the embarrassment of having to take your boyfriend out of another boat, now you have to put up with the presence of those other women on yours.

By the time the drama scene had happened Fifi and Flo had something special going on. No wonder why he thought that inviting us all over to his magnificent yacht was a good idea. Given the general mood I had my doubts, but since none of us had ever been invited to a boat like that before, we went. We had not had time to try the rooftop jacuzzi when we started hearing people fighting and shouting on the deck below. Minutes later, a member of there crew politely invited us to leave the boat.

“For your safety, madam, I have been requested to ask you to leave at once”.

The next morning, by the time we were waking up, their boat was gone. Hours later Fifi sent Flo a picture of himself with a broken arm saying that he had spent the night at the emergency room.

What did these guys have in mind when they thought that behaving the way that they did was a good idea? I ask myself. What had happened on the boat later on that evening? Probably it was very simple.  For men, in their mind, it was a matter of getting Fifi hooked up with a girl that evening and having some fun along the way. Then I assume some hurtful things about their respective girls were said, some other issues came up and they ended up getting on a fight. After all, Phillip was the owner of the boat and opposite to what the girlfriends might have felt, he could invite over whomever he wanted.

Younger guys (and some men also) feel like in such circumstances when your host and friend is the only single person, they need to help him get some. Their brotherly love towards one another is stronger than their romantic love at that point. That is why fraternities exists and a big part of what they teach. The problem is that guys fail to communicate their intentions to women because they assume that women would never understand the reason behind their actions, which is false. As a result of this assumption, they end up doing something really stupid that actually makes a women mad. Like hidding inside a bar and not picking up their phones when you are supposed to meet with them.

It is quite hideous.