In preparation for next week’s dates (the Triathlete on Saturday and a charming sailing-enthusiast on Wednesday) I was flipping through the Technique and this line caught my eye:

“Let your relations with men leave memories of seething fury and hatred rather than embarrassment.”

It got me thinking about my past, er, relations with men and what sort of memories I left in my wake. I’ve got to say, I think they’re mainly embarrassment. Or bemusement. Or concern for my mental health. But seething fury and hatred? Man, I wish. I think I’ve only really accomplished that a handful of times.

The other night I had a dream about a guy I’d known when I was in high school (and when I say known I mean “was completely infatuated with for the whole of my last year in high school and sporadically hooked up with when I went to college”). He was a bit of a dreamer and spoke in an appealing Southern drawl despite having grown up in Massachusetts. I spent the good part of a year trying to convince him that I was perfect for him (this pretty much consisted of me flirting outrageously with him and anyone remotely in his vicinity) but I could never quite catch his attention – he was always having his head turned by a sylph-like blonde or a Ginsburg line or… oh, I don’t know, a piece of lint on the carpet. All of which is very dispiriting for an eighteen year old girl who’s doing her best Betty Grable act.

Looking back, I can see that this has been a central theme in my life. Girl falls for Dreamy Absentminded Boy. Girl tries best femme fatale act on Boy. Boy is mildly bemused by Girl but is immediately distracted by small dog, falling leaf or own feet. None of which is conducive to inciting memories of seething fury and hatred.

There was the Dylan-obsessed grad student who used to leave message after message on my answerphone when I was at work (always leaving his full name) but who could almost never be bothered to turn up on the night. The curly-haired lawyer who frequented the same coffee shop as me and would implore me to take cigarette breaks with him every 25 minutes but who never tried to make a move, despite my frequent and overt hints. The professor who referred to me as his wife to strangers and who insisted on my help when buying clothes but who freaked out when we finally kissed. 

How am I supposed to incite feelings of rage and jealousy when I keep falling for men who can’t remember where they live half the time? There should be a dating book written solely for the purpose of capturing the attention of these people (though I expect it involves being all hazy-eyed and elfin, wearing many layers of floaty chiffon and staring purposefully at dandelions. And I just can’t get down with that).

I think maybe I should focus on finding a mouthpiece with a fat anchor to do my barney-muggin with. These pillowcases aren’t getting me anywhere.

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