Friday, June 20, 2014

Sketch #2 - Her

It was a dangerous game and she knew it. But that didn't stop her from edging out there further, further. It would go too far. She knew that too. But that didn't stop her from pushing beyond the bounds of decency, or normal.

She had to know, but oh, he'd remain closed-mouthed if she asked directly. She'd done exactly that more than once and he'd always wielded the same tactic. You couldn't even call it a glossing over. It was an outright silence on the matter as if he hadn't heard the question.

"It's like I've been beaten with my own stick," she said to her ex-husband who had enough sense and class not to smirk when she recounted her most recent tale of woe. She'd been dumped. The irony wasn't lost on either of them though neither mentioned it. She muttered about Karma while he looked anywhere but at her.

They talk about desperate measures, she said. And these are desperate times. Things had gone so wrong and now knowing seemed less painful than not.

But holy shit. Those words, delivered so succinctly and so matter of fact, weren't just an arrow to her heart. No, that motherfucker sliced right through her and landed squarely on her future selves too. Hell, she suspected that years from now those words would be arcing through the air and landing hard and sharp on her sorry ass ego.

.......She was smart and funny. The prettiest girl in high school......

......So what happened? The thin, beautiful women he was chatting with on a sex hook-up website braced herself for the but.....

But I was never attracted to her physically.  She let herself go. She's 48, overweight, gray hair.

And there it was. The thin, beautiful girl who'd lured him so expertly into thinking he was fixing to fuck the girl of his dreams felt her stomach drop. Blinking back tears, she morphed into something not at all sexual but something rather repugnant apparently.  48. Overweight. Gray hair twisted around her finger in a nervous knot as she considered her response.

The thin, beautiful sex object could afford to respond any way she wanted.  He was going to let her get away with anything because he was still hoping for a hook-up. But instead of hitching up her feminist pants and defending his ex as desirable despite her age, her weight, her silver hair, she remembered the game and typed something about how understandable that was. Who wanted someone who'd let themselves go? 

He barely registered her response.  He was ready to move on to more titillating topics like how he wanted to bend her skinny body in half and fuck her hard.

The skinny girl she'd pretended to be shadowed her at every mirror, frowned at her soft middle as she slipped as fast as she could in and out of clothes, sighed when she wanted to eat an entire bag of M&Ms with no consideration whatsoever for color order.

She hates the skinny girl. She wants to be her. She stops herself mid-spiral. That skinny girl won't always be skinny. Or even if she is, won't always be young.  There will always be younger, thinner women. And, she reminds herself, this particular skinny girl wasn't even real.

Instead of giving in to her cravings she chewed on the double standards of sex appeal. The man who'd found her so disgusting wasn't anything to shout about. 45. Overweight. Balding. Bad teeth. And yet he felt perfectly within his rights to expect someone like the woman she'd invented to want him.

She trolled the internet for new hairstyles and color. She fought her cravings and took up walking and lost twenty pounds. She bought foundation garments that could double as torture devices for the weak of mind.

She lay next to the new man., the one who rarely touched her, and thought again of those words. 48, overweight, gray hair. His last girlfriend had been significantly younger, slimmer, and therefore prettier by default.

The new man had his own tactic. It's me, not you. Can't you just accept that I love you and leave it at that?

"It's like getting beaten with my own stick," she thinks because she doesn't want to talk to her ex-husband about this anymore. The situation is so absurd.

She thought about how the days of getting by on her looks were behind her. She had been only marginally aware that she did that, but now it was clear. The way men wanted you when you were young and slim and fresh was actually predicated on those traits. The awareness of this sent a shudder through her like the one she felt when she realized that her days of having the soft warmth of her own babies were behind her.

She could starve herself to nothing. Walk until her feet ached. Dye her hair and attack the wrinkles with creams. And still she was always going to be 48, 49, 50. The words young and fresh were never going to be applied to her again.

She started to talk to herself about being undesirable. Or something different than desirable. How would she operate without the barrier of sex? It had been such an important part of her repertoire for so long that she felt as though she were losing one of her senses.

What else was there to her? Oh dear lord, was she going to have to grow as a person and become interesting?

The thought nearly exhausted her. Instead she resolved not to care. To accept the new definition of herself. She knows it's silly to allow the opinion of others to determine her self worth, but there it is.  The root of the problem. Has she ever existed outside of being defined by someone else?

Hell, one day she might even embrace this new, sexless self, but for now she's still puzzling over the sensation of invisibility when she puts on her shoes and walks the downtown streets in an attempt to salvage a little bit of what was once considered fuckable.

13 comments:

  1. I am currently reading a book about how to be a person from the inside out titled "Controlling People" by Patricia Evans. See if you can get a copy from your library. Yeah, I admit I've been defining myself from the outside in rather than inside out.

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    1. Thanks, Lib. I'll look for the book. How do we turn that mirror inside out?

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    2. Lib, Can I read your new blog? I miss you!

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  2. being invisible is what i have become and i hate it. I can't and won't accept this new me, the old, saggy, grey, not caring me. I hope you find a way out, find the answers you seek. I'll be here to cheer you on.

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    1. Thank you, joanna. I will always be working on this. I know this about myself. And I must admit that sometimes I like being invisible. I can walk right through a crowd of men and not feel their eyes on me like I used to. Depending on the day, it's either liberating or depressing.

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    2. Exactly. Very hard to know how to feel about the invisibility quotient. Usually it's handy and welcome, but not always. Definitely not always.

      XO

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  3. What's funny is that, in all the haranguing we can do to ourselves about how awful we look, how badly we're aging, how we're not attractive anymore, there's one piece missing: whether we're interested in these men with their inflated egos and their crushing rejections. Sounds like you weren't. Making a match is such an amazing, delicate thing. It's a miracle we ever do it at all considering how different people are. But regardless of what he thought of you now or imagined you were then, all you can be is exactly your extremely perfect self. This is how we find love or love finds us. So exercise because it will make you feel great, and dye your hair or don't. But smile at yourself in the mirror because not all beauty is 20-year-old beauty and you would never want someone who thought that anyway!

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    1. I've been thinking about this a lot, Linda. This need to be wanted. It's a puzzle to me. I am feeling so much better now that I'm taking care of myself, getting healthy and actually getting out and doing things instead of always staying in. Now to work on my head. That will be a lifelong project.

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  4. are any of us not defined by others....i mean we can harangue and all but....life is constantly learning how to live in the light of our new circumstances...

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    1. You're right, Brian. And it's the learning the I both relish and dread.

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  5. I went through a swift and early menopause at 43 and it took my libido down with it. Turned out it was like freeing a caged bird. Suddenly free to blossom into my full potential instead of working so hard to tailor myself for the opinion of men, I became happy with myself for the first time in my life and it's only gotten better. If you don't like something about your appearance, then change it. But do it for yourself.

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  6. Shall I find some Mae West quotes for you? You do know she began her movie career when she was already past 40, don't you? Real sex appeal has little to do with physical characteristics, but is a state of mind, wit, and confidence in oneself. Sheesh! What am I saying? You know that.

    When I'm good, I'm very good. But when I'm bad I'm better.

    Cultivate your curves - they may be dangerous but they won't be avoided.

    I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.

    I'll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.

    I'm no model lady. A model's just an imitation of the real thing.

    A dame that knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up.

    All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.

    Give a man a free hand and he'll run it all over you.

    Marriage is a fine institution, but I'm not ready for an institution.

    (Of course, that was a fictional piece, right?)

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  7. Oh fuck, this is the truest thing I ever read, and extremely poignant on the day after Mr. Bee just married a younger hottie and didn't invite me to the wedding where my boys were in tuxes a couple years after he got sober. This is hard.

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And then you say....

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