Calling Your Girlfriend: A Dialogue
By Kristen Roupenian
Your Girlfriend: Hello?
Y: Hey, can you hear me?
YG: Hello? Is that you? I can barely hear you. Hold on one sec.
YG: Sorry, I’m on the freeway, reception keeps cutting in and out. What’s up?
Y: Hey. Um, what’s going on?
YG: Not much, I’m just driving home. Where are you? What’s that noise in the background?
Y: What noise?
YG: That kind of, like, thumping noise. It’s really loud. Are you in a club?
Y: Yeah, hold on, let me just step outside.
Y: Is that better?
YG: Yeah. So what’s up?
Y: I was just calling because, um, I think it’s time we had the talk.
YG: But we just talked like an hour ago.
Y: No, I mean, like, “The Talk.” It’s time we had the talk.
YG: What talk?
Y: “The Talk.”
Y: You know, the talk where I tell you that I’m cheating on you.
YG: Wait, what?
Y: Yeah. So, the first thing I want to say is — and please listen to me very carefully here: this is not your fault.
YG: What’s not my fault?
Y: This. You know. The cheating.
YG: I don’t understand. Why would it be my fault?
Y: It’s not. You see, I have my reasons. Well, one reason , mainly. That reason is that I’ve found someone new, and I want to sleep with her. Well, I mean, I’ve already slept with her. I just want to keep sleeping with her, without the inconvenience of having you around. But it’s not your fault. I don’t blame you, and I want you to know that.
YG: Dude, whatever’s going on now — and frankly, I’m not entire sure what it is — I’m pretty fucking sure it’s your fault.
Y: Please don’t get upset.
YG: Don’t get upset? You called me in the middle of my commute to let me know that you’re cheating on me, and you want me to not get upset? What did you think would happen?
Y: You know, you’re always doing this! It’s like you second-guess everything I say and do! Listen, it’s not that hard to understand: I’ve met somebody new, and I’m going to break up with you and date her. I never meant to hurt you, I just cheated on you and now I’m breaking up with you. I know this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense right now, but I want you to know that I’m still your friend.
YG: Um, no you’re not. You’re not my friend. You’re an asshole, and I think you might be mentally ill.
Y: I am not an asshole. I’m your friend.
YG: No, you’re not.
Y: Yes I am.
YG: Nope. Not my friend.
Y: I am!
Y: See, you’re doing it again! You’re second-guessing me!
YG: Okay, fine. This has been great. Thanks for calling me, buddy.
Y: I feel like you’re being sarcastic right now. Your hostility is really unnecessary.
YG: Is it?
Y: I’ve been trying to take the high road here. I wanted to let you down easy, but you know what? You deserve the whole truth. I wasn’t going to tell you this –in fact, I promised I wasn’t going to tell you this — but actually, this whole thing is kind of your fault.
YG: You have got to be kidding me.
Y: This new girl, she gives me something that I never even knew I missed, but which I now realize was always lacking in our relationship. I’m not sure what it is, exactly — maybe the warm feeling of unconditional acceptance? The knowledge that no matter what I do, she’ll always be there for me, without judgment? It’s something like that. Something you could never give me in a million years.
YG: Awesome. That’s perfect. Just perfect. I hope you two are happy together. Thank you so much for calling. Go and live happily ever after forever. Goodb –
Y: – Also, it’s really different when we kiss. I mean, when she and I kiss. It’s different from the way that you and I used to kiss each other. I don’t want to say it’s better … it’s just different. Okay, actually, she does kiss better. There. I said it. She is a BETTER KISSER THAN YOU.
YG: I don’t understand. Why isn’t this conversation over by now? Why are we still talking?
Y: Maybe she uses her tongue more? I think that’s it. Also there’s a kind of tingly weirdness at the corner of my lips — it was disturbing at first, but now I sort of like it. It feels like when you’ve got a cold sore coming on, but more diffuse and kind of — I don’t know, spiritual almost. Like I’m wearing a new kind of chapstick with healing lotion in it, but more intense than that. Anyway, it’s different. I — hold on one sec. Hey, no, cut it out. What are you doing? Give me that. Hey –
YG: Hello? Who is this?
R: Hallo? Can you hear me? HALLO?
YG: Who is this? Why is your voice so high-pitched? Is this an elf?
R: Hallo, friend. I just want to say — can you hear me? I know it is hard, but I want to say, the only way your heart will mend is when you learn to love again. Do you understand? You must love again! Find love! It is the only way!
YG: Is this who I think it is? Are you seriously fucking talking to me right now?
R: The only way your heart will mend is when you learn to love again!
YG: You just stole my boyfriend, and now you’re lecturing me about finding love?
R: You must learn to love again!
YG: You know what? This is bullshit. I’m going to come find you two right now, and when I do, I dare you to say that to my face.
R: Find love!
YG: I swear to God, somebody’s about to get stabbed in the eye with one of their own quirky earrings.
R: It’s the only way!
YG: I’m hanging up now. Tell your new boyfriend I’m going to dump all his shit out my window. He can come gather it up off my lawn tomorrow.
R: I hope we can all be friends! I truly do wish you the best. Maybe someday when your heart has mended, we can all grab some dinner.
(**We listened to this song numerous times on our road trip last weekend and each time, C was incredulous at how insanely terrible its advice really is. I was too busy dancing poorly to mind.)
There might be a case to be made that the deep, slow creativity traditionally associated with psychic trauma and mood disorders is a form of creativity with little utility in a world of hyper-consumerism and short attention spans. Maybe the need for that kind of thinking and behaviour is less now, and we can do without it. Just as religion is dying, might not art and creativity be fading?
In my darker moments, this possibility gives me real pause. But in my better moments I know it is wrong, and we are indeed losing something. We should not celebrate pain, nor confuse suffering with virtue, but we must understand that sadness and pain are part of the spectrum of human existence, and that we need them to understand all that is good in ourselves.
James Bradley, Never Real and Always True: on depression and creativity (via sometimesagreatnotion)
Don’t Be A Dick by Luke Beard
Soup du jour
Moon River - Josh Ritter
You might have noticed by the sheer number of times I’ve posted (different versions) of “Moon River” that it’s basically one of my favorite songs of all time. But just in case you hadn’t caught on to that yet, let me go ahead and state it clearly right now. This song is one of the best, and always will be. Anybody that ever sings it - from Audrey Hepburn to The Innocence Mission to Lisa Hannigan to Josh Ritter to my kids (who I sang it to when they were babies and who know sing it back to me) - makes me incredibly happy.
I am afraid of getting older … I am afraid of getting married. Spare me from cooking three meals a day—spare me from the relentless cage of routine and rote. I want to be free…. I want, I want to think, to be omniscient…. I think I would like to call myself ‘The girl who wanted to be God.’
written in 1949 at age 17 (via hateshiploveship)
On a somewhat serious note today because of a conversation the other day:
I am sure every girl can recall, at least once as a child, coming home and telling their parents, uncle, aunt or grandparent about a boy who had pulled her hair, hit her, teased her, pushed her or committed some other playground crime. I will bet money that most of those, if not all, will tell you that they were told “Oh, that just means he likes you”. I never really thought much about it before having a daughter of my own. I find it appalling that this line of bullshit is still being fed to young children. Look, if you want to tell your child that being verbally and/or physically abused is an acceptable sign of affection, i urge you to rethink your parenting strategy. If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing.
When the fuck was it decided that we should start teaching our daughters to accept being belittled, disrespected and abused as endearing treatment? And we have the audacity to wonder why women stay in abusive relationships? How did society become so oblivious to the fact that we were conditioning our daughters to endure abusive treatment, much less view it as romantic overtures? Is this where the phrase “hitting on girls” comes from? Well, here is a tip: Save the “it’s so cute when he gets hateful/physical with her because it means he loves her” asshattery for your own kids, not mine. While you’re at it, keep them away from my kids until you decide to teach them respect and boundaries.
My daughter is `10 years old and has come home on more than one occasion recounting an incident at school in which she was teased or harassed by a male classmate. There has been several times when someone that she was retelling the story to responded with the old, “that just means he likes you” line. Wrong. I want my daughter to know that being disrespected is NEVER acceptable. I want my daughter to know that if someone likes her and respects her, much less LOVES her, they don’t hurt her and they don’t put her down. I want my daughter to know that the boy called her ugly or pushed her or pulled her hair didn’t do it because he admires her, it is because he is a little asshole and assholes are an occurrence of society that will have to be dealt with for the rest of her life. I want my daughter to know how to deal with assholes she will encounter throughout her life. For now, I want my daughter to know that if someone is verbally harassing her, she should tell the teacher and if the teacher does nothing, she should tell me. If someone physically touches her, tell the teacher then, if it continues, to yell, “STOP TOUCHING/PUNCHING/PUSHING ME” in the middle of class or the hallway, then tell me. Last year, one little boy stole her silly bandz from her. He just grabbed her and yanked a handful of them off of her wrist. When I went to the school to address the incident, the teacher smiled and explained it away to her, in front of me, “he probably has a crush on you”. Okay, the boy walked up to my daughter, grabbed and held her by the arm and forcibly removed her bracelets from her as she struggled and you want to convince her that she should be flattered? Fuck off. I am going to punch you in the face but I hope you realize it is just my way of thanking you for the great advice you gave my daughter. If these same advice givers’ sons came home crying because another male classmate was pushing them, pulling their hair, hitting them or calling them names, I would bet dollars to donuts they would tell him to defend themselves and kick the kid’s ass, if necessary. They sure as shit wouldn’t say, “he probably just wants a play date”.
I will teach my daughter to accept nothing less than respect. Anyone who hurts her physically or emotionally doesn’t deserve her respect, friendship or love. I will teach my boys the same thing as well as the fact that hitting on girls doesn’t involve hitting girls. I can’t teach my daughter to respect herself if I am teaching her that no one else has to respect her. I can’t raise sons that respect women, if I teach them that bullying is a valid expression of affection.
The next time that someone offers up that little “secret” to my daughter, I am going to slap the person across the face and yell, “I LOVE YOU”.
Most of the time I just want to look you (and by you, I mean everyone) in the eye and ask “Who the hell do you think you’re foolin’? (and by foolin’, I don’t mean me, per se. I mean everyone else too.)
Because, really, who do we think we’re fooling?
We’re at the stage now where we’re supposed to have some firmer footing, some goal within reach. Something to run to, to run away from. And if we have yet to find it, our goals are to extend that drifter period a bit longer. I chose round two of undergrad. Many friends are going into graduate schools. Others are, in so many or so few words, just being irresponsible until they just plain can’t any longer. Others aren’t so lucky and life forced them to get a life.
We all live on this “I want to” potential. We move in circles, picking up new hobbies and friends and knowledge to build on these circles. But we (and by we, I might just mean me projecting my fears onto every other sorry sack I identify with) are still the same person, the same life, the same little finite speck of dust with a big imagination wondering who else will believe all these smoke and mirrors as much as we do.
I hear all these big ideas now, and they’re not terribly new to the universe. They’re not even terribly new to us. We recited them in elementary school before we could even grasp the concept. We gushed over them in high school, excited for our -remember this?- life to begin.
”I want to find love.” “I want to make history.” “I want to help people.” “I want to express myself.” “I want to have a family.” “I want to build something.” “I want to be SOMEbody.”
Our adult posse, parents teachers mentors whoever, caught our infectious bug, riding on our wagon and cheerleading us into the white light of our future. I wonder why they didn’t warn us. Because they didn’t get out? Because we deserve as much of a chance as they did? Because they placed their leftover hope in us?
Most of us charged ahead. We aren’t terribly afraid of uncertainty.
But now that our eyes have adjusted, we realize there’s still a lot of darkness. Still a lot of toils and bitter people and shadows that shut windows and doors and blow out candles. It’s really starting to get at us, and oh god how on earth are we (am I?) supposed to be the light in the godforsaken future? You hold your friends hand for comfort, for solidarity. But what happens when they start running in circles too? When it got too dark to see the straight path? What happens when the person you love leaves you?
And I can’t imagine anyone else not feeling this way right now. Living in the smoke of has-been potential and vaguely making out a few steps in front of you and reaching out for an anchor - someone, something, somewhere.
So why are you so cocky? Why are we so collected? How can you be so calm about this? Who am I trying to fool?