Broken People Need Not Apply: Part II

Read Part I here.

Interlude

Part I may have left you with some questions. No? Well would you mind pretending it did? Who, you asked yourself, is this sanctimonious egomaniac who’s criticised these women? If they were damaged, you say, ever compassionate, then they didn’t bring this horror upon themselves. Someone broke these people, that’s what you’re thinking, and perhaps I should dwell on that before I strike a condemnatory note. After all, you say, a graduate from the school of moral relativism, you can’t judge people by your own standards. You can’t just go and apply a reasonable test to the behaivour of others. We should all be allowed to live in our own moral universe, and if, when the two overlap, someone gets turned over, then that’s hard cheese.

Well I love you but that’s wilful ignorance. The discomfort you felt, reading the first part, was rooted in recognition, not outrage. You’ve avoided these parasites, yeah parasites, let’s not hold back now, we’re getting it all out into the open – you’ve avoided them and so you can afford to be generous. I envy you.

Before we continue with this story it may be worth making a reasonable distinction between the sub-species of human I have in mind and those with psychological problems who’ve made a choice not to be defined by the same. I don’t begrudge anyone their woes, that would be ridiculous, but the sort of people I’m talking about would find it inconceivable that they could remain troubled and not transfer those difficulties onto someone else.

Not everyone is a user and fewer still regard their friends and lovers as a crutch for undernourished egos. Some of us see our fellow humans as an escape from our troubles, another perspective to guide us out of the gloom, maybe even a complement to ourselves, not a resource to be exploited.

What’s always amazed me is the inability of people who are otherwise intelligent, to break their destructive habits. I’m also fond of their propensity to project their own shortcomings onto others. The mad woman in the attic, we’re told, should be venerated as a harmless old dear that’s consistently misunderstood. Dig deep and we’ll find the gold buried beneath the silage. When we criticise these fragile, what’s the word…, bastards, then we’re pointing a finger at the old crone and laughing as she sits at the attic window, writing “help” onto the glass in excrement.

Imagine going through life and never once understanding why people fall short of your expectations. What kind of existence would that be? At what point does it stop being someone else’s fault and start becoming yours? When is the onus on you to work harder and build bridges? These are questions seldom asked nor answered.

Let’s have a minute’s silence for all that wasted humanity, shall we?

Right, on we go.

From the wreckage…

Strange though it may sound, I’d barely given Semaphore a thought from the time she returned to the shadows until last week. Apart from the time lost, time I could and should have spent exploring fems better suited to both my temperament and outlook, I used to say that I’d emerged relatively unscathed. Every friendship she’d weakened was restored behind the scenes, providing the base from which I could cast her adrift. It’d been educational, in the sense that I’d learnt a lot about what I didn’t want from a girlfriend (though some of the violence had been a turn on, obviously). I was philosophical about the horror of it all, based on the notion that I’d be unlikely to ever experience anything so unremittingly spirit sapping again, and if it had to happen at least I’d got it out of the way early. Best of all, she no longer had a link to any of my friends, so barring an unforeseen social cataclysm I’d seen the last of her scowling face and shark’s eyes.

In 2011 however, it occurs to me that it wasn’t quite the self-contained aberration of legend. It had taken over two years to put her in the ground and the effort had subtly caused a shift in perspective from blind, “put a piece of fruit on my head and shoot” optimism to “who goes there?” paranoia.

My interests had narrowed. The 16 year old me enjoyed computer games and science fiction and had an open door policy on the types of people he associated with. The only test was whether I liked a person. The rest were details you just had to live with for good or ill. In two years of Semaphore there just hadn’t been time to sit back and enjoy what was around you because she was such a drain on my leisure time, not to mention the mental energy that was needlessly expended in defending every view I held, every person whose company I enjoyed, and every rational principle I felt to be self-evidently important.

The 18 year old me had nothing invested in the simple pleasures of old and 1993 levels of fascination never returned. I’d owned a computer, for gaming purposes, in one form or another since the age of ten but from the age of 16 I didn’t bother. I don’t think I’ve played a single game in my own time, by myself, since. The cult TV shows that used to yank my Toblerone weren’t abandoned but the literature wasn’t bought anymore, the box sets stayed in the shops and the joy of a geek chat was a distant memory. The truth is that the strain of dealing with Semaphore had aged me and when viewed through this new prism, people who reminded me of myself prior to the disaster seemed perpetually preoccupied by irrelevant toss. I wanted to care like they did but my heart wasn’t in it anymore.

People were my agenda now and they were no longer the benign entities of old but creatures to be studied and carefully evaluated. In this new climate old friends came under revised scrutiny and many were found wanting. Seeds were sown which eventually grew into disillusion and separation. This process was long and painful. I now applied a set of arbitrary standards to most of my relationships and those that fell short were axed. The optimistic and genial 16 year old me would have found that needlessly judgemental. I found it much more difficult to make new friends because the pool of desirable candidates had significantly reduced.

All of this may have happened without Semaphore of course, perhaps it happens to everyone in one form or another, but it would be ahistoric to pretend that she hadn’t churned up plenty of negativity and in doing so, accelerated changes in perspective that might have taken many more years to come into fruition. Some might never have happened at all.

Jung said a lot of things, amongst them, “the meeting of two people is like the meeting of two chemical substances; if there is a reaction, both are transformed.” He wasn’t wrong.

Love: A refugee’s story

Perhaps sensing I needed a break, fate delivered an eight-year relationship to me, which is extraordinary because fate is a fantasy. This period won’t be eulogised or condemned here, that’s a different story. All that need concern us is the end. My long run with Cetirizine Dihydrocholoride (not her real name), was a beast that ate my twenties. When Cetirizine finally gave up on it, losing her human form and becoming a set of unreliable memories, what remained was a morose and lost figure; a waspish miser who got angry when crisp packets wouldn’t open with the first pull and, though assured by others that he’d once been very happy, couldn’t remember any such thing.

Now it was all over, as surely as a gunshot follows a horse breaking its legs, the crazies were back and the dust was blown off the old play book. The Sadism Guild, that shadowy organisation that monitors the entire world, inflicting needless suffering on the empty hearted for sexual gratification, reviewed my case file and decided that there would be no quick solution to my woes, no soulmate to defibrillate this flatliner, rather a return to the tried and tested formula of my ship passing another with a gash in its hull.

When I emerged from my long love in, I knew it was over for me in the romance department. I felt it in my glands. I was greatly diminished by the break up. Most of the joy had bled out of me and what was left looked wretched, not just the kind of man that sensible women wouldn’t touch but the kind that looked as though he’d never been touched.

The mood was captured in two incidents that revealed to me how far I’d fallen in the vaginal sphere. The first occurred once I’d started to reconnect with old friends in the South West. One New Year’s Eve, I told an old school friend of mine about my long run with Cetirizine. His reaction was one of barely concealed surprise. There was, you see, the stench of death around me in the months and years after I’d bottomed out. The problem was eventually traced to a half eaten pigeon that someone had thrown in with my wash bundle.

Following a long period of stagnation, I now looked as I’d always felt; bloated, like a corpse exhumed from a river, and unhealthy – a sluggish, sponge brained, bollock and gristle stew. My eyes failed within 4 months of my relationship ending. Consequently I now had to wear glasses. They sat awkwardly on my face, like a bored prostitute. My hair had gradually fallen out, completely transforming my head so now I looked like Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark.  The combined effect of these changes was to make me resemble a sex offender. To look in that mirror on that first morning of singledom was to stare sexual oblivion in the face.

Prior to Cetirizine my relationship with broken people was picked up on an instinctive level by the afflicted. Now, I looked like one of them and this has a habit of shaping how ordinary people, or whatever passes for ordinary people, treat you. The second incident brought this home to me. At work a kooky colleague whom we’ll call Labia Parker, presumptuously assumed I was single, and suggested I go on a blind date with a friend of hers. I was mortified by this but thought okay, why not? Let the trench see the mustard gas. I knew something was wrong when she sat me down to have a chat, ahead of first contact.

“Thing is,” said Labia, “I’ll just get this out there, she’s a big girl.”

“I see” was all I could say to that. Best to get the prejudices you’ve attributed to people out of the way I suppose.

“Plus,” she went on, “she’s probably looking to take things slowly because she’s had a lot of bad relationships.”

Later, a colleague of mine wanted to know why I’d called it off. Wasn’t it sort of sweet, her trying to set me up like that? No, I said, it wasn’t. To confused faces I explained it was the opposite of a compliment. Labia fallaciously believed that I’d be a good match for her friend and you could see how she’d made the connection. To Labia, we were just two lonely, broken people, playing in the same reject’s league. We were desperate and unlikely to find anyone confident and secure. In any event, all those people were hooked up, right? I couldn’t explain to Labia that I didn’t see myself like that at all, nor that her friend was precisely the type of person I’d sought to avoid my entire life and how dare she assume otherwise, so I simply told her, “I just don’t think I’m ready to meet anyone at the moment.” I hope my sweet smile managed to hide the fact I was both insulted and fucking furious.

The daisy chain of damnation

Whatever I felt inwardly, I was tainted now, and in the few years that followed the asylum doors were flung open, with the outpatients picking up a card adorned with my face and phone number on their way out.

Now more practiced at keeping the loons at a distance, I was pretty good at limiting my exposure. Never again would I allow the demented to get a strong foothold in my life. But time hadn’t withered their determination, nor the depth of their fantasies. Many followed in quick succession, tagging the next one as they exited in apoplexy.

Some of the weakest links in the daisy chain included:

Pumice (not her real name), a shrill, “look at me I’m interesting!” type with a penchant for making pronouncements on her own personality, none of which appeared to be true. Her convivial, bright eyed exterior masked profound anxiety that ignited at the fall of a raindrop, and wild mood swings; a personality built on sand.

She was an alcoholic, notably agitated if she didn’t have a full glass in her hand. In these dry moments you felt like a spare part, filling those long painful minutes between refills. Her sexuality was warped. Pumice had been interfered with as a young teen and consequently saw intercourse as a necessary evil. Like the glug, she was addicted to the gratification and the sensual rush but it was a ruinous addiction; any man, regardless of suitability and never a happy ending. She simply didn’t know what to do with a chap who didn’t see her as a sexual object and consequently we were finished before we’d started.

We went out for a meal which two bites into my mains I discovered was a date. Could I have misunderstood? I relived every conversation we’d ever had. If I’d made a romantic overture, it was lost, exiled to the same inaccessible part of my brain that holds the last two digits of Elton John’s pin number.

Pumice was a responsibility dodging cultivator of rows, triggered with jaw dropping ease. If she turned on you, she expected you to take it and never mention it again. Requests for apologies were met with an outpouring of defensive effluent and outrage at your inability to do the decent thing and forget whatever it was that had bothered you. What type of freak didn’t just drop their anger to spare someone else’s blushes, regardless of circumstance? Me, that’s who, and communication promptly ceased.

The most recent face in this tiresome gallery was a web fiend, Voltarol (not her real name), who took a short conversation we had over Christmas on Twitter as a sign that I might be interested, despite the fact we’d never met and had hardly spoken. What followed was odd, to say the least. As the winter progressed, she started to contact me for no reason and finally, having decided she was just being friendly and that I liked friendly people, I suggested a meet up when she was in town. That, apparently, was a declaration of intent.

We hadn’t built any sort of relationship, yet overnight her messages became more amorous in nature. We’d exchanged mobile numbers, in anticipation of her being in town, but this simple, functional swap, inadvertently opened a portal to misunderstanding. Midweek I got a picture of her breasts, which although very easy on the eye carried with them an openly declared expectation that my Whitfield should follow by way of an erect reply.

A soak, she’d go out each Friday and fill herself with a retarding lacquer, sending me curious, incoherent mind waste. This oscillated between extreme paranoia, namely the idea that I found her an irritant (which hadn’t been true until she sent the messages) and outright hostility. Several times I was told I wouldn’t hear from her again and that I should “go away” – an odd thing to be told when you were never there, only for an apology to follow a few days later. One week she was sizing me up as a prospect, a few days later she was going on a date with someone else, and all the while I tried to ignore this toss by replying in neutral terms which her paranoid brain interpreted as a brush off.

Once you suspect a person is nuts, there’s nowhere for your relationship to go. It’s dead. You didn’t kill it, it was a suicide. You do your best but you’re administering morphine to the severed hand of someone who’s just been tossed up into the whirring blades of a helicopter. Not adept at hiding her true intensions, or one to waste time, Voltarol had questioned me on how I felt about having kids (she already had two and was thinking to add to them in light of her ex-husband’s remarriage and broody new wife) and suggested we could meet up and have deranged intercourse, without thinking to ask if I was interested.

Men were fickle and prone to letting you down, said this fickle woman who’d let me down, and it predictably ended in a throw away fashion, befitting the manner of our acquaintance, when she misread a sarcastic remark I’d sent and responded with abuse, thereby bringing our short and unhealthy friendship to a close.

“I don’t talk like this to just anyone” she’d said early on. How lucky I’ve been to be so special so many times.

Bespectacled blogsmith seeks iconoclastic passion puss for satisfying jollies

You’ve heard much about what perturbs me but, you’re entitled to ask, what kind of person would I like? You may even be wondering if you or someone you know could fit the bill, after all you’re sane as the day, right? Well tragically that’s what everyone thinks. Had I asked Semaphore if she thought she was profoundly disturbed, she’d have pointed at me, screamed “don’t fucking call me disturbed” and broken something to underline how normal she thought she was. Sometimes the cause seems hopeless.

Still, why shouldn’t I enjoy the company of a fine woman, eh? Why shouldn’t I know the joy that some of you will know; that warm feeling gleaned from having that special someone in your life who complements you completely; the perfect dot, for all their minor faults, to your calligraphic I.

Having known disappointment for so long, only to imagine I’d cracked it before finding out I’d spoken too soon, I’m of the view that I deserve a bit of good luck. After all, unlike most of you who just stumbled into happiness without especially wanting or needing it, I’ve earned mine. Yeah, that’s right, I suffered these fucks and because I did, some of you didn’t. Think about that the next time you imagine you’re having a bad day.

The thorny issue of what my special someone might look like is a complicated thing, not a topic that can be reduced to wordplay or easy one liners. It’s important and consequently I can’t afford to trivialise it by way of avoiding the more difficult questions that my potential beau would have to answer.

So why not find out if you could be the next Mrs W by completing this would-be girlfriend quiz!

Please choose one answer from each question:

1. How old are you?

a) I’m younger than I look.

b) I’m older than I look.

c) 25-34.

2. Do you have any children?

a) Yes and they could use a new Dad.

b) Yes but they live with their Father and his new wife. I see them when I’m clean.

c) No, I’ve looking for the right seed at the right time.

3. The last time you split up with a man did you…?

a) Go out and get laid – you don’t really feel human unless a man wants you.

b) Feel flush with self-righteous indignation. It had been four hours and the fuck was still calling you, expecting you to explain your decision, asking you all sorts of uncomfortable questions. Ugh, why couldn’t he just get over it?

c) Recognise that, circumstances notwithstanding, you’d hurt him and as the person responsible for that pain you had a duty to be sensitive, as kind as the situation allowed and refrain from doing anything in the days and weeks following the break up that would unnecessarily compound his misery.

4. How has your attitude toward relationships changed since you were a teenager?

a) It hasn’t. I’ve known what I wanted since I was a little girl and my Mum always told me I shouldn’t compromise for any man.

b) I’ve learnt that men are lice, though lice with human penises and they should be treated with suspicion and contempt. Besides, I’ve been on my own for a while now and I like things done a certain way. A guy could disrupt all of that.

c) I’ve had a few relationships which failed because we wanted different things but I saw each one as a learning experience and I’m still friends with most of them. What I now know but didn’t as a teenager, is that relationships are about mutual respect, compromise and patience…and love, not need.

5. Which pair of traits best describes you?

a) Belligerent and hateful.

b) Cynical and guarded.

c) Tactful and empathising.

6. How would you describe your friends?

a) To be honest they’re a troubled bunch – alcoholics, suicides in waiting, most have had a breakdown in the last five years but they make me feel needed and I like that.

b) They’re alright – judgmental in the extreme and suspicious of strangers usurping their positions, certainly, plus I only see them when I’m bored, but yeah, a good bunch.

c) My friends are wonderful, welcoming people who are loyal and true. They add enormous value to my life and keep me honest as well as making sure I never give in to wrongheadedness. I don’t fancy any of them. We recruit from without, not within.

7. If I asked your friends to describe you, would they tell me you were…

a) Ruined.

b) A bit of a cock but basically alright, I just shouldn’t trust you to be reliable, be discreet or put yourself out for anyone.

c) Level headed, strong – a good person to have around in times of crisis.

8. How would you describe your moral code?

a) I don’t know what that means.

b) Morality’s a flexible thing, man, I say, whatever – if it works for me, it works.

c) There’s such a thing as right and wrong and I know the difference. I’m not self-righteous about it, I’m not perfect, but I do expect people to lead lives that don’t hurt others.

9. Do you smoke?

a) Like a death camp chimney.

b) Occasionally, it takes the edge off – it also helps me stay thin. When I don’t smoke I just eat and drink relentlessly…or snort coke.

c) No.

10. Do you have a good relationship with your Father?

a) I did until he forced me to touch his penis on my ninth birthday.

b) He’s never been around. He left my Mother for a younger woman when I was a child and has hardly bothered with me since, so no. I suppose you’ll do the same. In fact if you didn’t I’d probably get scared and sabotage our love because I expect all men to let me down and I’d want to preempt getting hurt if that’s alright?

c) Yes. I was brought up by loving parents and my Father was amazing – kind, generous and not only that, he has a very liberal attitude toward my sex life, understanding that I’m an adult now and that’s what adults do.

11. Might you want a family of your own one day?

a) Fuck no, children are brats – vermin, just a drain on your time and money. Having enjoyed a childhood where I didn’t have to share anything or compromise with anyone; a period that taught me that the most important thing in life was me and getting the stuff you want and keeping it, do you really think I need some snivelling half-person fucking all that up? I have a life, thank you.

b) I’m open to the idea but worried about bringing another child into my family of wastrels, crooks and mentals.

c) Yes. Having grown up within a great family with lots of good memories, I can see no reason why I wouldn’t want to give another child the same benefit.

12. How would you describe your sense of humour?

a) I don’t think life’s a laughing matter.

b) Silly – I like childish things, you know like animals falling over, body noises, innuendo, but doesn’t everyone?

c) I find all sort of things funny, because life is ridiculous. I also like to joke, have fun with people. Anything goes. I don’t assume it’s a man’s job to make me laugh while I just sit back and look pretty.

13. Would you describe yourself as intellectually curious?

a) Depends, does reading Stephen King and playing X-Box count?

b) I get bored when people discuss anything I don’t understand. Learned people are pretentious, anyway.

c) Yes, a life without curiosity is just filler, isn’t it? Without books, art, politics and the like, well, life would be a bit drab. Why are you asking me this, you’re not one of these cunts that gets intimidated by intelligence are you?

14. How would you categorise your body shape?

a) Emaciated chic.

b) Manly.

c) Curvy.

15. Are you happy with the way you look?

a) Ugh, fuck no. I think about it constantly, I count calories, I’m sensitive to any word that’s linked to weight in any context and sometimes I miss meals because I heard that shrinks your stomach.

b) I’m alright, though I often look in the mirror and cry when no one’s around.

c) Yes. I’m not perfect, because no one is, but I’m well satisfied. I dress how I want to dress, I feel good and I eat well. That’s why I’m so happy and confident. Haven’t you noticed?

End of test.

So how did you get on? If you answered a) or b) to most of these questions, congratulations, you’re perfect for someone else. If you answered c) for most of them or broadly identify with the c) position with a few caveats then chances are you and I are compatible.

I’m a good man and I’ll make someone very happy. That’s what I’m regularly told by those who have no interest in me whatsoever. I live in eternal hope of meeting a real C so I don’t have to listen to that shit anymore.

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Published in: on April 1, 2011 at 12:45  Leave a Comment  
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