It is not easy being NM's girlfriend. Sometimes. That's ok, I'm pretty sure it's not so easy being my boyfriend either but probably not for the same reasons. He seems to do pretty well no matter where I pick him up and drop him. He's a pretty social guy. If he's an introvert, he surely is not my sort of introvert. I watch him work a room and draw energy like a text book extrovert and I also know that it wears him out eventually and he needs down time. But for different reasons. But he craves it, this interaction. Anyway, that isn't the reason it's not easy being NM's girlfriend other than our priorities might not always jive but then, honestly, show me a couple with matching priorities and I'll show you a couple who drank some pretty nifty (not so much) koolaid.
This was not a good dance for me. If I'd gone alone I would have been fine. Last year I went alone, I wandered in, I found some people I knew and hung out and I wandered out again. I didn't have shoes so after awhile my feet and back really started to hurt but other than that I had a really good time. But that's the thing, I was on my own time and I could take care of myself. I literally had no expectations of anything or anyone. I've been to big dances with other people and somehow it all just worked out. I do pretty well with SM and Mairead and certainly Cielo but I can't really put much of that on Cielo because she just sits there and waits for me patiently after she gets tired and I'm still going. Anyway, that's not what's hard. What's hard is becoming a non person the minute NM enters the room. This does not happen all the time by any means and not nearly as much as it happens to a man I know fairly well through Facebook of all places and his infamous wife not at all but being NM's girlfriend and suddenly becoming nameless and faceless or only interesting in terms of how I might bring someone closer to him got old in about a nanosecond. It got obnoxious in 3.
But the Becca story takes the cake.
At the dinner break we were talking about inappropriate people at dances and predators and where you draw the line and how you interact and young women in particular and what happens when children don’t want to dance anymore. And a woman across the table and down a bit named one young lady who is Elizabeth’s age roughly and I know all about this because I got to know her father who turns out to be her step-father because he took the time to speak to me offline quite a bit after the Hartford incident with Elizabeth and the lifter and I found out a lot about his daughter and her dancing and what he’d done to protect her and keep her dancing and I know about her clogging and how good she is and I know he’s got first day of school photographs all the way back to first grade. I know his wife is a caller and I know he loves her very much. So when the woman mentioned the girl’s name I said, oh, that’s J’s daughter and she’s said, who? I said, JL. And she said, who? I said, that is J.L.’s daughter you’re talking about. She lives in down south and she’s been dancing since she was small and she happens to be really great at clogging and the woman said, yes she is! Great at clogging but she’s the caller’s daughter. Oh, yes she is but I guess I just know her dad mostly. Oh, I guess I did hear she got remarried awhile back.
Well he's just a guy. Just a dancer. Just a face. Not anybody of substance to know or rub off on or be seen with. Not anybody who can do anything for you.
Maybe he doesn’t have the same experience. I just had it for him. Anyway, I think he’s a great dad, he doesn’t throw his wife’s name around, if indeed it is a name to be thrown around and he’s got some REALLY extreme opinions about the environment, civil rights and a whole bunch of other things that I just sit back and listen to for the most part. We don't see eye to eye on a lot of things but I sure do appreciate him. I guess my point is, it sure is hard to MISS JL. For real. The guy is intense.
So this makes me think. It might also be hard to be my boyfriend. Yup. Pretty sure.
Introverts, man, we can be a real drag (and I am a real honest to god no shit introvert). We had the ‘resting bitch face’ conversation again the other night. I feel so bad every time we talk about this. I finally feel safe enough with him to completely let down while we’re waltzing. Have I mentioned how much I love to waltz with the man? Except for when I think he doesn’t want to dance with me but that hasn’t happened in a long time. So I really like it and sometimes it’s totally joyful and you can tell by the look on my face and other times it’s smooth and lovely and restful and I’m tired and everything is letting down and if I’m having a particularly hard time and I’m feeling safe my face goes to what, for me is dead neutral but is often confused with mean or mad or what has popularly been coined, ‘resting bitch face’ and that’s not a nice term at all but it’s the best we women have as a defense mechanism against all those men who tell us to ‘smile, honey!’ because it’s what’s expected of us. I just can’t. Anyway. My resting bitch face is a little severe apparently. This is hard. I understand. And when it’s already been a difficult day that doesn’t help. It’s a misunderstanding and a painful one especially if you have an experience of your girlfriend or whatever she is not wanting to dance with you no matter what the reason.
I’m pretty sure it’s hard to be my boyfriend sometimes.
Class wars. It isn’t so much that I’m privileged. Well, OK, I am. He is too but in a slightly different way. Our priorities are different. I’ve spent the last 34 years of my life, scratch that, last 46 years of my life being terribly upwardly mobile. While NM and his wife might truly wish for something great and wonderful for their son (which would be defined as a start at an Ivy League and a six figure starting salary) they chose a different path. And I’m using Great and Wonderful arbitrarily, by the way. Great and Wonderful are defined by the user and all are valid but not all apply to the next person in line. You just have to decide which is yours and hope it’s not coming at too high a price. So the terribly upwardly mobile. My mother started out that way so I suppose that’s where my sense of entitlement comes from and it’s funny that her mother was the one to ask where some of it came from. My father was just sure as shit determined to get his ass to college and therefore, being the oldest in his generation was the first. So I guess from 1970 on when we left the teaching profession and joined the yuppie ranks, up we went. My brother and I had very little because our priorities were skewed in favor of other things that weren’t about the clothes on our backs or expensive vacations or even a lot of toys but we had this idea of what we should have or could have and what was there to want. Nobody said we had to have it.
I remember my step-mother saying, this is why god made money, so that somebody else will clean my house. Drop your judgment in the gutter where you picked it up if you’re having any. My step-mother worked some pretty serious hours and to ask her, as the woman in that household to come home and clean that house was a little damn ridiculous. This was at the same point that I was cleaning houses between classes at Fairfield University. Somebody’s going to do it and somebody’s going to pay it and she wasn’t being snotty. At the same time, I was paying somebody to clean mine because by the time I got home I was wrecked. Anyway, I had an idea of what was possible and good food was part of it. Strangely enough, travel to Europe didn’t come until later and it’s gone and vanished again. In truth, I’m pretty pedestrian when it comes right down to it, it being so very subjective.
Class wars. I went back to my favorite restaurant of all time in the whole wide world. Because I used to go there with David a lot it took a lot of time to get over. I went there one time a few years ago with my friend Charlie but that was really hard and I was still really grateful and that was that. Then NM and I were in that area two weekends ago and I looked in the window and thought, now. Now I can do this.
Well I know he didn’t think he was judging me but he was if only by judging my particular working class (and we’re all a working class, by the way, don’t fool yourselves, we just work at different things and while I may feel that cleaning the chicken coop is real and solid and keeps me sane and allows me to cuddle the mystical, magical creature that is Sputnik the Outcast, right now what I do keeps the roof over my head and until such time that it does not, what I do shall be considered good and possibly honest work and them that has what they have on Wall Street are also working and *most* of America, I don’t give a rat’s ass what you might tell me, would give a testicle and both their mother’s tits for the very same job without much thought to the price tag. Or what it takes to get there and stay there. I digress). Anyway, I think he just gives me a buy. An out. Most of the time. So I’m not, by the way, part of the 1%. To be part of the 1% you have to have an annual household income of $717,000. To me that doesn’t actually sound like a whole lot of money. That’s the bottom of the 1%, by the way. And it’s not a lot of money in the grand scheme. It’s enough money to get in a shitload of trouble. The real 1% is in the stratosphere.
Stop and digest that.
Don’t get excited. I’m not part of the 1% by a long shot. I’m guessing I’m part of the 2% though. I’m also part of the hugely fucked up 2% and I’m guessing there are a lot of us. This does not change what we’re used to or what we think is important. It doesn’t change what we appreciate or who we are. Just because I raise and kill chickens in my back yard and grow as much food as I can find time for (hasn’t been a lot lately) does not mean I don’t understand the difference between a $50 plate of food and a $10 plate of food and the two people who serve those plates. I’ve been those people too.
Anyway. I’m defensive.
Sometimes it’s got to really suck being my boyfriend.