Shooting Cupid

♫ I declare a moratorium on things relationship
♫ I declare a respite from the toils of liaison
♫ I do need a breather from the flavors of entanglement
♫ I declare a full time out from all things commitment ♫

I have more male than female friends, and while it hasn’t helped me figure out Martians, it does expose me to certain … interesting perspectives. For example, I’ve had lots of my male friends tell me they’ve chosen not to have a relationship because the timing is wrong. It makes absolutely zero sense to me. I mean, if you like the girl, you go for it, no? And if you’re not going for it, you just don’t like her enough, yes? Apparently, that’s not the case in a man’s world.

The ‘reasons’ for timing have been everything from focusing on school/business/self development to saving themselves for marriage. Yes, people still do that, no sarcasm intended. At first I thought it was a silly ploy, a way to let the girl down gently. But I’ve seen the phenomenon in action enough to accept that the guys who said it actually meant it.

Another thing I’ve learnt to take at face value is the man who says he’s bad for you. They’ll usually admit it within five minutes of meeting. ‘I’m an asshole. I’m toxic. I’m no good. You should stay away from me.’ Of course women never listen to this. They think the guy is being cute or mysterious, or worse, they take it as a challenge. They think he may be an ass with other people but they can change him with their beauty and love. They think he can be mean to the rest of the world while being absolutely adorable to them.

I don’t particularly blame women for thinking that way. After all, in chick flicks, romance novels, and even Game of Thrones, Drogo the neanderthal always ends up having a gooey caramel centre which was just waiting for the right delicate vixen to thaw it out. We’re programmed to think we can tame the gorgeous beast.

Beauty and the Beast

In my case though, I’ve been around enough self-declared donkeys to take them at their word. Granted it’s often given as an excuse to not put in any effort to be … civil. A guy who tells you he’s an asshole from the get-go doesn’t feel the need to try being nice to you. After all, you’ve been warned, so it’s not his fault if you didn’t listen. Still, regardless of his motives in warning you off, he meant what he said, and will take no responsibility for hurting you.

I’ve had feelings for five men who told me they were bad for me, and they all burned me horrifically. I don’t blame them, and I have no ill feelings towards them. If anything, I’m grateful that they’ve shown what a man shouldn’t be, and helped me recognize a good one when I spot him. I’m also thankful because a few weeks ago, I met an otherwise perfect male specimen who told me he was bad news. I smiled, nodded, and slowly walked away. I’ve already taken that class, and I have no desire to repeat it.

The weirdest thing is this man seems to genuinely like everything about me, and we do fit together beautifully. A few years ago, I might have stuck around and tried to convince him of the goodness he has buried deep within. But after everything my past men have put me through, I made a deliberate choice not to fall for him, and it was easy to smile and content myself with just being friends.

I know this isn’t the kind of lesson you can learn just by reading about it. You need to live it to know it. And I hope one day guys like that make their peace and let go of their demons. But I’m glad my saviour complex is finally quelled, and that I’m leaving them to sort out their own ish. No more catching fleas while rescuing the strays. I still have a weakness though. I feel too much. I let a few people into my shell, and I get crushed when they chip at it from the inside.

I’ve always considered my heart a strength, thought it was a blessing that I could be so overwhelmed by emotion. It made me a better writer, mother, lover, and friend. But lately, I’m thinking it’s not such a good thing. I’m thinking it’s better to be a robot or a stone. Feeling good is great, but feeling sad, being vulnerable to that one special person, that sucks. I’d rather risk losing the beauty of love if it means I can never feel the pain of heartbreak. I’d rather lock my heart up, chain it, torch it, discard it. I’d rather not feel anything at all. Now, if only I could figure out how.

♫ Never surrender ♫ Skillet ♫

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