Of Eunuchs and Clydesdales

A couple weeks ago, a guy approached me at the Waldenbooks “going out of business” sale. I tried to avoid giving him my number, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I gave in, figuring that I could always just not pick up the phone when he called. Thing is, he won’t stop calling and I just keep feeling more and more like an asshole. He never stood a chance. There’s nothing left for me to give him.

In days of harems, eunuchs would be employed as security. Keep the ladies safe without risking their virtue. Though they were men among women, they were considered harmless.

Clydesdale horses were originally bred for work, not beauty. They were known for strength. Not grace.

When I am gone, my legacy will be in pixels and ink. Not blood. My last name will die with me. There will be no children to care for me when my cancer comes.

Once upon a time, I believed in him. The man on the white horse. The Rochester to my Jane Eyre. The Sam to my Joon. The Sir Percy to my Marguerite. I waited. In his absence, I made myself into a woman, getting stronger, learning things, trying to build some kind of character. It was as though I was thrashing around, doing every conceivable thing to make up for shortcomings that I can’t help. I would never be a trophy, so I became other less-shiny things.

I was wrong. Men like shiny things. They don’t want a business partner, a soldier, an equal. Men like to see themselves as those things. They need to feel indispensible. They need to be needed. If I can kill my own bugs, pay my own bills, and hook up my own stereo, men don’t know where they’re supposed to fit in. I don’t make much of a bracelet. I don’t make much of a hooker. I don’t make much of a dependent. The parents taught me better. They meant well.

My female logic says “do you really want a fragile princess raising your kids and sharing your bank account?” but my female logic is wrong. It’s so wrong that it can’t even wrap its head around its own stupidity. At the end of the day, I’ve done little more than turn myself into The Great Emasculator, and it just keeps getting worse. The longer I’m single, the more time I have. The more horribly scary I am.

He told me once that I’m beautiful. When he looked at me, I believed it. I think that’s what he needed to think. Kept him from realizing that he was kind of too hot to be with me. On a really good day, I still manage “cute,” but no one (no one sober) has ever called me beautiful. Anyway, he paid me this compliment after breaking up with me, which also makes it harder to believe.

Oh, readers. I thought he was The One. It was so easy to sleep next to him. It felt like home. Like safety. To someone who’s never felt safe a day in her life, that’s all very alluring. I would lie in bed thinking “I could do this. I could do this for 50 years.” I didn’t say it out loud. I can barely type it, so saying it out loud, to someone’s face, is completely insane. Did I mention I also don’t cry in front of people? When you’re little and female, you don’t give up your armor easily. The world is no place for the small and fragile, so I buy platform shoes and don’t cry in public. As it said in Call of the Wild, if they take you down, you’ll never get back up. Don’t let them take you down.I don’t trust anybody, but I trusted him as much as I was able. I didn’t say that out loud, either. For somebody with such loud fingers, I sure do have a quiet mouth.

While I was thinking, slipping into domesticity, he changed his mind. Imagine the sound of a wine glass breaking. That’s what the last two weeks felt like. Glass breaking when I realized he didn’t respect me for taking medicine for my formerly crippling panic attacks. Glass breaking when he stopped asking me what I wanted to watch on tv. Glass breaking into sharp little barbs shoved into my back. I felt like there was an ever-growing list of requirements, and trying to keep up with them made me feel constantly inferior. Never quite good enough. Not that I need any help with feeling that way.

He disposed of me quickly. Business-like. The trust was washed away all at once. A clean break. If this could happen, if this person could toss me aside so easily, anything could happen. This could happen again. I always knew it in my head, but then I knew it in my heart. You’d think the two would communicate a little better.

For my part, just like a girl, I found a way to blame myself for everything. I’d gained weight. I’d refused to travel. I didn’t pick up the check enough. I didn’t put out. I didn’t surprise him with random gifts. I didn’t try hard enough. I saw my friends too much. I didn’t let him drive. I didn’t like enough of the same music. I wasn’t fun anymore.

Then came the other one. He also told me he loved me, but in a (mostly) different way. (Guys, I feel you should have fair warning. Men who say they love me have a tendency to die. Just sayin.) He was helping me mourn the first guy. I should have been helping him through the loss of his The One. I thought he was stronger than me. I thought he was bulletproof. Instead, he took whatever was left of me. He ripped it out through my back.

It’s been almost a year since we put the ash down, but the wound isn’t closed, and I’m sorry that you’re still having to hear about this. I keep picking at that scab, thinking that allowing myself to feel it will make the pain wear off. It’s working. It’s just taking a damn long time.

Ever since those things, I just can’t get excited about guys. Love just reminds me of glass breaking, having my heart removed, and people leaving me. Kissing someone new still feels like cheating. On the rare occasion that I meet a guy, I immediately look for reasons to run and hide. I don’t meet many guys. I’m the eunuch in the harem, ladies. I won’t steal your man. I might help him organize his closet, but I’m just the friend.

I don’t enjoy the thrill of the chase. I don’t want to compete with other girls. I don’t want to start all over with a brand new guy. I don’t want to wonder if he’s going to call. I don’t want to wonder if he likes me. Some people find that dance exhilarating. It makes me want to give up, hide in my house, and watch Law & Order.

Still, I have this feeling that I’m wasting time. There’s still that tiny nugget of hope (dear hope: fuck you) that says “he’s out there, and you’re hiding in here!” I’m not getting any younger. My face is starting to melt. I go out and just see girl upon girl who’s prettier and more approachable. I’m scary. I’ve had all the time in the world, and I’ve spent it working. Clydesdales are not bred for grace or beauty. My logo is shaped like a horseshoe.

There’s a peace that comes from accepting your lot in life.
At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

I have never known my place.

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