Names changed to protect the human
Excuse me, Gentle Reader, while I get all hypocritical on your arse.
Last night Saul was talking about how Japanese women won't fully place their hand in his in the embrace, theirs is a bowing culture and holding hands is alien, and at first their hand won't go in his at all, and then over time it eventually makes it a teeny bit more in but that's as much as they can manage. And he realizes: hey! That's great for them! That's the best they can do. That's huge for them.
This reminded me of Rule #1 from massage school: meet the client where they are.
And I was trying to talk with Juan-Carlos about hanging my pictures at la Florecita, and he started to pay attention, but then a woman walked by. And what could he possibly do but drift away to ask her to dance? Men are hunters because they have focus. This means they cannot multitask. They think of one thing at a time. And that thing is usually sex.
This morning I remembered a news article: Guy on Golden Gate Bridge arrested for peeing onto head of construction worker below. His defence? This is his spot, he always pees here, every day! And now suddenly there's a construction site underneath? Huh? “I'm not peeing ON the construction worker. I'm peeing OFF the bridge.” (Remember: men can only hold one idea in their head at a time. Don't confuse them!)
And somehow after all that hurt and all that pain, I wasn't mad at Rafael any more. The mad disappeared as if it had never been, and I couldn't summon it back, even though I had really been looking forward to a good dressing-down.
Meet people where they are. Maybe they have a lifetime of conditioning and a predisposition that makes it hard or impossible to seriously take your hand. And when they drift away, they're not peeing ON you, they're peeing OFF the bridge.
I remember once railing to an aunt that no matter the situation, my mom responded with bitter self-centered negativity. And then my aha moment: that's what she's got to offer! How can I expect anything else? You go to a Chinese restaurant, you can't get mad if they don't have macaroni and cheese.
I decided to spend the morning dancing with Rafael after all. I couldn't bring back hurt feelings that were gone, so I might as well enjoy myself. Anyway it's hard to be mad when I see him bounding down the stairs saying, “¡I HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU!” —I thought the surprise was the return of Indira (which was not a surprise). But it was a real surprise. After we danced, he gave me a silver bracelet made of Argentine fleur-de-lys. It was beautiful, it was sweet, it was a lotus rising out of the murky depths of his heart. ¿Eh?
He fumbled clasping it around my wrist, which I found charming. Rafael spends his life training for the Suave Olympics. Everything has to be suave, every time, every micromovement, every gesture, every nuance. So to not quite manage to do something, to temporarily suffer the discomfort of not controlling a situation—how charming! ….He said it was a Christmas present to thank me for being a great dancer and a great milonguera and for putting up with all the inchepelotas out there. I suspect him of actually telling the truth, as much as he understood it inside himself. Men are not known for introspection. So who knows what was “really” going on in there. Guilt? Unlikely. Affection? That would be nice. Gratitude for giving him some relief from the piles of normal people he has to tolerate? Almost certainly. But gratitude does not have to be displayed like that. Gratitude is a verbal thank you, or a cd of tango classics. There's something about jewellry. Like an identifying collar, for a finger or a wrist, the claims that person as one's own and announces it to the world. If this is on you, you're mine and you and I both want the world to know it. That's romantic thinking if ever there was any. And yet...no. After he gave me my ring the atmosphere was so erotically charged that we had no choice but to do what had to be done. But after he gave me this bracelet, he was as guarded as before. Or as uninterested as before. I'll never know which...although one generally does not give substantial jewellry to people in whom one has no interest. And what about Nena?
Nena is very pretty. And nice. And young. And sweet. And I can see that she gives great embrace, and I can see that it's an embrace I will never give, because she lets the man take up most of the space. I'm not designed that way.
Maybe my fury at Rafael's ludus-preferring modus operandi was premature. Perhaps some teeny molecule hidden up on a dusty back shelf of his heart is actually capable of storge. A friendship bracelet! —Seriously? How does that even work? God knows, and now that I know what I'm missing, I was disappointed that his libido remained firmly in his pants. But if I can't have both sex and friendship, I like this better—something actually based on something. It's more durable, and easier on the emotional digestion. I'd rather be friends with a big fat dork who fumbles like anyone else over jewellry clasps, than Lover #386926583 of Mick Jagger any day. ....But even that seems doomed; my real friends don't ignore me! But just when I'm about to write him off totally, he invariably sends out some little pink-and-gold butterfly with rose-petal wings. Damn him. ….If only I could say, “I love it when you're shy, when you're awkward, when you don't know what to do around women. I love it when you're afraid of being left. I love it when you're not in control.” The chinks in the armor. The more armor, the more appealing the chinks.
Which was why I was so pissed and hurt New Year's Eve. It's one thing to be ignored by Jagger. But part of me had been feeling the growing presence of Big Fat Dork, and this guy—he's worth keeping around! One day in the recent past we were walking down a hall and he was behind me and he reached out and touched me, a soft pat. It was different from his touch in the early days. It wasn't scripted. It wasn't in control. It wasn't a sexual caress. It was simple, affectionate, and shy. A question mark, not a period. I can feel that, you know, I thought, smiling. So, after that, to feel played and used and cast-off like a congealing condom at the sequel to the party that had started it all...really stung.
But he had no idea. He was peeing OFF the bridge. You run the party, you talk to a few friends, you dance a couple tandas, you look over and Jordana is engrossed in conversation with Ryo and Saul and Ariel. A milonga is for chatting with friends. And then at practically the beginning of the night, she's gone, without you getting to dance with her! Huh? Women are funny things.
The trick is not taking things personally. You take them personally and you feel like shit. You don't take them personally and you feel like the lotus growing out of the shit. This trick, however, is like flow: hard to create on purpose! Although presumably, also like flow, it is a cultivatable skill.
I suspect I've got a long way to go before I can intentionally fall into the headspace of not taking personally actions that happen in a world where everything should be, first and last, personal. These are embraces we're talking about here. If they're not personal, then we should all pack our condoms back into our bags and go home. So I should be furious and hurt.
On the other hand, when I'm not furious and hurt, I feel a lot better and life is a lot nicer and easier for everyone. So how to balance the impersonal and the personal...ah...
If it means I can be friends with Big Fat Dork and leave Jagger behind, I will do it!