First posted to Facebook on August 3, 2010.
It is always sad to look back on the moment during which one realized one could not grow old with the man one has recently loved.
The moments themselves differ. Some are lights which dawn slowly, over months or years, and like the dawn one shields one's eyes so as to stay in bed a little while longer in the peace, in the night, in the past. Some strike like lightening, quick and deadly, making one run for cover. Others still are anti-climactic, a roar so dull one can go out afterwards and sit calmly in a bar with the man in question. One could even remain friendly with him if he weren't such a terrible bore.
And that's what I must have been looking for, all this while, despite my frequent insistence that my genetic makeup will never let me see 40, let alone a comfortable dotage of watercolors and early suppers. Someone I'd like to grow old with--"like" being the operative word. Someone who's there in the night not just to snore but to comfort. Someone who can move his lips now and then without lying, or boasting, or boring me to tears with orders, complaints, or idiocy. Someone whose mind broadens instead of narrowing with the years. Someone who is man enough to brave the unconditional.
Why haven't I found him yet, you may ask? I've been looking in the wrong place. In fact, I've found my way to the epicenter of wrong placedness. In the U.S., old age is the ugliest prospect imaginable. And Southern California was where the notion of old age as ugliness was born. Here men speak, shuddering in disgust, without any heart, in mixed company, of dried-up old-lady vaginas. They cheerfully suggest plastic surgery to minimize the sum of one's parts, maximize one's objectification, and make one younger. They consider one's natural state not just an imperfection to be corrected, but an affront to their delicate sensiblities, an insult to their friends, and an embarrassingly public sign that one does not really love them.
One can try, once the future of one's love has been brought to its end by this means, to ignore it and enjoy the short while one remains young--new--in the eyes of one's lover. One can let the comments about this woman looking old and that woman not belonging in public roll off one's back. Sooner or later, though, it will strip all the skin off. It will leave worse scars than a hail of bullets, than a whip, than shrapnel. Because isn't it true that love between two people, romantic love, requires a future? The possibility of a future? Otherwise it is nostalgia, grief, or just another not-so-interesting night in the sack. In the present live all one's self-exaggerated imperfections, which, one fears, must necessarily become shameful, hideous, in just a matter of years--no! Of months.
For isn't he looking at you now the same way he looked at the woman he just took special care to insult? Doesn't he see you with the same arbitrary eyes which so harshly judge the size, shape, fashionability, coiffure, and general acceptability of all that is feminine? Doesn't he kiss you with the same lips from which spew a frightening vitriol against the audacity of ugly women? Then it is only the hands of the clock which hold him back from directing his poison at you. When they have moved, lightening will strike.
I, playing the fool, have managed to hang around several of these SoCal types long enough to feel that venom (A SoCal type is not limited to those unfortunates who were born here, but to all those who came here seeking Double F breasts on 18 year old 5'2" 90 pound blondes). It was at first a horrible experience, though now it seems more or less standard--and when abuse starts to feel like the norm, it's long past time to get yourself out of the storm.
It continues to shock me, not that men would feel this way, for clearly most of them have always and will forever hate women, but that they would be so impolite, so impolitic, so self-righteous about it. More shocking still is that no one has seen fit to point out to these men their utter hypocrisy, for in their terrible behavior they have rendered themselves the ugliest beings of all.