Apr 19, 2006

The Novel

I'm going to make a sign. A billboard. I'll stick it on every major highway and thereby do more good for womankind than any Breast Cancer Society. "We will sleep with you anyway! So quit force-feeding us all that 'I love you' bullshit!"

Maybe I'lll rephrase "bullshit." I want small boys to be allowed to read this too--you're never too young to get this message.

I don't get it, I really don't. I didn't want Greg to tell me he loved me--I certainly don't love him, I've only known him a few months, and besides, his major interests seem to be limited to Nintendo and Maxim. But we were having a good time! We were going out and dancing (he does have dancing skills going for him) and having lots of sex (some skills there too) and it was fine and I wasn't looking any further than whether or not he wanted to come with me to the Yo La Tengo concert next week. But then he up and brings me roses and dinner and champagne and waltzes me in tight little circles until I'm so dizzy I think "Hey, sure, this is great!" And then he gets out the big guns.

I know, I'm a terrible person. If I don't love someone, I shouldn't encourage them loving me--that's cruel and smacks of using them. It's just. . .I haven't had anyone not related to me declare their love for me in a really long time. And I want to be loved, everyone wants to be loved, there's nothing wrong with that, right? I intended to say something soon. . .but I thought I might at some future date fall in love with him--you never know--so I decided to stick my fingers in my ears, close my eyes, chant "lalalalala" and go with the pleasure principle for a while.

What a waste of a guilty conscience. My conscience has no instincts whatsoever. It was so not required here, as was made incredibly clear when I headed over to his apartment this afternoon with my brand spanking-new keys to his door and found a curvy, red-haired woman all snuggly in his bed wearing my damn Victoria Secret slinky thing! Greg rolled over and said "Oh, hey. I thought you said you were coming by at seven?"

Bastard. So now, on account of this, I've had to break up with him, and whereas yesterday I was having recurring, more than adequate sex, now I'm back to getting no sex in the foreseeable future. And the worst of it is that if he hadn't insisted on us getting committal, I would probably have been okay with his extracurricular two-person pushups.


"Liz, come on. I'm not kidding, it really doesn't have to do with you. I'm a guy, I know."
"But why couldn't I have been enough for him?" I wail, slumping onto the table. "I'm fun, and more importantly, I'm hot!"
"You're very hot," James agrees, and signals Simone-the-tatooed-and-bellbottomed-bartender for another beer.
"And I'm a damn fine lay!"
"I wouldn't know for sure, but I can well imagine that being the case."
"You'd better imagine it!"
"I have."
"Because I want it proclaimed around the city that I am so good. . .wait, what?"
"What?" James asks.
"You've imagined having sex with me?" I peer at him through Jack Daniels-fogged eyes.
"Well, yeah. Don't take it personally, though, I've imagined having sex with pretty much every woman I've met. Haven't you imagined having sex with me?"
"Well. . ." Yes. "No, of course not. You're my best friend. You don't imagine sex with your best friend. It's incestuous."
"Okay. Must be a guy thing then. Which brings me back to, Liz, babe, don't do this to yourself. Please. We're stupid, we're fuck-ups, and he royally fucked up, but that just makes him a jackass. It means that he's less, not that you're less. Thanks, Simone." She gives his shoulder a little rub and struts on back behind the bar. She always does that. It's why James likes this bar so much. I think it's a total dive, and it's all the way out on 2nd Avenue, but at least they don’t seem to mind when I get so drunk I'm dancing on the tables.
"But he said he loved me!" I moan.
"And maybe he did."
"But if he loves me, why the hell would he do that?"
"I don't know, I certainly wouldn't sleep with a fat redhead."
"You have slept with a fat redhead."
"Right. Forgot about Becca. The point is, Greg's a jackass."
"Greg's a jackass who doesn't love me anymore!"
"Oh, for God’s sake." James is getting a bit exasperated with me. Clearly I'm a self-absorbed cow. "Do you love him?"
"No," I say in a small voice.
"Great. Then this sucks, but it's not the end of the world. Now shut up about it before I call you 'Lizzie.'"
"She wasn't really fat," I mumble reluctantly.
"I guessed as much. But I'm okay with calling her fat if it makes you feel superior. Now will you please lighten up and order a drink that doesn't make you weepy so we can talk about my problems?"
I roll my eyes. James doesn't have any problems. He flits from one non-committal relationship to another--"flit" in the masculine moth sense rather than butterfly--and miraculously, they all end amicably and no one ever seems to have any hard feelings. I don't get it. I wish he'd teach me how to do that. Or teach the Gregs of the world, anyway.
"Oh, what's the matter, babe?" I ask, as condescendingly as I can. "Did you stub your toe?"
"Very funny. Liz, can you think of anything at all inspiring and/or sexy about a brand of tampon? Why oh why do they give me these assignments?! Did I commit murder in a past life or something?"
Oh, right. Work problems. People have those--some people actually think at their jobs, rather than endlessly pressing the "start" key on the photocopier and fax machine. James is currently a minion in the advertising industry, yearning for the days when he can spend his creativity on things he cares about, like cars or condoms.
"Well. . .maybe a picture of an ugly girl with bloodstains on her backside, and then a picture of a cute girl with a cute boy, both of them bloodstain-free?"
"Kotex did that last May."
I finish off my Jack Daniels and wave my hand over at Simone. "I'm feeling better now!" I shout.
"Ready for your Tanqueray and tonic?" she calls back.
"Yeah, thanks!" I turn back to James. "Why don't you get a job like mine? You know what I did all day? I realigned spreadsheets. Which is to say, I pressed the delete key and the space bar. And that's it. It requires no thought, there's no pressure or criticism--so long as I get that delete key and space bar pressed, I am free to spend my mental capacity in more beneficial ways."
"Liz, I know you don't quite get this, but your job sucks. Pressing the delete key all day is not a good thing; it would turn most people into narcoleptics."
"Well, I like it." And I do--Lion Educational Imprint may not be the most inspiring job in the world, but at least I get to say glamorously "I work in publishing," and I get paid way more than the trained monkey that could do my job would ever make.
"That's because you've got no ambition whatsoever. Now come on, focus. What do you think about a singing tampon--you know, a little jingle about no leaks? It works with diapers."
Simone grins at James as she brings me my drink. He winks at her. He's the only person I know who can wink and have it look like anything but an eye twitch.
"Yeah, that's a really bad idea. It would be better to have the tampon be a sort of reverse penis--you know, one that absorbs rather than squirts."
"Now that's just disturbing."

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