Sunday, October 05, 2008

Coin toss

I've never been in love. A few flirtations that led nowhere are the sum of my romantic history. "Bridges to nowhere," so to speak, no real relationships.

It hasn't been hard to avoid, since 1) I'm not an exceptionally pretty girl, with the plain face and glasses and small bra size and nearly nonexistent sense of style and 2) I'm very shy. Getting up the nerve to talk to someone I have a crush on is like convincing myself to jump into a cold pool of water.

But I don't even know if I want to be in a relationship. Honestly, I just don't get men. I don't understand people who are wired to like porn, sports, and video games. Yeah, I have some great guy friends in my life who are incredibly smart and interesting, not to mention caring and kind. I have all the affection in the world for them. And I *like* guys, as in I can appreciate the hotness of, say, Brad Pitt, and I like the smell of cologne.

But deep down, I don't trust men, even the ones I know. I've seen relationships ripped apart by infidelity, and plenty of evidence to support the adage, "Men are pigs." I hate how easily men can say one thing and do another, or not say anything at all. Whether it's a Mars-Venus issue or men are all flawed beings, I don't know. But there's a fundamental rift in understanding that can't easily be resolved.

And even in a decent relationship where there is some level of trust, I think women still get the raw end of the deal. Women are expected to serve in a way men are not. A long time ago, when my parents were still married, there was a certain tone my dad would take when he called for my mom: "BE-YEH-TRIZ!" This was usually when something domestic was not up to par, like his pants weren't ironed properly or something in the kitchen wasn't in its usual place. There was an authoritative, almost parental note in it, like what he was really saying was, "Woman, get over here!" Maybe my parents' marriage was fairly old school, but two weekends ago I heard my friend's boyfriend take the same exact tone. "Get me another beer!" And she actually stuck her hand into the cooler, grabbed a beer and tossed it to him! Is this how power dynamics go in male-female relationships in 2008? Shudder. Thinking about that makes me thank God for my single life. I'm happy not to be expected to clean anybody's bathroom, do anyone's laundry, or fetch anyone's drink except my own.

You wonder why women sign up for this crap...but then raw emotion hits and it's all over, even for me. I do get jealous seeing happy couples. Weddings kill me. My cousin got married last weekend, and what I'll remember most is this look of perfect understanding and comfort that passed between her and the groom at the altar, a look that said, "We're in this together." The ice around my heart cracked and then melted away in a flood. Ah, love. I'm a fool for it just like everyone else. If the opportunity came, I couldn't turn it away.

Still, I don't see it as inevitable. For now I see love as a coin toss. There's a chance I'll be that woman with the successful career, who has travelled around the world and read tons of books, in whose life romantic entanglements have been far beside the point. But there's also a chance that I'll discover that happy relationships are not a fantasy and are perhaps worth making a few sacrifices for. For now, it's up in the air, and I'm watching the faces of the coin come up one after the other, not sure which it will land on.

No comments: