Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

You should know this about me

From the editor: I save things, especially introspective writing things, but I need to get rid of the following. It represents a sort of viciousness towards myself that while linguistically delightful really serves no good purpose anymore. There is no need to revisit, revise, repackage this, but no need to waste it either. I feel reasonably good. So please excuse and enjoy.

As a child I craved approval. If I did not obey and excel, worry ballooned inside of me. The world grew larger and louder. I grew quieter. Praise made me less happy than relieved, like on Saturdays when my mom would put the vacuum away and I could release my knees from my chest, assured that its strange sentient headlight would not seek and mangle my toes. I shared this fear with the dog. I, however, was allowed on the couch.

To disobey and chance disapproval dizzied me with guilt. A raised voice or a severe tone struck me audibly, and after a stunned moment I'd cry. The deep warm sobs shamed me further, so I'd hide. If in the schoolyard, I'd hide on the other side of the big pine tree, circling to avoid the scornful curiosity of other children, who would ask me why I was crying. The why didn't matter in that moment. The why made it worse.

Still today I seek approval from attractive women, confident men, and anyone who seems in touch with the universe. It affects how I behave. It affects my sex, or lack thereof.

I want to be a man who can charm a woman into an easy smile, unfurling her beauty. I want to be a man who can lift her to tender new heights with his words and through his directness and character expand her elaborate fantasies and her plan for the future. This man has confidence. This man has technique. This man has testicles. Such testicles that he checks the water level of the toilet before he sits down.

I am not this man. Through deference I ask his approval. When in the company of an available woman, I do not compete with him for her attention. I retreat into my own thoughts in search of witticism, finding only weirdness. With hands in pockets, I watch him use words and hand gestures to be smart and funny and appreciative. Douchebag. But I fear his disapproval and hers, so I become a tag-along, an also-ran, a non-entity. I disapprove of myself. In bowing to fear, I have disrespected myself.

Deference is bullshit. I should assert my own sexual identity. I hate being used to emphasize the masculinity of another. As in the animal kingdom, rivalry is healthy, though it does favor big males. Among humans, though, biting to hurt is generally unacceptable, as is ass-sniffing, test-mounting, urination for territorial purposes, and charging the doorway when another man enters the room. We make pretty crappy animals. I guess that's why we have war.

I should be funny. Funny begs a woman for approval, even love, without seeming pathetic. It's just honesty about fear. It comes from pain, from falling down in front of people -- not getting the girl, not having a whiff of hope, only my own milky odor, being told "no" but in not so many words. If she laughs she understands, having had her own share of pain and disapproval. If she makes a joke, even better.

I like a funny woman because I like to laugh and I like her parts and if I ever want sex again, only to laugh with her parts, never at them. She shuns the niceties in favor of life. When I find someone who creates the right laughter in me, I'll bang her and spend years with her. Funny may be ugly, but laughter is beautiful.




Blogger sybil law said...

You're perfect, really.
I'd choose to hang by your side in most places.
Unless Dave Grohl was there.

10:37 PM  
Blogger JMH said...

If I'm mentioned in the same comment as Dave Grohl, I'm good with that.

10:46 PM  
Blogger KoZ said...

Beautiful. I know you mentioned you have moved past this point in your life, but, even so you have no need to seek the approval of anyone, especially the ones who are knowledgeable about and in touch with the universe; we wouldn't give you the approval anyway on the account, that we, as well as you, know you don't need it.

I ramble...

I've experienced the beauty of, and lack of, laughter lately. I had to stop seeing a girl because her laughter made me cringe, even though I tried to refrain. And I love the laughter of the girl I'm dating now; sweet as her cheeks.

1:09 AM  
Blogger patguy said...

"Among humans, though, biting to hurt is generally unacceptable, as is ass-sniffing, test-mounting, urination for territorial purposes, and charging the doorway when another man enters the room."

I'm going to make this into a sign to hang in my bathroom, or maybe on the fridge, just as a reminder, not as a list of rules, mostly for my own benefit. Mostly.

1:42 PM  
Blogger jorg wobblington lopez said...

You have found the dude and now subjugate the nerd. The nerd will find the dude and you will become enlightened.

2:42 PM  
Blogger JMH said...

KoZ - Thanks, right on! I think I'm going to start saying "sweet as your cheeks." Like, "These Skittles are as sweet as your cheeks. But poop doesn't come out of them."

patguy - Mostly, yes. I could also use a sign in my own words that gently reminds me what is generally unacceptable human conduct. Although, as with any sort of sign, I'd probably defy it, citing the Five Man Electrical Band: "If God was here, he'd tell you to your face, man you're some kind of sinner."

jorg - enlightened you say?

1:04 AM  
Blogger Stella said...

I wish I knew 50 jokes to write right here. I don't. But I do love those crinkly lines that creep up around my eyes when I read your posts.

3:40 PM  
Blogger JMH said...

Thanks. With content like this, when I'm really not providing anything practical, reading has to be a pleasurable experience. Otherwise why?

10:08 PM  
Blogger dogimo said...

First: well-written. By which, I guess, I mean I need to say what I mean by that. "Well-written?" What's well-written? What is well-written?

Here, it is - with something to say: saying it. Putting something in the picture because it's there. Depiction. Inking in the depths with assured tones, while not neglecting to pick out the highlights with strikes of sharp white. Not to say it comes off artless - just that obtrusive style oft mars effect far more than it has effect.

Second: well-edited. Or perhaps, editor'd. Nice trick if you can manage it! To editor y'self.

I'm neither an attractive woman nor a confident man - unless, does it count as confident if you know full well all your confidence is wrong-headed? - but in any case, I am in full contact with the universe. And so with your permission, please allow me to approve.

1:56 AM  
Blogger Rassles said...

Men who are too confident piss me off, because it requires me to show them they aren't in charge of the room. I am.

The ones I like best are the ones that immediately accept me as an equal, instead of trying to herd me around or dismiss me as a stereotype. A problem arises, though: men who see you as an equal do not see you as a woman for a long time.

So there has to be this ridiculous game where I have to work to portray myself as a sexually available woman first, and then let out the rest of me slowly, like a surprise, and then they are shocked that yes, we are equals. I don't like doing that at all. I feel like it's a compromise.

4:44 PM  
Blogger JMH said...

Joe - Great comment, thanks, and educational in that it defines fuzzy terms.

I am my own editor, the editor, but the editor is not a bad man, rarely cruel. He's more of an intuitive mechanic who tinkers until something works and then there's joy.

I've never doubted your full contact with the universe. I can tell because your writing bursts and swirls and is funny. The universe is bursting and swirling and funny.

9:32 PM  
Blogger JMH said...

Rassles - The boss of the room! I like a room-boss who will keep the quiet ones engaged with eye-contact so they don't drift off into their private mental prisons.

I'm not sure how I'd even go about stereotyping you. That seems a difficult and pointless task.

As for being a woman and not seen as such, that interests me. It's not something I've considered in any depth, maybe I'm a bit self-absorbed, but it sounds awful and maybe convenient sometimes.

So you have to pique the sexual interest in order to let out the full personality, proclivities, and the like? It would seem so much easier for someone to just perceive the whole fucking thing to begin with.

The game is certainly ridiculous, but not without moments of joy.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Rassles said...

I feel like it's probably that way for a lot of women, they just might never have sat down and nitpicked apart exactly how they speak to men. Which I do. Because I am obsessed with myself. And I really only do it if it's some guy I'm interested in off the bat, otherwise it's all just me, out there, being the fucking boss of everything and annoying the hell out of everyone.

10:46 AM  

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