g notes has been a lot about dating lately. Next blog will be something nothing to do with dating or men. Promise.
A couple of months ago this guy came to my place with his lovely, lovely dog. I’d met him and the dog at the pub a few weeks earlier and then we’d started chatting on, yes, Tinder, so he came around for a cup of tea. I would say I invited him around for a cup of tea but that isn’t exactly what happened. What happened was, his incessant phone-calling and attempts to ‘catch up’ became so tiresome I was all like yeah whatever come over. I was snotty and chest-coughy at the time (didn’t bother him, apparently) and could think of helluva lot of other things I’d rather do: like get into bed and solo snuggle my flannelettes.
But there he was at the door, on a rainy, overcast winter weekday afternoon, a towering rugged-looking man with a dog at his heel. I welcomed them inside, made a fair amount of fuss about the dog, made the guy a cup of tea, and then I sat myself down on the spearmint-green recliner (usually offered to guests) and he sat on the couch in front of me. I pulled the foot rest out; he sat back and started talking. And, man, I could’ve gone to sleep. It’s very rare that I get bored when chatting with someone, I can fish around the most inactive of ponds and eventually find something, but not on this day, not with this guy.
A man once farted while I was giving him oral sex. I paused mid-movement, both startled and confused: what was I to do? Pretend it hadn’t happened? Withdraw his penis from my mouth and then express outwardly the guffawing that was of my mind? Make some kind of acknowledgement but then continue, stoically, unperturbed?* Thankfully these questions were answered for me: he grabbed my upper arm and within the moment I was laid on my back next to him, the noon sun streaming through his shuttered north-facing bedroom window and onto our faces, the sound of the fart reverberating around us.
A week earlier he’d given me his crumpled, single-print-run business card at a restaurant where he was working and I was eating with a friend. Two nights after that we went on a date to Neighbourhood Wine on Nicholson Street; we kissed later while sitting at the bar of the Empress and then again out front under the eaves, out of the rain. He’d pulled me in close, and it was one of those kisses, the kind where every part of your body, inside and out, hums. We went back to his house and I slept in my dress, in the crook of his arm. Early morning, after I’d left, he texted: ‘Thanks for a great night. God that sounds tacky. Amazing to meet you…’ I saved his number in my phone, something I never do, and when I saw his name flash on my phone, rather than a series of numbers, it felt nice. That Friday we drank coffee on Smith Street and then beers in the sun at the Union. The next night I met him at a party where I’d drunkenly mistaken his colleague’s advances for friendship and given him my number. Then on the Sunday, bathed in the shuttered noon sun, he did the fart. And, with the exception of the Monday that followed, I have not seen him on any day since.
‘Have you ever noticed how you always say, “But it doesn’t matter” and “I’m fine”? You say “I’m fine. It doesn’t matter” at the end of everything you say,’ she said.
‘I am fine and these things don’t matter,’ I said.
‘Then why are you here?’
‘Because I want the feeling in my sternum to go away.’
‘Then these things matter.’
Had that conversation seven years ago. Everything matters, always.
About a year ago I met a guy while waiting for a taxi in Collingwood. He was on a bike and pulled over to ask me for directions. We chatted for a bit, I gave him a hand warm-up, we shared the Crownie he had in his backpack, and then I walked him home. It was late, I’d been drinking. I awoke the next morning to find myself lying under a Jack Daniels doona cover and, I’ll be honest, I’d felt better. I sat up and rubbed my face. ‘Where are you going?’ he asked. ‘To the bathroom,’ I said. ‘I thought you might be leaving,’ he said. ‘Not yet,’ I said. In the sun-filled bathroom I washed my face with pineapple-scented hand wash and then went back to his bedroom, glancing around his sparse rental on the way. I said I was going to leave and he asked me for my number. I told him I wasn’t sure. ‘So that’s it then?’ he said. ‘It’s going to be a one-night thing?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I think so.’ And then I gave him my number and left. I bought a Frosty Fruit icy-pole on the way home and ate it propped up in bed. I wondered a bit about what I’d done, why I’d done it. That night he texted me, saying something nice. And again a few days later. I replied and said I’d met someone else, couldn’t see him again, all the best, nice to have have met you. He thanked me for letting him know. But he texted me again at new years to see how I was (Hey stranger!), and then again a few months after that (Long time no speak!). And then he texted me again yesterday, almost a year after we met, saying, ‘Gabby! How have you been?’ And I felt embarrassed for him and me, not because I knew I wasn’t going to write back, again, but because I’ve been that person. The person who just can’t accept that there’s nothing there, and there won’t ever be.
And so I must bide my time until the queen bee in my unrelenting mind gives some slack, says, ‘That’s enough now. That’s enough avoidance.’
Dating. Still doing it. Getting better at it. In some ways getting worse. Invited some guy from Tinder to my house the other night. Peered through the peep hole: a twirly mustachioed man stood on the other side. Mulled wine on the stove top. Purple inner lips. Face lips. Lilac cardigan. Nice to meet you, I said. Do you usually invite strangers to your house? he said. Yes, I thought. No, I said. I said it didn’t matter. Didn’t matter? he said. No, it doesn’t matter. You’re not allowed to matter. All my matter’s mattered out. Met a guy who lived in a shed. Met a guy who lived above a yoga studio. Met a guy who lived in a six-person share house. Met a guy with a dog. Met a guy who makes coffee: our fingers touched, felt the energy spread up my arm. What’s his name? Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter anymore. In and out: goodbye kisses in the doorway, cold hugs in the driveway. Talking, whispering, storytelling, listening, not listening, laughing, touching, sexing, saying I don’t think we should do this anymore. Breakfast? Toast. Vegemite? Not too much. Strangers. Strangers standing in my kitchen, sitting in my living room, sleeping in my bed. It only matters if it matters, he said. Does it matter? Yes, I think it matters, I said. Of course it matters. It will always matter. I’m not mattered out, I’m made of matter.
Sentences found in my 2011 journal. Back then I was trying to use fiction to arrive at some kind of ‘truth’. Obviously I never arrived. Silly.
‘The pockets of time and light that are too transitory to be put into words or even catch the eye…’ – source unknown
If I had the chance to re-write my real-life narrative…
I’d stopped listening and started transcribing what she said onto the backboard in my head. I wrote, in capital letters, ‘We will have extraordinary lives.’ Our palms met and our fingers entwined and our arms widened above us like a setting sun. ‘I feel like I’m going to be young forever,’ she said. The irony caught in my throat. I knew she knew I was suffering. I was already starting to feel old. I wiped the tears from my stone face and walked out of the room. I was relying on there to be a next time, in the lazy assumption that she would always be there – for when, if ever, I decided to introduce her to the characters keeping company in my head. There wasn’t enough room inside me. I fell to the ground as though everything in the world was crashing and I was just falling with it. The desired perception is that we never hurt. But Depression met its match in Grief. It was barbaric, violent and sickening. I will never walk shadowless again.
If I had the chance to re-write my real-life narrative…
The other day I had a run-in with a babe skateboarder on Church Street. He did a trick. He fell over. He admitted he was trying to show off. He asked me if I’d been impressed. I said not really, and kept walking. He called out,
I like your pants.
The other morning, on my way to the station, I witnessed a couple having a fight. He was dropping her off at her office and he turned away form her without saying or doing anything. In a pitiful voice, the woman said, ‘At least give me a kiss goodbye – what will people think?’ So he did,
and my blood ran cold.
As an aside note, I just started writing in a brand new Moleskine journal. It feels almost criminal vandalising these beautiful pages with such mindless dribble.