Saturday, May 23, 2009

Clean Break

If timing is everything, then I'm not doing too badly -- certainly running well above 50-50 in the clean-break game. There's nothing like it when it's done right, to yield a wistful memory of an ex-lover, a little smile as one thinks, ah yes, now that was something. It's always so decadent to be able to add, with a rueful shake of one's head, that, sadly, it ended badly. The trick is to time it for when the initial lust has just peaked and started its down-swing, before two people become too comfortable with each other and the pettiness begins. I've always thought that it's OK to be a little in love, but just a little. That bears careful watching and a lot of skill, that being just a little in love.

Recently my ex has declared that he no longer feels a burning passion for me, news that has somehow shocked me to the core. By my reaction, I clearly see that I thought he would desire me forever. Isn't every man with whom I've made a break (clean or otherwise) perpetually lusting after me? I certainly thought so, up to a week ago. But my ex quite startled me by stating the simple truth (that so few men seem to grasp), which is that synergy is everything, and when the energy is abruptly removed on one end, well, sooner or later that's the end of it. And preferably sooner. Because, the very worst, the perfect opposite of a clean break, in my experience, are the cases when things ended badly but one talked oneself into thinking it might be possible to recapture that old magic. There can be something downright icky about this; it has never not been a mistake.

Clean breaks have become a bit harder these days for me, I'm afraid; I'm certainly aware that something's changed in me. The messy-to-beat-all-messy break (with my ex) has sent me shying down a new path, it would seem. The emotionally ambiguous, the chronically uncommitted -- and particularly those who hide their pathology well -- seem to hold a strong appeal. The days of having things, well, "settled" seem to be over. But I've made a pact with my ex -- we're back to the days of no more suffering fools gladly. And so in the last week I've ditched two more men, who seem to be under the misguided impression that they can just coast along with me. Case #1: after more than 3 weeks of dead silence on his end, during which I single-handedly moved myself to Spain, found housing, battled with ridiculous immigration paperwork, and managed a half-hearted attendance at DocumentaMadrid, I discovered *I* was supposed to be in charge of communication with the man Berlin threw at me at the last minute. My response? "It is not only the duty of a gentleman, but, one might venture to guess, also his great pleasure, to inquire after the health and well-being of a lady, as often and as immediately as possible. That is even more pertinent given the difficult circumstances which confronted this particular lady at this particular time." His abject apologies, to be accepted between the hours of 14-17, Mondays thru Thursdays, have not, to-date, been forthcoming. And he, I'm sad to say, was to be my evidence that there was more than one can-do German in Berlin. As the Lively German (who, I might add, has managed to call me twice since my move to Madrid) should by now be over the Nepalese border into Tibet, this means Berlin has exactly zero at this moment.

Definitely a more sinister commentary on Spanish manhood (or what passes as such), the second case involved Mr. Boy Toy from back in December. Did he call or Email me to greet me when I arrived? Did he offer any help with house-hunting or moving? Why no, actually, he got the brilliant idea to send not one but two SMSs, spaced at the particularly irritating interval of 11 minutes, at four in the morning last weekend. This, I've decided, is what passes as a mating call among Spanish men of a certain age. I don't suppose I need to outline my withering response (particularly as it was rendered in Spanish).

My ex used to say, semi-accusingly, that everything with me was a test. I prefer to think of it as "social research". But yes, of course we women are testing, and the more seasoned we are, the more refined our tests. After all, it's our evolutionary duty. Even still, I do admit, that I sometimes yearn for those days long past, when somehow everything seemed to just flow, as we jumped in with no thought for the future, because, quite simply, we had no pasts.

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