Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Curious Evolution of John and Jane Doe

When we were young girls, we cared about what the other girls thought. If they liked us; if they liked our new dress; if they were talking about us. Boys had cooties, and we didn't care what the boys thought. Times passes. We keep the girls who are close and true to us, and we stop caring about what the rest think-- if they're talking about us, what they're saying, if they like our new dress. It doesn't matter anymore. Skin's thicker. Gossip holds less sway. You couldn't give a shit about what she thinks about you, but something curious has happened-- now it's about what he thinks about you. Boys don't have cooties anymore-- they have the sickness you desperately want to catch.

We care, desperately, about what they think. We want them to like us. We want them to think we're smart and funny and warm and genuine. We want them to like our friends, and our friends to like them, and their friends to like us. We want things to be smooth, but not too smooth that it gets staid or boring-- just smooth enough to be comfortable, like their old worn-in t-shirts.

We pretend, after it's done, that it doesn't matter, that we didn't care that much, that we're absolutely fine. You can all pretend, and you all can act, all you like, but when it comes down to it, this is usually a performance put on before a clever audience who knows your stage tricks, so about the only thing that you have left to perform with is your dignity and hopefully, a mutual respect for what you had together.

Even if this happens, we still don't want to believe curtains are curtains. We want to believe that we cannot be left. We want to believe that coming back is possible. We want to believe that we are special alone. But the truth is that we are all readily replaceable, like parts-- not the whole machine. True, without some parts, it won't work, won't function at its best. But others will suffice. It'll keep moving.

As Patience and I sat up till 4 AM last night and compared notes about this, we came across a curious phenomenon-- despite all this insight and all the fieldwork from dating for years, we still cannot makes heads or tails out of what the lies we were told were, and what the truths were. Is it that you care about us, or do you just want to bang other chicks? Was it the weed or beer talking, or did you really at one time think we were something special? How much said was a quick charm, and how much said was true? Were you sincere? Or are you just an extremely accomplished player? And will we ever know the truth?

When it comes down to it, it's just one huge game. Like dating chess.


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