Being recent transplants from the liberated coasts, neither of us had the slightest idea what to do with the moral hang-ups/conflictedness that seemed so prevelent in the Midwest. It was probably the crux of our non-relationship relationship. He knew more about it than I did, starting out, telling me varied and sundry horror stories of wholesome girls who thought of England and sometimes cried- and even by then I had a few myself about dudes who threw down the barricades between virgin and whore, good time and future suburban housewife, as though women were factory widgets that could be easily sorted in labeled boxes.
I have many more now, and I understand it still less. My non-understanding of this has sent me into more than a few fits over the past two years since the non-relationship has been non-existent. I am supposed to be understanding, but I am not as good at it as you might think. I can't possibly imagine that I'm as bad as all that.
He was handsome, and funny, and he put up with me for two years, moved me into my apartment, was always happy to see me and thought I was way more awesome than any plain jane wholesome girl (and not in an "Oh my! But aren't you fascinating!" kind of way). I don't care that he never read my writing or went to my readings- it's actually better, I think, for me to keep those things separate. I don't care that he wasn't a radical- I already know what I think about things. I don't care anymore if one time he left dinner early to go watch a giant squid on television, and I don't even care that he eventually did ditch me for that awful, awful girl.
I think maybe I screwed up somewhere along the line. I wasn't very nice always. I kind of took some things for granted. I listened too much to other people. I held onto a torch that had already burned off half an arm.
I liked being able to just be a person- not something in a box. None of the dudes that I've hung around with since then have allowed me to do that. Mostly they just see me as some grand experiment in playing the libertine or intellectual they like to pretend/dress like they are, and then return to their dreams of I don't know what- probably chicken farming or something.
I talked to him for almost two hours on the phone the other day, and we're hanging out this week, and I'm happy. For all the talk I got from dudes who were writers or scenesters or whatever about him, or guys like him not being able to "understand" me... I've found that few of them were ever able to carry on a two hour conversation with me (or do so without boring me to death).