Of Fries and the French Man Part III

Part I here.

Part II here.

I’m alone in the apartment. It’s our second night together and you’re out. I would have a cigarette but I’ve quit. I don’t have any friends in London and it’s too darn cold to go out anyway.

I watch Trainspotting¬†and wonder how drunk you’ll get tonight. Or if you’ll mention me to her.

At 2 am I hear the keys jiggle. You stumble into the apartment, drunk of course. “You’re still up?”, you say, and plant a kiss on my forehead. “Did you have a good night?”, I ask. “Yes, CC is really funny. I tell you more tomorrow okay? I’m really tired.”

CC. I assume that’s your nickname for her. At least he comes home to me, I think. You go to bed and I lie awake next to you, again.

I don’t hold any grudge or resentment towards you. If I could have men eating out of my hands, I would choose it. I would choose a life where I could have any man I wanted, a life where they all wanted me, where they are willing to do anything for me. I’d choose that kind of existence and I have no shame in admitting it.

And you have that. You with your charm, with your dimples, with your brown skin, with your French accent, with your dance moves, with your sense of humour. You have girls flocking towards you. Why would you need to choose one?

I guess this is why I stay. Because I understand why you do it. I don’t blame you for living this way, because I would do the same if given a choice. I would spend each night in a different person’s arms, take in all the different scents and sensations. I would turn it into a game, a sport.

 

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Of Fries and Why Your Relationships Fail (Part 2)

Part 1 here.

As someone who didn’t know how to be in the ‘normal’ moments of a relationship, it’s no surprise why I kept creating drama after drama.

It’s no surprise why when the relationship became ‘boring’, I looked for ways out.

Fast forward to me now, at thirty years of age. I’m happily married and I realise the key to that happiness isn’t at all in the grand romantic gestures. Sure, those gestures warm my heart. But what matters are the moments in between. The everyday ‘normal’ moments that I used to think were ‘boring’.

It’s thanking your partner when they bring the bins out.

It’s kissing them good morning and greeting them hello with a hug.

It’s having a laugh when one of us farts.

It’s them bringing you a Krispy Kreme on their way home.

It’s cuddling in bed while talking about each person’s day.

It’s sitting next to each other — you reading and them playing golf on their phone.

It’s playing poker and betting on household chores.

As Mark Manson puts it:

“I think, if you look at a relationship, I actually think it should be as boring as possible. And that sounds really weird to people but if you think about it, a really happy 80-year-old couple that’s been together for 60 years, the reason that they’ve been together for 60 years, it isn’t because they took all these private jets and they had these crazy vacations and “Oh my God, look at their pictures.”¬†

It’s because that they were able to be boring together. They are able to spend year after year, sitting around the house, talking about the same boring stuff, watching TV, watching movies, cooking dinner, and it went fine. There was nothing exciting, there’s nothing blowing up, there’s no huge drama, and dishes flying.”

When I look back, most of my relationships failed because of the unrealistic expectations I had. Of how the relationship should be. Of how my ex partner should be. All of it based on my notion of ‘romance’.

And it’s not just expectations of grand romantic gestures and words, I realised I had subconscious expectations about how things should be based on ‘gender roles’.

I’ll get into that in the next post.

In the meantime, what are some of your expectations in a relationship and a partner?

(To be continued)

 

Of Fries and the French Man Part II

Part I here.

“She’s got this laugh”, you say, “it’s so contagious. And she’s got this way of being so excited about everything. You two would have been good friends”, you’re talking about your ex.

Sometimes it feels like she’s still a part of you. And you don’t want to let her go. I see messages from her pop up on your phone sometimes. Who am I to say anything, I did come between both of you. I’ve made peace with her place in our relationship. Like a scented candle, subtle but ever present. It’s my price to pay for what I did to her.

But I also know you’ll never go back to her. I know you say you want stability, but what you really crave for is adventure and excitement. I’ve never been a ‘sure thing’ before and maybe that’s what kept you around. I worry now that I’m here, I’ll drive you away. You’re a thrill seeker and I don’t know when you’ll go for your next chase.

“I love you like I’ve never loved someone before”, you said, “I belong to you. Corps et ame”. Those things you said were the reason I got on that plane. But I know better than anyone that talk is cheap.

You’re having drinks with Charlotte from work tonight. She’s sad because she just broke up with her boyfriend. Frenchies need to stick together, you said. Don’t wait up for me, you said.

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Of Fries and Why Your Relationships Fail (Part 1)

Growing up, my expectations of men and relationships have been shaped by books and movies.

Fairytales where Prince Charming and Snow White (or Sleeping Beauty or Cinderella) never really got to know each other, yet fall in love and live happily ever after.

Novels and films where men pursue, rescue, make grand romantic gestures, and are amazing in bed. I devoured the same story lines over and over again, even into my adulthood. Safe to say I was a hopeless romantic.

So here’s me with my high expectations about men, romance, relationships. On the other hand, here are these men who weren’t shaped by the same books and films. Don’t have the same notion of ‘romance’, and are about to go on a date with me.

Recipe for disaster, isn’t it?

On my first date at the age of sixteen, we go for a movie. I arrive at the shopping mall by train (he doesn’t pick me up). We pay for our own ticket. We eat McDonald’s while we wait for the movie to start. We sit in the theatre. His clammy hands reach for mine. Halfway into the movie, he attempts to kiss me. It’s wet, sloppy, awkward, and way too much tongue on his part. It was my first kiss and nothing like what I’ve read in books or seen in films. The movie ends. He’s meeting friends afterwards. I take the train home.

No grand romantic gestures. Heck, there weren’t even little gestures.

He tells his friends the date went great. I tell my friends he’s not romantic.

In my first relationship at the age of nineteen, he doesn’t show up at my door after we’ve had an argument. He doesn’t name a star after me. He doesn’t send me 1,000 daisies. He doesn’t surprise me with a home cooked meal.

I arrive at the same conclusion: He’s not romantic.

In my twenties after ending my first relationship, I looked for what I thought was romance: big words and big gestures. And I found them. Poetic and eloquent men. Men who showed up at my door unannounced. Men who sent me flowers. Men who sang for me. Men who surprised me with home cooked meals.

But here’s the problem: I had long associated romance with grand gestures, that I had no clue what to do about the moments in between the gestures.

In all the books I’ve read and movies I’ve watched, I didn’t learn a single thing about how to be when things are just… normal.

Who can relate to what I’m saying?

Part 2 here.

Of Fries and the French Man Part I

You look tired and as if you lost weight. I know what kept you going these past few weeks was the thought of being with me. But I worry who you’ll become once the novelty of me wears off. I worry you’ll go back to who you were.

You take me out for dinner that night. It’s a nice Italian place, you said. The owner is an old Italian man, and you enjoy some banter with him as we walk in. You try your best Italian accent and it elicits a smile from the owner and some of the waitresses. I smile too, because I’ve always been attracted to your charm. And your French accent remains strong even when speaking Italian.

We sit down for dinner and you make your usual jokes about me being a vegetarian. I had a lot on my mind before and wanted to talk about them, but I let you do most of the talking as usual. You talk about your job, your friends, your colleagues.

You mention one of your colleagues by name, and from the way her name sounds on your lips, I get the feeling there’s more to say about her than what you’re saying. But I don’t ask. You’re a bad liar and I’d rather not catch you in a lie. I’m here now and that’s all that matters.

We walk back to the apartment and you’ve had too much wine again. I unlock the door for us, you take off your clothes, plant a kiss on my forehead, and collapse onto the bed. I lay next to you, listening to your heavy breathing. I think about the life I’ve left behind. About what’s to come. I haven’t felt this lonely in a while.

Part II here.

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