Passion or Stability?

by Molly Undercover on August 22, 2017

Like all real things, there is a complicated side to ‘uncomplicated’.  

Oh, how the lovely romantic entanglements we have can also be heartbreaking. My dream date with Adonis , for example. It was lovely, but also puzzling. Sharing each other’s presence, I got more of a sense of his vulnerability and intimacy than I get from most people ever. (I know, I know, women confuse physical stuff with love all the time. But read about the date . . . the connection was on many levels.) But, he has proved to be also only ’emotionally available’, for fleeting hours of face time, and with no promises. In between dates, we have been practically strangers to each other. He’ll ignore my texts until he wants to talk to me. Much of our lives–such as the part in which we are both single parents with past baggage and future desires and mundane daily activities and other romantic involvements and struggles, are kept sealed away like nuclear waste. Now, part of me is very much ok with this kind of compartmentalization. I actually like it, because of the escape, and the passion. But. . .

There are times when I question whether I have the stomach. 

This past Saturday felt like too much with regard to the ‘compartmentalized romance’ thing. I went to a breakfast cafe that happens to be a place Adonis and I had enjoyed together once in the past. I went with Tim for a fun mom-and-kid breakfast–after all, Adonis doesn’t own the place, and I wanted some avocado toast on sourdough, damnit! I made sure I was on my game, beauty-wise, as I usually try to do these days. You never know who you’ll see out and about in my city and I also just enjoy myself better if I feel proud of my appearance. And, in the back of my mind I did consider he might grace the place with his presence. I live in the same neighborhood with Adonis, and considered ahead of time that it could happen that we’d run into each other. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment? Anyways, I wore a cute bare-shouldered top, hair in beachy waves, and a glossy red lip. Meow.  And then it happened. As Tim and I were finishing our trendy plates, in saunters Adonis with a beautiful lady who seemed conspicuously dressed in the previous night’s date-dress. Hm.  

Now, that may sound like a nightmare, since I’ve been involved with Adonis recently, but actually, it’s ok. Neither he nor I have spent one fraction of a second together under the impression that our involvement was monogamous–not by a long shot! He’s just a captivating guy I’ve dated with absolutely zero promises, and good for him. This morning, as Tim and I walked by and he waited for a table, he buried his head in some reading material, the brim of his hat jauntily hiding his divine, Greek godly face. No eye contact. No love. I have to be honest. I didn’t love that he didn’t look up. I felt squirmy.

And yet, it’s kind of fair; he couldn’t have been sure I wouldn’t be weird, wouldn’t do something uncouth or dramatic. Maybe it was even unfair for me to pop into ‘his’ cafe on his street on a Saturday morning?

Being ‘uncomplicated’, we hadn’t overtly discussed what we’d do.

I would have loved to have caught his eye. Not to stop and talk and get things tangled up in introductions or conversations–ick, nobody needs quite that level of complication. I just wanted to maybe just to give him a wink, a knowing glance to let him know ‘I see you. Rock on with your sexy self’. It would have been a human and decent thing for him to do, to show recognition to me, as someone he’d been intimate with recently. In my opinion, it is actually not cool or very nice to ignore people you are on good terms with and even less nice if they’re an object of your affections. But, it’s a complicated thing, to show that recognition in public, with other entanglements present. I’m not mad. But I’m a bit squirmy about it. 

But what did she know??

As Tim and I stood out front messing with our bicycles, I did what I probably shouldn’t have; I glanced back in the restaurant window to see if I was being seen.  I almost turned into a pillar of salt; the lovely lady was gazing over her shoulder at me! I wondered what was going through her mind, and even more, what did she know? I mean, why was she watching me? And–oh, ick. Had he gone through all of the same activities of the dream date he and I had shared, but with her, the night before? Was it all just a routine, not real, and an act? Was I just a passive subject in his self-absorbed Adonis Show?

Ah well, I’ll probably never know. And even if so, god that was fun and I don’t care that much. That still wouldn’t erase my take aways from that dream date. My feelings of inspiration and return-to-self and joy that I’d felt around Adonis. Those were real to me. 

I didn’t even exactly feel too jealous. After all, I’m a pretty lovely lady with a delightful son, and I don’t really need all the men’s attention all the time. I thought, jokingly in my mind, about how, later, I’d tease Adonis, saying that I didn’t say ‘hi’ to him because I was just trying to be discreet, knowing Adonis would surely be jealous of my captivating date (Tim). I rode away with Tim feeling both smug and disconcerted. 

I know, some of you might say this guy’s a snake. That his weakness is that he is unavailable, uncommitted, unkind. But I’m not so sure. I feel I ‘get’ his behavior, and if it’s inexusable, then I am also inexcusable, for he’s more like me than not.

Recently, I came across the poem I Know Someone, by Mary Oliver.

I Know Someone 

I know someone who kisses the way
a flower opens, but more rapidly.
Flowers are sweet. They have
short, beatific lives. They offer
much pleasure. There is
nothing in the world that can be said
against them.
Sad, isn’t it, that all they can kiss
is the air.

Yes, yes! We are the lucky ones. 

-Mary Oliver, Felicity

It is an appreciation of beauty, life and pleasure that takes my breath away. Adonis astonishes me. He loves life and makes no promises. Maybe he’s just figured out some secrets. Maybe he’s found his strength, and is playing to it. Maybe, like a gorgeous flower, he’s giving himself and others experiences of pleasure and beauty when he can. Maybe he’s living his life honestly but trying not to overthink. This is a quality I want for myself, more and more. What is the harm? After all, he’s never lied or broken a promise to me. Like a flower, what can I really say against him? All’s fair in love and war.   

If I had to choose right now, for all time, whether I wanted a string of enchanting dream dates without attachment, or a stable, serious, long-term, monogamous relationship, I’d chose the former, hands down!  

But here’s where I get complicated, Debbie Downer and cerebral: 1) It takes a lot of energy for me to get past that ‘squirm’ at something like what happened today. I had to do a little deep breathing and a little emotional gymnastics and a long phone call with a wise and polyamorous friend. And, 2) What about finding someone to be a stable man-person in Tim’s life? What about having a ‘relationship’ where domestic life can be shared, that is recognized in the public sphere? That gets some respect? Shit, that allows ME to be recognized as someone’s important lady in the public sphere?Aren’t these things aspects of love too? Isn’t that long term relationship the ‘right’ thing to do, that all romance movie plots slide down into in the end? What about going home to someone and talking about your day, or getting to know someone’s flaws and loving them still, the way you do in a committed relationship? I either kind of want those things too, or something, (Hollywood, patriarchy, capitalism, heteronormativity, whiteness, the illuminati?) has convinced me that I should want those things. Do I have to choose, or can I have passion AND stability? Right now, stability sounds so heavy, boring, and oppressive. 

I’m just going to let this complicated knot of conflicting ideas just BE

Like I tend to do when I’m at my best. I’m not going to try to make perfect sense of it right this instant. Today, Tim and I left the cafe, went for a beautiful summer bike ride. We got really hot, then found a Mexican grocery with cold beverages and nice guys who shared a spicy tamale with us, bringing me back to my senses and out of my head. We went thrifting and Tim started crafting his nefarious Halloween costume plans with our thrift store booty! I told Tim, as we biked through the city that we were basically living my perfect day–thrifting, biking, good food, and being with a loved one. Yeah, I’ll always have my memory of the perfect date with Adonis, but what’s way more important, I’ll always remember the joy of spending time like this day with Tim. My love and my family. Whether I ever settle down into something stable again some day, or stick with a string of passionate encounters, I’ll always have myself, too. And that is what I call complicated, messy, sexy happiness. 

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