“New OkCupid prospect,” my friend Mel texts me. “She’s coming over tomorrow. Claims she wants to take a bath in my old fashioned tub. FIRST DATE.”
I actually met Mel on OkCupid. Sensitive, astute, big reader, she came up as a 90% match. Maybe if I’d been feeling particularly in need of a bath that week, our relationship would have gone in a whole other direction, but despite some early flirting, we felt more like friends.
There’s a sweet stability about Mel. In her early 40s, she’s a homeowner with decades-long roots in a Chicago suburb. She’s close to her parents, says she might want a family of her own. We’ve been friends for nearly a year now, and over that time the parade of anime-eyed-lost-girls trouping in and out of Mel’s life has both concerned and, I’ll admit, entertained me.
You’ve heard of manic-pixie-dream girls, those high-spirited Zooey Deschanel types, all polka-dotted shorts and dog-walking jobs. Mel’s girls are a little different; less impish then they are well, cutters. And anorexics. And kleptomaniacs. First there were several bikini-clad 19-year-olds. One strung Mel along for weeks before closing her OkCupid account. Another wound up trembling in the corner of Mel’s couch. “I’m super attracted to you,” she told Mel before locking herself in the bathroom for the rest of the night.
Next came the Demisexual. According to Mel, a Demisexual is someone who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. (To me, this seems equivalent to identifying as Bipedal because you walk on two legs. Nothing against those without two legs, but most people have them, so why go to the trouble of pointing it out?) Anyway, the Demisexual was also a toe-fetishist. So essentially Mel couldn’t have sex with this chick until they developed an emotional connection, but her toes were fair game. After that there was the woman who carried a stuffed dog everywhere, a couple of yoga instructors with daddy issues, and more exhibitionists than you can shake a stick at. By the way, if you do shake a stick at an exhibitionist they prefer you invite your friends to watch. (That was my exhibitionist stick-shaking joke.)
The myth of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl dictates that these deus ex child-women arrive to change—maybe even save—a man’s life, but I wonder if Mel’s the one looking to do some rescuing. If so, she’s hardly the only one. The care-taking butch and the damaged ingenue are as common in the queer female community as premature commitment and Old Navy jeans. And of course this dynamic isn’t specific to butch/femme couples. The desire to take care of a wounded woman, to mend the very fractured parts which initially compelled tugs at those within all types of relationship. Maybe it’s a case of wanting to feel needed. Maybe a lack of boundaries seems like vulnerability which seems like emotional accessibility. Maybe we’re all just wandering around looking to act out unresolved childhood issues. I mean, what’s hotter than a chick who loves boxed wine as much as mom?
If I sound judgmental, it’s only because I’m a horrible hypocrite. In truth, I know what it’s like to feel drawn to sidestep the quotidian, answer that weird Craigslist ad or leave with the motorcycle-boot clad woman whose eyes are just the right shade of broken. Whatever keeps me from hopping into a stranger’s bathtub on a first date has strengthened with age, but weakens when hormones and frustrated desire collide. Further, I don’t believe off-the-beaten-path sexual proclivities are in themselves problematic, but they seem to go hand in hand (toe fetish in toe fetish?) with the untethered quality Mel’s women broadcast. Maybe there’s a connection. Maybe not. Regardless, I’m typing away over here in my glass house, so you won’t catch me throwing stones; however, I’m curious about what draws Mel to these broken china dolls.
“They might have issues,” she says, “but they’re not burning down my garage or hacking into my accounts. They all engage me mentally.”
Right, but couldn’t a woman who bathes prior to rather than on a date engage just as well?
Mel: “My thinking has been, if I’m not going to be in a fulfilling partnership, at least I can try to get laid.”
Which brings us to the classic, problematic assertion: crazy girls bring the sex. I’ve made previous reference to an ex of mine fond of smirking at me whenever I, you know, had an emotion, and saying, “All the hot ones are crazy.” So maybe the promise of wanton sex is the draw.
What do you guys think? Ever dated a crazy chick? Ever been one? Tell me all about it. And hand me that loofah while you’re at it.