It happens every time: chest tightening, eyes widening, fists clenching, teeth grinding, and the sudden need to chain smoke. Once the initial exhilaration of hearing, “Will you be my girlfriend?” wears off, a sticky panic sets in like peanut butter or grease growing in my gut. I feel trapped. I need to get outside. I excuse myself for a cigarette but really to get far away before she catches glimpse of the restrained horror in my eyes. I want her, I like her, but I know that within 60 days she’ll be gone. I’ll make sure of that. This is who I am.
I’m regularly baffled by the ease with with my fellow lesbians fall into relationships. Sometimes I’m jealous of their seemingly effortless acquisition of intimacy, but mostly I’m relieved. Comfortable as relationships might be, they’re also energetic and emotional succubi that drain away drive and encourage complacency. Even the most pro-coupling up among you has to admit that relationships take time and effort, and as humans we all have a limited amount of time and capacity for effort. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since reaching adulthood, it’s that everything—and I mean everything—has a price. The bigger your desires, the higher the price. Relationships are a price I’m willing to pay for the focus needed to succeed in the swashbuckling shit show that is Los Angeles.
Of course it’s not just professional concern that leaves me gasping for air when the g-word gets thrown down. I dislike connecting any of my actions to psychology or—shudder—emotional trauma, but when discussing any pattern the past must be taken into account. My tendency towards intense, brief relationships with women can be traced all the way back to the very first girl I got to know in the biblical sense.
After almost a year of the standard silent “Am I gay? Oh god, please no” mental treadmill, I finally got the ovaries to do something about it. On my first date with a girl, I had my first kiss with a girl. That night, I decided to make the leap. The next day I called her up, invited her over, and bang-bang-boom my gay cherry was popped.
At 22, I woke up one morning and decided to move to Los Angeles. One week later my furniture was sold and I began the drive out west. Once I make my mind up to do something, I do it. I’m a jumper. It’s both a blessing and a curse because once I begin acceleration, the only ways to stop are completion or crash. In romance, completion (a relationship) is rarely achieved, and even then soon followed by a bang.
Like most fears, my fear of commitment is a mishmash of irrational and rational worries. The rational—loss of independence and focus—are selfish and maybe a little ugly, but based on sound logic. When a friend gets a girlfriend, they often seem to gradually diminish, little idiocies sawed away by constant observation, sharp edges dulled by love’s dreary embrace. People in relationships are more pleasant but less interesting than single people, and excessive pleasantry sets my teeth on edge. A close friend told me recently that she can tell my relationship status by the frequency and length of my writing. A continuous whirl on women keeps me inspired and eager to impress; a woman (singular) keeps me snuggled on the couch, watching Cary Grant flicks and fingerbanging.
Obviously, one scenario is more productive than the other. In a city like LA, you need to be on your shit. I’m constantly trying to overcome my natural laziness/general inability to give fucks when fucks should be given.
When I like a girl, I REALLY like her, all the time, when I really should be thinking about something—anything—else. One excruciating example of this took place in college, when I made an excel spreadsheet about my crush’s likes and dislikes (likes: Murakami; dislikes: Shepard Fairey). On sunny days in New Orleans, she would lay in the grass outside history and read Jonathan Safran Foer while absently twirling her dark hair and eventually denting my heart with bisexuality for artistic pretension rather than genuine desire to kiss, fuck, or love a woman.
She was just the first in a long line of conspicuously damaged girls I adored above all others. I’m not really attracted to “wifey” material, and am regularly reminded of my own lack of “wifey” appeal. Instead of wasting my time and energy forcing attraction to a boring nice girl (tried it) or futilely bludgeoning a hot nutter into domestication (tried it sooo many times), I’ve worked out a more relaxing lifestyle: kiss whoever you want, keep the bedroom on mostly lockdown. Excitement and validation can come from work, friends, culture, or even straight up partying, with far less heartache and drama than relationships. In bluntest of terms, the relationship juice is rarely worth the squeeze.