Let’s be friends, he says. So now we’re friends.
But here’s the thing. If you want to be my friend, then you’re gonna be my friend. After everything he and I went through, all we shared, he isn’t just a random dude in my phone that I maybe say hi to every couple of weeks. He knows this. Or he should know this anyway. WE TALK EVERY SINGLE DAY. I talk to him more often than anyone else in my life right now.
So yeah. He is a FRIEND friend. And I tell my FRIEND friends about all the things bothering me, in an open and frank manner. That’s just the way I am. And if I can’t be myself with my friends, then what is the point?
Tonight though… this fckn guy. He tells me that he’s not the “target audience” for some of the things I tell him. He literally used that phrase. Target audience. Like I’m a brand manager relaying a message to their customer base. Jesus fúcking christ.
So he says that to me, right? And immediately, IMMEDIATELY, the embarrassment sets in. Deep, deep heart-squeezing, stomach-clenching embarrassment. Taking over every ounce of my being. Godddddd. As if my ego wasn’t already bruised and battered.
Here I am thinking I’m talking to a good, safe friend about my struggles with this hysterectomy thing, but nope. While I’m being vulnerable and raw about a very emotional subject for me, seeking some measure of comfort from someone I care about, he’s over there feeling uncomfortable and awkward, thinking how he is merely a “male friend” that I keep mistaking for a girlfriend. Whatever that means.
Where is an earth-destroying asteroid when you need one.
It’s obnoxious of course, because he’s not wrong. He is allowed to be uncomfortable and not want or like that level of friendship or the sorts of details I often provide (in a very hilarious way might I add). And he’s allowed to express that to me, subtly at first, and then, when I keep ignoring his signs, become much more direct.
So now I feel bad. And silly. I tell him I’m sorry, that I’m embarrassed. And then I assure him that I see and understand his boundaries and I will try harder to respect them.
His response? He thanks me and says, “It’s okay. Sometimes it is just a level of graphic or explicit or female that I feel is not appropriate for our dynamic.”
Oh really erik? I’m too graphic or explicit or, sin of all sins, TOO FEMALE? what does that even mean, too female? He didn’t seem to mind me being graphic or explicit or female when he was on the receiving end, but when it’s about someone or something else, he’s apparently above such trash. He is too sophisticated for my low life. His pristine and delicate sensitive nature can’t handle it. my graphicness. My explicitness. my femaleness,
And let me ask you, male friend, what exactly IS our dynamic? Because you keep changing the boundaries, leaving me to blindly test those lines, so I can know where I stand. And I keep getting it wrong in your eyes.
After laying here for a bit feeling bad and kind of ashamed, something switched over inside. I started thinking about it and realized that I didn’t actually do anything wrong. I just talked to him about things I’ve been talking to all my friends about.
He just doesn’t care is all. Did he ever?
So I’m not embarrassed anymore. I am prickly.
Here we are mr tinder. I can’t communicate with you on a romantic or sexual level anymore. Okay. Fine. And now I can’t communicate with you on a close friendship level. Okay. Fine.
Then please please just tell me what I can do. Tell me exactly. What is appropriate for you, my target audience, my delicate little flower? What subject matter is acceptable? What topics are off-limits? What is too explicit and graphic and female? And what can I discuss that doesn’t strain or challenge or disrupt your perfect little life?
I did ask him. To give me a list of what is okay and what isn’t. But he didn’t answer me.
Because of course. he’s an arrogant, self-righteous, selfish prick. Why would he answer that.
I don’t know why I even bother with him. He has zero interest in me for dating. It now appears he has zero interest in a friendship. Or at least the kind of friendship I would like. Since everything has to be on his terms, that leaves no room for me. I guess I don’t get a say.
Fuck that noise. I’m a funny, smart and awesome friend. Some people actually like me and like being my friend. I am a strange poetic earthy spice. And he is just another average, boring, grumpy, self-absorbed rigid old white man who prides himself on those qualities. And yet he sees himself as a guy who shits golden turds.
It’s a surprise he ever liked me to begin with. Maybe he never really did. Maybe I fell for the oldest trick in the book. I am not going to beat myself up over it. He was charming and swept me off my feet. He had it on full blast, brightest light. Of course I couldn’t see. And even after he pulled it all away, I was still blinded.
But you know something? My eyes have started to adjust finally, I’m starting to get some function back again, things are getting clearer and more defined. I am seeing shapes and shadows, seeing dimension and empty space.
I am siren. I am ivy. But I’m gonna be alright.