Dating a much younger man
We were at a bar in the Mission District (the shantytown part of the hood where people pitch tents on the sidewalk) and I was perched contentedly in his lap when a drunken woman paused her winning streak at the pool table, telling us, “I want what you have, guys.” And to him, “You treat this woman right; she’s beautiful.”He ignored the flattery and after a few minutes turned to me, saying, “The only time you’ve said you loved me was the time I tried to break up with you.” I gave a tight smile and continued our pose as the enviable couple.Later, holding hands on the walk home, he attacked something I had said that was ungrammatical. ”“No, I’m Obama,” he said, and shook loose from my hand.It felt like some meerkat, dominant-female bullshit — my manager was also in the room, but I got all the abuse. If I couldn’t face an email about a potential writing gig, he’d review it first, giggle strangely, then shorthand what it said as I stood paralyzed in the kitchen expecting rejection.
They wanted a full program of cock-centric sex, custody days with their soccer-loving kids, and nights with their power-nerd friends who would not let me play the tortured Amy Winehouse songs.Maybe I wanted to be the self-centered asshole in a relationship.Either way, I behaved like a cranky senior who didn’t get any visitors except this one junior orderly. We lived in the most expensive city in America; carrying us both made me feel superior.“Babe,” he once called to ask, “is it OK if I go out tonight with my coworkers? And be here in the morning.”When he showed up at my house — still bleary from tequila shots, explaining that he had lost his cell phone at a bar and blacked out — I launched into a matronly reprimand about his bad choices and how he couldn’t afford to replace his phone with the child support he owed.“And don’t think I’m going to buy you a phone and reward your dumb behavior.”He glared at me, quivering like that kid from Stanley Kubrick’s , and said, “I’m sorry. “It’s this Hollywood classic where a faded actress keeps a younger man. He bowed out the door peacefully, and I chased him barefoot down Fillmore Street, feeling mean-spirited and craven.I’d been sure that this guy was SO incredibly fucked up, that I was the best thing that had ever happened to him. I fessed up to wishing bitterly for ethical partnership and creative success and a different president.What I neglected to see was that I identified with him. As a sorrowful figure who woke up into a mess with no clear solution, my drifting midlife crisis yoked well with his whole-life crisis. ”I realized that I was sloshing around in too much resentment. Then I decided to accept that my desires could remain like a thousand-piece puzzle still in the box, unassembled.