lately, when at a social gathering, I’m more interested — for the first time since pre-puberty, in listening to women express themselves — tell their stories, than in flirting with men. In fact, I’m beginning to realize and acknowledge to myself, that ever since pre-puberty, when I first felt the power of my own man-appeal, I’ve been caught up unwittingly in my own machinations and manipulations. The game is indeed, a kind of power game and I hadn’t bored or tired of it in 35 years. At least I hadn’t bored or tired of it enough to retire and move on to other games.
Like everyone else, I had no hand in my own initial creation. But beginning at the age of maybe 10, boys reacted to me. I remember, around that age, looking myself over in my parent’s full-length bedroom mirror. I was wearing tiny, blue and white-checkered shorts (hot-pants) and a white t-shirt. My mom, a modest Catholic, who although very pretty herself, never boosted her 5 daughters’ self-images, said behind me, unthinkingly, “you have sexy legs.” I never forgot this, because my mom was much better at dishing out darting criticisms than at complimenting–and ‘sexy’ was a word I heard her use only that once — “stand up straight”!, was typical, or “that rouge makes you look like Mary Poppins”! Her eyes tended to look out at me quizzically and critically, not admiringly. My father, on the other hand, looked at me with fondness and admiration.
At that tender young age, I left my former childhood self behind and entered this social game-world, always finding my interest piqued by the feeling and experience of the male attraction to me. In the case of any boy who had become conquerer, who had maybe achieved placing a dime-store ring on my finger — the boy who had gained ‘possession’, who had claimed me for his own; here was a broken heart in the making.
As I grew a little older leaving high school and a handful of broken hearts behind, I began to evolve into ‘adult’ thinking, wherein one was expected to desire to become half of a committed couple, maybe for life. Past experience had already shaped my impressions and opinions of males in general: they were clearly victims of their own desires and blind to anything beyond that — and hence they were very easy to manipulate — they were deeply and blindly possessive so that when this thing they’d laid claim to behaved independently, they could easily totally implode.
And what was in this game for me!? Really!
Just as possessiveness and dependency seems to be the weakness that characterizes males; the longing for admiration, adoration and devotion seems to be the weakness that characterizes females. So there is mutuality and compatibility in the male/female attraction wherein each needs and feeds on what the other naturally exudes and naturally desires.
A few years ago, I had two nuclear fallouts on my hands simultaneously. My husband, with whom I’d shared 15 years of steadily increasing unhappiness and lovelessness, had reacted to the discovery of my infidelity with life-threatening anger which didn’t pass over like a spring thunderstorm, but which settled in like winter in the North Pole… never to lift again. The boyfriend, whose humor and wily boyishness I initially adored, also had a reserve of stored anger which, rather than settle in permanently, had a habit of sparking to life all of a sudden transforming him from adorable sprite to demon in the snap of a finger. Swallowed entirely by his red-hot fury, he would lose all semblance of self-control. I was the target of the wrath — a deadly game, which having learned from previous experience, I knew to completely and totally exit, no matter what.
I looked sidewise at both of them, two men imploding. I could feel hellish craving emanating from each one, that same kind of demonic possession; the consuming compulsion to grab me by the neck and squeeze the bejesus out of my life or knife me to death, plunging all their frustrations and anger in me over and over and over ’til spent. Meanwhile, I looked on; the war, the hell and the sickness inside of me too, but in a different form. I coldly lacked any willingness to placate or to submit or to be that ‘thing’ anymore, for either one of them, or for any other man; that thing they appeared to be literally dying to kill for. I was done.