So a common topic of discussion among the terminally single is why men date terrible women and why women date terrible men. I don’t understand why this confuses people. I don’t understand why people care. At the same time, I do the same thing. I am not claiming I am above this at all when it matters, but I am above it now, as I write this.
When I met Jeannette, she was single. A few days after I actually noticed her, she was in a relationship. My first reaction, was of course “nooooo!!!”
But, whatever. I had to face the fact that I wasn’t where I needed to be for me to get into a relationship and I was a very long way from being what she needs for where she is in her life. I am working on both and I don’t regret the fact that I know her. She is an amazing woman and a pleasure to know in every way imaginable. I do teeter back and forth and fall a little in love with her pretty regularly, but serendipity has other plans.
And now I’m going to go somewhere unexpected.
At some point she looked at me, and in between conversations about aliens and children she says, “I have to be careful what I ask for, because he’ll do anything for me.” And I was sold. I genuinely hoped she’d make it work. She had met a guy who would put her first and I thought that was great. Pieces of me hated admitting it, but it was as true as all my other feelings. Sure we had talked about other things and I had reasons to believe it wouldn’t last, but all that aside, I was genuinely happy for her.
Listen, this isn’t about losing gracefully or anything. This is the realization that Jeannette is a whole person. As I sit here writing this, she is doing… something and I hope she’s happy. I hope she’s laughing in the sun. I hope she pours herself a glass of wine and smiles at the color. I hope she is surrounded by laughter and smiles. And by that same token, when she chooses not go to bed alone, I hope he is a warm and caring man. I hope he is as gentle as she wishes and no gentler than that. I really wish her nothing but joy and happiness.
It isn’t our time to be together. Perhaps there will never be a time for us to be together. We’re probably not the type of people who should end up together. But all of that aside, she is an amazing person and she definitely values her own joy and I smile thinking that she is happy, even now.
What I want to explain, though, is that she dumped this guy. I’m sure there’s more to the story that I will never hear. There probably was some great reason. But really, what a heartbreaker. The reason, as I heard it, sounded like fear. It sounded like she was keeping a distance and some armor and it kept her from falling in love. I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a chronic condition for her, yet…
Every time we talk, her voice, her smile and her gentle laughter keep drawing me out. We talk about so many random things I can’t see any armor. I feel like she’s summoned an invisible dragon to keep her heart guarded. I feel like the moment anyone gets too close this creature will strike them dead, or at least destroy the relationship. She is a beautiful princess sleeping among the brambles. My “briar rose.”
That is the magic of it all. That is what the fairytale is all about. One kiss of true love will awaken her. The thorns will disappear and the world will spring to life. Oh, but you must face the perils first. You must fight off the dragons and the evil witch. You must stare down the evil queen without flinching. You must do it all, never knowing if you’ll win the princess.
But she is the evil queen. She is the witch. She has summoned the winged serpents and flying monkeys. She is all of that and the sleeping princess with skin as fair as snow and lips as red as blood and freckles on her nose and dreams glazing her eyes over. She is the warrior princess with the bow and rapier wit. She is the complete fairytale.
You know why men fall for horrible women? Because there is no greater monster to rescue a woman from than herself. There is no other happily ever after.