“The truth is never pure and rarely simple.” -Oscar Wilde, the Importance of Being Earnest
This past weekend, I attended my very first Pride festival. I was…. remarkably underwhelmed by my experience, but I think that has to do, primarily, because of the friend with whom I accompanied and what transpired. As a bit of background, my friend (let’s call him Don Carlio) is a five-foot-nothing spicy little thing with an attitude ten feet tall. As expected by his lilliputian stature, he is also an extreme lightweight, and, therefore, it wasn’t long before he was completely inebriated. It also bears note that while he is off attempting to chase the green fairy (as if he wasn’t fairy enough himself) Don Carlio is susceptible to disappear in the literal blink of an eye. His acumen at vanishing in pursuit for getting into something he shouldn’t seriously is rival only to that of Houdini. That being said, I was on full “Mom Mood” throughout the course of the day, ensuring he didn’t end up being the main course in some sordid stranger’s plot to take advantage of the drunken elf.
As the day continued, bibulous Don Carlio repeatedly confided to me that he had a dismaying account of an event which took place the previous night at a local club. Immediately upon announcing such a shocking, tantalizing secret, he’d say that he wasn’t going to tell me after all. After the third or fourth time of this insipid game of cat and mouse, I responded that I was no longer interested in hearing what he had to say, something of which finally provoked him to spill the beans so to speak. As we pulled away into a parking garage so as to watch the impending parade from a covered, elevated position, the entire mood changed from one jovial, yet nettlesome to something much more fervent.
More backstory is needed to finally understand the point of this blog post, but pray bear with me. Don Carlio has, for some time, had an overwhelming fancy for a local barkeep some twenty years our senior. Personally, I don’t understand the infatuation, but who I am to judge. The previous night, Don Carlio, yet again under the influence of the little Tequila worm, engaged in relations with some bimbo whilst at the club, and said bimbo let slip that he and the very same barkeep playing the lead role as the subject of Don Carlio’s affections, had been engaged in some sort of unofficial official relationship themselves. As I’m being filled in, tears immediately begin cascading down Don Carlio’s cheeks, reddened from alcohol or embarrassment or probably a mixture of both. Before I know what’s what, he’s pushed himself into my arms, sobbing like a child on the schoolyard.
Those who know me intimately know that the slightest bit of emotion, especially in public, makes me the most uncomfortable being alive; I freeze up in a stupefied stance, unsure how to possibly comfort anyone not standing a minimum of ten feet away. I ultimately forced myself to accept the embrace and remain silent as he continued crying into my kimono for what seemed an hour. Finally, relief was sent in on the arrival of another of his friends whom I had never met. A 27 year old realtor who, at that moment was experiencing her own drunken bliss but was significantly more coherent than Mr. Waterworks.
She and I began chatting and, characteristic of drunken stupors, she began confiding into me very intimate details of her own recently ended relationship. Again, this was my first ever encounter with this girl. I suppose I just have a face that invites people to unload their heavy hearts to me, which is why you almost never see me not sporting sunglasses and grimace in an attempt to look less forthcoming than I actually am. To my full surprise, however, (yes, we’re finally getting the point of this post) she said something to me that while initially took me aback as a very callous remark, soon evolved into a piece of very insightful advice. After ending a six year relationship, this girl’s words of wisdom are to be selfish.
The point of her eloquent soliloquy was that in being in a relationship for so long, especially one started at such a young age, one has not had time to truly discover who one is. I reflected on my own identity, something of which, at 21 years old, I’m only just beginning to genuinely discover myself. She reasoned that in an attempt to stay in a relationship, you have given up your ability to sincerely love your partner because there’s always a small amount of resentment in your mind; whether you’re aware of it or not, it’s there. In turn, you are preventing your partner from having some authentic connection in his/her own rite.
As she continued her allegory, she let me privy into her secret of tactfully turning down potential relationships with someone you don’t see yourself being compatible with, but who does not necessarily see things the same way as you. A simple statement like, “I really enjoyed (insert activity here) with you, but I just don’t think I’m the girl/guy for you and it’d be selfish of me to prevent you from finding your true match by taking up more of your time. Your true match is definitely out there, but it just isn’t me.” This praise-suggestion-praise sandwich lets them down gently while leaving them with an optimistic hope in the end. The call to action which concluded her story was to take the time to be selfish, finding out who you are and what you want in life, which will ultimately result in a stronger relationship when you do finally find the man/woman who shares the same ultimate vision as you.
I stood, amazed, as this drunken girl offered these sounds of wisdom, being inspired at once to rush home and write this account down. Just like a few weeks ago when an idea struck me in the middle of a shower, one does find inspiration in the most unlikely of places, such as a parking garage downtown in the midst of a Pride parade. Don Carlio is, by the way, doing much better now and is beginning the process of moving on from his ill-fated crush, something of which I am all too familiar with myself (read about that here and here). In the meantime, I am heeding the aforementioned advice and plan to be selfish for some time in an attempt to find what it is I want in a partner.
What do you think of her advice? Good, bad, stories to share? Hit those comments below!