Why You So Obsessed With Me?
I know this guy that is so obsessed with me that he never calls. How do I know he’s obsessed with me you ask? Because he wrote the words in a text message “obsessed with you.” Given the fact that I’ve been effectively single for the last 7 years and the ratio of those obsessed with me to me obsessed with others is, well, heavily weighted on one side, these poetic words sent a shiver down my spine. After the most recent time we connected, I hypothesized that this was the beginning of a romance. We’d roll around again on his plush rug from Marrakesh and I’d likely injure my back a second time while showing off my headstand practice, rendering me near immobile for the next four days at work. Instead, it was an experiment in just how challenging honesty can be, even over the safety of text message airwaves. It also highlighted the fantasies we build and the things we overlook when dating slips into high speed vetting of potential life partners.
I met Brian 7 years ago at a house party. I was coming off of a wild night at a rooftop party chasing after a DJ who was approximately 5 inches shorter than me. This DJ made up for his lack of stature by having his face on those glossy flyers that get scattered all over the club floor and cause you to lose your footing. So, he was famous. This DJ wooed me with offers to whisk me down to Brazil to meet his family and go yachting on their yachts and he kissed me passionately for not knowing me at all and then I waited for him to call for three months.
Meanwhile, at the house party later that night, I pranced around with my bra poking out of my dress as if to say, “I own my sexuality, and also objectify me”. Brian had been the first person I saw when the elevator to the loft opened, a skinny 23-year-old wearing a bowtie and suspenders with his hair slightly askew. He locked eyes with me and continued to stare at me like a creep for the rest of the party. I’m sure I enjoyed the attention, but was young and in no place to like anyone who might actually be interested in me so I found reasons to avoid him all night. When I finally left with my friends he made his way to the elevator just as the doors were closing and gave me his business card. I’m fairly certain that card had only his name on it. No number, no email, no job title.
Soon after that he got in touch with me through friends on Facebook and took me out for a drink. I order a Dark ‘n Stormy. Drinks with the conjunction ‘n’ are the most classy. Via a text exchange we had discussed the paranormal and our experiences seeing ghosts, so Brian soon offered to take me back to his loft and engage in a seance, which he seemed oddly confident about leading. There was a makeshift alter consisting of oranges and other fruits and baubles, and we attempted to conjure up our grandparents while sitting by candlelight cross legged on the couch. It didn’t work and I stopped the whole procedure when I felt bad for bothering my grandpa who really didn’t deserve to be used as a prop for a couple of asshole kids as to break the ice before making out.
I had just started a new birth control pill and my boobs (not mammoth creatures by any stretch of the imagination) were doing a thing. They were big for once. He was so excited by this and immediately told me they were the most perfect breasts he’d ever seen. Go on. We had a surprisingly good sexual connection, but I wasn't sold on him and wasn’t ready for any kind of relationship so I was on my way. For a year or two he texted me trying to set up a time to take naked photos because, “my boobs wouldn’t stay that way forever" and "wouldn’t I like to capture them now while I’m young?” To note, am very comfortable with pictures of my naked body, but I know when I’m not totally comfortable with the photographer. After I gave in a little and said maybe we could do a shoot, he asked me “So you still look the same, right? I just really want this shoot to be good." Every time I was coming around to him he'd say something like this that was just a little off. I suppose the seance should have been the first warning sign, but dating is a marathon and I keep my head in the game.
You know those people that you think would be wholeheartedly committed to you if you could just get it together to like them? You’ve always blown them off and you just convince yourself that they’re waiting in the wings for their big chance? I thought Brian was one of these people, it was in the bag. He contacted me year after year, deep into my thirties trying to take me out again. So eventually, and after a particularly confusing year living in a commune gone wrong (think two story loft with five self absorbed millenials grappling with their sexual identities and fancying themselves the subject of a reality show. BUT we composted for a week, so...) I thought, hmm, I think this guy is an actual grown up with whom I could do grown up things. Maybe we could travel, maybe we could go to museums, maybe we could shop for Bok Choy at whole foods and kiss in the line. Couples grocery shopping together and kissing in line is my ultimate ideal of success in a relationship. Just kiss me while I buy my clementines so that I feel less alone in the world.
Now in our thirties, presumably full of wisdom, self awareness and likely more accumulated heartbreak on both ends, we went on another date. Though he had a monotone and dry humored affect, I convinced myself that this was the intrigue with him. The travails of dating in New York City had conditioned me to look beyond surface layer disconnects and investigate for redeeming qualities that could be the spark of a deeper connection. I'm sure there is some positive power in being able to discern the potential that a person presents, but it also means that I frequently overlook the glaringly obvious signals that we are on different planes and I bury myself deep in fantasy about a future with someone that could never make me happy.
So, grasping on to the glimmers of the potential partner I thought he could be, I showed him my boobs again. He was thrilled. Apparently, he had been thinking about them for years. I took this as further indication that I could buy into this relationship if I wanted, he had a fantasy of me that he was just waiting to fulfill and I could selfishly pluck it up now that I was ready for it. He kept saying things like, "I can't believe I am actually looking at these again. I've been waiting for this for years, I still think about them all time!" How lovely! I slept over that night and cradled by the security of a few good compliments and our easy conversation, I actually got some sleep. It was irrelevant to me at the time that we barely knew each other. The years of seeing each other as a "what if" had fashioned themselves into their own storyline that got away from both of us. We did what humans do and moved away from propping ourselves up in order to receive meaningless validation from another person that fills in what we see as holes in the movie of our lives.
One week went by and he wrote, “Obsessed with you.” Two weeks went by and I texted him “Hey let’s meet up soon!”, to which he replied, “Brooke!”. No follow up.
The next week I got this: “found your doppelganger yoga teacher at Equinox.”
Me: "Oh hi, well how's it going dude? She better be a babe."
Brian: "She is slammin. And wears a Metallica tank top. Here's a picture..."
Me: "Yah she's cute I can see it, people tell me all the time I look like someone they know."
Brian: "I guess you have a lot of admirers."
Me: "It's usually girls that tell me I look like a family member or something."
Brian: "I mean, you do look like my sister."
Hey, remember when you were obsessed with me? The veneer of potential partnership melted away as I zoomed myself out of the fantasy and realized that this was never in the bag. I combated a feeling of self-blame in not being able to hook a guy that I thought was a sure thing. If I couldn't move that forward, how could I successfully be partnered up with anyone? Of course, I realize the inherent flaws in this, that I either have to "allow for" what I consider to be a person's inadequacies, or hope that they overlook mine. That is not a partnership, that's a business transaction for the sole purpose of validation and superficial self-worth. A real connection with someone happens on equal ground, a simple formula that becomes lost in the mire of a city of 8 million people struggling to be authentically known. Turns out these disjointed texts were an attempt to break the ice and hide behind casual conversation before the unavoidable moment of honesty.
At 3:38 a.m., he wrote: "I have a confession to make, I am seeing someone."
He apologized, said he was a "twat" (accurate, but who isn't a twat when the pairing just isn't right) and explained that he didn’t say anything because it wasn’t as serious then. I practiced my recently acquired skill of creating boundaries and said, “Appreciate you telling me. Enjoy life (peace sign).” I figured this would be the bookend. "Enjoy life" is the universal euphemism for “fuck off” isn’t it?
He wrote back “Likewise. I’m sorry. Namaste (prayer hands emoji).” This guy. Go away.
On my birthday he sent an article entitled, “How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body.” Thanks man, I am doing my yoga teacher training, this is just the uplifting and inspiring tidbit I needed on my birthday.
Initially, I wanted to hate him for throwing around words like "obsessed with you," as it certainly was indicative of the haphazard way in which I've felt many guys employ weighty words of affection without consideration for their impact. This is a concern in a world where not even the leader of our country is being held accountable for the things that come out of his mouth, which bleeds into, or is a product of, the insensitive ways in which we often treat each other as a whole. Furthermore, the screen of text messaging allows us to engage in all kinds of experimental conversation without actually seeing the way words land with a person on the other end. Texting is a scapegoat because it is hard to be responsible.
After more consideration though, I think the glaring piece of truth here is that we get caught up in fantasies because we think that our lives are not enough. There is a rush of adrenaline when we, for a moment, think that a new person entering our lives is going to suddenly raise us up into creatures that are living fully and authentically. People certainly can support each other in doing that, but not unless we are already doing that for ourselves. Some of the men that I've fashioned into selfish and immature characters in my life stories, are simply reflecting my own selfish and immature ends. How could we ever have gone from a years long connection over the trite topic of my boobs to a meaningful relationship in which we grocery shop together and enjoy all the depth that comes along with eating dinner together every night? It is certainly compelling and interesting to get lost in fantasy, but we have to recognize that for what it is. When we are barraged daily with social media stories of people in relationships, we start to replace actual connection with the accessories of connection. No one can fill in my blank spots, especially seance guy, and I have to instead busy myself with the hard work of being healthily obsessed with me.