There’s this woman I know. She occasionally reads this blog so I’m going to hide her identity by giving her green eyes, black hair and six feet of height. I’ll make her rake thin with no boobs, freckles, a snub nose and pillowy lips that look purple even without lipstick. Or maybe I’m double bluffing and she really looks like that. You’ll never know.
This woman – I’ll call her Jo – is one of those people who radiates a general air of being good fun. She’s interested in other people, pretty in a non-threatening way and she’s also really funny (I don’t quite understand how because she never swears or says horrid things about other people).
The first time I met her I knew I wanted to be her friend. For a while I was. She came over for dinner and we went bowling and out to bars where we drank sour white wine and whisky. We exchanged sex stories and heartbreak stories and watched classic movies at the cinema and, even now, we tell each other we look gorgeous whenever we meet – in spite of the fact that, in reality, we almost always look washed out and tired and wear crumpled old bag lady clothes because we can’t be arsed to use an iron.
Recently though, for reasons that she has avoided making clear to me, Jo has decided I’m not the type of person she wants to spend social time with.
She’s done it subtly – by forgetting to invite me to things, missing my phone calls, taking ages to reply to text messages and, when I suggest going for a drink, saying she’s sorry but she’s busy or she’s tired or she’s promised her boyfriend they’ll snuggle in bed and watch Twin Peaks this weekend.
I know, what a bitch right?
Mind you, I can’t say I blame Jo for rejecting my friendship. My brother (he’s really called Joe, incidentally) once told me that if I wasn’t me and I met myself I’d totally hate my personality. He wasn’t being cruel – he hasn’t got it in him – he was stating the obvious. I’ve got a lot of the character traits I deplore in others. I’m vain, temperamental, blunt to the point of rudeness and I never fucking stop talking. I swear all the time, call everyone ‘babes’, smoke other peoples’ fags, shout at waiters and wear dresses that reveal both legs and cleavage to weddings and serious meetings at work. I write a blog. I ‘borrow’ money from my parents and never pay it back. I get so drunk at parties that I accost strangers and tell them the same story over and over again, or else I corner them and cry about being all alone. Or else I fall asleep on a couple of chairs I’ve fashioned into a makeshift bed.
So, Jo’s rejection isn’t surprising to me – it feels inevitable, in a way. And it’s not like I’m heartbroken because a) I was only mates with her for a few months and b) I’ve still got friends who, bafflingly, find my company amusing and delightful.
It’s just that Jo’s rejection reminds me, right as I’m beginning to think that I might like to have sex again, that rejection does not feel good. Romance is pretty much made of solid rejection. Especially after your early twenties when all the attractive and unfussy have paired off leaving a pool of flawed, desperate daters who are after either perfection or sex without commitment and are unwilling to settle for anything less.
Ugh. It’s all so difficult. And right now – on the second day of a particularly brutal menstrual period, eating a Weight Watchers yoghurt I’ve stolen from my house-mate’s shelf in the fridge, my self-esteem the size of a little baby mouse, staring at a phone with five unanswered text messages, contemplating creating an online dating profile that reads: I WANT BABIES – I have no confidence that I will be able to cope with inevitable romantic rejection at all. Unless I’m the one doing the rejecting – though I’m going to have to learn to flirt and start wearing a lot more make up if that is ever going to be a realistic possibility.
*Image by pakorn at freedigitalphotos.net