I'm reading through my book at the moment, and all in all it's a bit of a tense experience. Because there are things I know I must add, I have to keep a vigilant eye out for things I can take out - in order to make space. Because the publisher will send it off to be typeset right away if the second reader gives it the okay, I have to be sure that everything I say is what I want to say, said as elegantly as I want to say it. Plus, I read with a host of imaginary and very cruel reviewers whispering in my ear. Still, the book is not as bad as I thought, and the very fact that I'm reading through it means it's nearly done. That last part is nearly unbelievable to me: what on earth will I do, now that I'm not "working on the book"?
In other news, I give the date 6 out of 10. He was nice, and I would see him
again, but it didn't set me afire. Since he hasn't made contact since we went out, however, I think any decision-making has been taken out of my hands. Still, it's nice to know that I'm not a hideous undesirable troll ("trasgo" in Spanish, in case you're interested - I looked it up, since I was pretty sure that at least one of my Spanish-speaking friends wouldn't know it in English. Actually, it seems that "troll" can also be "troll" in Spanish, but that's no fun, is it? In the event, I had a brain cramp and had to use "asqueroso," instead. Which is pretty good, since I learned that one months ago, for a totally different purpose, ended up never using it, and yet was able to fish it out last night).
I am not in a position to be picky about men, God knows, but having done some thinking in this area over the last little while, I am moved to observe that one thing I need in a partner is also one thing I've never had in any of my partners: silliness. This lack is very strange, since I am extremely silly myself, much given to goofy thought-wanderings and zealously foolish behaviours, and all my close male friends have been admirably silly - so you would think finding a partner willing to be silly would be not only a snap but also logical for me. But apparently not: the only one who was possibly silly was Mr. Fallen, and he wasn't around long enough to qualify as a partner, even. So perhaps I should use this as my benchmark: can you be silly? Will you play hide-and-seek in the turbine hall with me, as S. did? Will you make ridiculous extended jokes about the people in the coffee shop line, as T.C. (T.C.!) did all those years ago? Will you make acronyms out of everybody's nicknames? Will you give people nicknames? After Mr. Fallen let me go I decided that I would attempt to circumvent other sorrows by asking all possible future boyfriends three questions early in our relationship:
1. What do you think the human soul looks like?
2. Do you know who William Blake is, and do you like him? (this later changed to "Tell me the last three books you read, and did you like them?", since I figured my chances of finding another Blake lover amongst the general population were pretty slim.)
3. What is your relationship with your mother like?
To this I should perhaps add a fourth:
4. Would you consider yourself silly?
(Incidentally, tonight at dinner I found myself sitting at a table with one other woman and four of my male friends, and when I began the tale of my date by saying, "Well, it wasn't that good," all the men went, "Ohhh" in a supportive empathetic tone. This made me feel vividly how wonderful my male friends are.)
Meanwhile, last night my friend A.D. danced salsa with all the girls at a small gathering for over an hour. He never flagged, and he never wanted to stop, even though he was literally pouring with sweat. And he looked utterly different from any way I've seen him look before: so at home, and so satisfied. I have seen this before, with the FTT and his look of velvet happiness when he dances, and with S.A. and his face of receded-inward vanishment. And I remember that after the first time I went dancing with T3 in the States he wrote me a note in which he said that seeing me dance was the only time he'd seen me completely happy. I thought about it then, and I realised he was right: it's the only time I'm fully relaxed, unthinking, forgetful of myself, and thus fully happy, for any length of time. So perhaps I look like A.D., or the FTT, or S.A., or whatever version of that is mine, when I am dancing, with that great bolt-like tide of delight coming up to my brim.
I said to S.A. a couple of weeks ago that I thought perhaps multi-lingual people were different people in their different languages; he, who knows many multi-linguists and is one himself, said, yes, they are. I was struck last night - or struck again, since I've been struck before, but not so forcefully for a long time - by the way in which different situations can suddenly strip people, or clothe them, revealing selves you never knew existed before. A.D. was a different person, a person at home in a way I'd never seen him, and suddenly the whole culture he'd grown up in, its expectations and norms and the different version of him that inhabited it, was open to me, in a way it never had been outside the salsa (and bachata) floor). It was as if I'd never seen the real him before. In fact, it wasn't as if: I don't think I had.
Yes, tomorrow is my birthday. If anyone had asked, I would have said, "An hour's solid tango dancing, with minimal pauses, only to discuss technique: that's what I want." But no one did, and I did not have the guts to force this wish on anyone. So let us hope that by next birthday (the one I'm looking forward to: I've decided, in the end, to celebrate this one for forward-facing reasons: I can't celebrate the year past, or much of the present, but I can celebrate the possibility of the future)...let us hope that by next birthday there is someone to whom I can make this wish known, who might fulfil it for me.