25 May 2010


I have something to say. In fact, I have two somethings to say, but I'm not sure about the worth of saying the second, so for now I'll just say the first.

There is a good deal of chit-chat around and about - by which I mean in magazines and other media organs - about how one should be "happy" before one seeks a partner, or about how the trick to finding a good partner is to be "happy" before you start. This pisses me off: I would like someone to define happy, please.

Does "happy" mean, "satisfied with yourself and who you are"? Does it mean, "happy with the life you have"? Does it mean, "having a good time with your friends and not waiting to enjoy your life until you have a partner"? Does it mean, "feeling mentally rich and stimulated"? Because if it means those things, I agree, and I'm happy. As it happens, I do love the life I have at the moment, and what with the Sheffield interview, the Divine Comedy concerts behind and before me, and the current supervisions, I'm having a blast when I'm doing stuff.

But I think sometimes that in this context "happy" means, "perfectly content to be alone." And this I think is ridiculous. Am I happy in my life, with many interests, and glad of them, with strong friendships and a sense of myself as a person of worth (also, incidentally, proud that I made myself that way)? Hells yes, as they say down Otherhome way. But that does not cancel out, nor indeed is it some kind of opposite of, feeling that I want a partner. Indeed, as I've said before here, a good deal of the reason why I want a partner is because I find my life so interesting and happy, and I want to share it with someone who there's for all of it (well, quite a lot of it). Most of the reason why I want a partner, when I think about it, is to have someone I can make happy, not vice versa.

I know no one, really, who's just as happy without a partner as they are with one, or who doesn't care one way or the other. Wanting a partner is natural, and if you are, like me, someone who finds life richer when told to another, or when it's told to you by another, or when shared with another, or when it involves making another happy, then it's equally natural to be unhappy not to have that opportunity. If you mean that before you can have a successful partnership you must be happy in your life and self, I'm behind you. But I refuse to feel bad or a failure because, in a totally different realm from my sense of self, I am unhappy to be single.

And now I find I do want to say the second thing. In the six weeks since whatever it was happened with Mr. Heaven, not one person has told me, "I know it's hard." People have told me he's a fool, that I'm better off without him, that I'll find someone better, that I undervalue myself, that he's a weirdo, that he's not good enough for me... but not one person has said to me, "It must be very painful to have been happy, and to have wanted so much to be happy, and to have that opportunity removed. I understand that it's hurtful to like someone and not have anywhere for that liking to go. It must be terrible, too, to not be able to have sex." No one has said, "Wow, I understand that it's really painful to like someone, and then to discover they're an idiot, so you have the double pain not just of having to stop liking someone, but also of discovering that they weren't worth your liking. Or even the treble pain of knowing they're not worth it, and were never worth it, but still liking them, and being mystified and embarrassed. It's understandable that you would still continue to like them or hope to see them - and I know that's awful, too. I understand that this is really hard, that all of it is just awful and hard and painful." I have no doubt that to some extent I've brought this on myself by not talking much about this situation, and by seeming a tough person generally. Also, I don't know how much better it would have made things if someone had said that, but I can't help feeling it would have made it at least a little better.

There's an episode of "Murphy Brown," in which the upright anchor Jim Dial, through a series of perfectly innocuous circumstances, ends up having his picture taken with a prostitute. The picture is published, the media all talk about it, and no one is interested in his explanation of what really happened: they prefer the salacious rumours. In the end, he uses his segment of their TV show to address this, and in essence he says, "Everyone is impressed with the idea that I'm immoral; no one else cares that I've led a moral life. Well, if no one else will say it, I will: 'Good for me.' I've never done drugs. Good for me. I've never cheated on my wife. Good for me." This is one of my favourite episodes.

Well, I'm going to take a leaf out of Jim Dial's book. I know it's hard to be disappointed when you really hoped you were going to be happy for a bit, and when you already had had a taste of that possible happiness. I know it's hard to face having nothing when you could have had something, no matter how small that something. I know how clawingly, agonisingly frustrating it must be to long to have sex and not be able to. I know it's humiliating to keep liking someone after they've been unmasked as a wanker, and I know it's possible and painful to keep liking them despite your own wishes. And I think it's understandable to miss someone you once liked, and I can see how, at the same time, one might be embarrassed over that missing. I know how hard this is for me, and how painful, and how sorrowful. I think it must be really awful.

And good for me.

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