Thursday, July 28, 2005

Am I a Manipulative Bitch?

Etymology: back-formation from manipulation, from French, from manipuler to handle an apparatus in chemistry, ultimately from Latin manipulus.

1 : to treat or operate with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner
2 a : to manage or utilize skillfully b : to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage
3 : to change by artful or unfair means so as to serve one's purpose

I was bored at work yesterday. This is not an unusual experience for me. I’m a peon amongst peons at a peon branch of a mega-huge Fortune 100 company. Although I am paid fairly well for the mindless paper-pushing that I do, I’m not paid all that well considering my education, skills and abilities. It’s really my own damn fault. I simply lost my ambition, and I’m hard-pressed to find it … or at least it’s been directed toward more hedonistic activities.

Amidst my boredom, I received a misdirected telephone call. A frantic gentleman was on the other end of the line explaining that he had a serious problem that needed immediate attention. He’d talked with a number of people, but seemed to be getting nowhere.

Ordinarily, I would transfer a misdirected call to the appropriate party. It’s not within the scope of my job description to help people … at least not to help in this sort of situation. However, I heard myself utter the words, "I’m going to help you." And as I did, I knew in my heart that the only reason I was doing it was due to sheer BOREDOM!

He thanked me and explained his situation. Then he asked who I was, as if he needed reassurance that I could handle the task at hand. I told him who I was, what I was going to do and how long it was going to take to resolve his problem. And then I added, "Don’t worry. I know how to be very persuasive and manipulative when I want something." He stammered a bit, as if I had just told him I was going to lie, cheat and steal.

Needless to say, I resolved his day-long frustration in about half an hour. I know the system and most of the people who work there. It was a matter of gathering information, and asking a couple of people to do a couple of things that they might otherwise not do immediately.

In reality, the person who was supposed to solve the problem probably wouldn’t have been as successful. Why? Because he doesn’t know the people and the system, and he’s not as persuasive and manipulative. Does that make me a better or worse person? Should it matter that I’m good friends with the two people who helped me? Shouldn’t they help everyone the same? What if I made-out with one of them after a party one time when we were kind of drunk? Do you think that matters?

Personally, I think of manipulation as a personal skill that, when held in check within certain moral parameters, is helpful. If I’m trying to raise money to support the Domestic Violence Shelter because their state funding was cut by $100,000 last year, I’m going to be very persuasive in my attempts to part you from your money. And I’m not going to feel guilty about it. You should give me your money. And, you should be happy for the opportunity to help people less fortunate than you.

Sometimes I’m manipulative. I’m not mean or selfish, and I try very hard not to hurt people. I’m a realist. I play the cards that I’m dealt. However, perhaps in this case, I was just trying to amuse myself during and otherwise painfully boring day.

Monday, July 25, 2005


I was tagged last month by Kris at Random Mentality for this same game. However, due to some computer problems, I never got around to doing it. Last week Popeye tagged me again, so I’ve finally gotten on the ball. The deed is done.

5 Things I Miss From Being a Kid

My childhood was mostly very very confusing. I had undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder. This meant that I never felt like anything made any sense, and almost everyone around me couldn’t make much sense of me either. However, despite the confusion and frequent frustration, there are things I miss about being a kid.

I miss being bare-foot and naked nearly all summer long. There was an unspoken rule at our house. Once school let out, we no longer had to wear shoes except to church. Clothes were virtually optional as well. We changed from pajamas to swimsuits to pajamas. My parents must have loved not having as much laundry to do. Back then parents didn’t worry as much about the dangers of the outdoors either. They didn’t freak out if we stepped on a piece of glass or a splinter. It was just the normal stuff that happens to kids who play hard. They responded appropriately by kissing away our tears, digging out the injurious assailant, patching us up and promising we’d forget all about it by the time we got married. They didn’t worry about sun block either. No one did. Tanning lotion was for teenagers who baked their bodies on the beach all day. It smelled like coconuts and pineapple. It wasn’t for kids playing pirates in the back yard. Besides, it wasn’t all that necessary. The ozone was still intact. We were healthy half-naked, tan little kidlets.

Going back to school in the fall was torture. A telltale sign that a kid has ADD is their discomfort with clothes. Anything that binds or scratches or feels the least bit uncomfortable can be overwhelmingly distracting. It’s simply not possible to learn your multiplication tables when your Mom made you wear itchy socks.

I miss the uninhibited imagination I had when I was a kid. I believed in Santa and monsters and the possibility that a Doctor named Doolittle could talk to the animals. I believed my uncle when he told me about the Peanutbutter Monster. I even believed that if I was clever and sneaky I could save my family from being eaten by the Peanutbutter Monster.

I smuggled my uncle’s magic Peanutbutter Monster stick home in my suitcase. Then I carefully spread peanutbutter on the wall of my bedroom so that when the Peanutbutter Monster came to lick it off in the night, I could sneak up behind him and get em’. For the life of me, I still don’t understand why my Mother was so upset about the stain on the wall. What’s a little stain when the lives of your loved ones hang in the balance?

I spent most of my childhood daydreaming, reading and playing. Sometimes I got in trouble for it because I was supposed to be doing other things. It was out of my control. My brain wouldn’t stop working that way. I still daydream, and I have a lot of trouble staying on task, however reality has set in. My imaginings are mostly limited to things that are possible. Magic and monsters rarely enters into my dreams any longer.

Animals were a huge part of my life when I was a child. I always had a dog and a cat. I also had rabbits, dozens sometimes. I had guinea pigs, ducks, hamsters and one time my Grandpa gave me a calf to watch after for the summer. I named him Ferdinand. After that, there was no possible way a slice of veal would ever pass my lips. I miss is the intense connection to animals that I had when I was a kid.

When I was nine, I had a Shetland Sheepdog named Laddie. He was smart as hell and a blast to play with. That summer, when we went on vacation, my parents wouldn’t let me bring him along. He had to stay with friends instead. While we were away he was hit by a car and died. I was devastated. I was morose and depressed for months. The only books I read were books about dogs. I drew pictures of him and sat around moping as if my best friend had died … because he did. Eventually I began to come around. That was when my parents decided that I was ready for a new dog.

I walked in the house after school and my Mom told me that there was a surprise for me in the bathroom. My best girlfriend, Tracy, was with me and we both looked at one another and giggled. We couldn’t imagine that any surprise kept in a bathroom could be a good one. However, when I opened the door, out bounded a gorgeous Old English Sheepdog pup. It was love at first sight. Maggie was my beautiful girl until I went away to college. She was as gentle and loyal as any dog could ever be. She was my big soft pillow when I read books out on the lawn. She listened attentively to my troubles while I brushed her thick wooly coat. And she kissed my face when she was happy to see me … which was every single time. There aren’t too many people who will do all those things for a girl.

Dinnertime seemed ordinary at our house. Usually Mom made something tasty and we all sat down together at the dining room table and ate together. While we ate, we talked to one another. The television was off, and the phone was unplugged. Afterward, Mom and Dad retired to the family room to watch the news and we kids cleaned up. It was the same every day from the time I was little until …as a matter of fact, it’s still that way even now when I go to visit. My parents made family meals seem simple, but in reality, it’s really hard to get everyone together without interruptions every single day. I miss the scheduled regularity of that part of my day. I miss the daily connection with the people who were most important to me at that time of my life. And even though my brother and sisters bugged the hell out of me, I miss the goofing off we did while we were doing our chores.

I miss the body I had when I was a kid. It could do anything I asked it to do. I was strong, coordinated and healthy. Exercise was about playing and helping, not something I paid $52 dollars a month for and fit into my daily schedule at a special club.

Right up until about age 10 or 11, I didn’t really think much about my body. It simply did what I wanted it to do. If I wanted to climb something, it did it. If I wanted to ski or skateboard, it did that too. Cartwheels, flips, standing on my head? No problem. I could run like the wind, leap like a mountain goat and swim like a fish. When I got tired, I stopped. When I was thirsty, I got a drink of water. When I was hungry, I ate. There was no thought to what was best according to the latest research or diet craze.

I miss having command of my body and not thinking about what it can and can’t do, or what I should or shouldn’t do.

What do you miss about being a kid?
I’d like to see what the following folks have to say:
Ssssssssss Teeeeeeee Ay....

Kelebek }{


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Cher's Hair

Sometimes when I introduce myself, I think I should first explain my hair to people. If they are still interested, I’ll let them know who I am. My hair really demands its own introduction, and after 41 years, I should accept the fact that I’m always going to come second. It’s like a naughty sibling that’s always hanging around doing whatever it takes to get the most attention.

Sometimes my hair acts like a dear old friend who I can trust with anything. But other times, when I least expect it, she acts up in the most humiliating ways. Once, when I was giving a gracious thank you speech to a large group of folks who had awarded me a scholarship, she had the nerve to interrupt by shooting a big spiral down the middle of my forehead right in the middle of my presentation. I tried to get revenge the next day by punishing her with one of those pixie-style cuts. Ugh! We both regretted it right away. After much blaming, wailing and tears, I apologized. Then she apologized. And then we tried to figure out how to make magic happen with a tub of Dippity-Do.

In the past few years, I’ve come to accept my hair. I’ve stopped trying to change her and make her into something she’s never going to be. However, this battle has been going on for a long time, practically my whole life, as a matter of fact.

When I was little, my poor Mom had no idea what to do with me. She was a pedigreed straight-hair who had given birth to a mixed breed sheepdog pup. The mop of hair atop my head was beyond anything her kin had ever set eyes on before. Some of the relatives admired it. The old aunties would chirp, "Oh look at that sweet little girl with all those curls. Aren’t you lucky to have a girl with such pretty naturally curly hair."

But, grandma knew differently, "If you don’t want rats nesting in that child’s head, you better just keep her hair cut short." She’d grumble. Grandma’s view, no matter how horrifying, was actually closer to the truth. Those sweet old aunties weren’t around for the painful combing rituals. Each of those pretty curls had a way of wrapping itself around another curl creating knots even the most experienced Boy Scout could never master.

The daily combing of my hair was a yowling of tangles and wads of wiry fuzz coming out the ends of the fine toothed comb that Mom used on her own delicate straight hair. Mom would mutter the words of the aunties, "Honey, you have such nice hair. It’s so pretty, but we have to comb it or it won’t look nice." The words came out, but they always sounded like some sort of lament to a god who could create such alarming hair on a tender-headed child. Worse yet, how could such a ridiculous bundle of fleece come out of her womb?

It didn’t help any of us when my sister soon followed with the same hair. However, sassy sis was saved from being a complete burden because hers was a beautiful crimson color and was pleasing to the eye. Mine was yellowish-white, bordering on the color of the bathroom tile.

Mom’s own hair was refined. It was a lovely molded up-do that she had done in her weekly appointments at the beauty parlor. The up-do was layered with several coats of hair spray and lasted for an entire week even though she slept on it every night. Each morning, she would touch it up and spray more shellac around it, making it look as good as a crisp brown astronaut’s helmet. She looked like a Lady with her hair like that. I thought Mom’s hair was even better than Doris Day’s. Sadly, I knew that even if I was a grown up lady like Mom and Doris, my hair would never look like that. Mine was fuzzy and curly and messy. Every so often Mom would try to groom me with her hair spray, however the curls would free themselves and stick out to make me look like a frantic poodle. To this day, I am certain that I was the only 6 year-old in the Phyllis Diller fan club.

The hair I really wanted was long straight flowing hair. Hair like that never got tangled into matted tortured nests for families of birds to settle in for the spring. Long flowing hair was the hair of young freedom loving libbers who my parents talked about in righteous tones. Hair like that belonged to hippies who folded it casually behind their ears or held it back with macramed headbands. They were the beautiful girls who wore tunics and hip-huggers with homemade belts and sandals. Long straight hair was for modern women who were groovy. They did what they wanted and painted peace signs on their faces. They danced to the music on the radio and held hands with everyone. It was Age of Aquarius hair.

One day on the Television, I saw the most beautiful hair of all. The TV was showing a new variety show called The Sony and Cher Show. It was funny, with Sony being a silly looking short guy and Cher, a tall beautiful exotic looking woman. When I watched the show, the best part was Cher’s hair. What hair she had!

Cher had hair that was shiny and black and long. It was the most beautiful hair in the world. When she sang on the show, she would move her body so that her hair would swing and sway back and forth behind and around her as liquid silk strands. It was alive and aware of its effect on the world. Cher’s hair never tangled. Cher’s hair was magical. If I had hair like Cher, I would be beautiful and free.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Scattered Summer Thoughts

These recent few blog posts have been highly stimulating, but a bit on the serious and depressing side. It’s time to take this roller-coaster in an upward direction.

My computer is working better than it has in the past 6 months. Hooray for free cable access! Hooray for no-more-safe-mode! Hooray for anti-virus soft-ware! Look to your right. I even updated our links. There are a lot of new ones, and the same great old ones. I also fixed
Clark K’s so it actually goes to his site. If I accidentally missed someone, please email me and let me know. I’m not well known for my organizational skills, so it’s entirely possible that I overlooked the best among our readers … Cripes! While typing this, I actually remembered one that I forgot. What can I say? The ADHD meds wore off several hours ago.

We just passed our 30,000 mark on our site counter. We’ve been using it since January 10th of this year. That probably seems like a lot of hits, but I’m still convinced that the majority of them are random people looking for porn. Since I hate 99% of all porn, that makes me happy.

Do you ever wonder about my blog partner, Lu? Yes, she’s a real person. In fact, she just left for a 2-week vacation to the wild wild west with her beloved husband. Occasionally she reads the blog, but she just hasn’t had anything to say lately. Maybe her vacation will inspire her. Until then, you’re still stuck with me.

Last month I met and had dinner with a fellow blogger. I was a tad nervous until about 10 seconds after we met. The following 3 hours were a total laugh-fest. Some of you might be familiar with him as our beloved
John Q. Public. To answer the obvious straight away:
  1. Yes, he’s gorgeous, even more so in person.
  2. Yes, he’s charming, and not anything like the serial killer my friend M.M. thought he would be.
  3. Of course I wore my favorite shoes!
  4. And, my favorite lipstick.
  5. And a killer dress.
  6. No, I left the riding crop at home.
  7. No, there was no sex … no making out … not even inconspicuous fondling .… not that I wasn’t tempted.

One of our blogging buddies googled my name and found an old picture of me on another web-site. He was kind in his description of my former self. I think he said, "not quite as gorgeous". Take a look yourself. First click here to see what I look like now (April, 2005). Next click on this word:
Theresa-of-the-past. I’m in the third picture from the top of the page.

Pretty big difference, huh?

I was miserable and it showed in the way I didn’t take care of myself. It showed in the forced smile. It showed in the exhausted look. It was a time in my life when I was taking care of everyone else except me. Guess what it got me? NOTHIN’ AT’ALL. Fortunately, a good friend said, "WHAT THE HELL HAS HAPPENED TO YOU?" It was the genuine panic in his voice that made me realize that I was in a boatload of trouble.

Our air conditioner was broken for 3 weeks. It was still under warranty, but it took 22 long sweltering days for Sears to get the parts and a technician out to our house to fix it. The good news: no homicides were reported at our address.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Love, Hate and Misunderstanding

I’m pleased and astounded by the comments about the "Feminist" post below. Thank you to everyone who added his or her thoughts and ideas. It really gave me a lot to think about. In particular, I’ve spent some time today thinking about the extreme feelings of those who might be called Man-Haters. That whole thought process got me thinking about Woman-Haters too.

A few years ago I ran across a web site dedicated to wife beating. It was a serious site that supported the practice of wife-beating. The owners of the site offered arguments to support their position as well as information about avoiding prosecution. I’d rather not provide a link because every visit to the site gives it legitimacy by adding numbers to their site counter.

Maybe these Wife-Beater people think they’re being funny. Perhaps they believe it’s their right and responsibility to keep women in line. I’ve even heard it said that some men think they have a right to loosen a few teeth if dinner isn’t on the table at exactly the right time?
Hey! If she doesn’t like it, she should just leave …

… except leaving is the most dangerous time for her, and she probably knows it.

Stop reading a second and look at the clock.

On average, every seven hours a woman is murdered at the hands of her partner. Women are three times more likely than men to be murdered by an intimate partner.

According to the FBI, 132,000 rapes were reported last year. They also estimate that 2 to 6 times that many rapes were unreported (264,000 to 792,000). THAT’S IN ONE YEAR PEOPLE ! ! !

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that men are the victims of both domestic violence and rape. These crimes are more likely to be unreported due to the shame and humiliation associated with gender-stereotypes about such things. When men are victims, they are just as deserving of our complete compassion and understanding.

I realize that this is the kind of information most people don’t want to know about. Hell, for all I know, you may have shut down already. You may have created a defense for why some or all of this information isn’t true. If you have, I understand. That would be a much nicer world to live in. Keep in mind however, these are merely general facts. I purposely protect you from the real horror that I’ve witnessed.

Sadly, intimate violence is a topic I know too much about. If you don’t already know, helping victims was my career for a number of years. This knowledge allows me the insight and awareness to comprehend the profound terror, shame and humiliation that victims of such crimes experience.

I’ve spent time with women who hate men. In reality, the large majority of those who would be called Man-Haters, hate what men represent to them. Even then, they often make concessions for a number of men in their lives who they don’t hate. Some of them might only hate certain types of men. In my association with these women, I’ve come to accept and understand how and why some of them have such strong feelings about men.

Some men sometimes do horrible things. Even fewer men frequently do horrible things. Don’t you hate it when you belong to a group that gets a bad reputation because of the actions of a few of its members? Those kinds of generalizations leave you frustrated and angry about unjust labels and stereotypes.

When I was working as a Rape Victim Advocate, I had my own way of coping with the horror of sexual violence.

After being at the hospital for 4+ hours with a woman who’d been raped; after holding her hand while she underwent a humiliating forensic medical exam; after sitting with her as she answered a thousand embarrassing questions from a detective; after explaining to her boyfriend/husband/mother/roommate/sister/etc. how to help her; after crying in the car all the way home,
when I walked into my house, I had one thing on my mind.
I wanted to make Love. I wanted to have beautiful, gorgeous, hot sex!

Sometimes my lovers thought that was an odd response, but it made perfect sense to me.

Does it make sense to anyone else?

Noteworthy Past Post:
Gimme Lots of Men

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Why Aren't You a Feminist?

It baffles me a bit that Feminism has become an accusation of sorts. If I had a nickel for every time someone said, "I suppose you’re one of THOSE Feminists." I’d be able to afford to get both my nipples pierced, start an own all-girl band and go on tour in a custom painted lavender bus with my two German Shepherds, Sapho and Lesbo.

Of course I’m a Feminist.
Why aren’t you?

What’s wrong with believing that everyone should be treated fairly? Is it too much to think that when women earn 72% of what men earn, it’s not good enough? Shouldn’t it bother me that the single biggest predictor of poverty in this country for women and children is divorce, while at the same time, the standard of living for the average man improves after divorce? Is it too much to ask for one out of 53 Presidents to be a woman? How about any minority? Could we possibly have equal representation in our law-making bodies? The Supreme Court? When money is allocated for medical research, is it fair that more funding goes to assist in the treatment and cure of diseases that effect men? Doesn’t it bother everyone to know that 1 out of 5 women will be the victim of partner violence in her lifetime?

And, don’t get me started again about the double standard when it comes to the free expression of sexuality.

I could go on and on about the injustice that plagues our society. It’s not just gender inequities either. Anyone who understands Feminism also understands that the basic premise of equality includes everyone. This encompasses racial & ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, sexual minorities and others.

Does it really boil down to fear and greed? Are we all so concerned about sharing our stuff with others? Is it the label? Do we think everyone will think we’re a bunch of big ol’ Dykes? (as if that’s a bad thing) Will they assume we stopped shaving our armpits? Are you guys going to turn into pansies if you think that your wives, girlfriends, daughters, sisters, and mothers deserve the same opportunities as you have?

It was my Dad who raised me to be a Feminist. He didn’t do it by reading me Audre Lorde and Gloria Steinem, or teaching me to spell women, womyn. He simply treated me exactly like I was a person. Not only that, he believed that I was capable of doing anything. As a matter of fact, he still does.

My Dad’s a Feminist. He might not have said so while I was growing up, but he’d say so now. I think it all started for him on the day I was born.
We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters. Gloria Steinem
I’m lucky to have the best Dad in the world. If you want to read more about him, go

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I'm Not a Whore, I'm a Slut!

Yesterday someone at work made a joke suggesting that I’m a whore … Oh, and a cheap whore at that. He was joking, and he’s a friend who would never have said such a thing if he knew it would hurt me. However, it did hurt. And I can't get it out of my head. I ended up in the bathroom crying. What's that all about?

Jeez! Don't people know the difference between Sluts and Whores?

I get tired of fighting the Double Standard. Unfortunately, if I give up the fight, the alternative is worse.

I suppose I could find a steady-Eddie and have relations only when he wants to do it. I wouldn’t ever initiate sex because I’m not supposed to like sex. When my Eddie and I do make love, I’ll lay there like a silent plank of wood and let him do what he wants with me. While he’s rutting and burrowing inside my private place, I’ll turn my head to avoid looking him in the eye. I won’t want Eddie to see the shame I feel for allowing myself to be defiled. Maybe I won’t be completely silent. I’ll allow myself a muffled grunt now and then if Eddie gets a little rough. And while I’m counting the ceiling tiles and planning the grocery list for the upcoming week, I might muster a meek little, "Go Eddie", because I know he likes it and it’ll make him finish faster.

I won’t ever ask for what I want. That would be the same as admitting that I like it. Instead, when we’re done, I’ll sneak off to the bathroom and rub one out in the shower while I’m washing Eddie’s sweat off my skin. And maybe when he goes out with his friends, I’ll get out my secret bad-girl toy and pleasure myself. I’ll never tell Eddie about that. He’d be shocked to find out that his girl was "That Kind of Girl".

Sadly, there are women who’ve gone through their entire lives this way. Some sexuality researchers claim that almost 40% of women have never had an orgasm in their lifetime. Globally, women’s sexuality is repressed in horrifying ways. In 40 different countries Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is still practiced. Hell, until the 1950’s we did it in the United States and Great Britain. Our physicians cut off women’s clits as a treatment for lesbianism, masturbation, depression and marital problems.

Thankfully, things are changing. There are brave people fighting to make positive long-term changes in cultures that continue to practice FGM. Things are changing here too. I’m impatient for them to change faster. I don’t want to hurt and I don’t want to see anyone else hurt by our archaic notions that "good girls don’t".

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


By the third night, I knew the routine. I slipped off my shoes outside the door, entered his spotless second floor condo, and found a comfy spot on the leather sofa. He offered me food and drink, which I declined, and then settled his six foot frame in a nearby chair. I tried to conceal my excitement behind a cool and casual exterior, but I'm sure he saw through me. After a brief pause, he looked at me and said, "Start".

And, so I did.

Seamlessly, we continued from the night before when a rapid interchange of verbal and non-verbal shorthand developed, rules established, contracts sworn to, and the boundaries of our alliance outlined. Tonight began as if no hours existed in between. Those hours had been a breath, exhaled again right here and now.

The first night was at a jam session at a local bar. He looked out of place. Maybe I did too. Two middle-aged people alone in a college bar on a Sunday night. He braved an introduction and bought me a beer. I knew he would. Women know these things; or maybe we make them happen with our secret unspoken language. The next day he would casually mention that when he talks to women in bars, he only chooses the most beautiful woman in the room. He was smart to wait on that cheesy line. Had he used it the first night, in a bar full of hot little college co-eds, our conversation would have ended before it had begun. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he hadn’t chosen me. I’d chosen him.

He was handsome, but pretended to be shy and insecure. Although his height and broad shoulders gave him a presence, it was the combination of ash blond hair and hard brown eyes that was most striking. There was no tenderness in those eyes, but they weren’t cold or cruel either. They were intense, sharp, and determined.

As we chatted over a beer, half-listening to the music, we tried to be honest with one another. Talking to a stranger in a bar is either lies or half-truths designed for impact or self-protection. For us, we chose the half-truth path, and even dared to travel dangerously close to real truth. By the end of the evening we’d agreed to meet again.

The second night I met him at another bar. This time he brought his guitar. He’d been playing for two years, but had never performed in public. The jam was good. The wannabees hadn’t come around yet, and the better musicians were still hanging about. During a break, someone came off stage and asked him to play. I mouthed "Do it", and he finally agreed. He was good for a first-timer. We left shortly after, while he apologized for his real and imagined mistakes.

His condo was like him: tall, clean, well organized, distinct. Off the main room and kitchen there was a music room where he composed and recorded. He showed me all the details of the room and played a few of his songs. The entire apartment was wired. With a single remote control, any of several thousand songs could be played from any room. While he showed off this technology, I searched for other evidence of him in his surroundings.

A poster from Burning Man, 2002 was framed on the wall. Two expensive guitars hung above the television. The décor was black leather and glass. It was a crisp, sparse modern look. There were no photos of people, other than one of a younger version of himself on a motorcycle hanging over the toilet. I wondered if he liked looking at it every time he took a piss.

After the tour, I sat on the leather sofa and wondered what would happen next. He sat in a nearby chair and continued to talk about music. The conversation took on a quick-paced rhythm of twists, turns, circles and returns. It felt more natural than talking in the outside world. After a while he stopped and said, "Has it ever been like this for you? Have you ever been able to talk with someone like this?"

I knew what he meant, and I couldn’t remember having done so. Finally, we discovered that we both had ADHD and that might have something to do with it. Two brains that don’t operate according to the proper way of the rest of the world, not having to compensate for our deficits. Our engagement was intense and passionate. Neither of us wanted it to end.

We seemed to talk about everything: family, relationships, the criminal justice system, music & art, addiction, career choices, and sex. At 5:30 am I forced myself off the couch and insisted that we adjourn. He made it difficult to follow my plan when he stood behind me, held my shoulders and softly kissed my neck. It’s hard to walk out a door when you can’t feel your knees. Somehow I managed, even though I didn’t want to. An important meeting and an overactive sense of responsibility won out over desire.

It was the third night. He said, "Start".

And, so I did.

This time there was no introduction. We started in the middle where we’d left off. I began with a question, and the hours melted away.

Sometime around sunrise he joined me on the couch. He took off his shirt and stretched out. We were both exhausted. I sat on the floor and touched him. This was the first time I’d done so. He said that only one woman had ever touched him that way. I asked him to tell me about her.

He described her face and body. He assessed her qualities against a superficial standard of beauty. It was in that moment that I recalled that all the women he’d told me about had been judged the same way. His mother and sisters were beautiful because of their physical attributes. He’d valued his ex-wife because her body was perfect. He missed mornings with her when he watched her get dressed. All of his former lovers were described according to a continuum of external attributes. I had no idea who these women were. Did he?

He was half asleep when I quietly let myself out. This time he didn’t tempt me to stay. Maybe he knew that I wouldn’t. Maybe I had become a real person, someone who couldn’t be described in a superficial way. Maybe he was simply too exhausted to try.