what the heart wants
by Miss What's-Your-Name-Again?
I know you’re not a crier. I just wanted you to know that I know, that I am aware that you are a stoic motherfucker and, being a crier myself, I respect the hell out of that. I once saw you faceplant out of a kiddie pool on the yard, in your chic little Hello Kitty maillot, your blonde curls in disarray, only to drag yourself back to your feet, picking the gravel out of your palms in mild amusement as you called What’s-His-Name over to admire the gnarly scrape that was currently oozing blood on your knee. That is why, you see, I gave pause when I saw you today with that look on your face, a look with which I am so painfully familiar, the look that says, “Do not say one goddamn word to me, or I will start to cry, and it’s going to be ugly, and real snotty, and motherfucking apocalyptic.” I, of course, in my infinite wisdom, blurted out the one thing you never say to someone who looks like that: “you okay?”
Through your gasping sobs, you told me, “[That boy who was eating glitter out of the craft box this morning] won’t play with me.” I was soothingly recommending other boys as potential playmates when you then wailed the timeless dirge of all choosy girls everywhere, one that traveled from my ears to the very threads of my soul that bind me to the rest of our kin: “I just want HIM to be my boyfriend! I don’t want anyone else! WHY WON’T HE BE MY BOYFRIEND!?“
Oh honey. Such a long road ahead for you, for all of us. And such a difficult lesson to learn, that none of us is immune; even the baddest bitch will invariably spend a few miserable nights in bed, watching Say Yes to the Dress while eating a tub of frosting, crying her fucking eyes out over some hapless dude. Not that I speak from experience (but, in my defense, if I was, it needs to be said that I live in a studio, and the only place to watch TV is from my bed, so there’s that.) I am not ashamed to admit that I’ve made somewhat of a career out of chasing after boys who didn’t want to play with me. Does this mean I have some illuminating words of wisdom for you? Well… no.
As hard as it may be to believe, this is the easy part. Boys will never be easier or simpler than when you can just repeatedly bellow their names from the top of the play structure until they realize you’re talking to them. When you get older, you will end up doing the craziest, most nonsensical bullshit in the name of trying to get someone to be your boyfriend. Your wardrobe will suffer in a most bizarre, bipolar relationship to your dating life; you will swing violently between shoving yourself into sexy, feminine outfits because it’s a game, and you’re going to have to play it, and chucking on a cruddy pair of jeans and a tshirt because if he’s not going to like you for who you really are, he’s not right for you anyway (your fitness regime will suffer a similar duality.) You will be forced to listen to more shitty music than ought to even exist in the world, in a desperate attempt to discern the deep and complex hidden message a boy meant to convey to you by sending you that particular song (allow me to save you the time: there isn’t one.) You will take up rock climbing in an attempt to gain the attention of a crush who happens to be an avid rock climber, a disastrous endeavor that ends with you asking him over for dinner while stuck at the top of a gymnasium in very climbing-unfriendly jean shorts. He will say yes, but then never show, leaving you to eat an entire casserole dish of macaroni and cheese alone while watching reruns of The Hills. You will have such a confusing, roundabout conversation with another boy that you leave it believing he has asked you on a date, only to find that your date is to a pyramid scheme recruitment session.
You will cleverly stage a second serendipitous meeting with the handsome man your dog picked out for you 101 Dalmatians-style because, after the first one, you sent him your phone number via Facebook only to discover that it went into his spam box (CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL HIM HE HAS A FACEBOOK MESSAGE SPAM BOX.) The meeting will go okay until you knock your head on the doorframe accidentally and then miss the step by the door while making your hasty exit. You will show up to teach at another one’s school in your cutest teacher clothes, only to find out that he is the teacher for whom you are subbing, and that leaves you dissecting a cow’s eyeball in Diane Von Furstenberg palazzo pants. You will forgo your precious loafers and birkenstocks for some sexy stiletto heels for your friend’s birthday party; you will trip over them while carrying a birthday cake and end up smushing it all over yourself while the party sings, “Happy birthday to… *gasp*.” You will have a glass of wine while on antibiotics and proceed to belligerently text the handsomest guy in your contacts in what you believe to be a sort of mean-sexy flirtation, only to discover the next day that it skewed more towards the odd-and-erroneously-autocorrected.
I’d like to tell you that I’ve grown so much wiser from my years of experience in love and love lost, but if I told you that I just got off of antibiotics two days ago, would that give you an idea of where I am right now? All time and experience have taught me is to fear my own, harebrained love impulses. That big risk, more often than not, ends in big humiliation. And I don’t know how to reconcile the fight to preserve one’s dignity with the fact that the heart wants what it fucking wants, and what else can we do about it? Hopefully, someday, what the heart fucking wants will figure it out.
But, in the meantime, if it’s any consolation– What’s-His-Name’s shits are gonna look like Bob Mackie designed them for at least a week, so there’s that.