Pensive pic by Ithan Hurd
“When a man plays with your heart it is for one of two reasons: He knows he can or he is undecided.”
― Shannon L. Alder
Some guys just want somewhere to stick it. But that somewhere has a heart and a face and is not a hole in the ground. TV may as well be the judge and jury of our love lives, what with the stuff that Hollywood, Disney and Hallmark paint in the fabric of our minds from the moment any impressionable soul can blink. Romantic overtures expressed in an hour and a half are picked up as the makings of a forever love, and we (us ladies) mostly believe it – our souls too hungry for the real thing to doubt or question it all. It’s just that, when you see, you can’t unsee. Same goes for hearing. But reality has a funny way of popping the bubbles and sentiments blockbusters have pumped into us.
I don’t know how the dating scene is these days, but I tapped out back when gentlemen players were popping up everywhere like weeds, obvious knock offs of Neyo’s year of the gentleman – generous with compliments, generous with promises, generous with experiences. Those kinds. These men know their women – they’ve been wounded, they’re on the verge of giving up on love and will need a little coaxing to take a chance on love. And that’s where they come in. Having taken years to fine tune the right words, after years of practice on how to recreate the perfect emotions in you, they line up a set of cards up their sleeves to perfect their long con to have any lady take a big leap, one last chance on love. Never mind that she’ll likely bust her head open on collision with the ground. She’s too caught up in the euphoria dancing along to the snake charmer’s tune to realize this.
And can you blame her for believing in perfect timing? The carrot stick of fate is Hollywood’s elixir (curse) to the lovelorn. You see, sometimes, these gentlemen players come as men you would never say yes to. Short, but sweet. Tall, but chubby. And you wonder if it will all be worth it. But he spends the night telling you that you should let him make love to you and that he’s lucky to have met you. And you allow it, only because he was persistent and you started to pity him.
And you were curious to have him make good on his promise to line your body with stars if you let him into the sweet of you, so you allowed it. And he sweeps you off your feet with a night of wonder. And just when you start to tell yourself how foolish you are for letting it happen, he takes you to Blankets and Wine the following day and he spoils you so much that you can swear that when he looks at you, you must be the only girl in the world to him.
And the magic stretches on for weeks. So you start to think that you’ve stepped into kismet. The stuff of dreams. The jazz that movies are made of. But the magic starts to wear off. And his fears start showing on his skin. And you begin to smell what he’s been running from all along. And you can taste the one who broke him, it’s just that you’re short of her name. But she still lingers on his lips.
Then it all starts to cave in. Only he knew from the start that it was a girlfriend experience he was looking for and nothing overly serious. Makes sense why he never took off his shoes. He must have known just when to exit. So he leaves tracks of mud on your heart and whispers a prayer that you will climb out of the ruins alive, and maybe if you’re lucky, whole. But we both know you won’t.
You’ll be lucky to return to a steady heartbeat anytime soon but you’ll definitely lose limbs. And it will hurt, but they will grow back again. And you start to think that all men are the same, but they’re not. You just met one who sniffs out for wounds and licks them for you. Then you start to feel better for a while until he leaves and your sores start gaping. I know it seems unrealistic but you will heal. You were hopelessly optimistic, and you shouldn’t punish yourself for that. So stop equating every good thing that happened to pain. You may have been burned but it’s a lesson learned. You will survive.
But love, don’t allow yourself to carry him. Don’t let the memory of him move into your mind. Don’t make him a bed to lie on in your tear ducts. You’ll sting your eyes to sickness. Don’t let him steal your smile. Let it go. You’ll heal along the way. Better things are coming. The fake always steps in before the truth shows up. So in no time, you’ll be face-to-face with the real deal.
Because there are men who actually rub healing oils into your skin. Men who bandage you and watch you heal from a distance, waiting for you to be ready, waiting until the time is right to share their heart.
Sometimes though, he already has. But you keep sidelining him for a hallmark original. Hun, that never works. Open your eyes. Look right under your nose. He may have been right there all along waiting with you and protecting you but you just kept missing the signs at every turn. It’s okay. You weren’t sober-minded. But if you’re ready and willing to sign up for life not just a few years or moments, if you’ve learnt to never say yes to forever to a stranger with a promise, but to a friend – tried and true, then I’ll tell you this, if you let him find you, reality will be so much better than the wallpaper utopia promised you.
I should know. This girl was me.