On Saturday a very beautiful girl I went on three dates with texted me at 9:21 PM saying that she would prefer to be friends. And that’s fine, but I had already planned our future dreamy lives together.
I cry for approx. fifteen minutes and then get on with my life. Coincidentally, Ariana Grande drops thank u, next on the same night.
How do I suffer? Let me list the ways:
- Placing too many expectations on people in my life
- Having too many expectations placed on me by people in my life
- A lot of anxiety
- Dwelling on the past, frequently
- Getting ahead of myself and playing out cute hypothetical situations in my head which I believe will someday become true
There’s a scene in the 1980s British TV show The Young Ones where Rik Mayall says, “only pop music can save us now!” It’s a stupid joke (they’re being chased by a vampire??), but I’ve always remembered it because pop music is how I ‘save’ myself. To get over this – rather minor – heartbreak, I create yet another Spotify playlist dedicated to late 50s and early 60s songs. I film myself wearing a pretty pink dress dancing to Calendar Girl by Neil Sedaka. When I post the video on my Instagram story I feel a little smug.
Wow. Can you imagine not wanting to date such an adorable calendar girl such as myself? thank u, next.
(Sometimes I wonder if my ego is too big, if I take too many selfies, if I should stop talking about myself as if I were the greatest person in existence. Then I remember that the alternative would be complete self-loathing. I am yet to negotiate a comfortable middle-ground.)
The biggest enemy is usually myself. I can’t try to make it seem like everybody who has ever rejected my affections is the worst. They wouldn’t have gained my affections in the first place if that were the case – the people I adore have all been sweet, but they have never been ready for me.
I’m probably too anxious to date people anyway.
u know u make me wanna SHOUT
Yesterday I was reading Little Richard’s Wikipedia page and found out that he’s gay. What the fuck? This seems like information someone should have shared with me. Even though I’ve literally spoken to no one about Little Richard. But I’ve listened to his songs with people before. Long Tall Sally is in Predator, probably my brother’s favourite movie but then again it might actually be Die Hard. And in 2013 The Beatles: Live at the BBC Vol.2 was released, and my best friend and I listened to it on the walks home from school after exams, one ear bud each. Paul McCartney sang a cover of Lucille, and I think it was around then that I decided that he was my favourite Beatle, as well as the only man I will ever truly love romantically.
Mum asks me sometimes, “don’t you worry that your hairy legs will put off men?” Honestly no, because all the men I’m attracted to are white guys with smooth voices from the 1960s. Pretty niche. Doesn’t promise a future boyfriend any time soon. Let the Franklin Flow, and let the leg hair grow.
A lot of pop songs from the sixties don’t really align with my feminist politics. Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen is your traditionally cheesy lover boy tune, where the girl of romantic interest is a pretty teenager who’s suddenly worth writing songs about because she’s grown breasts and her face has cleared of acne, and the male singer’s age is too ambiguous. Is he sixteen, too? Or eighteen? Surely no more than twenty??
“But since you’ve grown up, your future is sewn up / From now on you’re gonna be mine”
As a feminist, these lyrics make me want to gag. It makes me hope that lesbian icon Lesley Gore will kick down the door and sing You Don’t Own Me until all white boy singers reconsider the treatment of women in their songs.
As a simple gal who just enjoys easy listening and beautiful melodies, the words’ context fly over my head because I just want to wrap myself up in Neil Sedaka’s gentle vocals.
(Does it make me a bad feminist if I fantasise about fucking Neil Sedaka circa 1961?)
Just as I start to feel better about the situation I make the mistake of reading my journal entries from the last month. September seems like such a beautiful month – the beginning of spring, the beginning of a new potential love – until I remember that I had one of the biggest fights I’ve ever had with my parents because of: my tattoo, lying to them about my tattoo, being bisexual, my apparently ‘radical’ feminist politics, being snobby, not having a concrete plan for my future, etc. Still, from late September to mid-October there are some glimmers of naïve hope.
“Something amazing has occurred.”
“I’m trying not to be too excessive about this and start thinking about future possibilities when I should be grounding myself in the present, but you know that it’s difficult for me to do that.”
“Aaaaa I’ll try not to fuck this up because I really really like her.”
“(a little anxious voice is screaming in my head, terrified of getting hurt, but right now everything is so warm and cute and sunny. The best kind of affection).”
“I think I’ve started to reel in my emotions a little and become slightly more distanced, just in case it turns out bad.”
It’s a mistake to read over these comments so soon. I start crying and can only calm down once I turn off the light, cacoon myself in blankets and think about mop-top Paul McCartney telling me that I am beautiful, kind, smart, amazing, worthy of love.
She posts a gorgeous pic of herself on Insta and I consider double tapping, but the caption is quite personal and reflective and for some reason I don’t want to seem like I’m acknowledging her feelings about life.
Was it a bad idea for me to text her during Venus retrograde and ask if she was still interested in dating me? Did she ever think of us as dating? If I hadn’t have said anything would we still be ‘dating’, whatever that entailed? Was I too desperate too soon??
HANDLE WITH CARE – FRAGILE.
A week later a mate and I are mistaken for a couple. We’ve been friends since we were fourteen and even if he wasn’t gay we probably still wouldn’t be dating. When we get into my car he tells me that the guy he’s been seeing told him that he ‘wasn’t ready for a relationship’ and broke it off suddenly. I screech “SAAAAAME!” and then we go roller skating. He is an expert and I haven’t skated in eight years, but I don’t fall over because whenever I begin to lose my balance he grabs my arm and steadies me. This is the type of friendship worth maintaining.
When a guy I had a crush on for two years told me – a week after I had confessed my feelings to him – that he’d prefer to remain friends I started listening to Bob Dylan a lot more. Bobby D doesn’t have a smooth voice and his songs don’t comfort me in the same way as others do, but some are quite gentle. I listened to them at dusk, wishing I could write things as beautiful as those songs. I never did learn the picking pattern to Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright, but I don’t think I could ever do it justice anyway.
I’m seeing her next week but I’m not sure if it’s a good idea yet. When my last love let me down I cried whenever I came home from seeing her – but she was a completely different situation, that lasted seven months and over 600 km. That already seems like a lifetime ago.
I have a new love. Neil Sedaka circa 1959-1963.
Neil Sedaka is the boy in my diary. Her name has been replaced because I can’t bring myself to write it. Maybe it’s just easier for me to fall in love with and seek comfort from men who can’t reject me because they’re from an entirely different decade?
I made friends with a girl in my screenwriting class this year. She had a fringe like me and one night as we caught the tram back to Flinders Street Station she told me how she’d been two metres away from Paul McCartney a few years ago. Since then she has become one of my closest friends.
The other night we left an event early and I ended up telling her every dramatic thing that has happened to me this year, documenting how my relationships with people have disintegrated and why. For so long I thought I was a psycho cunt for the things that I did and felt; it was only when Nicole came back from South Australia and told me I had nothing to be ashamed of that I actually felt like I could get on with my life.
Neil Sedaka and his wife Leba have been married since 1962. This makes me feel whole and pure inside. It’s like a reassurance, that the man who sings I will always want you for my sweetheart genuinely means this. That the man whose love songs calm me down at night would be true to me if I were his sweet sixteen in the late 1950s. That makes me so happy and I don’t really understand why.
I think I just like the reassurance.
I saw her. It was fine. More than fine. In fact it is just as enjoyable as our dates were, except I don’t leave her and continue to overthink my actions for the next few days. She said that she wasn’t ready for a relationship yet and maybe neither am I. As always, the initial overreaction is quelled by the realisation that everything isn’t really as bad as my head makes it seem.
We sit in Flagstaff Gardens, sipping on Boost Juice and talking about Paul McCartney and Neil Sedaka and Ringo Starr. At some point I realise that everything is exactly the same, everything is still warm and cute and sunny – the best kind of affection.