Come sail your ships around me
And burn your bridges down
We make a little history, baby
Every time you come around

The Ship Song : Nick Cave 

 

It’s been months since I’ve written here and for that, I’m really sorry. While I absolutely chat with everyone regularly on the Good Girl Confessional Facebook page, and you know I  love that, I haven’t sunk my teeth into a juicy, confessional style post in months. What’s with that?! Recently several friends have rightfully pulled me up on it and asked me where was all my saucy news from the world of online dating from behind the picket fence…I realised that I have so much to spill but have been working on other projects, so with the encouragement, and some berating,  by my writer/blogger friends (thanks Deep Kick Girl), I’m back baby!

I recently reached a milestone. It’s been 12 months since I split with the Producer.  A whole damn year, which has been a roller coaster of emotions, learnings and letting-go’s. The Producer and I had a tangled, weird connection for a lot of that time. I had asked about possible reconciliations much earlier on after I had a health scare and he was supportive, and he had said no…then he continued to reach out on a regular basis. It seemed that while my declarations were more heart based, what he missed most about me was my prowess in the bedroom, which to be honest hardly felt flattering.

What he continued to propose for some time was sex without any commitment, nor hope of there ever being one.  He told me he was willing to offer me “emotional intimacy and sex”, but no relationship and no exclusivity. He actually tried to frame it by saying he was my friend. Ummm…No thanks! There is no “emotional” intimacy without an emotional connection. That’s just drive-through fast-food sex. He didn’t just meet me on a hook up site, after all. We lived together, we were engaged and he shared my life with my kids. If I just wanted casual, meaningless sex I could have probably found it anywhere. For the record, I don’t fuck my friends. People you sleep with are lovers. The Producer is an ex.

So I declined his very generous offer, and said I’d rather not be used as a convenient whore and bed-warmer while he waited for something else, supposedly better, to come along. I know, I know…I’m so fussy! Who could possibly give up such a heartfelt offer? The spell was broken and the rose-coloured glasses finally came off.

Much has happened since I split with the Producer. I have moved home twice. Man, that will take it out of you. I have had an amazing start to this year though, filled with live gigs and great catch-ups with friends. It’s been a smorgasbord of bands – I’ve see the Menzingers, Dinosaur Jr, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the Pixies, the Descendants, Adele as well as Blondie and Cyndi Lauper. Last week I attended a VIP night DJ’d by Boy George. It’s been great fun.

As it turned out, music was how I happened across an American I dated for a few months.

The American was all kinds of opposite to me. The Harley riding Yankee-boy from the state of Maine was politically right wing (he went to great lengths to tell me he wasn’t alt-right and that he didn’t vote for Trump….phew), he worked for a large pharmaceutical company and was ex US military (airfare actually). He was opposed to Hilary Clinton and believed in gun laws (though was quite happy to raise his child here in a country that had strict fun controls…go figure). He had reached out to me on a dating site and started a conversation. The one thing that struck me was our quirky tastes in music completely aligned.

I told him I was left wing with socialist leanings, and truthfully told him I wasn’t into motorcycles. He was a rather large guy, sporting tattoos under his corporate suit, and had a grey biker beard. In fact, I had to ask him if he was a biker or a bikie (huuuuge difference!).

Yankee Boy, with his deep Boston drawl, eventually got me to go out with him through music. He bravely reached out one night to tell me that although he might not be my cup of tea, he happened to have a spare ticket to a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds concert in Melbourne. How could a girl say no?! I mean it’s NICK CAVE!! That’s a hell of a first date. So we stood under the stars on a perfect, warm Melbourne night listening to the haunting sounds of Nick Cave singing heartbreaking songs from his album Skeleton Tree, sipping  G&T’s and getting to know each other. He had a dry sense of humour and soulful eyes. Like everyone in my age bracket, he’d been through his fair share of crap. His brother, a Vietnam veteran, had tragically taken his own life 4 years before. His mother had passed away 6 weeks after that. His marriage had crumbled eventually under the weight of grief and apathy…and the universe reinforced once again that I am a sucker for a bird with a broken wing.

 

The American was on one hand so much fun. Hedonistic, he loved copious amounts of fine food and expensive champagne. He was interesting. Deployed in the military to Japan during the Chernobyl melt down, he was now pescatarian, unable to bring himself to eat meat. He’d seen amazing bands play all over the world. He had ridden a Harley Davidson across the states to honour his brother. He had a daughter the same age as mine (In fact I took both of the girls, both young feminists, to their first International Women’s Day rally as I adorned my pussy hat).  On our one-month anniversary, he paid a busker out the front of a restaurant to sing Nick Cave songs to me. I am a sucker for romance. He finally convinced me to don the leather jacket and hop on his motorcycle too. I admit, it was a little bit terrifying and a little bit fun.

Something however was amiss. On more than one occasion, I witnessed the darker side of his drinking. There was something quite brooding  about him, with a sash of self absorption and selfishness thrown in.  He would turn up to planned dates late without apology or explanation. He was at times argumentative and cold. He spoke about his ex-wife only through gritted teeth, snarling about her despite their 22 years together. When he told me his ex-wife has accused him of being aggressive, a red flag went up. I will not go into detail but I will say I have learnt to listen to my instincts. I removed myself one night from his city apartment as quickly as possible and headed home crying in an Uber. Crying from the shock of watching someone unravel. Mad at myself for wasting tears on someone who treated me badly…again.  I was proud of myself for heeding the signs. I can’t say if the situation would have escalated, further…I’m saying I didn’t know if it would and I didn’t feel safe.

Weeks later, Yankee Boy asked me to lunch, at a very expensive restaurant. He said he wanted to explain himself. He ordered many oysters and champagne for me, and then told me he had given up drinking, and was seeing a psychologist. He professed lots of pretty things, telling me I was amazing and that he felt so lucky to meet me. That losing me had made him want to be a better man. Damn. Well, all of it sounded huge and genuine and I agreed to see him again. It lasted only 3 days. The aloof, brooding, selfish and rude behaviour happened again, only this time in his sober skin.

The moral of this tale? When someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them. He had shown me early on who he was. Red flags were raised. His behavior didn’t just stem from too much alcohol fueled by grief. As it turned out, the man from Maine was just a bit of a dick. I admit I was a bit stupid to fall for it twice.  Fool me once…etc etc.

There were great lessons in this adventure. I found out I had turned a huge emotional corner and could no longer put up with being treated like crap. Not by the Producer, the American…nor by any other man.  I would no longer continue to date anyone who didn’t treat me with the respect I deserve and while I own my own failings, I’ve stopped blaming myself for their bad behavior, and thinking of myself as less-than.  In the end, all the pretty words don’t mean anything if they are spoken from the lips of someone incapable of delivering on the promises.

By turning the corner, I think I’ve opened myself up to the possibilities of greater things. I have no regrets. The Producer taught me I could love again after my marriage failed, but the relationship also taught me that you can love someone with all of your heart with no guarantees they’re  the right person for you. Perhaps the American was a test from the universe to check if I’d listened and learnt. Listen and learnt I had. While I love the idea of brooding bad boys, like Nick Cave for example, it’s not really what I need in my love life. In the end, I’d rather be a bad seed on my own while I wait for the main attraction to arrive.