So there you are, feeling all warm and fuzzy and cosy, looking forward to the breakfast, brunch, dinner, coffee, talk, holding her hand, walking, a weekend trip; time together that the two of you have planned for weeks.
You call her and she answers. There’s a tone in her voice. Cool. Cold. You don’t get that warm fuzzy feeling, you don’t get cuddly comfort in her voice, you don’t get cozy close. Instead, you get a wall, you get a chill, you get glacial distance and because you are sensitive to such things, you get scared and you step back inside your own walled garden; you hold your breath and you try to make sense of what’s going on. You’re reeling. You’ve planned this time with her, looked forward to this, talked about how wonderful it would be when the two of you could have this time together. This is your signal to back off and call on the aloof part of you. But you don’t.
Instead of backing off, regrouping in your walled garden, you step forward. You get clingy. And when you do that, the Lesbian Cling-on routine, she closes down and tells you you’re imagining things. By now, red lights and sirens are running down your emotional streets, flags raised all over your interior landscape. Are you paying attention?
It’s a game. It’s called the come-close-stay-away game. The players of this game don’t ever tell you that you’re in a game. In fact you might never know you’re in a game because it’s something you’re so used to by now you think it’s a normal.
Maybe you thought you were in the bigger game, the game of love and unfolding to each other, growing with each other, into each other; 1+1=3, a thing you read about once and wondered what it must feel like and if you’d ever know it. It never occurred to you that it was anything but, because the signs you saw you thought were all about others, not you. You’re different.
Of course you might be different: you reached through to her because you are so fucking awesome you’ve swept her off her feet, stolen her heart, wowed her senses and zing-rayed her curiosity and mind and touched her trust and oh goddess she is scared witless and doesn’t know what to do so she’s about to run. If that’s the case, if you are that awesome that you have challenged her worldview and self perception be gentle. Listen before you talk. Use the three-second rule before opening your mouth to say something. Do not speak before thinking. Do not be clingy. She’ll come around.
But if that’s not the case, if you’ve landed in this place with one of those psychochicks, not-so-nice sociopaths or wacky women who play come-close-stay-away as a way of being, as a way of being chased and wanted, well, unless you like playing pet, perhaps it’s time think about it playing another game, like Scrabble or Twister with someone a bit more honest and accessible and who’s willing to share herself and the universe with you.
The game of stay-close-go-away is painful and hurtful and mean and the people who do — regardless of gender or sexual orientation — are all sorts of flavours of messed up. This game is different than simply changing our mind about something, specially as we’re coming out and experiment and try on different personas to see what feels right as we go through our teens and into our mid-20s; you know, those years when we find out that the world and its people are not exactly the way we imagined it to be and we experience some amazing things as well as some profound disappointments: dreams and wishes crashing with reality. During this time, we might think we want something, or someone and think we’re 100 per cent certain only to realize in the cool morning light and over breakfast, um no. Not her. Perfectly legitimate to change our mind. That’s normal.
But if we’re still playing that, and it’s edging into come-close-stay-away at 30 years old with everyone we think we want to get close to, that’s not a recipe for personal happiness or contentment, let alone relationship happiness.
So, time to get with the grown-up program. Not willing to do that? At the very least, get informed consent. Tell anyone who’s interested that’s the game we need to play. No more reeling in unsuspecting women (and a few men for those lesbians who sleep with men) only to hit them with that come-close-stay-away silliness. Or pathology.
Yes, this is me being a bit judgmental.
It never ceases to amaze me how many four-year olds and eight-year olds and 14-years olds there are out there masquerading as adults, in adult bodies of various genders and orientations, doing seemingly adult things until they turn. Turn into their true, or wounded or damaged self who seemingly need to hurt those who love them, or, turn into the self they can never be, a self incapable of love, of experiencing love, of sharing love.
And yet. Love exists. I believe that love is always worth the risk of running across a few cretins, the game players, the extreme narcissists; those who like to carve through a long line of lovers, leaving a swath of shattered hearts and broken moments in women’s lives, collecting them as proof of something. Power, superiority, being wanted. Or nothing. An activity as natural as breathing. They will always find someone, until they don’t.
Those types of people are expert at drawing in hopeful hearts. They do it out of some sort of intellectual something or another, efforts to evoke some feeling in them because they lack the hormone for empathy, compassion and love.
Love might be a romantic notion and stuff of scientific enquiry these days, but what we know is that it is no longer imaginary just the stuff of poetry, ballads and sappy love songs. Whatever love is, when it is real, it is life changing, it is awe-inspiring and transcendent and it is never ever long enough.
We have not long to love
~by Tennessee Williams
We have not long to love.
Light does not stay.
The tender things are those
we fold away.
Coarse fabrics are the ones
for common wear.
In silence I have watched you
comb your hair.
Intimate the silence,
dim and warm.
I could but did not, reach
to touch your arm.
I could, but do not, break
that which is still.
(Almost the faintest whisper
would be shrill.)
So moments pass as though
they wished to stay.
We have not long to love.
A night. A day….
Inspired by a story I was told at the dog park