There's this familiar saying that goes, "If a writer falls in love with you, you'll never die." It's true, especially for me. Date me and you'll never die. I'll think about you, reflect upon our interaction (whether it's significant or not), and you'll somehow wound up in my writing. And years from now, a random stranger will stumble upon my blog and he or she will also read about you and with that, you'll able to live on far beyond the expected years. Today, I will immortalize a man through my writing not because he deserves it, but because he has taught me a very big lesson in which I'm about to share with you. So let's begin.
I met Jason* towards the end of July, right before I was about to fly off to Asia for an entire month with my mother and brother. What started out as a no-strings-attached romance quickly escalated to something more. During my stay in Vietnam, we would exchange casual text messages here and there; however, the conversation would always start and end with something along the lines of "I miss you. Can't wait to see you soon." Although I was never the first person to initiate any sweet words (I tried to keep my emotions intact as much as possible), I still replied to every message in a timely and fashionable manner. Etiquette is important to me and it's important for me to display it to any person whose paths have inevitably crossed with mine.
Moving on, I didn't think too much about our 'relationship' since I was pretty well occupied in Saigon. In fact, I had the most incredible time while I was there, but immediately dismiss the idea of any romance whenever the opportunity arise. I was at the point in my life where it really just wasn't a priority for me. It still isn't. Anyway, once I got back to California, I received a text from Jason a day later. "Are you back, babe? I want to see you." You can say I was surprised. Why wouldn't I be? I thought we ended things right before I left, but I guess my prompt responses has led him to believe that perhaps there was a possibility for more. I hesitated for awhile before agreeing to see him. Flash forward a couple of weeks later, I looked back to realize that four out of the seven days were actually spent with him. Normally, I would say something along the lines of "Time flies when you're having fun." In this particular case, however, time flew by because I had nothing better to do.
The realm between actually dating versus casual dating began to merge and evidently, the lines were blurred. We didn't share the need for exclusivity or intimacy like I did with my previous relationship (my one and only) but everything we did was pretty much along the lines of two people who were actually dating each other. Taking measure of my emotions was one of the more paramount things that crossed my mind because at the end of the day, I knew better. I knew that we had was only temporary and I wasn't about to invest my whole being for someone I saw no future with. Even then, despite of my friends' encouragements and advice, I continued to see him.
On a good day, we would watch episodes of How I Met Your Mother, go to the bars with his guy friends, make random trips to the liquor store, and he'd also cook dinner for me. The lobster melt sandwich was always and forever will be my favorite. Our conversations were always shallow unless we somehow managed to talk about gun control and war violence then he would go on for hours in which a simple talk turns into a rather relatively engaging debate. It didn't take me very long to learn that I had nothing in common with this person. We do not share similar financial backgrounds, educational pursuits, ethical codes, nor communication styles. We're as far as part as any two person could be. However, that didn't necessarily drove me away because again, I knew where we stood and at the point, I was content with not asking for more.
So for the longest time, I looked at him the way any tourist person would look at the Mona Lisa. Always from a slight distance. Enough to admire the intricacies of the brushstrokes but still far enough to unable to look at the renowned classic and understand what the fuss was all about. This is my fancy way of saying he was beautiful. 6"1, broad shoulders, strong bone structure. It didn't help that he was also justifiably modest and attentive to smaller details. However, he was also one dimensional, at times even passive aggressive, and probably one of the best liars I have ever met in my entire life.
It was always easy to say that intuitive answer would have been to let him go. To simply walk away from someone who was inwardly manipulative; however, it would be unproductive if I told you that I wasn't fond of him because in a strange way, I was. I was very much attracted to this person. I like to explain this unusual attraction through the works of Cutting, a professor at Cornell University. He discusses the psychological mechanism behind this logic as simply the "mere-exposure effect"--> unconscious familiarity bred affection. The more you see something, the higher the chance you'll end up liking what you see, even if it wasn't desirable to begin with. Similar to the Mona Lisa, I was drawn to his relative obscurity and how he fit so well in my desire to stray away from something unconventional; however, Jason is no renaissance art and certainly not worthy of being remembered for anything grand. What propelled my re-evaluation of him was not my friends' inherited opinions but through my very own reflection at all of the men who are already present in my life.
It's safe to say that I am an extremely spoiled by them. It's not that I'm continuously wined and dined (although that does happen here and there) but because these men have all blessed me with things money can never buy. Love, time, respect, and quality friendship. So after six months of on and off interactions, I decided to call it quits. This was the first time I have ever walked away with someone with no remorse. Since then, the thought of him rarely ever crosses my mind...except for now, but that's only because I' m writing about him. It'll be the first and most definitely the last.
Lesson of the day: sometimes great art and mediocrity are confused with one another, even by experts. This is why it's extremely crucial of us to see as much as possible, read as much as possible, and of course, experience as much as we can. After all, 'the more we're exposed to the good and the bad, the better we are at telling the difference. The eclecticists have it.'