For as long as I can remember I have the knack of picking that ONE guy that no one else likes. Let me rephrase that. I have the knack for picking that one, that none of my friends (or kid) like. Call him The Bad Boy, or Mr. Wrong, or an Asshole. Like the devil, he has a thousand names, muttered by hundreds of women before you.
It’s not that my love life is always this way. It’s not this constant streaming parade of ego-maniac jerks walking in and out of my life. I also have a knack for picking good ones from time to time. I like to think it’s more akin to when you place your hand blindly into a bag of mixed nuts. Sometimes you grab one those huge nasty bitter Brazilian ones (which I ironically like – that should sum everything up right there). Randomly speaking I’ll dip into the pool of destruction and I’ll find someone that my girlfriends (and kid) will groan about. They will ask me “Why him?” and “Can’t you see <fill in the blank>?”
And for whatever reasons, I ignore them. Not completely. But I ignore them enough that I don’t completely kick the person to the curb as fast as I should. I usually try. I feel strong and heroic for thinking of what’s best for my emotional needs initially, but generally speaking I cave in a few times, go back until I’ve been thoroughly kicked in the head a half dozen times, and limp out with a bruised and angered ego. My heart isn’t always affected. It’s like it has a protective zone built around it. In fact what these guys seem to feed is actually my starved ego that is sometimes connected directly to my loins. Once in a blue moon though, the heart gets snagged in there too. Those situations obviously hurt the most.
The friends are usually always correct. I don’t ever doubt that. But there is something about that wayward guy, the one with a thousand issues that are screaming in bight neon letters to get away from, that hold a secret charm for me. It’s intoxicating. It’s magnetic.
Maybe it’s the downtrodden. Maybe it’s my love for the underdog. It’s probably close to being challenged by something that deep down I know I can’t really fix (or even have), but damn if I don’t love a good dare. Maybe it’s having a secret, because after a while you do need to hide this from the friends, or you hear the same abovementioned sentences this time with heavy sighs of exasperation on why you don’t get it.
These men all look different. Not one is even remotely the same physically to the next; nor is it a type. It’s not a weakness for cowboys, or Harley riders, or musicians. The only commonalities are being super charming, very sweet, sexy in an off-beat way, fucked-up emotionally, incapable of commitment of any kind, benders of the truth, attentive-at-one-moment-forgot-you-at-the-next, kinda guys, that have me swooning one moment and tearing my hair out the next — and my friends (and kid) absolutely hating them.
I should recognize them for the way they make me feel. It’s always the same. That heart pounding adrenaline, that mimics a rare crush, but is probably my bodies way of sounding an alarm. Music sounds different when they are around. Air could be food. I usually imbibe in the grape a little too much. Things move at a rushing speed. There is this scrambling confusion that makes me feel like a heroin addict coming down from a good high. Itching for more. After a bit, I don’t know which side is up. I sort of float in this dark comfortable cloud of confusion.
Until I drop. The ego can only handle so many highs and lows. Or the complications really start to edge into real life. Communication is usually frustrating, with them being a live wire one moment and as silent as death the next.
The problem is I rarely see them coming. My radar for distinguishing these men is completely broken, and I often wonder how my friends know these guys are this way, and I don’t. Especially without knowing them. Yeah, that’s the other common factor, most of the time my friends (and kid) have either not met them at all, or only briefly.
I’ve been in and out of therapy enough to realize this is probably some self-destruct mode. Not all of them, but a few I’d absolutely have to agree on. Some were pretty harmless. But some have ripped my life apart at the seams. The first one I met at a party thirty years ago, and needed friends to almost physically carry me away from the mind-altering drug this bad boy seemed to infuse into me. I couldn’t even think straight with this one around. After that, it seemed they would float in and out of my life in between healthy relationships. Like I needed to dirty the place up a bit. Sex wasn’t always involved, but when it was, it was usually wall-climbingly good.
The worst part of it? Sometimes I give up what is good for me, to feast on these bad boys.
I do become immune to each of them eventually. In fact, in many cases the tables completely turn years later, and they are the ones chasing me. Almost always I can finally see what my friends saw. The blinders are off and I internalize the wonderment that I didn’t truly see this person for who they were.
I’d like to think it’s something I will outgrow. But at this juncture in my life, if I haven’t outgrown it by now I probably won’t ever. It’s one of those things that my friends (and kid) will recognize as much as a hurricane. They’ll batten down the hatches and go into the storm shelter, knowing that this too will eventually blow over.
We just have to hope for low damages when it’s all said and done.