Friday, December 11, 2009


I heard a rumor that a former history professor of mine made out with a student during office hours. My first reaction: envy. My second reaction: what the hell, Linz? This man isn’t exactly young and he isn’t exactly handsome. Why do I find him so appealing?

I know why.

Because actually my second reaction was to put on my little conquistadora hat and start scheming. I like a good challenge.

What do I mean by conquest? Not what you might think. I’m not particularly pro-active in these attempts, because if someone is worth my wanting to conquest, they’re also unattainable enough to scare me away from anything so bold as actually making a move. I just sit around and wish intensely for it to happen—a strategy that has proved surprisingly effective.

The last time I conquested I persevered against all odds and I succeeded—only to find that the fantasy didn’t quite live up to the reality. That’s pretty much the whole point of fantasies, if I’m not mistaken: to make reality disappointing. Not to say that I didn’t have a lovely time, because I most certainly did. More than lovely. But it became crystal clear, in a way it never had before, that conquesting is a rather selfish endeavor, and two people being selfish together quickly becomes boring.

“Boring” doesn’t quite capture what I mean, which is actually closer to emptiness—my number five provides a prime example. The sex was silent and brief and anticlimactic—for me at least. I couldn’t figure out why he even bothered, but then, it takes two to tango and I was bothering too. I was always shocked when he asked me, after each exchange, if I had come. So shocked that I always answered yes. It was my first time faking it, and I didn’t even mean to.

I get the sense that it’s different for the guys I’m with. I’m not sure what’s going on in those impenetrable heads of theirs, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be the same nervous analysis that’s buzzing inside mine. It seems more like a kind of complacency, one that drives me crazy...and that I can’t help but mirror. But it’s a dumb kind of mirroring—more like a pantomime. I’m not privy to the logic that governs his oscillation between devouring me and ignoring me, between his wanting to do sweet things like read aloud from Harry Potter but then not be my boyfriend.

But then, is it possible that I started it, and the complacency that drives me crazy is just my own, mirrored back at me? I’m getting dizzy just thinking about it. But I think the answer is no. I think that the male animal is better able to separate the physical and emotional in a way that I am simply unable and uninterested in doing.

But getting back to this professor. I’m sure that if by some miracle I wound up in bed with him, it would first be wonderful, and then be weird, and then I might be sort of over it. Right now I can’t imagine being over it, I suppose because it hasn’t started yet, and almost certainly never will. I’d like to think that after having collected a fair amount of these conquest-cum-letdowns, I could preemptively dismiss new ones as not worth the effort. Apparently I haven’t quite reached that level of maturity yet.


  1. This is my favorite post you've made.

    We all act like idiots sometimes. :)

  2. funny as hell, as always.

  3. The last time I conquested (and preserved) it wasn't a total loss. Sure it was a 'conquest-cum-letdown' as you put it, but looking back I still take satisfaction in knowing that I achieved a goal. The relationship was so-so, the sex was ok, and the end unremarkable. Even so, I like that I did what I set out to do.

    I won't say conquesting as such is completely out of my future, but I do recognize in myself a yearning for something a bit different. Affection maybe. Not that it was necessarily absent in the past, but I sense a change in emphasis. Maybe this is just the other side of the pendulum arc, but it does seem to be a damped oscillation.

    How do these postings factor in to the balance?

  4. Another great posting, Lindsay. Your description of the disappointment we experience when fantasies become real is truly insightful. Fantasies are fantastic, and reality can be full of wonder and amazement, but a fantasy dies when it becomes real. Fantasy and reality - they can live in concert but not coincident.

  5. There's some good writing here: "Apparently I haven’t quite reached that level of maturity yet."

    However, in a different sense, there is no indication you will ever reach the maturity you so seem to grasp for.

    Your seeming lack of understanding men -or love for that matter- is not compensated for toward the reader. For writing worthwhile you'll need (or give) more insight, more passion or, if you prefer, bring your irritating shallowness to even fuller light.

    The answer is yes, not no. You think the answer is no, and that the male animal is better able to separate the physical and emotional than you are. However, in your texts you prove otherwise. After all, it is you who's having (doing,viewing) these uninspired relationships.

    Please, if you are not so able to seperate the two, then demonstrate this in your writing. How (etc) is your physical and your emotional entangled?

    I've only heard women, and creepy guys, ever talk about the seperation of the two, as if that's some desired state. Its my conjecture that it's not a male reality at all, and that you might just be blaming the victim. But then again, that is perhaps why you write.