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.