The five stages of male denial: I never promised you a rose garden. What made you think I promised you a rose garden? Who promises rose gardens nowadays? Why do you think you deserve a rose garden? I suspect you’re unstable.
I met a fellow scholar in the cafe where I write four hours a day. I’d seen him there every day for a year. Comfortably trapped in a depression-powered, safety-glass bubble, I had spent that year refusing to interact sociably with anyone on the premises. Until the new manager insisted that baristas take customers’ names. Suddenly we were family. (I can walk in and order the usual. I always thought “the usual” would be some exotic cocktail. Shame about my alcohol allergy. And my aversion to night life. Night period.) Around Thanksgiving, I finally responded to my fellow cafe denizen’s friendly passing remarks. I even let him watch my computer while I went to the ladies room. (If you knew me you’d say “Woah.”) His dissertation sounded feminist. He wasn’t afraid of me. I decided to try to get past the problem of his looks: typically handsome and thick-necked muscular. (I prefer tubercular-looking British boy/men. Bad teeth optional. This is the consequence of growing up goth. Damn you Peter Murphy.) After two months of chatting and indirect conversations about sex—the scholar’s specialty—he mentioned his wife. He never wears a ring. He never said anything about spending the holidays with her. He spoke in the present tense about the difficulty of meeting women he could relate to. I was hurt and angry about this lie by omission. But I decided not to do what I’d done in the past. No intimacy-building confession of pain. No consciousness-raising confrontation about the disrespect he’d shown me and, much worse, his wife. No obligation-creating request that we work together to establish new boundaries. And I resolved that if he asked about my sudden distance I would borrow a phrase from the last coward who dumped me. I’d tell my cafe friend that his failure to acknowledge his wife “raised a red flag.” That’s a phrase that is so perfectly clinical and cliched that it means nothing except “The conversation is as over as the relationship.” This latest bad experience leaves me feeling proud of what I’ve learned over the years: I no longer give anyone the opportunity to do the denial dance. On the other hand, it sucks that, once again, my armour isn’t coming off. Not to mention my pants. (Damn you pants!)
Credits to creators
cuffs: Zibska, Ute Deux (part of a full set) (NEW; ty Zib Scaggs!)
skin: Al Vulo, Alyss skin and Lolas Tango applier (group gift)
lip tat: old Heartsick gift
bags: Handverk, Valentine’s clutch gacha (NEW) [g’damn—I wanted the Spank Me clutch!]
hair: Dura, #40 (resizable by menu) (NEW)
bouquet: Vita’s Boudoir (Tainted Love Hunt item, 1L)
arrow harness: Contraption (Tainted Love Hunt item, 1L)
crown: Tee*fy (past Collabor88)
boobs: Lola’s Tango
stockings: League, side-gartered stockings
pose: LAP and bouquet pose
GIMPed for your pleisure. And dedicated to Shortcake Sugarplum.