Wednesday, May 10, 2006

the ministry of flirtation & other moments

For some reason I can't recall, I was thinking about an ex (not sure what to call this one, "boyfriend" doesn't sound serious enough for the relationship, but it didn't progress to any legal stages, although he did propose once, stupidly enough). I remembered the time he told me, with a straight face, that as a Christian he flirted outrageously with all the unattractive, ugly women he ran across and that he considered this to be his "ministry" and how he caused all these unwanted women to momentarily suffer the delusion that someone found them attractive. It was then that I was seized with the strengthening conviction that I needed to get this loser out of my life, forever.

I had a similar moment with a man (I hate to use that word for him, but he was too old to be a boy) I dated briefly when I was in college. My beloved roommate and I had gone to see "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" with him, and my roomie and I were trashing it afterwards (yes, I am aware that I am the only person in North America who didn't absolutely adore that movie). As soon as my roomie slipped off to bed, my date slipped into a rage he'd been holding back. He berated me for being a snob and thinking myself above mass culture, harangued me for maintaining a summa cum laude average in college ("You're the only one who hasn't figured out that GRADES DON'T COUNT!"), criticized my decision to wear shorts by saying my legs were too fat to be shown in public, and wrapped up by screaming at me that I was going to go to a newly released Rodney Dangerfield movie with him AND I WAS GOING TO LIKE IT, GODDAMIT. As I wiped the spit off which had flown off as he screamed about the Rodney Dangerfield movie, I knew absolutely that this relationship was over. Bizarrely enough when I broke up with this person, he was shocked and, hurt, said that he was planning to invite me to move in with him.

There was a similar, crystalline moment when I decided to divorce my first husband. I had finally prevailed upon him, after threatening divorce, to go into couple's counseling. We had a few sessions, but he refused to do the homework with me that the therapist assigned, and nothing was improving. The therapist asked him to keep a log of his emotional experiences for a week, and he quit couple's therapy. That wasn't as empowering a moment as the "ministry of flirtation" or the Rodney Dangerfield moments, but then again, it had been a long relationship with a lot of good moments in the past, and it was sad to end it.

I was in a lot of relationships, but I don't really remember any other moments of absolute clarity where I knew I was dumping the motherfucker pronto. I wonder if the men who dated me ever had such moments of clarity (I was more often the dumper than the dumped, but still, I got rejected at times). Would it be entertaining or would it be decimating to hear those moments described?

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