Tonight, a boy tried to hop behind the bar and pour his own beer.
"I’m sorry. I didn’t know."
"Because bars are buffet style and self-serve?"
"Um. No. Can I keep my beer?"
"No. I can pour it out and you can stay. Or you can keep it and I can have the bouncer escort you out."
"So I can’t keep my beer…"
Life must be difficult for some people.
After waiting over three days for a guy to respond to a message in which I shared my feelings, I began to worry. I had avoided the love word, but did it still come off as too needy? Was it a bit demanding? Should I have shared these feelings with him? Was I now too vulnerable? It’s amazing how much a period of waiting can make you doubt yourself and motives that previously you had decided were necessary. It’s also amazing that I would now be doubting a man that I previously traveled across Europe with, who had assured me that we had all the time in the world, and who said that he was bewitched by me. Naturally, I found myself discussing the scenario with a friend and why this man that wanted to be different (who had until the nonresponse seemed different) fell into the same patterns that I had recognized in others. The conversation evolved into a conversation of a society of patriarchal structures and one in which women are expected to be demure and such behaviors are engrained in the female sex.
"But thats the problem of this society," she said. "We are always the weak ones when we show any kind of emotion because men seemingly have the right to say nothing and then have the power . Men have power over us by not responding and then we get anxious about them not doing so and start to blame ourselves for something very human… which is having feelings, talking about them and also wanting the reassurance we deserve since we have slept with them, made them happy, given them a lot. It seems like it would be fair for them to at least acknowledge our feelings even if they can’t return them."
Unrequited love is a scary thing, but perhaps it wouldn’t be an issue if people just said what they meant, what they were feeling - regardless of gender. Instead of saying: “move here with me after graduation”, a simple utterance of “you should visit again” would do. But I also do not understand why emotions are so taboo. There is nothing wrong with love of any sort - platonic, unrequited, romantic, sexual. It is one of the best gifts that we can share as humans and we are still either shamed for declaring it, made nervous to utter those three small words, or told that admitting such things is a weakness.
Does this arise from patriarchal structures where the woman was to be quiet and obey the man’s will? Where the woman was to be the one pursued and not adopt any sort of stereotypically masculine role? “Patterns and patriarchal standard are still to present. History has taken its toll on us.” She chuckles a bit and adds, “Sounds overly dramatic but it is true.” But it’s not overly dramatic. It’s just accurate. We have to live in a patriarchal/masculine framework as women and it simply does not work.
Slowly the conversation transitioned into discussing our current relationships: both with men in different countries. Distance is a difficult thing and the emotional distance can grow when the physical proximity is absent. We take for granted how reassuring a hand on a shoulder or a brush of the hair can be. It also brings up the idea of love only existing in relation to convenience. An interesting concept and one that I am not fully ready to accept. I would like to think that the previously mentioned man meant everything that he said, but is it that simple. I feel that the right person sometimes exists without the ideal circumstances, so you make it work because no one wishes to settle. While my friend’s sister says that that” she can only fall in love if her circumstances allow it… which means physical presence and a definite future together.”
I suppose at the end I found myself more upset than at the beginning but comforted by the fact that I wasn’t alone in my situation or in my thought process. But it left me wondering: what words can you trust and do some words have an expiration date - or a geographic framework in which they are valid? Why is “love” such an off-limit word to use?