Square peg

I peruse the rows of books.

Why Men Love Bitches:  From Doormat to Dreamgirl

What Men Won’t Tell You But Women Need To Know

I shake my head and move on.  The rows are categorized alphabetically by last name.

Become Your Own Matchmaker:  8 Easy Steps for Attracting Your Perfect Mate

Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man

“It’s not here, of course it’s not here,” I mutter under my breath.

An overly-eager sales clerk pops up.  “Can I help you find a particular title?” she chirps, like some kind of mechanical bird.  Oh come on, she knows what section of the bookstore this is. 

The Loser section.  The section people turn to when they are looking for justification.

“No, thank you,” I mumble.  I hope she hasn’t heard me talking to myself.

The truth is, I have no idea what I’m looking for.

Why Mr. Right Can’t Find You:  The Surprising Answers That Will Change Your Life

How To Make Someone Fall in Love With You in 90 Minutes or Less

I laugh despite myself.  This is not my section.  The book I’m looking for isn’t here.

The book I am looking for will explain why I don’t want what everyone else seems to want.  The book will explain why it’s very common, but no one ever talks about it. 

I began searching in the bookstore after I read the following on Salon:

At 29, I’m not looking for a man. I’m six months out of a nearly two-year relationship so void of passion and emotion that I might as well have been alone the entire time. For the past few months I have enjoyed traveling by myself in Asia, avoiding all offers of romance. One pale Englishman in Laos asked me, his eyes wide and moist, if I wanted to have a bit of fun with him.

“Fun for whom?” I asked and went to bed early that night with my book, happy that I only had to share my room with the large frog on the wall of my bathroom.

“Oh my God,” I wrote to a friend.  “Is this what people think I believe?”

It is not what I believe.  Far from it.  In fact, it may be the saddest thing I have ever read in my life.  Claiming to prefer the company of an amphibian over an Englishman (however pale), or any other human being, is a bit much, don’t you think?

Blame it on thousands of years of conditioning.  Blame it on “Eat, Pray, Love”.  Blame it on feminism, or any other “ism” you prefer.

But I don’t believe in it.  Not for me.

Women imposing abstinence upon themselves, telling themselves that surely some kind of enlightenment will come from not acting upon their sexual desires.  Where is the choice, exactly? 

Where is the joy?

Are we simply wives and mothers?  Or sluts?  Or celibate singletons, proving our self-worth by denying our sexual pleasure?  Where do these perverse ideas come from?

I want to read the book that tells me that it’s alright to enjoy a life that includes love and yes, perhaps sex (gasp!), without the confines of tradition.  I am still relatively young, independent, successful and intelligent.  If I don’t want a traditional full-time committed relationship, does this mean that I give up a lifetime of love and passion?  Must I sign up for the whole package or walk away, empty handed?  If things don’t work out with the Prince, must I choose the frog? 

There must be another choice, I tell myself.  There must be another way.

And so, I continue to search.


10 Responses to “Square peg”

  1. 1 imgonnabreakyourheart
    August 8, 2010 at 9:35 pm


    Glory Hallelujah. Amen.

  2. 3 a1
    August 9, 2010 at 1:21 am

    like what you write, LOTS!
    thanks for the entertainment

  3. 5 Kiran
    August 9, 2010 at 3:08 am

    The only book like that I can think of would be “Tales From The City”. And, generally, gay stuff. Somehow it is easier for gay fiction writers to accept there’s more than one way of being happy — and, subsequently, for right-wing twats to dismiss us as non-human because we have discovered more than one way of being happy.

    I used to think that the only way to happiness was love and marriage. Then I grew up. And discovered that actually I’m not sure what it is I need to be happy. I promise to tell you when I find out. (Hopefully before dying of old age.)

  4. August 9, 2010 at 9:36 am

    There is a fabulous Mae West quote that reads—“I wrote the story myself: it’s about a girl who lost her reputation and never missed it.”

    You aren’t going to find answers or acceptance in some book.

    So I say, write the story yourself. Don’t go looking for it. Or for justification that your story is any more worthwhile than the others!

    • 8 shoeboxdweller
      August 9, 2010 at 9:41 am

      The researcher in me thinks that there must be some biological or sociological explanation that I can point to and say “aha!” But of course, there isn’t.

  5. 9 roger
    August 9, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    So I’m curious… in a ‘trying to understand’ way: Would Brit guy’s “let’s have fun” fit your desired mode of non-traditional love and sex (gasp)? or would that (assumedly one-off) proposition be too slutty? Is it more “friend with benefit” you’re after (there’s gotta be a book on that). Or is it something more committed than that you seek. Perhaps there aren’t any good words to describe what you’re after and I should leave you alone. But with your literary prowess, I’m curious for further descriptors.

    If I understand your desire here (and I may not…I can be emotionally obtuse) it seems that most male ‘help’ books describe roughly what you’re after quite nicely .eg. Fun without formality. The difference is that the male books celebrate it whereas, perhaps, the female authors (subjugated by their peers’ various ‘isms’) cast aspersion?? Perhaps the trick is to read books written for men and simply translate/re-interpret them for your own positive needs?
    Certainly wouldn’t be the first time a ‘new’ social demographic was forced to use the writings of an analogue groups as a start point.

    Anyway… What do I know… I’m on vacation and clearly have too much time on my hands and should get off your blog, off Facebook, off the web, and start relaxing!!

    • 10 shoeboxdweller
      August 9, 2010 at 3:59 pm

      Male help books? Like “The Game”? Or “How to Get Her Into Your Bed in 90 Seconds?”

      OK, I made up that last title. But I’m pretty sure I’ve seen something similar.

      I won’t be reading any of those books any time soon. Perhaps you could read them and give me a summary. Since you have too much time on your hands. ;o)

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