Supertaster by Kelly Grieve [Catechize #3]

Romance, it wakes you at twilight after circles across the floors of your ancestors with a dashing soul. After a decade without a breath on your shoulder, how could one ever give up such a feeling? The precious cargo of one’s lineage on the line is enough to eliminate the once absolute necessity of seduction.

My ex had dreamy eyes. Through the lens of time it became an incredulous stare of cluelessness. In the end, the divine co-creator of our child would yield the lesson that “ignorance is bliss”, it was at least for him and he’d partake of even heavier spirits to cover the endless aftertaste of his hatred for me because I left, for security and greater opportunities in our offspring’s life.

I still get to see the echo of those looks every day. My girl is the most concentrated product of his inherited doe eyes yet they roll and cross in hilarious gestures mocking or entertaining me on the face of a brilliant comic tween. Romance made me my most precious treasure yet the devastating storms that I emerged from in the wake of the force that incited her life were turbulent and the aftermath of that connection, devastated with the unsalvageable wreckage of that relationship.

It happens all the time. Married, children, family has nothing to do with it, the fronts still sweep through and bring upheaval. Loneliness or differences breed the unfounded quest for connection. Behold, a beautiful face on the street, rampant with tall, intense glances. A fathomable future in your sights, yet once your feet tread that path they find themselves cracking over fallen sticks from the trees, a nose full of warm cedar like bark and green leaves dried from the sun. You stop in the realization that you are remarkably on your own in longing. Before you know it, the fall comes and the potential of those sultry summer nights never even yields a memorable moonlight stroll. The unfortunate self-imposed isolation is a coping distraction designed to preserve you amidst a persistent addiction to the euphoric gusts of infatuation. An instinctive survival mechanism.

I have a brother. He’s not a blood brother but a friend who has chaperoned me through time. Yet he is incapable of truly watching over me as he’s a narcissist, one of the most fascinating and painful friends I have ever chosen to remain connected with. I am hypnotized by the brutal honesty of the ego-centric and am left cold and wanting in the way a bitter January wind scrapes at your cheeks. Aching for warmth, barren desire in a glacial Sahara. Truth has broken my skin too many times to count yet I still seek its motivation. In our case, it is simply like the hawk that watches the rodent, never able to clutch its talons around the prey. In our scenario, friendship is this rodent’s defence. I’m like the tiny animal that pulled the tack out of the lion’s paw. Is he somehow indebted to me now, therefore I am spared? It’s a strange feeling to know that you’re a perpetual target, but that the hunter will never release the arrow no matter how far the strand is pulled back. The tension gets heavy and nothing ever comes of it. Going on decades now of a once stunted romance now resting like an over harvested field. Tilling, sowing, reaping. All of the land’s desire too deep and dormant for any possible cultivation, yet such a vast space it still holds.

Steamed up nights are a delight to remember, yet the meaninglessness of their ignition sort of dissipates the memory into some dense, sexy fog. The reality of any advance, especially a subtle one, finds me in situation of evasion. A terrified friend frozen like a deer in headlights drops me off after a party. A once flirty and easy-going charmer turns white with an inexplicable fear. A cherished friend that laughs with me ten minutes later falls completely mute and seemingly angry. What the hell is going on, why are all these men so afraid of me? I’m just a fucking person.

I am no ten on the “scale” and am by the strictest definition, “taken”. My partner is not possessive, remotely concerned or even slightly jealous at who I keep in my company and he is not a large, buff or intimidating sort, so why all the fuss? Are they so crippled by the possibility of any expectation at all that they can’t even attempt to exchange more than a few measly words. Why are they so petrified of a woman’s friendship?

Through high school, I ran with a ragtag bunch of creative idiots. They were a remote version of “Jackass” before Jackass ever took credit. They were all male and none of them feared me. So now I peek down the barrel occasionally of a strong friendship with a heterosexual male and they quake in their steel toes at even holding a conversation with me. I feel like some legendary yeti or bigfoot that also somehow- turns them on? That can’t be right.

The potential of romance is merely that. Just a momentary condition. A woman’s favour is not a permanent state. There are possibly millions of straight men out there terrified to be friends with straight women for reasons that can only be speculated due to a lack of, extremely poor or entirely absent communication. Why the hell can’t they voice their concerns. Life is so brief, why waste time running from a girl you’re in love with or even just “like” to hang with. Your confession will surface a necessary truth, she’ll embrace you or cut you off. But there is an entire spectrum of intimacy here to draw from. True there are some that will try and string you along but as long as you don’t pay for them or ride them around in your car, their game will rapidly end. Don’t play that game, either. If you’re uncomfortable with a woman, come out and say it so she can get away and continue on either pursuing another prospect or in my case, not wasting her precious time on another failed friend.

Romance screws us all up only because of our brutal societal restrictions. A biochemical bond is only as effective as the fuel type you keep feeding it. In a culture that now demands the acceptance of the full gender identity scale or lack thereof, there is a vital synchronicity missing: the oppositional polarities — straight male and straight female remain unreconciled in mutual respect and reverence for one another beyond hormonal entanglement. To see this balance is too rare. There is still this tug of war. The cemented roles of dominant and submissive. In my experience, this needs to be the real discussion. I’m weary of the walls people have reinforced within themselves, most especially in the case of the straight male: elusive, silent relics of the 50’s ignoring the heavily residual mental illness of stoicism toward their female counterparts. It’s like they’re suffering from a systemic metal toxicity. This is old, old throwback programming. Its severely outdate and I see it in 20 and 30 year olds! This is bad. Women are like you, they are human and they know that perfect doesn’t really exist.

We straight ladies may bubble up with chemicals at times but we still have vales and priorities. We hold meaningful people and things dear to us in our life experience that will outshine the impact of one man’s single facet of temptation engaging us. It’s truly a loss in life to never connect meaningfully with the photo-negative of the chromosomal self. Solutions to so many problems in this world lie within that powerful alliance.

Contrast is an amazing driver, a bit unruly perhaps but avoiding its presence in life is squandering. Don’t be afraid to lock yourself into a conversation with the discomfort of it. Let it ride. This is the millennium. Stop fearing bonds between male and female. With all the rest of the country “tasting the rainbow”, let your heart be unburdened by the genital-chemical restriction. We are much more than that and we are supposed to rise and drop on the roller coaster of potable consciousness. Just like we do with coffee beans, wine grapes and craft beer, we must expand our palette for human bonding. Not everything should hit the tongue and be sweet. Bitter is an acquired taste that gives us a potent appreciation for the honey that drizzles in when we least expect it. Stay open.

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