Idling: On Love, Relationships, & Chains

I didn’t mean to start anything. It wasn’t my intention! At least the bartender knows I wasn’t instigating. I almost started a fight at the bar, and all I did to provoke it, was leave!

All done for the night, buzz come and gone, I said my goodbye’s to my tablemates and made for the door. On my way, I passed a male couple leaning on each other in that intimate way. I had seen them earlier before. The taller one is talky and animated. His boyfriend is as stocky as he is short, and generally quiet. They generally keep to themselves in the back of the floor.

This night, their preferred seats are already taken. So they hold their refuge by the back door. Lots of traffic there, but mostly the people walking by have done their socializing, so few interruptions. This night, I am parked by the back door, so that is my chosen route for departure.

The talky one suddenly reaches out and grabs my arm, “Hey wait!” I’m in view of my friends, so I don’t worry. “I don’t want to yell this, lean over, please.” Ah, my curiosity. I lean over, and in a voice just loud enough for me to hear, he says, “Just wanted to tell you, you’re cute and pretty.” I stand up and look at him. “I’m sure you’ve heard it before, from your friends, but I wanted to tell you myself. Good night.”


I thanked him and said a ‘good night’ to him. I wondered how inebriated he was, but his eyes were clear, his speech was steady. I thought to myself, how strong a relationship these two have, that he felt okay to compliment me with his boyfriend sitting right next to him.

What is that adage about assuming things?

I glanced over at his boyfriend, and saw him staring at me with heated face. But his anger wasn’t directed at me. When he looked at my complimenter, he ground his jaw. He waited until I started to move away from the table to the door. “So now you’re looking at women?” “What’s wrong with telling someone they’re pretty?” “You’re with ME!” “Not for long with that attitude. I can’t compliment anyone when you’re with me?”

I heard my complimenter defending the right to find beauty, and remark on that beauty, in both men and women. I heard his boyfriend claiming exclusivity to those remarks, and accusing him of not being dedicated to the relationship because he found beauty in women.

Normally, I would have forgotten about the incident by the time I reached my car. But the final verbal jabs I heard have been picking at me.

Sometime ago, I was considering becoming involved in a “more than friends” relationship with a complementary man. He and I were able to reconcile many of our differences in a way that boosted us both. An almost successful case of “Opposites Attract”. Until he made it clear, one afternoon, that if I were to “be with him”, I would have to rein in my wandering eye. It would be poor form, and a betrayal of our relationship, if I were to comment on beauty. Especially, if that beauty was in the form of a woman.

He found it offensive, that I would look favorably upon another woman. He said it implies that he was not able to physically meet my needs, that he was inadequate. He asked me how I would feel, if he commented on the physical stature of another man, on how it would feel to touch him. My tones of approval was not what he expected.

Our friendship never went further, and in a few weeks, it had dissolved entirely. Shortly before full dissolution, he said he never felt at ease around me after that exchange. That he felt he was always being measured against all the other people, men and women, that have delighted my eye. He couldn’t accept that I liked (adored) him for just the person he was. At the end, he said he couldn’t accept my “openness”. He needed someone he could have all to himself. Someone that would be able to respect the level of exclusivity he required.

Hearing the exchange at the bar, reminded me of my former friend.

It also reminded me of something Venus whispered in a dream.

“I love you intensely. All of you. But I also love the people you hate, with just a fierce a love as I love you. Embrace this, and all I have for you will be poured upon you. Attempt to chain my love for others, and you will only chain yourself.”

Now, I see what she meant.