Twice this weekend in Austin I saw dragonflies mating. One in front of the front windshield while LS and I were at a stoplight. That’s so cool, I said I have to text my sister and ask what it means. I’m a Buddhist so we don’t subscribe to animal totems, fortune telling futuristic thinking like that but my sister is a Pagan. I figured it was worth a shot. She texted me right back. So cool! Symbol of love, transformation and adaptability, they remind us to pay attention to our own thoughts and desires, my sister wrote. The second time I saw the dragonflies mating was outside of the airport. I guess I needed to see what I was thinking.
Austin is filled with pretty blond girls with great skin and long legs. I’m almost certain they breed them in a factory in Dallas and then ship them to the college. When LS and I went to the songwriters show that night, the bar was filled with blonde blue-eyed beauties and I felt sick to my stomach when I thought of L’s Texas wives and his travels for work and that I met him too late but wouldn’t have been right anyway and how I will never be young and pretty like that again, the kind of pretty that turns men’s heads in bars because I used to do that and I know how powerful those pretty Texas girls felt walking into the bar. And I saw the men even with wives and girlfriends watch the blonde posse cross the room, cowboy boots clacking, to a table and saw them through L’s eyes and wondered if I would ever be safe enough with any man to relax and just be myself? It hasn’t happened yet.
After that we went to another bar at a hotel. A middle aged couple sat at a table in front of a fire playing Battle Ship. The husband didn’t even look up when several pretty girls passed and it made me yearn for a love like that. I even took a picture of them and sent it to L, which really hurt his feelings because he thinks he is a man like that even though he’s been married four times and his best friend told me the first time I met him that if I just oogled girls with him, I could have L for the rest of my life, which almost made me break up with him that night. But I didn’t because it was my birthday and he’d taken me away to a lovely over-priced resort where I felt out of place because my dress and shoes were from Ross.
Still, L loves me. I’m not looking, he says for the hundredth time. Honey, I only notice things when they cross my path. Usually, I wish I could be somebody else. Like a cool Silverlake hipster girl with long thin legs and short blond hair who doesn’t give a shit whether or not her boyfriend's look at other women and probably looks at them herself. But, I’m not hip. “You’re so prudish,” a man once accused me for being upset at the new calendar he'd made filled with pictures of his cat, his bike and other girls. I’ve broken up with a lot of guys because their oogling bordered on pure disrespect. But L, he isn’t like that. Or he’s tricky and I can’t see it yet.
The first time my family met L it was at a wedding. My cousin's. His bride was resplendent in white, big breasts, great legs and a face for days. She’s a lovely woman in her mid-thirties. The bridesmaids wore sheer clinging dresses. Let’s face it, they looked like super-models. I felt old and hot in my black pin-up girl dress and short heels and short bangs. My fat arms waggling sitting beside L on a bench outside while the beautiful young women walked down the aisle.
That’s when it really hit me that L had done it four times. Four weddings. Different locations, different brides, he’d looked into their eyes and vowed forever. And no one had ever asked that of me.
We didn’t make it to the dancing. By then the beauties and my imagined L wedding scenarios had done me in. I felt old and thick and tired and we just went back to the rental house. That’s when I knew I wanted to feel safe. I wanted to be married. I wanted to be like everybody else. Normal. But I never would be.
The day after the wedding heading to the airport my my dad had brought up a blonde wedding guest and her shorter than short black skirt. L hemmed and hawed and said something to me about how he’d only noticed me while my father kept going on, in front of me and the man I loved, about the guest before switching to the beautiful bride and how stunning she was. Raising his eyebrow at L as if to say, you know right? As If I weren’t even standing there, I said to L who did not understand the slight because that just how men are which I think is rude and dismissive. And I thought, there it is! That’s why I have this terminal condition of feeling invisible around beautiful women. I am.
I called L after the songwriters night in Austin and accused him of being married to several beautiful Texan women before me and asked him if he really was who he said or if he was just like every other man who’d wished he was fucking somebody else while dating me. I gave him a pretty rough time for several hours, especially since I’d had two martinis and a beer which is a lot for me. Honey, where is all of this coming from? I’m so worried. My 61 year old sweet man said. I couldn’t sleep that night wrestling with my demons. I felt like shit for hurting my boyfriend who does not hurt me.
The next morning, after apologizing over and over on the phone, I told L. I’ve diagnosed myself with Dating Anxiety Disorder Syndrome. It's something I'm going to actively work to get over.