No one ever sets out to date a crazy girl, in the same way that no one ever sets out to become a member of a cult. No one’s like, “HEY MAYBE I’LL JOIN AN INSANE CULT TODAY.” No, you just gradually get sucked in — step by step, day by day, hour by hour — until eventually, you’re just as crazy as she is.
It’s like Stockholm Syndrome. It’s like how Patty Hearst ended up becoming a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Crazy people just wear you down like that. You go from “Ohmigod I can’t believe these insane people kidnapped me,” to “Fuck it, maybe I will help rob a bank,” to, “…Wow, this machine gun fires a lot more smoothly than I thought it would!”
In retrospect, the fact that Amber had no real furniture in her apartment should have been a tip-off. She also had no TV, no internet, no decorations on the walls, etc… She said that she was a sculptor, but there were no sculptures… anywhere in the apartment. Not that I care about watching TV or even about sculpture that much, but overall, the effect was troubling. Or, the effect should have been troubling, had I been paying attention at all.
But that’s how crazy girls (or guys, no doubt) end up tricking you. What later presents itself as true craziness only seems like mild quirkiness in the beginning. So she didn’t have any furniture. What did I care? …How could I have predicted that two months later, Amber would be screaming at me on the phone, telling me that she could have me hunted down and killed by a team of military experts? THIS IS ACTUALLY SOMETHING THAT SHE SAID TO ME. “I could have your legs broken, if I wanted to,” she said. “…Bring it on,” I mumbled back. “My life couldn’t get that much worse at this point. Cue the leg-breaking.”
But she didn’t look crazy. She didn’t have dark hair or smeared mascara; she didn’t wear all black or act “goth-y.” She looked like what she essentially was: a rich WASP-y girl from New England.
On our first date, we got drunk at a bar. I knocked over a plate and broke it. I was comforted by the fact that she was somehow drinking more than I was, which is nearly impossible. I took a bunch of Adderall and we went back to her place and fucked four times. Then we woke up in the morning and did it again. Within a few days, I was living with her.
Look, I don’t hold myself blameless here. Clearly, I am not immune from acting crazy myself. I drink too much, I smoke too much, I actually have a form of OCD which involves pulling out your own hair. No one moves in with a girl after three days, but I did. But there’s a difference between being “crazy” and being crazy crazy.
Amber was bipolar; she had bipolar disorder. And she would drink massive amounts of booze on top of her “meds,” ignoring the warning labels on her medicine bottles — the warning labels which said that drinking on top of her pills would lead to violent mood swings.
Amber was also brutal. I soon learned that anything that I said could be grist for a potential fight. Once, she started screaming at me because I said that she was “skinny.”
“YOU THINK THAT THIS IS SKINNY?” she said, taking a slug from her juice glass full of vodka. “I’LL TELL YOU WHAT SKINNY IS. I USED TO BE ANOREXIC, NOW THAT WAS SKINNY.”
Oh, great… I thought.
“Um, I meant it as a compliment?” I said.
“YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!!!”
Going for a walk, buying a TV, the proper way to cook grilled cheese — these could all be the potential causes of fights. Soon, my voice acquired a permanent quaver at the end of sentences. “Honey?” I would say. But I would say it like this: “Hon-neeeee?” As in, please don’t throw anything else at me.
“WHO THE FUCK WERE YOU TALKING TO ON THE PHONE?”
“Honey? My friend Tiffany?”
“OHHH, TIFFANY, WHAT, ARE YOU GUYS GONNA FUCK NOW?”
“She lives 1,500 miles away. She’s married. I gave her away at her wedding. How can I… fuck her?”
“I JUST CAN’T HANDLE THE LIES ANYMORE, OLIVER.”
But Amber was really good in bed; and there you have my epitaph, or one of them, anyway: “But she was really good in bed.” It’s not a good excuse for dating anyone, but I guess it’s all I’ve got.
Being insane really helped Amber be uninhibited in bed. We would have endless loud screaming fights, and then endless loud screaming sex. “Oh, fucking pound me!” she would scream. “I’m gonna make you come all night!” Okay then.
Her orgasm noise was like the dying wail of something or other: “OHMIGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWD.” Meanwhile, our neighbors would be banging angrily on the walls of her apartment. Yes, I had become that person. I had become the member of the couple that the neighbors hated.
There were other consolations as well. Amber would tell me fifteen times a day that she loved me more than anyone else ever could; that she understood me in a way that no one else ever could. Okay then.
And she thought that every girl on the face of the earth wanted to sleep with me. Since I don’t actually look like Brad Pitt in real life, this was highly flattering.
“WHO WERE YOU JUST TALKING TO?”
“THAT BITCH BETTER WATCH OUT, I SAW HER MAKING EYES AT YOU.”
“…The waitress that I just gave money to for a cheeseburger?”
And that’s when it starts. You start to believe your own crazy hype. …Wow, maybe every single girl ever does want to fuck me, you think. …Wow, when she’s not screaming at me, my girlfriend just constantly tells me how amazing I am.
I broke up with Amber a while ago, but I still hear from her. She calls me up ten times a day to tell me that she loves me. Every tenth time or so, I pick up, and then, somehow, we get into a huge fight. …But in a way, this is all my fault. I know I shouldn’t pick up the phone, but I do. I just like the attention, I guess.
And so, I must confess here that I find crazy people to be fun and entertaining. …And so, it’s my weakness, I guess. Life with Amber was interesting; never a dull moment. Because she was crazy, she wasn’t distracted by quotidian concerns the way that you or I are. Every second of her life was laser-focused on something or other. Yeah, she would scream at me for ignoring her if I dared to send my boss an email, but she also told me continually that I was the most awesome sexy genius of ever.
Dating a crazy girl plunges your life into a sort of lurid Technicolor format. I did it, so I know. You get good attention and you get bad attention, but you get attention. And now that I’ve broken up with Amber, my life is dull again. The lights have gone down in the theater. Everything is in lame black-and-white. It’s safer here, but also more boring, and that’s sad, in a way.