As always, I blame the mother. No, not mine. Yours. All of yours. Apparently Freud was right. Apparently you do want a girl who feels like home. But I am not your mother. I am not descended of those hungover from the Tupperware Generation. My grandmother was the only woman in her Master’s program; my mom has routinely told insurance companies to go fuck themselves while her children were in intensive care. But your mothers were not the ones burning their bras and making fits of passionate love behind the concert hall. Instead, they were at home, fixing your spaghetti and living off of the bacon your dad brought home.
So the girls you like are the ones who depend on you. The ones who whine when they have to eat alone. The ones who defer to your opinion because to speak up would be to risk you thinking she might one day reason her way out of the banal life you’re building together.
There’s nothing like a hot guy to make a smart girl stupid. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been the stupid girl, too. And I can’t promise I won’t be her again. But I won’t let her linger. Every now and again I’ll look over my shoulder to see if some hot guy invited her back to the party, and if so, I’ll kick her ass out.
And this is why we never last. Because I don’t defer—not to you, not to your opinions, not to a belief system based on anything but coexistence. Because I won’t tell you I love you so you can clasp that love around my neck and use it to take me for a walk around the block. Because I have opinions, goddamnit, and you’re not always right. Most of the time, I am.
I know it’s ballsy to make such claims to empowerment when you’ve seen me on my knees. You know that I have been the modern day courtesan—more than once—and though I’m not necessarily proud of it, at least I wasn’t the girl on the other side of that toppling pyramid. I won’t be made a fool, and even less, even never, your fool. I am restless, reckless, relentless. I feel more at home with the Adele who’ll lay your shit bare than the one who’ll turn up out of the blue uninvited because, for her, it isn’t over. I’m at peace with over. And though I know it never should have started in the first place, I’ll never regret it. You were what I wanted, and being what you wanted was also what I wanted. But there’s a difference between want and need, and you’re scared of the girl who wants you but doesn’t need you because she may just decide one day that she wants something else.
You like the needy girls because need makes girls bend, acquiesce. And what could be more alluring than a girl who is bent to your will? And though, at heart, I’m still the kind of girl who will whip up a lasagna and answer the door in an apron and stilettos because I want to make you happy, I’ll never be the girl who does any of that because you told me to or have come to expect it.
So, take issue with my unwillingness to acquiesce. Find yourself caught off guard by a girl who knows what she wants and gets it because she works for it. Go on, make fun of my grammatical vigilance. Call me uptight. I don’t care. I’m sure there are things that matter to you for much less rational reasons, like whether or not the Yankees win tonight. I won’t copy edit your love letters, nor will I think less of you for writing “that” instead of “who,” or “who” instead of “whom.” These are my quirks, and if you can’t find them endearing, we really don’t belong together anyway.
P.S. I’m sure your mother is a lovely woman.