about love

Me and My Lists: An Interlude from Age 25

Previously published as a Facebook post.

Last night, I attended a friend’s wedding reception, then afterwards headed to my mum’s highschool reunion. The extreme amount of social contact is probably why I’m so exhausted right now (Sunday morning) that I can barely keep my eyes open.

The wedding was absolutely lovely, and also super chill. I didn’t get picked for the garter toss games (my friend Marisol, the bride, knows I don’t like those sorts of things), got to eat a lot of delicious food (Marisol, your caterer was AMAZING), and, as you can see from the photo above, had a great time at the photobooth. I didn’t really get to mix and mingle, but that was totally fine, since I didn’t really know anyone there.

In contrast, my mum’s HS reunion is full of people who have watched me grow up. The “Batch ’81” aunties and uncles have seen me napping in my elementary school PE uniform while waiting for Mama, and very nearly saw me napping in my gown last night while trying to stay up long enough to fetch her home from their wild partying.

(This is how pathetic I am: my mum parties harder than me.)

Of course, since I know this batch people, I had to mingle a bit more than at the wedding. Generally, it was just to say hi and that I was sleepy. A few asked after my Conservatory of Music studies. But one exchange in particular struck me as both funny and odd.

Near the end of the night, I found myself cornered by an auntie who also happened to be the mother of one of my highschool classmates. I was prepared with my stock “Hello! Yes, I ate already. I’m so sleepy, Auntie!” spiel, but found myself having to respond to another line of questioning. For almost the entirety of what was probably a ten minute “conversation,” this Auntie kept repeating “You’re so beautiful! Why don’t you have a boyfriend?”

She sounded almost panicked, and wouldn’t take “God’s perfect timing!” for an answer (which is an anomaly in my Christian circle).

I kept explaining that I was busy and anyway had a lot of cool things currently going on in my life, but this auntie would. Not. Stop. By the end, I was too exhausted to give further coherent answers, so my mum–God bless her–swooped in to save me.

But now, having had a little more sleep, I think I have one.

Honestly? It’s just haven’t met the right person yet. And it’s not from lack of “effort,” per se: I’ve been “set up,” and I’ve also met people I might like, but considering that I’m really holding out for a Christian who’s actively being discipled (my faith is very important to me; I’m sure you understand)…it’s not an easy ask, I guess.

Do I get lonely, sometimes? Yeah, sure. I just said as much to a friend in FB Messenger, and I often have to ask my friends and mentors to pray for me when the longing gets intense. But I have meaningful friendships, and shared life, and things that God has placed in my heart that I’m excited to see bear fruit. My life, essentially, is full, even if there are days when I don’t feel that way.

Am I perfectly content in my singlehood? Nah. I’m twenty-five and hot blooded, and as any of my poor crushes can tell you I can be EXTREMELY affectionate and demonstrative when I like someone. I’ve got a lot of love to give, and I do want to share it, but, well, that person hasn’t showed up yet, and that’s okay. I have other things to enjoy, because life is, I’ve learned–and someone tell my boy-crazy sixteen year old self this–about more than just falling in love. And while I haven’t made peace with the idea that they might NEVER show up, I’m comfortable with the idea of we’ll cross the bridge when we get there.

Anyway, I still have happy crushes and what else are KPop idols for?

(I swear, being a fan of Kim Seokjin has done wonders for my looks. JINNIE, I LOVE YOU!)

At any rate, that was an interlude. Thanks for listening, friends.

-aRT

P.S.
Auntie kept saying that it was important I get a boyfriend already because my mother wants to have grandchildren already. My mum said I should have told her that I my mum already has a grandchild: my cat.

P.P.S.
Incidentally, she and some other Uncle kept calling me beautiful/pretty (I was fully made up, what do you expect?!), so at some point I stopped saying just “Thank you!” and started replying with, “Thank you, I know.”

LET ME TELL YOU: that “I know.” freaked them out enough to start a whole new line of questioning: “HOW DO YOU KNOW? HOW CAN YOU SAY YOU KNOW?!”

(The uncle in particular sounded almost offended.)

Sir, Ma’am, I work for a makeup company. I’ve had a threadlift done. I take at least one selfie a day. I am both very vain and someone who was not considered pretty growing up: the combination of the two meant that I learned how to put myself together and use the tools at my disposal to “clean up.” After all that, I definitely know when I look especially good, and when I don’t, because when I do…there will be LOTS of photographic evidence.

Also, let’s be honest: genetics. My mum was HOT when she was younger. So thanks, Ma.

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I Write a Personals Ad

Before I begin, a disclaimer: The following work is not a serious (nor, I believe, entirely accurate) rendering of a personals ad.  Instead, it has been based on the incredible (and incredibly geeky/nerdy/pretentious–you decide) ads on N+1 Personals, a now-defunct project that attempted to match “sad young literary people” (their words, not mine) with other sad young literary people, without resorting to the indignity that was (then) OKCupid or (now) Tinder.

I’ve actually wanted to write this for ages, but at nineteen I probably–scratch that, definitely–would have taken the exercise (and myself) far too seriously.  Now, all I hope is that you laugh with me as I laugh at me.  At the very least, you will all understand why I am still single.

(Nearly everything I’ve said is in jest, but maybe it’s worth noting that jokes are half-meant.)

Now that that’s been settled, here we go!

~*~

Erstwhile Nabokovian Nymphet Seeks Austen Hero (That You Probably Won’t Expect)

Me: Twenty-odd (well, technically, even) Type A millennial cliché. Inhabits a personality spectrum between Aubrey Plaza and Zooey Deschanel.  Too mainstream to be hipster; too pretentious to be mainstream. Fond of hashtags and self-deprecating humour. Reluctant romantic (but when I fall, I’m hopeless) attempting to escape her Taylor Swift-esque songwriting past (with mixed success).  Plays guitar (obviously) and ukulele (see millennial cliché, above).  Sings, loudly and often.

Boyish-bodied, girl-ish(?) face. Un peu ronde, et parle (un peu de) français.  Read “Lolita” at Lolita’s age. Does not pity H.H., but has loved literary (and lingual) in-jokes ever since.

In short: manic pixie dream girl. Minus the pixie. Minus the dream.

You: Twenty-older, (years: no less than one, no more than three). A cross between Henry Tilney and George (or “Alex,” if you prefer your Austen modern) Knightley.  Tall or tallish.  Far from brooding.  Likes long walks in the bookstore, music, and snarking.  Can tolerate, or daresay even enjoy, the more-than-occasional goofy two-fie.  Tea (or coffee) over tequila.  Barcino over Valkyrie.  Moderate pain tolerance (worry not, my tastes are far from–*shudder*–“rather singular.”).  Witty will save the world.  

Mature (whatever that means), but open to keeping company with a metaphorical “kid.”  Fancy prose style optional, but preferred (of course).  Thick-skinned.  Abundant sense of humor.  May possibly require the patience of a saint.  

I might have a thing for patrician noses, but that’s yet to be proven.

~*~

Any takers?  No?  Didn’t think so.  At least that’s one more off the blogging bucket list.  At any rate, if you were entertained, wade through more of the same (though arguably better-written) at N+1 Personals Tumblr archive, or check out the highlights reel here.  If you dare write your own, drop the link in my comments.  I solemnly swear to read them all, as long as they’re in good fun.

Finally, if you’re interested in know what I’m actually looking for regarding the whole dating/romance shebang, check out the Me and My Lists series.  Until next time, I remain, yours truly,

~aRoamingTsinay~

[Me and My Lists] Part 7: Day One

I’ve liked fifteen guys since the age of twelve.

No, seriously.  Count them.  I do.  I’ve liked fifteen boys: a daisy chain of unrequited loves, poems full of longing, awkward conversations, and tearful admissions, strung together with the wry romanticism of a John Green novel (complete with Vampire Weekend or One Republic soundtrack).  Fifteen initials that I recite like Arya Stark’s “prayer,” only without the murderous intent (most days, at least).  Fifteen hands I’ve imagined holding, pairs of arms I’ve imagined dancing in.

Basically, Fifteen stand-ins for the boys in the following scenes:

autumn-cold-couple-lake-Favim.com-980659 tumblr_mxosi33F1C1skn0r7o5_1280 11831-Cute-Couple tumblr_static_a_couple_by_dueto_variavel a3b1397105b5ed6efd17721f21e814ca asian-like.tumblr couple-cute-hot-kiss-Favim.com-1304072 54879-Mountain-Climbing-Couple tumblr_mgj6u1cWKQ1rlg43so1_500

Source: Google Images, using the search term “Tumblr Couple.”

This is what love looked like to “SSB”-me: an endless loop of photosets rendered in indie-romcom colors, where I took the place of the everyman heroine side-by-side with my manic pixie dream boy.  But, like those everyman heroes before me, the reality was nothing like my expectations, often looking more like this:

tomhansen1

and, eventually, this:
tomhansen2

finally ending with an I’m-fine-but-not-really state of bitter homeostasis.

tomhansen3

Frankly, this was the basis of my SoJ radio persona.

Eventually, I would edge back into rationality, enjoy a brief period of equilibrium.  But it would never last.  One day, someone would come along with the right smirk, or quirk of eyebrow, or nose, or jaw, or fingers-on-lips, hands-running-through-hair…

1

…and it’d start all over again.

After fifteen go-rounds, I’m painfully aware of this pattern.  In fact, I’m more than a little tired of it.  “Bitter homeostasis” has increasingly blurred into equilibrium.  It’s hard not to be cynical when the movie in your mind won’t go the way it’s supposed to: one moment you’ll be choreographing shiny-happy dance numbers and the next you’re belting out sad Paramore or Jessie Ware lyrics, the constant undercurrent of hope feeling less like butterflies and more like a migraine.  I know my “love life” is a running joke–in fact, my bandmates used it as a punchline during our photoshoot when they needed to laugh for the camera–but number fifteen was a whopper and now I’m not sure I find this funny anymore.  I’ve been going through the motions of being bitter, and snarky, and wry, and a little wounded–spouting hugot lines and whining over old pictures–but it’s all feeling more like playacting now.

Lately, I’ve been wanting something different for myself: a little less Tumblr and a little more terrestrial.  If I think hard enough, I can imagine the bare bones: the ghost of an image, the blueprint of a skyscraper.  In fact, a skyscraper is a good way to think about it: instead of the ephemera of celluloid, there’s a sense of permanence, of concrete and steel rebar, of the inevitable pull of gravity.  There are no dance numbers, no Instagram-filter colors.  I don’t hear Mumm-Ra in the background.

What I find myself wanting is something that just is–a workaday sort of love that maybe doesn’t have a song, doesn’t need a poem.  It’s the sort of love that leaves John Green on the shelf, that prompted Juliet to declare her feelings for Romeo

…too rash, too unadvised, too sudden,
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say “It lightens.”

I realized–or, if I’m honest, I’ve known for a while–that for the longest time the love I have wanted has been an imagined country as told by those photosets and GIFs and Spotify playlists.  It’s been the kind of love that needs finding, because it’s so elusive, because there’s little evidence it exists at all.  It’s the love you obsess over, the kind you fantasize about, precisely because it is a fantasy.

I’ve been so desperate to find a leading man that I’ve forgotten the truth about movies: they show things the way they look to be, instead of the way they are.  I’m tired of images, of scripting lines of dialogue, of referring to a mental checklist of attributes that somehow sum up to perfect.  Instead of finding the one being a blockbuster event or a flashmob, I’d rather it be as natural as a change of seasons–the slow, inevitable slipping of summer into autumn.  One day, I’ll look up to find the wind has changed, the leaves will have started to turn, and it will both surprise me and not surprise me.

I’d expect it.  Maybe I won’t expect him.  (Maybe there will be no him.)  What there will be, though, is a sense that things make sense.  It won’t be groundbreaking.  It will just be.

Sometimes, I still get to imagining.  I imagine laughing faces in a coffeeshop (it used to look like Starbucks Pearl, but lately due to my transplanting to Makati it’s looking a lot more like Staple and Perk), shoulders touching casually in a group photo, introductions at office parties: “This is my…”  I guess it’s just habit, or the fact that I used to write exclusively love stories: I can’t help but set a scene.  Except now, I know that’s all they are: possibilities versus things that need to happen.  I’m learning to stop reading shades of meaning in coincidences.  After all:

500daysofsummerbizarro

Or: just because he watches Doctor Who, liked a few Instagram photos, and called you pretty that one time, doesn’t mean you’re meant to be.

At the end of every crush, I tell myself that this one is the last.  The last one-sided fling.  The last pair of rose-colored glasses.  Number fifteen was a doozy, a dubious sort of “first” (not in that way, folks), a ‘life event’ in his own right.  Considering the way things played out, I don’t think I can be faulted for hoping for a combo-breaker.  And maybe he really will be the last one, or maybe it will take me a few more tries to drill this lesson into my head.  One thing’s for sure, though: I don’t want a love story anymore.

I just want love.  Plain as day, in whatever form it will take (after all, as one article put it, the happiest place in eternity will have no marriage or sex).  No more unrealistic, indie flick-expectations versus reality.

tom hansen knowing face

Just equilibrium.  Just homeostasis.  Just a day that, without anyone realizing it, turns out to be a sort of day one.

…or basically just a decrease in my tendency to be more than slightly delusional.  Whatever.  I’m obviously taking my sweet time ditching every single one of my “Lists,” but that’s all part of the process of this ‘growing up’ business anyway, or so I’m told.  Anyway, it’s been fun.  Hope you enjoy the GIFs, and if you saw the pattern…well, no stars for you because I’ve made things blatantly obvious, to be honest.  It isn’t the first time Tom Hansen has been my spirit animal, after all.

~aRoamingTsinay~

P.S.: Hope this makes up for no The Friday, Currently last week.  And, seeing as I’ll be coming back from Cebu on the day, there might not be any this week so I’ll see you in the next post…whenever that happens.  Until then

Dr_WhoGif9-vi

200_s

– aRT