“I dressed up in scarecrow, she dressed up in white.”
She told me that she likes “fuck boys”- a terrible, disingenuous cope of a nomenclature; a way for women to reclaim power in an otherwise powerless situation, thinking that, in our modern landscape of gender equality, a slur designed for a man who has too much sex will have the same sting as one made to shame women- fuck boys, she said, because she likes the way they talk to her. She was over forty with three kids; when she ditched the hubby, she got herself a personal trainer and breast implants- which was probably the most sensible thing to do. Ride the midnight train out as far as it will go- better to have your pick of fuck boys than to get a look at the kind of loser who’d take you seriously.
She had fake tits so I felt compelled to continue the conversation. Breast implants are sexy for everything but their aesthetic value- they rarely look good, with the exception being implants that look so good you’d never know they were fake, surely a secret taken to the grave, but typically they’re closer to bad 90’s porn. There’s an unspoken symbolic value to fake tits- signaling an intense vanity combined with a deep comfort in promiscuity, where even if her tits are fake, her willingness to exist as a sex doll is more real than any woman with “no hook-ups, not looking for a one-night-stand” written in at the bottom of her dating profile. There’s a refreshing purity to this approach- only a woman with fake tits will tell you that she likes fuck boys.
People rather hear bullshit than anything genuine. KISS floundered in obscurity, bankrupting their record label with their most sincere and artistic work, that all bombed commercially until they released a live record that hit big and made them celebrities. Since their live shows were packed and their studio albums were duds, why not go into the studio to record a live album- a total fake, disconnected from the performances that made their act a success. Alive! (1975) bore little difference from their already recorded studio material- the same songs with a bed of crowd noise ripped from Monday Night Football. This is what people want- people want you to lie.
If you want to know her number- her real number- you need to approach the conversation delicately. If you lead with how you’re “sick of the sluts on Plenty of Fish”- land of the washed-up party girl- she’s going to throw you a number impossibly low for a single girl over forty. You could take a beat, close your eyes, and allow yourself to believe the lie- you could let this narrative form the foundation of a relationship, your own personal mythology; two crazy kids who finally found love– the fair maiden waiting for her white knight- the jaded bachelor who never believed in romance, but her incredible inertia and inexplicable energy proved him wrong. You could let yourself believe you’ve found something more valuable than all the money in the world- life’s reset-button, a chance to start over.
The best way to sell anything is by giving it a deep and engaging origin story. Star Wars (1977) was a successful, stand-alone movie with a beginning, middle, and clearly defined end- successful enough to warrant a sequel, that George Lucas smartly spread over two additional movies. When it came time for Lucas to make even more Star Wars movies, he understood that an origin mythology outside of the story was just as important, if not more so, than the actual content of the story itself.
The idea that Lucas had all six Star Wars episodes written prior to making the first one gave the stories a sense of biblical grandiose- ancient texts being rediscovered. No longer was Star Wars the coming-of-age tale of a farm boy turned war hero, but the fall-and-redemption arc of Anakin Skywalker. When it came time to sell the prequels, Lucas repurposed the franchise as the story of Darth Vader, a political drama with laser-swords. The mythology eclipsed the product, infused it with a kind of historical significance, and carried the films to monetary success when the actual product being sold was a critical failure- the lie shaped our perception of the truth.
But you’re too far gone to let yourself believe her. If you want the real number, you’ll need to speak her language- a non-judgmental perspective. You’re hip enough to have your own crazy stories, you’re on the warm side of the pool, sitting at the cool kid’s table- this is the only way she’ll feel comfortable telling you something more closely resembling the truth. Knowing this will ruin any prospect you had of having a relationship with her- at best, you’ll be another notch- and if you like her enough, you’ll have wished she lied- people want you to lie.
She asked me why I write and I liked that she really wanted to know. I explained the intrinsic satisfaction of creating art- how this comes before all else; how the audience is irrelevant; how there’s a purity to this approach. You’d rather a small handful of dedicated readers invested in your work than a wider, disingenuous crowd of sycophants. She called bullshit on that. She said I write because I like attention- this is how a woman with breast implants will understand the world; feedback as the only currency that matters. You’re taking time to study the rules of verse and she’s rolling her eyes. You’d sooner fill a thousand marble notebooks and bury them all if they contained the right words in the right order. This is why you write- the intrinsic satisfaction of creating art. These are the lies we tell ourselves.
The lies we tell ourselves. No one fucking breaks up with me, and the ones who do will never find anyone who comes close. This was your shot and you blew it. I was too nice and you didn’t appreciate it. You were only the handful of qualities I projected onto you- you have no identity beyond my perception of you- you could have been anyone, and I can replace you in a heartbeat. You were an empty vessel when we met- you were nothing- “you were roadkill, baby, ’till I held you in my arms.”
It’s better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. You were never the relationship type anyway- walking through the Strawberry Festival, holding hands, in your pink polo and khakis. Big smile for the selfies she’s taking for Instagram. An overpriced engagement ring to show the world that you’re the sucker who thinks he finally found the right castle, and saved the right princess, when how many other assholes have there been? Big wedding with a gaudy DJ who puts wacky sunglasses on grandma. She’ll hate your guts in two years. The lies we tell ourselves to justify a lifetime of nothing working out.
She told me that she likes fuck boys, and I thought I’d finally connected with someone- that we shared a mutual understanding of the world; that our values coalesced. That maybe a woman needs to go as far as getting plastic surgery to gain access to eternal truth- a strange condition to meet, falsify the body to free the mind. I told her that it’s curious how we all prefer to be lied to. Not her, she objected- dishonesty is a big turn off, she explained- and if I wanted a date, I’d better take her to the Strawberry Festival.