The Friend Zone

 (Twilight Zone music: Di-di-di-di-di-di-di-di, di-di-di-di-di-di-di) You’re travelling through a vaginal dimension, a dimension not only of desire and rejection but of a sad need to be with a woman who will NEVER want you, a journey into a pathetic land whose boundaries are that of man’s inability to have a grip on reality, your next stop: The Friend Zone (buhd-oo-bud-up!)

 

Brought to you by: Cous’n Hemp’n Entertainment

Featuring: The Ghost of Rod Serling

Episode 2: An Ode to the Va-J-J

Rod Serling’s Ghost: The General; an offensive kind of man found guilty of knowing what he wants in a woman and sentenced to it being forever withheld from him. Like every other single man caught in the wheels of dating, he’s scared; right down to the marrow of his bones.  But it isn’t being alone that scares him; the long sad nights of masturbating to a Lady GaGa video with the sound turned all the way down, uncomfortably seeing a friend with a date at a bar and inserting himself into their conversation; it’s something else that holds The General in the hot sweaty grip of fear, something worse that ANY punishment THIS world has to offer;  something called ‘Love’…an emotion forever hidden in…The Friend Zone.

Part 1

An Ode to the Va-J-J

Cherub my ass

One cold February evening, as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I noticed something fluttering outside of my bedroom window. I got up to see what it could be and was surprised to find that it was a cherub. Yes, there was a little baby with tiny wings fluttering back and forth just outside. It had a quiver of arrows on its back, a bow in its right hand, and with its left hand? It was flipping me off with a wee middle finger.I opened the window just enough to shoot it with both barrels of my old school Elmer Fudd shot gun, sending bits of tiny arrows, feathers, and baby brain misting over my back yard. I sat casually back down on my bed, as if I had just swatted a fly, to ponder why a mythical being from love sonnets and religious paintings was visiting me with a message of ‘fuck you’…and to ponder the poor moral implications of post birth aborting a fictional love baby, of which I found none.

AH! Of course, it was almost Valentine’s Day, poking its head out like a nervous turd that you can’t quite push all the way out. And as is always the case in that situation, I would involuntarily clench up my ass hole and be forced to wipe for hours on end until I finally got rid of the sphincter guillotined beast. (‘Sphincter Guillotined Beast’ was my bands name in high school by the way.)

What I realized, as Valentine’s Day approached and I masturbated while crying alone in the corner of my shower with the lights off, was that I had been unlucky in love; ever since I knew what the word meant. The sad and distant feelings I felt as a child were brought on by a lack of love from my mother. The isolation and depression I felt as a teenager were a mixture of that and the flippant rejection of my first teenaged love. The happiness I felt in my 20’s was a result of my 2nd love which spanned nearly a decade, and the devastation that followed her leaving me is a pain that I will carry to my grave. Since that breakup I’ve left a string of ex-girlfriends in my wake like chum scooped out of buckets into the water behind a fishing boat. And since nobody knows love better than one from whom it has been denied, I felt that I should write a blog dedicated to the examination of love and romance in time for the Valentine’s extravaganza of 2013.

For several years I was on an unholy quest to meet a woman, many misadventures of which you’ll read here. However, my ULTIMATE goal was never to just get some stank on my hanglow, it was always to find true love. Until last year, my life had been filled with more unrequited love than Jennifer Aniston in ANY tabloid. My sister has hated me for most of our lives, my mother vaguely loved me, and all the relationships I’d had with women either ended with them cheating on me or their being less receptive to my love than Tony Soprano’s mom.

Love is what we ALL strive for in life and there are MANY variations on that theme. We seek the love of our parents, the love of our siblings, the love of a woman or man. Love drives us all. It’s what makes us work so hard, not for personal achievement, but so we can afford clothes and cars to attract a woman or feed our children. We exercise and eat right, NOT because we expect to live for a thousand years, but so we look good and fuck longer. And in the end love is what drives us to be SO fucking stupid.

I’ve come to realize that young love finds us at our most vulnerable to that stupidity because it’s when we are young and inexperienced that love can land on us like a fucking cartoon piano. Although we are at our most vulnerable to that love in our youth, the first time it hits us…it’s the most pure and memorable love we’ll ever have because it hasn’t been diluted yet.

Part 2

Krista

Krista

The first time I fell in love was when I was 17. One day while my friend Pete and I were sitting in the food court of the mall waiting for the announcement that it was closing so we could get half off pizza at Sbarro, I spotted a girl and INSTANTLY fell in love with her. She had black short hair and was wearing a leather biker jacket with tight aerobics pants. I HAD to have her. She had a pretty blonde friend with her and because I knew that was Pete’s specialty, I grabbed him by the arm, and never taking my eyes off of this stunning beauty, I dragged him with me towards them amid his protests of ‘what the fuck are we doing?’.

Approaching women out of the blue has never been my style. I’ve always met women through a friend or I’ll wait for them to approach me through some bit of Craig’s List bait that I dangle out on the internet. So it came as a shock to everyone, including me, when I made a bee-line for this chick, held out my hand in front of her and said “hello, my name is The General, and I think I just fell in love with you.”

Now sure, if I were to do that TODAY? I’d be an ass because who MEANS something like that? I mean, societally we’ve become so jaded that a woman would just as soon give you a shot in the eye of pepper spray than be flattered. But I meant that shit back then and maybe because she was curious, maybe because she was bold, and maybe because she could see in my eyes that I meant it…she took my hand and introduced herself as Krista.

Pete did his job amazingly well; he took the other girls attention away from Krista and kept her occupied as we chatted. That’s a wing man’s job and never have I seen it done as admirably as Pete did it for me on that night. We flirted for about seven minutes when the voice came over the loud speakers that the mall was closing. We could see the security guards lumbering out of their doors that lead to the inner catacombs of all mall, so I quickly asked Krista for her phone number; and to my surprise she wrote it down on a napkin from Sbarro’s and went off in the opposite direction giggling with her friend.

I was on fucking cloud nine. I was invincible and the possibilities of what I could do, what I could have with this woman were spread out before me like the buffet table at Pavarotti’s wedding. Walking home that night along the railroad tracks, Pete and I discussed the proper amount of time to wait before I called Krista, and as I have always done…I went my own way. I called her immediately when I got home and we talked until 2 in the morning.

The next week she invited me over to her mother’s house to listen to her favorite album…’The Phantom of the Opera”. Krista’s mother was a sweet woman who was a teacher at the grade school down the street from their home. Her sister Lisa also lived there with her 2 kids. Krista’s father was a quiet and tough mustachio’d man, but he made me instantly feel welcome in his home…they all did and I grew to love them as well.

Not only was her family warm and inviting, but their home was as well. The house had an ‘earthy’ feel to it, with warm old timey wallpaper, a fireplace, and pictures of the family in various intricately carved wood frames. Every holiday, it was the most well decorated home in the neighborhood…inside and out. And not in that ‘tacky’ way where a family will just buy everything in the ‘Halloween’ or ‘Christmas’ isle at target, but in a Martha Stewart Magazine Cover kind of way. To me it always seemed as though I had just stepped into a Dickens novel and Krista’s house became my favorite place to be. I think that the settings we find ourselves in with other people contribute a lot to the degree of love we have for them.

Krista lived miles away from my mother’s condo, so I rode my bike to her house. And when my bike had a flat, or there was heavy snow, I would walk the long trek there and home again. I would have done anything to see her, walked through broken glass if I had to. In the winter time, the summer, the rain, I was like a postman delivering myself to her doorstep 3 to 5 times a week. I was infatuated with first love, true love, and a feeling of independence for the first time. When we fall in love that first time, it’s truly the first time we put ourselves out there on our own. We give ourselves over to that feeling wholly because we don’t yet know that it can be corrupted. There is nothing anyone can say or do to make that love stop. It’s like a freight train barreling through the countryside at top speed in the full moon; alone, loud, and fast with nothing to stand in its way.

Krista’s bedroom was right across the hallway from the front door, so every time I rang the doorbell, she’d sprint to the door like a gazelle and open it as if it was the first time we were meeting. That first night was no different; I walked in and followed her into her bedroom. She had a big bed with a black comforter on it, candles lit, incense going, and a C.D. player playing The Phantom of the Opera. I was instantly in the place I KNEW I had always wanted to be. She talked me through the musical as I’d never seen it before and explained the intricacies of every nuance. Not only was she the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, but she was incredibly smart as well. We lay on the bed together in the candlelight and just listened. She taught me how to give her a massage (clothes on unfortunately) and she gave me a great appreciation for the massage myself.

We repeated these meeting over the next month or so, getting to know each other better every time. It turned out that she attended the same high school as my friend Steve and was even in some of the same classes as him. I even knew her ex boyfriend, Sam. For years my best friend Aaron and his brothers would talk shit about the kid who lived in the house right next door to theirs; how he never said hello, and what a general dick he was. Turned out that asshole was Sam.

My favorite part of these meetings, however…was always the end. As time drew nearer for me to leave, usually around 11 P.M., Krista would get close to me. I would sit on the end of her bed as she crossed her arms around my neck and sensually danced between my legs. She would breathe heavily on my neck and tease my lips with the slightest touch of hers. At times I thought my young body would explode if I didn’t fuck her. But I always respected her enough not to overstep.

Krista was the woman that I compared all others to. The corporeal nature of our time spent together made me crave similar experiences from women throughout my life. She is and always will be the Rosetta stone of romance to me. Krista is the reason why I’ve always been willing to take my time when being intimate with a woman…candle light, incense, massage,  soft music; these are now the tools of my sexual trade as I learned them when I apprenticed for the most sensual woman I’ll ever know.

…then came the rub.

As fall turned to winter, I started having to walk to Krista’s more and more. Riding a dirt bike in freshly fallen snow isn’t worth the effort, but walking that distance every time just made me appreciate the time Krista and I spent together that much more.

One night when I came to her door…Krista didn’t sprint out of her room to let me in. Her mother answered the door, and there was a somber presence in the house as she invited me inside. Krista’s mother told me that Krista was in her room, and I could go in because she was expecting me. When I went in, there was soft slow music playing, I could smell the incense, and the candles were flickering their familiar light on the wall. Krista sat Indian style on top of her pillows at the head of her bed, and she was crying. She didn’t say anything, but she beckoned me to come to her and we held each other for a long time.

Eventually I asked what the matter was, and she told me that we couldn’t do this anymore…because she was getting back together with her ex boyfriend Sam.

She and Sam had only separated days before I met her in October, and they had been dating since grammar school. Sam recently come to her and convinced her that they should be together because he had a good job and could support her as they got older. She loved Sam, I could see that, but she loved me as well. I could see that it was tearing her up, and because I couldn’t stand that sight…I didn’t fight it. I told her to go to him, and not to worry about me. Then I stood up and calmly left the house…I cried every step of the way home in the snow.

She eventually caved to the desire to see me, and started asking me to come over again. I always saw hope that she would choose me over Sam, but I never asked her too. We’d continue our ‘almost’ sexual trysts over the years, and even when I dated other women…Krista was always on my mind.

The combination of devastating loss and hopeful confusion ruined me for other women for years to come. I treated women like shit by romancing them in the ways that Krista had taught me which in turn made them fall in love with me, then I’d see a glimmer of hope with Krista and dump them, not considering the heart breaking devastation that I was causing. I was a love archeologist, searching for Krista in other women, and then tucking them away in a museum when the misinterpreted feelings of the real thing turned my head. This…this is why men are pigs.

Every day of my life I have to live with the thought that I didn’t fight hard enough for Krista, not that I had a chance if I did. But as a man, knowing that you at least TRIED and were rejected is a MUCH better fate than knowing you never tried at all. THIS is why young love can be unbearable. You fall in love with that innocence, not knowing how precious and hard to come by that love is and if you don’t TAKE that opportunity, if you throw it away, time passes you by. As you hear snippets from mutual acquaintances about how that person just got married, or that person just had their second kid, or that person’s mother passed away, you eventually realize that there ARE no do-over’s. There will NEVER be a second chance and everything that COULD have been has passed by in what seems like the blink of an eye. 5, 10, 20 years pass between you both and what once seemed like an important argument or a prideful stand now seems like a silly and ignorant thing that put the woman you LOVE and have always loved in the arms of another man and a family that should have been yours. Life is a grim set of circumstances that will inevitably unfold all over your fucking face.

Now I know that I sound like a jaded asshole and I’m not saying that to inspire pity from my readers. Fuck you; I don’t need your pity. But at this point in my life I don’t FEEL a lot of love. In fact I hate nearly everyone and everything IN my life. I’m great at RECALLING love, but the pressures of life makes it hard to remember exactly how to fall in it.

What sucks is that as I get older, as much as I’d like to hold onto the idea that love and romance still exist, it gets harder and harder for me to express any kind of genuine feelings involved in those notions. Maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s because the girls I’ve been dating haven’t inspired those feeling within me. But I think the true reason behind this hole in my heart lies in that fact that I’ve been shot so many times in the same fucking place and each time the wound becomes that much harder to heal.

Which brings me to Jackie.

Part 3

Jackie and I a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

Jackie and I a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

Jackie and I had the makings of a great love story and it all began with how we met. It’s my firm belief that great romances are sprung from great first date stories and Jackie and I had a great one.I was living in my first apartment with my roommate Scott.

At 20 years old I still didn’t know shit about shit and because my mother had kicked me out of her house at 17, I dropped out of school and had been living on the streets for nearly 3 years. But at 20 my friend Scott invited me to move in with him. He was looking for an apartment and needed a roommate. Even though I was homeless, I was still working several jobs and it was my overnight shift at a gas station that led me to Jackie.

The boredom of working overnights at a gas station afforded me the time to call into the local radio station whenever the DJ had a contest, which I did every night. 4 nights a week for months and I’d never won a damned thing, never even got through. The DJ was Danny Bonaducci from the Partridge Family and one night he was giving away a night at a movie premiere downtown AND dinner with him and his new wife Gretchen at Planet Hollywood afterwards. The movie was ‘My Girl 2’, which I could care less about, but Dan Ackroyd was going to be there, and HIM I wanted to meet.

I called in and to my surprise, won. I was on the air talking with Bonnaducci and the station sent the tickets to my apartment the next day. The problem was that I had nobody to take to this event. I called around and asked a few people, but everybody I knew was busy that night. Finally I asked my friend Nicole. I’d known Nicole for many years, and she was one of my closest friends. She just started dating a guy named Chris, and told me that SHE couldn’t make it, but Chris had a sister if I didn’t mind going on a blind date. I was excited at the prospect of meeting someone new and gladly accepted. Nicole talked with Chris’s sister Jackie, who called the next day for the particulars.

I didn’t have a car at the time and I learned later that Jackie held no hopes in regard to this date. She felt it a huge inconvenience to have to pick me up. And as I waited for her to arrive at the train station a few blocks away from my apartment, I nervously held little hope myself. When her car pulled up, I got in without looking at her, but as I sat down in the passenger seat next to her and looked over to introduce myself…my heart started racing. Jackie was unbelievably beautiful. A tall brunette with long hair and the smooth skin of an angel. Her smile was nervous at first but easily given. We had an instant connection and as we drove downtown there was never a lull in the conversation.

Jackie was put off at first by my easy going nature and ability to get along with complete strangers as we entered the movie theater. Danny Bonaducci and Gretchen introduced themselves to us and led us into the screening room like we’d known them for a long time. Dan Ackroyd never showed up, but we sat in front of the row that was roped off for him and his entourage just in case. After the movie was over, the four of us went to Planet Hollywood where Bonaducci convinced our waiter that Jackie and I were over 21 so that we could drink with him and his wife. We had a great time and when the evening finally came to an end, Jackie and I made the long trek back to my place feeling a bit tipsy.

I invited her upstairs with every intention of fucking her. Not in an ‘I gotta get laid’ kinda way, but in that way that you don’t want an evening to end, but you don’t have much else to offer. She agreed and we went into my bedroom quietly and closed the door. We talked for hours, well into the early morning. I was fascinated by everything she had to say. Talking led to kissing and although I knew I could fuck her that night, I found that I DID have more to offer. As she left in the morning we both knew in our hearts that something had happened. Something important. It was the beginning of something that we both knew would strengthen us as individuals. The next night Jackie came back over, and with Scott still gone for the weekend, I cooked us dinner. Afterwards we slow danced in candlelight and then fucked each other’s brains out. The night was a sweaty mess of flesh, hair falling in each other’s faces, and the relaxed passion of young lovers. We were hooked.

A few weeks later I moved back into my mother’s condo and Jackie came with me. Although my mother wasn’t keen on having me around, she jumped at the chance to have a woman in the house with her. Because my mother only ever wanted to have a daughter, she welcomed Jackie into her condo with open arms…even though I came with the package.

Over the next several years Jackie and my mother became closer, which in turn brought my mother and I closer together. Jackie’s family would have birthday parties and Christmas gatherings and Thanksgiving dinners, and my mother and I were always welcome. It’s like we folded Jackie’s family into ourselves and having that extended family brought us closer together than we’d ever been.

Jackie was going to college to become an accountant and she worked at Carson Pirie Scott part time. I can remember sleeping in on Sunday mornings while Jackie got ready for work. Her perfume would wake me up and I’d groggily open my eyes to see her sexy body in a skirt and white blouse. Hair done up and make up on, looking professional and beautiful before heading off to work. These mornings became a game to us, and I would make up elaborate excuses that Jackie could tell her bosses as to why she would be late for work…when the real reason was because I had to fuck her. I would destroy her professional look almost every morning because the thought of going one more minute without being inside of her, on top of her, or under her was unbearable. Our sex was an unbridled monster that could never be locked in a closet or hidden under a bed. When our passion became too much for us and my mother was home, we’d rent a hotel room, nearly bringing each other to orgasm in the car on the way there. Sometimes we’d even go to the basement of my mother’s condo and fuck in her storage closet, or the laundry room, or in the hallway on the way downstairs. We couldn’t get enough of each other in all the years we lived together and the sex only became exponentially more gratifying.

I’d had sex in my life up to that point, but what Jackie and I had was much more than just something to do before I cum. It was passion. It was something we did TOGETHER. It was never about ourselves individually, but how we could please ourselves as one. THAT’S love, that’s bone shaking, heart pounding, shallow breathing, earth quaking love. We could never get enough of each other and even when our sex was at its worst, it was better than anything either of us could have hoped to experience in our youth.

Over the years Jackie and I became inexorably entwined in each other’s lives. Not only did we share our friends, but they began sharing each other. My friend Smart Jim went to Peru with her friend Karen, her gay friend Phil would go shopping with my straight friend Paul, and I began looking at her brother and sister as my own. This was the best relationship I’d ever have on more levels than could be counted. I was in love with Jackie and everything and everyone in her life

Jackie made me a better person, and more than that she made me want to be a better person. She inspired me to dress better, cut my hair, and make a resume that people would actually look at. She made me get my GED and helped me to get, not only the best job I’d ever have, but the one I’d wanted since I was 16, and keep that job for almost 10 years. In many ways Jackie helped me become a responsible adult…but in many ways growing up wasn’t something I was willing to do. And in my youthful exuberance toward one particular childish hobby, I pushed her away without even knowing it and ruined what could have been the lifelong relationship filled with mutual adoration and harmony that I’ve always wanted.

Oofa

After a few years of living with my mother, Jackie wanted us to get our own place. However I was trapped in my complacency. Living at home afforded me every luxury and I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I always had money, I had the woman I loved, and I had my hobby…action figures. Yes, I said action figures. I collected just about any kind of action figure you could imagine…and if that’s not dork enough for you, if you’re sitting there saying to yourself “so what, everyone has a hobby”…well look at the attached photo…yes, that’s what the bedroom looked like that I lived in with Jackie. It’s a wonder she put up with that at all.

What started as a simple hobby at first turned into a full blown obsession over the years. I began spending every dime I made on these plastic statues and although Jackie tried to get involved in my addiction by going to conventions with me…she began seeing them as something that I was choosing over her desire to get our own apartment…and rightfully so.I suppose that a woman can only take so much, and after telling me to stop, begging me to save, and putting up with my dorkish behavior…Jackie had enough. I’ll never forget the day I found that out.

The Friday before my life changed forever, I  stood up at my friend Ian’s wedding. I met Ian and my friend Smart Jim at Waldenbooks, where we all worked, and they became my 2 closest friends over the years. I was honored to be standing up for Ian at his wedding and Jackie went with me. After the reception ended at midnight, Jackie told me that she was going to spend the night at her mother’s house and then hang out with her brother on Saturday. This was no big deal, and it was something she did quite often, so I thought nothing of it. We kissed each other goodnight and went our separate ways.That Sunday, while I was working at Waldenbooks, putting away the new shipment of Science Fiction books, Jackie’s brother came into my store. He was shopping in the mall with Nicole and thought he’d come in and bullshit with me for a bit. I told him about the wedding and we talked about some new books that just came out…and then I asked him what he and Jackie did on Saturday after she’d gone home on Friday night. Chris looked at me in stunned silence, and in that look we BOTH instantly knew that I had been lied too. Chris was put in a terrible situation that I don’t envy him for, and as he groped for the words…my heart sunk like the titanic.

He told me that he knew Jackie was hanging out with another guy, but he thought I knew as well. He didn’t think anything of it because he and Jackie had known this guy since 3rd grade and he played the bass in Chris’s band. But if she didn’t go to her mother’s on Friday night and Chris hadn’t seen her all day Saturday…that meant she was with him.

The combination of anger, rage, jealousy, pain, and betrayal all hit me at once. I couldn’t breathe and had to take a knee. My face turned blood red and Chris said he could see the veins in my neck and forehead pumping blood through me furiously. I couldn’t work anymore. How can you with news like that? I walked out and went home to confront Jackie.

In my head, ONLY in my head, Jackie had sex with this guy. She HAD to have. You don’t spend the night with another man and NOT have sex with him. I found her in my bedroom and immediately confronted her. During our relationship, one of the things Jackie complained about was the fact that I never argued with her. She felt that you HAVE to argue sometimes and whenever she was mad at me, my response was simply ‘yes dear’. I’m not a confrontational person and I don’t particularly care for drama…but all the arguments that Jackie ever wanted to have with me came out in those last five minutes. I’ve never been as embarrassed or ashamed of my words and actions as I was when Jackie left that day.

I came into the bedroom and immediately began yelling and screaming at her. She tried arguing back at me, but I think she realized that she wasn’t going to win this one. I wouldn’t let her get a word in, and I shouted until I was blue in the face. I punched holes in the walls and flipped over the bed. I was in complete rage mode and when the red finally began to clear from my eyes and the pain in my hand began to take hold from punching the walls, I looked down to see Jackie cowering in the corner crying. That…that was the worst feeling of my life.

She thought that I was going to hit HER and all the angry jealousy I felt a minute before, evaporated into a feeling of shame and regret. I knelt down beside her and tried to apologize but she cowered away from me. I was the villain and everything I’d done to drive her into the arms of another man became clear. I helped her pack that night and we made love one final time. It was a slow pitiful thing. In the morning she moved back into her mother’s house and I never saw or spoke to her again.

She tried calling me a few times and wanted to come back, and even though she said that she didn’t fuck that guy…I found that hard to believe. Don’t get me wrong, I WANTED her back like nothing I’d ever wanted in my life, and the fact that I passed up that second chance haunts me to this day, but my pride kept me from forgiving Jackie, and pride? Pride is the true bane of youth.

But it wasn’t ONLY pride that stayed my hand in taking Jackie back. I felt a deep and profound shame at the way I treated her that last night. I was always told about my father’s temper tantrums which often led to my mother and sister being beaten. This is why I don’t argue and fight, because I don’t want to be my father…and that night I was him. Even though I didn’t hit her, I can still see the image of Jackie cowering from me in the corner of our bedroom, fear and panic in her tear streaked eyes, and the shame of that thought will live deep inside me forever.

Where Krista showed me the meaning of romance, Jackie showed me the value of love and I will be forever grateful to her for that. She showed me that sex is so much more than just fucking and to this day I can’t bring myself to fuck someone unless I have a modicum of feelings for them. However,  much like with Krista, I had nobody to blame but myself. I became complacent in my relationship with Jackie and instead of moving our lives along a path that could bring us BOTH closer together; I drove us apart with my selfish addiction and dorkish demeanor. I was the luckiest geek in the world and I threw it all away for toys and comic books.

That summer I sold off my entire collection because I didn’t realize until it was too late that Jackie made me happier than any ‘thing’ that I could own. The happiness I found in comic books was only there because I had Jackie by my side and without her? Nothing else seemed to matter. By the time I realized that I had lost my best friend, my sexual partner, and about 10 people who became the most important  chess pieces on my board…all of MY friends had run off and gotten married and had kids. Other than my mother, I was completely out of ancillary characters in my life, plus, I had gotten so used to sex on a regular basis that masturbation seemed like a distant memory.

As if blaming myself wasn’t a hard enough cross to bear, I also had to live with the fact that Jackie left me and ran into the arms of a man who, to me, even in the deepest pits of my self deprivation, seemed like an even bigger loser. Jackie was beautiful, and if she had left and run off with Brad Pitt, I think that I could’ve lived with that. But she didn’t. Her new lover was 10 years older than me, a hundred pounds heavier, he wore thick coke bottle glasses, he was balding on top of his head like a Franciscan monk, and worst of all? He played base in a Rush cover band. My fucking DOG can play a 4 string bass guitar in a shitty Canadian rip off band.

I couldn’t date for 3 years after Jackie left, not only because I was depressed, but because my ego had plummeted like Wile E. Coyote off of a cliff. Who the fuck was I that my woman of nearly ten years had to run off into the arms of THAT? How bad must I have been to be around? How ugly must I be? These questions haunted me until I finally did get laid again. And while the thought of Jackie was still sending shards of glass through my brain and heart, I buried myself deep in a pile of pussy for years to come. Soulless excursions into the heart of Vagit Nam emptied my mind of the horror and confusion left behind by Jackie, but it left my heart empty as well. Sure I had relationships which slowly built my ego back up, but I always found an excuse to end them before they could end me. This was no way to live, and THIS…this is why love is such a complicated mother fucker.

Part 4

Now these stories of love and loss may seem tragic to be sure. But I don’t look upon any of the relationships I’ve had with women with regret. Each one was a learning experience and I like to think that all the women I’ve dated have helped me to grow as a human being…for better or for worse. In fact, even the saddest of my stories has only served to make me more stalwart and determined in my search for true love.

But what IS love? Love is a feeling deep within YOU that sees acceptance in another person’s eyes and warms you to the very core of your being. Gay, lesbian, straight, transgender, black, white, Philippine, bartenders, pilots, cops, drug dealers, Mexican bandits, doctors, lawyers, celebrities, fat people, skinny people, scrapbooking clubs, ham radio enthusiasts, and water buffalo can ALL feel love (Ok, maybe not lawyers.) because love trancends the boundries of race, creed, religion, and gender. Love is the great equalizer and as EASY as it is to fucking hate, as easy as it is to be depressed…love is the cure all for what ails ya. And THAT’S why it’s so fucking hard to find.

But Love is not only FEELING that warmth in your heart about someone, it’s that same someone feeling that way back. When it’s just one sided it’s NOT called love, it’s called stalking. And therein lies the horror of love…finding someone that feels the SAME way about you. That’s the crapshoot, isn’t it? It’s easy to meet someone and get the butterflies, but how does one get them to feel the same way back? The answer sucks…you don’t. If someone doesn’t feel the same way about you, there’s no WAY to make them feel something. I know movies and music and TV shows and fucking Cosmo magazines will tell you that THAT’S when you break out the romance. You hire a mariachi band to play ‘In the Air Tonight’ outside of her bedroom window at 3 in the morning, send a dozen roses to her work every day for a week, and send her romantic poetry in the mail that YOU think is romantic, but SHE reads as mildly threatening and calls the cops (what the fuck was ‘mildly’ threatening about “My love is like a stick of dynamite under your car seat” Taylor Swift?”).

LOOKING for love is about as fruitless a quest as trying to find the fountain of youth. Love is something that just happens; it’s not something that can be found. It starts with attraction. Now I know that ‘attraction’ is not the way most people WANT to say love starts, but you don’t KNOW a person is worth your love until you talk to them, and you’re not gonna approach someone if you don’t SEE something in them that attracts you. So yes, love starts at the point that someone is good looking enough to approach.

Next comes the conversation. This is where I shine, but based on my earlier statement that you can’t CONVINCE someone to fall in love with you, I’m 0 for 2. However, if that initial attraction sparks, you may find that you both have things in common and a similar way of looking at life.

Next comes the sex. YES, sex is a part of love and although it’s corny, sex IS the ultimate expression of love. When you can’t get enough of it with your partner, when you can’t stop thinking about fucking them, when you make the sexual experience about pleasing HER and NOT just wanting to shoot a goopy load, and when you think about lying next to her afterwards and hoping she doesn’t leave? You’re in love.

And yes, I said ‘fucking’, because let’s be honest here…’making love’ is something that people who suck at fucking say.

Another part of love is empathy. If your girlfriend feels like shit because she just failed the bar exam or her cat died, or because she got a ticket for going 75 in a 10, YOU should not only be able to comfort her and make her feel better, but YOU should feel her pain in some small part. This woman’s suffering is affecting you and because of that you feel a NEED deep within your core to let her know that you’re not only THERE for her…but that you will do whatever is within your power to make her feel good again. Each of us has different strengths in this regard. Mine is to make her laugh. Laughter is the great pressurization chamber of life. You can’t bring her back TOO quick or she’ll get the bends, so I ease her back into an acceptable state of existence through laughter. Some guys will take her out dancing, some guys will get her high, and some guys will cook her butterscotch rum oatmeal cookies…I bring the fuckin’ funny.

Love is a mutual feeling of harmony, trust, and tolerance that 2 people share. It can never be one sided because it takes TWO people to create ONE love. And if a child is born of that love then you have the PERFECT trinity and an ultimate expression of love.

But like all things…there’s a flip side to love. Love is emotional heroin and just like the real thing it’s only as good as your last fix. When you’re in love you alienate your friends, spend all your money, and distance yourself from the world. However, you don’t SEE that. You don’t KNOW you’re doing that. You’ve become an addict for love and as long as that love is reciprocated…you’re higher than William Burroughs at Woodstock. But when it ends, when it’s all over and she breaks you like the weak Faberge egg that you’ve become…you’ll find yourself sucking dick in life’s public restroom for JUST a taste of what you had before.

Love stands on the upper echelon of the feeling pyramid, but IN that position it stands as a gateway emotion that leads to fear, depression, confusion, despair, self loathing, anger and torment. The love you carry for someone when that love is returned is the best feeling you’ll ever have…for the 3 to 5 months that it IS returned. After that you STILL carry that love like atlas with the world on your shoulders, only all the other planetary emotions jump on until the load gets too heavy and you leave a trail of shit behind you for the few steps you can continue to make in life until you’re crushed underneath the weight of love and it’s ensuing emotions.

Love can only lead ultimatly to devastation. It brings you down into the blackest pit of Dante’s Inferno, the one he dared not write about, the circle of hell reserved for lovers and fools, where your soul spends an eternity shouting at a moonless black wintery sky, the muffled cries of your mind echo off the dirty wooden planks of the coffin in which you’re buried alive, and your heart is tortured daily with the duality of false hope and painful acceptance.

It’s love’s duality that perplexes us so much. We don’t understand it and when we try to fight it…it just gets worse. That’s why the misery that sprouts from young love is so forceful and prevalent, because we don’t know any better yet. In its duality, love is the Egyptian Gods Seth and Osiris, its good and evil in its purest state, it’s the Chinese ying and yang. Nothing in the world can bring you to the heights of wonder and amazement like love, and then tear you down until the very foundations of your soul are cracked and broken.

Love makes you see things that you never noticed before, it crystallizes your perception of the world around you, it opens up doorways in the way you think that you never knew existed, the love you feel for someone can make you care about people and things that you never even thought about before. In essence love makes you want to be a better person for the sake of the person you love and those around you. Love is an emotion that we want to show off, we want others to see, and when we’re in it we can’t imagine why the whole fucking world isn’t in it as well.

While you’re in it, love is a million leaves on a thousand branches of a hundred trees dancing in the wind. Love is a fingertip lightly running down your back, love is cool lips and warm breath on the nape of your neck, it’s a soft voice in your ear, it’s falling asleep with a big fucking smile on your face, love is deep secrets and a shared shallow sarcasm towards anyone who would dare stand in the way of it.

But we can never forget that love is fleeting. Here today, gone tomorrow. And although it sounds harsh, we need to accept that so we can appreciate the love we’re in for the mere moments that we’re in it. When I’m in love, I’m not thinking about my next love or how this one will end. I truly want it to last as long as it can, but I know now…deep down in places I don’t like to talk about, that it WILL end, and I wish that I could go back to the place I was in life when I was ignorant to that fact.

When I lie in bed at night and look out of my window, I’m always amazed at what I see. In the winter time, through the bare and twisting branches of the naked trees outside, I can see a faint glow of the moonlight reflecting off of the snow and the steady slow moving and distant lights of airplanes flying overhead as they fade in and out behind the trees.

In the summer time, the stark contrast amazes me as the full leaves on those same branches obscure the night sky and turn the faint glow of wintertime into pitch black. However, the tiny pinpricks of a hundred lightening bugs flash on and off in a beautiful display that could be put to music.

But as wondrous as these nighttime displays of nature may be…they make me sad because I don’t have someone to share them with. I hope that I find love again, but I’m done looking for it. If it comes it comes. What I say to YOU, dear reader…is give it a chance because I still believe, with every ounce of my being that WHATEVER love is, however YOU define it, no matter how shitty or good love has been to you…it’s worth it.

Love is humility in its purest state. I put it to you that if you never reach the depths of depression and depravity that love brings with it, then you’ve never truly lived.

But don’t take it from me. After all, who the fuck am I to define love?

The Ghost of Rod Serling: Enigma buried in the sands of hope, a question mark with broken wings that lies in silent grace as a marker to the haunted shrine of romance. Odd how possibility consorts with shadows, how reality fuses with fantasy. How does it happen? The question is on file in the silent mindscape of lost hope. And the answer? The answer is waiting for us…in the Friend Zone.

Mea Culpa

It should be noted that I did indeed find love again in my current girlfriend Katie, who has opened my heart up to an eschelon of love I never thought possible. This story was written before we met of course, otherwise it might not have been so graphic. There is no greater editor than love, huh?

Deleted Scenes

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Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that if you go on a date with me or screw my brains out that I’m automatically going to fall in love with you. My cock reserves the right of first refusal.

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And therein lies another of my many faults…I don’t like fat chicks. I could go out there TONIGHT, with the materials that God has given me and find a fat chick to marry, TONIGHT! Can you, you son of a bitch?

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I’m not out here to judge, and I’m not looking for a perfect 10. Hell, I live in Illinois where the population is so fat that the automatic doors at Wal-Mart won’t open for anything under 300 pounds.

The End

of: The Friend Zone Episode 2: An Ode to the Va-J-J

but The General will return for more Douchebaggery in:

The Friend Zone Episode 3: The Yoga Instructor Part 1: Date Nuts