The New Age Paradox, Part 3: That One Guy Friend

In case you didn’t catch part 1 of the New Age Paradox, here’s a recap:

The New Age Girl, this is what she would say: “I need you to talk about what you’re feeling.  But I don’t want the whole story, about what you’re feeling.  Don’t talk too much.  It’s overwhelming.  Tell it to me in about a minute and a half.  And if what you say contradicts what I’m feeling, I’m not going to believe you.  And I’m also going to jump to number of conclusions if you don’t, or can’t, do it within a certain amount of time—that is, validate my feelings about what you’re feeling—all of which will be incorrect because I’m no longer going to be listening to your explanation, but that doesn’t matter, because it feels right to me.  Okay, go.  Too long.  Now I feel in my gut as if I were right about everything I didn’t trust about you from the start and there’s nothing you can do to change that, and all my friends are going to validate what I feel because they know how not to ask too many questions and just hold space for me and tell me all the things I need to hear.”

Okay, now you’re up to speed.

You really couldn’t talk to her about anything deep.  Not only because you couldn’t trust her with your deepest feelings, but because your explanations were always going to be timed.

Literally.  Actually.  Fucking timed.  With a mental stop watch. 

I felt like I was starting to lose my mind, so I went to talk to my friend Bethany about it.  And what did she do?

She rolled her eyes.  Talk about being insensitive.  “God, she sounds fucking impossible to date,” she said.  “Ugghhh, just end it and get on with your life!”

I had been accused of toxic masculinity, being a member of the Patriarchy and being a man incapable of expressing my feelings because I had no close, same-gender support community with which to flex those muscles, by the New Age Girl (NAG). While, at the same time, she remained immune to any accusation or criticism through her occasionally musing that we just weren’t compatible as a couple anymore, that we wanted different things out of the relationship and that we should make take some time apart to explore other people and then come back and see how we felt. Without, of course, going any further into the realm of her own accountability.

The men’s group fell through (I think I’d been passive-aggressively excommunicated), and my interest in the way in which the NAG further connived me into doing things with her and then didn’t show much of an interest while I did them was growing real thin.

And then, the bomb dropped. 

But before we measure the impact radius, let me discuss one crucial, aggravating factor. I’ve discussed her friend Jussie previously, but in case you didn’t catch part 2 of the New Age Paradox, let me recap here.

He’s that one guy who likes that one girl, but who the girl doesn’t like back in the same way, who therefore clings to her under the guise of best-friendship, manipulating her decisions, steering her toward guys that are just like him, vicariously reveling in the details, encouraging her without the ambivalence of wisdom, telling her how awesome and “okay” she is when she needs to hear it, never pointing out her errors in reasoning or judgment, attributing all her past mistakes to “growth” and not identifying them as the poison they were to actual growth, or the emotional harm they caused herself or others. That good?

It is to me.  I’m getting pissed off just recounting it. 

Also, he looked like Ryan Gosling.  Now, some of you out there might be thinking, ‘Oh, really?’  Well, yeah.  But no, not at all.  You know how some people just sort of look like other people, but, then again, they don’t?  They have the same cranio-facial structure, but it’s all out of whack.  It’s longer or its narrower or it’s a little crooked?  It was like the machine that was trying to make Ryan Gosling had to spit out a bunch of lesser Ryan Goslings first to get to the finished product.  That’s inherent in all of art.  Hell, it’s inherent in all of life.  Hell, it’s probably inherent in all of Hell, too.

Like, you can’t just have one Antichrist, there have to be 85,000 iterations of Antichrist before you get to the proper one.  Number 9,741, you’re up.  Oop, fell off that horse, did you?  All right, who’s next?  How you gonna climb a mount with one leg shorter than the other?  Get out of here.  You, with the lazy eye!  You’re up!

Like, you can’t just have one Antichrist, there have to be 85,000 iterations of Antichrist before you get to the proper one.  Number 9,741, you’re up.  Oop, fell off that horse, did you?  All right, who’s next?  How you gonna climb a mount with one leg shorter than the other?  Get out of here.  You, with the lazy eye!  You’re up!

And I’m not saying this just because I despised the guy’s character.  It’s really how he looked.  I have proof to back this up: The NAG, in one of her journals (which I read), while she was dating him for those two or three weeks, rated him a 6.5 out of 10.  I mean, whatever that means.  But, still, that’s basically like Ryan Gosling number 6.5 out of 10, ten being the actual Ryan Gosling we all know and love. 

* * *

So, it all started…with the life metaphor.

I had no idea what the hell that was.  But looking back, I realize now it was a loaded question, posed to me right at a time when she seriously began to doubt that we had a future together.  At the nine month mark, to be exact.

The conversation started like this: “I told Hazel about how I was feeling about [our] relationship, wondering if I was just being crazy, and she asked how long we’d been dating, and was like, ‘Uhhhhh, I’m not sure,’ and she was like, ‘Has it been nine months?’ and I was like, ‘Oh wow, it has been nine months, like, exactly!’ and she said she was reading about how women internally review relationships in a framework of trimesters—time frames that also correspond with the birth cycle.  The first three months are similar to the first trimester in pregnancy—all the excitement, the highs and lows, the strange changes your body feels, and you’re trying to keep up but generally just going with the flow, and then the second trimester, you begin to feel more stable and start feeling this nesting urge and want sex even more, like all the time, and then the next three months you start to have fears about the future, about yourself, about whether or not you’re going to be a good partner, whether or not your partner will be good for you, all these irrational fears.”

I waited.  “Then what about after that?”

“Then it’s just like you’ve given birth.  And all the weird hormonal stuff is gone.  And suddenly you’re left with the reality of it all.” 

“Ah.” 

Evidently, she was having difficulty with the “reality of it all.”  And started to think about giving our relationship up for adoption.  So, to exonerate herself, to set me up for a test she somehow knew I would fail, to justify her ambivalence and desire to want to ‘ethically slut’ around with other men again (she was actually in the process of reading a book with more or less the same title at the time), she asked me what my life metaphors were.  That is, in what ways was I challenging myself in my daily life, engaging obstacles—personally, physically, emotionally—that metaphorically represented the barriers in my life to self-improvement and self-understanding. 

And, as I’ve already said, I told her I’d gone through that obstacle course shit and run those gauntlets.  Which was impossible for the NAG to comprehend.  Until you die, life is a journey of continuous self-discovery, of growth, of positive and negative experiences that shape your development and ego, and the interplay of obstacles and other egos you meet along the way stand to catalyze that change in ways that couldn’t be fathomed otherwise. 

Well, yeah.  Until it isn’t.  It’s only the people who’ve never discovered anything even remotely close to what they talk about who talk like that.  They’ve learned to see it as the end, not the means.  Because if the means were really the means and brought you to an actual end, well, that would be scary as fuck.  That ain’t why they signed up for the New Age lifestyle.  They were in it for the uniformed, mutual masturbation. 

Metaphorically speaking.

Because if the means were really the means and brought you to an actual end, well, that would be scary as fuck.  That ain’t why they signed up for the New Age lifestyle.  They were in it for the uniformed, mutual masturbation.

Metaphorically speaking.

So, nine months had passed, and suddenly I was the newborn she didn’t want much of anything to do with.  Cracking maternal figure that she was. 

And that was when I discovered the flirting.  With the ex-boyfriend.  That shitbag I named by name in the last part. 

A freak occurrence led her to not sleep with him right around that time, though she wanted to, but seven more psychologically agonizing months later (for me), she finally did.  But that really wasn’t the issue.  That kind of thing happens all the time in doomed relationships.  Skeazy being skeazy.  If not ex-boyfriend, then some other joker willing to go along with wrecking some other fool’s home.  If people are unhappy in a relationship, many of them tend to cheat before they tend to end. 

It was the lies.  And, complicit in those lies—in fact, the one supplying her with the courage to tell those lies, by offering selectively positive reinforcement of her life decisions and lifestyle—was the guy friend.  The BFF.  Jussie.  A person like this is such a crucial part of the New Age Paradox, so much so as to form a concomitant, corollary paradox of its own:  If you enter into a relationship with the New Age of any gender, you have to give them their freedom, and what that freedom will entail is their spending time doing borderline intimate things with any number of people they make no bones about being attracted to, and who make even fewer (or many more, depending on what they’re crotch-packing) about being attracted to your partner.  And this doesn’t necessarily lead to infidelity, assuming you do all the things your (needy) partner needs from you, too, and he, she or they remain satisfied with how much you two interact. 

But what it’s always going to engender, as a result, is one of those people being chosen as a primary confidant, most likely as the result of some supportive wheedling, incessant agreeability, loving affirmations and well-timed and well-placed advice on their part.  Because they want to be the object of affection, know they can’t, and find this is the only way they can reconcile the relationship they have to your partner with their own desires and shortcomings. 

So, I found out about her infidelity by seeing her texts.  With the BFF.  I’ll cop to it.  She wasn’t being honest with me, so I felt I had to go to the source.  I never brought up what I found or accused her of anything, because that wasn’t my style.   

And anyway, far more interesting were the conversations the two of them were having about me. I got to see, first hand, the depths that parasitic, unrequited crusher of a bottom-feeder will go to advance their queen away from any perceived danger on the chess board of romantic relationships, simply because they’re waiting for another opponent who most closely resembles their style of play, or for that day down the road when they, themselves, can sit back down at the board and conquer that queen once and for all.

And, make no mistake, the BFF is playing this game.  He’ll back off at times, let her make some moves herself, but he knows, like she knows, that the queen is nearly as helpless as that painful-butt-plug-looking piece of plastic when it comes to how to ultimately navigate through relationships, and will accept any hand she can to guide her, especially when that hand tells her how strong, loving and worthy of a better, “healthier” love she really is.

I wanted to reproduce the texts for you here, the ones that best illustrate what kind of human-sized earthworm this guy really was, but I’ll have to do it in the next part.  It’ll be the last one, I promise.