I was hanging out with my friends, one of whom is a successful screenwriter. I was indulging my usual narcissistic psycho babble and expounding on the latest wacky developments in my dating life (basically, I’ve been nurturing a trifecta of chaos that has sent me into a spiraling depression). After 20-30 minutes of that, my successful screenwriter friend said, “Your life is way more interesting than mine.” Why, thank you!
But on the other hand: really? I’ve started to notice this pattern developing throughout the entirety of my life, and it’s basically the manic pixie dream girl syndrome wherein older, successful men who enjoy all the trappings of wealth in a capitalist society couple up with the wild, young woman who has “seen some shit.” Being on the wild, young woman side of the equation, I always look at those men with a sense of envy and ambition. Mostly because what makes the attraction between the older man and the younger woman work is the commonality of a mutual intelligence. To me, it’s wild to see how that intelligence manifests in the lives of these older men versus these younger women. It’s almost as though being an intelligent young woman in this society will drive you fucking crazy, but if you’re a man you can use that intelligence to be successful. It kinda pisses me off, like in an “I’m insanely jealous that the world was designed to make you succeed and if it weren’t for my genitalia I could be just like you” kinda way.
As a woman, being intelligent but confined to the second tier of society has driven me up the wall. If I have all this intelligence, how come I can’t find a way to climb out of my assigned position as a second tier citizen? Or find contentment in my position in life? Or change it? All the intelligence in the world, and I’m still scraping together rent and not in a financial position to get an education. Damn it! This is probably why I went crazy with the whole “having sex and doing drugs” thing – I was willing to do anything to get out of that shitty situation, and “self harm disguised as pleasure” was one way I used to cope with the depression of being a woman.
Later that night, my successful screenwriter friend broached the question, “Where is the most interesting place you’ve had sex?” I immediately found it hard to rank all the weird places I’ve had sex, and I think he had left the party entirely by the time I felt like I had said them all out loud.
Immediately after, I felt a sense of, “Boy, I better not see these stories regurgitated in a successful Hollywood movie in five years!” I kinda rue the idea that someone (whom I admire deeply) can take my hard earned life experiences and be a more successful writer telling my stories and not necessarily his. I’m not saying he would do that, because he’s not that type of person, but that kind of thing that happens all the time. I’m the one who went through the trouble of giving that dude a hand job at the Ruby Room, not you! And I’m a writer! Don’t take that from me!
On the other hand, it must be thrilling for someone who obeyed all of life’s laws to be around someone who said, “Fuck it!” to everything and chose to live a completely different life. I wonder, dear reader, who has lived more life? The person who gets the better ending? Or the person who has the better stories?
Sometimes I find it hard to be around the mutual fascination. He wants to be around me because I have better life stories, and I want to be around him because he’s going to have a better ending to his life story. It’s hard to be around someone who is fascinated with you because of who your pain has turned you into. I would have preferred to not have had the pain in the first place, but would you like me then? And is it healthy for me to be around you because you’re the person I think I could have been if I hadn’t been born a woman? Sure, it’s not productive to drown ourselves in theoreticals. Instead, I do the practical thing and avoid dating white men. I prefer to be around people who like to put their pain in the past and want to move forward with me while we create new, exciting stories together for years to come.