Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tease me. Thrill me. Kill me.

Sometimes I wonder if standing by mute is better than risking the friendship by putting all the cards on the table.

A line that for some reason or another, did not manage to get typed into an online conversation--which made me recall Jared's post back in August of 2000, quoted here in its entirety (in italics):

To excite (another) by exposing something desirable while keeping it out of reach.

This American Heritage definition of tantalize remains posted on my bedroom wall back at home. I put it up about four years ago, after feeling the wrath of my first long distance relationship. Two years and twenty temptations later I came up with the aol screen name Tantaluz (a variation on the verb's root), which I still use. But should I still consider myself "tantalized" or has the role reversed? Is it possible that this seemingly torturous expression could take on a devilishly positive meaning for me?

Everyday we tantalize. By that I mean that we walk on the line of how far we will go and how close we will get without stepping over it. How much can you tell someone without saying too much? How physical can one get without pushing the definition of "friend"? How can you maintain someone's interest without revealing your own intentions? Why is it that we want so badly to push things to the limit without actually taking the next steps? It's so dangerous.

Sometimes we wish we could cross the line and other times we greatly fear it. It seems as if we work best when both parties are right on the line. On the line there's a sort of balance, but one that's so dangerously close to instability. It's as if you've reached a stage that may be the climax, or may just be an intermediary step in a relationship that's soon to live or die. But it seems as if it's the fullest potential stage without meaning, and you don't really want to lose what you have.

Or do you? Because inevitably you can't stay on the line very long. Someone's going to cross it or back out. And then it gets so confusing. So often you won't see eye to eye anymore. Then someone has to step back or reciprocate a feeling that they don't share, both of which are very difficult options.

So maybe I should just give up on getting to know people, because it's a process that inevitably leads *somewhere*. And right now I fear that I don't want to end up *anywhere*.

Today's been such a weird day. Some people crossed over the line...and I don't want to have to change things, but there's no fun in tantalizing once emotions are involved. I don't really know what to do. So here I stand, four years and four hundred miles later, so close and so out of reach. Maybe we all just need to figure out what we want before we get too close. I'm certainly confused.

Which brings back the spectre of Mr. Stevens, from Kazuo Ishiguro's most excellent novel, The Remains of the Day. Lazier readers, or those pressed for time, may choose to skip the novel and watch the movie adaptation instead. Anthony Hopkins plays a convincing role as the tortured Mr. Stevens, who, torn between his love for the housekeeper and the decorum expected from the staff of the distinguished household of his employer, Lord Darlington, chooses the latter and erects an unassailable wall of formality before his love interest, and is ultimately left with nothing but a sense of tradition preserved, and social proprietry upheld, at the end of his life.

Does this portend the fate of one who is too careful?

Then again, being too hasty could earn one the damning label of being desperate (and scorned). What do you do when you find that you have fallen in love with a friend, and have began to love her secretly, or perhaps not too secretly? How is that "sweet torture"? There is no sweetness in that. It is like being on the tightrope all the time. Revelation could earn you banishment from her presence forever--or, failing at that, the forseeable future, while keeping it all inside emasculates you, turns you into a "cuddlebitch," and forces you to grit your teeth and smile and nod your sympathetic head, all whilst she unloads details of her love life/adventures you'd rather not hear about, but fervently wish to be part of.

All these plots and engines just to be near the object of one's affection. It seems so silly and infantile. There has to be a better way. A more honorable way. A more open and direct way. Being too open, too direct (and especially too soon) can get one burned, however. (And I speak from personal experience).

Another way of looking at it is, "No relationship is better than being trapped in a bad one." I suppose that's cold comfort.

I guess I will go turn on "COPS" now, and mouth the lyrics of "Bad boys! Bad boys! Whacha gonna do? Whacha gonna do when they come for you?" as our nation's finest crack the heads of wifebeaters and jealous boyfriends in an exposé of all the wrong reasons to be into a relationship. Ah, schadenfreude!

Bottomline: I don't want to tantalize. I have no interest in tantalizing. I want to court, to romance, to cherish, to love, to simply be with--her. It's not the fear of commitment that holds me back, rather it is the fear of losing a friendship.


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