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Sunday Lifestyle

Love in the time of pre mid-life

FROM COFFEE TO COCKTAILS - Celine Lopez - The Philippine Star

"I think @ is having an affair with %,” I told my friend Jo while we were browsing at Barney’s a few weeks ago.

“Of course they are! Did you see her bags from *’s line lately? They’re all limited editions. I mean there are skins on those bags from animals that I don’t even know even existed,” Jo slightly seethed as she rolled her eyes at me for being so thick.

% is the husband of * who is a really famous fashion designer. I knew % and I only knew * by salivating over her pieces on pages of my many fashion magazines. My loyalty was with * of course.

“That’s pretty gross of him to gift her with his wife’s stuff,” I said suddenly feeling sad for *. A person I didn’t know and was being shafted in the most humiliating way possible.

We went to *’s section and saw the rack of clothes. They were ass ugly.

The palette consisted of pastels and neons, proportions were clown-like, and overall, Dolly Parton seemed to be the muse of this current collection. “This circus only means one thing,“ I say dismayed over my fallen idol, “She knows about the affair.

When I was in school I never cheated even if I was failing spectacularly in some of my classes. I’d like to say it was because I was a good girl with a solid moral compass. It was part of the reason, I promise, but the bigger part was because I was too wimpy to cheat.

Those crib notes and answers written in Yiddish, all the sophisticated techniques of a high level CIA agent all for a passing mark? Studying was far easier.

It’s a universal truth that bad things are just better than the good. For me, milk chocolate is better than dark. Going out on Monday is better than going out on a Saturday. Carbs are just so much better than protein.

Bad decisions look really good especially if you’re feeling lost, defeated and emotional. All of which are augmented by age –– it led me to make one of the worst decisions I had ever made in life. And when it comes to love, we’re likely to make more bad decisions as we get older than we would when were young.

I cheated on a boyfriend once. It didn’t go “there,” but there was a certain emotional connection that is usually reserved and fit for a beau. Midnight texts, secret burger runs and total Howard’s End sexual tension. As I said if it felt weird, it was weird. Also, I think this kind of affair is far worse than a physical one.

It was the most life diminishing experience in my life. I felt like the devil. There was no excitement, just plenty of self-loathing and sorrow. The guilt I felt was so tremendous that I actually had a panic attack and passed out in Greenbelt 3.

I told my boyfriend and we painfully stayed together for another year.

I was cheated on as well. I didn’t hurt as much as me being the cheatee.  I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t really into the guy I was dating, or because I was busy at work. This was during my dynamo career girl days. I was too busy to even break-up. I just felt empty. I tried to feel worse about it, but I couldn’t.  No sturn und drang, just a passive anger that, little by little, made me realize that I just didn’t love him. I actually came to the point that that I truly understood why he cheated. I was emotionally unavailable. Or was it because I was older?

In the empirical history of adult messiness, cheating is probably the worst. No one comes out victorious. A heart is broken somewhere there, and lies are all over. It’s never pretty. Lives peter out and the pathos are both cliché and devastating.

My friend, whom I’ll call Alice, was once the most obsessed-over girl in a country I’ll call Latvia. She was in magazines, people copied her hair color, she was sought ought to attend the greatest of parties and fashion magazines posted her pictures just to give it legitimacy. She was a total “It” girl.

Then she dated a hot billionaire, which ended in a cold breakup. He cheated on her with some random girl. It seemed like he didn’t like sharing the spotlight with Alice.

You see there’s Brangelina, who both bask in the same golden rays of universal adulation and then there’s Tom Hanks, the man Rita Wilson diluted her career for. It had worked wonders for their marriage.

It’s just never been the same ever since. She has uprooted to Paris because the tabloids taunted her.  Like me, she’s made of marshmallows.

We Skype’d the other day and she was just recounting how she had a horrible encounter with her “long game” guy. She had brought a hot date –– who she wasn’t into –– to a gallery opening. She had hoped that her date would stir some jealousy in her long game guy (more on that later). Instead the faux date and her long game man hit it off and left the party together.

“WTF was that?” she lamented, “He cheated on me with my date! I’m just losing faith in men. It’s been bloody six years!”

The playing field as we age.

Dating in your 30s can be hard. Like I said last week, there’s so much pressure on the girl. Old wives’ rules that have become sophisticated sci-fi medical projects. Men in their 30s are at their peak. Only the good ones get married, and we all know how few of them are left. The 30s are the good single guy genocide.

The other niche market is the long game guy. It simply means he’s busy with his career or dating so-so chicks to sow his wild oats. He really likes you but he sees you in a white wedding dress –– not in a bandage dress.  It’s crazy but you just know. I have not been wrong about this. Involved are lots of games and sometimes the occasional hoop jumping, but it’s there. The reason why I’m not with a long gamer now is because we are still human and things change.

It’s hard to explain but I can say I have two long game guys and had three long game guys that didn’t pan out. I’m not being delusional but I know that when they’re ready I’ll be hearing from them. It’s just one of those things. It’s nothing mystical like being a goddess, but the rules of attraction are on your side. It’s like knowing you’re about to eat a bad oyster or knowing in your heart that you forgot to pack your underwear in your suitcase as you fly to Europe for a month-long trip. Men have game, women have instincts.

In the confident mind of a long gamer the best classics have championed them, look at Heathcliff of Great Expectations and Forrest Gump. Then the less fortunate ones like Gatsby and Rhett Butler, they still got the girl even if it didn’t last long.

Whether I still like them or if the chemistry is still there proves the fallibility of this project. No guarantees of course, but it’s not bad being the dessert.

Maybe it’s also because we have more cash than we did in our younger days and the hubris of having all these choices take over good judgement. As we get more promotions, we feel more entitled to more choices.

Then there’s just the feeling of mortality. This is the opposite of the latter. You just settle. 

Men will marry a Persian cat or a golf cart once when they feel that they are ready. The girl of their dreams is too busy with work? Forget it. It’s the caveman in them. With them, it’s about timing. When the clocks hits 12, they change their mobile number and whoever bites first gets a ring on it. Even if they have never had constant rapport with one another, suddenly with the seamless sport of a synchronized swimmer, things get serious fast.

And this is just the beginning of a relationship. Then comes the temptations like cheating or the boredom of domesticity. There are the rough patches and the good times that you eye with caution. Everything, all rushed and hormonal.

I used to believe you don’t have to play games, especially in a real loving relationship. But to a certain level you do. No chicanery needed, but you can’t be that welcome doormat that they rub their dirty shoes on and forget.

Then the tendency to make bad decisions comes into play. As a young adult, you are in love and that’s the center of your world. It is the most delightful of all rites of passages. As you grow, you go from ardent to retarded. The mind does a Benjamin Button and you just go from mess after mess.

Relationships are complicated. Love suddenly isn’t just enough. But, really, it still is worth all the crap. This is what keeps us young. We all need something to look forward to. Eff up or not.

AS I

BENJAMIN BUTTON

DIDN

DOLLY PARTON

FORREST GUMP

GAME

GATSBY AND RHETT BUTLER

GIRL

GOOD

LONG

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