Usually a woman sits down with her date, and she is able to assess that he is either physically less attractive, less intelligent, or lacking in emotional intelligence, availability, and confidence. She sees this and knows that because of the sexism shaping the world around her, he may be judged as equal or even better than her in the pluses and minuses of things. He will have more economic, social, and romantic opportunities. She knows that he also will judge himself by this outside system, not seeing her true value, and feel more entitled than she does. She knows it is in her best interest to find out what she can love about this person despite his flaws…and love is still possible in this way. Loving past the flaws can be joyful, fulfilling, and sexually rewarding. Her agency lies in the possibility of quality partnerships, not in a total insistence on equality, which seems impossible to achieve in the short amount of time she has to exist in both a mature and attractive adulthood. Still, after she is given the opportunity to invest physically and emotionally in him, when he abuses her (during the break up) and devalues her ( by moving to another country to date a 19 year old) it is a slap in the face. It will be hard for her to let go of the anger. This is not just an event or his personal choice, but an expression of how she is always playing a game she cannot win in a machine built to systemically devalue her mind and body. She loses pieces of herself in the process.
But today a rare event occurred. I was outclassed. I was thinking am I smart enough, pretty enough,and emotionally mature enough to have a chance with this guy?
I said before he looks like my dear friend Min Wei, from the pictures. I think I find him more attractive. I think I find him more attractive in person. When a guy does not have hair or height on his side, but is still handsome. it’s exciting. You know that nature has not given him any ‘easy in’ and his handsomeness is totally his own thing. And when you can see the subtle shape of muscle under a button down shirt, that is his personal achievement. I don’t often fetishise accents because I’ve heard so many, but the Glasgow accent was starting to trip me up.
The first thing I said was can I look at your tattoo? And usually a tattoo is such a banal, hackneyed thing. But this tattoo was an intermingling of Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic design culture. He called it ‘sacred geometry’ i told him the intermingling of those design cultures was my obsession when I was 19. Tantric Diagrams, Mandalas. It was a Thai tattoo. We have to tell the story of our lineages because I traveled towards the Thai tattoo in my lifetime, instead of being born near it. His story is better than mine. He is Italian, Spanish, Scottish, and Chinese. Pirate? I said. His grandfather was from Shanghai, a sailor in the Merchant Navy. He had a family in Shanghai, Nepal, and Scotland. He was a love pirate. I wonder if the genes went down the family tree.
I was really struggling to get my head round this and the world of the political underground that he inhabits while trying to understand all the information in the Disobedient Objects exhibition. I don’t get how something like decentralized technology matches up with socialism, even though I did the predate Google. I still don’t really get what a crypto anarchist or a cypher punk is. It’s mysterious and sexy, and I want to be the type of person who might meet these people? He has personal stories for at least a few of the objects in the exhibition, and I think where have I been living? Not on the ground. When I know about the Guerrilla Girls and he doesn’t, It’s a relief. I had something to add. Apparently his mum taught textiles at Goldsmiths and is ranty (a sign!) and I say, can’t believe G.G. got left out of the rant. In the pub with a drink in me I feel less stupid. We talk about conformity, shame as a tool for social control and classism (the swimming pool story), and who is actually happy in this system, not the producers, not the consumers..not the consumers at any level. He recommends doing ayahuasca to all my anxious, sad friends because it turns a mirror on your self and gives you insight on a path towards change. He says he did this and it worked. I said my friends are slowly trying to get a grip, but I’m not sure they can handle seeing the whole mirror. They might kill themselves. He recommends I try Jujitsu for my problem of over empathizing and being turned off to my emotional self. To learn how to be a fighter. He does kick boxing and Jujitsu, that’s why his body is like that. He gives me the down low on the Scottish referendum. If Scotland stays in they lose their free health care and education, and become a testing ground for all the shittiest laws before they come to England. If Scotland leaves they stay Scottish and socialist, and England becomes irretrievably Tory and corporately fascist without their influence. He says he will move to Berlin within 9 months. I start laughing. You too he says? Fuck tories, and marriage, me too. He has to leave for a meeting…he texts his mate for an extra hour but we still only get 3 hours together. In a final stroke of questionable genius, I explain how Tess of the D’urbervilles killing her rapist is a lot like Dave Chapelle’s series “when keeping it real goes wrong”. He does seem to find it impressive. I tell him he is fascinating as he is about to go..no way could I play it cool at this point. He says I am fascinating too, but we don’t make plans. He goes.
I text Shannon ridiculously ” I think I’m going to die of hotness.” I go to the toilet to do my post first impressions vlog. I go to the Speed Listening event I have been looking forward to. There’s good music and people sharing it. I try to enjoy it, but I go home half way through. I just want to sit in my room and remember 3 hours passing.