Tuesday, November 10, 2009

About a Boy

by Liz

When Jyll mentioned - about a week ago - that we ought to start a blog, I was inititally reticent. A blog, so often, is no more than a virtual confessional; a blog, for many, is a place to spill your guts, no matter how gruesome the contents.

I didn't want our blog to be so gauche; so overly-reflective; so pretentiously deprecating.

But I also agree with Jyll in that a good foundation for any piece of writing - whether poetry, prose or fiction - is drawn from your own personal circumstance. Write what you know. Candor, honesty and authenticity are crucial components of any relationship, including the relationship between the writer and the reader.

So, it is with this philosophy in mind that I write today's blogpost. And, as you may have guessed from the lengthy pre-amble, I write today with hand-wringing trepidation. For today, I write about the opposite sex. Boys. A Boy.

Let's call him Todd.

Todd harbors insecurities; just as you harbor insecurities; just as I harbor insecurities. Insecurity is the mark of humanity, of mortality. However, insecurities that aren't self-monitored or well-managed are bound to manifest themselves in the form of drug addictions or unsavory social affectations. Unfortunately for me, Todd's insecurities have festered, manifesting themselves as undesirable personality traits. He's derisive, facetious and cocky. I almost rather wish he suffered from a minor coke habit.

I ought to have know better than to fall for East Village Todd. Poorly managed insecurities reign below 14th street in Manhattan; everyone in the East Village seem to suffer from some social or intellectual delinquency. My boss has said that the inhabitants of the East Village are either prisoners or exiles, but I think they're both. They've been exiled (or have exiled themselves) from polite society, and now hold themselves prisoner to their own insecurities.

Anyway, call me a woman scorned, or at least a woman incredibly frustrated. Call me the Girl-Who-Thinks-She-Sees-The-Insecure-Boy-Behind-The-Man-That-No-One-Else-Sees. I'm the Natalie Portman in Garden State; I'm the Kirsten Dunst in Elizabethtown. I hate this melodramatic role.

But one role I refuse to play is the Girl-Who-Thinks-She-Can-Change-The-Boy. The boy who chooses sarcasm as a petty shield against perceived societal pressures, against vulnerability. I'm not a masochist.

Agonizing over unrequited love is a form of masochism in itself. I recall a conversation I once had with a friend on the subject:

Me: Unrequited love feels like someone is stirring my guts with a wooden spoon, like an over-tended cauldron.

Her: It feels like I'm languishing at the bottom of a well, waiting for someone to throw down a rope...

Me: It feels like my heart is being squeezed in someone's fist; perhaps even my own. It feels like bloody masochism.

Her: It feels like I'm choking; like my throat is closing; like I'm being asphyxiated; like there's not enough oxygen in the world.

So, needless to say, I'm over East Village Todd.

(Jyll, please remind me of this tomorrow morning. And the next day. And the next...)


  1. i don't like east village todd. and in general, i don't like people who mask their insecurities by putting down others/playing the emotional marrionette (sp.). Eeek. Two days ago a co-worker outright laughed when someone else jokingly insulted me. The laugh was worse than the insult. Isn't that innappropriate past the age of 16? Why grasp at any chance to make someone feel bad? and it taunts me to retalliate. but i don't want to, that's not any better.

  2. "The laugh was worse than the insult."


  3. Turns out insecurity is just a mask worn to excuse bad manners. Boys. Ugh. Yawn. Check please.

  4. Your words make me miss the kind of New York I never had.

    I miss you, Lizzy. And our chats.

  5. Well, from your film comparisons, I would say you are the "manic pixie dream girl." And as the originator of the phrase says, "she exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures." So, really it's pretty selfish and male chauvinistic. But the way I like to interpret it in my head is that the MPDG is actually the primary subject and the one that can be happy on her own in the end. And it's not that she doesn't necessarily exist, just that she can't live up to the dream the boy has created out of his own need to live out the hipster, indie fantasy he has of himself and his sad life.

    wow, that made no sense. sorry to add to the confusion.

  6. Caitie, you're amazing.

    For the record, I hate both Garden State and Elizabethtown. These films portray woman not as an extention of the male protagonist's humanity, but rather as foils to the man's supposed depth. These women are flighty and shallow; they're Diane Keaton re-incarnate, re-packaged for a new generation.

    I sneeringly compared myself to these 2-Dimensional characters simply because I recognize the unfairness of the role, a role I feel I've been cornered into. Guys love playing the Zach Braff card.

    For the record, I hate Zach Braff, too.