I write this post through a thin, but consistent, veil of tears.

I’ve just been really hurt. Something which hasn’t happened to me (in this arena) for quite some time.

A few months back I reconnected with a chap I had previously met three years ago. He has even been the subject of an earlier post on this here little blog. Our first connection was inauspicious, but the passage of time allowed me to look at my own behaviour during our first iteration, reassess my judgment of him, and start again.

So we have been merrily seeing each other, on a very casual basis, ever since.

Now we were never going to be John and Yoko, but we had a strong intellectual and cultural connection, chatted easily to each other, and were physically attracted. Truth be told, I found him incredibly sexy. There was never any commitment, or promises made, and that was fine by both of us. We had a pleasant, enjoyable, non-exclusive, selectively passionate thing going.

Fred* always struck me as emotionally closed. I found it difficult to imagine him being madly in love, or even saying to someone “I love you.” He is cool, and that’s fine in the context of our arrangement. However, I always felt that I would like there to be a BIT more going on between us, and was, I guess, waiting for that to develop. So I continued to be the ever-flexible, un-needy, non-clingy, sexy friend-with-benefits.

More fool me.

He rang me this morning and chatted about this and that, before telling me, almost as an aside, that he was finding casual sex a bit meaningless (he’s a genius…) and he had met someone this week and had decided “to make an effort with this woman”.

Cue crickets from my end of the line.

So the clear inference from this is that I am NOT a woman worth making an effort with. Thanks for that.

I know we teach other people how to treat us. I know this with the same assurance that I know marzipan is unfit for human consumption. Yet I never seem to GET IT. Because I’ve been  flexible, un-needy, amenable slutty etc etc…then THAT IS ALL I WILL GET. He was never contemplating the thought that there could be more between us. Maybe he didn’t even realise that I wanted more. I’ve read all the books (both those written by women and by men) about how a man will either see you as a one-nighter/casual sexer, or as a potential girlfriend/partner. About how the twain shall never meet. About how a man’s feelings for a woman are arrested at the first moment he sleeps with her. About how you have to withhold sex, like some reward, until a man is at least half-way to being in love with you. About the Madonna-Whore Complex. I’ve read it all. I’ve understood it all. I’ve balked at it, de-constructed it, minimized it, attempted to feminize it. Yet I still seem unable to truly believe it or act on it.

So here we are again…

Are men really, emotionally, unable to have a casual relationship with a woman and then let it lead into something more serious? Gay men seem to manage it. Women seem to manage it. Is it psycho-biological? Sociological? More patriarchal bullshit?

I throw the question out to the universe, sniff back more tears, drink more coffee. And contemplate another Saturday night being the woman no man wants to make an effort for.

Pity party, anyone???

*Not his real name.


4 thoughts on “Madonna/Whore

  1. Feeling like I can’t really ‘like’ this, Tracey. ‘This’, that has happened to you and, understandably, crumpled your dreams . But as usual I love the way you express yourself, your self examination and self recrimination, hang on I don’t love your self recrimination… shit, you know what I mean.

    I think, men, well some men, are very practical, I guess he thought he was doing/getting what you both wanted, you were keeping cool your end too, in a really ‘cool’ way, not cold. But I’m betting you didn’t let on for what you were hoping.

    The worst of it is, you can’t even hate this guy, cause you are in love with him. Which is a bastard, and you know he’s not one, because he’s actually doing the honourable thing by you and the other-now-to-be woman in his life. This makes you love him more. Damn it. I’m not helping am I.

    You know what you have to do. Get on with it. By all means, nurture that grain of hope that he will one day know what he has missed – but if that day comes he may find that it’s too late, that someone else is filling what YOU have missed. And you are no longer available.


    1. Thanks Myra, for your, as always, lovely comment. I’m not in love with this guy, so my heart is reasonably intact. I just liked him a lot and found him very attractive on certain (slightly odd!) levels. It’s a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to be the really cool chick. Sigh. xxxx

  2. Hello Tracey,
    Another gut-wrenchingly honest blog from an exceptional person.
    To talk about dating is one thing, to talk about it with deep understanding another and to put your own experiences out there is extraordinary. I can’t add to your witty and insightful blogs, but please keep yourself well. The world would be a less interesting place if you didn’t share your wisdom.
    What is it about marzipan anyway?

    1. Thank you Karl! How kind of you. I am a woman of diverse culinary interests and a cast-iron digestive system…but there is something about marzipan that makes me spit it out and pull a face like a two-year-old with a Brussel Sprout. I could do hypnosis I suppose….lol

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