There is a boy texting me. It’s early in the morning on a Monday, let’s say 8:30. In the best millennial speak he says “gud am. Wyd?” My instinct is to reply “It’s 8:30. What do you think?” But I’ve been told this is mean, so instead of replying I go to the New York Times’ webpage to see what fresh new horror awaits. Reading about how awful everything else is makes me feel confident that my life isn’t a hell-hole. It kind of turns me on.
Yet I can’t possibly explain to a potential suitor that my kink is schadenfreude. I can barely tell regular people - my friends and coworkers - that I like them. Although it should be obvious because if I couldn’t tolerate their presence, I would avoid being around them. Yet even I know my typical Scorpio stare full of silent appreciation doesn't quite express what words can.
I’ve never been much of an emotional communicator, unable to speak the language of the lovelorn. I recall a time in elementary school when a boy decided one day that he was too good enough to call me by my name, Morgan. One day I came in like normal and dropped my backpack at his desk. It was suddenly flung on the floor. I whirled around to charge the offender, and saw The Boy. “That’s my desk, Woman.” I kicked him in the balls.
Later, after a timeout where I had to sit in a corner, I recounted to the teacher what happened. “Oh,” she said. “He just has a crush on you.” I cocked my head, mulling it over. “That’s stupid,” I finally said. I got another timeout.
Thus began me associating flirting with boys’ stupidity, or - worse - their malice. In college, tipping my toe in being pissed at the world, I found comfort in denying people things. As children, we are forced to hug and touch people: strangers, relatives, and important people our parents need to impress. Whether or not we like it. We have to be malleable to them, be pleasant and smiling. Adulthood, for me, meant the freedom to be unpleasant. So when a classmate, already wearing my nerves because he returned my class notes a soggy mess, told me I gave bad hugs. I replied, “Thank you.”
Yet it isn’t always the boys’ faults. I, ever nerdish, can turn any cute, back-and-forth moments of bliss into some theoretical discussion on the meaning of life as seen in a cat turd. For instance, this recent Tinder adventure.
Talking about depression is sexy.
A meteor could come to Earth tomorrow, and a part of me will believe I deserve to die for being such a clueless idiot. The other part of me me will be glad to be gone with the frustration of flirting. But in the chance the meteor survives, I’ll turn over a new leaf: Grow up and push the boys aside for men.