The usual thing to do in these cases is to say, well, we can't be boyfriend
, but we can say hi now and then (go to the coffee shop together, maybe go to the movies, etc.). This usually goes along with the thought, spoken or -un, "I don't want to hurt your feelings..." or "Please don't take this badly..." or "I know how sensitive you can be...you know you're really a nice guy..." all perfectly fine sentiments, meant to soften the blow on both sides. Whether I actually say hi to you, go to the coffee shop or decide I've got some urgent appointment that afternoon makes no difference, it's just the kind thing to do.
The problem is, I don't think you're all that much of a Nice Guy
. You can play the Nice Guy very well: you agree with everything, you pay compliments, your voice is low and gentle, and you're very, very seldom outright angry. But...you're not. After once, you didn't take me to church anymore. Why? You "sleep in" on Sundays. In other words, you'd agreed to take me to church every Sunday...as long as it didn't conflict with your staying in bed until suppertime. What kind of agreement is that? Wouldn't it be better to have been honest to begin with? I'm quite willing to admit that at times I wasn't the most agreeable person myself, but dealing with your passive-aggression was nerve-wracking -- going through the trouble of making a nice dinner, only to find you eating sardines
and chugging orange
juice from the carton ten minutes before I got everything on the table....and then not having an appetite made me want to cry. You might want to hide all this behind a cute little dimply smile and a childish "Oh, but I just can't help myself, you see! Look at how sweet and babyish I am! You need a hug! Come and cuddle me right now! Take off your shirt, and I'll suck your titty
! Really, I'm so much of a Nice Guy, I'm really just a big kid."
But you aren't a baby, and the reason why you want my shirt off isn't lunch.
Little kids don't get interested in no-money-down real estate, Prem Rawat, or Scientology. They're curious, and run around all the time, and get happy when fire engines come. They demand to get taken to the circus, only to get scared by clowns, get miffed if they can't wear their cowboy shirts to school, but cheer up when you put a smiley face on their sandwich. They want to make things and play games, hang out with other kids, and have wild and thrilling things happen, all the time. What interests you is sex, money, following the worst possible examples of the cult of personality and manipulating people, in between grazing for food, and of all of those, only the last is at all childlike.
These are harsh words, I know. It pains me to say them. As I said, if you were a normal person, I would not be saying anything like this at all. But then, I would have "normal" feedback from you: you'd look pained, or startled, at my first remark, and ask "Why are you saying this? What did I do?" Instead, I might as well have said "Oh, cloudy day we're having. Pity we can't get nearer, I have a cold." When I told you, you flatly denied, instead of apologizing, or finding some reason why you would have said what you did....even if you couldn't remember it. That's human, maybe you thought it was teasing, or funny, or you simply "misspoke".
Perhaps I might have simply chalked your denial up to embarrassment, if it weren't for the fact that you once cornered me in a small galley kitchen, with you stark naked. Or wearing a Speedo, leering at me. Or...inferring, any number of times, that we should have sex, simply because I was a woman and you were a man, and we lived together. No, you said it, and if you were one-half of the person you claim to be, you should have apologized.
You claim to being "a wonderful person", in a voice that sounds like it was on a self-improvement tape. Maybe people at Fellowship House tell you that to bolster your self-esteem. Maybe it's on your affirmations list. But no adult seriously tells another adult how to feel about them, with any good intent. And if you want to call yourself a good-enough adult to handle money, profess an active faith, or have sex, you should be able to take criticism, not with a whine that this doesn't make you feel good, or by refusing to listen, or deciding that it's really about me, and trying to get me to feel like the bad guy.
I don't find you sexually attractive. No, not even given the choice between you and masturbation. You wet the bed and I don't think you're even healthy enough to have sex, much less do it in a way that would be even remotely pleasurable for me. Besides, you're a liar, and I don't hold with your political, religious, and/or aesthetic choices either. Now, ordinarily I would be inclined to overlook a few items, here and there -- I've had perfectly good friendships with people who've been far more different than we are...we came from the same school, for heavens sake!...but what you ask of me is the equivalent of me asking you to join the
We just don't fit! I'm never going to think that Carleton Sheets and Prem Rawat are anything but liars and con men, and I think L. Ron Hubbard was worse, all promoting a sociopathic worldview that exhausts the pocketbooks of its adherents, while draining them of everything but a crass, shallow, selfishness that blights everyone around them. Maybe you don't think so -- that what you've learned in all these places are perfectly sound and ethical techniques that, if applied, can only bring you a vigorous, healthy mind and body, deep, fulfilling relationships, great wealth, personal happiness and spiritual growth. You are well within your rights to think that way, but I'm also well within my rights to try to avoid you, particularly if I think you might make me unhappy.
I find it hard to believe that you can't find someone you like that you might be more sympathetic to your ideals: Debbie, Sandra, there must be a dozen other women at Fellowship that share your same general background and interests. If I'm so cruel to you, as you seem to imply, I can't understand why you insist on wanting to hook up with me. I can't seem to remember us having any kind of a good time together, no matter what we did, you'd always get nervous and act up or I'd get nervous, hoping not to hurt you. Part of this is the fabric of the society in which we live: men and women live under an uncertain time, where the power structure is never clear, and I can understand how you'd much rather have things less chaotic and more under some kind of control. The people that have taught you how to sell things and manipulate people know this, and have taught you that you can and should do whatever you need to do to get what you want. That I have my wants and desires is well, something else.
But you might counter, you are a wonderful person, a millionaire in the making, a success in every aspect of his life, a spiritually progressed being who makes the world better in every way! Those words, when said to a truly good and ethical person, mean that you should keep yourself to an even higher standard than other people as far as telling the truth, making good on promises, treating themselves in a healthy fashion, and keeping some equilibrium as far as sexual matters go. It's taken for granted that such a person would have the capacity for self-reflection to realize their limitations, also -- no matter how happy you might be with your own appearance, only a very few people qualify to have their faces on the cover of Vogue. (Sad, but true.) It is one indication I have that you are not a good and ethical person, but a very bad man, that you've chosen to take these words as meaning "boast that you're Superman, act like a toddler, and never take responsibility for your errors". It's part of your bad nature, not your good one, that you brag about "your work with the homeless", as if I didn't know what your "work" actually is like. It's part of your manipulativeness that you offer to do things for me -- based on your track record, I don't think for a minute that you would ever make good on any of it. Maybe it's because the drugs you take are draining you of your humanity, maybe it's your poor choice of role models, but I, for one, don't need to have this kind of behavior around me. You're just making things worse for yourself when you try to insist how great you are in the face of so much that I see has gone wrong with you. If you want to blow your own horn all over town, fine, but don't expect me to like the noise, especially when the tone's off-key, and the music's dull, and I've heard this song many times before.
Good-bye Andy. When we met in Utopian Literature in High School, you were a thin, shy, fellow, who wasn't at all interested in me sexually. We were just polite together, and when our teacher tried to play cult leader (like so many others in the 1970's) I simply balked. I grokked a wrongness. I wanted to study philosophy, and instead of Plato, and Whitehead, and Hegel and Kant, I was referred to novels about contemporary Germany that I needed more than simply understanding words, I needed life experience. I can understand how you balked. I can understand how you may have decided to start talking about how you were God in front of your parents, since the idea of most of Huxley's and Heinlein's writings points to the central fact that each human being is a God unto themselves, and the sheer fact of putting those three letters together (G-O-D) might feel more than transgressive to a Jew, but simply common to a liberal Protestant such as I am. They tried to "fix" you. They tried to "fix" me, but I was smarter. I read the instructions on my drugs, and held my doctors accountable. I also held accountable those who tried to "cure" me of various addictions -- heck, when they control my access to what might help me, (assuming my problems didn't stem from social conditions or family problems) from vitamins to opium, I simply worked outside the system. What scars I bear, I bear proudly, if it please God not for me to have children, may I be Hildegarde von Bingen, and be mother to the orphans in Heaven. I am free. I wish to free myself of you. Good-bye.