Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive

We pursue or dismiss romantic possibilities based on our evaluation if someone can give us what we want. In my opinion, we usually do get what we want, even if we think otherwise.

A long time ago I was involved with someone who gave me exactly what I wanted at the time: a narcissistic safari. He was a writer and NPR commentator who was very funny, smart, and predictably self-absorbed.  I had just landed a VP position, had a brand-new iMac, a cool apartment, and was eager to plunge into the world of JDate.

Then, I was an Internet novice with an AOL email address who was the perfect quarry for a literary AIM addict. One night I was sitting at my computer and an instant message popped up. I was startled, and it never occurred to me to not respond. Before I knew it we were “talking” for over an hour. I told him that one of my favorite quotes was “marriage is one long conversation” to which he replied, “that’s my favorite too!” And I believed him.

This was a very exciting interlude in my life and it was a great deal of fun to listen to his recounting of his interviews with celebrities. One of my favorites was his recollection of Sammy Davis Jr., who, in the middle of the interview, growled “I like you kid…you know why? Because have a real ‘fuck you’ attitude. But remember kid…you need ‘fuck you money’ to go with it.”

While it didn’t go the distance, I remember him fondly. Looking back, I realize that he was a male Fran Lebowitz, with a little Oscar Levant thrown in for good measure.

So what did I want then? Another only child with an extensive vocabulary who was emotionally unavailable and familiar with Leo Rosten. But, instead of enjoying the pastrami, I lamented that there wasn’t enough salad.

One of the many joys of not being 30 is realizing that in this life we get heads or tails, not both. And that for better or worse, we cannot get anything other than heads or tails.




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