Sunday, November 11, 2007

Charm Attack





When I first heard this song by Leona Naess, I thought it accurately described almost every boy with whom I had ever been involved before Fred. "And he stamps on every emotion, and he dampens each and every explosion." Yep, that pretty much says it all. Not that I'm special in this regard. Don't we all have the experience of encountering the charming sociopath, the man (or woman) who can make you feel like the center of the universe when he focuses his attention and charm on you, but then can turn on a dime, leaving you out in the cold? And then, you may not have even found him all that attractive before, but once his attention turns elsewhere, he becomes the most appealing man in the world and you will go through all manner of contortions in the hopes you may once again gain his favor.

Of course, when I look back on the people for whom my heart once went pitter pat, I have come to realize that they were just stupid and young. What I once saw as cruelty I now recognize as confusion and fear. Because it sucks to have someone like you if you don't like them back, or even if you do. Sure, we all want to be let down easily and honestly, but oftentimes, when we find ourselves in the position of having to do the rejecting, we are rendered inarticulate and try to ignore the situation, just wishing it would go away on its own. Which it does, eventually, because time passes, and with it, crushes and broken hearts.

The other part I have often wondered about is the relative charms of my suitors past. I remember finding them to be witty, intelligent conversationalists, but really, how accurate are these memories and, for that matter, what did I know about witty, intelligent conversation at twenty? Maybe we all were terribly dull. Or maybe I wasn't, but they were. I remember going to a party with Maria when we were nineteen and meeting this guy there who we both found attractive and amusing. I went back to college and Maria began dating him. The relationship lasted two weeks because, well, it turned out the guy wasn't really worth her time. What had happened was that Maria and I had been so witty and charming at the party, we ended up charming ourselves and confusing our handiwork with his. Which isn't to say that the boys I liked were dumb as a box of rocks, simply that I wonder if what I found so terribly attractive about them was the way I behaved when I was around them, if the person I really loved was the person I became when they deigned to speak with me.

It may be a little of every one of these. And I am talking about more than one person here and, really when I think about it, the only thing any of these boys had in common was my affection. However, it would be nice to have a time machine and go back and tell my tortured twenty year old self that things would improve, that I would eventually break the cycle and find someone who loved me back, that I would come to view those years of unrequited love as a rite of passage, as the fire I had to walk through in order to become the person I am today.

A note about the videos: The first video is incomplete, but it is so much better than the official one, which I included for those of you who want to hear the whole song.

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