Oh Cry Me a River, Ophelia
Being single is difficult enough without the Crazy Girls, my not-so-soul sisters in the dating trenches.
I just had yet another date with a guy who spent my time (my time) and really two really bad café lattes telling me about the girl before me who dumped him who he still loves. Of course he still loves her. She was crazy; what’s more erotic than marginal?
Now, I am not talking drama queen crazy or beatnik dominatrix. I am talking bi-polar, off-her-meds, house-torching, drive-in-the-oncoming-lane, maybe even borderline narcissist personality. I am talking: abjectly, plain crazy and probably impossibly pretty (which is to say just crazy enough to pass as pathological but not so crazy as to forget to get a manicure and update the Lululemon wardrobe for the hot yoga class she never attends).
“How crazy was she?” I asked my date, but I don’t really want to know. He doesn’t quite know himself because he was too busy checking her into asylums (when the false pregnancy and feigned miscarriage backfired into a full blown disassociated state) and administering syringe Librium Prozac cocktails to notice.
I can tolerate the blond gym bunnies, those lanky girls with butterfly tattoos on the small of their backs and I can stand the uber feminists and their non-binary gender talks. It’s the Ophelias I can’t abide. The charisma of crazy that has a magnetic hold neither perfume nor phonemes can rival and when it comes to competing for guys, it’s the very meaning of fighting dirty.
Why? Because — and this is only my personal theory — the crazy girls bring out the rescue gene in the man who is unhappy and maybe feels a touch undeserving of womanly…investment, and feels at his best doing the urban guy thing: rescuing the nutcase in a skirt. Who among us doesn’t feel wonderfully sane, stable, and healthy when put alongside a crazier person?
But there is more; confession: I am the daughter of a crazy girl. My mom, bless her heart, was a crazy girl. Until the last, she still had gentleman callers who stilled drew breath, chasing her around the retirement condo. Growing up, it was not hard to see that Mom confounded my dad and startled my brothers not to mention the times she competed with (teenage) me for my own dates. She borrowed my (usually still new) clothes, forgot to return them, and was prone to upstage every school performance simply by being…..well, her. She appeared on parent’s day at the French Catholic camp she sent me to, wearing a see-thru and fishnet bathing suit.
Crazy girls demand their due simply because you cannot ignore them. Then before you realize that they’re not even that interesting or unique not particularly stable, you are all in as a Crazy Enabler. Now, I ask you, how can I compete with that? Now I have to feign insanity so that I pass as interesting? It’s a whole new level in hard-to-get.
Does anyone yet see that one can be charming and intriguing without being on-a-ledge dangerous? Am I less desirable because instead of crying to be saved, I simply want to be smitten and connect with someone? Are my tiffs boring because I actually can talk things through without throwing crockery, locking you out of the house, throwing your car keys down a sewer, dumping a can of kombucha down your computer hard drive, and not getting drunk at the wine and cheese at your boss’s new house? Is it my fault I don’t cry at the drop of rejection nor post the ins and outs of our relationship via Twitter or red spray paint graffiti your front door if I am in a pique? Am I wrong to just shrug my shoulders when things don’t go well and journal in my Moleskin instead of texting a dire note that has you once again running over to my place only to find the storm has passed and a great bargain on an EBay rockabilly skirt has supplanted the hysteria. Is it my fault I’m reasonable and yet, still anatomically feminine?
Oh how I dislike those crazy girls. Not only do they upstage ‘happy’ and ‘adjusted’ but once they do, they leave those sensitive, wonderful men who just don’t know from-what-it-is-like-when-it-works with someone female and normal. In their wake, the Crazy Girls leave broken, scared guys who are (now) generically suspicious of ALL women lest the next one turn out to be a Crazy Girl. So, not only don’t only I get the guy, I pick up the pieces. All I have to do is ask for ice in my water and he thinks — ah ha. Possibly crazy. They scrutinize your every mood and move to see when you will morph into a Crazy Girl. I can’t even tell if they are perversely hopeful (nothing beats familiar) or terrified.
These men, in turn, make you (somewhat) crazy as you prepare for a date with one of them. You begin to double check yourself and become extraordinarily nice and sensible until you almost feel like The Guy, lest a bit of emotion leach out and you segue to an emotional flake. So you resolve not to talk about incense, your Tarot deck, or mention any previous heartbreak whatsoever. In psychic terms, you almost….ah…neutered — an unblemished canvas on which these men upchuck a few chapters of what the last Crazy Girl did to him. Yes, he swears it’s over. He swears she was nuts. You swear you hear…….heartbreak. Crazy Girls, by default, designate you as the Normal but Dull One and trust me that has little curb appeal for men raised on drama and nourished by a succession of fruity break ups. If anything, I have had moments of Katherine the Shrew and so naturally, I blame the Ophelias on Ophelia.
Damn Crazy Girls — it’s enough to drive you…..well, it can make you…..quite….irritated.