Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The God Delusion

By Richard Dawkins

Over the Christmas period I met a girl called Andromeda 3.4. We hit it off instantly and passionately. After only a short time she put the hard word on me and suggested we commit to being in a relationship, and, with much glee, I accepted. I had my first real girlfriend in more than two years; a particularly attractive and loving one at that.

My heart was fluttering and the sun was out. I felt like Superman.

Seriously, I was into her. No complaints other than superficial ones, like, for instance, she didn’t have a car... but that’s easy fixed. Get a car. I even contemplated buying her one. Problem solved. It’s not like there was anything that made me feel any concern that our fledgling relationship would come under any strain. She partied a bit hard for my liking too, but that didn’t really bother me. I don’t have to partake every time, and she did point out that when in a relationship she was more content to stay at home and watch telly, drink tea and smoke ciggies. My kinda chick.

So there I was. After sooking for two years about not being able to hold on to a relationship for more than a weekend, a very attractive and talented woman falls in love with me, sweeps me off my feet and I was over the moon and Jupiter too.

Dramatic pause.

Enter from stage left, Pony Girl.

It’s easy to be light and silly on a blog, but the words in The Kite Runner review (linked above) ring very true.

Pony Girl is back from overseas, is staying in the country briefly (up in the desert, seven hours from me), and heads to Europe indefinitely in April.

I ask you all: Would you swap a potential lifetime with a partner who you really like and may fall in love with, for just one night with one that you already truly love?

I did.

Well, I thought I did, but I ended up getting five nights with Pony Girl, and may get a few more in the Mallee Desert or down in Melbourne or here on the Surf Coast before she goes overseas.

To sleep with Pony Girl is one thing, to talk and laugh for hours and hours is another thing, but for even just one kind word, or a quick squeeze of the hand as she tells me she’s putting the kettle on, or for the privilege to put my arm around her shoulder in public and kiss her forehead, for the privilege to share a space and be partners even if that partnership has a use-by date, to hear her laugh, to make her laugh, for the thrill of even standing in a 5 metre radius of Pony Girl... for these things I broke Andromeda 3.4’s heart.

She deserved better than me.

She may choose to hate my guts. Understandably. I hate my own guts, but in order to man the fuck up I did what had to be done.

And Pony Girl? Don't think (as one good friend has done) that she is some sort of scarlet woman / homewrecker type who waltzed in to my life solely in order to waltz straight back out of it. She understands acutely the brevity of the situation. She hasn't tried to wriggle out of any responsibility towards it. She's far too smart and honourable for that. It's one of the many reasons why I admire her so.

I ain’t good enough a writer to give Pony Girl any justice, and besides, I get a bit tongue-tied near her, and the best I can come up with is this: She rocks.

I’m getting ready for another year of yearning for her. At least I know what to expect because I've already had a year's practice, and the beneficiaries will be the readers of this blog and TSFKA, because I get to go back to my shtick: “Woe is me, I can’t find a good woman, nobody loves me and I can’t cut straight with the chainsaw, I’m hopeless etc etc etc.”

I’m at my artistic best when I’m at my emotional worst. I grew up on vegemite toast and Dostoyevsky.

Anyway, this is a book review blog. The God Delusion was brilliant – finished it in November so sorry for the delay everyone – I give it a B+.


Melba said...

Can I just say for the moment how happy I am to see that new picture at the top? Not that I didn't like you, but those pics you er pick are so beautiful. Love them.

Will formulate proper comment re your love life a bit later.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I am forced to conclude, Pers. old son, that you are spastic with women.

Perseus said...

Yes. Yes I am.

Melba said...

I disagree. I think you have to go with your heart. You were not legally nor morally bound in this circumstance to choose the not breaking of another's heart over the ultimate unhappiness of your own. Sometimes we just know that it's not going to be right. Other times we take a shot, and it turns out ok or not. There are all sorts of variables in these things.

What I see in you is a man trying to be true to his heart, and authentic to the women he is seeing at whichever time.

I applaud you, Perseus.

There is, however, a possibly that you are commitment shy? Despite your proclaimed readiness to have children. Why, for example, have you fallen in love with a woman who is so unavailable? Does she live overseas? Is she coming back? Are your feelings returned? How old is she?

These questions might have been answered somewhere else but I can't be fucked looking.

You don't have to answer them either if you don't want. I saw "Vicky Christina Barcelona" last night. The theme of finding the right person is a central one, as is the idea that some people settle for less because they are too chicken to go for broke. Why not hold out for a real love?

Pepsi said...

You may have mentioned this before but I only drop in when I'm really bored so dont remember, but here goes.

If Pony Girl does it for you like that, then why the hell dont you just follow Pony Girl to where ever she is going? I would.

Or are you scared that Pony Girl only plays with you because she sees you as just an in-between and easy to leave behind?

You were a bit mean to A3.4 but your hearts got to do what your hearts got to do.

Honesty and tears are better than lying and betrayl in my book.

Though if A3.4 really really wanted you wouldnt she just go and get you - once Pony Girl is gone in April you will be vulnerble and easy meat. Thats when she should make her big move, when you are at your weakest and easy prey.

Pepsi said...

Oh, and about the book. I know you and Melba told me to go and read it but I havent yet, its too hot to read serious stuff and well, its festival season.

Perseus said...

Nope, I'm not commitment shy. I'm commitment wary though. I've had two very long term relationships but learnt from them, and refuse to commit again unless I'm totally into it.

I've nown Pony Girl for a couple of years. Always fancied her a bit. She split up with her guy about a year ago, and I happened to fall in love with her about two days after she left with him. We hung out a bit, and I was ready to commit at the time but she wasn't interested. We did however get along very very well, despite the mismatch in affection.

Then she got back with the guy and moved overseas with him. I sulked for months and months and refused to go on dates.

She split up with him again, and moved back to Australia, but this time, to her family farm in the desert... so she was still unattainable.

I gave up a bit, especially when she told me she was going back overseas for a real holiday, instead of like her last overseas trip which was with a boyfriend that she ended up dumping.

But then she turned up for a visit, and things were, well, different.

I was the same... gushing, totally in love, awestruck, but she was different. She suddenly fancied me.


Yet again, I would commit, but she wants to travel and do stuff, and so, I'm not going to even try to stop her.

And Pepsi: I won't travel with her because I would lose my business (I run my owm company) and therefore livelihood. I could nick off for a month or six weeks, but no more. And on top of that, it would defeat her purpose of travelling alone and having adventures which is what she wants.

Like I said - she'll travel, and I'll mope.

Melba said...

Set the bird free, and all that.

If it's meant to be, it will be.

How old is she?

Perseus said...

Andromeda 3.4 and Pony Girl are the same age, so that didn't make a difference in my estimations.

I'm doing a good job at ignoring your question though, aren't I?

Pepsi said...

imho - sounds like you're the new home turf f*ck buddy.

This is bringing me down.

Perseus said...

But if all she wanted was a fuck buddy she'd get one that wasn't seven hours away.

Pepsi said...

Not necessarily.

Think small country town mentality - if she gets one local everybody would know her business.

Some people like to keep that stuff to themselves.

Melba said...

All right then, I won't push. But your avoidance has told me all I need.

Anyway, I say giddyup.

Anonymous said...

Loving someone who likes you, but doesn't love you, is just pure pain.

I'm in a somewhat similar situation (except my A3.4 is still around).

Smart thing to do is stop throwing yourself at that brick wall and cut all contact with the person you love.

Naturally, I doubt that either of us is going to do this - sure, it hurts to be in contact, but it hurts more when you have no contact at all.

At least you let A3.4 go so she could move on because mine knows the score and is still waiting, hoping that I will pick them, which is pretty terrible for them.

Hope springs eternal.

squib said...

oh dear oh dear

oh dear

but getting back to the book. I won't read it cos what's the point if I already don't believe in God? Besides, ever since I became an athiest I've become really intolerant of religious types and I think I'm turning into a bigot, so I need to tone that down a bit

PS. that whole bit about squeezing her hand and putting the kettle on was just beautiful *sniff* really really beautiful

Perseus said...

Anon: There's an old Woody Allen short story about this stubborn Professor. He was attending the opera and he was in the balcony. He leaned over the balcony to look at the orchestra and fell right into the orchestra pit.

Refusing to admit he made a mistake, he attended the opera every night and jumped into the orchestra pit.

He said, "It's alright. You get used to the pain."

Perseus said...

Squib: It's good to read because it gives you even more armament to battle the stupid religious freaks.

Reading 'The God Delusion' is like watching your sporting team thrash a hated opponent.

Melba said...

Exactly Perseus. What I was thinking.

Ammo up!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Ramon - PQ, you're a love gumby.

If you're still pining for another girl then why are you dating new women? And if you're dating new women, why aren't you giving that relationship enough time to make a decision whether it's long-term, before hopping in the sack with a past flame?

-Dr Phil Boogeyman

Perseus said...

Because Dr. Phil, the thought of a night with Pony Girl was more pleasing than a relationship with Andromeda 3.4, because Pony Girl rocks.

And surely that's indicative of the fact that Andromeda 3.4 was not the right one anyway - being that I was willing to to trade our relationship off so quickly, even if it was for someone who has dominated my romantic nodes for a year.

Maybe one day I'll meet someone who even Pony Girl can't divert my attention from.

- Perseus Montague

Perseus said...

Oh, and the reason why I was dating other women whilst pining for Pony Girl was because I was getting sick of pining. I was trying to get back into the real world. I didn't think I'd ever see Pony Girl again, let alone have her rock up at my house.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, I see. Andromeda 3.4 was just filler till something better came along.

Anonymous said...

Perseus: I would read it but it sounds too much like my life and will depress me.

Boogeyman: It might well be unfair to the people you date, that you compare all of them to that one amazing person, nor is it fair that you will drop them and come running the second that Pony Girl so much as smiles, but there is absolutely no chance of meeting someone else who will blow Pony Girl out of the water if you don't start dating again, is there?

'Filler" is such a harsh term, how about 'had potential but couldn't compete'?.

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree, but I think if one set a standard for a new relationship of "must be as good as Pony Girl 1.0 to continue", then I would hope one could work that out without needing Pony Girl 1.0 to physically appear. And ending that new relationship with "this isn't working out as I hoped" is probably less hurtful than ending it with "an old flame who rates higher has just turned up, so you're out".

Anonymous said...

Very true. The trick is working out if you are with them because you are 'settling' or if you are with them because you really do want to be and sometimes, you may not realise you're settling until PG 1.0 pops back up.

When breaking up, honesty should be measured out like medicine - in small doses that are not likely to harm.

Melba said...

Not the bandaid method of RIGHT OFF!?

I'm not sure about the honesty being measured out in small doses. Does that mean, sure, tell her you are not sure and having doubts and need time to think, but NOT telling her about how you fucked someone else?

I know that women as well as men have used the old "It's not you, it's me" and "I'm not ready for anything serious" when really it should just be "I'm just not that into you" or "Ooops, sorry, I've changed my mind! You're not as great as I thought."

Another trick - treat him or her so badly or indifferently or nastily that she will be forced to piss you off, or not. Then she lives on in an incredibly and increasingly demeaning situation.

Perseus said...

I told A3.4 that a) I didn't hink it would work because we're at different phases in our life and b) I'm in love with another woman, and that I thought I could handle it, but it turns out I couldn't and I was very sorry.

She actually texted me and thanked me for my honesty, and expressed a wish that after the dust settles we can be friends (we move in the same circles - she's a good mate of Artemis).

I was also glad that I was honest about it.

Where I fucked up was when I agreed to 'go steady' so soon after meeting her. I'll learn from that.

Melba said...

Like I said, I think honesty is best, no matter how hurtful. As long as it's not wanton and unecessary.

Also, I like the way you are so open about this stuff. It's awesome.

Perseus said...

Only because I don't know any of you, and nobody knows me (except for Melody and Lewd Bob, and they don't care). I haven't told anyone I know I have a blog aside from those two.

Having said that... Pony Girl said to me on Monday that our 'fences are down', and in the spirit of that, I emailed her a link to this blog.

She will eventually get that email and read all this.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Melba, I should have been clearer re measuring honesty.

Good (measured) honesty = I'm sorry, this isn't working out, I'm still in love with someone else, terribly sorry etc.

Bad (thoughtless) honesty = I like you, but you see I recently caught up with someone I really love and after fucking them, I realised that, well, you're just never going to be able to compare, can we still be friends?

Measured honesty is always welcome, bad honesty - having been on the receiving end of pretty much that exact conversation - I can say with 100% certainty is never welcome.

For further examples of 'measured honesty' please refer to every time a woman has asked you 'does my bum look big in this?'. 99 times out 100, only an idiot is totally honest when answering that question.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

She will eventually get that email and read all this

Hi, Pony Girl!

Desci said...

What a stupid, foolish, wonderful, wise, admirably moral thing to do. If this situation happened to me (five years ago, obvs) I don't think I would've done what you did, but I would have wished I did.

I would have been with PG, not told A3.4, stayed with the latter, still pined after PG left and the guilt for A3.4 would've given me cancer.

Perseus said...

Thanks Desci,

Yes, I would have also done that in my youth. And all 3 of us would have ended up in the mud.

Given the wrong thing I did, I think I did the right thing the morning after.

PS: Have you got all the marchflies out of your hair?

Perseus said...

Pony Girl read the post and all the comments. She thought it was quite amusing, then she went off and did something more enriching... you know, like, farm stuff, or whatever.

See this is why I like her.

Melba said...

Ah, but will she read retrospectively?

If you can tell me she categorically won't, I can tell you, categorically, that she only has one X chromosome.

Oh, look at me, the cool breeze off the bay is restoring my wit and good humour. As are the beers.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I would have also done that in my youth. And all 3 of us would have ended up in the mud.

Mud threesome? I didn't know you were such a smooth operator in your youth.

Andy Pants said...

I am of course in no position to comment as I have no idea what I'm talking about, but I think you made a stupid decision.

Lewd Bob said...

What I see in you is a man trying to be true to his heart, and authentic to the women he is seeing at whichever time.

Or perhaps you love the torment, which is my suspicion. It's good for your art.

Regarding Dawkins. I agree with everything Dawkins ever says, ever. And I agree with Perseus that the book arms the reader against religious stupidity admirably. Trouble is, I don't actually like Dawkins.

I spose you don't have to like writers to like their writing. I'd also include Hemingway in this category.

Melba said...

Perseus, are you ok. I've moved from worrying about you wearing a hat and protecting your pale goth skin to you burning up in a fire. I don't think there were any in the Mallee, but I will rest easier once I've heard you and your people are ok.

Just call me a worrying mo-fo.


Melba said...

Now you can call me a demanding mo-fo.

Can you please fucking post????

Something, anything, throw us a frickin bone here.

Thank you.

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