Friday, March 12, 2010

Ennui


If there was one thing MJ was the the absolute master of, it was the art of surprise. After a hiatus of over three months since their meeting in Manhattan, he sent Sheila a text message one evening that said "I can't stop thinking about you". She had to ascribe some truth to that, because scarcely a day passed without her thinking about him. Relationships were nothing if they were not reciprocal.

While chatting with her friend Zubin one afternoon, she mentioned MJ to him. Zubin wondered why anyone would persist as long as MJ had and yet not want to progress in the relationship. "He likes keeping it fresh, new and exciting for one thing - it's always fun talking to him no matter how long we've not been in touch. We'll connect where we left off - effortlessly. Then there is the matter of relationship ennui". Sheila explained.

"What do you mean - relationship ennui ?" Zubin asked.

"Well, MJ has been with more women than he can remember. In the early years, his relationships were driven almost entirely by the need and desire for physical intimacy. If someone caught his fancy, he would pursue her until he had worn out her resistance. After some short-lived but great sex, he was ready to move on. He was too bored to stay. Some time after turning thirty, something changed for him. That is also the time, he first met me"

"Tell me more, Shell. This is getting curiouser and curiouser" Zubin teased.

"He was beginning to see, that it did not take a lot of work to get a woman to succumb to him physically. More often than not, they were looking for a short term fling themselves and had little interest in him beyond his body. He actually felt a little cheated and exploited. So what had in the early years, felt like a conquest was beginning to feel a lot less so. He did not have to chase as hard and he never experienced the satisfaction of a good conquest. If wanted a woman, he could have her without having to fight for it. That became way too boring. He had to do something different to break the ennui"

"What about the sheltered, protected and conservative women ? They would not be available and he'd have to wage a war of attrition as you say he likes to" Zubin wondered.

"But that kind of woman is not his type - he feels repulsed by them almost. So anyway, when he met me he had decided that I was worth pursuing because it would be a lot of fun to get me emotionally involved with him when every rational instinct in me told me to desist if not flee. He could tell right away that I did not sense any long-term potential in him. It became a challenge for him to get me to change my mind. Yet he never had any intent of getting serious himself - he just wanted to see my emotional response to him once I really began to harbor hopes for a future with him. That would definitely give him the kind of thrill he was missing in his life" Sheila explained.

"What he had not counted upon was getting his own feelings hurt in the process. In order to reach someone's heart you have to let go and become a little vulnerable - at least pretend to be. Over time, the fine line between real and make believe gets blurred. Whenever that happened, MJ would fall off the face of the earth and return only when he felt like he was in control of the relationship and his own feelings" she continued.

"So did he win or lose with you ?"

"He defines winning as having the me fall helplessly in love with him, dream about a future together and act completely out of character because I am in this altered state of mind. While none of that happened, I did grow fond of him after a fashion and he of me." Shiela laughed.

"Where do you guys go from here ?"

"MJ will likely look for other prospects worthy of his time and attention. Women who find him physically attractive and are not shy to show it. He will tempt them but never really give in because going all the way is not fun for him - instead he will delay his gratification and theirs. This is a game that he has played so long that everything has become routine and predictable so the only way he can keep it lively is to introduce new twists and turns."

"Every once in a while, he will try to reach me. In time, he will give up because trying too hard is a sign of emotional weakness and he would never allow himself that - he is too proud to let a woman drag him down that far. He'll work his sixteen hour days to blunt the pain and pretend that he has no time to miss me for feel sorry for throwing away his chances of having a life with someone he really liked"

"What a sad, twisted, miserable son of a bitch"

"I would entirely agree" Sheila said.

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