I’m still a little bit in love with every woman I’ve ever dated. Like they were ice cream cones, and when I licked them, a little dripped on me and I never washed it off.
Even the ones I loved more, those serial short-term monogamists, who just wanted a boyfriend for the Camping Trip, who were getting back at their exes, who were scared and confused and needed to be touched, their drips are still on me.
And the ones who loved me more than I loved them, the ones who saw my comet and wanted a ride, who believed in me and thought I was their one, well I wish I didn’t, I wish I had the courage to wash those off, but I don’t, so I wear those drips too.
And the few I barely met. That waitress from Redondo Beach. The girl with the mean older brother on the cruise ship. The woman I sat next to in Traffic School. A stranger on Lexington Avenue who winked at me once and kept walking.
Jesus, I thought about wink-girl for fucking weeks, built a castle in my head for us to live in, even had an imaginary baby. After 25 years, I’m still writing about her, and while her power over me has diminished, it’s not completely gone.
I wear all the drips and spatters and mini-messes that stain my clothes, and seep through to my skin. They enter my bloodstream, and become part of me, indivisible. Like mixing dye and water, this shit ain’t never coming out.
The two become one, and when that happens, it’s forever my friends, it’s forever.
Women say they want a man who’s clean, but what they really want is a man who knows how to love, who’s not afraid of love.
A man who shows his drips. They want to be part of that art, and they want that art on them too, like an abstract painting nobody can figure out, but they see as clear as day.
I’ll wear these spatters, these remnants of the past, and I’ll do it with pride, with a smile, and with the gratitude I ever got to love at all.