Friday, March 16, 2012

Advice From an Album Title (or, "When Harry Met Sally")

I like being friends with boys a lot more than I like being friends with girls. Boys are relatively easy to understand -- like an Ernest Hemingway story. Sure, there's depth and symbolism and wordplay, but it's all very to-the-point. For the most part, you'll get it the first time through, and that's a nice change from the ambiguous world we live in.

Girls, however, are much more like Chekhov. A girl can say something that seems straightforward and, in reality, the subtext is something from a completely different planet. That doesn't mean that it's absurd or that it's impossible to figure out, it just takes a lot more time and effort.

As a person, I believe that the best way to do anything is "as the crow flies" -- take the most direct route, for the sake of both efficiency and logic. This is the same philosophy I try to use for communication. Unfortunately, it seems that my attempts at clarity do not make up for the fact that I have ovaries. I don't know if it's because I, as a woman, am incapable of being blatantly honest, or if it's that my male friends are unwilling to be blatantly honest with me out of some sense of... I don't know, emotional chivalry.

Whatever the case, the main issue seems to come up when we are Dealing With Feelings.

There's a quote from a film I saw, Magnolia, that's delivered by a character played by William H. Macy: "I really do I have love to give; I just don't know where to put it." This is, I think, my tragic flaw. Sometimes the love I've got for someone is romantic, sometimes it's platonic, sometimes it's maternal or sisterly or philosophical. Whatever the case, it's there, just waiting for someone to take hold of it and use it all up. And when I love somebody (regardless of context), I try to be up front about it. As far as I'm concerned, telling someone I love them is never meant to be hurtful or threatening or indicative of expectations. It's just a statement about how I feel.

In the past six years -- so, from 2006 right on through today -- I have had a grand total of nine male friends with whom I was exceptionally close. As of this moment, I can confidently say that I am still friends with 1.5 of them. 

That's a 16% retention rate.

The only thing these boys all have in common is that I told them, at some point, that I loved them -- which I would consider Points for Hannah in the "direct communication" category. But apparently Feelings are the one thing that men prefer not to converse about, period, even in a friendly or familial sense. I guess this is is where my ovaries start to influence my interpersonal skills, because the determination not to deal with feelings doesn't make any sense to me. We're already experiencing them all the time, and not talking about them doesn't make them go away, you know?

Okkervil River, a band I like, has an album entitled Don't Fall in Love with Everyone You See. Maybe that's the direction I should be heading. If I don't love anyone, I won't feel the need to tell people I love them, and then nobody will get uncomfortable, and maybe that's the key to Being Friends with Boys.

Sadly, I don't think I'll ever be able to do that. I'm a transcendentalist -- "...I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own, / And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers, / And that a kelson of the creation is love." I'm sure that album title would be very good advice to take, if it were philosophically possible.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Like a ton of bricks.

Last night I went and hung out with Jaden and Tyson (two of my high school classmates) at their apartment. It had been like... I don't know, three years since I'd seen Tyson, and we had a lot of catching up to do, conversationally. The three of us discussed a lot of different things -- from religion to ghosts to old high school drama. Eventually, we broached the topical trifecta that is love/sex/marriage. I'm not going to go into detail here, for a variety of reasons, but as I was getting up to leave, Tyson -- in all of his ginger-headed wisdom -- said, "You know, Hannah, the guy you're supposed to be with doesn't live in Utah."

I was momentarily stunned. Not because this was a foreign concept to me -- I've had at least twenty different people tell me that exact thing -- but I guess because the timing was finally right for me to hear that and understand it. Because that statement -- that my soul-mate doesn't hail from the beehive state -- means I haven't met him yet.

And that means I don't have to worry about any of the boys I know, whether I love them or not, because none of them are the one that I was promised in my patriarchal blessing.

As retarded as this sounds, I feel completely liberated from all of my romantic anxieties now.

I hope the guy I'm supposed to be with -- wherever he is -- is sitting at home tonight, too. And I hope that, through the magic of the over-soul, I can send him an energy message, because I want him to know that I'm working really hard at being a good person and that, even though we haven't met yet, I'm so grateful to know he's out there. And also that I don't care how long I have to wait if he's as good as God says he is.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"I'm tired of prices; I'm tired of waiting for something."

The final performance of Fiddler on the Roof was a lot of fun, but very emotional. I cried like a baby during "Anatevka." I couldn't help but see, in my mind's eye, a million other performances -- Travis and I on the chaise in Macbeth, Whitney and I facing off in front of family portraits in Dancing at Lughnasa. It was really just so much to process at once.

I came off stage trying desperately to pull myself together because I'm the sort of person who hates having feelings in public. Despite the fact that I had several close friends in the cast (including Bryant), the person who made the best effort at comforting me was Brigham, who I've really only interacted with this semester. I'm really impressed with him, as a person, because it's not like we hang out or anything -- we have one class together, and were ensemble characters in this show, and apart from that I haven't spent any time with him. But he gave me a big, long hug, told me everything was going to be okay, and gave me some friendly Jewish advice -- he was just really sensitive and compassionate, which isn't something I see a lot of. I'm really, really grateful he happened to be in the hallway at that moment.

Strike went well. For the most part, I worked with Cameron on breaking apart the framework for the platforms. I helped Bryant get nails out of some 2x4s for a little bit, which was sort of awkward. (I got the vibe he wished I was somewhere else -- a sensation that was magnified as the evening wore on.) After we took care of all the nail/staple removal and tidied things up in the wings, we were dismissed, and went into 156 for a break. There were a bunch of people in there. Bry went and sat down between Jalee and I-Can't-Remember-Who and the only chair that was left for me was in the periphery of this funky social circle that included Jordan and Andrew and Grace and some strangers. I sat on the outskirts for about two minutes before I decided that I really didn't want to be there anymore.

It's not that I don't like people. I'm just not socially competitive -- I'm not the kind of person that's into one-upping or fighting for the attention of a group. Everyone else I'm friends with sort of is, so I feel like I'm at a perpetual loss in that respect. (There's also a bunch of other stuff going on, but it wouldn't behoove anyone for me to blog about it, so for now we'll just blame my deficiencies.)

Anyway, I went outside to wait for my dad and, once more, started crying, just because the whole evening had been so completely overwhelming. Anni and Danica caught me, which was kind of embarrassing. Anni knows what's going on in my life, but Danica doesn't -- I talked around everything as much as possible because I don't want what I'm dealing with to influence anyone else's perceptions. They waited with me until my dad showed up, which was so incredibly nice of them, and once I got into the car I absolutely lost it.

As I told my daddy, it would be one thing if I were only dealing with (A) my last show, (B) graduation, (C) the disintegration of one of my closest friendships, or (D) uncertainty regarding my future -- but I'm dealing with it all at once. And, as far as my peers go, my support system is... questionable, to say the least.

But I guess I know I've got Brigham and Anni, which is perfectly okay with me.