Cupid Shoots Nerf
May 1, 2001
When you're a relationship Cowboy...
by Brian Grosz
could climb aboard my soapbox and curse the coupled while raving drunkenly about how there should be no holidays which gnaw at the base of self-confidence and drag their talons through one's happiness. I could wallow in my seemingly miserable singleness and lambast my testosterone for making Women such a necessary and missing component of my current existence. I could do all of this. It might be interesting. It certainly would be easy. But this Warrior doesn't take the easy way. Shit, I drive destination-less at rush hour just for the stress of gridlock.
Valentines Day reminds most of us that we're alone. Even band practice is going to end early so the boys can go off and do the Right Thing. But after my Fender goes back in the case my ass will be on a northbound train with a few Imperial Pints of Bass Ale... back to my Simmons Beauty Rest, kept warm only by my decrepit Maine Coon.
Regarding Saint Valentine, I've been fortunate for the past two years. They've been the only two years of my life I've spent the V-Day in the arms of a live woman. It's not a matter of timing. I don't have a wintertime sexual-hibernation from which I wake in the spring like my four-legged mammalian cousins.
Quite simply stated, I have not had a lot of Relationships. Not over the past year. Not over the past twenty-two years.
Well, scratch that... Christ, I've had more Flings than a darts competition. But, I've only had four Relationships that have lasted longer than a month. Three of those times I was madly in Love and I stuck around for over eight months a pop. The average shelf-life for the remainder of my Relationships lies somewhere between 'Ya know, it's 4 A.M., I should get home' and 'Ya know, that was a great breakfast, I should get home.'
The subject of my fruit-fly relationship lifespans came up with a woman I didn't know from Eve a few weeks ago. (Trust me, a sure-fire way to make certain a girl doesn't get involved with you is to tell her how you rarely stay in a woman's life longer than mayonnaise will keep in the August sun.) I was put off by her psychiatric line of questioning and soon found an excuse to surrender my barstool. Maybe it was because I didn't like being pestered by a stranger. Maybe it was because I didn't have a really convincing explanation for my State of Affairs; for The Truth.
I knew what the truth Was, I just didn't know Why it stayed that way. I remembered a conversation I had in college with some friends, chain-smoking stale mentholated cigarettes and pounding day-old instant coffee on a third-hand couch. We concluded that there were two types of people in this world when it comes to relationships: Cowboys and Pirates.
The Pirates drag you onboard and hold you captive in their lifestyle, only to throw you overboard, never to return... not even to rob your floating corpse. It could take a month, or it could take a year, but they make you walk the plank sooner or later.
The Cowboys drift into town and keep their backs to the corner and their eyes on the door. Even if they move into your room at the brothel, pretty soon they're gonna climb back in the saddle and drift out of town again. Maybe they'll come back, maybe they won't, and if you ever see them again... maybe they'll tell you their names.
It was painfully obvious: I was a Cowboy.
Nature vs. Nurture is signed and sealed in my eyes. My childhood as a loner made me strive for human contact. My time in front of TBS made Clint Eastwood an exalted false-idol. Nature built the engine, Nurture drives the car... poorly.
I'm not incapable of Relationships with Women. Sweet Jesus, when I'm in Love it's an Event Horizon. It's the power of a Chevy 502 and the elegance of a Coltrane riff. I'm never quite as happy as when there is a beautiful woman in my life I can safely say I Love. Especially when she can do the same.
But, Love or not... IT happens. Be it just after I stub out that post-orgasm cigarette, or after nine months of High-noon romance... IT happens.
The Boots lead me to the window. The Horse winks from within the feedbag at the post in the dusty street. The Uncertain Landscape beckons me to enter and explore. The Woman standing behind me feels like a leaden shadow.
This impulse is a schizophrenic manifestation. IT's the Talking Dog of David Berkowitz... Subjectively, IT drives a Man to kill or be killed. Objectively, 'IT' is delusional and hyper-paranoiac; merely a mental gremlin tinkering with my synapses and my heart-strings. The real rub is that I know this and I submit to IT anyway.
Someone once called me a Womanizer. Of course I laughed, shook my head in denial and declared, 'That's horseshit.' As the Twelve-Steppers say, however, 'Denial is the first sign.'
I leave because it's not Right. I commit only when proof-positive. I'm not a Man for Wasted Time, be it mine, or someone else's. After all, when we're Dead and Buried, it's not about Money, it's about Time... and how you chose to spend it. I plan to die rich with a well-invested Time Portfolio. It's not an account where you can get an advising broker; it's asset management only You can supervise.
I'll try anything once; but if it doesn't jive, I'm grabbing my saddlebags and the door sure as hell isn't going to hit me on the ass on the way out. There's a one-horse town out there for each of us and I'm going to find it.
So come February 14th, you can keep your Romantic Dinners for Two, your Hallmark Cards and that enamel-rotting swine, Russell Stover. Hang the big, pink hearts and lace in the store-front window. Make sure there's a flimsy oaktag Cupid hanging over my head at the saloon as I enjoy my red-eye in solitude. I like his cherubic grin and find his quiver of heart-darts harmless. Those arrows, which have bounced off my trail-weary chaps a hundred times before, are no match for a six-shooter at my side and the call of the high plains.
Sooner or later I'll peel off the match-light Wranglers, feel Cupid's sting in my side and trade in my horse for forty acres and a mule. I'm sure of that. Until then, I'll keep riding.
Pardon me, ma'am, if I'm a little dusty when I arrive; it was a Long Trip.
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