ESSAY #1 - Why Paris?

What are woman looking for in a man? Why do girls like some boys and not others? Why did you like me... and then why did you stop? (Seriously though what the hell?) This is a deep and mysterious question and the short answer is: I have no idea.

...But I'm not really one for short and simple...

This is something that I have been thinking a lot about lately. I assume most single women would like to find a significant other at some point in their lives. Right? So for all the girls sitting across from me on the train, or smoking their cigarettes by themselves outside a café, or putting away men's shoes five minutes before closing time at the H&M on Rue de Rivoli, what is the mysterious something that makes them cross me off of their lists before I even open my mouth? I think for most women, trying to explain what they are looking for in a mate is probably analogous to me trying to explain why I love French. Partly it's just who they are, and partly...

It starts when they're young. Maybe planted in their young minds by the media, more likely burned into their psyche by their relationship with their father, but somewhere, somehow they start to get the idea... The idea of their future mate. Sometimes the idea is built unconsciously through hours of Disney channel and magazine covers and late night talks at teenage slumber parties. Other times the girls build it consciously, encouraged by their elders who for some reason think it is wise to ask the girls to write out long lists of attributes that their future spouse is going to have. And soon the girls start to see the image of some blue-eyed, blond headed, cool-guy-surfur with a great smile; or some dark and mysterious rock star who writes deep and brooding poetry about his love for you; or some smart, hardworking, responsibly clean-cut provider; or some wealthy, super classy, european-type that oozes culture and refinement. Excuse me, what I meant to say was culture, refinement, and bull-shit. In rare cases (usually reserved for the overweight, ugly, or otherwise desperate) some just dream of a man who earns enough to comfortably support the family and treats you like you know you deserve. Anyway, regardless of what they are and how they get there, every girl has them. Expectations. And the thing about expectations is that most of the time they are unrealistic.

Now I believe most grown women eventually let go of their dreams of finding prince charming and becoming a princess. But even women who aren't looking for the one are usually looking for someone (congratulations girls on having the maturity to realize that there are multiple "perfect guy"s out there). And once they find someone then there's something about a wedding and an elegant dress and fireworks and after that's over you have to rush to the hotel before midnight and quickly consummate the marriage before the wedding limo turns back into a pumpkin so that everyone can live happily ever after... I may be confusing that with something else, I'm not exactly an expert on female folk lore.

It's only fair to admit that men have expectations as well. Though men's expectations tend to focus on something a bit different. Men's expectations come from disproportionately drawn comic book characters, bulimic runway models, and fake breasted porn stars, and they are equally as unrealistic. Now the major problem with expectations is that people try to fill them. And because our expectations of each other are unrealistic, we fulfill them by deceiving one another. As a woman I am sure you are well aware of the little deceptions you use. There's the leg shaving and face painting and bra padding and the acting helpless. And while it might be less visible, men are also making significant efforts to fulfill women's expectations...

Me, for example, I want to impress you. I think it's in my genes, buried deeply somewhere in there with man's other fighting/hunting/mating instincts. But regardless of why, the fact is that I, like most men, do things to impress women. And this brings us to the question at hand... Why Paris? From my earliest memory I have loved France and French. You would never guess it by listening to me speak the language but I actually began studying French during my first years of middle school(thanks a lot America, for your monumental scholastic standards), but my love for French started well before then. I don't know if it came from television or a book or a movie but somewhere in those formative childhood years I picked up the idea that girls like French. And more importantly that girls would like me if I spoke French. It's not true. I know now that while French might make you more interesting at the first impression, girls are far more concerned with whether or not you speak their language (making French useless for all but the French). So I picked up French in middle school as a way to impress women, and while I let go of that idea a long time ago, I held on to the French. It's a part of me now

The same thing happened with dancing. I love dancing. One reason I love dancing is probably because I am a good dancer. I am a good dancer because I practiced... a lot. All through my high school years I did hip hop and break dancing. Why? I was convinced that girls like boys who know how to dance... All these things that started as a way to make myself more impressive, over time became who I am. And it's not the kind of thing that I eventually grew out of either... Remember your ex-boyfriend? The one you were never really quite over? Remember how well traveled he was? Well, the first thing I did after you dumped me is move to another country... I'm not saying that's the same thing exactly but you have to admit it's an interesting coincidence. That is what I do after all, I try to be what I think you will like. (I think women do this too... imagine what would you look like if there were no boys to impress... Would you recognize yourself?)

Knowing you, at this point you would probably say something like "Just be yourself."

But I've been building myself in the image of what I think women want for so long that I have to wonder whether "myself" is just a long list of expectations that I am trying to fulfill. Of course knowing me, I would probably just nod and say "If you want me to just be myself, well then that's what I'll do."

But what if none of that works? If after all of my french speaking and great dancing and being myself, if you're still not impressed (which is usually the case), then what?

Then I will just lie to you.

Contrary to popular belief, men are not pigs. They are liars. But this is only because, in general, women enjoy being lied to (but ironically only when they believe it's the truth). They love to hear things like: "We were meant to be together" (not true), "You are the most beautiful girl in the world" (how could this be possible), or "You are everything to me" (...if this was true how does it not sound pathetic and bit creepy?) But the lying extends past the romantic one liners, it's perhaps the simplest way in which men seek to fulfill women's expectations. You expect us to care about things like wedding photos, so we pretend we do. You expect us to be available 24 hours a day for any reason, so we tell you we didn't hear our phone ring. You expect us to think you are beautiful even when you look like shit, so we tell you that you look beautiful, even if you look like shit. You expect a "good relationship" to include baffling things like a general agreement on decor, so we say that we like whatever color you pick for the walls even when you change your mind... again. "The other twelve were pretty good," we tell you, "but this one... this is the one."

In the end no one can be deceived forever, and unrealistic expectations become unfulfilled expectations. But all the deception is not really my main concern. I have another problem with this whole situation. My problem is with the expectations themselves. There is no love in expectations. Granted, the whole reason I am still in this city is because I don't understand what love is. But I don't think it's in expectations. It just doesn't feel right to me. When we expect something it seems to be all about us, about what we want, about what we need from a person.  Shouldn't love be more about... I don't know, supporting someone as they search for what they need from themselves?  ...Maybe I'm being idealistic.

Look, I don't expect women... or men... to ever let go of these expectations. Unfortunately, all the pop songs and romance novels, and cookie cutter romantic comedies will ensure that women continue setting unrealistic expectations for their future spouses, marriages, and families. And the men of the world will continue trying to make the women believe that they fit those expectations, they will keep lying and pretending and trying to impress. They will become whatever the woman needs... until she agrees to sleep with him. And women will keep realizing eventually, after they have been married five years and have two kids, that their husbands aren't exactly who they thought they were. And for the men, all of the advertising and pornography and sexsexsex of our society will ensure that they continue to be aroused by naturally unattainable female forms. And the women of the world will continue trying to fill men's expectations, they'll keep tanning and dieting and augmenting various body parts with various silicone/saline/collagen compounds. They will keep doing things they aren't fully comfortable with, hoping that soon the men will realize that they are in love. And men will keep realizing 10 years and three kids later that their wives actually age and their shapes change. And then once their wives no longer fit their expectations they will keep finding younger models with firmer breasts and tighter... pants. And society will continue to redefine love in a way that allows them to believe their own expectations are attainable, in a way that allows the sad sad dance to continue...

But you and I... Well, maybe we can be different. Maybe we can become aware of what we are expecting from those we love, and learn to expect a little less from them. Then maybe we can spend a little less energy trying to meet other's expectations, and a little more trying to meet our own expectations for ourselves. And me... maybe I can start seeing value in the parts of women that can't be seen. Maybe I can stop making my love conditional on physical appearance (This is going to be more difficult than it sounds. Damn it, why do we have to be so visually stimulated!). And you... maybe you can realize that there are no prince charmings, that there are no ones out there waiting for you... just no ones. No ones like myself. The most you should hope for is someone you work well with, because if "happily ever after"s exist they are going to take a hell of a lot of maintenance.

More importantly, maybe we can do away with the whole checklist of requirements that need to be met before we are willing to love somebody.

But until then, I'll still be here in Paris, learning french, becoming well traveled, and trying to figure all this out... for those girls who expect men to know how to love.



Currently listening:

It's Hard To Find A Friend
Pedro The Lion - When They Really Get To Know You They Will Run


Here is my most immediate problem:

I am cold.

...And so is everything else in this city. The air is cold, the people are cold, my apartment is cold. You may have heard the rumors that French people don't often smile in public. I'll confirm that. It's a shame really, my smile is one of my best features but it's wasted on these people. I was told that here in Paris smiling at a girl essentially means "I want to sleep with you." (of course for some of the men in this city looking at a girl means "I want to sleep with you.") ...Point is that now I'm learning to live with limited human interaction. However at the moment the people are not nearly as cold as my apartment. Something is wrong with the radiator... I think. I tried to talk to Martin about it the other day and... well it wasn't the worst interaction we've had, but I still have no idea why our apartment is so cold. On the bright side he seems to be warming up to me. I wouldn't go so far as to say that we are friends but I no longer fear that he will murder me in my sleep... not that I've been sleeping a lot lately. It's been difficult this past week partly because of the cold and partly because of my next biggest problem:

I still don't speak French.

The past week I've been lying in my bed at night unable to put my mind to sleep, my head swimming with French and cold and doubt. It goes something like: We don't pronounce the s; we don't pronounce the e, n, t; How am I going to pay for my rent two months from now; How am I going to survive the next two months in this cold; I'll go get an electric blanket, that will help; I need to find a job; How do I get a job if I don't speak French; Sortie means exit, it comes from the verb sortir which means to exit or to go out; Sortir can also mean to date someone, the same way we say "going out" with someone; I'd like to sors (we don't pronounce the second s) with a French girl; How can I go out with a French girl if I don't speak French; I wonder if it's this cold in London; They speak English in London; Why didn't I just go to London?

London... Now here's a question that's worth exploring. Of all of the places I could have ran away to, why did I choose Paris. On one hand, I just don't know, on the other hand... I have an idea. And as I'm not able to sleep at the moment, I may as well tell you all about it...

Time of Day

I spent the last week doing... essentially nothing. I wandered the city and familiarized myself with the metro system. I stayed pretty much north of the river, though I crossed over to the Latin quarter a few times. Becca and I went to the Cafe du Marché and I had foie gras for the first time. It is supposed to be a French delicacy but to me it tasted like wanting to vomit bicycle tires, metaphorically of course. You probably wouldn't have tried it if you had known what it was made of. Apparently foie means liver and gras means fat. I guess it's straightforward enough if you speak French, which I don't. I thought I kind of did until I actually heard it spoken by French speaking people. I thought a lot of things on that side of the ocean.

But now I'm on this side of the ocean eating "fatty liver" with no job and no plan, only an abstract goal to not leave before I understand why I'm here... Before I understand how we got here, metaphorically of course. Unfortunately, I don't have any set of finite questions that need answering, or any way to know when I have an answer. I avoid asking myself what I am expecting, not wanting to face the inherent arrogance of my goal. As if I can just pick up and move to a city and months later discover something about myself, about human nature, about love... something that's never been known before in the thousands of years of recorded history... Or, maybe, my true arrogance is assuming that because I can't define love and I can't understand love and I can't... love, that means that no one can, and that no one ever could. Of course it's ridiculous when you say it like that, but my brain has a way of holding on to the idea that it can't be the one at fault. I think it's just naturally resistant to change.

But change is exactly what I am after. I don't want to keep being like this, like... Can something be loved in retrospect? I mean, once I learn how... will my love count for anything by then.

I wonder what time it is. Not that I have somewhere to be, I'm just wondering. Right now I am at the metro stop at Bastille. I am staring at what I assume is a French girl, though one can never be sure in this city. She has brown eyes, milky skin, and black hair and coat and tights. She has a french nose (not a big nose, just french) and I'm trying to work up the courage to talk to her. This is a ritual I go through almost daily... So far I haven't talked to anyone. But nothing changes until you change it. And you have to start somewhere.

Me: Quelle heure est-il?

Most-beautiful-girl-I've-seen-in-my-life(today): ... (no response)

Me: ...Pardon... ex... excusez-moi mais, tu connait l'heure?

Again nothing, she just kept that french nose (not big nose, just french) pointed forward as if nothing else in the world existed, as if she weren't actually sitting in a metro station that smelled slightly of piss whenever the warm breeze rolled in from who-knows-where, as if there weren't one hundred-seventy-five pounds of America calling down to her in broken french. How do they do that? If she would have had an American nose she would have needed to bury it in a book.

I wonder if French women read less...

The train arrives. The most beautiful girl that I've seen in my life(today) gets up and walks calmly onto the train leaving me behind to consider what has just happened. She didn't give me the time of day. The buzzer rings and the doors on the train close.

Damn it. I was going to take that train... somewhere... I wonder what time it is.

Oh well, there will be another one. There is always another one.



Currently listening:
Happy Busday: Best of
Super bus - Mes défauts


Today is Wednesday the 17th of February, 2010. I am scheduled to fly home today. I have decided to stay. I think I loved you. That was why I came here in the first place. I loved you. You didn't love me. I moved to France. But it's come to my attention that I do not know what love is. It made me feel good to do things for you, it made me feel good that you wanted to spend time with me, it made me feel good to be special to someone. None of those things are love.

What did I ever do to love you?

All I can say is that I never pressured you. I let you be yourself. I gave you space. I waited patiently for you to love me back. That's the closest I came, and it may not be what love is but I think it has something to do with it... it's a start at least.

I don't want to have come here for nothing. It may have been short sighted, it may have been rash to relocate at a time like this. But I decided... and so... it's decided.

I'm not coming home until I have some answers.




I've been at it for two days now and I think I'm starting to scratch the surface.

What does love feel like... is it different for everyone? Where does it originate... is it something experienced entirely within a person's consciousness? Perhaps love is something we create within ourselves, something that we must take responsibility for. Can a man make himself feel loved, or force himself to love others? Or maybe it's something that is given to us, something that we must learn to receive. Like maybe love is created in the giving of it and we never really posses it until we receive it from someone else. Does that put us at the mercy of others for us to know love? It could be some combination, some midpoint... or some simultaneously existing extremes.

Or does love have some meaning that lies outside any single consciousness, something that is created in the space where the consciousnesses meet. Like, love is the spark born from the friction of human interaction (or some bull shit like that), and there are no givers or receivers, only co-creators. Does love have substance? Does it weigh anything? Are there any physical differences in one that is loved or that loves and one who is not or does not? Is it something spiritual or is it merely messages firing in some central nervous system that has been introduced to certain stimuli? Can the nervous system be tricked... or lied to? If the messages are firing and the chemicals are flowing is it Love regardless of what is setting them off? And what are the side effects of this kind of counter fitting? Maybe love itself is a cocktail of other emotions. A mixture of other ideas and virtues. The balancing point on the scale of intention and action... or the simultaneous presence of both intention and action.

Is love a fondness we develop for one another or just some sort of dependency? Is it a search for something constant something or someone that will never leave us? Do we love because people are in our life or do we keep them in our life because we love them. Do we love people because of who they are or because of how they define who we are?

Does anyone really have any idea of what this word means? LOVE. Is it important... Really? Important enough to define, to understand, to at least comprehend on some level. Or is it one of those things that defies definition but that we recognize at once like the taste of salt, or the feeling of warmth. It's beginning to scare me that something so many people use as their guide for making life decisions and as their measuring stick for morality can be so incomprehensible. Can everyone else be as lost as I am? They must have answers...

Can love be broken? Can you deny it so many times it just goes away? Can you betray it so many times you lose the capacity to produce it? Can you ever really have to much? Can you ever really have not enough? Not enough for what? Will a person shrivel up and die if he does not have enough love? If a person does have enough is he guaranteed to be happy? What makes one feel loved? How does one show love? Throughout my entire existence, have I ever really loved another person other than myself... Have I ever really loved myself? Is there a point? Would the world stop without it? Is it a trick that biology has developed to ensure the ensuing generation? Perhaps love is just an acknowledgment of value. Or even an expression of faith in a person's ability to develop value.

No matter how much I think about love or write about love or try to feel love or show it, I just don't know what it is I am doing, feeling, searching for. In my heart, I can only find questions, no answers. Questions are invaluable as they are always the first step towards knowledge but when they are all you have they tend to take up a lot of space and somehow leave it empty. And what is an answer anyway. I guess the kind I'm looking for are the kind that change things. The kind that move you in some sort of non circular direction. I am an American after all, I'd love it if I could find some blocks that would start to fit together in some cause and effect sort of fashion... at this point I'd take anything.



Most recently watched:
Don't Worry, I'm Fine ( Je vais bien, ne t'en fais pas ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - France ]

Valentines Day

It's Valentines Day in Paris. I guess it is in the rest of the world as well. I had planned to spend the day inside. I don't know why, maybe as a way of refusing to celebrate a holiday that I don't understand, maybe as a way of punishing myself for coming here in the first place, but most likely to avoid the hundreds of couples that filled up all the airplanes to come to France and kiss under the Eiffel tower with all of the other couples wealthy enough to be romantic. But however determined I was to stay in, around 2 PM I heard the sound of drumming outside my window. I investigated and discovered the Carnaval de Paris. It was essentially a parade. Though it seemed slightly less organized and slightly more interesting. But the big news is that I met someone. A girl. An American. Her name is Becca. She was taking pictures of the procession near Republique and I made some comment about the quality of light being better if she shot the procession from behind and it turned out that she spoke English and we got talking. Apparently she lives here. We followed the Carnaval down where it ended at Hotel de Ville. After we'd had enough drumming, marching and costumes we crossed the river to see the Notre Dame.

Becca is pretty cool. She's here doing a fashion internship.

She took me to an English bookstore called Shakespeare and Company. We sat and listened to an improvised concert from two guys who later told us their names were Mabite and Julien. Julien-Mabite played a song called Gloria that was rather nice... I didn't really understand it but it sounded nice and their French listeners seemed to enjoy it. They kept playing until no one could think of another song that they knew. Then they stopped. It turned out to be the kind of eventful Valentines Day that you would see in a movie. But I guess it would have been a French movie because there wasn't really a story, just events. Maybe what makes events a story is the relationship they have to one another. In American movies events have a cause and effect relationship, building upon each other like Lego® blocks. In French movies events tend to have a more lucid relationship, like building something out of blocks that never actually touch. Maybe they think this is the way life is. Just a series of disconnected scenes with the same main characters... Of course this is a generalization, many French movies take the mainstream Hollywood approach to storytelling and many American movies don't. But neither approach really approximates life appropriately, does it? Maybe life is a mixture of cause and effect and unrelated uneventful events...

Maybe life is what you get when you have those two extremes existing simultaneously. Events that mean nothing causing everything. Right now I am sitting in a room, alone, recording a history that no one will read. No one will ever know I was here, sitting, writing... This would make a terrible movie in French or any other language... Yet somehow this causes everything. This moves me across an ocean to a new country and a new culture. It remakes me entirely. Maybe it's in these moments, our uneventful events, that we chose the effects of the causes in our life...

Wandering the bookstore later I saw some young kid, probably late teens, sitting in the upstairs room scribbling something in his notebook, periodically glancing up at the red rose laying on the desk in front of him.

Me: Are you writing about a girl?

He looks up at me and removes his white earbuds.

Teen: What was that?

Me: Are you writing about a girl?

Teen: Yeah... (with a crooked smile and a blond hair flip)

Me: That's fitting.

Then I walked away.

I should have said cliché. I said fitting but I meant cliché. Writing about love in Paris... why don't you try something new for a change. Why not write about food, or God, or violence, or racism, or family, or selfishness, or confusion, or biology, or patriotism, or personal hygiene, or suicide or anything but love. Actually I take back suicide, suicide and love are basically two faces of the same coin. Anyway, point is that as cliché as it was, it got me thinking. If I was sitting in a bookstore in Paris on Valentines Day looking at a red rose on and listening to... for the sake of argument let's say it was "With or With Out You" by U2... and scribbling furiously in my little notebook about love, what would I write? And the more I thought about it the more I felt that I had nothing to say.

I have forgotten how to Love.

OK that might not be entirely true. There is a very real possibility that I never actually knew how. But the important thing, the realization that I had, was that the only things I could write were questions.

Happy Valentines Day.


The Joshua Tree (Remastered)

Trains, planes and missing the point

I missed my train. It wouldn't have been a big deal if I hadn't just hopped on the next one that came along. Apparently not all the RER C trains go ORLY airport. This one went to Dourdan la-Forêt, but I was only half way there before I realized I was on the wrong train. Now I am sitting on the correct train but my flight leaves in 15 minutes and I won't be to the station where I can catch the airport shuttle for another 20 minutes. I have missed my flight but I am too tired to care. I got up at four in the morning to pack the last of my crap and get to the airport on time. I woke my roommate up and we had this unpleasent little conversation:

Martin: Qu'est-ce que tu fait?

Me: Je pars maintenant.

Martin: Ou? En fait, Je ne me fous. Un peut plus doucement si te plait.

Me: Je ne comprend pas.

Martin: Faire silencieux!

Me: (blank stare)

Martin: Be quiet! Tu comprends ça?

Me: Oui. Mais...

He stared at me angrily for a moment and then went back to bed. I don't think he realizes that I'm not coming back. He'll figure it out eventually, right now all I want is to stay awake long enough to get out of this country. I wish this train were faster. I hope my plane is delayed. I'm leaving this country just like I came into it...

I fell asleep on the train.

Bet you didn't see that one coming. Luckily someone who saw I had suitcases nudged me and I was able to make it off the train in time. And that is the end of the good news. I missed my flight, as expected but unfortunately since Saint Valentines day is Sunday all the flights in and out of Paris are booked until next Wednesday. Originally I had planned to spend the holiday on a layover in Chicago. Where I don't know anyone and far away from you and from the city where all of western civilization comes to celebrate romance. Instead I'll probably be hiding indoors listening to Martin fight with/make love to his girlfriend. Won't he be happy to see me. I'm taking the train back into Paris and I guess that now it doesn't really matter if I fall asleep. The thing about a plane ticket is it makes you feel like you have somewhere to go. Like you have some place to be. It was nice while it lasted. Maybe I'll get a train ticket. I could go see the south of France. Anywhere but here really.



p.s. I woke up an hour later to a great view of the Eiffel Tower from the RER C. I guess this isn't the worst place to be stuck in.

curently reading:
Gulliver's Travels (Penguin Classics)

Long walks in dark places

I went dancing tonight. You would have hated it. It was the kind of thing where two years ago you would have pretended to like it because going to things like that is what "fun" people do, but now that you are older and more mature you realize that people can be "fun" and still avoid stifling crowds and blaring music. Five years from now and you'll have given up being "fun" altogether and you'll be content just doing what you want.

I just went to try to meet people. People who speak the People's English. Americans, though I would have settled for a Canadian or a Brit or a Kiwi. It was an ERASMUS event and a foreign passport got you in for free. The place was called Club Mix and like any other club it was a terrible place for meeting people. Even without the language barrier everyone there seemed young, like "I have to pretend that I enjoy being here because I am fun" young, and I'm just to old for that kind of young. Then there was the crowd at the bar, which I guess is where you go when you you need to feel "fun" but you don't know how to dance. I did have one attempted conversation but the girl turned out to be French... I think... The conversation went something like...


Random-club-girl-who-just-spilled-her-beer-on-me: (Yells something inaudible/incomprehensible)

...The music was really loud, which is what happens when you go to a club to meet people. So I moved to a corner and danced by myself until the tips of my hair were dripping and I could no longer tell if the wet was beer or sweat. The thing about dancing is that you don't have to say anything... overall it was "fun" I guess.

And now the dancing is over and I don't know where I am... also I think I'm dehydrated... and I smell like an asshole. Apparently Paris shuts down around 1 AM on Thursday nights. I went to the Metro station and there was a gate covering the entrance, I didn't have any money for a cab so I just started walking. I've been walking for... a while now, and I just keep going despite the fact I have no idea where the road I'm on is leading me... one foot in front of the other, turning whenever whenever it "feels right". I'm tired, I'm thirsty, I'm lost. Maybe I should just lie down on one of the subway grates where the warm air blows up from underground and sleep for a couple hours. If I spoke enough French I could ask one of the homeless people I keep passing if they would share their bed with me.

And then I see her, dressed in her flashing, glowing, twirling neon, and standing at the end of the street ahead of me. Suddenly I know right where I am. Not physically of course, I still have no idea how to get from whatever part of Paris I am wandering through to the part where my roommate is waiting to be inconvenienced, annoyed, and woken up by my arrival. But culturally, socially, spiritually, I know right where I am. I'm standing completely exhausted, covered with a thin frozen cocktail of alcohol and perspiration, looking up at the Moulin Rouge.

And it's fitting.

Turning a corner  onto the Boulevard de Clichy, I leave the Moulin behind me and I find an expanse of sex shops, peep shows, and "private" clubs stretching in front of me, lighting my path with their blinking neon that attracts the empty, the sick, and the hungry like a moth to a flame... or maybe more like a fly to shit. This whole street reeks of shit, of filth, of the dregs that are left once you take all of the meaning out of love. I see a group of old men lurking outside a club, a younger man exits a theater and slips into the night with his eyes glued to the sidewalk. I pass some women and try to avoid eye contact. A man approaches a woman in front of me, they walk off together. It looked so easy. What did they say to each other? If there was a girl on this street not too old, not too young, maybe just trying to pay her way through school... maybe we could just talk about her classes, that might be nice for her... Do you think any prostitutes in Paris speak English?

Am I really that lonely? Sorry, let me rephrase that, I AM REALLY THAT LONELY. It's not really the way I pictured loosing my virginity. Smelling like an asshole, making love to corpse, someone who would rather get paid fuck than to talk because it takes less effort to just lie there, and I'm to tired to keep it stiff but I'm still struggling to climax, struggling to have an orgasm, struggling to convince myself that I am somewhere else, with someone else... with you.

It's cold. Salty icicles are beginning to form on the end of my nose and eyelashes. But I am to tired to care. And I'm too tired to ignore the real reason that I am here. The reason that I am unhappy. It's not just you. There is this hole in my... in me. Sure, part of it is yours, you left it with me when you removed yourself from my life, but I dug it deeper. Maybe I was trying to excavate every remaining part of you, trying to dig you out of my heart entirely, but unfortunately I found it hard to separate what parts were you and what parts were me. For a while I was a gaping absence of a man but the thing about holes is that they never stay empty for long. If you do not fill them they fill themselves, and my hole is full. Full of black. Full of shit. Full of hate and regret and frozen beer/sweat/tears cocktail. My hole is full of emptiness... which, sadly, I am learning is not a lack of something, but an overabundance of nothing. And so I've filled my hole, partly with the things I found to replace you and partly with the things I neglected to, I filled it until it was over my head, trying to drown the pain, but only succeeding in drowning myself and in making myself sick. And I am sick. I am disgusted. I want to throw up the entire last year, vomit all of the slop that I have wallowed in for far to long. Start over... fresh.... is that why I came to Paris in the first place...

What really pisses me off is that the only reason I want to turn my life around is for you. Somewhere deep in there I am convinced that if I can become good enough or successful enough that you will take me back. No, not that you will take me back, that you will want me back.

...and so I ran across half the world, all the time I was delusional enough to believe that I was not running away from you but somehow running toward you. But now it's time to stop running. Time to stop pretending that I am happy here. Maybe it's time for me to just come home...



Moulin Rouge! (Widescreen Edition)

A second for second thoughts.

I'm sitting at the metro station. The train is late... or I missed it... it doesn't matter, I have nowhere to go. And as I have nothing else to do but wait for the next train I thought I'd write you another letter.

I've been here nearly a month now and I'm still amazed that I'm here. And I'm still amazed how everything here is different. I don't know how to explain it. It's a modern society but it's built on the two thousand years before it. I went to a building that was built originally in the 700's and then I rode across town and saw some skyscraper office buildings. It's like nothing I've experienced before. But mostly... it's cold. The air is cold, the people are cold, and my apartment is cold. I feel like all I ever talk about is how cold it is but this past week has been the coldest of the winter. And the silence is starting to get old. I haven't talked with anyone since I've been here. I mean really talked to them like had a conversation. Martin and I still aren't speaking. I'm pretty sure he hates me but even if he doesn't we can't talk. If I stay here I am definitely going to have to look into language schools. If I stay... which I'm beginning to reconsider.

I haven't been sleeping great lately, can't seem to put my mind to sleep, it's swimming with French phrases, and the incredible things I've seen, but mostly the unanswerable question. Why Paris? Why did I come here of all places. Why am I in France.

I've always been obsessed with France, ever since I can remember. I took french classes in 7th and 8th grade, that was the earliest that I was allowed to take a foreign language. I think I must have been thirteen. My obsession started well before that, sometime in my childhood. I really have no idea what caused it, whether it was a movie, or a book, or some other stimulus, but my suspicion is that somewhere along the way during my formative years I picked up the idea that girls like French. And more importantly, that girls would like me if I spoke French. French is the language of love after all.

This little idea that I had, this little lie that I told myself was not the only of it's kind. I also believed that girls would like me if I could play the piano or guitar or if I was a good dancer. I haven't learned the guitar yet, but I became an excellent dancer in eleventh grade and I taught myself the piano sometime around the age of twenty. Don't assume that I do these things just for the girls, I don't, I am just recently discovering this correlation between things that I enjoy doing and a belief that girls like boys who do those things. Maybe there is no correlation maybe I'm just making it all up. Maybe when you don't spend a lot of time talking or sleeping you spend too much time thinking. I don't know... Maybe France isn't really what I wanted it to be. Actually, I never really wanted-- Never mind, trains approaching.



Currently Reading:
Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French