Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Congratulations to Desperate Housewives for winning 2 Golden Globes. I am resisting the desire to make vaguely lascivious comments about male star Jesse Metcalfe's "golden globes". Oops, I just failed. That's the second Jesse this week!

Always the Narrator, never the Narrated

You know how in novels and films and things there's usually someone a bit dull who narrates the story - but they write about all the mad things that the other people get up to - like Fanny in "Love in A Cold Climate". Well that's me. And I'm so goddamm sick of being "the narrator" of the crazy, exciting, fragile lives of the others around me. Nobody really wants to hear about what happens after "Happy Ever After" came - and for me, I settled into coupledom at 20 and have been there ever since.
In the past, when I have been in a group of similar friends (gay men of around the same age) I have always considered myself to be the boring stable one in the relationship who "hears" everyone's problems or acts as the appreciative audience to the off-beat humour of others. I tend to make friends with somewhat damaged or eccentric people who have very large personalities, and as a result I often end up feeling overwhelmed by them. And eventually quite resentful. I'm usually the person who breaks off friendships. And that's usually the reason.

Unfortunately, living in a small place means that you can't always be rid of former friendships, especially as they all seem to go to the same gym. I renewed an old acquaintance last night - we hadn't spoken properly for years, although there was a time about 7 years ago when we lived a few doors down the landing from each other and were in and out of each other's homes like sitcom neighbours. Then he got into a relationship with someone I didn't like (it didn't last - although there was no pleasure in watching him slowly get screwed over), and I realised that I was contributing to about 20% of our conversations, while the rest of it had become a 1-man monologue of All About Him. Added to that, we had little in common apart from being gay and when you live in a small place, that is often enough to keep a friendship going. We didn't part company on unpleasant terms - although I made it clear I didn't want to be his friend any more.

So last night we bumped into each other at the gym and awkward hellos turned into "so what have you been up to" and I got the details of the last 4 years or so, and ended up going back to his new house for a cup of Earl Gay tea. It was nice to catch up on gossip - like tuning into a soap that you haven't seen in a while and realising that nothing much has changed. We did the post mortem thing and I said I was ashamed at how I had ended the friendship and explained why, and he gave me his phone number and said it would be nice to talk again. I didn't give mine back, because, although it was nice to talk, sometimes it's too easy to slip back into old friendships and let them take over your life again. And sometimes, you have to remember why you ended the friendship in the first place and not repeat the same mistakes all over again. It turns out I'm still the narrator.

1 comment:

PJ said...

see, i always think the most interesting bit of the story comes after the 'happy ever after'. the before bit is always much of a muchness, but the after is where it gets really good. and so often it's the bit that's missing from the tales. plus knowing someone else's post-'happy ever after' gives hope for your own.