Wednesday, December 10, 2003
...And so much for that.
I suppose that, from Jen's perspective, inviting Paul to come to the Weekly Wednesday Ass-Kicking was a mistake, but I can't say I regret it. Better to get all this over with early.
We met up at the Pizzeria Uno across the street at about quarter of seven, listened to Paul and Carlos talk about their days which were, as you might imagine, a heck of a lot more interesting than ours. Sure, Jen and I know we're working for a company that helps enable biological research, but that's just not as exciting or immediate a benefit to society as actually confronting criminals. Even if the criminals are, in Carlos's case, speeders.
Paul first looked uncomfortable when Jen pointed out Kurt, Wei, and Jim; he asked me how I could stand to be in the same room as him. I said it wasn't a big deal; I came to see a movie, not my ex, and I figure the same goes for him. Besides, I told him, he's the one who has to look at me and think damn, I won't even see my flat-chested girlfriend until the weekend, whereas I'm free to do whatever I want and tonight I'm here with him.
Then the movie started. Understand, Robotrix is Hong Kong B-movie schlock. It's a sex-and-violence fest (heavy on the sex) about a scientist who downloads his brain into an android body and procedes to rape and pillage, including a policewoman who gets downloaded into her own robot body. Wackiness ensues.
This is the sort of movie that would be pilloried if given a wide release in America - you can sort of guess that from the use of both the words "rape" and "wackiness" in the same paragraph. Truth be told, I was feeling more than a little squirmy during some of those scenes - they often looked a heck of a lot like the regular sex scenes, of which there were plenty. I think that would have bothered me before July, though obviously not to the same extent.
There was a train for Jen and Carlos right away, but Paul opted to walk me home. "Well," he said, "that was an utter piece of shit."
"Ah, I don't know. It wasn't nearly as bad as the last couple, although I'd like to see more actual martial arts in these things."
"How can you enjoy that as a woman? It's selling rape as entertainment!"
I considered a comment about not knowing how to feel much as a woman, but instead just said "Hey, I didn't like those scene, and Robotrix isn't going to go on my top ten list, but it's not the first time a movie has tried to have it both ways. You just don't usually see it with something sexual in the West. But, hey, you probably enjoyed Independance Day or Godzilla, and people cheer at innocent bystanders getting slaughtered in those."
He gave that half a minute's consideration before saying "I don't think you should go to movies like that."
I stopped in my tracks. "Excuse me?"
"It might just be sort of unhealthy for someone like you who's been kind of promiscuous to see--"
"Are you judging me? You don't know a goddamn thing about me, or what's good for me!"
"Hey, I'm just trying to help!"
"Just trying to help?" I took a deep breath, trying to think whether I would be saying these things in his place. I knew I'd probably be thinking them, but as to what I would say and how I would act... "Am I some kind of project for you? 'How do I get Jen's slutty friend to change her ways?' Or is it some kind of ego boost? 'Just being with me made Jen's slutty friend change her ways!'"
"No! It's just that I see so many girls who started out like you working vice--"
"You're comparing me to prostitutes now?" I held out my arm as he tried to reply, palm-out, not just to stop him from saying anything, but also to measure some distance between us. "Look, I've got issues. You probably can't even conceive of the things that make me want to not get involved with a man. But if I'm going to, it's going to be with someone who respects me, or at the very least doesn't start out looking down on me."
And I walked off.
I'm glad, too. Maybe I was a little hard on Paul, but I think I was fair. It's not a bad thing to be attracted to someone's vulnerability, but it's not something I'm totally cool with. It's got to be at least as obvious that there's something you like and admire about the other person, I think, or else there's something predatory about the attraction. And I can't for the life of me think of what Paul liked about me. Heck, I don't think he even commented on the body during the two dates.
I admit that I may have just been looking for an excuse, because I'm really not looking for a relationship until things get back to normal. They're complicated enough as it is.
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