I finally find the courage to write to you to tell you about my torment. I always read what you write with interest and I hope you will find the time to reply to me in the Monday column.
It all started a year and a half ago, I know this guy who I already know is quite problematic. An interesting exchange begins, how many books he has read, how many things this tailor knows. From the beginning, however, the relationship takes a bad turnand begins a game of massacre (mine) made of provocations, even public teasing in front of our friends, jealousies and competitions induced with the others. but I don’t want to play the victim, I admit that I was also involved in the dynamic and I take my responsibilities. I became stubborn and played these perverse games that touched strings and wounds rather than exposed them, making me feel terrible.
Follow each other separations, rapprochements, roller coasters. Because obviously sometimes it even felt good and somehow he knew and still knows how to enchant me with various sweetness and attention. until, after a period of increasingly heated malice, he gets exhausted and I walk away completely, with the promise (to myself) to get out of it and never fall back into it again. unfortunately he only lets me stay for a few months and then the chase begins (which however is very gratifying): phone calls, stakeouts, talk after talk. The promise of having changed and wanting to try to build a more respectful and constructive relationship.
after much, much insistence, he takes me for exhaustion again and we have been seeing each other regularly for a month. the beginning of the beginning everything was fine, great euphoria, intrigue and a precarious well-being, because deep down I had never really believed in his promises. And last week she goes into depression because she feels the weight of the couple and basically tells me that we can only live in absolute uncertainty, day by day, “we don’t know anything”. This absolute uncertainty, on his part, translates into practice by always talking to each other, talking about the dynamics, seeing each other when we feel like it and, if the conditions are right, sleeping together and suggesting things to do. So what changes from “normal” attendance? What a pain! what brainy stuff!
Dead male cat? tailor? Nothing new under the sun, but hearing these things repeated every time mortifies me.
And then you’ll ask yourself why I went back if I ever believed him and knew that certain things would happen again? Am I stupid? What is there that I have yet to see? Unfortunately I can’t do it anymore but I can still do it, obviously. If I read myself I get bored, it’s always the same story and I know that nothing will change one iota if I don’t change direction first. but when will it happen? I’m experiencing an internal conflict, It makes me angry to see myself still here wasting my time instead of settling down (my mother says), instead of finding peace (I say). but evidently we don’t like peace. Thanks for your reply Esther.
The second letter
After reading pages and pages of your favorite mail, here I am, with a story that is a little different but perhaps the same as the others. 29 years old, I move to Milan for work where I know maybe 3 people. I enter the office, shake my boss’s hand and immediately understand that something was going to happen. Hardly what I imagine as a handshake doesn’t happen, and in fact it does. After months of advances we fall in love. We move in together immediately almost out of necessity: he, a work-obsessed entrepreneur, spends between 12 and 14 hours in front of a PC or in meetings. More than work, he is obsessed with being socially accepted through success and money.
The last stories before mine were all finished because the work was too cumbersome. There’s no time for “I’ll pick you up, let’s have an aperitif?” And in fact we have never had an aperitif in two years of our relationship. Many dinners, many trips, almost all paid for by him, but almost never moments of real presence. I am very much in love with him, with his ambition, with him being a leader, I make many things go well but in my heart I know that something is wrong, that it is not the story I had dreamed of. For me sex is important, it’s a way to get to know each other, for him it’s something more, he’s very ordinary in bed but with me he says he made true love for the first time in his life. I feel like a heroine, but always with a discontent inside. I convince myself that I can change him, that I can save him from work and I do my best.
Meanwhile he starts giving me suggestions on how to dress to go to some places in Milan, on how to behave, on how to evolve. As a little girl from the south, now the time has come to become a successful woman in Milan (what he dreams of), but I feel that these are not real suggestions, but things that he doesn’t like and that he would like to change.
In all this we work together we live together, house together, dog together. In short, all ingredients for the end of a story and in fact it ends. Her lack of time turns into my obsessive jealousy. I suddenly feel insecure, weak, ugly, fat, not enough. We decide to close with the hope of being able to meet again to feel better. I feel dead now. 4 months have passed in which there have been no shortage of messages, phone calls, approaches, especially from me. He doesn’t want to come back because he says I had become too jealous and he feels that I haven’t changed. I don’t know what I want, if I really want him or I’m simply bored or even I simply want him to want me.
In the meantime, however, I suffer, like a dog, with obsessive thoughts that don’t let me breathe. Your opinion would be of great comfort to me.
Ester Viola’s response
Dear both of you,
I do not know what to do. Pats on the back aren’t necessary, nor are there any tie on the neck, we’ve already seen refined proud resignations, we’ve found them in poetry, we’ve found suitable aphorisms, excellent Proust biscuits from the Recherche, Philip Roth always present, Franzen, Starnone, Francesco Piccolo, everything. I took everything I had in the bank and here we are, once again, under the wall, crying. The incomprehensible male.
Has the male become more impossible than ever? Has he made any evolutionary leaps?
A congress would be needed. Scientists. To understand which way we need to go. We are stuck at the interpretative crossroads. The situation is serious, it’s even getting crowded. People want answers and there aren’t any.
The two possibilities
1) Nothing has changed at all.
These subjects were once called big assholes, Bridget Jones’ Daniel Cleaver, recognizable, sneering face, Hugh Grant was perfect. And in short we complain – with more attention to detail, because now we have medicalised, there is the narcissist – about the eternal return of the identical. That is, a forty-year-old chicken owner since he was 18.
It then becomes normal that this use of the world has transformed into technique. A non-generic, sharp know-how. If you recognize the guy, you avoid him.
By taking an old Roth ad usum (yes, again), they become infallible: they understand what you want and don’t give it to you. And so, since desire goes wherever it gets the most money, whatever happens happens, and here we are again this week with two very sad letters about a couple of middleweight champions. The career man who doesn’t know what he wants, and the reckless cruel one. All subsets of the Daniel Cleaver. It’s a shame that Bridget Jones has been purged as a character of modern times, she could still have been useful. If only to remove this cellophane of desperation from stories that don’t work. At least in the 90s it was allowed to recognize the cliché and laugh about inglourious bastards, now you get sick, you risk your life, it is understood as more serious.
2) What if it had changed instead?
These are years of fun, these unfortunate destroyers of dreams have never had such a good time. Sexual liberation has evolved. It also had delivery service. You don’t win anything, not even a dinner out. The improvements don’t end there: the excuse of not being heard has been renamed, cleaned up. Friends with benefits, it’s called now, if they don’t call back.
With these premises what could happen? What happens to a spoiled child if you give him even more toys? Fun time decreases.
But for goodness sake, don’t say it. O capable of having everyone against you: A-HA! What old things! Those times are gone!
And then we will have to keep pace with the current times. Under different premises, other effects. Let’s call him a toxic, narcissistic male, let’s call him whatever we want keeping in mind that there is only one point. He doesn’t like it anymore. To call, write, take you to dinner, pretend to be nice, last two months to see if it works. It’s really a desire to do nothing that has precise explanations: the female is now in a free car. And one can even try to challenge this recognizable and very frequent type of subject. But with less boldness. With little expectation and with their own means: a powerful general disinterest. Here the fight is not against a windmill, it is more like arming yourself to go against a jellyfish.
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