By Anthony Paull
Sometimes, I think the further we advance in technology as a world culture, the further we regress when it pertains to matters of the heart. Consider the life of our ancestor, the common caveman.
Back in the Paleolithic era, being immersed in essential daily tasks like hunting, gathering and crafting tools, left the average knuckle dragger little time to fret about the lingering fears facing most romantics today. Will I love? Will I be loved? Will we be together forever? For the lucky men living during the time of the Old Stone Age, this was inconsequential. Rather, the important questions were based on the dirty ground floor of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Fire=hot? Food=good? Sex=hot and good?
You see, in the long lost days of the Flintstones, there was simply no time to enter into mind games with your prime-mate and then self-reflect. And Twitter? Why, heavens no! I mean, really. What man had a minute to update the status of a relationship when he was busy figuring out how to be fossilized in a proper rock formation?
Yes, that’s the problem with folks nowadays. Due to our advances in health care, it seems, we have too much time. And the longer we live, the longer our life-long partnerships are expected to last. At birth, we’re conditioned to seek “happily ever after” without realizing just how long we have to go with the same person. So what happens when your partner changes? Evolves? Are you supposed to happily go along with it even if you’re unhappy? Or should you leave your immortal love behind in favor of a new relationship?
Such a question plagues the life of Terence, my dear friend for many years. You see, Terence has been with his partner Chazz since the advent of online men-4-men chat rooms, and though they had a great relationship 10 years ago, their love has taken a turn for the worse since Chazz discovered his love for lingerie in the petites section at Macy’s.
Yes, my dear readers, Chazz is a panties man – and I mean that in the most literal sense. He’s simply fallen in love with the way the soft cotton tickles the tips of his balls, and since his revelation, he’s begun to explore his feminine side. First, it was panties. Then he popped out of the bathroom in fishnet stockings one night. Then he started buying makeup at the drug store and applying like a toddler lost in a bathroom drawer. And now, he’s wearing miniskirts while shopping for kitty litter at Target. But that’s fine, because he’s wearing a black hoodie so no one can see him. At least, that’s what Chazz tells Terence.
“Oh, give me a break. This isn’t Harry Potter. A hoodie is not an invisibility cloak,” I inform Terence over the phone. Writing my novel on the second floor of an intimate college library, I’m trying to whisper, careful to avoid interrupting the local students during their studies. “I mean, seriously, Stevie Wonder could spot a guy in fishnets at Target considering all that fluorescent lighting.”
“Yeah, tell me about it,” Terence agrees. “Get this. Chazz says it’s common in Europe. That French guys think panties are all the rage. But skirts? I don’t buy it. And I’m sorry, but I don’t think it’s fucking hot.”
“Maybe not to you,” I mutter. “But he seems to be getting off on it.”
“Hey, why are you whispering?”
“I’m at the library.”
“The one near the college.”
“Dude, that’s another place he goes!” Terence yells. And I kid you not. Call it serendipity, call it blind fate, but I look up from my computer, and there goes Chazz darting by faster than a fever in a black hoodie, board shorts and a pair of purple pumps. He’s headed to the exit like a rhino because he landed eyes on me. And his legs – they’re hairier than an unkempt Chia pet.
“You two are setting me up,” I tell Terence. “This has to be a joke.”
“No man. He likes to rile up the students. You see him?”
“Um, yeah, I think everyone does,” I reply, as student heads begin popping up from the dirt like Groundhog’s Day. Then quickly, the space erupts with stifled laughter and whispers. “But hey, at least he knows how to rock those heels.”
“That’s not funny. This is not what I signed up for. What am I supposed to do?”
The truth: Thankfully, I never had to answer his question. I told him I had a deadline to finish writing my column, and Terence ended their relationship just a day later. Honestly, I didn’t have a good reply for him. As a friend, I wasn’t sure if it was my place to tell him to end it. At the onset of a relationship, usually rules are established. Don’t cheat. Don’t lie. But don’t dress like a woman? Well, that’s never come up for me. And if my boyfriend was to dress like a woman, I’d at least hope he’d have the decency to shave his goddamn legs. Still, I believe that change is inevitable in all relationships. Everyone has a fetish, and for Chazz that meant getting aroused from the feeling of doing something naughty in public.
Winona Ryder shoplifts. And Chazz, he shape shifts. No harm.
Still, it interfered with Terence’s need for a publicly masculine partner. So he moved on to bachelorhood, even though feelings of guilt continue to linger in his heart. Who knows? Maybe one day he’ll look beyond the exterior of Chazz and remember what he loved about him in the first place and return home. And if not, that’s dandy, because living “happily” doesn’t always include “ever after,” especially when the person you thought you knew becomes invisible.