“Cut clean from the dream that night, let my mind reset
Looking up from a cigarette, and she’s already left
I start digging up the yard for what’s left of me in our little vignette
For whatever poor soul is coming next”
– Hozier, Jackie and Wilson
The worst part about being a romantic is accepting that you’re not in love, you’re horny. It feels dirty, you know? Love is such an endearing and romantic concept. Hormones are, well… gross. Somewhere between the appeal of love and the repel of sexual attraction I lost sight of the difference.
The trick is to consciously redefine the distinction between being attracted to someone and finding someone attractive. For most of my adolescent life I struggled with finding this line, and became convinced that I was in love with each and every pretty girl who happened to pass me by. This resulted in countless cases of heartbreak, mostly because I was sure they deserved a lot better than shitty old me, and so did nothing to try and express my feelings. Which, all things considered, was actually quite reasonable of me.
I wanted to be in love. I wanted to feel like I was part of something bigger than myself, part of a special connection between two people who were destined to be together. Of course the irony was that it was never just two people: with each fall for someone new my faith in true love grew weaker and weaker. See, I had to believe in love. I had to believe that when a girl caught my eye from across the room it was because there was something real between us. The alternative was that I simply found her attractive, and as such was no better than those douchebags who objectified and sexualized women without shame.
Obviously this wasn’t the case, and I know now that admiring someone’s good looks doesn’t inherently make you a shallow chauvinistic pig, but back then it was a real cause for concern. I had enough shortcomings and downfalls: my honour was one of the few things I had left, and I was determined not to tarnish it, however misguided my concerns may have been.
I wanted to be a better version of myself: someone who was above all that, who could rise above primal instincts and reach for something greater, for a connection that really meant something. Of course things never seemed to work out, and when that happened I would simply do my best to bury the crush and move on to the next one. It took me a long time and a lot of heartbreak to finally learn that what I was feeling wasn’t love; it was attraction.
I still have trouble differentiating between the two sometimes, but I’ve learnt to cope with the struggle. I still have trouble accepting my sexuality, which will probably fester into some really great psychoses and sexual hangups later on in life, but for now I’m content to preserve my own sense of romance, however naïve that may be.