Single White Nerd:  The Harshest Mistress Apr13

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Single White Nerd: The Harshest Mistress


a blogumn by Michael Kass


So it’s time for a confession.  All of the waxing poetic, witticizing, and blathering I’ve been doing about relationships, litmus tests, imaginary girlfriends—it’s all a diversion.  See, I’ve already found the love of my life.


ladytheaterIt’s not a woman.  Nope, not a man either (though coming out on a blog would show some flair).  It is that harshest most cruelest most exactingest of mistresses:  Theater.


(insert collective groan here)


The sad fact of the matter is that I’ve loved her since the age of three.  She seduced me with all sorts of shiny songs, dances, and feats of juggling skill.  Even from the last row in the balcony of some run down theatre in New York, she caught my eye.  “Yoda!” I exclaimed.  ‘Course, I called everything ‘yoda’ at the time.  Anyway, we’ve been together, to one degree or another, ever since.


We flirted all through high school.  Sure, I spent most of my time buried in books and graphing calculators.  But twice a week, I would spend time with Theater.  She never got jealous; she was always there for me, open armed.  I knew that she spent time with other men, but I still felt that our time together was special.


In college, we grew closer.  And then, throwing my inveterate fear of commitment aside I went to graduate school to study her more closely, find out her secrets.  She didn’t resist.  In fact, she returned every ounce of energy I threw into her, rewarding me with growth and discovery.  We made friends together, even had a threesome for a while (it’s a metaphor, go with me, folks.)  Things got real hot and heavy.

The climax of our relationship came four years after graduate school.  We had settled into a comfortable routine—our growth had plateaued.  Then, one night we had a breakthrough.  I was in a production of Oleanna and we had gotten to the final moments of the play.  I slammed my co-star’s head against a desk, held a chair above her head, poised to annihilate her and. . .it happened:

Total silence.


No one in the audience shifted, no rustle of programs.  They sat, rapt.  And I felt the energy flowing from them.  At that moment anything could have happened—I could slam the chair down, throw it aside, do a tapdance.  A world of infinite possibility.

Behind it all sat Theater.  A beatific smile on her face as if to say “This is what I can do.  This is what I offer.”


Of course, from that moment on, it all went to shit.  I flailed.  Moved to a new city.  Threw more and more energy into the relationship and got diminishing returns.  Why couldn’t I recapture that moment?  Move even further?  Why wasn’t she responding the way she once had?


Ain’t that always the way?


Finally, heart broken, I turned away.  “You bitch,” I railed, “Take your promise of infinite possibility and shove it.  I’m going to. . .do. . .something else.”  Theater didn’t care.  She didn’t even bother to shrug.  She had other lovers.


Recently I’ve decided to give the relationship another shot.  Because, somewhat tragically I guess, I can’t live without Theater.  I’m doing it again, shuffling into a dance that might reopen old wounds, turn me into a freak who yells at inanimate objects and gets all existential with his bad self.


Or maybe, just maybe, we’ll recapture a shred of that old magic.  A stolen moment of silence and wordless connection—endless possibility.  Because that’s what we all look for in a relationship, isn’t it?

. photo credit: tunachili


Michael is appearing in “The Designated Mourner” through the month of May.  Info is here.