Sitting on a futon, drinking home made iced tea from a pickle jar with my 48 year old neighbor, I begin to feel uncomfortable.
“So did she suck on your breasts?” he asks with mock naivete.
Seriously, this conversation again? When it was coming from a 24 year old boy who works at a gym, it was (somewhat) forgivable or at least expected. But given this man’s life experience, knowledge and resources I can’t give him any excuse.
“I don’t need to give you the details of my sexual life.” I say firmly trying to disguise my astonishment and disgust. Answering the question prompted by revealing that I am bisexual.
“I’m just curious, I don’t know what two women do with each other since there isn’t a penis involved. Does she put on a dildo? I’m not trying to be weird, I just really don’t know. Like, did you eat each other out? What do you do?” he says in a nervous flurry of perverted curiosity and frantic self defense.
“I already told you I am not a cornucopia of knowledge. If you are curious, fucking google it. You are not stupid and neither am I.” I continued to yell at him for overstepping his boundaries. He made me a Jack’s supreme pizza as a peace offering. I ate it, but obviously did not forgive or forget a word he uttered.
How did I get in this situation? you may ask. Well, believe me, I ask myself that every time. This time, I will use science as my explanation.
He tempted me with Science!
I have met my neighbor on a few occasions in passing, and from our interactions he seemed like a stand up guy. Biomedical Engineering undergrad from Stanford, MBA and is currently the head of a research department as well as pursuing acting in the city. I am thinking, ‘wow, this dude and I have a lot in common. Science and art. I’m sure he would have a lot of great knowledge and advice he could share with me.’ So I went over the other day to get to know him better and glean some knowledge.
I start off somewhat leery when he acts as though he has a wealth of knowledge to share with me. I’m totally cool when people are knowledgeable, but I detest when they act as though they know everything, have been through everything and their presence is a grace unto me, the unsuspecting, unknowing blank slate of a human. Barely letting me utter a word while they suffocate me with their incessant babble.
“I went to Stanford for Biomedical Engineering bleh bleh, played football and baseball for them, blah blah, listen to me, bleh bleh, had a wife and kids and Mercedes and mansion, gave it all up, blah, don’t care about that stuff, blah, I’ll let you speak in a second, blah blah, got accepted to Harvard for graduate school blah blah, MCAT, la-dee-dah, slumming it now because I don’t care about the fancy stuff.”
Well, you don’t fool me in the slightest, sir. If you didn’t ‘care about that stuff‘ you wouldn’t advertise that you went to Stanford every other sentence, you wouldn’t proclaim that you had all the money in the world and gave it up. No, you got divorced, your wife was a good-ass lawyer and she took all your shit. And, second off all, I grew up fairly poor, and am currently very poor. So when you see my lifestyle as a novelty, like method acting, I find that extremely disrespectful. Because yanno what? Some of us don’t have the luxury of choice.
You are educated, you have many years of experience with life, you may (or may not) have money, but I see you. You are a perverted little boy, just like the rest of them. And while you say “I had the white picket fence and the fancy cars in the driveway and I gave it up” I see you still have your white picket fence. You gloat about your fancy education and good job in well rehearsed soliloquies, hot breath blowing fresh sawdust off of your recently constructed mansion. You are a coward, still hiding behind a different version of a white picket fence.
But, sir, a white picket fence by any other name is still just as pretentious.
You say you had everything and you voluntarily gave it all up, but I see your knees trembling. You are shaking, hiding behind your fence, scared to say that you lost everything, scared to say that you are lonely, that you lost your best friend, lover and children. Camouflaged by your white picket smile, you are terrified to admit that you are a sad, sad man.
So when you defend yourself after I call you out, I see that you are carefully covering all your bases, acting innocent, acting naive. I see manipulation is a skill that you have honed. I am not fooled even a little bit. You may be educated but you are not smart and you are certainly not wise.