All The Strangers I've Fallen In Love With
You wouldn’t know it but really I’m quite picky. I have had two severe, enduring (i.e. longer than an hour or so) crushes in my life: one was on a boy in high school when I didn’t know any better, the other on my wife. The year I turned twenty I became quite convinced that I was aromantic because it hadn’t occurred to me yet that you should date people you actually liked (there are worse things to think, the year you turn twenty).
All the same, I fall in love at least once or twice a week. It’s easily done. A backwards cap angled just right, a good twist of hair, a well-performed roll of the eyes. Presented at the right time, the sweet curve of an anklebone can floor me. People are so strange and hot and lovely: one morning I spent my 30 minute ride on the U2 gazing covertly at a girl with limp hair and make-up applied half-heartedly over acne scars, dreaming of the life we’d have in Rome. We’d meet on warm evenings to drink wine and fight over whether or not I was going to go home with her to visit her mother. In the mornings she’d cup her hands tenderly around my cigarette when I lit it so the flame didn’t go out, our cat winding around our ankles. I don’t even smoke.
At the Mauer Park a boy with a perfect afro and a crop top wanders past shouting with his friends and I get that feeling I sometimes get with men, where I look at them and think very calmly if given the chance, I believe I could wrestle you to the floor, which is the closest I come to heterosexuality. Later on our gazes catch. It is vaguely pornographic.
Any kindly older German woman who listens to me stammer my way through a sentence and answers clearly and unhesitatingly in German wins my unswerving devotion. I would fight dragons for these women. I would mount my horse and ride into battle with their colours upon my sleeve. Once I called a bank’s telephone service and introduced myself with “Es tut mir leid, mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut,” and at the end of the call the woman on the other end of the phone said, “Doch, dein Deutsch ist super!” I nearly swooned to the floor.
In the dream I told him that I was with someone and he had to stop, and he said, “No, this is it, it’s you and me, we can’t stop anymore,” and I woke up with my heart pounding. That isn’t quite the same but he was very convincing and so I feel it comes close.
I have become deeply infatuated with several intelligent, often unattractive professors, usually gay men with a charismatic speaking manner and expert knowledge about something quite esotoric. I once spent a semester in agony over a professor’s grave, reserved manner and her enormous silver belt buckle, and then felt immediately validated when my friend C. took another of her classes and texted me, after the first lecture, BB.
Every time a butch woman meets my eye I am immediately reminded of the Daphne Gottlieb poem.: it’s on but/i don’t know/whether i want/to be/her, fuck her/or borrow/her clothes. The word desire was written for butch women, and every single butch woman is hotter than every single male celebrity on the planet: this is an objective fact, don’t @ me.
A friend introduces me to her hot gay friend, basically a cooler version of Shane from The L Word, and I have to leave immediately so as not to embarrass myself.
An Australian accent, already drifting away and its owner indistinguishable in a melting crowd. A bored girl at a train stop late at night, swerving round the men catcalling her. A new boy in class with glasses and a nervous look, until he opens his mouth. A woman in her 50s with a backpack and weathered hands, a girl climbing joyfully up the steps of the u–bahn ahead of me with bright high-waisted shorts and her thighs jiggling, a moment of quiet solidarity with the only other queer couple on the U8 one night. Why don’t the four of us just move to northern New South Wales and live by the sea and be happy.
I love them all, with all the strength of my greedy hungry heart. A blink of an eye, a quick imagined life, and then home to bed and my girl.