Do you remember the fairy tale about the emperor who paraded naked through town? Deceived by a pair of thieves posing as tailors, he’d allowed himself to be convinced he was wearing the finest of clothes. Magical clothes, in fact. For the crooks had told him only the most intelligent of people would be able to see his costly garb. Indeed, his retainers and servants raved about the workmanship and the exquisite details of execution. Refusing to admit he himself could see not see what his underlings could—and for fear of being revealed as unintelligent, hence unworthy to rule—he strutted his stuff down the main drag. It was only when an innocent child pointed out the naked truth, that all the adults found the courage to acknowledge what was so clearly upon display: the emperor had no clothes. Hold that thought.

Ladies, here’s the next installment in my “don’t do I as do” saga of post-divorce relationships. I present to you, the emotionally unavailable prick. If you know the signs, he’s easy to spot. He is unable or unwilling to commit emotionally or to make a commitment. Yet he’s good—ofttimes very good—at short term intimacy. In fact, he’s a master seducer. He won’t be inconvenienced, however, ergo the relationship is on his terms. Ironically, he will even tell you he’s not good at relationships. He will tell you not to love him. Ladies, believe him! Voice of experience talking now. If you overlook, deny or rationalize, you will be in the short term disappointed—and in the long miserable. Loving an EUP is not for the faint of heart. The optimum word being “heart”—yours! ‘Cause, trust me, it’s going to get hurt (if you’re lucky), more likely it will be broken.

Regular readers of this blog are familiar—or at least they should be—with my EUP, aka Sunday. When last I wrote, Sunday and I were zig-zagging, “seeing” one another every couple weeks. It’s been an arrangement I have convinced myself works. (See “Cherry-picking”) I don’t want to get married again. EVER. Nor do I want a cloying “text each other every day” connection. In truth, after he’s been here a day or two, I’m ready for him to leave.

From the moment I met him (see chapter 28 of I Still Want Fireworks), I’ve known he wasn’t relationship material. But he was (and still is) fun and the sex was (and still is) great. The problem is biology. Mine. Time together (nearly 2 years) and frequency of aforementioned great sex, has created an intimacy between us. “Friends” he calls it. But friends with benefits rarely works for long. (See “Rules of Engagement”) While he handles the turn it on/turn it off emotional attachment just fine, I have not been as able to contain and compartmentalize. Since I have (and for some fucking reason he’s “not afraid of it”) admitted it to him, I might as well go on record here. Color me stupid, but I fell in love with him. Unfortunately. But being the strong, independent, intelligent and stubborn woman I am, I figured I could handle it. Wrong! As the events of last night revealed.

As I said, I’m independent and I handle my shit well. I am the Ice Queen. I turn emotions to “pause” and do what needs be done. I get up, dress up and show up. Death, divorce, suicide, deployments, drug addiction, alcoholism—all within my immediate family in the last 5 years . . . yeah, I’m resilient as fuck! But even the Ice Queen melts. Or at least begins to thaw. A week of successive “issues” (family, financial and creative—BTW, there is no greater fear for a writer than writer’s block) had weakened my shell. You see, the ice is that—an outer shell necessary to protect my vulnerable inner self. That said, I let down my guard.

I hadn’t seen Sunday in a couple weeks. In truth, I was missing the friend more than the fuck. (go figure!) Feeling vulnerable, I wanted strong arms to hold me, to comfort me. I was tired of having always to be the indomitable one, the one in charge. Just for this once, I wanted to be allowed to be weak, but with a man I trusted. And so in that brief and stupid moment of uncharacteristic weakness and show of vulnerability I did something I’ve never done—and believe me, will never do again. I reached out to him, expecting a little quid pro quo. After all, I’ve been there for him—repeatedly—this past year as he has dealt with some pretty major shit in his life. As is his wont, I didn’t hear back for a day and a half. When he finally called late last night, it was not what I wanted to hear. (Needed, yes. But definitely not wanted.) A 10 minute conversation ensued, mostly about his week and issues. He didn’t ask one specific question about mine and offered no more comfort than a “good luck” for what I have to deal with this weekend.

Oh yeah, I was hurt! I was angry. Disillusioned. Numb in his emotional detachment and disappointed by his physical distance. But then I started to take an objective step back. Why the fuck had I expected differently? He has been upfront from day one. Never has he promised or offered to be more in my life than a FWB. It was my choice to accept this arrangement. And truth be told, the man has given me copious amounts of material to write about! For that alone, I saw value in keeping our status quo. I was the one who had started to violate the rules of engagement. I was the one who had started to dress him in the cloak of “lover.” Then, when his actions last night simply revealed who he has always been, I was hurt? Duh! Dumbass! Go back and read the second paragraph here you just wrote!

Today, in the light of day, I see the truth clearly. He’s always been stripped down, metaphorically speaking. Raw in demeanor and action. (Little, if anything, about him is soft, tender or coddling.) Certainly, literally I have enjoyed him that way. Now the challenge—the task—is mine. To separate the fairy tale from the reality. Now that I know explicitly the emperor has no clothes, what do I do with his naked ass?

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