The Monet Girl – Why connections with people don’t need to last a lifetime to matter

I would like you to think of a young woman, she’s a talented concert pianist who is beloved by all, she’s always animated and the centre of attention at any party. Now I’d like you to imagine what she looks like without any further prompting from me. I’m willing to wager whatever you want, that you imagined her to be beautiful. Personally, I imagined her to be fair skinned, with the skin tone of ivory, crimson lips and eyes like sapphires.

I came up with this hypersexual image of this woman who I know nothing about, because us humans have an enormous bias for beauty. In fact psychological studies have shown we’re not entirely wrong, beautiful people are associated more with competency because they’re often more intelligent than average. Nevertheless, this “halo effect” often blinds us to reality.

On Monday, I had a stark reminder that reality is equally hard for everyone, the difficulty just takes a slightly different tone. I had a date with a stunning girl, I’d initially stopped her on the busy Knez Mihailova street in Belgrade – I’d told her that I found her to be beautiful and her blue and green shawl reminded me of Monet’s water lily paintings. We clicked, and bantered a couple of minutes, throwing in a sexual innuendo or two for good measure. As such, we traded numbers and we went on our separate ways.

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A short while later, we’d made plans to meet on Saturday. By then my phone had broken, so I had no means of contacting her besides facebook. Because of this, on the day when we were supposed to meet, when there was a horrible storm, she thought I would flake on her because I didn’t respond to her messages, regarding the storm, and thus disappointed she decided not to show up. I talked to her, and we decided to meet on Monday, as we realized it had all been a silly misunderstanding.

Quarter of an hour before the time of the date in the city centre, I decide to just remain at our meeting spot and continue reading the book I was sinking my teeth into. When I look up, it had been twenty minutes, so she was either late, or already here. I looked about and saw her standing nearby in a dark dress that accentuated her figure beautifully. I said hello to her, and she admonished me for supposedly being late. I laughed it off, and went about my business.

The prime goal in this date was to get her close to my apartment, as my usual meeting spot was demolished as she said that she had no intention of meeting me where I’d said. Again, I’d simply laughed it off and didn’t let it bother me. She seemed to be doing all she possibly could to throw me off guard, asking awkward questions on purpose, or not listening to my plans despite the fact that I’d organized the date in the first place. So rather than going near my apartment, we ended up going in the opposite direction, much to my dismay.

She was going on the fritz again, and she kept rebelling with any and all the things I wanted to do or say. Under usual circumstances I have little patience for girls who try to domineer the situation. They usually do it to filter off the weak-willed men, who are not worth the effort. Calling it out and putting your foot down does wonders. However, I noticed something funny, as we were walking down the street we stopped to listen some street musicians playing Ave Maria.

She thought I was the type who wouldn’t enjoy it, so she started saying stuff like “let’s go, you’re clearly not enjoying it” despite it having been her idea in the first place, and me having no issue whatsoever with listening to it. In fact, I was enjoying the moment. It’s the same that had happened the other day, where she hadn’t shown up because she didn’t think I would. It was clear that she was deeply mistrustful of people.

I don’t believe I’ve mentioned this before, but I have this ability of “reading” people. It mainly came about as a defence mechanism from a rocky childhood. However, it has given me the ability to see patterns in people’s behaviour, body language, etc and understand them on a deeper level that they might think I’m capable, given what they’ve supposedly revealed of themselves. I’d call it a sixth sense if it didn’t make me sound insane. However it’s incredibly useful and dangerous on dates, because you can easily connect with people on a deep level, but you can also hit emotional minefields accidentally.

In either case, we went to this cafe, tucked away in a side street. We had a blast talking with each other, despite her testing my resolve on numerous occasions. Back in the day, I would’ve been destroyed by her assault, you have to be a strong man to survive it, but now I just laugh it off and enjoy the show, which I think she appreciated. I asked her what she found attractive in men, and she laughed and said that when they’re not scared of her. I realized that unconsciously or not, she keeps people at a distance, probably with good reason, as something likely happened in the past.

I just couldn’t help but feel a bond with her. I knew exactly what she was going through, I’d lived through it myself for most of my life. The difference is that whilst nobody expected social prowess from a morbidly obese, socially awkward thirteen year old, people probably expected the world from her at the same age. I fixed my issues with blood, sweat and tears, I forged a new identity over a decade because I was given the freedom to explore many identities because nobody minded me.

I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like to always be in the public eye and constantly be judged because you don’t fit a rigid mould of what’s expected of you, and then possibly having people strong-arm you into being someone you’re not through physical and mental coercion. No wonder that intelligent women would rather trade IQ points for bigger breasts when asked about the subject. Life’s hard enough as it is to want to swim up stream. I desperately wanted to kiss her, because I found her to be an intelligent woman, who’d gone through similar things I’d gone through. You can thus imagine my dismay when afterwards we walked through a park and she seemed to be doing everything in her power to not give me an opening, what with puffing cigarette after cigarette. She reminded me of the femme fatale in Humphrey Bogart’s Noir films, tough on the outside and gentle to a select few. I had to have her… “Patience,” she told me when she noticed my exasperation as she kept blocking me on purpose .

We decided to grab some beers and head closer to a park near my apartment. I thought it was in the bag, as despite the initial hiccups everything was heading in the right direction. Nevertheless, she put a spanner in the works once again when she randomly decided to sit down. I don’t think the gods of Mt Olympus itself could’ve compelled her to move. We thus sat down, and enjoyed the people going to and fro.

Knez_Mihailo,_Republic_SquareI had a very pleasant conversation, still somewhat offering barriers but I then started seeing chinks in the armour. Pardon the hippie talk, but I started seeing into her soul, and I started seeing who she truly was, not the gruff exterior that’s rough around the edges, but a sweet girl who can care for people and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She grew amicable and friendly, and I started seeing the forest for the trees. It was wonderful, and it was then that I tried to kiss her. She used the boxing move a lot of girls use of offering the cheek at the final second. However, I didn’t sense any real rejection. We continued laughing and enjoying each other’s company.

I don’t quite remember what I’d said but I remember accidentally hitting too close to home. I remember her saying that next time that I see her, she would kiss me back. It also wasn’t that she wasn’t attracted to me, or even didn’t want to have sex with me, but there was something there… I still don’t quite know what that something was, but the walls broke down. I saw her for who she was. She mocked the fact that I claimed that she was a confident woman who had it figured out, she said she didn’t trust anyone. I told her that we’re not defined by what issues we don’t have, but by the fact that even with all the baggage, and the bad experiences we don’t let it define us and we can still continue being ourselves. That’s what I call confidence, and I not only saw what I’d initially seen but I saw it a hundredfold now.

I don’t know what it was, but there was this moment of humanity there. Raw emotion, the sort of thing that poets write about in their epics. I tried to kiss her, again and again, and she kept rebuffing me but as she seemed to enjoy it, I didn’t back off. I removed her handbag that was between us, and I decided that if I wasn’t gonna get a kiss, I’d at least get a hug to share that emotion that I felt. She obliged, but laughed and said she didn’t need a pity hug. I replied and told her it wasn’t for her sake, but mine, as I wanted to share the moment with her.

Soon thereafter, after two dozen failed kiss attempts and what I think was a faint outburst of emotion with a tear or two almost ready to go on her end, but not quite. She stood up, and hugged me. Saying that it was funny how almost a stranger can make her feel so at ease with the world. I held her hands, and looked into her eyes and smiled. I saw what I’d been searching after multiple hours of fighting her obstacles. Now, nearing midnight,  I saw this raw beauty in her smile, this openness to me that one rarely sees in life.

I told her about this one time, a decade ago, when this random girl had walked up to me on the street, she’d smiled at me, made a peace sign and walked off without saying a word. For years, this had been my happiest memory, and it gave me hope for people, as it had been a gesture of kindness with no strings attached and I was living in a dark place where I didn’t think such things existed. In either case, that moment where I held her hands and looked into her eyes, as she smiled, I loved that. This might seem contrary to all you’ve known about me and my ramblings on how people ought to have more sex in general as we live in a very repressed society, but I think that was a more intimate moment than if we’d had sex with each other right then and there.

I might never see her again, what with how life operates at times. I also have a feeling that it might have been too intimate as a first date, and that might inadvertently push her away. However, I can quite happily say that we had this moment with each other which I shan’t forget soon.

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