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Thursday, 16 September 2010

Brand New Wobbly Start

Source: IMDB
We met up today, me and she. I bought her a bouquet of roses, one dozen of them, from a florist nearby my office. Then I drove to meet her. She hopped into my car and brought a bag of clothes -- "Your clothes," she said, "because they cannot fit into my wardrobe anymore." I handed her the roses and she was happy to receive them. She asked me if I knew that there were other guys chasing her, and I said yes I know. They are better looking than me, and they have more money than me. Yes, she said, but you have a five year relationship with me, and you treat me good. But if we break up, she continued, perhaps someone else can have a five year relationship with me, and he can treat me better! I really had nothing to say. Lost for words, stuck for words. I felt that the more I said, the worse it would become.

She said that she only wore the same t-shirt and the same short skirt that she was wearing today, when she met her guy friends. She had the same "auntie" look and wore the same glasses. She thought that I had been special, back then, showing interest in her even though she had a weight problem. She said that she was surprised, to find out that her men friends were all very interested in her, even with her present look. (She had started to diet a few weeks ago, and I had thought that it was for health. She said then that she would only eat one meal a day, and so lost some weight -- and a dress size -- in the process.) She said that all this while, there were guys interested in her, chasing her, texting her, and she had kept in touch, but never told me, because she didn't want me to get worried. (But on the other hand she wants me to remain open to her about girls that I have come across. That sounds like a double standard -- is it?) 

When we arrived at the shopping mall, I asked her if I was still her boyfriend -- for today, at least. She looked at me with mild surprise and said yes. I placed my hand on her lower back, because a boyfriend is allowed to do that. She asked why I asked her this question? I said, because if I still am, then I can place my hand here. If I am not ... then I should not. She asked, "What if I said that you are no longer my boyfriend?" I replied, "I would have to try to win you back then. Wouldn't I?" She said nonchalantly, "I don't think that you would do that. You said before that if you couldn't win me back, you would end up marrying another person." "Ah yes," I said to her, "but I would try to win you back before I give up."

We had lunch, Nando's chicken, just she and me, at a place nearby her parents' apartment. We had a long chat. I told her that I was sorry for everything, perhaps we can start over again. She said that she was human too, she wasn't without emotions. She wasn't too keen to give up on a five-year relationship.

Back to our lunch, we had quarter chickens, and while waiting, she agreed to give me another chance. I begged with her to let me make things work. It was lucky for me that she said she would give me another chance to make things work. But she asked me, "How long? I don't want to wait another five years!" And she asked me, "What will you do for me? I don't want to waste my time!" She had two concerns: First, my work, which consumed all my time until I had no time to bring her out. Second, my parents who she felt were dominating her life. Fine, I said, I would try to promise you that I will bring you out at least once a week. One day a week for our relationship. Second, our work, I would try to persuade my parents to let her work elsewhere. Then she would be freed from the perception she got, that her future in-laws, who were also her upper management, were controlling her. (It is a mix-up that frequently occurs when your family members are also your superiors in a company. If we admonish you for work purposes, it isn't personal.)

She said that yesterday, she had met her sister during lunch, and had cried while relating the pressures she felt in this relationship. Her sister had cried for her too. She said that her sister told her, "You aren't going to live a few thousand years, only a few tens of year. If you are not happy, you should just let go and move on." Her sister had told her to make a decision and to stick to it. She told me that I had become used to taking orders since young, and her trying to dominate my life was probably just a little inconvenience that I could handle. But she was never required to take orders from parents, so she felt pressurized when my parents asked her to do this or that (all of it, I am sure, for work purposes). She said that she had pent up these emotions for a long time, she never had the heart to tell me, because she could see that I am working really hard. But last night she released all of her pent up rage and anger to me on the telephone, because she knew if she didn't say it then, she wouldn't say it to me another time.

Source: Yahoo! Movies
I really had no mood to eat. I forced myself to eat the quarter chicken, possibly finishing only half my portions. I was still troubled. I asked her about her meeting her men friends. She said yes, she had met them, even though she had cut them off from her social life ever since going steady with me. She said they went out for drinks, dinner, and sometimes movies. Some of those outings were one-to-one, others were one-to-many (group). I hung my head limply, I felt sad. But I had no choice, I could not prevent her from meeting up with her friends. I sat beside her and hugged her waist, and I said, "You see whomever you wish to see, as long as you don't do anything wrong to me." She looked at me and said, "I never did anything wrong with those guys. What we did is very normal." I did wonder which guys she meant. I asked if she had met any online friends; she said that they were all either ex-college mates, or ex-work mates. None of them were net friends. I felt slightly relieved. But then I remember that she had been a real regular kaki back in her college days and her working days, going to pubs and clubs for alcohol and dancing. I asked her, what if people decide to ask her out for dancing and clubbing? She said that she would still take up the offer, because she wasn't going to get drunk and she surely wasn't going to hug anyone.

I wondered about that. I remember that a long time ago there was a guy named Chua who had invited her to have a drink with a few ex-students from her college. That was a long time back. She had agreed, naively thinking that she had another two girls who would go along. Somehow the place that they were meant to go to was in Changkat Bukit Bintang, a pub called La Bodega. They went in separate cars, and my girlfriend followed Mr Chua. Chua looked at her all the way, and put his hand on her .... She didn't tell me much, she just said that he had put his hand somewhere, and it made her uncomfortable. When they had arrived at the pub, Chua had bought alcohol for everyone, and he especially made an effort to try to get my girlfriend to drink more of it. I had telephoned her frantically, trying to find the place. Finally, I had found the place, and I rushed there. She came down and I drove her away. (Funny, now that I come to think of it. I never got to meet her friends that night.) When I raised the issue of Chua, she scoffed at it and said that she wasn't keeping in touch with him. (Well, if only he is excluded from the list of friends, then she will have a great selection of people to go out with -- everyone except Chua. Any guy, except Chua. Ah! Chua, you have become a lousy filter for the other scoundrels who would take advantage of my poor situation.)

She said that I was a jealous man, and I would scowl at any male friends of hers who showed any interest in taking her out, or even talking to her. So she would not introduce me to any of her men friends. She could only promise that she would not do anything to wrong me, or make her feel that she had to apologise to me. (This again is another question, because if you feel that pre-marital sex is meant to be experienced, then you do not have to explain anything to your fiancee or boyfriend... nor will you apologise for your behaviour, because in your set of values, pre-marital flings are perfectly normal.) It will be a testing of my patience and faith in her.

We walked around the mall today, looking at sandals, high heeled shoes and clothes that were discounted 20% to 70%. I suggested a pair or two, and she said they were not nice. After a while, she said, "Are you trying to make sure that I will wear ugly shoes so that nobody wants to see me?" I said, "No. I am just giving my honest opinion -- they do look nice on you." She tried the clothes, and the changing room was off-limits for men. She opened the door, expecting to see me, but I was not at the door; I was standing some distance away. She got annoyed and said, "Let's go, you're not paying any attention to me."

"Attention." That word got my attention. I think that what she wants is attention, and attention is what attracts lonely old ladies and horny old men. Attention can be given by lavishly praising the person, making the person feel important. It doesn't always have to incur great expenses, but it can be carefully planned so that it maximizes impact on a minimum budget. I think that she wants attention, and I will have to find some way to convey that to her. Apparently my working very hard all this while is not sufficient to gladden her, to make her see that I am working hard for our future. Rather it is the silly simple things in life (so she claims) that can make her happy. Going for supper by the roadside stall, taking a drive and a walk in an open park. Perhaps making things interesting by always visiting some place new and different. I am going to try, but I have found that in the end, she is always happiest in a shopping mall. (I will have to remind her that we should try new places, not just shopping malls, to avoid getting tired and bored, and also to avoid excessive expenditure.) Did you know that shopping malls charge a bomb for rental, and tenants at these malls pass on these "overhead costs" to the customer?

As I was driving her home, I asked her, "Does today count as a date?" She said, "Yes, umm... I would suppose so." So this is how she wants it to be, and this is how I will have to make it work. I told her, "You know, since the start of our relationship, I have never told you that I do not want to be with you." She said, "Yes, but now it is too late. You have to prove to me your love before I agree to marry you. You missed the boat." I sighed. I said, "This is not the meaning of my words. What I meant to say was, I never said that I do not want you. This means that I want you." "Oh," came the reply. "But you're always too slow in your emotional response. Yesterday you kept so quiet on the phone, and you're only telling me all of these right now." "Never mind," I said, "let's try to make it work."

Just three weeks of concentrating on my work, and everything which has been long buried, suddenly surfaces. Now, the only question in my mind is, how is it that she knows, that her men friends are "very interested" in her? What do they say to her during their outings? And what do they do that she says is "very normal"? All I know is that from now on I will spend some money on bringing her clubbing and alcohol. Screw the gym, I'll get a treadmill. Screw saving up for her Taiwan trip, she doesn't appreciate it -- and when she does go, it's with a whole bunch of strangers. Not with me! It's time for me to enjoy my own money with my own honey. Otherwise I'll only be financing some other guy's enjoyment of my girlfriend. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.