PREVIOUS LETTER ||
NEXT LETTER >
Predicament of the Week
In which Breakup Girl addresses the situation that has, this
week, brought her the most (a) amusement, (b) relief that it is happening to
someone else, and/or (c) proof that she could not possibly be making this stuff
El Duderino Rides Again ... and
Again...Now in Second Place for All-Time BG P/W Appearances
Dear Breakup Girl,
First of all, I have no intention to break the record on serial Predicament of the Week (Brad). So I'll try to
keep this brief and relatively less colorful.
Second of all, you were accurate about the pitfalls of seeing life through
tinted glasses. Very perceptive. However, I hesitate to peg Japanese Girl as
one of those first decent meal after coming out from self-imposed exile. I
don't think I have loss my common sense to have fallen for someone who just
happened to "step in." JG is INDEED a truly righteous babe. My heart
grins just thinking about her. It follows, of course, that I did not fall for
the sake of falling.
And third of all, I don't have a third-of-all, but still.
From my angst/metaphor ridden letters, you would not have gotten the
impression that, in "real life," I am basically this aggressive,
devilishly mean, Newman/Brando-ish stockbroker. I don't think I have split
personalities, may be I'm just a bit more in touch with my feminine side, two
hard-core feminist sisters made sure of that. Frankly, this affair with JG
deserves more delicate consideration as opposed to one of those million dollar
trade, where you coldly calculate your beta, stare at your candle-stick charts,
and say "well, this trade "SUCKS," lets cut it loose." If
it was that simple, with all due respect, my sentiment and prose wouldn't have
been this purple.
(This straight talk does not in anyway diminishes my respect for, and
gratitude towards BG. But I digress)
Anyway, it's not really like that, is it? I mean like how do you rationally
reconcile the fact that a mean and nasty schmuck like me can feel completely
vulnerable and soft in front of this woman? (It's true, I so eat dudes like
those in Glengary Glen Ross for breakfast and I'm so not purposely deprecating
for the effect of juicing the script.) How then do you explain that a man,
whose favorite phase is "that's not my problem," could spend hours
mixing paint and rubbing them into the canvas to paint her portrait and then
later argue with himself about hues in his sleep? How do you conjure the image
of a normally serious adult who manipulates his facial muscles doing an
impersonation of "The Boiling Pea Soup" to the beat of Harlem
Shuffle, making a complete fool of himself in the process, for her amusement
just to hear that glorious note of laughter?
How, pray tell?
So I pulled out my spreadsheet, called up the charts, and punched in the
figures, and voila; this is what the computer says:
Of all the footprints he left on the jungle path in Sarawak and ancient
steps of Angkor, of all the secret dreams that had been diverted to the wrong
baggage carousel, "of all the curtained faces that had watched him pass
down winding streets of twilight cities," it had finally become clear.
And, like a dusty wanderer of old who has drifted far and wide and now sees the
solitary light of his home and hears the wind chatting with the chimes on the
balcony, his loneliness dissolved. Finally. As his hands held hers, with utter
tenderness, otherwise reserved for week-old puppy, perfectly formed and
unalterably complete in his love for her.
I did look up your column on Long Distance
Relationships and your practical advice is, as always, sensible and
insightful. But it left me feeling like I was reading the blueprint for some
infrastructure project or the logistic planning for the next World Cup. Don't
get me wrong. I like what you said, and there are certainly many different ways
to skin a monitor lizard when herbal soup is on the menu. But I'm afraid I'm
just a bloody sentimental bastard. And realistically, I can't forget about JG
either. You are damn right it sucks! So totally sucks in a major way.
I am a Chinese and a Buddhist. To us, the concept of Karma and Fate is so
not some new-age fad you acquire along with your Malibu beach house. Hence,
you'll forgive me if I let JG go without telling her I love her. I have a
feeling she knows that already. I'll bet my last dollar she's doing the same
soul searching thang as I have been. In addition, negotiating LDR protocol will
be a cultural nightmare for both of us. I will explain. Asian cultural protocol
as such prevents us from verbalizing every thought. So we depend on subtle
gestures, moods, contexts, and God knows reading what else between which lines.
For example: yes, doesn't always means yes. "Yes" sometimes means
"I hear what you say but it doesn't mean I agree with you." And no,
well, like anywhere else in the world, means no. But "difficult" or
"I'm not sure" sometimes means no. "I'll think about it"
sometimes means exactly that but sometimes also means NO. See what I mean?
Sometimes you may hold her hand in public ONLY after you are a major item
and talking marriage. But JG and I hold hands like lovers and we haven't even
kissed (a first for me). It's not like we are prudes. There are so many
"rules," and bending of rules, and old versus modern rules, it's not
even funny. This is a very common navigational problem for Asians who are very
westernized as we go through life, love, and loss. Trying to make sense of it
all without abandoning 5,000 years of cultural indoctrination. Mamet can kiss
my posterior if you ask me.
So, you may ask, why not be more straight forward like we Americans, make
your own rules? I honestly don't know. It's a culture identity kind of thang. I
think.I suppose I shouldn't complain about the pain but dear me, I feel like
sticking my fingers through my eye sockets into my brain and swirling it
around. I'll live, though, El Duderino ALWAYS does.
Lastly, I'm so back on the balcony, yet again. But this time, I stand
-- El Duderino in Malaysia
PS. I'm sorry, I'm sure there were some questions somewhere. If not, feel
free to press "delete." Thanks again for letting me rant. You don't
know how much I appreciate this.
Welcome back. It is my pleasure to PW you again,
especially because it gives me the chance to clarify.
First of all, I definitely don't think that you fell
for JG just because she was there. I'm just suggesting that "Now that I
have a new insight, this time it'll work!"-relationships ... don't
Second, my Mametian "it sucks" point was
absolutely not meant as a dismissive "Get Over It!" wave of the hand.
I simply meant to suggest that, for all intents and purposes, JG's departure --
even allowing for the true age-old concepts of Karma and Fate -- does not Mean
Anything. All intents and purposes being, in this case, to drive yourself a
little bit less nuts.
Also. Far be it from me to question your explanation
of Asian protocol. But just one thing: Do Americans -- or anyone else --
reliably mean what they say when they say Yes and No and Not Sure and We'll
See? Answer: NO. Meaning: No.
And. I totally forgive you for letting her go without
speaking your heart. Your call. I just wanted to make sure you realized that
doing so-- rather than being the mute martyr -- was a viable option.
Another And. While I do have a problem understanding
some of your references to monitor lizards and ancient steps, I totally don't
have a problem understanding how you can be ruthless by day, Romeo by night.
Actually, I think it's great. To paraphrase psychoanalyst Adam Phillips, quoted
in a previous Predicament, people are complicated. We are not, as he wrote, "all of
a piece." Phew.
So. Rant and write and paint and balconate and Angkor
away, Dude. I know you're in pain, and I know that stuff helps. Usually. Make
sure that when you High-Artify your life, as we've discussed, you're actually
clarifying -- not complicating -- things for yourself. Be stoic for now if you
must, but remember this: in your first letter,
you were basically wondering if you'd ever love
again. Now you know the answer is Yes. Meaning: Yes.
PREVIOUS LETTER ||
NEXT LETTER >