Friday night at the pub. Two lonely, messed-up people. Not a pretty story.

She’s been single for almost four months now. She’d forgotten how it could feel – or maybe it didn’t feel like this the last time she was single? No, it didn’t feel like this. She was young then, and… what was it? a carefree feeling? a confidence that she could be loved and desired and valued? a self assurance that came from… well, from people wanting her. She had always had people wanting her, she had always known that she could have pretty much any guy if she just showed an interest, a willingness. Her body was desirable, back then.

Nine years later, who is she? what is her worth in the singles market? looking in the mirror she sees an unattractive tummy that hadn’t been there before, and she’s not so sure of herself.

She’s had nine years of being cooked for and fed and made fat by the person who claimed to love her but who kept putting her down, making her feel less and less lovable. Could she have seen the violence coming? Should she have seen it coming? She had stayed on because she kept believing she could love that person better – she knew where the horrible stuff was coming from, she knew the mess that had been caused by abuse, she knew the history behind it all, and she thought, she really thought, that staying on and showing love to that hurting person would make the hurt go away.

She’s not sure who she is now. And she feels very very unsure of what she’s worth.

She met a guy and fell head over heels in love, and thought it was mutual. But he’s cancelled a date with her and she is feeling so heart-broken, she doesn’t know what to do.

She goes out to the pub with the people from work and she has one drink after another, trying to numb the pain with medicinal gin and tonics, but it’s not enough. She wants someone to make her feel wanted, desirable, worth it as a woman. She looks around at the guys from work who are standing around with their drinks and in her mind she thinks: married, married, engaged, married, has a girlfriend, married… single. There’s only one guy there who is free. She has exchanged the odd comment with him at work but can’t say she knows him well. She has never fancied him, but… he is free and single and here, and she is getting drunk and…

Available. That’s what qualifies him for the task. He is there, and he is available, and he isn’t especially ugly or horrible or anything that would disqualify him. And he picks up her cue – when the rest of the guys say they’re going, she holds up her still half-full glass and he says he’ll stay and keep her company.

Well, of course he would, the guys at work would say, he’d be crazy to pass up an opportunity like this.

Not because she’s anything special. Just because, like him, she is available.

Of course she knows that – when she’s sober. When drunk, it feels exciting and wonderful and she’s on top of the world. Drunk and lying on the office floor with this guy, she feels like she’s a queen – she is this woman who is driving a man to sheer ecstacy, she is sexy and desirable and look, there’s this young man (younger than her!) who can’t get enough of her! She feels fantastic, now, when drunk.

When sober, she knows that it means nothing. When sober, she knows he would have done that with any woman who was willing.

But still, there’s that need, that desire to feel desirable. It’s exciting, every time. She keeps going to the pub on Friday nights in the hope that it will happen again. Sometimes it does. But why does he always talk afterwards, when sober, about stopping it? Why does he seem so embarrassed about it? What’s so embarrassing about sleeping with her? Is she not good enough, not cool enough, not… what? Why does he insist on keeping it a secret in the office? What’s so bad about it, when they’re both free and single?

She so so wants him to talk about it. She wants him to be proud of it, because she wants to feel she is a worthy catch, she wants to think she is attractive enough for a guy to want to brag about having her. Isn’t she?

***

Years later she looks back and wonders: what was the need he was trying to satisfy back then? Just as she was trying, hopelessly, to satisfy her need for self-worth through him, there must have been a deep need in him that he was using her for – no, not that, for that a man (forgive me) has other means. If all he wanted was an orgasm, this guy knew how to get that without using her. Just as she wasn’t using him for the sake of sexual gratification – no, she was using him for the sake of a (very short-lived) feeling that she’s the tops, that she’s worth something, that she’s desirable. What was it for him?

Never mind. It’s all in the past now. She’s in a better place now, she knows her worth now and doesn’t try looking for that feeling in all the wrong places, in places that can only provide a very very temporary respite.

Thank you, God, for rescuing me from that darkness. Thank you, Jesus, that you don’t wait for us to become better, you reach right into the mess and lift us out.

Thank you, God, for showing me what my true value is in your eyes by sacrificing your only Son for me – what higher value can anyone place on a person?

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2 responses to “Friday night at the pub. Two lonely, messed-up people. Not a pretty story.

  1. Pingback: Friday night at the pub. Two lonely, messed-up people. Not a pretty story. | Meirav's Soapbox

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