the other half

This she? no, this is Diomed's Cressida:
If beauty have a soul, this is not she;
If souls guide vows, if vows be sanctimonies,
If sanctimony be the gods' delight,
If there be rule in unity itself,
This is not she. O madness of discourse,
That cause sets up with and against itself!
Bi-fold authority! where reason can revolt
Without perdition, and loss assume all reason
Without revolt: this is, and is not, Cressid.
Within my soul there doth conduce a fight
Of this strange nature that a thing inseparate
Divides more wider than the sky and earth,
And yet the spacious breadth of this division
Admits no orifex for a point as subtle
As Ariachne's broken woof to enter.

admission:

Rather than start offensively, let us begin from the other corner, with a simple admission - that this section exists is a reflection precisely of my inabilities and flaws; not theirs, collectively or singularly. I am no misogynist. Woman is an indispensable concept; women are wonderful. The feminine an inner-worldly beauty.

My lament, to be clear, is aimed firstly at the rogue personification of the woman concept, the camarilla that patrols the boundaries of the heart and enforces the law of romantic failure. Second, I am well beyond the end of any tether. These two motivations - one theoretical, the other very human - propel this quest to list traits that I have a severe antipathy to, and which, experience shows, I seem to have developed an attraction for. Unlike most, I am unhappily "an expert in failed relationships". Note that these are all drawn from actual experience, neither mere hearsay nor imaginings; some things you really could not make up.

Onus ingravo:

Definition: To be afflicted (ingravo) by a burden (onus); more commonly known by the term "Excess Baggage". Weighty matters best not packed into the relationship. Remove and hand carry these out of here. For example: "My father is a drunk" or the ever classy, trailer-park style of "My first boyfriend beat the shit out of me all the time".

Femina diabolus:

Definition: Often mistaken as a Christian virtue, this is more accurately an exclusively cerebral ailment, where the only thing that gets fucked is your mind. For example: Although best captured in a name, it seems churlish to resurrect the dregs of womankind from the chthonic.

The tortured soul:

Definition: Not to be confused with the burdensome past of "Onus ingravo", this is more an attitude, one that extends to futural events and is indicative of commitment tendencies (i.e. "none"); it most regularly occurs when women get bored and decide to pick on me. For example: "I love you and want to be with you but I have other plans". O, My! How this particular one hurts ... This killed me. Song: "Cold blooded old times", by Smog.

Dominus domno:

Definition: The root cause of this particular affliction is philosophical excess coupled with hormonal imbalance, further exacerbated by reading Georges Bataille's Blue of Noon. For example: "You don't want to sleep with me because you are afraid of me". Errr, OK, if you say so.

Plura Personae:

Definition: Also known as the actress syndrome. Rampant when professionalism - of duplicity, faces, masks - is taken to heart and rehearsed in the theater of intimacy. For example: This thespian tramp thieved two thousand, too.

The Singapore Swing:

Definition: A breed thankfully found only in the Tropics; this bird is a product of severely dysfunctional role models and a slight misunderstanding of the meaning of "relationship". For example: "I'll cheat on my boyfriend before he cheats on me". Great first impression! You go, girl!

Pretentious Cow:

Definition: A self-styled Jancis-wannabe and like her, this one is generous in form. Heavy with Bad Faith and just plain plain, she is driven to over-compensate in other fields: judgmental to extreme and self-centred, this one has an unmined mass of Inner Ugliness. Thus abundantly resourced, she longs to grace the pages of "The Peak". Requiring copious amount of gifts (and food), this one gets bitchy easily, which explains her preference for less than attractive female friends. For example: "I have been close to getting married ... and would have been married ... if it wasn't for circumstances!" Gee, that reminds me of the Scooby Doo cartoons, when at the end, the bad guys have been caught and they would always say: "and I'd have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you pesky kids!" LOL ... Ever heard about how owners and their dogs share a personality? It's true!

Accredo luminosus:

Definition: Once Sinned against, often Sinned against; not oblivious to libidinous subterfuge. Self-proclaimed advocate of amour's purity, deploys John Wesley's "Repetition reinforces faith" to matters of the heart and outwardly remains a bearer of virtue. Destined to grow old trapped in loveless wedlock popping tranquillizers. Often mistaken for Bardus puella (q.v.), it's a fine line between cunning and stupidity. For example: Her song, Celine Dion's "My heart will go on". Heh.

Connubialis crepundia:

Definition: Of necessity found in every metropolitan area (and Bali). Requires minimal amounts of TLC, but nevertheless motivated. The key here is quality (read: fun) not quantity (read: long drawn out BS). Also known as a "fuck buddy" in the movie "Vanilla Sky". Not to be confused with Bardus puella (q.v.) For example:

Bardus puella:

Definition: Harmless when silent, there is a tendency to punch above her weight as she chimes on (and on) with nuggets of opinion. Previously treatable by a University degree, this breed has flourished as the efficacy of the vaccine has waned. Text speak encoded as part of genetic make-up. For example: Look out your window.

Important closing remarks

This attempt to compile an encyclopedic typology of womankind is an attempt to answer the fundamental question: "What are the conditions for the possibility of a relationship between equals?" Lest it appear that thisway of framing the question pre-judges the outcome, I accept that it may well be the case such a relationship is indeedimpossible. On another level, doubt maybe cast on the rightful basis of this inquiry: this wholly scientific attempt atharnessing and re-directing mental energies to the realm of the irrational without shirking from confronting otherness in its purest, most evil manifestation. Should you feel unable to subscribe to this stance, consider the alternatives and consequences. Granted you may prefer to leave love to the heart, justice to the just, piety to the pious. However, as you foist analysis to the couch, you have thereby also made love unaccountable for its charms and misdeeds. That, surely, is to act in as loveless a manner as is divinely conceivable.

Equally Important closing remarks

Perhaps you are not into this kind of psycho-pop-peeling-away-of-the-psyche pooh. Disturbed to find someone even more disturbed than you? Uncertain whether to take this bilious rant seriously?

As a postscript, Milo has also raised the distinct possibility that all this quite clearly shows "how f**ked up" I am. He is probably right. Either that or its some form of retribution, where karma seeks equivalence. Anyway, you people go ahead and love one other. I quit. Incidentally, in the interests of full disclosure, the real reason why I'm single is threefold: Timing, Trust, Taste.

Final concluding conclusions

For long this has been in an unkempt state. But now the quest recommences, and with it, this compendium grows ever larger, more ... errmm compendious, soon to reach finality and completion. The author dutifully pursues the highest ideals and maintains the purest form of objectivity. As captured by the essayist Randolph Bourne:
"It cannot be emphasised too much that the function of the ironist is not to make fun of people, but to give their souls an airing [...] This is the only justification of the aesthetic attitude, that, if taken provisionally, it sweetens and fortifies. It is only deadly when adopted as absolute".
What better achievement, is there anything more apt, than that irony be deployed on that most caustic of subjects? There is none that has escaped from folly under its spell, and no-one more keen and qualified to display its forms. Think, if you must, of us as puppets on a string - your Heloise to my Peter Abelard - and we are all unwitting participants in this cosmic game, desire's dance. Desire is a peculiar concept, perhaps something that cannot ever be quite captured in thought and may yet elude "capture" for always. If that be the case: Long and intoxicating may the quest be! A measured summation is both necessary and inevitable. Of prime import is the sublation of fixed values: Beauty, Intellect, Wit. Each has a place in shaping desire, each supplements other so-called secondary qualities. But the three, even when found (admittedly rarely) in a single soul, cannot form the end of the quest. Who is not clever enough to appreciate such qualities? Alas, in our haste to commend Beauty, Intellect and Wit and herald their charms, we forget those little things that cushion the weight of everydayness, soothe the "drudgery of usefulness"; the little things, aether that enshroud Beauty, Intellect and Wit. Here at quest's end, it is with heavy heart that I conclude with a final observation, prefaced with a sigh. The course of a coupling is never an individual achievement. "Never man sighed truer breath".

Amid this flux, in the interplay of forces, the inconstancy of factors, with the odd random variable, we are left in awe. Not for the brute fact of experience - this is a human obligation - but for those sublime moments, magical imageries, our capacity to arouse and take flight to distant heights. One need not despair at the aporia of the unattainable - "torn halves of an integral freedom, to which however, they do not add up" - only entreat the old refrain:
"Let's go hand in hand, not one before another".

The Culmination!

I'd like to thank every last one of the types above and their various human personifications. The road to Wit, Intellect and Beauty is a long, arduous one, but at its end awaits WIBby: a special, normal someone; with WIBby, the quest is complete. --- Singapore, 3rd May 2005.

C'est la vie

Motion is perpetual,
standstill final.
Maturity a question of degree
Discernment a social necessity.
Tolerance a quality of highest esteem
Imagination a spirit with which to dream.
Peace a sporadic apparition
Forgiveness a virtue of which we still beg tuition....
- A. W.