“I had to let you go because you were too beautiful. Beauty bores me,” he tells me. It’s an excuse typically laden with pretension for someone of his nature, which is to say, someone who will never know what it’s like to not have the option to be surrounded by beauty whenever the mood should strike him. Someone who can say, “Okay, I’ve had my fill of the grotesque, I’d like to go back to America now.” Though, of course, the irony is that America is the most grotesque place of all despite all that convenience and sanitization. But it’s a place that one can feel clean, “safe.” Free from the guilt of wanting to be comfortable. The pussyness of it all. Of having shrimp heads pre-plucked for you. Of having oodles of packaging to separate your “clean” hands from touching anything too deeply.
I’m standing in his kitchen when he tells me this thing about having to let me go. It’s the kitchen at his apartment (I will never say flat) in London, near Sweaty Betty and where Damon Albarn lives. I’ve asked him several times if he’s ever seen Albarn, but he still doesn’t know who Blur is after all our time together, even though the band has been a mainstay of my playlists. You should always understand that if a person isn’t going to feel sentimental about the same music that you like, then there is no point in being with them. If they can’t feel anything now, they certainly aren’t going to later–and that’s going to end up leaving you with all the feelings. Or at least it left me with them, for I’m very sensitive to my own ideas of what “meant something,” especially when underscored with a specific soundtrack. Like what I was listening to that day in the kitchen, for I had made the ill-advised decision to put on “Animal Nitrate” by Suede as I prepared coffee in the moka pot I had bought for him. As you might have noticed, I have something of a hard-on for Britpop. I woke up before him, uncertain of my place in his home. After all, I was a guest now, not the live-in girlfriend. It felt presumptuous to move about the space as though it was my own, and he didn’t make it seem as though I should feel that way.
As usual, he didn’t appear to notice the music I was playing, every song I had ever hand-selected to set a tone going completely over his head. It was as though he had been custom-built to never feel anything in such a way so that music could not register on his brainwaves. Apparently, all he could process was aesthetic beauty, as opposed to that of the auditory variety, which is right up there with the powerfulness of scent. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t enough to sustain interest, for he had a point about the eventual boredom of beauty. One wants a change after a while, whether in the form of a rather hideous-looking prostitute or in the lobbing off of a girlfriend now considered dead weight. I had the fortune of experiencing both means of his exorcism, unearthing his visit to a whorehouse in the least beautiful place in the world, Manchester. Truly the home of the quintessential English girl: pale, rotund, bad teeth, stringy hair–that sort of thing. I might never have discovered his indiscretion had it not been for the friend he accompanied to the venue, Noah. The worst possible representation of the smarmy Jew. He was only willing to pay for a prostitute because his gentile uncle had given him the money as a birthday present–otherwise, he would have remained content to continue his unwanted streak of celibacy. That’s the thing with men like Noah, they take it or leave it–pussy is not their currency. For my beau, however, it was. He was feeling hemmed in, suppressed. All the usual and predictable feelings that come in a domestic situation but that only apparently Kanye is allowed to rap about as a means to avoid cheating. Release your emotions, confess your sins–and make money off of it! That’s the only way to shirk infidelity in the twenty-first century. And since my beau was not a man of talent so much as a man of luck, he would never have that release. Save for via the release of semen into a Mancunian prostitute. But as anyone as sensitive to music as I am knows, the only worthwhile Mancunian prostitute is Morrissey. My beau, not sensitive to music, did not know. So he released himself from me in more ways than one while in Manchester.
Finding out felt deliberate, as though he had instructed Noah to “just happen” to mention it in passing and then “suddenly” catch himself. I was preparing Campari and soda when he “accidentally” spilled the info–prompting me, in turn, to spill the drink everywhere. He was going to be home any minute, and I was supposed to simply “deal with” this information Noah had dropped on me while we were waiting for him to complete the dinner party. Go about my hostessing duties like the good little domestic partner I had been conditioned into. And, playing into Noah’s natural belief that I was just another oblivious female nitwit, I went about my business as though I hadn’t heard anything cataclysmic, which seemed to rather disappoint Noah. He so wanted a reaction from me. And the only satisfaction I got out of that evening was not giving it to him. It was only after he left that I expressed my knowledge to the one who had grown bored of me. The one who didn’t care that I ironed my hair, adorned it with accoutrements, glossed my lips, perked my tits, dressed in the sweetest yet sexiest way possible. It was beauty that had grown stale. How could it be beauty if it was quotidian? That’s what I was now: utterly. fucking. quotidian. Just set me ablaze why don’t you? I’m a useless object without the ability to be attractive to the one I love.
And that’s how I’ve found myself back in London six months later, finally able to return to the apartment where I had left some of those personal effects that once made me an object of beauty, but have now proven to be nothing but useless items in a futile quest to remain permanently desirable. In fact, I could feel his eyes gloss over when he looked at me, as though he had already memorized every flaw and every perfection to the point that it wasn’t even necessary to really look at me ever again. Yet still, I looked at him, practically stared holes into his soul. I wanted one last image before I left for good. Returned to the place where it all started and where it would all end: New York. There is no place more hideous and more beautiful, after all. Where they take heads off their shrimp and their residents. I know they took mine when I got back, listening to “Animal Nitrate” as I rode the J train and thought about that see-through glance he gave me. The glance that confirmed a woman loses all of her power when she is no longer a lovely thing. Prosaic in her prettiness, at best.