Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Exes

Admittedly, I have a weird perspective when it comes to ex-girlfriends. I don't mind them. I don't mind hearing about them, and I don't mind seeing pictures of them.

I got to thinking about this last night, when Amy and I were hunched over the computer, looking at pictures of The Lady-Killer's ex-girlfriends. One of the exes is a girl I kind of know in a roundabout way, and I've always liked her. I've always thought she was pretty and funny and nice. So when Amy said, "Don't you just hate her?" I said, "No! Not at all!"

Amy stared at me, disbelieving.

"I'm serious," I said. "She's a nice girl."

"You are strange," Amy said. "I'd hate her if I were you."

And I know that's the way a lot of girls would feel, but I rarely have that gut reaction. It used to be that I thought my tolerance of ex-girlfriends was a thing unique to my relationship with the Boy From Work because when he told the stories from his past, I thought, Oh my God, that's so cute. I thought, These are the girls who have, in a way, made him who he is today.

I was thankful for that, for them. I was grateful for the ways they shaped the boy I now knew. After all, I didn't have the luxury of knowing him back then, and, even if they were awful, even if they were mean, they must have had even a tiny part of making him who he was now, and--obviously--I liked who that person was.

But today I kept thinking about that, kept thinking about if this was a new thing, if I'd only recently started having benevolent feelings for the exes. But I realized it wasn't anything new, not at all. I liked one of Keith's ex-girlfriends so much that the three of us went out to lunch a few times together, and we even went to her wedding, which--bonus!--had really dynamite food.

The only person whose ex-girlfriends drove me crazy--just the thought of them, just the idea of them--and that was the Wily Republican, but maybe that's to be expected. Everything about my relationship with the WR was like sand slowly falling through my fingers. He was impossible to contain. From the first moment, from our very first kiss, he was slipping away. And anything that reminded me that he was so tenuous--and the girlfriends did exactly that--made me panicked, more panicked than I could explain.

But, beyond him and his passel of exes, I have a tremendous amount of empathy for these girls who share something in common with me. It's not that I want to have them over for a dinner party, it's not that I want to sip cocktails with them or nibble at finger foods, but I do understand a little something about them, and I understand they have played a role in bringing my boy to me, and I guess I can't find anything to hate in that.

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