I married an asshole.
And assholes have feelings too, so I don’t mean to be too harsh. Assholes really are people. They love deeply, aspire to greatness and feel badly when the rest of us direct our own moments of asshole-ittude at them. All of us are figurative assholes from time-to-time, and we certainly all have literal assholes, which can be quite awesome nerve centers, not just stinky craters that we name jerks after. I guess that’s why I prefer to call supreme tools “assholes” instead of “dicks” or “idiots,” because we all have assholes and they only hearken to our own back ends instead of previous names for the mentally ill. Also, “idiot” somehow implies an unawareness of the jerkiness being implied, and while assholiness can equal obliviousness, I am speaking more to the kind of character who often willfully hurts, demeans or ignores. And I married one.
There are up-sides.
Firstly, I am kind of a tool myself. I have plenty of charms and warmness (as, again, most assholes do) but I can be a loud, harsh, abrasive, controlling and inconsiderate – especially when hormonal and pregnant. As a major perk of having married an asshole, I don’t very often have to worry about remembering anniversaries, being even modestly sensitive or occasionally shouting “asshole” when I mean it. I can be almost as independent and aloof as I want without very often hurting Partner’s feelings. Of course, being from the Midwest and ever so slightly more sensitive than he is, I apologize readily and genuinely enjoy sentimental holidays more than he does. It’s part of what sets me apart from the more serious sides of his asshole-ittude.
But even serious assholes tend to be more entertaining and witty than touchy-feely saps. In retrospect, having a partner with a decent emotional IQ would be nice, but honestly, being boring or dull is one of the worst sins I can find in a person, so I’m almost always attracted to the sparkly-eyed douche over the timid cookie cutter every time. I really know how to connect with arrogant, slutty, smartypants. Now, if a quiet country mouse looks mischievous, I’m happy to dawdle with the introverted rodent in the corner, but there would still be slightly off-color jokes, perversions or something so profoundly silly as to be out of the norm. So, I am more than partly to blame for falling prey to the more serious downsides of my beloved asshole. And some of the downsides are very serious.
I have not just been offended just once or twice over minor squabbles and mis-understandings with Partner. Despite trying my best to be articulate about my flexible sexuality and standards, I have still been ditched, lied to, had an ass covered in sanitorum thrust in my face, my hair drunkenly pulled much harder than was friendly, safer-sex guidelines broken and my vetoes of potential tricks disregarded. Many of which while I was pregnant or otherwise engaged in other meaningful tasks, like graduating. On more than one occasion, Partner has snuggled and hit on prospective tricks in front of my conservative parents, not just violating our mutual wish to keep our families in the dark about our open relationship, but ignoring me at my own special events, like our very own wedding.
I’ve lost friends because Partner can be such and asshole. Not only does he not like to share his good booze or anything but his penis with good friends or new acquaintances, but he refuses to accept boundaries seriously requested of him by myself and my/our/his friends. He hits on and makes out with the exes of our besties. He macks all over the friends of his siblings. He got into the mouths and pants of a girl who was madly, unrequitedly in love with me, followed shortly by the craziest, most disturbed girl in my writing program. After each of us in turn has asked him not to. But if he’s got chemistry with someone, anyone, almost everyone, he can’t help himself. His crotch leads and his drunken and/or lusty brain follows and justifies his actions afterwards.
Somewhat most seriously, we’ve lost a place to stay at our favorite Pride event in San Francisco. We loved nesting for a week at the queer love nest of one of our mutual best friends. She’s wonderfully slutty, smart, funny, responsible and has an amazing flat. That we can never stay in again. Because Partner ditched her with too much stuff to carry all by herself while she was injured and limping at the Dyke March. After which, he continued to party, came home wasted in the middle of the night, having just made out with another one of our host’s ex-girlfriends, which he has been repeatedly asked not to do. And then, oh icing on the cake, he rang the buzzer from downstairs. Not just in short bursts to wake us from our exhausted slumber. No. In one, long, continuous, nerve-splicing, ear-exploding buzz from hell. It woke us, it woke the baby, it woke the neighbors and we couldn’t buzz him in while he was holding the damned button down.
I threw on pants and slippers and ran down three flights of stairs to let him in. While I gave him the benefit of the doubt and checked that the button was not stuck by itself, he ran past me, with his face red and smelly from his illicit ex-biting, up the stairs and locked me out. He locked me out. In the middle of the night. Away from my baby who was crying for me. My baby was crying for me. Because Partner had woken him. I could only clench my fists and teeth and every other part of me outside of the locked door and hope that Partner was not attempting to comfort my child while being fall-down drunk.
Our lovely host was wearing earplugs far from the door and could not hear me knocking. Had I pounded on the door until she heard me, irritating the neighbors to the point of calling the police, or had I called the police myself to report being locked out, they would have asked if I wanted to press charges. I have enough self respect to know that if I ever need be asked that question, I will say yes. What my asshole did to me would have qualified as a domestic dispute. He endangered my baby. He left me in the hallway while my baby cried for me.
But I didn’t yell or pound or call. I crossed my fingers that my baby was crying safely in his bed, behind the solid door to the walk-in closet where I had stashed his cozy little nest. I just wanted back in next to him. To rush back in to check on my beloved baby who holds virtually all of the strings to my heart, every single string but the very few held by my asshole. I waited. I sat quietly while asshole taunted me through the door while brushing and flossing his teeth. Tears ran silently down my face for half an hour, until he sneered and unlocked the door, so that I could rush in and lean gratefully against the closed door to my baby’s undisturbed room, listening to him fall back asleep while his other parent passed out, unapologetically on the air mattress.
That was months ago. We now have a temporary sobriety-at-all times rule in place, as well as a temporary monogamy rule and a very, very thoughtful queer therapist. But even in therapy, my smart, hilarious, super-hot Partner is an asshole. He’s trying his best to make sense of everything, but his skull is very thick, arrogant and self-centered. He sees no problem with his drinking, his tricking or his lack of ability to remain apologetic for more than thirty seconds. He resents that my response to chaos is control. He won’t read the book that our uber-intelligent and really gay therapist has recommended. He won’t even speak in I Statements.
So, what am I to do? Am I to leave my adorable little bungalow and take my child away from the asshole who loves him deeply during the two hours they have together each evening? Should I admit that I am half to blame for this whole mess, that there’s nothing left to try, and throw up my hands and move out and on? I’d have to do more than parenting full-time and nannying part-time. I’d have to get a serious, for-real job and not see my little lovey while paying for his roof, food and substitute childcare. I’d have to file for divorce before I would qualified for any assistance, even for food stamps. I certainly would not start over again in love. I would try not to be a miser or doom and gloom hermit a la Havisham. I’d have a shit ton of friends and tricks, more than who can stand to be around asshole now, but I’d never partner off again. I’d just admit that I don’t live well with those that I am attracted to.
But I’d have to be apart from my darling asshole. All practical considerations aside, I’d miss his smell, his prance from the shower to the dresser, his warmth in bed, his science fiction expertise, his wit and charm. I’d miss the free sperm and the joy it brings me to have found a Partner who is queer, goofy, brilliant and unendingly attractive. I would get my desired stability at the cost of losing a partner who likes beer as much as I do and a cock in his mouth far, far more.
It’s a tough choice that I don’t understand how to not linger over for a very, very long time. There are good days and bad days. Days when I don’t mind giving up on my friends and Partner being in the same room, days when I am so sad and angry that I am ready to grab my baby’s birth certificate and walk out the door. But they both just make me sigh. Depending on how much effort Partner is ultimately willing to put into change, I will either have to desperately miss my asshole or continue to suffer the consequences of loving him so dearly. Which is worse?