Frehel Diaries: The Crying Game
"People think that falling in love they make themselves whole?...I think otherwise. I think you're whole before you begin. And love fractures you. You're whole and then you're cracked open."
-The Dying Animal by Philip Roth

After hours of playing with Chunk, I was exhausted. We dropped Chunk off with her parents and after showering all the sand off, we went down to the "boardwalk", a brief strip of restaurants for the tourists. At a food stand, the Sauvage ordered a belgian waffle, or gauffre, with nutella for Nana, and we shared some frites.

He asked me, again, if Americans had nutella. We do, of course, and I had told him so before. What I couldn't explain was that to Americans, Nutella is a particular brand of chocolate hazelnut spread, whereas in France the term doesn't refer to a specific brand, but rather to a chocolate hazelnut spread in general. While I had been interested in these differences before, that my only use at this point was trying to explain the cultural differences between France and America was beginning to bore me.

After "dinner", I was on the verge of narcolepsy thanks to my extended play session with Chunk. I asked the Sauvage to drop me off at the hotel. I figured it would give Nana and the Sauvage time to be together, which apparently despite the afternoon together they still needed, and I could get some rest. I fell sound asleep almost before my head hit the pillow.

The Savage woke me when he returned at 9 by saying to me "This relationship is too difficult, it can't go on."

When I start a relationship from the first date or so, I imagine how it's going to end. What is it that is going to do us in? Jealousy? Other women? Inability to commit? Trust issues? His failure to leave the apartment? My emotional intensity? Based on what I know of him and myself, I begin to quickly whittle down the possibilities. Part of the point of the game is to prevent me from being blindsided by heartbreak; the other point of the game is that when it does happen, and I take the end of a relationship as a given, that I will at the very least have some roman noir-esque patter for the ending conversation. Anatole Broyard once wrote that you should have a style for dying, and I think you should have a style for leaving a relationship. Mine is to leave him bleeding and bruised with psychological torment. I want him to be in therapy....for years.

In this regard, I have a singular gift, which any of my ex-boyfriends will tell you. Assuming, of course, they are feeling brave enough to even mention my name. There is a reason why most men emigrate after we break up. Much like the Eumenides (the Furies of Greek and Roman myth), there is no escape from my wrath.**

But this, this completely surprised me. I had expected the end of this relationship, but not now, not like this. I had thought that he wouldn't contact me after I returned to the US, that he would lose interest long before my return, that he would ditch me after the first sign of trouble with his parents or my health, but it had never occurred to me that five days before the end of my vacation, he would decided to break up with me.

And out of all the times that I had planned and rehearsed a break up speech, this was the time that I needed one the most.

And I had absolutely nothing.

Unfortunately, while you don’t need language to fall in love, you do need language to fight. You need language to defend yourself. To reveal errors in logic. And when all else fails to insult and threaten. In short, in order to break up, you need a common language.

And so deprived of language, I cried. He tried to explain all the difficulties this relationship presented to him. As if I was unaware, as if I HADN'T BEEN WITH HIM THE ENTIRE TIME. I understood all these difficulties, but I couldn't explain to him that I was facing even more problems with this relationship. After all, I have a life, friends, a career in NY. I could never hope to be a professor in France, and yet here I was having crossed an ocean to be with an older man who increasingly ignored me so he could devote all this attention to his daughter. I desperately wanted to explain to him how lucky LUCKY he was that he came across on me on a particularly bad day because most of the time I wouldn't have even deigned to accept a drink from him. I mean, a blue collar ten years my senior single dad? I could spit and hit a better catch than that in NYC. No wonder his wife left him that ungrateful, self-centered prick.

But, of course, I couldn't say any of that so I cried. Not because he was leaving me, but because I hate feeling helpless. I was revolted by being in this situation and disgusted that he would put me in this position. Had I the ability, I would have vomited on him. That would have been a more accurate reflection of my emotions. As it was, I cried.

Seeing my reaction, he relented and took off his clothes to get in bed. I tried to seduce him, and it worked, but just as soon as he started to get turned on-I began to cry. If I couldn't torture him with words, well, I had other ways of dealing with that. If I was going to be rejected, I was going to make damn sure he felt rejected as well.

Instead, I got up and took two tylenol PM. Thankfully the drugs worked their magic quickly, and I fell into heavy dreamless sleep that prevented me from thinking what terror the next day held in store for me.

** My wrath is reserved for men who break up with me, but if I break up with the man generally I feel some sad affection for him and what was lost. Also, my rage is fueled by relationships where I've been killing myself to make things work while he has put in only nominal effort. Sure that's partly my fault, but when trying to drag myself out of heartbreak I find it better to externalize my rage.

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Creature Comforts
I know, I know, I owe you some Frehel goodness, but Julie has claimed that the very few recipes I post here are lovely. And so inspired by her words, I felt that any readers straggling over here from her blog should have something food-like to greet them.

I'm an insomniac from way back, so far back I can't really remember having a normal sleep pattern. Thankfully, growing up in CT, I managed to mature during the age of cable. Otherwise I would have burned through the Library of Congress....twice.

But I digress.

One of the things I liked to do when I was up late into the night while I was watching craptacular movies, because if I had paid close attention to "Girlfriend from Hell" and "Waxworks II" my brain would explode, was cook. One of the first things I learned how to make was spicy "kettle" corn. Over the years I've "refined" the recipe if you can call it that. I made the recipe again recently and, well, it's delicious, which is good because you have to eat it fast since the real butter topping will wilt the popcorn if you let it linger too long.

Spicy "Kettle" Corn

servings: 1 hungry person or two people willing to share

1 1/2 tablespoons corn oil
1/2 cup popcorn
1 clove of garlic-minced
1 teaspoon chili sauce (you can use tabasco)
2 tablespoons of salted butter
salt to taste

1 tablespoon parsley or chervil (optional)-minced

Add oil and popcorn to a large saucepan WITH A LID (otherwise the popcorn will spew all over the place). Heat oil and popcorn over medium heat. Occasionally shake the pot to prevent burning. Once the popping slows to less than once a minute, remove from heat. At the same time, melt butter with garlic and chili sauce in a small pan (or butter warmer if you have one).

Pour freshly popped popcorn into large bowl, toss with spicy butter and minced parsley/chervil if desired. If not salted to taste, add salt. Put on your favorite episode of MST3K or the new episode of Cinematic Titanic. Eat immediately while comfortably ensconced on your sofa.

If you are truly slacktacular you can use this butter to flavor microwave popcorn or store bought popcorn. Just make sure the popcorn is "natural" (without butter or flavorings). The reason I add caution is some "natural" microwave popcorn, and I mean YOU Paul Newman, is mildly flavored.

So put on one of your favorite movies and enjoy some salty goodness.

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Je Reviens
Regarde moi bien, je reviens...
je me suis perdu
Tous ces jours, mais je suis ici, je reviens.
Pour le meilleur et le pire je reviens.-Kaolin "Je Reviens"

Take a good look, I return...
I lost myself all these days, but I am here, I return.
For the best or the worst, I return.-Kaolin "I Return"

It seems there are some folks who misinterpreted my last post to be "I don't think some people like me, so I'm leaving." As if I ever considered the affection of others a goal.

I took time off not because "people don't like me" but because I felt like I had lost control of my ability to write. I knew I was going to come back to the blog, hence my comment I was taking time off, not rollin' up my blog and heading home. I wouldn't do that without a proper good-bye with a male stripper, a case of jamesons, and a pub crawl.

Over the years, I've gotten a lot of email over this blog. I've gotten some questionable quasi stalker emails and some random question emails and some old friends who sussed me out emails, but the one email about the blog I get over and over again is "Please don't ever stop writing." And my answer is always the same: that will never happen. I may stop blogging, but I will never stop writing. No matter how I feel. Because it is who I am before anything else. And it doesn't matter to me as a person whether you like me or not.

Or even better, I'm pretty open about the fact that I'm unlikable, insane, and generally a pain in the ass to be around. And those are some of my more attractive qualities.

"Allow me to be frank at the commencement. You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on." -The Libertine

Some of the best writers of their times were reviled. No one knows that better than I do because I TEACH those very same writers to students. I have always taught my students that if you wish to be a great writer avoiding offense isn't a legitimate goal. You may try to minimize offense, but at the end of the day, if you pursue greatness you must embrace offending others. After all where would literature be without Machiavelli's the Prince, Dante's Inferno, Huxley's Brave New World, Nabokov's Lolita, Joyce's Ulysses, Buckner's Woyzeck, Voltaire's Candide, de Sade's Justine, or Jarry's Ubu Roi. If these writers had cared about popularity, the whole of Western literature would be worse for it.

Generally, people like the comfortable and unthreatening. They don't like change or criticism, even if they know that a change can only bring improvement. My mother transformed a piece of crap hospital into a gorgeous state of the art facility, and she fought others every millimeter of the way. Now she is perhaps one of the most resented and hated, but successful women in her field because she improved a failing hospital. There was no way the hospital could have become worse yet every single innovation was debated for months upon months and usually came down to "Well we have never done it that way." And because of her strength and perseverance, hundreds of people now have a hospital they can rely on when they are ill or injured. And I am her daughter. People hate me because I'm her daughter, they hate me because I look different, hell some people hate me because I survived cancer. Don't ask me how but they do. But the one thing I've never done is given into that hate.

So go ahead. Hate me. But those of you who try to rally hate for me you better be damn secure. Because I've been made fun of and bullied since I was 5 years old. And this rapier wit of mine was sharpened out of necessity. So you want to bring it, I'm down with that. You just better be damn sure you can handle it when it's broughten. Because much like my literary idol Philip Roth, I don't take kindly to whiny hate mongering masquerading as legitimate criticism.

Now playing: Je reviens
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