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  • Hysteria By GIRLONFILM Contributor

La Chagrin

From Hysteria By GIRLONFILM Issue 02 "CHERRY KISSES".

Written By: Lydia

There is something about me that enchants people, intoxicates them, obsesses, and bewitches them. It happens at college, in friendships, it happens with strangers online, and in the tangible world. While I am able to recognize this phenomenon as fact, I have yet to digest the entirety of the situation or even begin to dissect the constituents playing a role in it coming to fruition so endlessly. It’s all very equivocal to me, and I’m unsure I ever will fully comprehend it.

I kissed five men in 2022, and had sex with four— three of which I’d known longer than a week. All five of them told me they were in love with me in a time frame most would deem incredibly rash and borderline alarming— two told me before we ever even kissed, one after a week of knowing me, one after a month, and one has been reminding me for years. The same thing happened with the first man I kissed in 2023.

They tell me they’re in love with me, and they say it with the conviction of someone whose met their kindred spirit, but they don’t know, at this point in my life “I love you” has evolved into a semantic satiation, and a phrase expressed to me more flippantly and more frequently than someone merely declaring having a crush on me. Their naivety and emotional stuntedness are displayed through the lack of exploration of the gradation or depth of their feelings for me, and the absence of juxtaposing the amount of time they’ve known me with such intimate, grandiloquent statements that can never be revoked. They fall for my ideologies, my dedication to my dreams, my passion, my brain, the authenticity of my desire, and the ease at which I express the pleasure, pain, and experiences I crave, but mostly my body, face, and tenderly seductive touch. I can recognize this now, but when I was seventeen and this was happening, I couldn’t.

Out of the eight or so times this has happened in the last few years, I have fallen for two. I fell for them explicitly and irrevocably. I mistook their promises as earnest and realistic, innocently allowing them to seep into my bones, forming the new connective tissue around my heart and lungs, the new group of cells forcing my heart to constrict and my lungs to inflate. My new mechanism of survival. I shattered the hearts of the rest, but not without being completely transparent about the fact that that would be exactly what would transpire before it did. They were in denial.

When I showed the first draft of this essay to a friend, she told me that I needed to attempt to detail what made me fall in love with who I did, in hopes that supplementing the anecdote with more personalization would allow my audience to potentially connect with me more. So I’ll try to paint the picture for you, all with the remembrance in the back of my mind of the time the lover I’m about to attempt to illustrate shamelessly confided in me that he once opened the diary of a girl he was sleeping with, was met with seven pages written about him, and never spoke to her again. At least I’ve only written two and a half— less than half as bad.

An author that I used to read a lot as a little girl once said, “it’s easy to confuse your soulmate with a mirror.” I think that was the case with him, and I can recognize that now. He is, without a doubt, the most beautiful man I have ever seen. Everyone agrees. And he knows it. He’s about six foot with curly brown hair that would bring any girl to their knees, and does. His tattoos swirl like vines up his heartbreakingly muscular arms and chest that are chiseled from years of boxing. He has an unassumingly gentle presence once you peel back the layers of intentional coyness and swag.

As we got to know each other, over a very short period of stolen time, we connected over countless things. It is rare that I meet a man, let alone one in their early twenties, that can keep stride with me intellectually, and participate in thought-provoking discourses and debates with me, all while delicately introducing me to new perspectives.

He could.

We spent hours walking around my city recounting experiences from our pasts, our prior relationships, our recent romantic escapades, and the prospect of our unforeseen futures. We spoke of our mutual desire to raise children in Europe, and our fear of bringing them into this world at all. We dissected capitalism and the solution— was it socialism, communism, neither, or a mixture of them all?

We attempted to explore the dichotomy of what it means to be a woman in today’s society versus being a man and the regression of our human rights. We talked about our addictions, past and present. We stayed up until six in the morning every night getting to know each other, swapping secrets, spit, and love. I drove him, and sometimes our unaware friends, around in my car, blasting songs— using lyrics as double entendres in hopes of extrapolating a tiny bit of the astounding caliber of feelings bubbling inside of me. I didn’t want him to know if I was doing it on purpose or not. 

He marveled over how “Daylight” by Harry Styles depicted us so accurately— him doing cocaine in my kitchen the night before, us reading our horoscopes together and analyzing our astrological compatibility, his impending departure back to New York. Then it was “Take Me Where Your Heart Is,” and I was screaming, “I’m so into you, but I don’t know where I’ve been, I just want you to take me to where your heart is,” and he winked at me from the backseat, our friends oblivious to the entirety of the situation playing out between he and I. 

After that it was “I Think He Knows” and I was singing, “He got that boyish look that I like in a man. I am an architect, I'm drawing up the plans. It’s like I'm seventeen, nobody understands. No one understands.”

He said he understood perfectly.

We danced around using the phrase “I love you” with each other until we couldn’t anymore. We would tell each other we had never felt this way before, that we were overwhelmed by how quickly we were feeling so deeply, that we never find ourselves to be on this side of a situation like this.

He told me he thought whatever we had could’ve been the real thing while we were in the middle of the grocery store.

He told me he would treat me right.

He, like me, had become very familiar with the phrase “I love you” being expressed to him in ridiculously irrational amounts of time. Women saying it after “knowing” him for days, or weeks. I asked him if it ever overwhelmed him, receiving so much attention and affection from the opposite sex— a paradigm I’ve never really gotten to explore with anyone aside from myself. Most people don’t have sympathy for the emotional distress that falls on the hands of beautiful people, for solely being beautiful. He said it did. We were petrified because we were used to hating the people who threw around those words too quickly, too flippantly. We both cried when we finally said it, after eighteen days.

When we were in the car I started singing along to songs titled “I’m Gonna Love You For a Long Time” and “I’m in Love With You.” He later told me I was never being inconspicuous about my drive time playlists, that he knew the whole time, and that he was in love with me. One night as we were laying in my bed he told me that he never listened to what people were saying until he heard me speak, and that my eloquence and ability to articulate my emotions and beliefs was the thing that attracted him to me most. He made me feel seen. 

Talking to him was like talking to a twin you got separated from at birth. Someone that shared part of your mind that you never had a chance to explore until you reunited in your twenties. Then he flew home. To his life in Brooklyn, consumed by alcohol, graffiti, violence, and as I later found out, his girlfriend. Things changed, leaving me with no choice but to accept that the whole time he was just a master wordsmith.

I stay silent.

I maintain a pitiful friendship with him. I don’t release the pain it causes me. I attempt to mask my anger as something playful, lively, and sparky. I mold my disapproval and my feelings into a vessel tiny enough to fit in the pocket of my pants and tuck it away. Why? Because no woman wants to be perceived as overbearing or angry. Our souls are bound by whispered promises of forever, delusions of the future, the expressions of his whimsy desire to treat me right, his continually voiced yet unproven, unwavering love for me, and unfortunately for me, my genuine reciprocation.

But, no one likes an overbearing woman: they are one of the worst kinds of antagonists, of villains.

So I stay silent.


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