…I do not remember posing for this but that little pouch and that thigh rub – it all seems so familiar…
Four of Pablo Picasso’s eight long term lovers paid the price for being smitten by his artistic prowess, and their own desire to hang on a wall in a museum; two killed themselves, one ironically by hanging, two had mental breakdowns. The other four might have succumbed to a myriad of sexually transmitted diseases, because man could this dude bed a woman, or a thousand.
As with the thin line between love and hate, Picasso painted a thin line between his feelings for women. Patrick O’Brian, a Picasso biographer, described the swinging pendulum of Picasso’s attitude toward women as “oscillating between extreme tenderness on the one hand and violent hatred on the other, the midpoint being dislike – if not contempt.”
So why have so many of them around? I’ve not an intimate knowledge of the soul of Pablo Picasso, but it seems safe to assume he did not love himself. And so it became necessary to offload that dislike of self onto a nearby set of breasts, painting them so that he could be the rock star, the artist extraordinaire, in their eyes, while they were being used. Up. And spit out.
He was being used, too.
One former lover, Dora Maar, once told him, “As an artist you may be extraordinary, but morally you are worthless.”
And then she probably had sex with him, because, by association, perhaps she then would be extraordinary.
We live in a world bursting with duality – the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the dark and the light. The bad boy is enticing. The brooding man mysterious. A spank exciting. An illicit affair exhilarating. And we need to dabble in it all.
What the hell is going on here? And where have all the good guys gone?
Back in the days of hunting and gathering and big cats with bigger fangs, we humans had our fair share of living on the edge. While being blissed out has become both a business and a desired state of being, it still has not taken the majority by storm. And our brains haven’t quite gotten used to the sensation.
We like life spicy.
Bad ass with a touch of chaos.
I have my own issues with a lust for all things audacious. Somehow after fishing for rock fish off Bolinas this past weekend I agreed to go abalone diving. If you aren’t familiar with this pursuit, it involves donning a wetsuit (unless you’re nuts) and diving in the waters off the coast, where the waves crash up against rocks and the sea grass obscures the view. With a big breath crammed into your lungs, you dive down to peer in and around rocks for a giant mollusk that will grip that rock like two adolescents in a lip lock. Your job is to pry it off before you die.
And then don’t overcook it or your risk will not be a reward but an unpalatable, chewy disaster.
What makes my choice to do this all the more unhinged is that The Dudes and I saw our first great white shark while a few miles off the coast on Sunday, bobbing in a boat with our lines in the water. The dorsal fin did that great white weave as it sliced through the surface. Probably a juvenile. As if that’s at all comforting.
It shouldn’t be. They make the most mistakes. Of course.
Look! A seal! Oh, darn. That was one of those things with all the bones. Blech.
Bolinas sits smack in the Red Triangle, due east of the Farallon Islands, where they come to feed on seals and such. Sure, attacks on humans are rare. Enough to keep some out of the water. Others don’t pay any attention. Me? In some way, I’m fascinated by sharing real estate with the predator of the sea. I like a little edge with my every day life. It makes me feel alive.
What really scares me is the mundane. Repetition freaks me out. Those dark, brooding types that have unconventional stories? I’ve always liked turning the pages of their books, enjoyed the cliff hangers.
Until now. As in JUST now. Because we all know that there have been a few named characters here that have been unconventional.
I flippantly tossed out the name Mr. Picasso for a certain man in the last post. A kitten raised an eyebrow and pointed out that Pablo had a thing for mistresses. That comment sent me pondering. Why are bad boys alluring? What about nice guys? Are they any better?
Then I got to this: Why is it challenging to fall fully under the spell of the good guy?
Who is definitely not the nice guy.
Bad boys make bad choices and we expect it. That’s what we signed up for when we took a walk on the wild side. When a bad boy cheats the “should have known betters” rain down like dollar bills at a strip club.
Nice guys make bad choices, too. And when they do we feel duped. He was such a nice guy! Along with falling for a bad boy or two, I’ve been captivated by a slew of nice guys. Gregarious, big smiles, a great laugh. The kind of guy you want to bring to a BBQ or to a friend’s house to watch the game. The kind of guy you feel pretty certain will make a good mate. He may need to grow up a little, but what guy doesn’t???
Nice guys make for nice dates. And makeout sessions. Nice guys play the part, know the game, and break rules just like the bad boys.
They are too busy being the nice guy to be themselves. To be authentic. And given that I couldn’t even explain what that meant until one year ago, when I benched my Ego, I fell for it every single time. One time I fell so hard I walked down the aisle.
Good guys are not nice guys. Good guys aren’t trying to be somebody because they are somebody. And they know exactly who that somebody is, which leaves them relaxed, able to enjoy life. They aren’t shape-shifting and trying to fit in. They have nurtured their moral compass. They get a thrill from standing up for what they believe in, usually in a settled, quiet-ish fashion. They don’t follow the herd, and unlike the bad boy, they don’t need to make a big deal out of it. Good guys don’t smack you in the face with their sexy or their money or their jobs.
What’s really fascinating is that good guys seem, by and large, unable to be anything but a good guy. If a good guy goes bad it’s because he’s on TV. True good guys are the ones that will have a conversation before an affair. They’ll cry as they tell you the love is gone. They’ll be there for you even after they’ve moved on.
Good guys are the stars of bittersweet love songs. They’re the ones about whom Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote: Tis better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all.
It’s taken me until now to realize that deep down I want a good guy. And I think I’ve found him.
But Mr. Picasso wasn’t going to work. So I set out to craft a new name. I looked up the translation for good guy in Swedish: bra kille. To much like a bad slasher flick. How about in German, a language he speaks fluently? ‘Guter kerl’. That’s either me bowling or a girl band from Prague. I looked it up in Farsi but couldn’t read it, write it or pronounce it. But it looked beautiful.
Canadians are the ultimate good guys. So I looked up the translation for good guy in Canadian. A picture of a toothless guy holding a big silver cup in one hand and his nose pointing in the opposite direction. (Note to self: Study Canadian)
I had to come up with the goodest of all good guys.
Mr. Ellen DeGeneres. Kind. Reliable. Joyful. Optimistic. A helper. Smart. Funny. Self-deprecating. Has a killer casual wardrobe. Loves women. Understands men. Great kisser. (I assume she is – just a hunch.) That’s it. I’m dating Mr. Ellen DeGeneres.
Guess who gave the ultimate seal of approval? My Mom. She predicted this one, kittens. Two years ago.
Now I just have to trust myself.