A conversation with an old friend I hadn’t spoken with in years got me thinking recently. About many of the same subjects I have explored and discussed often in these pages. Why are men so often such pigs when it comes to infidelity? And what can women do about it? There are 186 characters in The Transcendence Diaries, each numbered and sorted alphabetically. It’s the only way I know how to keep track of who is who, who said and did what and when. Soma is #173. She and I grew up together in Pine Ridge. She was a small town girl with big city aspirations and a penchant for partying at a young age. One of the many things we shared, along with surfing, skipping school and our mutual love for The Tree (she was his friend first actually) and punk rock. After our Senior year we lost touch, as happens to so many of our childhood friends. But in my sophomore year of regular college, post two years at music school, we discovered through a rather odd twist of fate that after leaving Pine Ridge to attend college in different cities, we had both moved to the same city just a few years later. Soma’s mom was always very cool with us back in high school. She was one of those few adults who got it. She never gave us a hard time for being who and what we were. She too had moved from Pine Ridge and was now living in Hollywood, Florida, where I had moved to attend FAU. She was a registered nurse at a local hospital in Hollywood, just as she had been while we were growing up in Pine ridge, and after smashing my fifth or sixth new car into a tree during a late night of shenanigans, I was rushed to the emergency room. I was more than pleasantly surprised to soon see that Soma’s mom was the nurse on duty that early morning who would be helping the doctor on duty stitch me back up. It was, as some might put it, a more than mere synchronistic moment. Damn more like providential. There I was all beat up and bloody. And there she was with that twinkle in her eye. Just as she had been ten years earlier when I had my tonsils removed back home. Of course once I was all patched up and ready to jet she informed me that Soma was in fact also living in Hollywood. Attending a local community college I believe. Though I can’t say with certainty I remember it all vividly. What I do remember is that Soma and I were ecstatic to be living in the same town together, years later after high school, with both of us being new and neither of us knowing too many people there yet. We reignited our old friendship immediately. And without too much thought, as we tend to do during the college years, quickly allowed our friendship to morph into something more. This something more started innocently enough with our shared wealthy-but-laidback beachtown upbringing, and intensified due to our new found discovery that through the years we both had concurrently developed an interest in pharmaceuticals, late nights, good buds and great music. I also believe we provided a bit of home-style comfort to each other that we were sorely missing having been college-roaming vagabonds over those prior three years. The details of our experiences during this period aren’t exactly relevant to the subject at hand and besides, they should show up in another area of these diaries and a simple search for her name should provide the reader with more detail than they’d ever care to know. That is if I’ve gotten around to writing about me and Soma yet, which for the life of me I can’t recall. But in due time. All will be covered before the final nail is hammered into my coffin. Those were very good times. Exactly as college should be. The only detail that perhaps is pertinent to the subject at hand is that the time we are currently discussing is Fishy circa eighteen or nineteen years of age. A pre-enlightenment Fishy so to speak. In fact it was my friendship turned pseudo-relationship with Soma, God bless her, that led to one of the most profound awakenings of my early years. Up until that point in my life I never viewed relationships with girls as anything other than a good time. Yes there were the “girlfriends” like Anne Pageant. And again there are years worth of our history in the four or five thousand pages that make up this tome so far. But from the best of my ability, from here, looking back, the best way I can describe how I viewed relationships with girls was… selfishly. It wasn’t that I was a deliberate asshole. It was more like I was just plain ignorant of what an asshole I was. It was a classic case of conquer and escape. And I had become a master at it by the time I hit my late teens. The worst part about it, and there are many worst parts, is that not only did I not seem to care how my actions affected the girls I was with, I distinctly remember getting a rush out of the ego-boost. It was almost as if their heartbreak fed my sense of superiority. That’s not an easy thing to write or remember. If I hadn’t spent so much time repenting for my past, making amends, and feeling confident in who I am now, in that I deliberately set out to recreate myself in a more noble and chivalrous fashion, I’m not sure I would be able to even go here. But it still doesn’t stop those feelings of guilt or remorse from popping up when reflecting back on those early years. These days, it appears that in the realm of dating, life on earth – especially in what we call the Western World – has changed so dramatically that I might have been viewed as a gentleman back then. But I can assure even the most naive among us that I was the furthest from gentleman as a man can get. Call it what you will. Hit it and quit it. Conquer and destroy. Love ’em and leave ’em. These days they call it “being a player” because that’s what’s considered the cool lingo of the day. And indeed many in our society who have yet to evolve past animal consciousness still pride themselves on that label. When speaking about it from the heart, most people simply refer to this kind of behavior as a typical guy being a typical asshole. It started in junior high school. A simple game. My brother Beaver and his best friend Porky, being a few years younger than I was, used to get a kick out of hearing of my many adventures with the various girls in our town. They decided to start counting them and keeping a record of them. A more advanced version of notches in the bedpost. Once we hit high school and the numbers got higher it was more about breaking records than it was about anything else. After the numbers game got tired we then advanced to keeping a record of the names. A simple game becoming more and more detailed and advanced, with the goal being to see if I could nab at least one girl for every letter in the alphabet, using their first names only. Such as Amanda for A. Simple. And stupid as hell I confess here now. And insanely wicked. The problem with the game of course was that when you grow up in small town America, you’re liable to meet a lot more Judys, Jacquies, Janet’s and Jennifers than you are, say, a Shakira or a Zahara. But that would come later we would learn. At that time our frustration was that by senior year I had collected five Tracys, which was a record in itself and still is, but not even reached the goal of achieving even half the letters in the alphabet, let alone conquering all twenty-four of them. By the time the numbers reached the hundreds and the letter game became boring, I was in full blown rockstar identity, which meant among other things that hanging out with girls to put it politely was more than “easy”. It was more like just one of those things you do, like playing the guitar or reading. It came with the territory so to speak. So as not to ever confuse anyone that men are anything but complete animals, we decided to up the game to make it a bit more challenging and interesting. We decided that I would henceforth begin collecting countries as my goal. Two-hundred and twelve countries to conquer worldwide and their name didn’t even matter. It was more challenging. And indeed a lot more interesting. We learned a lot about geography. We put up a large map of the world on the wall at the office and used a colored pin system to begin charting out my progress. I know somewhere in these worded walls that speak is already a photo of the infamous map. So for the purely devilish, relax and know that yes it exists. But no I did not complete the task. The unthinkable happened. I fell in love and decided to hang up my hat and get married. To reveal how many countries I did manage to conquer would be a ruthlessly hurtful act towards my now beautiful and loving wife. We’ve already gone way past where we should have. But we did so for a reason. To prove the point that even men such as myself, who seem so sensitive or caring or evolved or enlightened, or whatever projected label of the day might be thrust upon us on any given day, are still capable of unthinkable selfish and insensitive acts that do nothing but hurt those around them and boost their own egos. Or so they think. After a week or two of not speaking to or seeing Soma, nor returning her many phone calls, I was shocked to find her waiting for me at my townhouse after school one afternoon. I played it cool as I always did. I knew all the “rules” without knowing consciously that there were such a thing. But I knew how to play the game so well that I had myself fooled even more than the girls themselves. I invited her in and even contemplated hitting the hay a time or two more with her just as a last hurrah before I let her in on the fact that I was by that time already seeing someone else. I know. Despicable me. Good movie. But bear in mind that there is reason here. It’s not a horror movie. It’s an evolution story. So just hang on. Soma became immediately unglued on the stairs where we both sat as she pleaded with me to explain to her why I had not called her in over a week when we were so close for so many months. I pretended not to understand the nature of her questioning and reverted to the “I’ve just been very busy with finals” angle. This almost always invariably works, no matter who the girl is, because at their core they just want you to like them and continue to still be with them. They don’t want you to tell them that you’ve had enough any more than you want to. That’s perhaps a secret one shouldn’t necessarily reveal when claiming that this kind of lifestyle is not an admirable one. But it is what it is. In fact, it’s one of the many things at the core of the very problem we are discussing, i.e. what can women do about the fact that most men are such insensitive animals? I don’t know exactly what triggered it. Nor do I remember the exact details. But I do remember that at some point in our brief conversation that I eventually just told Soma the truth, that I felt that we should go back to being just friends and that I was no longer interested in us seeing each other exclusively on a regular basis. I am sure I was more frightened than she was about what might happen next. But after hearing me spin yarn after yarn and casually bullshit around the real subject we were discussing I believe that finally hearing the truth was actually a relief to her. She emotionally vented and told me off, as they all do. I stayed cool and polite and prayed that it would end as quickly as possible, while at the same time acting as though I was in as much pain as she was that “it just didn’t work out”. THIS is the game. And any girl who doesn’t know it is in for one hell of a ride if she doesn’t get it. Later that night I was feeling a bit sad and lonely. I couldn’t get Soma’s crying out of my head. It wasn’t that I was a cruel bastard. I can honestly say I wasn’t. I just wasn’t grown up. Nor aware. I was as fucked up a teenager as any other. I honestly missed hanging out with Soma and sincerely wished that we could continue to do so, albeit with or without sex. That was the thing. Once a man becomes bored and he is not in love, or better put, if a man is not in love, he will inevitably become bored, and feel as though as he has no other option than to move on in his search for intimacy. But it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t still like the girl. Usually we do. And if we could have our way we would have all of our girlfriends and ex-girlfriends hanging out with us all the time. Because for the most part, unless they’re total bitches, we enjoy their company, with or without the sex as long as we are getting that from somewhere. I consider myself lucky in that I am still close friends if not best friends with nearly all of my ex-girlfriends, all except the crazy bitches. And yes there are always going to be a handful of those. And no it doesn’t mean that we drove them to that. Let’s face it. Sometimes we just turn left when we should have turned right and by the time we realize it it’s just too damn late in the evening, so we keep on driving in that direction. Hence we all have a few veritable psychopaths in our past that we once called “girlfriend” or for some even “wife”. And it isn’t always the man’s fault. As I thought more and more about Soma and her sadness, sadness that I brought on, sadness that I alone was responsible for, it began to dawn on me that this was not an isolated event. Other faces began to appear in my mind’s eye. Many others. And soon I found myself turning my bedside lamp on in order to start making a list of all the girls who I could think of that I most likely hurt through my “playing the game” of being a guy. The more I wrote, the more I remembered. It was a seemingly endless list of innocent young girls ambushed and taken at their most vulnerable stages in life and then used, misused, abused and discarded. I felt both relief and a deep gnawing sense of remorse and regret. Hi Fishy! So nice to talk w/ u and share our lives, really nice. Yes we married Oct. 92 and I was truly in love. My ex (Wink) had issues w/ alcohol and at first it was fun and fancy free. But after the girls came and life was more family oriented his drinking became a issue. He went into rehab once, and stayed in denial thereafter. I would say if it happens one more time it’s over etc… and he would stop for years and then something would trigger him. As the girls got older we grew apart, I lost respect for him as a man, husband, and father. I’m not saying I was Mary Poppins or anything but I never cheated or wanted to leave him. We were in counseling for 2yrs and finally I realized our family was not a priority to him. Our sex life over the years dwindled and he was a very selfish lover. I finally asked for him to leave and I wanted a separation, divorce. It was so hard and still is down to your inner core as a human. I hate giving up on anything and it was very hard to let 17 yrs go, to stop caring but I am learning and going down a different path. I had to let go of a life I had envisioned, a partner I dreamed of growing old w/. Honestly Ed I like the concept of marriage but the reality is a hard one. Is man or woman really suppose to be w/ one person for a life time? I think we have many soul-mates in this world. Thank you for sharing so much about u and your wife. Wow taking on 2 teenage girls, that must be a trip!! I’m sorry u have had a hard time conceiving but your openness to many ways to have a child is wonderful. I can see how that would make your relationship bond stronger. I’m sure you guys will find the right child, be it yours naturally or not and experience the unconditional love u have for an innocent child. Divorce is crazy, I honestly never thought I’d be going thru it but I now see it was the right decision and I deserve so much more out of this life and love. My girls have learned a lot from it also. He is still a big part of their life and had been very dependable. He lives in St. Thomas, VI he is an Executive Chef. Well take care and enjoy your evening. Soma Reading… Gosh. I hear this story so much from my girl-friends. guys suck. Most of them anyway… Is man or woman really suppose to be w/ one person for a life time? >>>Honestly I don’t know. I know it isn’t “natural”… but a manmade decree to help protect our women folk from dying out and all our children from being fatherless. And I know that some people really do find someone that they can be with for their whole lives and that’s a beautiful thing. But obviously they’re the exception, not the norm. unfortunately most people gauge their own lives on these few exceptions and suffer greatly for not fitting in or “being normal”. Little do they know how normal they are… I think we have many soul-mates in this world.>>> me too actually. We’ve already experienced that in our young lives. I;m sure that most do. I hate the way that certain people have propogated this myth of “the soulmate” as being just one in a person’s whole life. It Thanks for sharing likewise. And remember, ur like super young still! So if anything, this was your “learning one” and your next can be your “lessons learned, not gonna do it again” one. Either way it doesn’t take away from the love and good experiences you all shared. We just always have to remember to love ourselves as much as we love others so they know to do it in kind back to us. It sounds like you got that one now. That’s awesome. Big hug of strength and encouragement! Take the following text from a recent article in snopes.com regarding the late Martin Luther King Jr. regarding his extra-marital affairs. It isn’t to denigrate the man. It is to illustrate the point at hand. For whatever reason, to be frank, men are generally pigs. As in they just can’t seem to stay faithful to one woman, whether it’s for a six year relationship or what is meant to be a lifetime of marriage.
4) Ralph David Abernathy did acknowledge in his 1989 autobiography, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down, that Martin Luther King engaged in extramarital affairs (evidence of which was somtimes recorded by the FBI through hotel room bugs), but he says absolutely nothing in his book about King’s supposed “obsession with white prostitutes,” King’s using “church donations to have drunken sex parties,” or King’s hiring “white prostitutes and occasionally beating them brutally.” In fact, Abernathy states quite emphatically that he never knew King to have any sexual involvement with white women at all: Much has been written in recent years about my friend’s weakness for women. Had others not dealt with the matter in such detail, I might have avoided any commentary. Unfortunately, some of these commentators have told only the bare facts without suggesting the reasons why Martin might have indulged in such behavior. They have also left a false impression about the range of his activities. Martin and I were away more often than we were at home; and while this was no excuse for extramarital relations, it was a reason. Some men are better able to bear such deprivations than others, though all of us in SCLC headquarters had our weak moments. We all understood and believed in the biblical prohibition against sex outside of marriage. It was just that he had a particularly difficult time with that temptation. In addition to his personal vulnerability, he was also a man who attracted women, even when he didn’t intend to, and attracted them in droves. Part of his appeal was his predominant role in the black community and part of it was personal. During the last ten years of his life, Martin Luther King was the most important black man in America. That fact alone endowed him with an aura of power and greatness that women found very appealing. He was a hero — the greatest hero of his age — and women are always attracted to a hero.