A promotional photo of The Dreamers, the first NC-17 film I ever watched, and the beginning of my life-long obsession with French cinema and especially Eva Green.
This is a strange concept for me.
As a man whose main interests are all about the pursuit of efficiency; Racing, Reading, and Shooting … I can’t really fathom what it would be like to not be efficient in everything I do.
But is being romantic actually being inefficient though?
I’m a pragmatic individual. I like to address issues in the present, before they become a problem in the future. I don’t have days where I feel like not doing anything. I don’t know what it feels like to be overly emotional. I run through my emotions quickly, acknowledging how they make me feel, but refusing to engage further with them.
Even in instances, that have made me furious, only caused my logical element to flare up even more and become more determined to fix the problem right then and there.
I like to think I process emotions very quickly. My brain has been trained to register, check and put brakes on a lot of emotions the instant they appear. “I’m laughing out of joy” is a common thought that might appear in my head after hearing a good joke.
A lot of this stemmed from my early adoption of military mantras and discipline as a young boy. I knew that I had to make sacrifices to achieve certain goals. It didn’t seem to matter the emotional cost of those sacrifices, I just had to do it and deal with the fallout later.
I’m empathetic to a high degree, because while I know I have the ability to make those sacrifices, to make the hard decisions, I know many people shy away from them and dislike the emotional trauma of it all.
I can sympathize with that. But … it doesn’t mean I quite relate. I have never really had a problem with distancing myself from people I am not fond of. However, many of my friends struggle with that.
They can’t understand how I can just unfriend, ignore or totally remove people from my life, simply because I deem them of little value or have no real impact in my life.
Even in my imagination, it’s highly grounded. It’s based in our reality. I don’t like to think about dragons, aliens, FTL or even God. I like to know that gravity forces us to the ground, that if I stick a magazine in a toaster, it will burn and that the best places to hurt someone are shins, throats, eyes, and groin.
So if I am ever creative, I like to imagine what I can build, invent or design with current technology and the same goes with my creative writing. Dreams always never have anything fantastical in them, on the rare occasions I have them, which might be 1 dream every 4-5 months.
I’m not much of a dreamer.
Efficient pragmatism at work there. I get where romantics are coming from, but I don’t.
And that … is the main issue.
I can’t quite be romantic in the normal sense. I know why I should do things, but I don’t really understand why I should either.
Strangely too, I am a bit of a loss for words here, because I am trying to imagine myself abandoning my current psychological state and choosing another route to think, process and imagine.
What if I was more whimsical? What would I do differently in my key points of life?
Bloody hell. It only just struck me with all the heartache of a break-up. I would probably still be with my ex-girlfriend, struggling to make it work, even though in all sanity it wouldn’t.
I might have even succumbed to the idea that I would convert to a religion just to marry this girl. The very first girl I had fallen in love with and had known only for a scant 2-3 years.
What an idiotic move that would have been. I have nothing but love and admiration for her, it was a mutual break-up, a break that was as mature and clean as the love was pure and passionate, but I don’t like to think I would have sacrificed that much for anyone.
But if I put that example aside, where else would I have changed?
I think I would probably be a lot more moodier. I know my anger flares up a lot, but it is held in check by my mental training, and desire, of all people, to be more like Sherlock Holmes. I might be a bit more unstable, a bit more explosive and maybe more malleable.
Less stubborn and snobbish. I would probably be more willing to take risks and drink more with my mates, then I am currently (for those not in the know, I am a relatively devout teetotaler, on grounds that I like to be alert for absolutely anything, another hold-over from my military obsession).
I would probably be more susceptible to peer pressure too.
This blog probably wouldn’t exist either. I probably would have mistaken my lack of control over my emotions for introspective reflections. A state where me running amok, would be somehow construed as me being in touch with my feelings, when it is definitely a case of me not guiding my mental state to something constructive.
I also believe that I would be less … confident. My stubbornness, my rigidity to certain ideas and philosophies all stem from my sacred belief that the military style of doing things is correct. It may not be, of course, it might even be fundamentally ill-advised, but that is my pillar. I want to believe in military doctrine because to me it sounds like it has been proven and tested and will stand up to anything.
That gives me confidence, provides me with mental security to handle things thrown my way. But if I hadn’t adopted that … I wonder what kind of person would I be?
More religious maybe? I mentioned earlier that I might have been tempted to convert for a single girl, would I eventually believe in it? After all, habits, once ingrained, makes it easier to believe in whatever it is you are doing.
Would I have more dreams? More outlandish, fantastical dreams where I slay dragons, rescue princesses from castles in the sky and fly away in a winged car?
Probably. I might also be attempted to try more crazy things and hope everything works out fine.
I would probably be more of a dreamer. A person living a more bohemian lifestyle, placing value in words instead of actions, thinking that the small gifts I give my girlfriend can make up for any emotional trauma I cause … maybe, and this is a stretch, I might even be a better writer.
After all, if my creativity is left unchecked, surely that would create better content?
Although I run the risk of sounding pretentious and using flowery words when I don’t have to.
Something like …
Normal: The man approached the cute girl, and with all the confidence of a young man, asked for her number.
Romantic: He was young, at ease with his masculinity. He oozed confidence, sex appeal and as he walked closer, she could tell he smelt great too. Her eyes fluttered, her body squared up to him, and he looked her directly in the eyes and said the magic words … “Bob and vagene pics?”
OK, maybe not the last 4 words. But the romantic option sounds like a badly written young adult novel. I’ve read enough in my time to know. They’re pulpy fun, but I don’t think I could write an entire story about how James and Ann have a heady rollercoaster relationship complete with:
4 break-ups, but they just can’t get enough and James keeps doing stupid shit for her, like leave flowers, and hanging out with a hotter cheerleader …
2 issues over how to have sex, how Ann can’t do it anymore, but make-up sex but it OK again …
7 graphic sex scenes, with at least 2 in some risky situation, like a car-park and a hospital bed … where …
James nearly dies for Ann and actually has a super seedy past, but protects her from it.
Ann is a virgin and her first time is so amazing that she does it again, and actually orgasms … a phenomenon that is alien to most women I’ve met … especially the amazing part …
and finally a 4 page ending that ties everything up with some dumb metaphor about how a Christmas tree and her pregnancy is the perfect analogy for their relationship.
But maybe if I was more romantic, I would write stuff like that more. Make my main character James some ridiculously attractive hunk with a scar over his eye.
I also think my book taste would change too. Which is definitely interesting.
Interesting in the sense, I would explore genres I’ve never really had much interest in. Romance, Classics, and even more biographies. I also suspect I would watch more films than I do currently. Maybe even more French cinema.
Fashion wise I might be also a changed man. A lot less 5.11 Tactical pants and more skinny jeans. I was big into long coats and slightly more hipster clothing when I was younger and skipping on first love.
Where else would I have changed?
Probably more little gifts for my girlfriend, but at the same time a bit more forgetfulness of certain dates, simply because I suspect I would be a bohemian artsy asshole. But other than that, I’m not sure I would be “more romantic” in a relationship. I would probably still struggle with the same current issues, that I do today.
What wouldn’t change though?
I think my music taste would the same, I don’t have any certain genre I idolise more over anything else, so it would still be eclectic and all over the place.
I would probably still love French cinema. But I would make a more conscious effort to emulate that lifestyle and French outlook.
Would probably still be working the same shit job too.
My god, another big change would be my ideas about travelling. I would probably be more keen to travel the world. Less apathetic about the notion that you can discover yourself overseas.
Which to me, has always screamed of absolute horseshit. But that’s just my outlook. If you can’t fix yourself at home, what good is a change of scenery going to do? If you didn’t do introspective reflections when you are free … how are you supposed to do them in another country?
Clarity … comes to you when you open yourself up. It’s not a foreign language and country that does it for you.
But if I was more romantic, I would probably presume it does. I might even excuse myself to be a philanderer.
To sum up … If Damocles was more Romantic ….
He would most likely be some artsy bohemian, working in hospitality, saving up for a trip to Paris, a lot more flaky and chasing vices and women in equal abandon.
After his subsequent break-up with his first girlfriend, he would probably chase skirts, and smoke weed in his spare time, have a messier room, leave wine glasses everywhere and indulge his emotions too much.
Damocles would also be a serial complainer, always saying he never has enough money, but if he would just cut down on spending on vintage denim, expensive Chardonnay and fruitless trips to Paris, he would probably do alright.
He would be seduced by the idea that there are always more interesting people out there, and that would mean he only get to know the shallow side that people present.
He would live vicariously like this, turn his nose up to “lesser people i.e. non-vintage lovers” and “better people i.e. his mates who actually have steady lifestyles” and have crazed realistic dreams where he spent his night at a bar, hitting on women, sleeping with them, and then in a drunken stupor, snore his way through his morning shift at work.
In other words …
Damocles would be devoid of any unique traits.
Or in even simpler terms.
A right wanker.
This has been somewhat of an intriguing concept to follow through. I chose the complete opposite of what I am now to depict myself, because I know that I am very much a 110%, full-auto kind of person. Once I find something that appeals me, I go all in.
Being romantic to me is to be more of a dreamer, a person with ideas but not quite the drive to will that idea into reality. This is the antithesis of what I aim to be, and what I’ve spent most of my life trying to avoid being.
I would be a right wanker if I am romantic, but that’s only my opinion of myself if I became that.
Glad I’m not.
At the end of the day, I’d rather be a little bit cold, but warm overall, and pragmatic about all things then pretend to be warm but inside I was cold.