"Oh my God, you HAVE to do it." The girl saying this is about 5’6" and blonde and has these icy blue eyes and is drinking Shock Top wheat IPA and is wearing a shirt with some Japanese writing that doesn’t look corny and is wearing a ring that has a penny shaped oddly on top of it. She is one of the top 30 prettiest girls I’ve ever seen in my life and top 15 prettiest girls I’ve ever seen in my twenties. Her shoes look purposefully expensive, not accidentally expensive. I like that on occasion. This is the 3rd time I’ve met her. She’s laughed at all the funny things I’ve said each time and rubbed my shoulder when I was talking about my break up, so consequently I’ve probably fallen in love with her. She is currently trying to convince me to go through with an idea I suggested while 38% drunk. Joy Division is her favorite band so naturally I lied and claimed that they are one of my favorites as well and that my next tattoo is going to be ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. When I saw how much she enjoyed this notion, I told her I was thinking about doing it tonight. This leads back to her exclaiming that I have to do it. I don’t really want to do this. I enjoy Joy Division and I do love that song but I would feel guilty having a permanent marking on my body representing a band I only have a minor interest in. I’ve got to stop trying to be a chameleon, blending into the walls of the pretty girls wherever I go. It’s just become difficult since I think I realized that I don’t have a niche and I don’t fit into a specific archetype. I think I missed a year of life in my pre-teens when you’re supposed to form who you are. I always remember feeling slightly excluded from absolutely everyone. Although that is in fact a stereotypical goth mindset, I even felt excluded from the goth kids in middle school. I didn’t like metal past Linkin Park and I was wearing American Eagle to try to fit in with the preppier kids who found me funny but didn’t share my interests. I would act out and try to be funny and showy but I did not remotely belong to the drama kids. I disagreed with their hair and mostly they were unfunny. I didn’t like sports so that took away 95% of ice breaker opportunities. Also I hated Pokemon and all anime so that took away a lot of friendship and discussion opportunities as well. I even felt excluded from the teachers. I remember a specific instance where a teacher I had was talking about The Phantom Menace when it came out and he was saying something about it being so far in the future so they couldn’t do this one storyline another teacher was suggesting, and I laughed and told him that was wrong because Star Wars takes place in the past and he said it doesn’t and I quoted the first line of text from every film; ‘A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away’, to him and he looked quite flustered and walked away. Just always excluded. I didn’t drink in high school except for one time in the summer after tenth grade, I played beer pong and was pretty good, and then played flip cup and was pretty good, and then I just drank some more and I was pretty good at that, and then I was quite drunk and as my once friends were trying to walk me home I tried to run inside one of my neighbors houses to say hello, but they quickly stopped me, so I ventured inside my own home finally and my mom was still awake and I had a brief conversation with her asking if we were going to church in the morning, which was me trying to seem natural, but looking back was quite out of place considering there wasn’t a Sunday that we didn’t go to church since my first Sunday on the earth, then I went to my room and stripped down to my underwear and tried typing on my computer but fell off my chair and found it quite funny, then I called my ex girlfriend, then I went to sleep. But I mean all of that was only out of spite for that ex girlfriend who drank the weekend before, so other than that rarity of a night, not drinking in high school removed me from all the parties which meant I lost a lot of connection and inside jokes. When I graduated and went to school in the city I felt more removed than ever. I look at the city as the same type of system as a camera. The camera adds ten pounds, so if you’re fat, then you’re going to look even fatter. I feel like the city adds ten, umm, degrees? Yes, I’ll go with degrees, ten degrees of isolation. So if you’re already isolated, you will feel exponentially more isolated. I mean on occasion I could hold a conversation in a film class about Godard’s direct influence on Gondry or talk in Political Sociology to the smart older students about how America has gained the badge of being a ‘Nation’ because of the weight of American pop culture on the rest of the world, but mostly I didn’t talk. Moving to Portland was healthy. Although I think that’s where my blending started. I got into a 5 month relationship based on a conversation about the Trailblazers at a basement party where there was too much Dinosaur Jr. playing and not enough liquor. Her name is Grace and she was a wonderful figure in my life who I fell deeply in love with and kind of feel like we never actually met. When she broke up with me, and I drove away from her long driveway, I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw her shoulder length light brown hair being lifted up and put into a ponytail to reveal the tattoo of her deceased aunt’s initials. I looked back at the road and in a way felt like those initials were hers and she was just a figure I once knew who passed away and there wasn’t anything I could do about it, and that it was okay because that’s how life works. I don’t know why I loved her. There wasn’t any moment that triggered a deep connection, or something that would make a good scene in a script, we just got to know each other and went to Trailblazers games together and sometimes tried to write songs for our fictional band. Maybe I fell in love with the comfort and normalcy of the whole thing. It was just nice and sweet. I don’t think that was okay with her. I think she wanted me to cut to her core, and I just couldn’t do that, because I don’t think I wanted to break past being nice and comfortable. It’s like a collectable vinyl. It’s a beautiful thing to look at, and it’s worth so much unopened and mint. To hear the music though, to hear what truly makes the physical images as beautiful as they are, the heart and soul of the thing, you have to open it up. You have to ruin it. You have to strip it of it’s face value. So it’s a battle for you, what’s more beautiful, something pretty to look at, or something with heart? I guess for me it was something pretty. That’s why I’m ok with having let that go, it remains something that was just nice, and I can lock it away in my memory untainted. I stayed in Portland for a few more months working for a newspaper and writing a short film. I filmed it. It turned out ok. That depressed me a lot. I think my relationship with the film is how Grace felt towards me. I was what she asked for, but nothing more. Mediocrity is a sad thing when put into perspective. It’s much more sad than something that is awful. Sure, conceptually, I would rather be a mediocre boyfriend than an awful one. At the same time though, maybe I was more damaging as someone mediocre. Just not trying, not showing her how much worth she truly had. I have a problem misrepresenting value, I think. When I was 22 and still living at home I accidentally fell in love with a high school senior. We would go on late night walks and talk about exes and Weezer and how Spongebob is both overrated and underrated. We never kissed or held hands, sometimes we would awkwardly hug. We would talk and talk and talk and then when she went away to college I realized I loved her very much and had never told her. I think she was upset that I never did. We stopped talking. I see her on Facebook now, she has a boyfriend who looks less interesting than her standards but she smiles very genuinely in all her pictures, so I suppose that’s good. I think maybe I didn’t realize the value of her to me. I think I regret not realizing that. I quit my job in Portland and went to Florida to make a documentary about a Hardcore punk band. I remember walking around a desolate town with the bassist and him expressing to me how much impact they had on that town from all the shows they had previously played there. He told me how they would break up fights and play outside for the younger kids who couldn’t get into the shows. I learned that the hardcore community is very much based around being able to connect with the bands. All conversations that I overheard between these hardcore kids would be about what guitarist is in what new band and touring with who and going to what drummer’s friends bar and so on and so forth. They are addicted to intimacy and connection to the bands. Hardcore there is all about high fiving the idols, rather than bowing down. That’s kind of a beautiful thing. It’s a relationship I was envious of. To be so close to the ones you admire, and the ones you admire be genuinely great and helpful to the other areas of your life. That’s how a loving relationship should be. Like a lot of relationships though, this band had to end. They were on the string of their last shows and this was a secret. I watched them walk into this bar they were playing at with such a lack of care of what happened. I watched from the back because I didn’t want to be punched in the face by the overweight kids who were wearing Simpson’s shirts unironically moshing and throwing fists. Standing in the back proved to be a mistake because there was an older heavyset woman smoking a Paul Mall and drinking her 6th Corona talking to me thinking I was in the band, telling me how much her son loved "us" and how she loved what "we" were doing in the community. I took the compliments for the band and walked away after removing her hand from my upper thigh. I ventured toward the front by the bar because I saw a pretty blonde girl. As I got closer I realized two things, she was not pretty, she was near flawless, and she would never be interested in me in a million years. She was wearing a cut up "Asking Alexandria" t-shirt and it revealed her black lace bandeau bra. She had a tattoo of a pentagram on her ribcage and had cut up acid wash short shorts and black vans. I too was wearing black vans. I realized I needed to somewhat blend, so I ran out to the van and put on my Iggy Pop shirt because that was the closest thing I had to anything anyone in that room would appreciate. I walked back in trying to look angry and slightly emotionally lost. I must be a good actor of sorts because when I stood next to her she said hi, and I asked her if she’d like a drink, and then someone threw a stool across the bar and shattered a mirror and everyone cheered and then she said yes to the drink. I couldn’t say anything to her. This was for two reasons. We had nothing in common, and the band playing was SO loud and so aggressive and she was quite into it and I was adamantly against whatever this noise was. I watched her as she watched this band. She seemed sexually involved with the music. It was weird and kind of sexy. I then told her I played bass in a hardcore band. This was a lie. If I had said the true version of this fact it would have been that I played bass in a christian worship band in 7th grade. She bought the lie quite easily, however, and we ended up kissing for 25 minutes. I didn’t love her. Not even a little. I couldn’t even trick myself into finding a way to love her. I left Florida longing for a relationship with a woman like Nice hardcore bands have with their fat fans. I traveled for a while, stayed in Chicago for a few months. I think I only fell in love once, and it was because it was with a girl singer who I explored the city with for an entire night and she covered Ballad of Big Nothing by Elliott Smith very Eloquently on a rooftop overlooking the skyline. We had some drinks and held hands and kissed the next two nights. She told me then that her and her ex boyfriend were getting back together and she was sorry but she believed that I played a very significant role in her life. So that sucked. Since then I moved back to New York. I’m doing some freelance video work and also writing a play about that high school senior. I made some friends through wall blending. This leads me back to my 3rd meeting with Joy Division girl, Anna. After these two shots that taste like Big Red gum she convinces me to go get my tattoo. We’ve been texting a lot more this last week so I am excited at least to take the walk to the tattoo parlor with her. She understands me pretty well, and not in that forced type of way, where you find the most connectable scenario in your life and explain it knowing the person will understand you completely and magically connect, but in a very real way. Also she loves Annie Hall. We walk down these crowded Brooklyn streets looking for the nearest tattoo parlor and we step closer and closer. Our hands keep grazing and each time seems less accidental and more sober. We find a place unfortunately and I fully commit to this plan and sit down to get the ink that will hopefully help make Anna more Permanent. "Love Will Tear Us Apart." This has been true so far in life. Sometimes it’s a lack of fiery love, or not making love known, but it’s always love at the root of tearing each one apart. It’s finished. Anna is freaking out. "I LOVE IT! AH!" She exclaims. "Really? I like it a lot. The guy did good." I calmly reply, holding back my enjoyment with her enjoyment, and suppressing my immediate regret. Maybe love won’t tear Anna and I apart. Maybe love will put us together. She takes out her camera. "I need to take a picture of this, John is going to love it. He’s the biggest Joy Division fan I know. He got me into them." I hold out my arm to let her take the picture. "Oh, that’s cool. Is John a friend of yours?" "No, he’s my boyfriend." Love will tear us apart.