The Weird and the Strange XIV: Ellie Stuart

{Disclaimer: The name Ellie Stuart is arbitrary.  I do not know a person named Ellie Stuart, and any similarities to anyone named Ellie Stuart are coincidental. This story Ellie Stuart is a work of creative nonfiction.}

Ellie Stuart smiled at me from behind a hand. She wanted me to see that smile, but she didn’t want anyone else to see it. It was such an unusual act that I didn’t know how to interpret it. Before she had reconstructive surgery, Ellie had some crooked teeth. So, this might have been a habit she developed to avoid abuse, but she didn’t mind me seeing them. My best interpretation of this move was that she didn’t want anyone else to know how much she wanted to be my friend, or she didn’t want anyone else to know what the smile meant, in case it failed. These theories didn’t hit me in the moment, they came later. Even while in the moment, I didn’t take it as an insult. I considered it odd, and I didn’t know what to do with it, so I just pretended like it didn’t happen.

The smile, and the brief, tentative conversation that followed, led me to believe that Ellie Stuart was a woman who had been hurt a lot in life. She is a beautiful woman, so I figured that her pain was relative to the pain that the rest of us have experienced we’ve been crushed, and ridiculed, and bullied. She obviously didn’t react well to these moments of pain, and she obviously never developed a shell that most of us develop against rejection.

Beautiful women don’t face rejection as often as the rest of us do. This may be a generalization, as it may not be true in some cases, but I’ve found that beautiful women don’t have as much experience with rejection as we do. This may be something we all vie for in some ways, but it leaves them unprepared and vulnerable to the smallest slights the rest of us consider relatively harmless. When they face more insults the rest of us might consider troubling, it shatters them. 

I could only guess at the nature of pain Ellie Stuart received, but I figured that it had something to do with a comment that suggested that her beauty no longer wielded the power it once had. This can as traumatic to the beautiful as it might be to the charming or humorous. Imagine being told that the most effective tool in your arsenal is not near as effective as you once believed. I had one such person attempt to convince me that I wasn’t near as funny as I thought I was. She tried so hard, so often, to prove that I wasn’t funny that it obvious she was trying to ruin me. She assumed that this was more important to me than it was. Another friend tried to convince me that I wasn’t half as smart as I thought I was. I saw her attempts for what they were. The point is, I have had enough experience with ridicule, questions about my character, and bullying to be able to, at the very least, stand up to them and challenge them. Try to imagine living some thirty years and few if any challenge the one attribute we accidentally rely on. Now imagine you’ve had someone step into defend you for much of your life. What do you do when someone bull rushes you?

One of the first things Ellie Stuart told me was that she had an ex-boyfriend who was unusually cruel to her. I wonder if he tried to diminish the power of her beauty, in an attempt to control her, and the idea that this was one of the first things she told me about her suggests that he was effective. The import of her self-imposed characterization was, ‘I’m flawed, and he’s why.’ 

At some point in their lives, the beautiful accidentally begin to rely on their beauty so much that they don’t develop backup plans. They may not try to follow the news to remain conversant on the topics of the day, because they’ve always been the center of attention. They may not develop a well-rounded personality, or intellect, because it’s never been mandatory that they have something to fall back on if a potential suitor didn’t find them as attractive as they are. They also never enjoy the necessary degree of support that most get from others, because the average and ugly assume that beautiful people don’t need their support.

People usually envy those who have an advantage in life, and they like to see them pulled down. Maybe this is why she didn’t want anyone else to see her desire to be my friend through the smile she gave me. Maybe her smile led numerous men to want to be her friend, but the ex-boyfriend shattered that idea so well that it was now something for which she felt insecure. Did she hide it, so she could claim it was an incidental look that I mistook for something else, if things went awry and I didn’t want to be her friend.

Ellie Stuart is a nice person. People should want to be her friend, but I could tell that a bunch of people hadn’t, and I could tell that broke her heart. Maybe it didn’t make sense to her. Maybe people told her that her beauty began to wane a little with age. Maybe they took joy in that pronouncement. Maybe they ripped the magic carpet out from beneath her, and Ellie, like most beautiful people, didn’t have a backup plan.

There was a time, in the progression of our friendship, when I thought it might be possible for me to pursue something more than friendship with her. The two of us were really hitting it off, and the idea that I should pursue something more consumed me. I had rarely had a woman this beautiful paying this much attention to me before, and I couldn’t think of anything else but what I considered a natural progression. At a furthered point in the progression, I began to believe that the only reason she wasn’t in my arms on a nightly basis was because I was afraid of pursing her. I figured that I if I could just muster up the courage to do something more than I had, the picture would become paint by numbers after that.

I was wrong, but she didn’t reject me. She may have enjoyed our friendship so much that she didn’t want to damage it. That’s what previous women have told me, and that’s what I assumed must have been the case here, with her.

These other women were bold however. They told me no, and they told me that they valued our friendship too much. That may have been a soft lie, but at least they gave me a reason for their rejection. Ellie Stuart pretended that she didn’t hear my proposal. She began speaking of something else, and I was relieved that I did it. I worked so hard on my delivery, and mustering up the courage to deliver it, and counting down the hours until we were off work so I could ask her out that when I finally did, I was relieved and proud. 

The accomplishment was what I focused on in the immediate aftermath, and the idea that the next delivery wouldn’t be near as nerve-wracking. It wasn’t, and the next time I asked her out she pretended that she didn’t hear me again.

I should’ve seen the second rejection for what it was, a girl desperately trying to maintain a friendship without rejecting that friend. Perhaps I was blinded by the breasts, the contours, the Farah Fawcett throwback hairdo, the blonde hair, the way she would laugh at everything I said, and the reputation I may have attained if she agreed to date me. 

I focused on the fact that I was still nervous and still a little unsure of myself. I also thought that I may have confused her by not being more direct. I had asked her if she wanted to do something very particular, when I should’ve just asked her out. I also considered the possibility that she may not have not have heard me again.

After licking my wounds and rationalizing the rejection, I decided the only course of action was further, and more direct, pursuit. At this point, of course, I knew what she was doing, but I slipped back into such an obsession that I feared if I didn’t receive a more definitive rejection, I might never sleep again. I prepared my verbal invitation, and I asked her out again, and again, until the tally reached about eight or nine times. She never rejected me, but she never said yes either, and she was beautiful. I don’t know if it was societal conditioning, or some insecure, obsessive side of me that needed either complete success or complete failure, but I couldn’t sleep at night thinking there was still a chance.

I have an ego. I think I’m a pretty good guy, and I don’t mind pursuing that which I think might be a good thing, but I do have my limits. After the eighth or ninth rejection, I began to see her poor hearing for what it was, and I gave up.

I have summarized these rejections for the purpose of flow, but let me assure you that each night I spent plotting a proposal was as agonizing as the eighth and ninth. Each rejection was as painful as the fourth or fifth. By the sixth or seventh, I began running out of rationalizations, and I began to see the roundabout rejections for what they were. I experienced something of a maddening cycle of believing there was a chance and recognizing her pocket vetoes for what they were, but by the eighth or ninth silent rejection, I just gave up. This cycle lasted nearly a year, and I think at some point my mind stepped in and suggested that this wasn’t conducive to mental health. At some point, in any venture, we decide the risk is not worth the possible reward. 

At some point after I made the final decision to give up, Ellie Stuart began calling on me. She began trying to set up outings between us, but her initial proposals conflicted with ventures I had already set up with others. For whatever reason, I liked telling her that I couldn’t go out with her on that night. I enjoyed hearing the rejection in her response.

By about my sixth or seventh attempt, she stopped pretending that she couldn’t hear me, and she started making up conflicts. She couldn’t meet up with me on a Friday, because she was going fishing with her dad. She couldn’t meet up with me on that Saturday, because she had some event that sounded so made up I can’t remember what she said. What I’m doing this weekend, conflicts with whatever you’ve dreamed up. Conflicts. So, when she began calling on me, I had conflicts. The first one was true, but I made up the other ones. Tit for tat. 

In the intervening days that occurred between me giving up and her calling on me, I began to gauge this woman by charts. My initial charts focused on her finer, more superficial points. On those charts, Ellie Stuart was off the chart beautiful. In the charts that followed, those that gauged her beyond the points drove my impulsive desires to see her after work, I began focusing on her mindset, her stability, and her comprehensive score. These charts provided no points for breasts, hairdo, or hair color. These charts focused on the aftermath.

Before we reach the aftermath, we experienced moments that we think makes it was all worth it, such as when the organ makes its first appearance and the deliberation that mirrors Indiana Jones’ as he debated what to do with the Chachapoyan Fertility Idol, until she finally decides to release the tension. The moment was memorable, glorious, and regretful. Once it happens, regret and remorse fills the void. The ‘what have I done?’ principle of the single life dominates, when a person realizes that they will now have to spend a significant period of excruciating time paying for their impulsive actions.

imagesMost males who have experienced a degree of regret of the aftermath, know that a woman’s superficial quadratic functions can lead to a line, and that line has a linear function: to get her to go out with you. When a male graphs a woman’s quadratic functions, he arrives at what mathematicians call a parabola. Her quadratic functions may include points on a graph that include the size of her breasts, the way she styles and colors her hair, and the way she laughs at their jokes. When a guy begins to mentally chart these points, determining how they bisect one another on that graph, it can lead to a parabola that resembles a smile. After the tension has been released, the points on the graph focus less on the biological aspects of the woman and the challenge, and the glorious idea of dating such a woman to the revelations about this person’s character, their temperament, and whether or not they are in full control of their facilities. On this graph, a graph that was largely ignored in the impulsive pursuit, we locates a series of points that can be found on a fruitloopery index. The revelation of these points, and the manner in which they bisect on her axis and vertex, can lead to a parabola that resembles a frown, depending on their functions on the graph.

I already asked this girl out eight or nine times, so no one can say that I failed to chart the functions of her quadratic before I made so many attempts to enter into it, but I wasn’t able to evaluate her with a clear mind. As they say some things have a way of working themselves out and others don’t. Her non-rejection rejections opened my eyes to those points that I impulsively ignored in my impulsive pursuit of her.

After she began calling on me, it would’ve been easy for me to call my conflict, when I had one, and inform them that I had another conflict “That just sprang up” to go out with her, and the other party would not have been the least bit perturbed by it. I didn’t do that, because some part of me enjoyed rejecting her.

She tried a couple more times. Though the final tally of her attempts fell far below mine, I still enjoyed the retribution of never saying yes to her and never saying no. The pain was evident in her responses, but I couldn’t help it. I was over it. I already deemed her to be a person that I was never meant to partner with, and it felt good to tell her this without providing her a solid rejection.

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