Despite having existed as a regular character on CaitlynInTheRye, PK is finally given his own platform on which to stand…today’s post. Love him or hate him, you have to respect the content he’s provided, your very own, PK:
Thank you, thank you – it’s good to be here. My name is Peter, Caitlyn calls me PK on this blog, and when I mentioned to her that her last post (if anyone had in fact clicked through to Gawker.com) ousted me with my full name and a link to my website, she suggested I guest-blog. And what an honor. There are currently 44 posts tagged “PK” and I had always wanted at least one of those to provide a more rounded perspective. Given my heavy presence on this page and the controversy I’ve provided, matched with my large ego, penchant for writing, and any opportunity to plug my site, I accepted in a second. Now where do I begin…
She’s the cop and I’ve always been on the other side of the law…
In 2003 the Late Hunter S. Thompson (of whom I claim to be a scholar, fanboy, and a follower) married his second wife and one-time assistant, Anita. He was thirty five years her senior and they had been living together since 1999 when she signed on to help edit what would be The Kingdom of Fear. Having spoken with her twice since she’s published a book, The Gonzo Way, explaining his philosophy in a more tempered and reserved manner than HST’s own words, it’s clear she had worshiped him from the start.
Anita was merely the last in a lifetime of unconventional relationships for Hunter S. Thompson. If you could believe that writers had groupies, Thompson was no exception. A reckless Kentucky “gentleman” to the end, Thompson was documented to have involved himself in many a twisted relationship and is noted for having cheated on his first wife with many of these female followers during the drug and sex-filled seventies; a time that lasted more than three decades for Thompson. This isn’t to say he didn’t love Sandy, his first wife, or the son, Juan, they produced, but Thompson divorced and enjoyed his fair share of assistants that would come and go, even once involving a lawsuit and a porn star.
The conclusion to my introduction is here: Thompson was 65 when he married a young 30 year old Anita. CNN reports the obvious (here) when confirming that men are attracted to beauty the way women are to something deeper. Anita loved the old man, no doubt, and this time it wasn’t for his money, but his words. Genuine flattery and interest gets one further than even good looks and charm – Caitlyn had both when I met her in 2005.
As far as beginnings go, ours was rather innocuous. I had no idea who she was, the quiet introverted newspaper copy editor that kept her business in the office short and to herself. Didn’t she understand that I was the big-shot-up-and-comer? That I filled two pages a week with entertainment goodness? That I was on the fast track as an English Major and undertaking the Journalism program at the same time? That ::throat clearing:: I was in a fraternity and on the rugby team? Who the hell does this chick think she is, I wondered as my indiscrimatory drunken advances bounced off her cold shoulder on a regular basis.
Fast forward a semester later when she literally picked me up. I was en route to a bar (surprise!) and she was walking to her car in the parking lot. When I’m drunk, I’m even more “me first” than usual and brazenly demanded a ride, rather than walk. Upon talking myself into her back seat, obtaining her phone number was the next order of business, which I did before being dropped off two minutes later.
A few days later I followed up and the next thing I knew, I was talking her into traveling to Delaware with me (and eight other guys) to see Jarhead premiere. To this day, I’m sure she won’t have a reasonable defense for her decision to accompany me on a roadtrip to relationship hell, but she did negotiate room for her unknowing drunk friend to come along too, and the next thing I know we were in an empty parking lot 24 hours before Jarhead was slated to premiere. Not willing to write the trip off as a loss, I entertained her with riveting conversation, a snack stop at a Wawa, a $47 speeding ticket, and a laughable trip back. I wouldn’t call it a first date, but that’s what it was.
We returned, she hustled me in Boggle, and then we retired to my bedroom to, I think, both of our surprises. Honestly, having not been on a genuine date for more than a year at that point, I didn’t think this attractive (and sober!) girl would be into me physically. I figured a pity goodnight kiss might happen, but was completely unprepared for what actually was to occur.
There was kissing, and I mean good kissing, and I thought that’s where it would end. To paraphrase Michael Clayton, “I’m the guy you regret, not the guy you fuck sober.” So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself at second base. Dating to me, much like second base, feels very high school. College, to that point, was largely a get drunk, fuck, and watch a movie together (not in that order, necessarily) place, unsuitable for relationships. And to follow up the boobfest, there was heavy petting. This is where Caitlyn, wisely, and out of breath, attempted to stop the progression of things, but her heaving breasts and focused eyes betrayed her.
It was 6am at this point (having driven to DE for a supposed midnight release) and we were capping off almost three hours of rolling around on my bed, the majority of our skin covered by clothes, our lips rarely leaving the other’s. It was hot, heavy, and the stuff that grocery store bookshelf is made of, but Caitlyn was determined not to spend the night. I was already in my bed and saw no reason to change the situation. At one point she had made it as far as between the foot of the bed and my door, when pinned up against the wall where a coat hanger should go. We weren’t wrestling with each other, we were wrestling against expectations, promises, chemistry, and body heat – in other words, we were fighting an uphill battle, destined to lose. And lose we did: the clothes flew off and body parts flew together, like pieces of a puzzle never before realized. It was quick (hey, three hours of priming!) and it left both of us in a dizzy sweaty haze, stumbling drunk on lust to put her in the car, snow beginning to fall.
I felt fluttery, high, and confused (not to mention, throbbing), but she drove away and I was exhausted, falling asleep without dreaming. If previous experience were to dictate the future, my next move was to never sleep with her again. I was just coming off a year of relationship hell and was not looking to go back. This was my senior year and I was determined to fuck my way through it, knowing full well, like a squirrel stocking nuts for the long winter ahead, I’d never live like I lived in college again.
Caitlyn, however, had a conflicting agenda and since that fateful first encounter our main grounds of discussion/debate/argument/conversation/communication in general has surrounded the status of said “relationship.” That’s another way to say that the sex was amazing; the way we treated each other, less so.
I apologize for stooping so low as to use a sports metaphor in reference to our sex life, but we were Brady and Moss before there was a Brady and Moss. When we were together, we operated at a higher level than I knew possible. She brought out the best in me and there was no ceiling to the bedroom performances we shared (although there definitely WAS a ceiling in the bedroom – ouch!), and I don’t know how else to say that we were good, other than that we were really good together. Basically, and it’s cheap to reduce our relationship to this physical level, if we weren’t having sex it was probably because we had just had sex or were about to, and she made me feel like the king of the world. I feel like we were just pushing each other, always one-upping the other, reaching new heights in my sexual lexicon, and its safe to say we’ve never had a problem with each other in that way. Unfortunately it’s that we had problems keeping other people out of our bedrooms, and not in the good way that you’re thinking.
I remember saying early on (and by saying I mean declaring drunkenly across a room) that “this is JUST sex, ok?” and she agreed. But no matter how much we’d try to convince ourselves and each other that “sex” is all that it was, we each knew better. I’d lie awake telling her long jokes and making up stories to substitute for any real substantial conversation, and run out in the morning to avoid any gut-checking talks over breakfast.
Even our social circles couldn’t really co-exist. She lived off campus, mostly alone, and I was constantly wary of leaving my housing block on campus for sheer invalidated xenophobic reasons. I was a part of a real boys’ club that was not open to female visiting hours but in the dead of night slash early morning. We were loud, drunk, and rowdy, stuck in our own ways, and nearly impenetrable as a group; where women served as anecdotal subplots with an ever changing cast of characters to keep up with and maintain. This is not to say I actively pursued women outside of my “thing” with Caitlyn, but didn’t strive for exclusivity, if for nothing else but to “live it up” when I could and strengthen my resolve to “keep it just sex.”
But even Ronnie Milsap could’ve seen how this would unfold from the get-go. Perhaps in a larger school Caitlyn and I would’ve been able to maintain this façade of “just sex” but soon there’d be times when at 3am I’d get calls from Caitlyn as I was about to enter a women’s dormitory with blueprints to bedhop, and I’d have to convince her otherwise. This continued for a few months into the spring, and easy to rationalize as I was juggling classes, publications, thesis, rugby, fraternity, and many other things on top of pretending that we were great together and indifferent apart.
And it wasn’t just me. At this point, denied the emotional part that comes with a normal relationship, Caitlyn turned to one of my more opportunistic friends for online conversations (bitchfests about me) which turned into movie nights (when I was out cavorting, boozing, and womanizing, she’d like to think) which turned into having sex.
“It was nice…I hadn’t had sex in a while,” my friend would later think of the incident. And while we’ve since become much better friends in the real world, our college interaction at that point disintegrated into me getting drunk, getting “real” with him, and yelling at his honesty – he had thought they were headed for an actual relationship. I’ve seen it before and done it myself; stepping into a relationship and trying to convince the girl that she “deserves better” and that guy’s “no good for her” and that he “doesn’t care about her,” et al. If I had really cared it wouldn’t have happened; I was sleeping around too; it’s not like either of us were “exclusive” and so forth. It sucked, I got over it, and if anything it was a wake up call.
So it’s been almost three years of this shit. I can’t explain it, especially considering how badly we’ve treated each other. Since then we’ve entered a familiar (if not sometimes comfortable) cycle: see each other, fuck each other, don’t see each other, fuck other people, realize we’d rather be with each other, repeat. The difficult part of the cycle is when we’re just missing each other’s periods of realization and enlightenment. I’ll stop trying to convince myself that being with Caitlyn in the “real world” would be like settling, and giving up on this idealistic goal of getting out there and taking whatever I want. And usually just as I’m interested in having her back in my life, she’s just settled down with a new guy.
Sadly, it’s when she’s with these other guys that gets to me. Like it was with my friend, I didn’t really care what she was out there doing because I wouldn’t let it affect me. Being stubborn has its benefits: it’s allowed me to think I don’t really care for her when it’s convenient for me to be with other people and it’s made me realize several times over that I’m bothered by her being with other guys. Then I would sabotage the relationship by any means necessary and once she was available, I would feel the opposite. Call it commitment-phobia or flip-flopping, but as soon as she’s free, I don’t want to be tied down, and when I can’t have her I want nothing more than to have her stop jumping into bed with other guys because once whatever we have is threatened, I’m bothered by it.
Sure, I’ve had my weaknesses. My friends alert me to the fact that I care about her and tease me on it, so I shove her away. I get all drunk and sappy and spoon her to make up for their infractions. I text her and don’t answer her calls. I push and I pull. I delete her number then email her asking for it. I fantasize and romanticize our relationship then start at her from across the café table because I don’t know what to do when I’m in it and actually living it. Am I immature? Irresponsible? An asshole? Yes. But I do believe I love her when I say I do and I do freak out because I’ve tended to live for the moment and it’s worked for me so far. I didn’t want to be that guy and cheat on a girl that thinks the world of him, so I’ve declined labels and walked the walk until we’ve gotten to that line and shirked away from it. And I realize it’s hard to think in reality that when you’re walking home from work a woman might ask me up to her apartment and sex could occur but if I weren’t single, I’d have to say no, and despite the fact that said situation has never happened I would be submitting to the idea that it couldn’t happen. And I live on optimism.
Am I being fair to her? No. I’ve never deluded myself with such thoughts. Sometimes when I’m writing a nasty email, I’m trying to give her as much reason and ammo as possible to shut me out of her life because I can’t do it myself. I think if I go to her graduation and not talk to her, that’ll be it – we can both move on. Or if I tell her I’m down the street and still not make the effort, she’ll finally get the balls to lock me out. Because I can’t do it myself.
And I have no defense. When we’ve reached that “warning: relationship ahead” and I’ve blown it with a nasty email, I’m saying, baby, you know I’m bad news, why let me do it again – you’re better than that. We’re fire and water sometimes – she got her wild years out in HS and I didn’t bloom until college. Her previous relationships make mine look like playgroups and I still let them give me hangups when it looks like she’s let her’s go. She’s given me more chances than the Buffalo Bills gave the Cowboys and I’m still not sure I’m going to allow myself to be let back into the game. Do I deserve it? No. But it’s totally worth thinking about.
It’s impossible to pretend I’m not flattered by her to the point of love. She’s edited my fiction and told me it was good enough. She’s debated my columns with me to the point of giving me the next thing to write about. She’s put up with hearsay implicating me dozens of times when she’s been up waiting for my call. She’s gotten in her car and driven hours to see me. Sometimes I’ve told her what she’s wanted to hear and other times it’s been what I wanted to say and occasionally both have been the case. Some have been truths and others’ lies, rationalizing that I had her interests at heart when really I have been selfish the entire time.
When you approach a relationship from the beginning with the philosophy that nothing, I repeat NOTHING, was going to put me into an exclusive relationship you begin to believe yourself. Senior year I would not relent. Real World year one, even in long droughts of celibacy, I would continue to put her off, thinking that we’d get over each other. She’s pursued unavailable man after unavailable man, and I can’t tell if it’s to trap me back or to get over me, but if I’m still bothered how can I do nothing?
She’s gotta get her shit straight and I have to manage mine. We’re both fucked up beyond belief, but when it’s late, and I’m lonely, and she’s online, we commiserate over dreams of apartments, bookshelves, parks, drinks, and crime tv. Currently I have all of that, minus her. To which I point out that I graduated first than moved to New York, the least she could’ve done would be to follow. But since I’m seeing her tomorrow night, I figure we’ll hash some of these things out in person and maybe someday we’ll talk about more than what it’d be like if we were together and why pros/cons as to why we aren’t. I’m not a bad guy but if I haven’t convinced her that I’m not the guy for her by now, I’ve got my work cut out for me. It’s tough to move from no relationship to long-distance relationship and I’m not sure how it’ll all work out, and maybe it won’t, but three years is a long time to be doing the same thing and not reaping the full benefits of it.