anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

You are a Brief Candle, Burning Bright

At my ripe old age of 30, I woke up this morning with a massive hangover that didn't fully subside until maybe after dinner. This hangover was caused by my going clubbing with Marc, a new Singaporean friend also at Magdalene that I made over the past few weeks, last night. We went to Kuda which had the huge advantage of being 7 minutes away from Magdalene on foot, and it was supposedly an R&B/hip-hop club; but as is to be expected with these generic places, the music quickly degenerated into boring club-y dance music.

We went in before 11 to avoid paying an entry fee. Before that we had a drink at the Pick. At the club, we had at least 5 more drinks in total. I started with a Sex on the Beach, he with a Long Island Iced Tea. Then he got us vodka sprite. After these drinks, I was still not in my happy zone, so I got us a double-shot gin and tonic. A while later, I felt like I needed more of a buzz, so he got us a Long Island Iced Tea (I picked, he paid). Finally, after I spilled the last bit of my drink on the dance floor, I decided that it would be nice to have a last drink, so I got us a single-shot gin and tonic. It would be a bit of an understatement to say that I drank a little too much. But at least I wasn't sick.

The dancing was fun, the crowd was weird, the company was good. He's like a little brother to me and he is super bloody ah beng, complete with a gold chain. It is really hilarious. He was also a sleazy-men-repellant; apart from some randoms that tried to talk to me as I walked to the cloak room or to the loo, and a fat dude who kept looking over at me, and some other random whom Marc said was trying to approach me, I was generally not bothered by unwanted attention. It is such a misconception that people go to clubs to pick up members of the preferred sex. Sure, some people do that, obviously, but I'm not one of them. What's the attraction in grinding some stranger's crotch in a half-drunken state? It is so undignified and pathetic.

Of course, there is little dignity in clubbing, but it can be fun sometimes. Marc ran into a classmate from the National Taiwan University where he went for undergrad, and she was with some people from college, and one of them was this super cool girl, and then the DJ played Britney Spears' Gimme More which I love, and we kind of went crazy singing and dancing. That was fun.

The club itself was nothing special; it wasn't shitty but it was awfully generic. It also wasn't full-blown hip-hop a la hip-hop night at Velvet Underground in Zouk to which I went with Elissa last year; that was fucking awesome. I genuinely think that there is no amount of alcohol in the world that can make me feel like dancing to shitty popular dance music. I can do house or trance if the strobe lights are frenetic enough and if there's enough alcohol in my system; but dance music is simply awful and boring. So the music became like that, and we were both tired, so we left at about 2.30am.

Then came the best part of the night. We sat in front of the Old Round Church, talking and bitching about everything in full Singlish. I usually speak Singlish with him anyway but this was FULL SINGLISH. I don't think I spoke a single sentence in proper English. It was hilarious. The highlight of the conversation came as we were walking back to Magdalene, and we were talking about my sad love life, and then I asked, 'So do you think I am a 女神 (goddess)?'

Actually, the real question is: do I think that I'm a 女神? I think it's entirely plausible that my ego is so over-inflated that the question can be answered in the affirmative. For example, whenever I find myself in a situation where I am interested in someone and he doesn't seem interested or is not interested, I don't think, 'Oh that's not a surprise; I'm not an interesting person.' On the contrary, here's what I really think: 'Oh okay that's fine; everyone is entitled to their own bad taste.' I also think: 'I seriously question his taste level.'

This ego is my fort. An inflated sense of self is always better than a lack thereof.

Anyway, the reason for the hangover was this: I got home and had a cup of water before hitting the shower and promptly falling asleep after the shower. I didn't have any water in the club save for a few ice cubes. Unsurprisingly, then, I woke up this morning - at the ungodly hour of 8am, thanks to my body clock - feeling as if my head had been bulldozed by a truck.

This feeling persisted throughout the day, and it seems to persist still because it is 9.32pm and I am feeling incredibly tired. I even played tennis in the afternoon with Jay and crazily suggested playing a match. Unsurprisingly, I lost 6-3, then lost a for-fun tiebreak. I was serving to stay in it at 5-3 and I played the worst game I've played all year: two double faults, a shitty missed shot, and then I was down 0-40 and then it was over. Great going, self. Sure, I was hungover, but apparently not enough to be rendered immobile, so that was no excuse.

We also played tennis yesterday morning. I lost it in a tie-break; I think it was 7-3. I have a serious problem with my backhand now and it is really pissing me off. What used to be my best shot is now a liability because it is inconsistent and my footwork sucks and so I have lost the timing on the backhand. And now this is in my head. Every time the ball comes to my backhand, the first thing I think of is, 'Shit, don't miss.' This beaming ray of positive thinking naturally translates to 1) shitty footwork that doesn't get me in position in time; 2) over-thinking the shot and trying too hard; and most frequently, 3) a combination of 1 and 2.

Basically, my backhand sucks. My forehand is so much more consistent, but that's not saying much because my backhand is really terrible. I think my biggest problem - apart from my serve - is the overall lack of consistency. I can literally hit a blazing forehand followed by one that drops into the service box at best or goes straight into the net/goes long at worst. I make too many mistakes when I play matches because of this lack of consistency. Regardless of who the opponent is, I feel as if I'm beating myself half the time. Sometimes I tell myself to just go back to basics and it works, but other times, I'm just at a loss, floundering, no power on the serve, no timing on the backhand, my forehand bearing the burden of my entire game, and after a while, it crumbles, too. Losing my backhand as my weapon feels like I've lost a limb; it is really quite tragic.


Enough about tennis. Here's something else that's happened.

I met Dominic for coffee yesterday at his behest. What started out to be a normal meeting which predictably turned into a rehashing of what happened between us for the sake of his closure ended in an email which should not have surprised me but which nevertheless left me feeling quite flummoxed. It seemed from the conversation in Jesus Green that he was not quite over it, but rather accepting of the outcome. Then he tells me, 'I would like to date you again.'

I know I bitched about someone not replying after 24 hours, and I didn't reply for more than 24 hours, but this isn't something simple like 'let's get coffee on this day at this time'. This is of significantly more import and importance.

I eventually said no and that I just wanted to be friends. He's just replied saying he's not surprised, and he doesn't want to be friends.

Isn't it so heartbreakingly mundane, the way two people react in such diametrically opposed manners to the same situation?


Lastly, I dreamt of Kenneth a few nights ago. More specifically, I dreamt that he kissed me. His lips were soft, he kissed me with a delicate intensity, I wanted him to never stop.

I haven't seen Kenneth in more than a year. The last time I saw him was before I came to Cambridge, when I was involved with G. It was a Friday night; a Friday night that I did not reserve for G because he went all cold on me and pissed me off, and so I made my own plans and met Kenneth for dinner. We had dinner at Flying Squirrel in Tanjong Pagar and he was late, having just come from work. Then we walked to Ann Siang Hill for drinks until midnight, if I remember correctly.

I had a wonderful time. He made me laugh, as always; he riffed on all sorts of random things, as always, and it was almost as if all these years had not passed, and we were back in 2007/2008. But of course, that is not true at all. I realised that I forgot his birthday this year. And I haven't seen him in over a year.

The thing about him was that he came into my life shortly after my most emotionally devastating relationship (with NEB) ended. It was on 16 July 2007; I remember the precise date because we met in a law firm where we were both doing internships, and that was the first day of my internship. We spent so much time together by ourselves: meals, movies, studying in cafes, hanging out in school, walking long distances in search of a bus stop in Dempsey after failing to get a taxi during the 'change shift' hour... He was exceedingly nice to me. Nobody who wasn't my boyfriend was as nice to me as he was, and treated me as well as he did; in fact, he bested some of my boyfriends in those aspects.

I had always wondered what was really going on back then, whether he saw me as a just a friend or if he was interested in dating me. He never made a move. He never said anything. But maybe actions spoke louder than words; after all, he brought me to the Fullerton for my birthday in 2008. The Fullerton, one of the fanciest hotels in Singapore, my favourite hotel if I had to pick one; and he brought me there for my birthday dinner because he remembered that I'd never had dinner there before. It says a lot about my level of maturity at 22 that I didn't immediately fall for him after that; in fact, I seemed to conclude from my reaction to that gesture that he wasn't my type. Why? What did I even mean by that? Did I really think that good, decent and gentlemanly guys weren't my type? What was wrong with me?

It is suddenly crystal clear to me now, 8 years later, what was really happening back then. The benefit of hindsight, of writing copious journal entries about the subject which I have just read, and of my accumulated experience since then has illuminated what should have been clear but to which I was blind, whether wilfully or not. He was interested. He did see me as more than a friend. But he never made a move because I did not - and still not - share his religion.

I wrote that he asked me to go to his church several times when we first got to know each other. I wrote that I told him that I would never date a Christian. He told me a couple of times that he thought I was pretty. Before he left for a year-long exchange in the UK, he told a mutual friend to take care of me for him. And of course, we spent so much time together, just the two of us. He frequently paid for things, too.

8 years ago, I thought that it would break my heart if I ever had confirmation that the only thing standing in the way of a possible relationship with him was his religion/my lack of religion. And although I am only thinking about him now because of the dream, now that I am thinking about him, I cannot help but feel that it is such a sad, sad waste. 8 years ago, when my on-again, off-again feelings for him were on again, I didn't want to look back with regret at letting this pass me by; and right now, the irrational part of me regrets it.

But the rational part of me knows that it wouldn't have worked out even if one of us - probably me - had confessed to seeing the other as more than a friend. It boils down to the same reason that I ended things with Dominic: religion. What is it about religion that repulses me so? Why am I so resolute in not wanting it in my life at all? It is so fundamentally incompatible with my worldviews that I am utterly incapable of understanding why someone would believe in a god. I can understand the peripheral, incidental, instrumental reasons: it provides a solid reason for existence, it helps people cope better with death, it makes sense of life, it is comforting to think that there is a reason, a purpose, for the universe and our existence as opposed to thinking that everything is random, that there is no higher purpose, that we are here and we die and that's all of life and human existence. That is what I believe. And I can understand that it may be necessary to presuppose a god in order for people to make sense of life, this infinitely unknowable thing.

But I don't understand why and how people believe in the thing in itself, in the existence of the higher power, in the substance of the higher power. I find it utterly incomprehensible because, to me, it is like believing that a fantasy is real, filling out a hollowed out space with a tangible presence of a being. And because I am unable to comprehend this, I will always feel as if there is a part of the religious boyfriend that I can never understand - and so I can never have the deepest connection that I crave and want and yearn with him. And this is why I cannot date someone religious, shouldn't have dated someone religious, and will never again date someone religious.

And so there is no point lamenting what could have been with Kenneth. I know what would eventually have been: the same story, the same reasons, the same predictable end.

But sometimes, like now, I cannot help but wonder why it is that the pieces never seem to fit together perfectly, all at once, but fall into my life in this fragmented fashion, as if taunting me and saying, 'You're close, but nope, you can't have him.'

It is lucky that I am in Cambridge. There is a good chance that I might have done something impulsive by now if I had been in Singapore. I'm not sure what my subconscious is trying to tell me here; that what I really want is someone like Kenneth? But didn't I already know that? I don't even know what the point is anymore.


On another slightly related note, I have been spoiled by these ACS boys - Kenneth and Wei Chuen. They took me to nice places, they paid, they set the standard for how a guy should treat me. Wouter met that standard, and it's a pretty specific standard, and so it's particularly obvious when someone falls short.

I don't consider myself materialistic or high maintenance. I am probably rather low-to-middle maintenance back in Singapore. But here? Maybe it is the student environment in which I am in, or maybe it is academia, but I feel as if I am some demanding crazy materialistic person for thinking that a guy who's trying to get with me should pay for the first few dates, or that he should take me out properly to a nice restaurant (though there are no nice restaurants in Cambridge, so this may be a bit hard).

Maybe I should just find an ACS boy to marry. But he's probably Christian. Fuck my life, then.


I am going home in December until 16 January, I think. I will also finally go to Taiwan to see my grandparents. I'm excited.
Tags: cambridge, clubbing, drinking, friends, guys, kenneth, playing tennis, relationships, religion

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