So at about 9.45 or so, I asked him if we could pause the movie. I had something to tell him, I said.
'Is it bad?'
I should have said no, because it's not bad. But I didn't. I don't even remember what I said; something waffly and indecisive. Then I told him. He was very tired at this point; in fact, he was already very tired from his long day and bad sleep the night before. So I pretty much chose a not-so-good time to tell him.
I don't really know what to say about it. When he first heard it, he was sympathetic, said, 'Oh no, poor Mountain Blue.' (That being his nickname for me; long story.) He didn't really ask a lot of questions except maybe two: who gave it to me and if it was the reason I wait so long before getting physical with someone. I'm not good at talking without prompts, so I just said whatever came to my mind - and because I'm not good at talking, period, I might have forgot a few things...such as the fact that I'd wanted to tell him way earlier, but didn't get the chance to because our 4th date ended earlier than I'd expected, and then other things between us got in the way, and then I'd plain forgotten about it the last time I saw him.
But maybe it's not so important. Maybe he isn't so important after all. He wasn't reassuring, wasn't forthcoming with his thoughts, didn't really have much to say, and basically didn't really make me feel assured. Of course, I realised when I got home that I shouldn't have been looking to him for reassurance; I should have been in full control and ownership of the disclosure because it's my virus, and I know how insignificant and just plain nothing it is, so I have nothing to feel bad about. I have nothing to be sorry for, nothing that necessitated a need for reassurance from him. It is entirely trivial, this stupid virus that I have, and it's honestly not my problem if the other person can't see it that way. So why should I feel bad? Why do I need assurance from the other person over a non-issue? Why should I feel as if it reflects on my worth if he freaks out over something so utterly insignificant?
I did tell him quite frankly that if he changed his mind because of this, I would find it unreasonable, but it would be his choice. He just kind of said 'okay' and hugged and kissed me goodbye when my taxi arrived. So it was just a bit weird, really. It was also kind of off-putting and disappointing that he didn't text me after I'd left. I understand that he was tired, but still. Other men that I told in the past did more than Thomas did to make me feel less bad, or to reassure me that they weren't going to leave me because of this.
But he said nothing. And today, he said nothing, too. If I hadn't been convinced by Raffael to send him a friendly message - enjoyed the evening; thanks for sticking to the plan despite your fatigue; appreciate your constancy; was nice snuggling with you; hope to see you again soon and that you're having a good night's sleep - I'm not sure if he would've got in touch at all. And all he said, in his usual way, to my message was, 'Yes, Mountain Blue.'
Yes what, Thomas? Yes you had a good night's sleep? That's nice, but rather trivial in light of the events of last night, don't you think? I didn't reply to that until 30 minutes ago because 1) I was busy writing my chapter; 2) I was over at Raffie's for pizza with him and John in the evening; and 3) I wanted Raffie to tell me what to text. I would never have texted him if Raffie hadn't convinced me. I wouldn't even have sent the message that Raffie had suggested I sent if I hadn't spent 30 minutes trying to craft a message that addressed the stupid herpes issue but failing because nothing sounded right. In the end, I was too tired to bother, so I just pretty much copied Raffie's suggested message word for word. The message that I'd just sent, too, was also pretty much dictated by Raffie.
I don't know. I really don't. Thomas is great in many ways, but he's so uncommunicative. If I hadn't somehow decided today that I wasn't really bothered by how he'd react to this herpes thing, I would be feeling like I've been left in the lurch by his silence, and that he's not really being very supportive. Is this an American thing? I know I shouldn't make generalisations from my sample size of a grand total of 1, i.e. American Mark, but what is it with Americans and herpes? Apart from Dominic who simply didn't know what it was, but who came around eventually, the European men that I've told didn't give a shit. Matt was the one that truly didn't give a shit; I even had to repeat myself to make sure that he heard me right because he didn't address it at all.
Of course, I understand...actually, I don't understand, but I can see how he'd need some time to think about it. Whatever it is, it would be nice if he told me what was on his mind. This has been a constant problem with him: he doesn't tell me anything. Okay, that's not really fair: he tells me a lot when he has to cancel. But he's either saying a lot, or saying very little. I don't think that the day after the woman that you're seeing tells you that she has genital HSV1 is a good time to be saying very little.
Maybe he and I are just incompatible. Obviously our communication styles couldn't be more different, and obviously I don't like the way he communicates (or doesn't communicate). In addition to that, though, and I believe that he was legitimately tired yesterday, it just felt a bit weird to be alone with him on his couch and for nothing to be happening. Granted, I wasn't doing anything because I didn't want to be in a situation where we were making out and I had to stop it to tell him that I have herpes; that would be quite awkward. So even though that made me question if we have any physical chemistry at all, I'm willing to give it another shot.
But then he told me that he neither gives nor receives oral sex. I mean...I'm not being entirely facetious when I say that it might actually be a dealbreaker.
How did I go from being quite smitten with this guy to being rather detached and cavalier about whatever happens, or doesn't happen, next? Maybe the wake-up call was the fact that I didn't know that I had a French test today and even arrived late to class. It made me realise how much of a mess my life is in, that I haven't got my act together at all, that I haven't done anything about the 377A paper that I need to publish, and that instead of getting my shit in order, I am worrying about whether a man that I've known for a month would want to stop seeing me because of a complete triviality? The only thing that can beat herpes in terms of triviality is my perception, and distortion, of things that are important.
So yeah, I don't think I really care that much anymore. I mean, I like that he collects fridge magnets like I do, that he puts a lot of coloured tabs on his history books like I do when I read for the PhD, that he shook his head at 'toward' when he was showing me a satirical children's book on Trump...but these things are irrelevant if he does not have the capacity to like me for who I am - if he does not have the capacity to know me. It wouldn't be my loss if he didn't. Although I still like him, I don't feel as if I have a lot riding on this anymore. I will just kind of prod at it to see what happens and allow Raffie to dictate everything (because I've been following his advice so far and he's proven to be rather astute). I don't think I would be that devastated or even hurt if Thomas decided that herpes is more important than me.
On another note, I have finally eased myself into writing about the cases for Chapter 1. I was re-acquainting myself with the facts of the Nguyen Tuong Van drug trafficking/death penalty case from 2004; I remember I was outraged by it when it was happening. But I'd forgotten that he was actually only in transit in Singapore with the heroin. He wasn't even intending to sell it on the streets.
I find it utterly shocking how any right-thinking, nominally decent person can support the death penalty for drug trafficking. I can sort of see how one would be in favour of it for murder because of its heinous nature, though I am absolutely against the death penalty. But drug trafficking? I read the parliamentary debates that took place when the mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking was introduced in 1975. The rationale for it was that drug abuse is a serious problem - not because it destroys individual lives or anything, but because it compromises national security and destabilises key institutions like the armed forces. Presumably this is because young men who are addicted to drugs cannot serve in the military properly.
If these are the interests that Singapore wants to safeguard when it takes away a person's life for a crime that arguably does not warrant such a penalty, then it makes me really ashamed to be Singaporean. This shit is not carried out in my name. This heinous, backwards and barbaric punishment has nothing to do with me.
But of course it does. My entire thesis is about how we are constituted by our communal attachments. Because I am Singaporean, I am not only outraged by the actions of my country; but I also feel somewhat responsible. I can disapprove, disassociate myself from such actions, condemn them; but they are done in my name by virtue of my membership in the national community. Despite the universal wrongness of the death penalty, it feels especially wrong that my country is doing it because of my intimate association with, and relation to, it, such that, to some slight degree, I feel personally responsible for my country's misguided criminal philosophy.
This isn't even a case of reasonable disagreement between reasonable people. There is absolutely nothing reasonable about the death penalty for drug trafficking. It is manifestly disproportionate, and more importantly, there is no evidence proving that it is an effective form of deterrence against drug trafficking. But even more importantly, even if there were such evidence, it is not enough to outweigh the disproportionality of the punishment. Like I said in the previous entry, I am an ethical deontologist, not a consequentialist. Using individual drug traffickers to deter drug trafficking is to utterly disrespect the separateness of their being; it is to use them as a means to an end. In my mind, there is nothing that can justify this morally.
Anyway. I am tired.