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By B.E.

Be_sides_18 I have made it a point in my life to stay in touch with lovers from the past. I use the word lover loosely, as the level of intimacy I achieved with any of these men runs the gambit.  For the most part, this has been a pleasurable experience, maintaining the connection I felt at some point but creating a less complicated relationship with limited expectations.

This does not seem to be standard practice and recently I have started to see why. It seems no matter how evolved or disinterested you think you are, the inevitable feelings of ickiness come creeping up. It was during a recent bout with ickniess that I had to take a moment, look myself in the mirror, and decide whether it was genuine emotion spurring these feelings, or simply ego. Our egos seem to get in the way of the decision making process from time to time and, as I get older, I learn to pause and evaluate it’s intrusion before taking action.

I am not arrogant or self-involved, however, I like most human beings am subject to the proverbial bruising of my ego. I find that since I seem hell bent on making my life as difficult as possible, this injury is often self-inflicted, making it all the more painful and frustrating. I am well versed at taking my lumps but that doesn’t make it any more awesome. It still sucks to do something foolish or stupid or downright mean and then have to own up to it. But alas…

A couple of months back I shot a story for a dating website where we paired up real life couples and one pretend one to enact dating and being young and in love for the camera. For the pretend couple I supplied the male talent, as I seem to have a corner on that market. This was a man I had been involved with briefly years ago and have had peripheral contact with since. I asked if he would volunteer his services and he graciously obliged, displaying intimations of the things that made me like him in the first place. Once on set with his faux lady friend he was cute and charming and made the shoot a breeze. Seeing their palpable chemistry, I hinted at a burgeoning romance and when it piqued their interest I was happy to be able to connect the two. Until I wasn’t. As soon as I assisted in the sharing of numbers I felt, icky. And I knew immediately who the culprit was – my ego.

In recent weeks a former flame confided in me that he has just begun to court a mutual acquaintance. My initial reaction was, great – you seem happy and she seems fantastic, smart and beautiful… Beautiful! Perhaps too beautiful, and then that tingling in my spine snuck up on me. I was jealous. I was jealous that this man with whom I had no interest of pursuing romantic endeavors was seeing someone new and did I mention beautiful?

Essentially it doesn’t matter if she has the face of Halle Berry or Chuck Berry, he was just not for me. These were amorous opportunities I voluntarily passed up on and if they were not still my friends, I would not even know with whom they are currently attempting to dry hump and call their own. Nor would I care. But, alas, I am insistent on staying in touch with past partners and in turn, will remain interminable frienemies with my ego.

B.E. is a photographer and aspiring freelance writer residing in New York City.

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