03 April 2007

"Johanna, there'll be others."


As I've mentioned here before, without fail, my father's first in-private reaction to meeting my new boyfriends has always consisted of the same four words: "Johanna, there'll be others."

Didn't matter if they were a still-hanging-out-with-high-school-kids community college burnout, an Ivy League educated World Champion rower, a kind-hearted bi-curious Hawaiian getting his Ph.D. in biophysics, a soap-opera-haired lobbyist two years my junior earning four times my salary, or the man over whom I'm still very much torn - the one who holds dear the Cherry Bowl, the one who properly introduced me to the glory of Manhattan (the seared foie gras at Picholine, in particular), the one who inspired me to finally pursue my two true passions: fashion and self-promotion.

All good men in their own rites, all thoughtfully dismissed by the one person whose opinion means more to me than even my own.

And so far, he's been right. Even on this last one, unfortunately.

This morning, during my familiar four block jaunt down M Street to work, listening to my freshly downloaded "The Pieces Don't Fit Anymore" (James Morrison), I saw yet another beautiful size-four with shiny hair, moisturized skin, runner's legs and an elegant heel-walk wearing the Diane von Furstenberg navy and white Gingko print 'Jessica' wrapdress that after three fruitless months of pining for its silk jersey softness and dress-it-up-or-down versatility, I still can't put out of my mind. I visit her often at nordstrom.com and Betsy Fisher, even wrapping her Japanese flowers around me when I'm feeling especially low, but inevitably the time comes when I have to accept the cold hard truth that $345-plus-tax is much more smartly spent on running shoes and under-eye concealer for me and untainted gourmet dog food and boutique health insurance for Montesquieu. That's the right thing to do, my friends and family tell me. Budget, necessities, and function, not excess, luxury and fashion. Most of the time I'm fine with this more mature, more responsible lifestyle, but when something's right there, when it's only a few budget cuts and twists of Sugar Daddy fate within reach, the pain compounds exponentially.

But just as it does with a man you meet unexpectedly at a red light intersection on a warm May afternoon, the most powerful and perfect love you feel for that one cocktail dress, that one pair of peeptoes or that one incredible twill coat can hit you so hard and so suddenly you'll never be able to satisfactorily explain the why or the how. It just is.

As I came to 17th and M, I smiled at the likely prospect every time I enter a vintage store for the rest of my life, I'll unconsciously search for those items that eluded me in my younger, more fiscally conservative years. It's the clothing equivalent of Google-ing the former boyfriend you now realize you should've held onto more tightly but didn't. With clothes, as opposed to lovers, you have a much higher probability of remedying past wrongs in ways that don't involve skulking around your own city and paying for expensive dinners with cash. And that's a very good thing.

As I passed another of my steadfast but more than slightly out-of-reach unrequited loves, the Burberry short trench, always there on the corner of ConnAve/M behind the shiny glass reminding me in its reflection, "Yes, your makeup, bangs and legs do look good today, but that doesn't change the fact you can't have me," I began to think about my Dad's theory on love.

"Johanna, there'll be others."

Crossing ConnAve and walking the twenty or so steps up to my building, I repeated those four words under my breath several times, unconvinced and confused, wondering why I've always been able to believe him when it comes to men - this last one, aside - but never to clothing.

By admitting a predisposition for forging deeper, longer-lasting attachments to fine leather, unique necklines and rosette-detailing than to human beings, I believe I've reached a new height, the zenith perhaps, of superficiality.

Either that, or I've yet to meet the available Ernest Hemingway to my Marlene Dietrich who'll rock my world and make me forget my insatiable desire for all things pretty, mini and DVF.

I'll consider both theories while I go now and grace ConnAve with my toned-calves-and-peeptoes presence...

11 comments:

dc girl said...

I know exactly what you mean about being slightly too in-love with an inanimate object. For me, it's jewelery, though. I say, fuck it, like what you like, love what you love, and as long as you're still a good friend and aren't completely devoid of romantic prospects, who cares? Girls are girls, and they're going to love things that make them look and feel beautiful. Find a guy who will adore you for that, not one who will try to change you.

I beg to differ said...

Funny you should mention "still-hanging-out-with-high-school-kids community college burnout". I just saw him this morning in Jokemos... Riding shotgun in the "V*** Family Chiropractic" Mobile. It made me laugh :)

Johanna said...

Whoah, "i beg to differ" -- how do you know so many details?? But more importantly, was Cookie-Head still as cookie-head-esque as he was from 1994-1998?

jokemos, hah! never heard that before.

I beg to differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M said...

what is amazing is that a trade took place over some taco bell and a photo!

west coast devotee said...

Let me guess, your brother was 42 years old and wielded power in some kind of way? now that we have the attention of someone who knew Johanna back in the day, can we get some verification on this older man thing? Did she really go for them when she was just a girl back in the midwest?

Inquiring minds want to know...

knew you as hannie said...

Two words for you, "west coast devotee": softball coach.

Sorry, JC, they wanted to know!

knew you as hannie, too said...

a bunch of other "two words":

Gene Hackman
Mandy Patinkin
Sylvester Stallone
Ralph Fiennes
Robert Redford
Richard Gere
Orrin Hatch
Pat Buchanan
sophomore english teacher (okay, that's three words)
Dick Cheney (did I even need to include him on this list?)
and finally, half of your friends' fathers (no names, of course :-)

it's true. it's always been true. she's always been a nut.

Anonymous said...

Didn't she write a letter inviting Mandy Patinkin to prom or sadie's?

Johanna said...

Okay, you memory-laners, this is all good fun, isn't it?

Taco Bell for a photo, eh? Yes, I do recall one such transaction. Identity identified.

And so what if I did ask Mandy to Sadie Hawkins in years '96 and '97? It was his loss that he didn't make the trek out to Okemos to enjoy a Mountain Jacks steak dinner and an evening of flat-chested slow dancing with the Class President.

His loss, indeed.

Anonymous said...

I love the look on Carrie's face in that picture. That was a great episode. Remember that sample closet? Uh, it's like, every girl's DREAM...