Actually it’s very simple.
Either it’s in motion
or it is not.
This bears the signs
That bears the signs
Words to-ing and fro-ing
the mask of nonsense.
A liberating revelation in my younger youth was the concept of He’s Just Not That Into You (HJNTIY). The rule-of-thumb is if someone in whom you are interested is not pursuing you, they’re really not that interested in return. In the book (and movie) and common understanding, the pursuit is framed as man pursues woman. I have found it a useful concept for relationships of all sorts, including job offers and even dealing with estate or travel agents. Brutal, un-nuanced and woefully marginalising of women’s agency, HJNTIY is however a great counter approach for those with too much headspace for pining, mooning and generally idealised, but unrequited, romanticism. This imaginative energy can then be better applied to creativity – playing halting Romantic Lieder on the piano, dancing Argentine tango and writing bad poetry.
It has been ten years since the book proposing HJNTIY (and its Sex in the City dialogue cameo) entered popular discourse. This probably dates me. I still consider myself more a younger sister who looked up to the SITC quartet than a peer of the Girls generation. (In fact, my younger sister prophesied that one day I – à la Carrie Bradshaw – would be sitting at my laptop in my apartment typing up many a misadventure. This evening almost fulfills her premonition, bar the fact that I type this in my little rented room.)
Many of my lovely, often truly heartbroken friends as well as my aforementioned sister have been subjected to my less than sympathetic dismissals. It’s not complicated. Either it’s happening or it’s not. Next topic. On the other hand, I have had many a patient friend listen to my timed and dated litanies – there was this, then that, then this other thing. And, he left his cigarettes behind!
“As a smoker, I can say that truly means nothing. I’m always forgetting my cigarettes and lighters in places.”
Ah yes, that was a good misadventure from eight years ago that I’d almost forgotten. Nope, never did hear from that one again. Nor from the friend who offered the advice. But this much I know and it isn’t complicated – HJNTIY.
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness