MISFIT DOC: My Girlfriend / She’s At The End

I was seventeen and dating a guy, who despite hanging out with me every day and doing all the boyfriend/girlfriend stuff with me, would never call me his girlfriend. This drove me insane.

We were sitting in his car one day, listening to a tape of Violent Femmes “Blister in the Sun” and singing along. It got to the part with:

My girlfriend / She’s at the end / She is starting to cry

He pointed at me on the word “girlfriend”.

I died. You just got girlfriended, my friend.

The plan had come together naturally; I didn’t even own that tape. That being said, now that I understood its magical capabilities, I was sure as hell going to go out and get a Violent Femmes tape of my own.

In the years that followed, any time I wanted to see where I stood with a guy, I played my Violent Femmes tape, waiting in a cold sweat, holding my breath, for their reaction when the “My girlfriend” line happened.

Sometimes they would point at me.

I could save face by telling you that this Violent Femmes tape thing was a sociology experiment, but I think anyone would clearly see that it was just my reeking, god-awful desperation of wanting to be someone’s girlfriend.

The problem was that I very specifically chased after guys who had no interest in having a girlfriend, outright said they didn’t want a girlfriend, and wore t-shirts that had the word “Girlfriend” with a circle and slash through it. These guys could most often be found onstage with their band at a club, singing a song called “Just Say No to Having a Girlfriend”, which was the title track off their forthcoming album “Just Say No to Having a Girlfriend”.

And I was their number one fan.

At the time, I thought it was the challenge that I loved when Mr. Wannabe Rock Star would say, “I’m not really into the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing.”

I would nod my head like I understood, all the while grinding my teeth, thinking, “I’ll be goddamned if this bastard isn’t going to fall in love with me.”

As I got older, I realized that it wasn’t the challenge that I loved; I just didn’t think I was worthy of someone who was eager and willing to love me. Strong-arming someone into loving me made much more sense. I thought I was such a loathsome, horrible creature, that anyone who would have willingly loved me would have had to have been some kind of weirdo loser. Someone who didn’t appear to want to be with me was far more appealing. They had taste!

Every time a guy said, “I’m not really into the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing,” it was the shot heard ‘round the world, where I responded with war-like force; low self-esteem, daddy issues, and fear of intimacy forming into a holy trinity and launching The Crusades to conquer the lands of his love.

I will storm you like the shores of Normandy, buddy-boy. I will burn down the bastille where you’re hiding your heart away from me. I will invade your life, colonize your time, and you will pay your love taxes to ME, your soulmate queen. Kneel before Girlfriend Zod and stuff.

Years after the initial “Blister in the Sun” incident, I played the tape for a guy named Matt; a guy with whom I was hopelessly, moony-eyed, pathetically smitten to the point that it caused me actual pain under my sternum. He was the most insufferably frustrating guy (ever!), the guy who treated me like his girlfriend in every aspect, but seemed like he would have preferred death over actually calling me his girlfriend.

How could I not be his girlfriend? We had been sleeping with each other for months. All of our weekends were spent together without having to make specific plans to do so. We were on the phone with each other for hours on the nights we didn’t hang out. He wrote a song about me, for crying out loud!

As “Blister in the Sun” played, I tensed up in anticipation.

My girlfriend / She’s at the end / She is starting to cry

He sang it.

He pointed at me.

He laughed and said, “That’s you!”

I died. You just got girlfriended, my frie…

“You’re, like, my most depressed friend!”

Maggie Dove is a cross-genre Southern writer by way of South Florida. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Hobart, Cosmonauts Avenue, JMWW, Drunk Monkeys, Foliate Oak, The New Southern Fugitives, X-R-A-Y, and elsewhere, and she is currently a semifinalist for the 2019 Pamet River Prize for her memoir manuscript "Dirtbag Lights". She is petty and immature, and has many tribal tattoos from the 90s for which she refuses to be apologetic. Her blog can be found at romcomdojo.com and she is on Twitter.

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