Devin Dearing Preston: NYC writer, playwright, and storyteller

Oh Flynt,

August 17, 2011

I’m super single these days. Meaning, I’m single and it’s super. Super.

This is surprising to most people who don’t know me. On first meetings and at first glances I am remarkably pretty. Really, people usually remark about it. You know this. Well, pretty enough to have a boyfriend or husband, at least. I am 28.

My history with boyfriends is so spotty that I hesitate to tell you. But, fuck it. You should know, this is the area of my life that has been soadversely affected by your drinking, I almost can’t forgive you. How to explain.

My longest relationship was with a man, we’ll call him Clark, who was the opposite of you. I started seeing him in February of 2007, so a year and three months after you passed. That was after a brief, and I mean brief fling with an alcoholic who told me his therapist recommended he see other people. As well.  He was living with me, and I said “Are you kidding? Get the fuck out! Now. “

Clark and I never talked about your passing. He knew it happened, and that’s all he cared to know and all I cared to share. I dated him for just over a year and we never talked about anything important. I waited for him to ask but he never did. We went on lots of trips though, fouractually. He was handsome and kind. He had a good job and a nice place in the suburbs of Manhattan. He had a passion for the band Phish and snowboarding. That’s about all there is to say about him.

He really liked acting like an adult. I always felt he was doing his best adult impression, an imitation of the life he was supposed to want. I matched up with him perfectly for a time, because I was trying to pretend to be an adult as well. I loved how simple he was and how easily impressed. He loved me even though he didn’t know me. I loved him for that. It was exactly what I needed, until it wasn’t. I was comfortable with the distance between us at first. But grew weary when the gap never started to close. He shared a lot of experiences with me, but never shared himself.

It was such a familiar longing. I guess he was like you, after all.

I ended things because of the distance between us, and he thought I meant miles. Okay, so he wasn’t very bright. That’s what made him so eternally content. Must be nice. He quickly moved on to dating woman who didn’t speak english, at all. So he could always have a valid excuse for why they weren’t understanding each other.

So, that was Clark. Then there was no one for a good long while. I crushed on a co-star of mine who played a Priest who molested young boys, or did he? That’s a Doubt joke, Dad. It was what the play was about. I was a nun, a role truer to my nature. One I would naturally be content in most likely if you had not insisted on being you. A charming and charismatic asshole existing in a constant swing between drunk and hung over, in case you had forgotten.

I went on a string of super bad online dates with men who fancied themselves funny. Most were just very strange. Very, very, very strange. Then some stuff I won’t even tell you about involving bars and heavy drinking, if you must know. You’re smart and know what those add up to.

This year of self-hatred and self-destructive choices primed me perfectly for my next romantic encounter. It was a perfect storm. It lasted eight months in total. Which is eight months longer than it ever should have. We’ll call him Ross. I convinced myself he was nothing like you because he was short. Which was false, it made him even more of a dick, because he had all of your issues and was short on top of it. He was 39. Unemployed and always drinking a martini when I would come over. But I never knew which martini of the night it was. He had no intention of making me his girlfriend. And no intention of telling me about that intention. You can come back from the grave and kill him if you want.

He let me spend my own money to fly to visit him in Prague. I knew it was a bad idea, my friends knew it was a bad idea. Mom knew. A stranger at the bar knew. But  I did it anyway. Now I hate Prague because I had such a miserable time there. Lovely and beautiful Prague.

I actually can’t talk about Ross. I’m tired of talking about Ross. I wrote an entire play to publicly humiliate Ross. But its you who I should be furious at. I would have never even been attracted to a man like Ross, if you had not been my father.

So, I am pissed at you, Flynt. Pissed for my inability to immediately reject the distant, manipulative and borderline abusive behavior. Miffed about my tendency to instead run swiftly away from anything short ofdespicable. Outraged for feeling that I deserve to be treated that way. I actually crave it Flynt, to be perfectly honest.

Every single asshole lets me get closer to you.

Reminds me of the awful way you treated me sometimes. Most of those sometimes were because you were drunk. But that doesn’t excuse them. Sure, there was some good, Dad. There always is. Even these losers I date can manage to have a redeemable quality or two. But only just enough good is ever sprinkled into the pot of terrible. So I can taste the hope. That touch of good makes the awful bearable. Bearable Flynt.

You have me stuck in a life where I willingly settle for bearable.

You could have saved me a lot of trouble, Dad, by putting down the bottle and letting me be closer to the actual you. Taught me that I was worth showing up for. Helped me see that I was enough to bring a person happiness. Showed me that loving me, for who I am, is something a man could be capable of. Maybe, not have gone and died so that I will forever be trying to replace you. With assholes just like you, who make me feel just as bad about myself as you did.

That would have been better for me. Then, maybe I could have a fighting chance at finding love. Have a family of my own not crippled by dependency and abuse. Or at the very least, be able to demand to be treated better than a common prostitute.

There is some hope. Counseling is slowly helping. I stopped seeing the last guy, we’ll call him Sam, when he admitted to me he just thought we could have some “fun.” My favorite modern euphemism for “I wanted to disrespect you and your body, and I wanted you to pretend to be okay with it.” This time I said no.

I won’t sit here and pretend I am the only modern woman fucked up about sex and love. We all are pretty screwed. Being “raised” by men like you definitely didn’t help.

I currently don’t date at all. Because I don’t trust myself to not fall for the same kind of man again. To cling desperately to the first smart ass who throws a backhanded compliment my way. I hate myself for this.

I date myself for this.

Because after fighting for the love of a man like you for 20 years, being given love freely by a nice guy never seems to cut it. Thanks for that.

Dearing

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Categories: Letters I Will Never Send

Comments (2)


  1. Katherine Fordney says:

    August 18, 2011

    You're awesome Dev! Reply

    • Dearing Preston says:

      August 18, 2011

      Thanks Katy. I feel the same about you. Thanks for reading. All my love. Reply

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