August 20, 2006

The other night, Liza and I were talking on the phone. "You know what I don't have?" she said. "An air of mystery." It's true. She tells me, and everyone else in her life, everything. I've got so used to it that I now feel outraged if something happens and she forgets to mention it. "You switched shampoo?" I'll say. "You never told me that." I'll assume others have known all along, and feel left out. I asked when her air of mystery was to begin. "Tomorrow," she said. But as soon as she said that, I realised it would be an uphill battle. Announcing when you're going to start being mysterious is not very mysterious.

What makes someone elusive?

It helps to be French. French women have an enigma gene that enables them to be silent and chic, as opposed to lifeless and dull. Catherine Deneuve is elusive. But if she were from Florida, she'd be just another blonde who dressed well and didn't have much to say.
There is a lot to be said for not being so available: it makes people interested. I've tried this, but it didn't work out. Everyone just seemed relieved. Either that or they thought something was wrong. If I'm ever quiet, people will wonder what's happened. They ask: "Are you okay?" Then I'll say, "No, not really..." and assume they are interested in why. But they're not.

If I've ever had an air of mystery, it's by default. Like when I avoid someone. That's when I've had men tell me that I'm mysterious. But it never works the other way around. If I think someone is avoiding me, it would never occur to me that they're being mysterious. I assume I've done something wrong. So I'll leave another message asking them to call me back, and wonder why they're being evasive.

The difference between being elusive and evasive is something I'm not clear on, either. Next time there's a question I don't want to answer, I'll chalk it up to being elusive. Let's see if it makes me more attractive.

Men like mysterious women. They're usually not talkers. A woman of mystery will show up late for dinner and simply apologise, no explanation. She'll sit for hours on end when the football is on, mysteriously, not making a sound. If something is wrong, she'll keep it to herself. I, on the other hand, show up late and rattle off a monologue on the traffic, my blisters, the weather and its effects on hair and mood. Essentially a rundown of my entire psychological wellbeing. Far less appealing.

Some people are so desperate to have mystery in their life, they'll latch onto anything. For instance, I had a friend who dated a man with a beard. "It's so mysterious," she said. Really?


I see a man with a beard and presume all he's hiding is not having a chin.
Maybe I've never cared about mystery because I'm too impatient. Growing up, reading Nancy Drew detective novels, I'd always skip to the end and find out how she solved the case. If only I could do that in life. Skip to the end and see how it all works out.

A few days later I checked with Liza to see how life as a mysterious woman was going. Not well. She'd gone on a date, didn't tell anyone, and then, when nobody called to see how it went, she was depressed. "Now I feel like nobody cares about me," she said. I welcomed her to my world.