How It Feels When I’m Watching Him Flirt with Another Girl
By Dani Katz
It was Labor Day weekend, and we were hanging out on the roof of a beachfront loft with a gaggle of his friends, most of whom I’d never met. But, I was – well, if not in love, definitely crushing hard – and, all that mattered was that he was holding my feet in his lap, and rubbing my tan, sun-warm legs, and gazing at me adoringly between trading wisecracks and tales of adventure with the people he loved most.
He got up to refill our drinks (my water, his wine), and on his way, stopped to chat with a pretty, young thing wearing thick layers of mascara, and a string bikini. He’s charming, this then summer man o’ mine, and affectionate. He touched her arm while confiding something hilarious into the space between her ear and her perfectly placed clavicle, and she burst into a fit of giggles. As he walked away, he met my gaze, winked, and then continued downstairs on his refill mission.
In that moment, I was more attracted to him than ever.
It was strange, as I’d spent so many years feeling small and less than when boyfriends past chatted up pretty women in front of me. Perhaps more crazy-making than the insecurity and the jealousy it inspired, was how hard I judged myself for feeling what I was feeling. There were dozens of times I lost my cool watching Boyfriend X flirting with Other Woman Y at Gathering Z – mind-fucking myself into frothy and otherwise debilitating states of rage because I assumed that he wanted to bed the woman who later turned out to be his neighbor, or his dentist, or his sister. In those instances, I was blinded by the insecurity that inspired me to feel like I was unworthy and disposable – cast aside and forgotten by way of a five-minute conversation. I projected my own self-doubt onto aforementioned Boyfriend X, and tangled myself into a thousand and one knots while making up stories about all the attractions and intentions I assumed he was cultivating. And then, I beat myself up for the whole messy lot of it.
But, stretched out like a sun-drunk cat on a hot Venice roof, none of those old demons were at play. I watched my summer man chat up the pretty bikini girl with pride, nourished by knowing that when he was finished dazzling the woman rocking the string bikini, he would make his way back to me, and that later, when we were naked and entwined and consumed with the alchemy of us, that I would be even more turned on having watched him flirting with another woman, whereby he was showing me, as though I could possibly forget, just how desirable he really is.