Gigolo

I wasn't born a gigolo—a romancer of women—it was more something I fell into; a learned pattern of behavior, if you will. It was a skin that took a long time to grow into, but at no point along the way do I remember ever raising any moral objections. I suppose you could argue that I was something of a sociopath, and likely I'd fail any tests designed to prove otherwise, but I doubt my psychology had much to do with it. Like I said: it was something that grew on me. It took a long, long time to evolve from a bookish, fat, and awkward child into a suave, smooth man-child who thought he was one of the most adult people he knew.

It's remarkable, the effect of positive reinforcement. Bad or otherwise, it's not my place to say. It was all relative in the end. The longer I stared at the world, the more I realized that one's person's badness was another's good; that social survival depended solely on making sure that compatibilities met.

Law? Sure, I worried about the law all the time. Evading it and operating within and without it became something of a game. One I played very, very well. It was something true about the law, and the enforcement of it, in that you couldn't be prosecuted if you never got caught. Any person with the capacity for critical thought could avoid capture. Leave no traces; do nothing to inflict the wrath of the law-abiding. Pretty simple.

I remember one of my earliest mature companions questioning the validity of my professed love for her. Let me make something absolutely clear: I did love them, every last one of them. Even the ones who turned out to be less than gracious when the time came to part. I loved them all. But the question that came up over and over was always how much? As though I could quantify it in some way; assign a percentage of heart points to this one, another to that one, and the remainder the ones who weren't within earshot. Or rank them: loving this one the best and that one the least. But that was never a consideration for me. The state of love was a binary one: it either was or it wasn't. I don't know if any of them ever accepted my explanation, but that was what I lived by and what I believed, and still believe. I've never felt an ounce of favoritism when it comes to other human beings, romantic or no. Certainly there are degrees of tolerance, and that's a topic for another day. But when it came to love, it was all or none; even if it was a state shared with a great many people. And in terms of romantic love I seemed to have few—if any—limits.


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