Carljoe Javier is the author of “And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth“. He still hopes that he can one day become a Jedi Knight, a member of the anti-Skynet resistance, or a member of the A-Team. The following essay is part of a new collection he is in the process of writing, so consider this a sneak preview. He’s looking for feedback as well, so be sure to let us know if you like it–it’ll be too late for complaints once the book is on the shelves ^_^:
The first night she spent at my house my friends went crazy for her. I was having a party and the moment that they saw her, their jaws dropped. They huddled around her, much to the dismay of the girlfriends and wives present. “Dude, how?” My friends asked me. And all I could do was smirk and shrug, not affording them the satisfaction of an explanation.
“Carl, why?” one of the girlfriends asked.
To which I answered, “Why not?”
“Well, duh! Hello? What are you thinking?”
“What do you mean what am I thinking? Look, all the guys love her!”
She looked at me, sighed, and then slumped her shoulders. There was a slow nod, which I could only interpret as disapproval.
Later in the night, we caught her boyfriend fondling the new girl’s breasts.
“Dude, not cool,” I said.
His girlfriend had a rather more extreme response: “What the Hell are you doing?”
I came to his defense, “He can’t help it.”
“How can he not help it?”
“Well, they are now saying that she’s an Omega-Class Mutant. As a telepath, she can project images, manipulate your mind, and that’s just for starters. I mean, Cyclops wasn’t immune to her wiles, and he had a potentially worlds-destroying girlfriend at the time.”
“I give up,” the girlfriend said, and as she left us, her boyfriend gave me a knuckle-smack. Then he handed me the Emma Frost action figure. How Emma Frost came to me is pretty simple; I’d been seeing the action figure and I thought it would make a good addition to my collection. But the why, the reason why I felt that it would mean something to have that action figure, has a more interesting story.
Emma Frost, apart from frakking things up between Scott Summers and Jean Grey, also did a pretty good number on the ex-girlfriend and me about a week before we broke up. To say that the ex wasn’t a big fan of the X-Men would be an understatement (ok, so she saw the movies), while I still have fond childhood memories of collecting all the variant covers of the first issue of the Jim Lee X-Men, waking up on Saturday mornings to watch the animated series, having the board game, and collecting the toys and Marvel Trading Cards.
I have a geeky trait that can turn into a problem: I have the tendency to talk on and on about something when I get excited about it. So, after bingeing on a load of recently-acquired books of New X-Men and Astonishing X-Men I couldn’t stop talking about how awesome Emma Frost as a character was. She was powerful, morally ambiguous, selfish, had the potential to turn on a dime and betray anyone, but also had a dogged loyalty once she loved. It was a perfectly flawed character written with nuance, a frailty beneath that diamond-skinned tenacity, and a swagger and speech that made one understand just why Scott Summers would risk the fury of the Phoenix for a little bit of White Queen action.
Having come to believe that a good relationship was predicated on trust, openness, and sharing everything with the other person, I shared my unabashed love for the character with the ex. We had certain stores that we always had to go to when we went to malls. One of hers was Comic Alley. I don’t really get much from going in there, since the store is skewed towards the anime-fan market, but as luck would have it they had an Emma Frost toy. As the ex was looking at something or other in the anime soundtracks section, I came up to her with Emma Frost and said, “Isn’t this awesome? Don’t you think this would be cool in my collection?”
She looked at the action figure and asked why I would want to have it. I went on the long rant about how interesting a character she was, how much of a driving force she’s been in the X-Men, especially that great Astonishing X-Men storyline that she has with the supposed return of the Hellfire Club, and the climax arc in the Whedon-penned run.
To which she replied, “E di sa kanya ka na lang.” Then she started walking out the store.
I left Emma in the store and chased after her. She was in a huff and was obviously angry, about what I could hardly understand. When I went on about the Justice League, The Boys, Spider-Man, Captain American, or any of the other members of the X-Men (including Kitty Pryde and Jean Grey), she never had this kind of reaction.
“Basta,” she said when I asked her what was wrong. “You want that on your desk? Fine, do whatever you want.”
It only occurred to me, as I was trying to calm her down, that she was jealous. This of course, did not enter into my set of possibilities when I was trying to analyze what the problem was. There was no way, in my mind, that someone could be jealous of a comic book character. I mean, come on, I didn’t even have crushes on flesh and blood celebrities (okay, now I’ll admit that I was for a time pining for Felicia Day while I was with the ex, but that was just a net-based nerdy geek-crush), isn’t it kind of pathetic to think that a dude would have a crush or care about a comic book character more than his actual girlfriend?
As the saying goes, don’t ask questions that you’re not ready for the answers to; so yes, she was jealous. She wasn’t jealous of any of the living, breathing females with whom I was in regular contact with, but she did think that I might have a thing for The White Queen. And is it pathetic? Yeah, pretty much. I shall expound.
Having come from relationships that suffered from distrust and insecurity, I had made an effort to make the ex believe that I would never leave her. Further, I had made attempts to show her that I desired no one but her. I integrated her into all aspects of my life, introduced her to everyone I knew, let her have free access to my phone and email and everything else. I was an open book. There was no chance that I would cheat on her.
Add to this the fact that I have enough problems convincing one woman to be with me, how could I possibly manage to convince another as I tried to maintain a relationship with the first? Granted most men have no problems with this, and the qualms come at a moral level. My qualms did not reach that level, they stopped at the logistical limitations that I had; I just don’t have the capacity to handle two girlfriends.
Thus, in the real world, she was safe. Nothing could threaten her. The most time I had spent in romantic pursuit of another woman in the two years that I had been with the ex was my courtship of a number of women in Grand Theft Auto IV, which had resulted in my virtual girlfriend being gunned down and me having to seek revenge for her murder (“Why didn’t you kill me instead, you bastard!” I screamed as I emptied my assault rifle into her murderer’s guts). At the time I was working with some pretty attractive women, but to these women she felt safe and secure.
It was only to the wiles of The White Queen that she felt threatened. All I could think was, “Come on? I get in a fight because I like a comic book character? Isn’t this unfair, and a little crazy?” Of course I did not voice this, I did what any geek who wanted to continue amorous relations with an attractive woman would do: I bent to her whim.
I apologized for even considering getting an Emma Frost action figure. I reassured her and told her that I loved her and that I would always love her and never leave her.
Of course about a week later, she dumped me. Because she became interested in some other flesh and blood human being. I’m still trying to figure out if that had anything to do with Emma Frost and the ex’s reaction to the powerful telepath.
In any case she left. And much like Jean Grey’s death at the hands of Magneto being a tragic loss for Cyclops, it rendered me lost and unsure of what to do. But it was in that moment of tragedy that Emma Frost was given a chance. I’ve got Emma Frost now, but I’m also looking to give someone else a chance. The fury of the Phoenix has passed; it’s a chance to rebuild in her wake.