Miss Shine and Mister Black

9 Jun

By Rhea H. Boyden

 Miss Shine was struggling with the awkward zip on her black high-heeled boot which had a tendency to stick. She knew that Mister Black would be waiting for her at the restaurant. They were both extremely punctual, this being one of the few normal, mundane traits that they shared and valued. He would have already had the waiter come over and allow him to choose which truffles they were to dine on that evening and would be pondering the wine list.

 It was a crisp evening in early autumn and the sky was azure blue. Miss Shine was finishing her gin and tonic, served with plenty of ice and lime, and was listening to her current favourite CD which she had on repeat in her obsessive manner. It was house music by an obscure Icelandic collective of djs, one of whom she had met at a late night club. He had given her two copies of the CD. She was excited about giving a copy to Mister Black hoping to turn him on to the music that she so loved.  She had one last glance in the mirror to make sure she looked her best for Mister Black and she skipped out the door and headed to the restaurant.

‘I don’t really like new music.’ Mister Black announced as he studied the CD Miss Shine had just handed to him. Miss Shine put her glass of Chilean red down and glared at him. ‘What do you mean you don’t like new music?’ she demanded of him, hurt. ‘Do you mean you don’t like modern music, or do you mean you have a full collection and don’t need any more?’  Mister Black gave her a wry smile. ‘I happen to agree with Steven Pinker who dismissed music as being evolutionarily useless, displacing demands from areas of the brain that should be used for handling more important and relevant functions like language.’  he replied coldly. ‘With all due respect, Mister Black’ she finally said after she had swallowed the bite of truffle she had been savouring, ‘Steven Pinker is wrong.  As much as I realize that he is a renowned Harvard psycholinguist, I simply cannot agree for one second with that claim.’

Miss Shine was not unused to Mister Black’s contrary manner. He contradicted and provoked her often.  She was sensitive and it hurt her immensely and he drove her half insane, but she also saw that having a good debate was surely a whole lot more exciting and invigorating than being with a man who had no opinion on anything at all. In any case, these debates were all foreplay and the truffles an aphrodisiac, as Mister Black cheekily pointed out.

‘Did you know that Ray Charles believes he was born with music inside of him?’ Miss Shine quizzed Mister Black. ‘And that convincing data have been collected showing  that while listening to music a series of tonal deviations create conflict in the brain that somehow magically create the conditions that we come to perceive as deep pleasure when listening to music we love. Simply stated, it appears that a brain confused by music seems to perceive ecstasy.’ Miss Shine stopped talking and looked at Mister Black. Their eyes locked. She felt a wave of desire well up in her. ‘Shall we go back to mine?’ Mister Black asked slyly. Miss Shine just nodded.  They may have disagreed on many things but their biochemistry was in sync to afford them many hours of luscious lovemaking. There was no music needed. Their bodies were in harmony.

Miss Shine and Mister Black did not meet often as they were both very busy with their separate lives and careers.  Miss Shine suffered because of this. She would have liked to have seen him more often but he refused. He was very secretive and allowed only that they would meet monthly. They never spoke on the phone and all their arrangements were made either by text message or the occasional email. Mister Black despised the phone. They had also had prolonged debates on which type of media was the best to communicate through given all the modern choices. Obviously they were not friends on Facebook. They had never even considered sending each other a friend request. This was an unspoken agreement.  Miss Shine was happy about this as she knew very well how Facebook only provided a portion of what was really needed to experience what had been described by psychoanalyst Barbara Friedrickson as ‘Positivity Resonance.’  Miss Shine had read all about Dr. Friedrickson’s idea that there were three main neurobiological players at work in the brain that make it possible for you to truly connect to your partner. Number one being the levels of oxytocin in the brain (a night with Mister Black sent an overwhelming flash flood of oxytocin to Miss Shine’s brain, of that she was sure) which allowed a sharing of emotions between two people. Number two was a ‘synchrony of biochemistry’ and number three was a ‘reflected motive to invest in each other’s well being that brings mutual care.’

 Online interactions can be intoxicating, and you can stare into the beautiful eyes of your fantasy online dream partner while you chat to them but a true ‘positivity resonance’ is impossible without real eye contact, physical contact, smelling the other person and hearing their voice. There is only so much all these lol’s and xxxx’s and smileys and thousands of other icons can do for you. No, Miss Shine did not, thankfully, indulge in all this intoxicating yet fantastical nonsense with Mister Black as she had in previous online interactions. He would email or text message her and they would meet at the restaurant.

But how Miss Shine pined for Mister Black. Because, despite the fact that she was happy that she was actually able to see him in the real world and taste him and lie next to him and experience every last piece of his manhood in the flesh (even if it was only once a month) she was also painfully aware that her relationship was not much more fulfilling than a Facebook infatuation. For she became, over time, more and more vexed that despite their intense physical relationship, he really did not fulfill number three of Dr. Friderickson’s theory of positivity resonance.  Yes, Miss Shine was forced to admit that ‘a reflected motive to invest in each other’s well being that brings mutual care’ was definitely not being met by Mister Black and this made her deeply unhappy. Miss Shine, in short, did not feel loved. She felt depressed, and suffered from low self-esteem. She nursed her pain in vodka and cranberry cocktails. But she still kept on reading. She knew that she thought too much about everything all the time and that this was bad, and she also knew that she obsessed and this was bad too, but that was somehow her nature and what could she do to change it? It depressed her to read  what Anais Nin had to say about positivity resonance which had now become one of her many obsessions:  ‘People who suffer from anxiety, depression, loneliness or low-self esteem perceive threats far more often than circumstances warrant. Sadly this over alert state thwarts both positivity and positivity resonance. Feeling unsafe then is the first obstacle to love.’  She much preferred to read Anais Nin’s erotic stories than be reminded of this horrible state that she too readily related too.  It did not help matters that when she berated Mister Black for his lack of real love and care for her beyond the intense physical relationship that they shared, that he would simply reply by saying ‘You worry too much’ or ‘I am not willing to engage emotionally with you, I have too much work to do.’

Miss Shine also knew that she spent too much time wallowing, thinking and over-analysing everything all the time when she might have given her brain a break. She became downright negative. She did try to perk herself up by pondering certain quotes such as one by Shakespeare who said that ‘there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’ Or even Buddha who said ‘Our life is the creation of our mind.’ She tried, half-heartedly to lift herself up with these quotes and try and get herself out of the dark caverns in her mind that became increasingly obsessed with why Mister Black refused to fulfill number three of the theory of positivity resonance.

The only thing that helped Miss Shine get her mind off of Mister Black was to keep on reading. She very much loved the literature of David Foster Wallace and related to him greatly as she felt as alienated from the world as he did. There is one story by him that she loved where his character is sitting in a classroom bored out of his mind by the lecture that the teacher was currently giving. Due to this, he had divided the paneled window (that looked out onto the bleak landscape beyond the classroom) into separate frames and scenes into which he could place various elaborate fantasies and stories and back stories and ideas that raced through his skull. Trying to keep all the different stories in order (that played out in the panels of the window) was far more challenging and interesting than listening to his teacher drone on and on. Miss Shine liked this idea immensely and she drew a large square herself on a piece of paper that represented various panels and she drew her own real life and fantasy stories and back stories (and so forth) into the panels. Many of her panels were of course filled with parts of the back story of her and Mister Black. (Of course she had started reading the story to get her mind off Mister Black, but sooner or later he was the front man in her back story).

The first panel was filled with the following back story: ‘The day Miss Shine first laid eyes on Mister Black’. It had been a cold winter day and fresh, fat snowflakes were falling. She was walking with some friends through a Christmas market in the big city she lived in. Suddenly Miss Shine was overcome with a strange feeling of a powerful presence near her.  She looked up and there was Mister Black. He was greeting the friend she was with. Their eyes met and then quickly averted.  But then began the instant dance between Miss Shine and Mister Black. They chatted and enjoyed a nice evening at the market. She then went home to her bed alone. She had a boyfriend who definitely fulfilled number three of the theory of positivity resonance and she must banish all thoughts of Mister Black from her mind immediately.

The next panel in Miss Shine’s back story was filled with the following picture: ‘Miss Shine’s complete inability to stay with the man who she was with and going completely crazy and terminating the relationship.’  She did not even have Mister Black’s telephone number or know if she would ever see him again, but she did not care, the simple thought that someone as exquisite as him existed at all made it impossible to stay in her current relationship but one second longer.

The next panel in Miss Shine’s back story was filled with the following picture: ‘Miss Shine is sitting in a bar six months later, drinking a cocktail with the same friend she had been at the Christmas market with (when the fat snowflakes were falling when she first met Mister Black) and she looks up and the door to the bar opens and in walks Mister Black who walks right over to her and sits down next to her and says hello.’

Miss Shine is now trying to forget about Mister Black again and trying to concentrate on her book. She is in her mid thirties and she knows deep down that if she wants to have any semblance of a normal life with the hopes of maybe getting married and having a family then she should stop obsessing over Mister Black who will never give her more than truffles, wine, heated debates and sex. Apart from reading stories and novels she reads a lot of magazines. She is vexed by an article in a magazine that says that ‘Marriage should be the cornerstone and not the capstone of our adult life’. The article argues that getting married at 19 is a good thing. Miss Shine gets up from the couch to mix another cocktail. ‘How on earth is this article any good to women in their mid thirties?’ she moans aloud. ‘Most of the women reading this magazine are in their mid thirties and single.’ She must also concede, however, that it is, in fac,t true that when she looks around her, she sees that most of the couples who seem to have happy, long- lasting marriages did indeed settle when they were about 19 or 20 and even if these marriages failed, these people were then used to being in a relationship and, indeed, their second marriages or long term co-habitation arrangements were  working and most of these people had children too.

 She is not cynical in this moment, she is simply sad to realize that she has not found a relationship that would have lasted, but then she consoles herself with the thought that despite how much pain she feels with Mister Black she would rather stay alone for the rest of her life with her thoughts and her books than to have missed out on the experience with him. That is how much her whole body yearns for him. Another article she read simply stated that many people who had children regretted having had them, and that being a parent was not all it was cracked up to be. In short, it did not increase the joy in their lives as they had hoped. Miss Shine therefore concluded that one should really not have a child unless one really, really wanted one. She had never really felt that she wanted a child that badly and it certainly would not be with Mister Black anyway. She then recalled another story by David Foster Wallace in which a mommy accidently pours a whole pot of boiling water all over her diapered toddler who then screams and screams for days on end. Both the mommy and the daddy are just beside themselves and they both realize that by having a child and accidently inflicting this much pain on it just made parenting an absolute nightmare. Upon reading this, Miss Shine most decidedly does not want a child. She has enough self-centred pain of her own to deal with, God knows, how would she live with herself should she pour a pot of boiling water all over a child. How could one live with oneself at all if one were to allow such a horrible thing to happen?

Miss Shine likes children, oh yes, she does. She always smiles at children on the street and helps them up if they fall on the ground, and she gives them candy if their mothers allow it, loving the joy it brings to their innocent, chubby faces. She just thinks it might be better if she does not bring one of these chubby- faced beings into the world herself. She just needs to find some way to have Dr. Friedrickson’s third theory of positivity resonance be fulfilled in her life. Somehow she will succeed in this goal, she is sure of it.

Suddenly Miss Shine’s phone beeps. She jumps up and grabs it and reads the text message.  ‘ I have booked a table at the restaurant, they have some great new truffles and I have a wonderful bottle of Pinot Noir at home. 8pm?’  Miss Shine is in ecstasy. Mister Black may not be able to fulfill the third theory of positivity resonance but he sure fulfills the first two beyond her wildest dreams, and for right now that is all she can think of. She mixes herself a fresh gin and tonic to sip at as she dresses up for Mister Black. She pulls on her black high-heeled boots and struggles with the zip once again before skipping out the door to the restaurant. She wouldn’t want to keep Mister Black waiting, for every moment with him is as precious as it is torturous and there is nothing more to it than that.


One Response to “Miss Shine and Mister Black”

  1. Judy June 11, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    Super well written run down of the inner workings of the psychology of a woman in lust!! So not fair really!! But so real. But, you must know that there are other ways to get oxytocin flooding the body such as nursing the baby Miss Shine does not think she wants. Nursing stimulates the production of oxytocin which besides bonding does the favor of contracting uterine muscles shrinking them back to their normal size post baby. Seems we are at the mercy of that very important hormone!! Mister Black probably doesn’t know that oxy (tocin that is) will also bond him to his baby!! Chemistry!!

    Seriously, a delicious read!!

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