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It’s Not Me, It’s You

16 Sep

My mother has said to me on more than one occasion: “how can there be no nice boys in New York?  There are millions of people in that city!”  True, true.  But, after you subtract the ones who are married, in a relationship, gay, under twenty-one, or over fifty-one… you are left with mostly depressed, emotionally unavailable men who never quite got over their ex and are addicted to attention.  Or as I like to call them: comedians.  I once attempted the daring feat of dating a man who fancied himself a comedian.  It lasted (maaaybe) four months.  Here are some highlights:

-He bragged about eating multiple buckets of fried chicken by himself on a nightly basis.

-Whined about all the injustices in his life– Cranky roommates, absent father, absent money, you name it.

-Claimed his ex-girlfriend was stalking him… according to her, it was the other way around.  The whole time I was seeing him, there was a passive-aggressive Twitter war going on between them.

-His cologne of choice was Febreeze “Meadows and Rain.”  I called him out on dousing himself in air freshener after I recognized the scent as the same spray my coworkers use following a particularly lengthy bathroom session.  He initially denied it, but came clean (so to speak) after I spotted the bottle in question in his bedroom.

-Once, I came back from the bathroom to find him hiding behind a table in my apartment.  He eventually came out and sheepishly said “yeah, I was hiding behind the table…”

-Invited my sister and I to one of his sketch shows at Upright Citizens Brigade and the whole show consisted of inside jokes only other UCB members in the audience understood.  As we were walking out, my sister remarked “is it just me, or was that not very funny?”

-Had no concept of how to get around in the city.  He had lived in New York longer than I.  And had a smart phone.  I called a car for him once to get to the airport because he couldn’t figure out how.

-Accused my sister’s cat of peeing on his cowboy boots and stealing his contact lenses.

-Sold his Muppets DVD collection to make rent.

-Invited me out to dinner on Valentines Day by telling me he “felt bad” he had forgotten to invite me out to dinner on Valentines Day.  I chose the place, made the reservations, and paid.

-Broke things off with me two weeks later via a 3:30 a.m. email telling me that he “felt bad” because he just didn’t have enough time in his busy schedule to be dating anybody.

-Got involved in a serious relationship with another UCB groupie less than two months later.

At the time, I found all of this about as funny as his sketch show.  However, I’m happy to report that, nearly two years later, I can finally appreciate the immense hilarity of my time with this individual.  Even if most of my favorite “bits” were unintentional on his part.

Say Goodbye

1 Mar

The Email I Didn’t Send:

“I have to tell you that I was so happy to look at my phone this morning and not have a text from you canceling our plans tonight that I have been looking forward to for two weeks.  And… then I saw your email.

In case you were wondering how I feel about all of this which, I know, isn’t a factor:  I feel sad and stupid.  It seems silly to be so upset over losing someone I was only dating for about four months and only saw once a week (or less).  But I knew the first week I met you that you were unlike the other guys I had met online, or even since I’ve lived in New York for that matter.  I believed you when you said you really liked me and that you were only seeing me.  It took me several dates to be able to trust that you weren’t just someone who was going to tell me what I wanted to hear to get me to sleep with you, then bail a few weeks later.  But nevertheless, here we are.

You were worth it to me to be forgiving and supportive of your busy schedule, to take things very slowly and only see you when you could fit in a night here and there.  You were worth it to try and overlook the fact that it never quite seemed like you properly ended things with your ex.  You were worth it to take your ups and downs and intermittent communication in stride.  I felt good about myself because I had stepped outside my usual comfort zone of what I expect in the beginning of a new relationship and could be flexible to your needs.  The only problem was… I wasn’t worth it to you.

The socially acceptable thing for me to do in this situation would be to not respond to your email.  Act like I don’t care because you were just another guy I met online.  Quietly remove you from my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr, and, without a word, slip back into the sea of people in this city who are inconsequential to your world.

But I think I deserve that you take a split second of time from your busy schedule to consider my feelings before you completely cast me aside.  Especially since you chose to break things off with me via a quick and easy 3:30am email– rather than showing at least some respect by talking to me face to face.”

The Email I Sent:

“Ok.  Good luck with your auditions!

The Polish Tickle

8 Jan

I have dated two Polish people during my time here on Earth.  The second of the two was my boyfriend of three years.  His favorite phrase, “Same shit, different day,” which he used every single day I was with him, pretty much summed up our entire relationship.  So let’s skip him, shall we, and recollect the brief couple months (prior to my three years with my ex) when I was dating his friend, “Stan.”

I met both of these Polish men at the store I worked at in Boston– Stan was the security guy.  He had a shaved head and wore gigantic shorts and man jewelry.  The first month I worked there, the other girls weren’t very friendly, so I mostly talked to Stan… and we began getting drinks after work.  He was one of the most absurd people I’ve ever met, albeit intermittently charming.  First of all, he had a thick Polish accent which made everything he said cute and/or hilarious.  He couldn’t pronounce the “th” sound so when he would say “third,” for example, it came out “turd.”  Whenever he referred to his manhood, he would call it his “turd leg” which I found endlessly funny.  He also followed every sentence with the word “yo” and would put words in the wrong order.  Once, he was mad he had to run to the bank in the rain and came back complaining “Great, now my hair chest is wet, yo.”

The second thing you need to know about Stan is how klutzy he was.  He loved skateboarding and had crutches or some sort of cast for the majority of the time we worked together.  This may have been less about being klutzy and more about being a major drinker.  I was going a little crazy myself around this time, running through the fountains in the Boston Common at 5am, you know– that kind of stuff.  Stan was into “tagging” and belonged to some sort of Polish street mafia where they would sneak out of his mom’s house late at night and paint a bunch of cryptic messages around town.  He also liked to draw stoned teddy bears and large-breasted women in bikinis, but let’s not go any further with that.

One thing I’ve learned about Polish men is that they love to talk about whether they are a “tits man” or an “ass man.”  A co-worker once asked Stan which he was, and he replied with a scoff “Ass don’t have neeples, yo!”  Stan was known at work for being rude to customers and inappropriate with the staff.  In addition to his “turd leg,” he loved talking to the girls about our various body parts and how he wanted to give us the “Polish Tickle.”  The manager eventually had a meeting with him about how they were cracking down on sexual harassment and that he needed to watch what he said.  Afterwards, he skulked back onto the floor, approached my friend and told her sullenly, “Well, I guess I’m not allowed to talk about your sweet badonkadonk anymore, yo.”

Our brief affair ended when all of the staff traveled to New York for a big company party at the Rainbow Room.  The night before our early flight, Stan had wanted to stay at my place so we could go to the airport together.  It was late, he was drunk, and I told him I just wanted to go to bed so we didn’t miss the flight in the morning.  He had other ideas, however, and when I turned him down (I was over him at this point) he made a rape joke.  I told him he either had to sleep on the floor or get out.  The next morning we got held up at security and almost missed our flight because he had fifteen lighters in his bag– which I had warned him about the night before.  I got on the plane and sat as far away from him as I could.  The party was the most insane thing I have ever attended in my life– never-ending open bar, celebrities, flame swallowers, nudity, snakes, etc.  Stan followed me around towards the end of the night, but I ignored him and met up with an ex-boyfriend instead (after losing my shoes and going to an after-party with a shirtless Tracy Morgan– my ex had to bring me slippers from Duane Reade so they wouldn’t kick me out for being barefoot).  I found out later that Stan had locked himself in the bathroom with another co-worker and was crying because I wanted nothing to do with him.

After that, he was almost unbearable to work with.  He was mean, spread rumors about me sleeping with other people at the store, and was eventually fired for being late too many times.  Since I clearly hadn’t learned my lesson about dating coworkers, I began seeing his friend the following year.  Today (nearly six years later), I will be the first to tell you that dating someone you see at work fifty hours a week is a BAD IDEA.

But thanks to Stan, I know how to say “cheers,” “teddy bear,” “I love you,” and “ass” in Polish.  Pretty much all you need to know.  In fact, I think you could make it through a week or more in Poland with solely that vocabulary under your belt.  I’ll be sure to add that onto my resumé under Special Skills.

A Rebounder Gets Rebounded

5 Dec

With the end of 2012 comes my one year mark on OKCupid.  Granted I took several breaks when I froze my account for periods of time… but it seems like just yesterday I was filling out the asinine questions and perusing potential first dates.  After the treacherous journey through my year of online dating, I can report that I found: a lot of crazy people who were interesting to talk to (but whom I would never date), a handful of guys who have become my friends, and only a couple of guys I actually felt would be a good match for me.  But hey, the year’s not over yet!  Here is the gripping tale of the first guy I actually liked that I met on OKCupid.  We’ll call him George.

I first met George waaay back in April, the same week I dealt with Judgmental Jonah and Moose on the Loose.  The night we met, I was frazzled and not at all looking forward to the date at hand.  George had peaked my interest, however.  He didn’t have a profile picture up yet, but had sent me a link to several “non-gross” pictures of him so I could see he was legit.  He also mentioned that he wrote for The Onion and knew all about my hometown (where The Onion originated).

I got to the bar early to order a salad since I hadn’t eaten yet that day (maybe Jonah’s insult hurt my feelings more than I let on).  George texted me to say he was going to be a few minutes late and I considered ditching him and going to a friend’s party instead.  I can’t stand him up that would be rude, I thought as a squirrelly man scampered in and I prepared myself for the usual awkward introductions.  I couldn’t exactly remember George’s pictures and thought this squirrel looked as if he might be an OKCupid person… but he walked right past me.  Not him.  As I turned back around a tall, attractive man with a nice beard and pretty eyes walked up to me on my other side and said “Hi, I’m George, sorry I’m late.”  Whoa.  It was the first time (up to that point) that I had been instantly physically attracted to a blind date.

George had a dry sense of humor and we got along really well.  We laughed at some of the ridiculous pick up lines I have gotten from guys online and I was surprised at how comfortable I felt around him.  Being the Cynical Cynthia I am, I was waiting for something to be wrong with this guy because it all seemed a little too much like an eHarmony commercial.  We did a shot and he shared that I was his first ever OKCupid date (uh oh…) and that he had just gotten out of a four year relationship (and… there it is!) with a butcher (come again?)  He said “Wow, if all my OKCupid dates go as well as this one I’m going to love this website!”  I grimaced into my beer mug and thought about all the terrible blind dates I had gone through to get to one good one.  I decided to push this conversation out of my mind and just enjoy my time with George… so I invited him to come to my friend’s party and surprisingly he said he would love to.  Of course my friends all really liked him and, after a couple more beers, we headed to one last bar.  Soon, the OKCupid app came out and we chatted with this 22-year-old stoner kid who had been contacting me all week.  We convinced him that we were Siamese twins conjoined at the crotch, and if he wanted to meet me he would have to be cool with my open-minded bearded twin with a heart of gold.  Sharing a cab home, it took all I had not to invite him up to my apartment.  My demure behavior didn’t last long, however.

We went out again a week later, this time in his neighborhood.  At the end of the night he invited me back to his place and, although I obviously wanted to go, my sister’s words from earlier echoed through my head: “Whatever you do, don’t sleep with him!”  I had told her about his recent breakup and she didn’t want me to get involved.  Well, as you may have guessed, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.  He was subletting his apartment since moving out of his ex-girlfriend’s place and everything there belonged to someone else.  Someone who liked philosophy books, protein shakes, and dentist’s office art.  We made out on the couch, then I told him I should go.  He pulled me closer and said “I think I’ve made it clear that I like you.”  Well alright, if you put it that way!

The next morning he was really sweet; putting his arm around me, buying me coffee, etc.  I returned home in the best mood ever– the sky was blue again, the screaming Hasidic children were cute again, you get the idea.  Later that day, for some reason I decided to check my old OKCupid account I still had from screwing with The Artist after he stood me up.  I hadn’t checked it in ages and logged on with the intention to delete it.  When I glanced at the messages in the inbox, my heart sank.  George had messaged my fake girl!  He said the girl in the photos was so beautiful and her responses so funny that he simply HAD to buy her a drink.  I had answered the questions in a ridiculous manner since the profile wasn’t real (for example, under “Have you ever smelled the underwear of someone other than your significant other?” I wrote “Of course, I sniff all my colleagues panties.”)  I was beginning to get the feeling that he was just trying to sleep with as many girls as possible to get over his ex.

When we hung out a week later, I didn’t tell him about the fake account thing but I definitely didn’t feel as comfortable around him.  He took me out to dinner in Fort Greene, then to a bar in Clinton Hill.  We eventually made it back to my place, where he seemed to, um, let out some pent-up aggression in my bed chambers.  He was pretty stand-offish the next morning and I felt a little used and a lot perplexed because I’d never met a man with an ear fetish before.  George told me he’d “drop a line” when he got back from a trip he was taking the following week. “Drop you a line” is on par with “take care” in terms of incredibly impersonal things you can say to someone who has seen your awkward inner thigh tattoo multiple times.  I knew he wouldn’t actually “drop me a line” when he got back, but since I obviously had abandoned all reason and dignity at this point, I texted him a couple weeks later.

We saw each other one or two more times after that.  Same routine: I text him, we drink together, maybe play a hand or two of Uno, he sleeps over, then stops texting me.  The lack of correspondence between our “dates” had become a pattern, but we had such a good time when we were together I tried to convince myself he was just busy.  Soon though, I decided I should stop seeing him as I had begun to develop feelings and he clearly wasn’t on the same page.  Or even on the same bookshelf for that matter.  This decision was justified when, a few weeks later, I got a text from him saying that he was getting back together with his ex-girlfriend.  Didn’t see that one coming!… Perhaps the time I came back from the bathroom to him texting her on my futon should have been a clue.  That was sarcasm, I totally saw that coming.

Sure, I was a little disappointed, but I certainly wasn’t heartbroken in the least.  He was the definition of a Category 3 from the start and it serves me right for prolonging it when he displayed all the warning signs of a man on the rebound.  And I did the exact same thing when I broke up with my boyfriend two years ago, so who am I to judge?

Here is my advice to you, my friends:

1.  Be wary of a man who has just recently gotten out of a long-term relationship.  Especially if you met the guy on the internet.

2.  Don’t get your hopes up because you are most likely a rebound.  If that’s alright with you, rock on sister.  If it’s not alright, get out now.  Preferably before you start thinking his slight Californian lisp is the cutest thing and it’s OK that he has a flat butt.

3.  Do NOT, whatever you do, sleep with him on the second, third, maybe even fourth date.  Just don’t do it.  It seals your fate as “that weird girl I hooked up with for a couple months last spring… what was her name?”  Also, he’s likely banging at least one or two other people… maybe even his ex.

But don’t you always want what you can’t have even more when it’s evident from day one that it’s off limits?  Ah well, live and learn.  Next time I think I’ll pass on being someone’s rebound.

The Art of Rebound

14 Nov
Rebound  [v. ri-bound, ree-bound; n. ree-bound, ri-bound]
1.  To bounce or spring back from force of impact
2.  To recover, as from ill health or discouragement
 

Almost two years ago, I moved to New York City and consequently broke up with my boyfriend of three years.   Our relationship had reached a plateau and I didn’t anticipate that it would recover from the blow of my decision to move away.  Although I cared for him immensely, he was one of the most apathetic people I’ve ever met and he had the sense of humor of a fossil.  Three weeks after I dumped him the fact that I had lost someone I loved finally hit me.  Not only were we no longer together, but he totally cut me out of his life and stopped talking to me.  Admittedly, it killed me at first.  I hadn’t been single in years and didn’t quite know where to begin!  I thought about what people do in these situations and the word “rebound” came to mind.  I did what I could to forget about my ex-boyfriend (see The White Russian and Clay Aiken) and a couple months later, I found my rebound in a most unlikely place…

I’d known “Jeff” since I was ten years old.  He may be my oldest friend that I am still close with.  He also happens to be one of my best friend’s ex-boyfriends and I lost my virginity to his older brother… who another close friend slept with a few years later and who is now dating the first friend’s sister.  That friend also slept with Jack when I had a thing with him as well as a couple of our other friends.  And I accidentally hooked up with her other ex-boyfriend before he was her boyfriend, and Jeff’s brother was there and karate-chopped the bedroom door down.  You follow all that?  Me either.  Our group of friends has been so incestuous it’s exhausting– it seems like everyone has hooked up with everyone and their sister (literally).  Anyway, Jeff was cute, funny, and effortlessly talented in a sort of lazy, stoner-y kind of way.  His hobbies included dressing like a skeleton, collecting unicorn-related paraphernalia, and lacquering dried dog poop.  Hey whatever gets you off, man.  He was also in a funk-rock band with a guy who had been in a few mainstream films.  Because of his band mate’s fame, their band had acquired a following and they were doing a series of tours to promote their album.

Last year, sometime in mid-July, I spent the day drinking at the beach with my roommate and her boyfriend.  Jeff called me to say that he was in town playing at The Gramercy and he’d put me on the list if I wanted to go.  I went to their show then to an after party at another bar, but my memory abandoned me back at The Gramercy.  I honestly could not tell you how it happened if I tried, but the next morning I woke up naked and confused… with Jeff laying next to me.  I was shocked and horrified all day.  How did that happen?  Should I tell my friend?  They had been broken up for a long time and I had never thought of Jeff in any way other than a brother.  Suddenly it wasn’t like that anymore.  I decided I would keep what had happened to myself since I didn’t even remember it anyway.  As I stumbled out the door to go to work, I noticed Jeff had emptied the contents of his pockets onto my dresser: three personalized guitar picks, two girls’ phone numbers, and about fifteen Mexican friendship bracelets.

His band played a show in Asbury Park the following night, then came back to New York for a movie premiere they were involved with.  I joined Jeff at the after party (at Justin Timberlake’s barbeque restaurant) and brought up what had happened between us.  He told me his relationship with my friend was old news, that us hooking up had nothing to do with it, and I shouldn’t worry.  He then abruptly changed the subject, wondering aloud why I had stopped doing music and theatre because I’m “so attractive and talented, how could (I) not be successful?”  Well, I melted in my damn barstool… and felt like I had just been slapped in the face.  A good slap, that wakes you up and makes you wonder where have I been the past three years?  I tried to remember a time EVER that my recent ex-boyfriend had complimented me or even told me I was pretty.  To be fair, he may have complimented my cooking once.  For the first time in three years, I felt like a young, desirable human being.  Again Jeff came back to my apartment with me and I wasn’t inebriated this time.  After he left to continue touring with his band, I was smitten.  Not with him per say (although I did love him as a friend, I always will)… but with the idea that I could be inspired and passionate again!

So there we have a cute, albeit slightly scandalous tale.  But hold on– it only gets weirder.  Throughout the next few months, I went to a couple other of Jeff’s band’s concerts and spent time with him in Florida and California.

A visit with my dad in Jacksonville happened to coincide with his band’s show there.  They played in a seedy venue that allowed scantily-clad young mothers in vampire costumes to smoke while watching the show and wrangling their children.  As I sat at the bar casually drinking a beer and half-watching Jeff feed off the admiration of his fans, a pair of Asian twins approached me.  They had seen me behind the venue getting onto the band’s tour bus and wanted to meet me and be my friend.  Whoa.  This nerdy kid that I grew up doing community theatre with in the Midwest had groupies?  After the show, the band, their entourage, and yes, the enraptured twins walked alongside the Jacksonville River from the venue to the hotel.  Apparently I dared Jeff to jump in the river (incredibly toxic, not to mention dangerous) which to everyone’s shock, he did.  The next day we got breakfast and continued our binge drinking.  The owner of a sleepy diner in downtown Jacksonville informed us that we were his first customers to ever order a bottle of champagne with our eggs.  After that, we met up with the rest of the band for more drinks, and watched dolphins jumping in the river while lightening flickered behind them like a freaking Lisa Frank book.  The rest of the day becomes blurry at this point, but I do recall something involving a stolen cactus, a swimming pool, and a lot of nudity on the tour bus being involved.  Not ten minutes after I had re-dressed on the bus, I heard the door violently swing open and a familiar voice frantically yelling my name.  Oh my god, it was my dad.  I had forgotten that I was supposed to meet him at a certain time and apparently he had scoured the city’s hotels looking for me, and even called my sister back in New York threatening to call the police and drop my suitcase off at the airport.  Suddenly I reverted back to a bratty, whining teenager, humiliated by my dad ruining all the fun.  At the time I was embarrassed and angry, but in hindsight, the scene we must have caused is pretty hilarious to imagine.  I do feel bad for being a jerk to my dad, though.

The next time I saw Jeff was a few months later while I was visiting friends in Los Angeles.  He lived with his band mates in a huge, nice house up in the Hollywood Hills.  His bedroom, however, was barely furnished but for a smelly cot on the floor and a desk in the corner with nothing inside but a wooden box holding a torn-up picture of a margarita.  Much of Jeff’s time was taken up by band practice, so I wandered around LA with various friends, new and old.  I probably visited every tiki bar in the city with an old friend from college, then picked out tutu fabric with a flame-swallower I had met at the band’s show back in Florida.  One of the best days I have ever had was during this trip to LA.  After eating at the same diner Jeff went to every morning, we stopped at a flea market to look around.  I think we probably spent forty minutes digging through a gigantic pile of random discarded photos, selecting the most obscure ones we could find– An old drunken eighties lady passed out on a stained mattress (Jeff’s favorite), an alert frog in the middle of a grassy knoll (my favorite), a large tribal man with paint on his belly and a dollar bill in his mouth, etc.  By the time we had each purchased a handful of photos, I was laughing so hard I was crying at a picture of a gender-ambiguous person with a mullet giggling in a waterfall.  Later on, we got free tickets to an Arctic Monkeys concert at The Hollywood Bowl, where we drank a bottle of wine in one of the boxes in front of the stage.  When it started to get chilly, Jeff suggested we leave and go see a “real show.”  What he was referring to was a dive-y restaurant with a tiny stage that by day was filled with old people eating soup, but by night was filled with the jazzy characters of the city.  On the way, we stopped at a corner stand so Jeff could buy cigarettes.  “Do you actually sell those condoms, man?” he nonchalantly asked the man behind the counter as he lit his cigarette, “They’re so old and sun-damaged.”  Jeff had a way of saying things that was blunt, yet so innocent.  I’ve never been able to be angry with him the whole time I’ve known him.  The show Jeff was taking me to was a “glittery crackhead with a microphone” as he put it.  Jeff had memorized all the guy’s songs, and even the point just before his set where he went around the corner to do some crack.  Needless to say, it was almost more excitement than I could handle in one day.  I returned to New York a couple days later hungover and broke, but happy and alive.

Jeff and I don’t have the same relationship as we did before we hooked up or the same relationship as we did while we were hooking up.  We’re close– yet I know where the closeness ends.  After my aforementioned friend told me that she still had feelings for Jeff, I admitted to her what had occurred (something I should have done much sooner).  Although the situation surrounding that was a bit damaging, I think (hope!) we have all moved on.

The journey from when I first moved to New York and broke up with my boyfriend to where I am now was a long one– filled with mistakes, adventures, and yes, a lot of booze.  But it was vital in reminding me that I am an individual; creative, talented, imaginative.  I had forgotten those things for three years, working as a retail robot and being a girlfriend to someone who went through the motions of life rather than living it.  I’m excited by my prospects of creativity and expression… and it only took one sentence in the basement of a silly barbeque place to snap me out of the grey cloud of my previous relationship and back to reality.  I have to give Jeff some credit for that, as he gave me something much more than a superficial rebound from my ex (the eighteen year old Russian kid just didn’t cut it).  I may not be perfect, or responsible, or even sane… but I got myself back!

Ten Years Gone

28 Oct

This post is dedicated to one of my best friends, let’s call him “Jack.”  I met Jack through a boy who auditioned to be in the one-act play I was directing for Fine Arts Week back in high school.  The boy was cute so I cast him in my play and started hanging out with him and his equally attractive twin brother.  At some point, the twins came over to my dad’s house when he wasn’t home to take advantage of his full bar, and they brought Jack with them.  He was tall, handsome, and soft-spoken, albeit a trouble maker… and we began spending a lot of time together.

Jack worked at a movie theater so we went to a lot of movies, drove around in my old Nissan Altima listening to music, or drank at whichever of our parent’s houses were vacant.  This was also around the time that I was trying to figure out which college to go to.  I was freaking out and being self-destructive; drinking, smoking a lot of pot, and collecting pocket knives because I thought I was a real bad-ass.  I got my eyebrow pierced, which Jack was there for, and I think he was there when I got my first tattoo.  I skipped school a lot, would drive over to the other high school (where Jack was a junior), pick him up and we would hang out in a nearby park together, drinking Captain Morgan’s and watching Indians play cricket.  He was having some issues with his parents, culminating in them calling the police to have him arrested for “stealing” their car.  Eventually he moved out of his house and in with the twins.  Once, while Jack and I were lurking around our favorite park at night, he swiped one of my knives and went crazy on a gigantic event tent that was set up for the next day.  We burned matching marks into our wrists with cigarettes, and experimented with drugs.  The first time I ever did mushrooms was with Jack in his parent’s basement.  I don’t remember much about it, other than him taking every cigarette out of his pack and lighting them in one big log, then passing out and burning his shirt.  Such rebels.

I think it was around this time that we slept together.  It only happened a handful of times throughout our friendship, it was always pretty impersonal, and we never ever talked about it.  I loved Jack in a way I can’t explain.  I never thought of him as a boyfriend or even someone I was casually dating, because we never were.  To me, we had a stronger bond than that.  It was unspoken– Jack didn’t talk about about his feelings for me, but I knew I was important to him, too.  Others were curious about our relationship, however.  One time, while Jack and I were hanging out in the park, his ex-girlfriend was there.  She saw us together and started yelling at him and throwing beer bottles at my head.  There were a few times when his friends mentioned to me how much Jack cared about me.  But Jack never did.

I had been dating another guy from my high school who was in a punk band.  He really liked me, but I had other things on my mind.  I was about to leave for college in Missouri in a few weeks and was still in a complete freak-out mode.  The night after I broke up with my boyfriend, Jack and I broke into the outdoor swimming pool in an apartment complex by my mom’s house to go skinny dipping.  I found a pair of kid’s swimming goggles next to the pool and put them on.  When we were done swimming, I left on the goggles but left off my clothes to drive Jack home.  Not paying attention to where I was going, I crashed my Nissan into the back of a big parked truck.  Jack threw me the remainder of my clothing and took off into the night, leaving me to deal with the wreckage.  I think he was on probation and was afraid the cops would show up.  I left a note on the truck’s windshield (the damage was pretty much all on my car) and drove my smashed vehicle up the street near where one of my best friends lived.  I called her crying, asking if she could come pick me up because my car was totaled.  She said she was in bed and couldn’t come.  I didn’t know who else to call, so I called my ex-boyfriend that I had broken up with the day before.  He was nice enough to pick me up and take me home… where I had to wake up my mom and tell her about the car.

Not long after I left for school, Jack took a bus down to come visit me in Missouri.  I was surprised he was willing to make the journey, but excited to see someone from home.  He stocked my mini-fridge with booze and we spent the weekend doing our normal routine of drinking, walking around, and occasionally making out.  I had a good time with him, but had moved beyond the destructive pranks– like him emptying an entire bottle of my expensive hair product onto my head while I wasn’t looking, and him tearing down signs that some girl had on her door in my dorm.  My dorm was women-only and I had had to get special permission to have a boy stay in my room for a few days.  When my bitter R.A. reported that my guest had torn down the girl’s sign, I got called before the disciplinary board for “vandalism.”  This was a joke to me because I hadn’t even seen him tear down the sign.  I got put on dorm “probation,” whatever that means.

The next time I saw Jack was that Christmas vacation when I went home.  I was happy to spend time with him again after he had made such an effort to visit me at college.  I had to go back to school before the rest of my friends, and one of my best friends ended up sleeping with Jack after I left.  It was the first time that I realized maybe I felt for him in a way that was stronger than just a friend.  I was upset that he had slept with my friend when we had such a close bond that was also physical a few times.  On the other hand, I couldn’t say anything because several months prior, I had hooked up with his best friend (one of the twins).  Whoopsie.

After that, we continued to get together when I was in town, but I guess lost touch a bit.  I went to the East Coast for grad school and didn’t spend much time at home until a couple years ago when I moved back for a few months.  I was having another moment of personal crisis; my three-year relationship was falling apart, I was trying to save money to move to New York, and I was taking a lot of anxiety medication which wasn’t helping.  I remember going to Jack’s bar to visit him, but spending most of the time outside fighting with my boyfriend on the phone.  He understandably kept his distance.  He had cleaned up his act, wasn’t going out as much, had gotten really into biking, and less into wreaking havoc around town.

I finally moved to New York, got my life back on track, and now two years later here I am!  Last Christmas, I intended to hang out with Jack, but was mainly concerned with spending time with another guy friend.  I ended up rescheduling with Jack a couple times and then when we finally saw each other, it was only for a few minutes.  I felt like an asshole the next morning when I saw his text “Nice seeing you for fifteen minutes last night…”  The next time I saw Jack was when I went home for a wedding a few months ago.  I was excited to see him and make up for how I had acted over Christmas.  The night we hung out he was incredibly cold and ended up ditching me for his work friends.  I asked him if it was because he was angry with me, but all he would say is “I don’t know what to say to you anymore.”

Over the next couple months I wondered if I really had grown that far apart from one of my most beloved friends.  But how could he feel like we had nothing in common?  I’ve always thought of him as one of the funniest people I know and I’d like to think we have a similar sense of humor.  He is also the person who introduced me to a lot of the music that has become important to me over the past ten years of my life.  (The title of this post is the name of the Led Zeppelin album that was the soundtrack to much of our time together when we were teenagers.)  I felt like despite his inability to open up about his feelings, I knew this guy pretty well and we hadn’t grown apart as much as I feared.  We had gone through one of the rockiest times in both our lives together and I hoped that we both appreciated that.  I wanted to give it another chance.

Jack and I hung out a few days ago and I was relieved to find that things seemed to be back to normal between us.  He was seeing a new lady-friend and had just gotten back from a cross-country bike trip, so he was in good spirits.  We joked around like we used to, talked about what music we’ve been listening to, and he taught me how to play shuffleboard.  As much like a cliche teen drama as it may sound, I didn’t realize that I had taken our friendship for granted… until it almost fell apart.  Out of all of the friends I have, there is a small circle of people that I will always make exceptions for because they are like my family and I love them.  Jack is one of those people.

OK, back to the blind dates.

Ten Years Later…

16 Sep

“Did I wear the right thing tonight?… Do I look like the plump indian no one wanted in their teepee?… Uh oh two other girls are wearing my dress… Oh my god, Ricky Martin just walked by and he is shorter than I am…”

Fashion Week stresses me out.  Even when I’m off the clock, dancing at an after-party, I can’t stop the constant flow of irrational thoughts running through my head.   My Fashion Week freak-out usually begins a couple days prior and tends to manifest itself into an emotional eating/drinking scenario.  This is exactly what you SHOULDN’T do if you are going to be exiting a runway show in a few days, greeted by a wall of paparazzi waiting to get a shot of Victoria Beckham or Dakota Fanning.  But at that point, it’s too late.  You ate a lot of cheese and now all you can do is suck in your love handles as best you can and try not to fall down the stairs.  My pre-Fashion Week crisis was especially amusing this time around.  Precisely two days before the runway shows I went to for work, I could be found in a Buffalo Wild Wings eating wings and drinking beer.  Wearing stretch pants.  This incredibly Midwestern meltdown alone is enough to have me deported from New York City.  People who work in fashion here are not supposed to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Or eat, for that matter.

Anyway, the whole point of this post is that, while seated in a spandex yoga pant, housing a Miller Light and some boneless wings, I received a text from a guy I used to date in high school.  He was coming into town at the end of the week and wanted to get together to “catch up.”  Knowing this gentleman, I had an inkling of what his idea of “catching up” entailed.  The last time we had seen each other was back in Wisconsin, where we’re both from.  After a long night of partying with other friends from high school, I had woken up naked in a stranger’s basement, next to an elaborate toy farm set complete with cows and hay bales.  Sheepishly, I accepted a ride home from my friend via his mom’s mini-van.  I would like to lie and tell you that this incident happened years ago… but it occurred in July.

Let’s backtrack a bit.  I met “Mike” my senior year of high school.  I was the female lead in the school musical and Mike’s best friend was the male lead.  I had not known either of them during the first three years of high school– we went to a big school.  Although I initially had a crush on Mike’s best friend (who played my love interest in the show), Mike and I started dating after the play ended.  Mike was one of those people who everyone knew was destined to be successful in whatever he did.  He was in all honors classes, had a 4.0 GPA, and spoke multiple languages.  The only two things I remember about our relationship are: he gave me some sort of slingshot monkey for Valentine’s Day (that I had no interest in but my dog really liked), and once he came over to pick me up and brought with him a bag of biscotti as an offering to my mom.  Although it was a nice gesture, we all giggled later about how he pronounced “bees-COE-tee.”

The length of our relationship has been a source of debate between us during the rare times we see each other these days.  He says we dated six months.  I think it was more like three and a half or four.  I do remember how we broke up, however.  While we were still together, he found out he had been accepted to the University of Pennsylvania.  It was his first choice school and he was ecstatic.  I was simultaneously happy for him and devastated myself, because I had just found out that I had NOT gotten into either of my top choice schools.  While I barely had a 3.1 GPA, I had an extensive theatrical resume and felt that I had rocked my auditions and my essays.   Come to think of it, devastated is an understatement.  I was absolutely destroyed when I didn’t get in.  While I was in a state of great depression, Mike (still my boyfriend at this point) was on top of the world.  I remember one of the last nights we hung out as boyfriend/girlfriend, he got mad at me because I thought “Penn” meant Penn State, not University of Pennsylvania.  He was thoroughly insulted that I could think HE would go to Penn State and upset that I had told my parents that was where he was going.  He was totally unconcerned with my situation, and, if anything, annoyed that I wasn’t being positive and fun.  He broke up with me the next day.

After high school, we would occasionally run into each other when we were both home for the holidays.  There were a few times when we got together and watched 1970s soft core porn in his parent’s basement for old times’ sake.  I also saw him in Boston once, while he was in town for some fraternity brotherhood thing (Mike has always surrounded himself with groups of men who love each other like brothers).  The first time we actually had a “fling” again was the aforementioned basement barn-set incident.  I hung out with Mike’s best friend a couple days afterwards and we laughed about that night.  I was surprised when he revealed to me that my relationship with Mike (ten years ago) had been his longest ever.  I couldn’t help but wonder why– he was now a producer for a TV show about fish, had money, apartments in two different cities, and did a lot of traveling.  It seemed like all that was missing was a perfect relationship to go along with his effortlessly successful life.  I have to admit I was slightly embarrassed to have fallen back into the old pattern with Mike, and to be talking openly about it with his best friend.

Fast forward to this week.  Mike texted me last night that I should meet up with him around midnight.  That’s a little late for me to be going out, but I wanted to make an effort to see him after our encounter in Wisconsin a few month prior.  If I could feel like we were friends, I would feel better about our recent meaningless hookup.  I arrived at the bar, hot and sober.  Mike and about seven of his college friends had come from some party at a club.  Mike looked cute and well-dressed as always.  He was already drunk, and put his hand on my thigh while leaning his body against mine as I perused the whiskey menu.  His friends looked on, seemingly intrigued that Mike had a lady friend in the city.  He went around the table introducing me to everyone.  Not just by their name, but by what they do and how they make a lot of money.  One person was in grad school at Princeton, another did something involving hedge funds and had just gotten married… everyone was well off and lived in a beautiful apartment, according to Mike.  I felt my face flush as Mike got back to me… Please don’t tell these people I work in a store.  He introduced me as working in fashion and told them that I have a master’s degree.  Later, he brought up my dad and how impressive his job, wealth, and lifestyle is– as if that was one of my main selling points to him.  The rest of the evening continued that way.  When Mike closed our tab, I offered to split it with him.  He responded that he made more money than he knew what to do with, and reminded me of this again when he paid for my cab later on.  While I was secretly relieved (my funds are running a little low this week), I felt inadequate next to this guy who was basically flaunting his assets… and I realized I didn’t know him at all.  We hadn’t been close before, even when we dated ten years ago, and now we were virtual opposites.  After the bar, we went to his friend’s gigantic apartment uptown, where I tried to talk to him about what was going on in my life.  Each time I began to speak he would cut me off or start making out with me.  Mike wasted no time in stripping down to his designer briefs– well, I’m not sure you could call them briefs because they kind of looked like a thong.  I sighed, resigning at last to the fact that he had only wanted to hang out with me for one reason.  As we parted ways, I felt a sense of relief at the closure I now had for my strange relationship with Mike.  He was the same as he’d always been, and we may as well live on two different planets.

What a long week– Chicken wings, Ricky Martin, runway shows, endless bottles of wine, partying, ex-boyfriends… I feel like I could sleep for three days.

Stay tuned for the other absurd scenario that I had this week involving a Fashionisto…

One Boy, One Dragon…

17 Jul

The summer after I graduated from college, I returned home to Wisconsin for a few months before moving to Boston in the fall for graduate school.  I knew I needed to get a summer job, but had never had one before (wince), and my only experience was in theatre.  It wasn’t long before I found the perfect solution to my problem.  A new restaurant had just opened where all of the waiters were singers who performed onstage between their serving duties.  I called them up and scheduled an audition for that afternoon.  The restaurant was empty when I got there (they were only open for dinner) and I ended up singing for the owner and his head waiter.  I was hired the next day and started soon after.  My serving skills left a little something to be desired, but I usually won over the cranky old ladies with my Gershwin, Sondheim, and Schwartz repertoire.  The head waiter, “Aaron”, constantly complimented my singing.  He was more of a Kander and Ebb/Jason Robert Brown guy.   To this day, whenever Aaron is brought up around my mom, she exclaims “Yes, but he had a lovely voice!”

A brief synopsis of Aaron:  He was eight years my senior.   He was a big blonde musical theatre lover.  He owned a multitude of fleece outerwear.  His apartment smelled like the inside of an envelope.  He bought bags of frozen burger patties in bulk and kept them piled in his freezer next to his bottles of vodka.  His favorite movie was the one where that dude plays a piano on a ship.  His favorite musical was “JCS”, an abbreviation that confused me at first… but for those who didn’t attend the University of Jazz Hands, it stands for “Jesus Christ Superstar.”  He was ready for a full-blown relationship and I was still in party-mode from my senior year of college.

At the time, I would never admit that we were dating, but everyone else knew that’s exactly what was going on.  I mean, we were together most of the time and I seem to recall making out in the broom closet at work.  We also frequently carpooled to and from the restaurant, as he lived in my neighborhood.  I would always bring a book to read during down time at work.  One day, Aaron told me that he really liked the fact that I was a reader, and that he was going to start bringing a book, too.  The next day he showed up with a large meal deal from Wendy’s and a book that said “One Boy, One Dragon, Infinite Possibilities” on the cover.  I’ll never know if it was an “Eragon” spin-off or mystical erotica.

Here’s the part of the story I have denied for years and have only recently come to terms with:  Apparently, Aaron had some issue with his lease and had to move out of his apartment………… And into my mom’s basement.  (“Yes, but he had a lovely voice!”).   Now here’s where it gets good.  We began arguing pretty frequently, like you do when the person squatting in your mom’s basement wants a serious relationship with you.  Come on, I was 21 years old and freaking out about moving to the East Coast and starting grad school.  Not to mention getting funky on an air mattress didn’t sound very appealing to me.  Many of our arguments would take place in my car, while I was driving.  He could be very dramatic, and threatened on several occasions to leap out of my moving vehicle.  One day, we had picked up a large pizza and were en route to my friend’s house to watch a movie with her and her lover.  On the way there, Aaron announced that he loved me, and elaborated as to why he was the perfect man for me.  I’m sure I responded with something less than amenable… and the next thing I knew the passenger-side door flew open.  Aaron flung the pizza out of my moving car like a frisbee, then hurled himself out after it.  Looking in my rearview mirror, I saw the pizza box skidding down the street and Aaron’s body rolling after it like a bag of bricks.  I quickly made a U-turn to go see if he was OK because I had been going around 30mph, but he had run off into the night.  I also eyed the road for the pizza (I was really looking forward to that pie) but it was no where to be found.  I imagined he had run off with it and was now eating it, angry, bruised and bloodied in someone’s treehouse.  Later on, I found out that he had called my younger sister to come pick him up and bring him back to my mom’s basement.  The next day, Aaron showed up for work with bandages covering his knees and elbows.  Things were not the same after that, and I left for grad school a few weeks later.

I will say for Aaron that he is one of the most genuine people, and he has given me some of the best compliments I have ever received.  He is also the one who saved the day after I had an emotional meltdown at the grocery store that summer and lost my car keys somewhere in the produce section.  He picked me up from the store, calmed me down, and went back the next morning– eventually locating my keys buried under some tomatoes.

Speaking of tomatoes, I often wonder what became of that pizza… Oh well, no pizza could ever amount to the joy that recounting the story of the man who leapt from my moving vehicle has brought me over the years.

One Summer, One Thespian, Infinite Possibilities.

This One’s For You, Jimmy

6 Jul

In early April, I went on a blind date with a Russian who had a very peculiar name.  He told me if I ever wrote a blog post about him to call him “Jimmy”.  So, this one’s for you, “Jimmy”.

We met at a wine bar somewhere in the West Village.  I didn’t recognize him at first because his profile pictures were old and looked nothing like him.  He was thinner in person, with lighter hair, a clean-cut professional look, and a Hello Kitty phone case.  During the first thirty minutes of our date, I mistook his Russian deadpan for extreme social awkwardness… to the point that I started brainstorming excuses for why I had to flee.  One of the first things he said to me was “I didn’t think you would message me back.  You must get dozens of messages a day.”  After another glass of wine, we decided to change venues.  He suggested another bar to check out, which ended up being packed, so we hopped around to multiple places before settling on a dark, cavernous spot.  A beer or two later, I figured out that nothing that came out of his mouth was serious.  His dry, Russian humor had been off-putting at first, but once I got used to it, he was cute… and funny.  I don’t know if I would have found the things he said half as funny without the accent, however.  We left the bar and stopped at a record store on Bleecker Street.  I bought a Liza Minnelli record for a dollar and took a picture of him holding a Barry Manilow album (which he uploaded to his OKCupid profile after I told him he would get way more babes with that picture).

I’m going to be honest with you.  I broke the number one rule of blind dating and went back to his place with him on the first date.  In my defense, it was basically across the street from the bar.  He had a small studio with a loft, a miniature kitchenette, and a “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster.  I asked him about the medals hanging on the wall and he said (you have to read all of his quotes with a Russian accent) “I run the race.  That is how you keep in shape.  That is why my body is in such great form.”  Once I was there, I realized what a Russian Lothario I had on my hands.  I had never gone back to anyone’s apartment with them on the first date before, but he was a Slick Rick and it was obviously a normal occurrence for him.  He wasted no time putting the moves on me, but I saw where things were heading and freaked out before anything happened.  I told him I had to leave, grabbed my bag and ran out the door.  He ran out after me and his door shut behind him, locking him out of his apartment in only shorts, a t-shirt, and socks.  I wished him the best of luck and bolted- promising myself all the way back to Brooklyn that this would never happen again.  He ended up taking the subway barefoot to his office on Wall Street at 2am to get a spare set of keys.  I decided I wasn’t going to hang out with him again, then recanted a week later, after he helped me file an amendment to my tax return.

The second time we hung out, I was with my coworker and a couple of her friends.  One of them had multiple facial piercings, a braided beard, black Jncos, and he kept buying us drinks and offering to crack everyone’s back.  I said I didn’t need to drink anymore or I would be on the floor, to which Jimmy responded with “I liiike!”  Eventually the back-cracker sneaked up behind Jimmy and began giving him a sensual shoulder massage, his flowing facial hair dangling over his shoulder.  Jimmy leapt up and said it was time for us to leave immediately.  I laughed about how uncomfortable it made him for the rest of the night.  We stopped at a sports bar to catch the end of “the game,” and he confessed that he had been stalking me on social media websites all day.  He informed me that not all of my Facebook posts were private, and that he had found my Twitter, my Instagram, AND MY BLOG.  Disaster.  He had read every single post, and hoped I wasn’t going to write about him unless I changed his name to “Jimmy”.  I promised him that I always change everyone’s name, as well as any other major identifying factors.  He said in that case, he wanted me to write about him because he thought my blog was funny.  I told him he hadn’t given me any good material yet, so he suggested the fact that, at one point in his life, he had come “very close to wearing necklaces.”  Again, we went back to his place (hey, he lived a few blocks from my work!) where he offered me an assortment of fruit from his imaginary kitchen- “apple, orange, peers, or plahms.”  I told him he was crazy and he said “You are crazy person definition!  The only crazy thing about me is I have plahms.”  He made me a Manhattan, saying he didn’t need to drink anymore because “we already broke the ice.  I mean, you saw the goods.”  Oh, alright.

The next time or two we hung out was at the restaurant across the street from my store.  He gave me statistical updates as to the number of viewers on recent episodes of Hugh Laurie’s hit show “House” and I made up excuses as to why I couldn’t go back to his place with him.  My favorite excuse was that I hadn’t visited the waxer in awhile.  Later in the evening, he announced “You don’t have a boosh, I will show you a Google of a boosh.”  This remains one of the funniest things anyone has ever said to me and I kind of want it etched on my tombstone when I die.  We continued to hang out about once a week.  Each time, he would make comments to the effect of him being a player, how there were multiple girls he was seeing, and how he has met a ton of people from OKCupid (Jimmy has probably gone out with all of your blind dates, guys).  But then he would talk about reading my blog posts in his spare time and ask me personal questions about other dates I was going on.

After a couple months of corresponding regularly via text message, he suddenly stopped talking to me for over a week.  I emailed him asking if everything was ok.  He replied with “Yes, just being unresponsive I guess.”  He then proceeded to invite me to see “21 Jump Street” with him at 11pm that night.  It is very difficult to get me to set foot in a movie theatre, but I didn’t want to be rude… so I replied saying that was a little late for me and could we go to dinner instead.  He suggested Noodle Bar (one of my favorites) and told me to meet him there at 20:30.  Ok, sergeant.  We had dinner, went back to his place, he bought me a cab home, and I haven’t heard from him since.  I assume he’s still trolling the world wide web, stalking random girls from OKCupid, then feeding them “plahms” before dropping trou.

This was my longest “relationship” harvested from OKCupid.  The website was basically like “OK, here’s a Russian sex addict, hope you have an OK time with him for a few weeks before you both move on to other OK people who think you’re just OK!”

That reminds me of another Keep Calm and Carry On-esque inspirational poster that hung in my Sex Ed classroom in eighth grade.  My teacher was a lesbian who tied her hair back with duct tape and was married to a man.  A large portion of her class revolved around how to properly wash your hands.  The poster said “The Main Thing is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.”  I have always remembered that poster and thought it was the best worst advice ever.  A few months ago, I tried to buy a copy of it for my apartment, but, after a little research, discovered it to be some Mormon ballyhoo.  Never mind.

 

The Lying Lumberjack

10 Jun

The other guy I was seeing back in January, around the time of Jazz Shoe Man, was a drunken woodworker named “John.”  I did not meet him on OKCupid, but rather through one of my sister’s friends.

In early January, my sister and I went out for drinks with a bunch of her boyfriend’s wood friends.  I had been eyeing one woodworker in particular all evening.  John was not at all the type I am usually attracted to.  He had a blonde buzz cut, baggy jeans, lumberjack shoes, and was shaped like a t-rex.  Regardless of all that, he was cute and also from Wisconsin, so I was sold.  That night at the bar, I only spoke to him briefly, and it was the first time I have ever seen someone’s eyes cross because they are so intoxicated.  At the end of the night, John was drunkenly chatting with a gay man at the bar, oblivious to the fact that we were all leaving.  One of his friends tried to pull him away, and the man asked “Aren’t you going to kiss me goodbye?”  To everyone’s surprise, John grabbed the man and gave him a big kiss on the neck before turning and exiting the bar.  All eight(?) of us piled into the back of my sister’s boyfriend’s van.  I was seated next to John, who kept putting his hand on my leg every time the van hit a bump in the road.

Since drunken tomfoolery is clearly a green light for me, I got home and expressed my interest in him the old-fashioned way:  by friending him on Facebook.  A day or two later, he sent me a message saying that he wanted to take me out sometime.  I was thrilled, but responded with a casual “I’ll be at the Rusty Knot on Friday night, if you’d care to join.”  That Friday, I went to the Knot with my sister, and he showed up with his usual crew.  He was already drunk when he got there, and continued to get more so as the night went on.  At one point, I was trying to talk to him, but he kept closing his eyes like he was about to pass out.  I got him a glass of water and asked if he needed to make a trip to the bathroom.  His friend noticed my dilemma and took him outside, where apparently he barfed all over the sidewalk.  He came back in, sat down next to me, and seemed completely sober again.  It was the fastest turnaround I’ve ever seen.  He told me that he was embarrassed and had really been looking forward to going out with me that night.  He asked if he could take me out on a real date because he really liked me and wanted to get to know me better.  During this conversation, he reached over and held my hand.  I was speechless.  Ten minutes earlier, I had been annoyed that he had gotten so drunk because I was excited to hang out with him.  Now, he was speaking clearly and I was enamored by how forward he was being about his intentions with me.

I went out to dinner with him a few days later.  We went to one of my favorite restaurants and then to few bars in the area afterwards.  He is the one who introduced me to the Polish dive with sleeping patrons and one dollar jello shots.  It was one of the best dates I had ever been on.  He was fun, sweet, and affectionate, and even his Wisconsin accent (which is usually a big turn-off) was charming.  We both got a little drunk that night, but he managed not to fall asleep at the bar, barf, or kiss any dudes.  Over the next few weeks, we spent a lot of time together.  I chose to overlook the fact that he hated cats, said “Ahyup” like a grandfather, usually had black pepper in his teeth, and had the sense of humor of a thirteen year old boy.  He chose to overlook the fact that I don’t like camping or fried meats, and that I was also seeing a teacher who wore jazz shoes.  His best friend told me how John frequently spoke about how much he liked me.

A few days before the Super Bowl, John came over and I made him dinner.  He complimented my cooking and told me that, even though there was going to be a Super Bowl party at his place, he wanted to come over to my apartment and watch it with us instead.  He had had several glasses of whiskey during dinner, and afterwards, we went to a bar around the corner for a beer… which, in hindsight, was not a wise decision.  We were about halfway through our beers, when I put my arm around him.  He had done this to me a hundred times and I didn’t think anything of it, until he pulled away and snapped “Don’t do that!”  I asked him what the problem was and he said “We don’t even know each other.  I mean, you don’t really even know who I am!”  He was drunk.  I reminded him that we had been seeing each other for about about a month and that he had just been all over me not thirty minutes earlier.  He put his head down on his arms and laid on the bar as I sat there in shock, with tears in my eyes.  The bouncer came over and told me I could stay, but he had to leave immediately.  We both left and returned to my apartment, where we slept on separate sides of my bed.  The next morning I woke up to him wrapping his arms around me, saying he was so sorry and he never wanted to upset me.  We got coffee together and he told me that he was concerned he had a drinking problem and wanted to take a break from going to bars.  I usually try to lighten the mood in uncomfortable situations… so I suggested some sober activities like apple-picking, going to the library, canoeing, and arm wrestling.  I found out later that he thought I wasn’t taking him seriously.

The night of the Super Bowl, I was pretty tipsy after having a few glasses of wine on an empty stomach.  Although John had been texting me all day while I was at work about being excited to watch the game together, he was incredibly stand-offish that evening.  After my sister went to bed, John told me he was going home.  I asked why he even came over in the first place if he was going to ignore me all night, and he said he was annoyed that I was drinking after he had expressed to me a couple days earlier that he didn’t want to drink anymore.  This was interesting because he had never asked me not to drink around him… AND he had had a couple beers during the game, as well.  After our argument, he ended up staying over, but left in the morning without even saying goodbye.  I couldn’t comprehend what had happened.  Less than a week prior, everything had seemed fine.  Even though he was obviously the one with the issue, I was convinced that it was my fault.  I texted him apologizing, and we made plans for him to come over a few days later to watch a movie.

The night he was supposed to come over, he texted me an hour before saying his body ached all over and that he had discovered he had a rare disease.  He had diagnosed himself using WebMD (because we all know what a reliable resource that is).  He told me that he had gotten up to come over, but couldn’t even walk to the door without bracing himself on the walls… so we were going to have to reschedule for the next night because he was staying in and doing some stretching.  He said he was sorry and he didn’t want me to think he was just trying to get out of coming over (which he clearly was).  The next day, he called me an hour before our plans to tell me that he had had a really stressful work week and that he needed some alone time because we had been moving so fast… but he would come over for dinner the following week.  I pointed out the fact that he had now canceled on me twice, and he promised he wouldn’t do it again.

The day he was supposed to come over for dinner, I had planned three different dishes to make and had gone to three different grocery stores to get all of the necessary ingredients.  I texted him earlier in the day to confirm our plans and he told me he would see me at 7pm.  Confident that there was no way he would stand me up again, I started cooking two hours before he was due to arrive.  At about 6:30, I got a text from John saying that he was sorry, but he didn’t feel “comfortable” coming over.  I called him (trying my hardest to remain calm) and asked why he was telling me this a half hour before he was supposed to be there, and after I had already been cooking for an hour and half.  He said he couldn’t explain it.  I hung up the phone, shaking because I was so upset that I had let someone ditch me three times in a matter of a week.  I wanted to throw all the food I had made out the window, into oncoming traffic, but instead I calmly put it all in the refrigerator and went to bed at 8pm.  As much as I tried to sort out what had happened in my head, it was no use.  I tried to blame it on the fact that he was trying to quit drinking… until a week later when his best friend mentioned to my sister that he was out getting drunk with John and their friends.  I felt like an idiot.  He had projected his issues onto me and I not only let him, but had given him way too many chances.

On the plus side, I had disabled my OKCupid account because I was seeing John… So now I could reinstate it, go out with more weirdos, and continue to write about it.   The other lesson learned from this experience is that just because someone is from Wisconsin, doesn’t mean they are awesome.  Up to this point, I always believed that to be the case.