I saved his number in my phone under Think About It. That was my friend Claire's idea. She's a couple years older than me and she's been through this shit before.
“If a guy
treats me badly, it's over. I'm not attracted to him anymore.”
I so had no
intention of ever texting Gaffer Guy again. I honestly tried to
delete his number from my phone's memory and fucking iCloud foiled my
plan and refused to forget not only his number, but also his
goddamn name. So I saved his number under Think About It. I knew
this would deter me.
And I do think
about it, I really do. I'm laying in bed, in my PJs. Having already
eaten dinner and watched three episodes of Six Feet Under.
Already moved on to reading a couple chapters of Bright Shiny Morning before drifting into a deep sleep, when my phone starts
luring me to do bad things. I stare at it. Think About It. And
when I think about it, I come up with a brilliant idea. I'll text
him three blank spaces, and he will receive a text from me with an
empty dialogue bubble. In other words, I'm opening the door but not
enough that I can't deny ever opening it. I mean, phones do weird
things and text people random empty messages sometimes right?
Totally could have been a technological gaff, just a friendly little
digital blip reminding him I still exist. I text him the empty
message and put my phone down, feeling good for smacking the ball
right back into his court. Then I start to feel a tad remorseful.
What if he looks at this blank text and ignores it, as he's done in
the past with my accidentally-on-purpose,
meant-for-him-but-not-really text digressions. What if his response
is to roll his eyes at my childish indirectness and turn off his
Him: “Oh yeah?
I'm going to meet some friends at a bar. Join me.”
Wow. One blank
text and we're right back where we started. Is it really so simple
to put all the baggage behind us? Wipe the slate clean.
But I really
don't want to meet him and his friends at a bar. I don't want to
give him the opportunity to humiliate me in public again. I
especially don't want to be outnumbered by his weird friends. And I
really just want to make out. Since he's told me definitively that
he hates PDA, he needs to come over.
Me: “Why don't
you stop by on your way and make out with me a little?”
Him: “Come to
my house now and we'll ride over together.”
Me: “I want to
get you alone for a minute.”
meeting my friend. It's nice out. Come if you want.”
Me: “Have fun.”
Him: “You too!
disappointed, and annoyed at myself for feeling disappointed again.
For setting myself up for failure. I delete the entire text chain
out of my phone so I don't have the urge to write him back. I do
this often with him. Virtually after every single text. It sounds a
little crazy when I say that out loud.
later, he sends me a song to listen to. Blue October's Bleed Out.
Me: “I don't
want your songs, I want your tongue down my throat.”
I don't hear from
him again for awhile. But I'm excited. My heart is pounding. I
don't know why this guy makes me feel this way, but it feels like I'm
on drugs. Up down up down up down. I look up the lyrics to “Bleed
Out.” The chorus goes “Bleed out/ I gave
it all/ But you can't stop taking from me/ And way down I know/ You
know where to cut me/ With your eyes closed/ Bleed
out/ It won't be long/ til this heart stops beating/ So don't let me
bleed out here alone/ Hear my plea/ you won't hear my plea.”
So dramatic. I'm pretty sure he was the one who cut me, but
little while later, I'm seriously getting ready to go to sleep, but
also thinking he might text me again, which makes it impossible for
me to go to sleep. I'm just turning out my light when... my phone
“Meet me for a drink. Yes or no.”
“Why don't you come to me?”
“The lady comes to the man.”
“I think you've got that backwards buddy.”
“No then. Copy.”
stare at my phone. That old sinking feeling. That same old feeling
that says 'why should I be the one to fucking compromise' mixed with
'I blew it.'
delete the text chain, turn off my phone, and switch out the light.
Once again, Fuck You Gaffer Guy. My phone vibrates.
“I'm willing to head your way, close to your home. Last chance to
be human together. Meet me for a drink. Yes or no.”
already in my PJs. There's no way I'm getting out of bed to meet
this asshole. I read his text again. The “last chance” jumps
out at me.
no way I'm doing that...
then I just do it.
“Promise to be human?”
“I'm nothing but.”
“You gonna play nice?”
“Pick a destination. Quick.”
“Same spot I guess.”
“OK. See you in 15.”
jump out of bed, heart racing. Mouth guard out. Get in the shower.
Don't shave your legs, I say. Fuck that guy! I'm totally not
shaving my legs for him.
then I just do it.
dry off and look at myself in the mirror. Don't put on makeup for
that fool. I take out my mascara. Sexy underwear? Goddammit yes.
If what I want out of this is physical, I need to prepare for it to
get physical. I try not to think too much about the clothes. Throw
on a sweater-like shirt, skinny jeans, boots. Not trying too hard.
No cleavage. Fall is coming and I'm not gonna freeze for this
though I'm going from half asleep in bed to bar-ready in minutes, I
still beat him there. I'm searching through the Friday night crowd.
He's not there and I start to panic. What if he doesn't show? I
can't stand another humiliating episode. I'm starting to get PTSD
from our last encounter at this very same bar. Maybe I should have
picked a new spot, somewhere with less bad memories.
just getting a table outside when I see him at the door. I don't
even try to give him a hug or a kiss hello. I coached myself on the
drive over to play it cool, protect my heart, don't let the
conversation spin out of control... blah blah blah.
waitress approaches and asks how we're doing this evening.
asks if she really cares or is just saying that.
about to apologize for his rudeness when she shoots back with “well,
now I don't care.”
like this girl.
says she needs a card to hold the bar tab. He asks if he can hold it
with a hundred dollar bill. He takes out a wad of hundreds.
order beers and he orders two shots of patron. I'm thinking, there's
no way I'm drinking fucking tequila right now.
tells me he's got to work at 8am tomorrow.
talk about a lot of things. We talk about last time we were here.
We have different ideas about what happened, but he actually seems to
be listening to me. He's not on an all-women-are-crazy tirade this
evening, so that's a plus. Maybe things have calmed down with the
female wrestler he was fucking.
drinks come and, when the conversation starts to go in a direction I
don't like, I ask about the shots of Patron.
say, “I can't really drink tequila anymore.” Then I clink my
glass against his and shoot it back.
explain to him that the smell of the shit he puts in his hair is like
fucking catnip to me. I tell him I'm going to find out the source of
the smell and make every guy I know wear it.
"Come closer so I can smell your hair. I promise I won't touch you. I know you don't like to be touched."
"You can touch me," he says.
leans forward. His hair smells fine, but it's not the hair.
me smell your face. I promise I won't touch you, I just want to
smell your face.”
moves his face in close to mine. I breath him in. Whatever the
smell is, it's on his face. He rubs his nose against mine and we
Eskimo kiss over the table. Okay, this definitely counts as PDA,
which he supposedly hates. I don't question it. I close my eyes,
tells me it's not that he doesn't like to be touched, it's just that
when I was “petting” him last time, it was just “too sweet.”
says he obviously still feels the “magnetic pull” between us.
Well I'm glad I'm not the only one.
"So are we going to your place or mine?" he asks.
"Well, I guess yours since you obviously won't come to mine."
doesn't argue with that.
"I've got to go," he says. This confuses me. Does this mean I'm not coming over?
"Are you sure you want me to come over?"
"I thought it was already decided. You're coming over."
follow him in my car. He drives slowly and uses his turn signal so I
don't get lost. I half expect him to floor it and take off, to
change his mind and decide he wants to go home alone. At his place,
his two sweet old dogs greet us. They like me, I can tell.
pours us two glasses of water and apologizes again that his bed is
not made, his place is a mess.
never have people over here.”
don't think that's true but I don't honestly care. The new
toothbrush he made me open last time is still on the bathroom sink.
There's also a third opened toothbrush, but I don't ask about it. I
peak into the shower, looking for the source of The Smell. I find
VO5 shampoo and generic soap - clearly not what I'm looking for. I
snoop through the bathroom cabinet. Aha! Three perfume bottles of
Hei by Alfred Sung. I put my nose to the fullest of the
bottles. I get lightheaded. The scent is absolutely intoxicating.
it!” I gleefully carry the bottle into the bedroom where he is
making the bed, and present it to him. He smiles at me.
obviously know this shit works because you've got three bottles of it
starts lighting candles. I take a photo of the bottle so I can go
tell every man I know to buy some and start wearing it NOW.
return the bottle to the bathroom cabinet. When I'm back in the
bedroom, he tells me to flip the light switch. Blue October's “Bleed
Out” is pouring out of the speakers.
we have sex, we keep kissing. He tells me when the CD ends, he's
going to sleep. He has to get up in four hours to go to work. He
means business and when the last song has played out, he blows out
the candles and we lay back in bed. He kisses my shoulder and holds
my hand across his chest. He doesn't turn away from me like that
first night. It feels nice.
the morning I watch him get ready for work. His hair is crazy and
standing on end. I'm fond of that hair. For whatever reason, I'm
fond of him. But I know I have to be careful. I know I must protect
my heart, that he is fully capable of breaking it. He comes over and
kisses me goodbye. I linger in that kiss. He gives in to me a
little bit, then pulls away.
that afternoon, I'm at my friend Paula's house when he texts me.
ever wake up? I wish I was still asleep! I'm a zombie today.”
text back. “I'm painting your house pink, hope that's cool.”
can picture myself becoming his worst nightmare, and for the moment
this is hilarious to me.
confessed this latest episode to my ex-boyfriend.
advice: “You can't write about this in your blog. No one will
know that's probably true, and I considered strategically avoiding
the subject. But then I talked to my friend Paula, who is 40 years
old and much wiser than me.
advice: “You have to write about this in your blog. Because it's
you, it's your honesty.”
chose to follow her advice because she's right, this is me, I
am a woman in my 20s and the reality of me at this moment in life is
that I'm choosing to live out this story, even though I already know