Chronicles of the Single Man, Episode 9: Everyone’s Fool

You want me to just wait for you to stop being a selfish jerkoff and realize how good it was?

Typically, the entries in this space explore my dealings with women in a dating capacity. Often, the women in the story are the butt of the joke. I’ve fallen asleep on a date, had women go out of their way to tell me that they had a great time but didn’t want to see me again and, most recently, a woman ignore me at first because my last name ended in a vowel.

Of course, if you’re reading any of these with more than a cursory glance, you’re obviously aware that my ineptitude is just as big of a focus of the joke as these women are. The point, generally, is this: we’re all fucking clueless, some less so than others.

That all said, the story that follows fits like a Bizzarro World entry to the ‘Single Man’ cannon because, this time, I take center stage as the jackass.

I dated this girl for about a month… about a year and a half ago. You may wonder, why write this now? I don’t have a great answer for that other than boredom on a slow day at work. During down time, I found myself going through old e-mails and conversations and hers came up. Sifting through the correspondence, the events of that time period from over 18 months ago came sprinting back to my conscious and was met head-on with a strange cocktail of anger, annoyance and sick-to-my-stomach-ness.

We met (shocker) through Match.com and (honestly here—shocker) she was remarkably well-adjusted. She was easy to get along with, attractive, fun to be around and had no issue coming to Hoboken. Oh, and somehow saw something fun in me*.

We’d hung out a number of times, gone to dinner at a few places, spent the night a few times. I met a few of her friends, she met a few of mine. To a normal outsider, it would appear that things were going swimmingly, that something legitimate could be blossoming.

However, I was on the inside and when it comes to things of this nature, I’m anything but normal. I remember exactly how things ended and that’s the part that cycles over and over in my head.

I’d spent the night at her place in the city. She had work in the morning somewhere further downtown, so while she got dressed and ready, I put on my clothes from the night before and prepped myself to take the busy subway with her. She stepped closer to me once we were on the train, probably out of necessity but also out of something else. In what has to be one of the sweetest things ever done for/to me, she innocently placed her head to rest on my shoulder. And instead of taking that for what it was—a girl (one that I liked and was beginning to like more and more each time I saw her) feeling comfortable enough to relax around a man that was a stranger not more than a month ago—I freaked out. I took it as a sign that she was getting too comfortable, that we were some how now an official couple because of this gesture.

An attempt at explaining these (totally insane) thoughts and the “logic” behind them is pointless. Essentially, I’m a self-saboteur and as such I took this obviously positive sign as cue to look for any and everything wrong with this girl. I picked at nits with the honest ambition of finding the one that would unravel everything. And, naturally, I was successful.

Immediately, I broke off contact with her at that point**. The next time we “spoke” was through a drunk text I sent at around 11 PM, about a month later. Not surprisingly, she ignored it. The following times we spoke were on G-mail about three or four months after that. And then, again, a few more months after that, once again on G-mail.

I got to see her again in April or May of this year. Out of a mutual love for Justin Timberlake, I’d finagled what I hoped to be another chance out of her. We met for a few drinks, got some food after and—on the crowded streets of New York—I expressed how stupid I felt about having let her go, how I wanted another shot. She smiled, even kissed me good night before disappearing into the subway.

This time she was the one walking away from me and I couldn’t really blame her.

Postscript: I should clarify, this isn’t a “woe is me” story. I don’t spend hour upon endless hour thinking about this girl. Just because I follow her every movement on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook doesn’t mean I’m a lunatic. 

Kidding. I honestly don’t do any of that (we’re not friends on the Face, I don’t know if she has a Twitter account and I can’t figure out what the fucking point of Instagram is).

I think this is just a case of regret for the one you let get away. Even the happily married have that person in their past, to some degree.

*Let the record state, this was before the dating-related chip on my shoulder grew to be what it is today, so big you can “see it in AUSTRALIA”, as one friend mildly put it recently.

**I’ve spoken with her about that… she attests that she was the one who backed away from me. Neither here nor there, really.

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