When I was a kid I was a consummate, fantastical liar. We moved every year until my brother and I got to high school and I remember at about 9 years old telling someone that what a disappointment it was to move to this new berg. I continued in a tone of complete bullshittery as I told them how distressing it was to leave behind my uneven bars in the back yard we’d had because I was really good on those things. I’m sure I had watched an episode of Wide World of Sports on a Saturday after cartoons were finished that included some gymnastics and decided that I was going to the Olympics. My fantasy life was rich and full as a child because reality was often just too shitty to reside full time there. I learned as I got older you have to eventually start backing your bullshit up. I quit lying on the outside. I just continued to fantasize constantly about being a singer, a secret agent, a business woman, a race car driver but mostly I dreamed of being normal, someone who didn’t have to constantly make up an imaginary life to lie about, someone who wasn’t slapped, beaten, yelled at, belittled constantly, someone who didn’t have to make strategies at 9 years old to avoid being noticed.
In any case, I learned to be a person that internalizes and doesn’t say what she means or thinks or verbalize how she feels. I learned to be the person I still am. I am so much stronger, so much wiser, and so much calmer now. I don’t cry at the drop of a hat anymore and that used to be one of those things that disgusted my mother and by proxy disgusted me about myself. Everything she hated about me, I hated about myself because she told me I should. Too sensitive, too weepy, too fidgety, too stupid, too expressive. I still, however, stay quiet and take heaping piles of shit and mostly from men because I was raised to do so.
I am visiting all of this because the experiences that you have pile up like strata, like a cross section of earth you find in a diagram in a geology chapter. They layer on and build up and make you into the person you are and sometimes the layers make you stronger and sometimes those fuckers shift. The fight between all the good shit that you struggle to pile on against the bad shit that’s stacked up will make a fault line that will cause earthquakes. Those quakes can come and go, they can settle and serve to settle you in and they can also have aftershocks that last a lifetime.
I signed up for OkCupid and Tinder. Lemme just tell you, Tinder went down in flames real fuckin fast. They all just want sex. They’re not shy about telling you that and what's more, they are stunned that you don’t already know that. I met one good looking, tall, charismatic dude who took me out to breakfast and kissed my face off when he left me at my office and then he just got weird and then sexy and then weird again and I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something there wasn’t right and I quit answering his calls and texts. I don’t know except that I have learned that those red flags are flagging for a reason, so I started paying attention to them.
Killed the Tinder after that and met (and by met I mean we did the message exchange on the site then did the number exchange a few days later) a beautiful bald, mustachioed gentleman who’s grammar and spelling and complete sentences whilst texting had me like Scarlett on a fainting couch. His turn of phrase, his wit and charm and the fact that he didn’t devolve to sex talk made me giddy. We talked for weeks. He is law enforcement and had odd shifts but texted and we got to know each other’s schedules. He got all my jokes and made me laugh and we talked late at night with sleepy voices and through yawns, under covers, giggling at each other and chit chatting about nothing and everything. I even gave him his own ringtone and notification sound. I was getting fucking serious, yo. The only hiccup in any of it was that he was 3 hours away. We discussed that right off the top but we seemed drawn to each other and it didn’t matter. We exchanged pictures and not naughty ones either. He didn’t smile in any of his and they were all pics that had been taken by someone else and he said selfies were for girls and he didn’t do them.
Then came the day he sent me a selfie, smiling, from work in his uniform. More swooning and no flags. I really liked him. After almost 3 weeks, we did it one night … talking and then saucy talking and pictures and I’m not a fan of the phone sex. At all…but…it was fun. It was racy and exciting. Shortly after that though, I noticed the texts were fewer and further between that had anything of substance in them. The talk at night was instantly rushed by him to talking about my ladybits and what he was going to do and blah, blah, blah, blah. I found myself wondering if there was one man on this planet that wanted both things and then I thought I was just being too hard on him. I was yet again making excuses and second guessing my own feelings and motives because I had been taught that most of what I felt was wrong. I manned up and pushed the issue of us meeting to see what would happen. I broached the subject only to be answered with a long and windy text that said he really, really liked me and thought I was funny and sexy and brilliant but if we met in person we would not be having “relations” or a relationship beyond what was going on.
Stunned does not begin to cover how I felt. Dumbfounded is more like it. I sent a text that simply said, “Then what the fuck are we doing this for?”
He didn’t answer for hours. Stupid washed over me and I sat with leaky eyes reading and re-reading our conversation. I felt duped and foolish. This man now had pictures of my everything and dude, I mean everything. Not that I put my face in that shit but still, I felt so fucking foolish like Romy waiting for Billy Christiansen after the prom.
When he finally answered he made an excuse about having his kids on his off days and not having time for a relationship beyond what we were doing with his work and side work and crazy hours. I told him that I DID want that stuff and I thought that’s what we were working toward all along and he’d intimated those things to me and he knew it. I told him this just wasn’t going to work for me any longer and I didn’t answer another text or call from him.
A week later, home alone doing chores and shit on a Saturday, I heard that ringtone I’d assigned…Don Juan taught me not to delete numbers out of my phone. You end up in conversations you don’t want to have that way. When the Caller ID warns you not to pick it up, it’s worth not having to say, “Who is this?”, and then be drawn into a conversation that leads to you getting your heart broken, AGAIN. (Read all about that HERE if you haven’t already.)
I looked at my phone dubiously and read, I miss your sexy ass.
“That’s all you miss.” I said out loud to an empty room but, dumbass that I am, I answered it.
I was just thinking of you earlier and wondering how you were doing, which shift you were on.
I get off at 3 today, what are you doing?
Just housework and watching TV. Nothing exciting.
Damn, I just knew you were gonna say, Getting naked and calling you at 3:30.
And that was that. I was right the first time, ass was all he DID miss. I never, never, never answered him again and he did continue to text until he realized I was over it.
Anyway…I reactivated my account and thought, ‘There’s one out there, I know there is.’
Let me just boil it all down for you. There’s not. I literally had a man sweet talk me and call me Princess and send me good night texts EVERY NIGHT within a week of our starting to talk only to have him quit texting and disappear completely for over a week. Then he sent a text that said, Hey stranger and proceed to try to talk me into driving an hour and a half to meet him and spend the night at his house. When I told him I had my daughter home and I don’t want to be that far from her overnight in case she needed me, he said, Well, I have wheels dear. So I further made clear that there will be no having of the sex if he DOES drive in, he IMMEDIATELY quit texting. I didn’t hear another fucking word until a week later …. That motherfucker was looking for pussy and pussy only even after he’d been very clear to tell me he was looking for a monogamous relationship, a girlfriend, a companion. I, of course, have taken most of what he's said with a grain of salt but it still irritates the fuck out of me. I’m sure he found some local strange in the week he had quit working me over. I never answered another one of that asshole’s messages again either. I was not emotionally invested in anyone after the Popo man but I still had this tiny speck of expectation.
It was handily snuffed however as I had a very similar experience with more than one of these dicks. I don’t want a husband. I just want someone to share time and more than just sex with. A shoulder to lean on, a soft place to land, once in a while. The last few days and the big, black dark that I’ve been fighting showed me a couple things though. I’m not over Don Juan. It’s not so much him as what I truly thought was there for us. Lying in bed and not showering, hoping that sleep will overtake me at every turn, it became clear that all of this was just a distraction.
It never fails to disappoint me though. It never fails to make me so sad that they treat me the same way over and over and I somehow have a beacon that calls them to me, the cads and the scoundrels. I have this hope that there’s a sweet soul that will appreciate me and what’s inside and will be just as eager to know my favorite book as he is to get my panties off. I keep saying that I’m not going to worry about that and just do what I gotta do and then, well, then I get bored. I decide the only thing missing in my life is some testosterone. Of course I’m missing it but, why? Simply because it’s been a constant and not a good one most times? I have to stop piling the bad side of the strata on. I have to just build up the good side and hope the aftershocks are more like a massage chair than a 14 story implosion because the fallout leads me to the dark place, the place where I simply cannot move. It leads me to the place where I’m not going to the gym, I’m not meditating, I’m not doing the daily chores that keep me on track.
It leads me to the place where I hear the alarm and reach out from under the blankets to silence it over and over until my daughter is standing over me telling me it’s 7:20, asking me if I’m going to work. I am still fully dressed in sweats and socks and shirt and bra from the night before and have neglected to set the coffee pot. I barely make it from the couch to the bed at 3AM. I tell her I’m going to go in late because I’m still feeling sick. She knows and I know that she knows but she says nothing and kisses me goodbye. I send texts to work and roll back under the covers. Wakefulness is painful a few hours later. I stumble from the bed to the bathroom, let the animals out and stand in front of the refrigerator and slug Coke Zero from the two liter bottle. I let the animals back in and we all pile back in my bed. I am still in those same clothes from the day before. I find something on the television, check my phone for fires and floods and hope for more sleep. Messages to friends checking on me with the where are yous? and the what’s wrongs? I say I’m not stellar but it’s fine. It’s all fine. More sleep. I wake hours later to repeat the cycle, bathroom, animals, refrigerator, phone, sleep. When I wake up close to 5, I check emails that are pissing me off and finally I begin to feel something enough to get up. I brush my teeth and get the laptop. I fix all the problems and my daughter comes home to see me, in the same clothes, in my bed with my laptop. I am so ashamed that it almost sends me back until she piles into bed with me and hugs me and asks do I want her to get supper. I hold back the tears and nod and she races off to get a pizza and some chocolate because she knows. She comes and brings me chocolate and pizza and more of my precious Coke Zero right to my bed. She asks if I’m feeling better now and I answer that I am.