#15 Drink and Deflect

PART ONE

Since LoveAddict recently posted about her “favorite” Mr. Smother and Lizzie regaled us with her non-prostituting love slave, I thought I’d chime in with my own recent story.

My platonic friend Matt works nearby, and when I’m not working I try to get lunch with him every week or so. A few months ago, when I was feeling very single and a bit desperate, I followed him back to his office to meet his coworkers. I only met Rick very briefly, but long enough to believe something could work out there if pursued. I would see him once or twice in the following months, but never more than a “hello” was exchanged.

Until Matt texted me one night to see if I was interested in going to a party at Rick’s apartment. Rick was trying to get rid of all his New Year’s Eve alcohol. I, of course, was a more than willing helper.

Somehow, I convinced myself from the onset that Matt only invited me because Rick wanted me there. I blame the fact that my first recollection of Matt was his arrogant “I don’t call people; they call me” life mantra. This, perhaps, influenced my actions for the rest of the party.

I went to the party and had a great time. Did you know that Jenga can be played as a drinking game? My mind was completely blown. As for getting rid of that New Year’s Eve alcohol–let me say, I can handle my liquor, but it was amazing even to me just HOW non discriminating I am when it comes to kinds. Vodka? Yum yum. Rum is a fav. Gin is an excellent palate cleanser. Bring on the tequila!

Each tile has a rule written on it, and you've got to play the rule you pull. Also, there's no way the game would be this advanced if it was drinking-Jenga style.

Suffice to say, I was most definitely not driving home. Matt offered to drive me home, but the complication of leaving my car at Rick’s and the fact that Rick was obviously too eager to keep handing me drinks with a certain ulterior motive made my decision very easy. I think Matt was barely out the door when Rick leaned over and kissed me.

Let me tell you something. Other people were staying over, but I was the only one who got to sleep in a real bed.

BUT, before you get ahead of me, no sex was had. Just four hours of making out. Until SEVEN AM, people.

The problem was, is, that I meant to stop drunk making out. Without getting into my philosophy now, I usually just feel like I’m getting used, and I’m finding it less and less, ahem, fulfilling. HOWEVER, that did not stop some very memorable moments.

Like when Rick kept saying, “Oh, girl, oh girl.” I mean, I’ve heard using babe or baby to avoid mixing up names, but can we get any more generic than girl?

Or like when Rick said that he liked me, I laughed in his face and said, “You don’t even know me.” This might have happened more than once. I may have intimacy issues.

Or like when Rick said he’d like to take me out I said, “Well, then DO IT.” Like a dare. Because most people like to be challenged into taking someone out.

Or like when Rick said, “I told Matt you had a HUGE crush on me” I tried to think up a less honest answer than, “Only in the same way I have a HUGE crush on a bottle of vodka. Nominally interested but surprisingly desperate.”

Or like how when I woke up at 8AM, after only an hour of sleep, I tried unsuccessfully to sneak out and was delayed an hour and a half.

And then, after I had finally detangled myself and navigated the passed-out partiers in the living room to find shelter in the cold fresh air of a Michigan morning, Rick sent me a text message that simply said, “I think you’re really cute.”

Ok, I liked that.

I'm going for similarities in hair style here, not musical talents.

A few days later it was Sunday, the day we had tentatively set for our date after I said, “Well DO IT,” and I received a shy little text asking me if I was still up for “hanging out.” I pushed it back. I was exhausted from getting seven hours of sleep the entire weekend and knew that going on a date in my glazed-eyes state would be a disservice to everyone. He accepted my excuse gracefully and said that while he really did want to take me out, if I wasn’t interested that was fine.

I had just needed to buy myself time. The only proper dates I’ve been on recently have been eHarmony dates that have gone…so far into nowhere they’ve gone backwards. Add in the complication of my current feelings for Logan, and I was just unsure if I wanted to pursue something with Rick.

But then I called myself out as a coward and made myself woman up. I had kept following the comments on LA’s Mr. Smother post, and a few commenters had suggested that we dismiss genuinely nice guys as being clingy and smothery because we’re scared. It’s true, while I had plenty of physical sparks with Rick, I hadn’t felt any emotional fireworks, but maybe I was too busy protecting myself from wombats to see a truly nice guy. I don’t want to be my own best sabotager, so on Monday I texted Rick my free nights to see when he wanted to go out.

And he picked Tuesday.

#14 Pre (Dis)Approve

Um, I don’t know about anyone else, but I LOVE gossiping about boys and girls. I hate my guy friends for being so mum about who they like and what they’re doing about it. Then when I get together with Anne [who has a boyfriend and therefore pretty minimal fresh drama in her life], the best we can come up with is–

“So Matt told me that he likes someone.”

“I know!”

“For months!”

“It’s crazy.”

“I wonder who it is.”

“Me too.”

“…”

Then we ponder in silence for a while. And move on.

This activity results in hours of good fun, like the time Matt requested a list of potential girlfriends from Anne and I. [PS. I totally put myself at the top of that list. Mostly because it was just a ridiculous request.]

Just to be clear. If THIS man was asking you to compile a list of potential girlfriends, you would DEFINITELY put yourself at the top. No matter your completely platonic feelings for him.

But. Just like any innocent fun, there’s a seedy underside that comes around to bite you in the butt.

Before I left to spend the holidays with my family, I was spending a lot of time with this great guy, Logan. Like, A LOT. I met him early in December when I went out with some friends from church for lunch. The weekend before I left, I saw him Friday, Saturday, Monday, and twice on Tuesday. For a change, the guy was initiating, inviting me to hang out, laughing at my jokes, texting me first. I felt like I was actually being pursued instead of my usual trend of making my self too accessible for the wrong kind of guy to take advantage of me, and I was having a bloody good time. I was REALLY excited. I was so ready to take a risk on this guy, and I felt pretty confident that he felt the same way about me.

Then I had to leave for ten days for the dumb holidays. But Logan and I texted every day, several hours a day. He texted me on Christmas. He’d say cute things, like when he was out with his family for Chinese and he texted me to let me know that since I was the year of the dragon and he was the year of the rabbit, we were compatible [that was his word too, btw].

Things are going GREAT, I thought. I was practically dating this guy, all but in any official name.

The first week I got back to Michigan, I saw him once. I had to set it up. Which I’m not opposed to, mind you. I’m just neurotic. And it started doubts. Compounded with the fact that we went from texting every day for hours a day to near radio silence, I started to get nervous. Had he lost interest? Had I been played? Had he found someone new?

Still, I tend to recognize when I’m being irrational and neurotic. So I took my fears to my friend Rachel. And I started out positive.

“So there’s this guy.”

And since she also likes gossiping about boys, her face lit up.

“His name is Logan L—-.”

You know how when you’re trying on an outfit you’re really excited about, and you jump out of the dressing room to show your friend, and she’s trying really hard to say something nice because she KNOWS how much you like it, but it’s a struggle to keep a smile on her face and the best she can come with is “wow”?

That’s what Rachel looked like.

Her smile froze, and I could tell she was struggling.

“What?” I asked. But I knew already, because I had overheard something that lunch a month ago, when I first met Logan, I had overheard something and it had bothered me in the very bottom tip of my heart since then.

“It’s just… I thought he was seeing Hilary.”

That little fear in the very bottom tip of my heart exploded.

“Well… what?”

I like Hilary. Except she ALSO has beautiful curly hair and very pretty eyes. So maybe Logan has a type, or she stole all my thunder.

And, without compromising her friendship with Hilary, Rachel told me what she knew. That Hilary and Logan had spent a lot of time together last semester, that it had been undefined but at least looked like it was leading to a relationship, and that when Hilary had finally put her foot down and asked what was going on between the two of them, Logan had said he wasn’t ready for a relationship. By piecing together what Rachel knew and what I knew, we put this DTR between Logan and Hilary about 72 hours before Logan and my friendship started to spark.

To be clear–I don’t mind if Logan dated someone IMMEDIATELY before me. Maybe he was getting to know Hilary, and then in the end decided he didn’t want to date her. Isn’t that the POINT of casual dating and hanging out? To decide if you actually like someone enough to date date them? That’s not what bothered me. What bothered me instead was the fear that this is how he treats ALL his relationships. That his character is flawed by instant but short lived passion, that he can’t commit, that he had wrapped my very fragile heart around his fingers and was about to break it. And those fears overtook any excitement I had about our non-dating relationship and completely broke down any dams logic or rational thinking had put up around my heart and mind.

When I left Rachel, I was on my way to see him. I had already made plans to hang out with him and some other friends. And I struggled to get my neurotic thinking under control. I didn’t want to have preconceived notions. I didn’t want to judge Logan before he had a chance to actually show me what his character really is. I didn’t know his side of the story. I didn’t know anything except a limited second hand account from the jilted party. It would be unfair of me to change my perceptions of him and behavior towards him off that conversation.

And yet… Maybe it was a warning. Over Christmas break I had to deal with the fears I still have about being in a committed relationship and it was terrifying. I was ready to take a risk on someone whose own intentions I didn’t know. Maybe hearing about Hilary would help keep my own presuppositions in check, reeling me in before I got hurt.

It’s been a few days since I talked with Rachel. When I look back at the time since I’ve come back to Michigan post-holidays, there’s been a definite shift in my relationship with Logan. We see each other and talk less. But he’s also really busy. And it’s only been a week and a half, not really long enough to draw any true conclusions. So I’m still trying to balance my fears and my hopes. Basically, I’m just trying to stop having feelings for him, so that I won’t get too excited when I hear from him or too disappointed if I don’t. I’m letting that conversation with Rachel get into my head only enough to keep me from pushing myself into a type of relationship Logan may not want yet, but trying to keep it quiet enough that I can still hope for the best.

Hell yeah, I'm going to hope for the best. Hell. Yeah.

At the very least, if I find out he’s an emotional man whore and all romantic feelings are drained from my body, I plan on still keeping him around for entertainment purposes. He’s ridiculously funny.

#13 Take It All WAY Too Personally

Sometimes I’m a single bitch.

Saturday was perhaps my first weekend night truly alone. My friends and I often spend nights IN. Going out takes a lot of work, and sometimes it’s just more rewarding to hole up in our pajamas with a full cookie jar and a stack of Sex and the City DVDs. But on Saturday, I was truly alone. Of my four good girl friends, one was away for the weekend visiting a boy, one had date night with her boyfriend, another went out with other friends for a birthday, and the last was away for work. There was no one to share cookies and snide remarks about Samantha while secretly wishing to be her.

A night in is infinitely more boring when you have no other choice. And I wasn’t looking forward to it, all day long. In fact, I seemed to be acting out in my anticipated frustration.

It started in the afternoon, when my estrogen back up was still around. A bunch of us gathered to fill the void Michigan football has left to watch some NFL. In that group there was one couple. Just one. Out of like, ten people. I gotta say, I’m all for PDA, and I understand appreciating your significant other, but you gotta draw a line when you start crawling all over each other. Especially when others are sharing the couch with you.

Now, when confronted with a couple that seems to be practicing tandem pilates next to you there are two approaches. One is to just politely ignore it. The other is to make passive aggressive remarks and hope they suddenly become more uncomfortable than you are.

I of course go for passive aggressive.

Part of the problem is that my best friend is one half of the culprit couple, so I can get away with saying a whole lot more than I normally could to a nominal acquaintance. So I start. And when the “Gee, why don’t you guys get a little closer” and the “Wow, I don’t normally try that move with clothes on” statements don’t work, I resort to sulking with my phone, texting people to commiserate with me about how much we hate couples who overdo the PDA with their dumbly impressive pretzely moves.

And the thing is, I’m not a cuddling Scrooge. I love PDA and think it can be cute. This is probably because in my casual noncommital relationships boys refuse to display any public affection on me, starving me and making me feel insecure. But when couples use it as a weapon, as if they have something to prove, I draw a line. We get it! You have someone who wants to physically occupy the same space as you! No need to rub it in! Boundaries, people.

And then my best friend and her boyfriend ditched me to go on “date night.” AFTER their date afternoon on the couch. Watching football with eight other people! Incorrigible. Well, to be fair, I knew they were going out and just tried to persuade them to hang out with me instead. I knew my chances of success weren’t high and I went for it anyway. Rejection hurts. I understand now why boys rein it in sometimes. But it not only hurts, it pisses me off. Who did she think she was, blowing off her best friend to keep plans she had made with her boyfriend? Doesn’t she remember that I am the most important person in her life? Boys come and go but sisters are forever!

The thing is, I would probably do the same, right? It’s just been so long since I’ve been in a real relationship, and then it was mostly long distance and weird, I can’t even imagine what I would do with a boyfriend. Well, that’s not true. I do imagine…

What I mean to say is that I can’t imagine divying up my time, making plans, date nights, things like that. I’m used to whole weekends being spoken for, spending every second wishing someone was there, phone dates and long emails. And by “I’m used to” I mean that happened once upon a time four years ago. But that was the relationship I had, and to imagine midweek date nights or dinners with the parents or not being spontaneously available all the time just takes more imagination than I currently have.

But as I walked to my car after the football game, alone on a Saturday night, I realized that I wasn’t just lonely, I was angry. I was angry that all my friends had plans, either with their boyfriends or at least in proximity of guys. And I was going home alone, where the most interaction I would get with boys would be Facebook stalking that cute tall boy I met crashing the law student’s bowling night. And that’s when I wondered–was I getting bitter? Cynical? Jealous of my friends’ happiness?

Am I becoming the single bitch?

Sure I miss hanging out with my friends. I’d rather be out meeting people with my roomie than freezing alone in our apartment because I’m too cheap to turn on the heat [besides, we’re spending all our heat money on vodka]. I’d like to repeat the maxim “chicks before dicks” and still have peace when I’m the one with zero plans. Because if these are the people I love the most, shouldn’t I be overjoyed that they are so happy?

I think I am. But I’m only human too. And sometimes that means I’m just a little bit of a single bitch.

I have no cool photos today. So here's one from the bowl game I went to. I sacrified an awesome NYE in a Big Ten college town so I could go to an awesome Big Ten football game on NYD. Except we lost.