I was bawling at Cheesie’s—an establishment popular for over-the-top grilled cheese sandwiches, a wide variety of beer and cocktails, and maybe some sports games playing on plasma TVs (the fuck if I pay attention). I was sobbing at the bar. I had gotten dressed for the evening with inspiration from Catwoman. I wanted to look like a fall-inspired-Catwoman, which I achieved admirably. I wore lipstick in a raisin-shade with cat-eye eyeliner and black skinny jeans with a black button-up paired with taupe “suede” booties (yo, they were from Target.). I went to visit my best friend Sheila at her place of work, ComedySportz, knowing full well I may run into my most recent flame . And then I got dumped. Well, “non-dumped” by my “non-boyfriend.”
Let me tell you about Timmy.
Timmy was not my type at all. Timmy was a little skinny. Timmy was a mobile developer from Florida who couldn’t grow a beard and only ate when he was hungry. Timmy had eyes that used to be brown but turned hazel. Timmy did improv. Timmy was amazing in bed. Timmy was initially crazy about me. And fuck. I was crazy about Timmy.
We met through Sheila. She had shown him my picture on facebook and (supposedly) he was entranced. We met on a fluke when I visited Sheila at work, and he and I hit it off. I immediately felt like every Carly Rae Jepsen song ever, and while he wasn’t my type at all, I felt a lovely connection at a delightful speed. Little did I know I was going in like Carly Rae Jepsen only to emerge full on Alanis Morissette.
Fast forward a couple dates, where he pretty much pulled out every stop of all time. I felt like Kate Hudson in every role ever. We walked around the Gold Coast holding hands and he brushed my somehow perfect hair behind my ear. I wore hip outfits and he said hip nerdy things about ascii charts. I was holding out for Valentine’s Day so he could re-enact the “Let’s Hear it For the Boy” sequence from Footloose (did I mention he was a dancer?) but alas.
Date 1 involved him cooking for me, playing Billy Joel Pandora because I said I liked Billy Joel in passing, and then playing me Landslide on his guitar since I also said I liked Fleetwood Mac in passing.
`“So here’s your surprise.” He said, picking up his immaculate Fender.
`“Wait what no. Can I just? Can I turn around for this? I’m so sorry I just get really uncomfortable being serenaded.”
`“Yeah do whatever you want to do.” He said smiling. He had the sweetest crow's feet when he smiled.
I turned around and leaned my forehead against the wall, but smiled and blushed like an idiot the moment he started playing. Afterwards I pulled my face away from the white wall, worried my bronzer would leave an orange circle behind. I clapped my hands together, completely enchanted.
“That was so good! That was so great!” I couldn’t stop smiling. Smiling idiot.
Date 2 he bought painting supplies from Michael’s and we drank wine and painted pictures, framed them and then swapped. He painted me the Chicago Skyline, and I painted him the Chicago flag but with stars of David because the Chicago stars are insanely hard to paint and also because I’m Jewish.
Then he met my friends from work.
Then we had magnificent sex.
Then he drunkenly almost said he loved me.
Then I soberly almost loved him.
It was all very fast, but very real, so when he started not to ask me how my day was or not respond to my texts, I started to worry. I’ve fallen victim to heartbreak before, and the pit in my stomach told me it was coming. Despite the fact that he wasn’t my type, had exactly one belt that had a seatbelt buckle, and rocked my wool socks from day one. Despite all this, I felt the impending doom.
I guess I let a couple things slip while we were falling in like with each other. I have a mom who’s pretty sick. And I feel things very loudly and also very deeply. I can’t be first date cool girl forever, and yes, my freak flag flies a little early.
I’ve had friends instruct me to withhold this part of myself until later on in the dating period, which isn’t necessarily bad advice, but I simply don’t know how. I am an open book, and happy to be that way. I wear my heart on my sleeve and my sass on my tongue. Like every Whoopi Goldberg character ever.
So last night at ComedySportz I walked up to Timmy as he stood by the trash can eating a Cheesie’s grilled cheese with some kind of meat like a savage. He wore a big sweatshirt and jeans and sneakers and his eyes looked hollow and tired.
“So what’s going on?” I asked smiling my raisin-hued smile.
“I just think—we should be friends.” He said as he masticated loudly and wiped his greasy manicured hands on a brown paper napkin.
“I... What happened? What did I do?”
“Nothing.” He laughed awkwardly and pubescently. “I just found myself apologizing a lot. Like, I quote comedians and you asked me to stop. And when you text me things like this…”
Thus, Timmy proceeded to pull up text messages like a Real Housewife with ammunition at a Real Housewives reunion. He told me about all the things I said that he misunderstood and chose never to understand. I retorted by explaining how wonderful I thought he was while trying not to snap his long skinny perfect neck. He kept shifting sneaker to sneaker, shrugging his thin shoulders repeating, “Yeah, I don’t know…” I had never seen such an awkward person be so patronizing.
I heard him out and then said my peace. Permission to approach the bench, bitch. (**This didn’t all come out at once. And I probably slurred most of it. And I’m not totally sure he understood all of it, and please know that my eyes had a glint of Glenn Close Fatal Attraction crazy the whole time. I don’t have a forehead vein, but in this one scenario I may have grown one. I’m not totally sure.**)
“Well you understand you sent me mixed signals. You indicated that you wanted me to be your girlfriend really early on and almost dropped the L word like two weeks in? And the second I was on the same page as you, you backed off. I don’t think it’s fair for you to say the things you said and then not understand why I was upset when you didn’t reach out. If you actually cared as much as you said you did then you would want to ask how I was doing and check in, but that was always one-sided. Truthfully I think you were in it for sex and a free dinner. Because all these concerns should have been on your mind well before we slept together, and we could have talked about them. Also, no offense but it feels like your mom visited town and did some weird mommy witchcraft and fucked everything up. Don’t worry though, Timmy. I promise I will never ask anything of you again.”
“…you sound like my mom.” He said, still chewing his sandwich.
“Yeah, well what does that tell you.” I tossed the icy remains of my gin and tonic into the trash can behind him and walked off with one of those dead inside smiles plastered to my contoured overly-done-sad attempt at Kylie Jenner-face.
I walked out of ComedySportz and into Cheesie’s feeling like every Marisa Tomei character ever; broken and desperate and maybe adorable but mostly broken and desperate. I did some shots with the hip bartender Jenna and annihilated the remains of Sheila’s mac n’ cheese grilled cheese only to fat-shame myself about it this morning.
The fear is this: Different guys, same story. I have gone for tall and bearded, tall and taken, brown, white, Jewish, Catholic. I have gone for 43 year olds and 23 year olds, and the result is always the same. And when I start to feel this way I have to cry. A lot. A lot a lot. Last night I had to come home, rip off my far-too-tight black Catwoman skinny jeans and lay in fetal position on my bedroom floor while my cat affectionately bit my nose. I had to feel all these feels only to be reborn after and start the process over again. And I had to admit that I fixate on finding love because I’m so scared of the person I love most going away—my mom. It’s so much easier to sob over someone replaceable than to sob over the person I will never be able to replace or get over. I am hugely scared of being alone, and while I’ve gotten amazingly good at laughing at my own shortcomings, my sick mom isn’t a shortcoming of mine, but a shortcoming of the cosmos.
Now let’s get this all straight: I am still most definitely NOT okay with being blown off by a guy who only wears a seatbelt belt. I am not okay with a guy watching me abstain to have sex with him until I was really ready, and then conveniently finding things wrong after a visit from his mom a mere 4 days after. I am not okay with a guy doing some vanishing act after telling me he almost loved me, and then pseudo-dumping me as he shoved a sandwich in his face next to a trashcan. My mom ain’t got nothing to do with that, and she would agree that it’s all utterly juvenile and ridiculous. Wouldn’t you, ma?
However, there is something to be taken away from all of this.
- A good Catwoman outfit can get you through anything.
- Jenna the bartender always has your back.
- And when neither of the above work, you can always count on your friends, your mom and your cat to remind you what matters.