To Fall

What does it feel like to fall in love?
I haven’t been in love since I was 20. I haven’t fallen in love since I was 14. Eleven years for me to learn what love is. To understand that it’s sacrificial, biblical, big and heavy and life changing. And light and breezy and full of timing and circumstance.

I’m visiting my best friend (HLM) in the military town she lives in with her husband (J). HLM has always been brave at making new friends and bringing people together. I’m not surprised that she and J have made plans for a group of people to drive down to Austin together to see the USA national rugby team play Brazil. I’m wearing rolled denim shorts and a white breezy sleeveless top with a little cut out at the sternum. I feel pretty and easy. I briefly wonder if this is a set up. Its HLM+J, their married friends Captain America +Barbie, and their single friend Owen. Owen is personable and charming. He’s gregarious and funny and plays DJ in the front seat with Captain America and Barbie. Both of the married boys clearly admire him. Part of me is charmed and a little interested, but he’s not traditionally handsome. Maybe not exactly who I would go for. He also seems a bit like a partier. Fills his life with adventures to make up for a titch of insecurity. He barely looks at me, so I call it moot.

I focus on spending time with the girls. It’s fun to sit in the sunshine on blankets in the grass and watch huge men take each other out. We eat ball park food and gossip. It’s relaxing and one more reminder of why I’d love to live in a bigger city again someday. It was fun to learn about a new sport, meet new people, and bond over the loud lady that decided to sit too closely and put her feet all in my personal space.

We go to a little restaurant afterwards and get pizza and beers and listen to live bluegrass music with a bunch of older locals. Owen sits next to me and I perk up, “maybe he is a little tiny bit interested?” I ask him about himself, he answers but doesn’t really reciprocate. I drop it again. He must not be wanting anything to do with me in that way. I don’t even think he is interested in me in a friendly sort of way. The only time he really initiates anything is to tease me with J about a comment I made about how lucky we all were to grow up in loving families. Nope. Man, do I hate to be teased when I’m being genuine and open.

I head back to my hometown a few days later, still thinking about how he wasn’t interested. Why not? I’m smart and funny and cute. His friends like me. J told me that he had shown him a picture of me before and Own was like “Oh hey, who is that?” This doesn’t make sense.

I’m full of righteous pride and use my inherent sense that ALL men should love me to fuel this Facebook message reach out:

Owen! Was it you that was talking about The Man in the High Castle?

Well if it wasn’t than it should’ve been! I love that series!

Okay I thought I remembered correctly. I’m starting to watch it this week. Now I know who to yell at when I get too engrossed.

I guess I should prepare for the inevitable punishment because you’re going to be hooked. Fyi don’t bother reading the book. This is one of the few instances where the show is way better.

Perfect. I’m currently hooked on Chef’s Table on Netflix as well. And that’s good about the book. I have 4 books out from the library right now that I need to finish before I get fined. If they’re late I’ll just have them forwarded on to Owen, Infantryman Which Are The People That Everyone Else Supports, Army Town,TX, right? I don’t want to mess up that address and have it bounce back

Bahahaha you absolutely nailed it. It’ll get sent right to me! Along with the bill for your CD player and Jinko jeans because it’s 1998 and people still rent books from a library. I’m binging hard on some Shameless at the moment. Makes being poor look really cool.

Man! You must have been rich. 1998 I was rockin those spandex shorts and begging my dad to listen to his albums until my mom kicked us outside. And you leave me alone about the library! It’s a beautiful community resource, plus also, it makes me feel like it is 1998. You’re right.And I’ve heard good things. Emmy Rossum is super cute too.

I don’t think I got a CD player till 2003, but you can bet your ass I had some bitchin Jinko jeans. Libraries are obsolete, but I appreciate your quest for nostalgia. This show is becoming an obsession for me. And yea Rossum looks great for someone who appears constantly disheveled in the show

Pics or it didn’t happen. I appreciate your firm opinions. I would say I’m adding it to my list but I can only afford one new binge worthy show. I’ll be sure to let you know how large your bill turns out to be.

I’m sure my mom can dig up some dirt on me from back then. Definitely let me know what you think of High Castle. I just started a savings plan for your inevitable bill so I expect a riveting review
And then I left it. Oh you’re funny and smart? SO AM I you frustrating little man. I showed you didn’t I?!
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A week later a message pops up from him:
How’s your High Castle binge going? Do I need to take out a second mortgage on the house?

And then we didn’t stop messaging for 2 weeks…

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Trivial Pursuit of my Heart? Brain? Apathy?

I play trivia on a Thursday nights with a bunch of my girlfriends from church. Earlier this summer I thought I recognized the host as the best friend to the almost pastor with a hint of Aspergers that I dated once or twice (he was nice enough but so not a good fit for me). After 2 beers in, I Snapchat Aspergers Pastor and ask him if Trivia Host is his friend-he snaps back and says to tell TH hi and how he loves him. I call TH over to our table and replay the snap. He goes “oh nice! Tell him I love him too. Who are you? How do you know AP?” 

“Uhhh we dated a bit. I’m LeDistraire”

2 weeks later I get a Facebook message from Trivia Host:  

I realize this is pretty informal and out of left field, but I was just wondering if you would be at all interested in going to dinner some time. No pressure. If you’re not interested, then you’re not interested and that’s perfectly fine. Just wanted to see if that would be something you’d like to do.

It was cute enough. He gets my number, calls me, and sets up a time to meet. 

I’m not super excited as he seems a little too goofy and gangly for me. I end up super late to our date as I’m at a wine tasting for work. I’m also a lil drunk. Turns out he doesn’t drink and he wants to be a youth minister. I literally don’t understand how you can do both of those things. He asks me question after question and seems nervous. He’s smart though and very witty. It’s a fairly nice date. 

But then I head off to Europe with my friend. I figured I’d let it fizzle. I’m off doing adventurous things and I know I want someone that can match me in boldness in life. It’s probably not Trivia Host. He doesn’t even like Chick Fil A sauce.

But then his friend, the other guy I dated, messages me. Basically begging me to give Trivia Host a chance because he’s witty and the nicest guy he’s ever known. So I do. We go on a few more dates. He makes a perfect playlist and sets up speakers and dances with me in the middle of a gazebo. I break his SIX YEAR KISSING DRY SPELL. I didn’t know that or I wouldn’t have. Yikes! He truly is witty and nice. I slowly start to feel less and less attracted to him though.

Eventually, I look at him and see a weeny. Someone that hunches his shoulders and makes goofy faces and never works out. He seems like a kid brother.

I end things. We stay friends. It’s the first time I’ve stayed friends with someone that was falling for me. I give him advice on other girls. He gives me a birthday present when I turn 25. Sometimes I wish that I could like him in a real way. I don’t. But I know that if that changes, i’ll have to “beg to get him back. I’m not some easy floozy ya know?” (his words).

So, anyone need a nice guy? 

My Dating Life Is Under Arrest

The Second One was an alcoholic. 6 months after I broke up with him, he has coffee with me. He originally asked me to get a drink but then texted me the next morning to say coffee instead. He bikes up to the shop. The Second One looks sheepish and handsome which is not unusual. We toss a few biting barbs as our way of saying hello-the wounds are still fresh from each other and an easy target in which to pour some salt. 

Then he tells me about his second DUI he just got. 

No wonder we’re getting coffee. 

He had been “hanging out with his friend Richard” earlier he says with a slight wink in his voice, hinting that hanging out may or may not have included clothes being worn. They were drinking all morning and TSO thought he could still drive to work his shift as a barista. In front of the store there are about 6 places in a row for parallel parking. He whips around the corner and plows the sides of all 6 cars. 

He wants sympathy and acceptance. He has God for that. I just feel sad. 

Fast forward about two years. I’ve moved back to my town. I’m swiping away for distraction and entertainment and good ol’ Texas boys. There’s a cop that seems very upright and quiet and has really deep brown eyes. He’s adamant that he should get to know me. We spend a few dates together talking about music and such. He seems a little…slow…but sometimes you just need someone around to make out with. And boy does Cop fill that bill. We have great chemistry. He’s very tempting. He also works nights and is a bad texter, and his family dynamics seem strange, and he doesn’t really have any true friends, and wait-is that racist/sexist/bigoted shit coming out of his mouth? He keeps trying to nail me down and make it official. I dip and dodge and eventually sort of agree. One week later I never hear from again. After he begged, y’all. Makes no sense. 

The best part though? It turns out Cop was heading to a trial of a guy he arrested 1.5 years ago for a second DUI. Turns out that guy was TSO. TSO was suing Cop for a technicality. I dated the guy who arrested my ex. My ex sued a new guy I dated in order to be able to leave the state to move in with his new boyfriend in NYC. 

Dear Lord, why am I even trying? 

No More Mr. Nice Guy

“Oh…so being from the other side of this equation 95% of the time, I just want you to know that you’re not allowed to say the things that you said. You can’t say ‘You can manage the store I’m going to open later in my life’. And you can’t say that you want to be the Dustin to my Stranger Things’ Eleven Halloween costume. You’re not allowed to make plans for our future. You’re not allowed to come over multiple times after I get back from vacation; you flirted with me, you asked probing questions, you had me make dinner for you. 

You laid on my bed and touched my body and let me touch yours. 

You can’t do that shit and then when I tell you ‘I like you. Just FYI. No defining the relationship or anything’, say, ‘Well, I’m still really messed up from my ex’. 

Were you messed up from your ex 15 minutes ago when you came in 20 seconds while getting head? Or were you okay enough to handle that?

You can’t be an asshole if you’re not an asshole. You can’t act like you’re moving towards a relationship and then back off and still be a nice guy. 

You’re officially not a nice guy.”

This is what I said to the Lion.

Except I didn’t. He said the “messed up from my ex” line. All I said was “Oh. I thought something was off.” Then I kissed his cheek and shut the door.

Fucking not a nice guy.

Lion

Each time we saw each other at parties, we always had little interactions. Small conversations. Little acknowledgement of each other’s jokes. And then he stayed the latest at my best friend’s going away party. I told her I had a crush. He seemed smart and kind and quiet and funny and kind and had beautiful curly hair that looks a little bit like a lion’s mane and dressed subtly cute and was so kind. Did I say he was kind? 

My best friend told him we would be a good match. He casually asked for my number and called me that week. Our first date was drinks. We talked for 4 hours. All sorts of topics from politics to religion to friendships to family to gun control. Random and intense but so so easy. We line up on almost everything. We made up stories for each of the couples in the room. It was easy and I was excited. 

 I saw him 3 more times without him kissing me. I was leaving for a two week trip to Europe. I invited him over earlier that morning to come over and hang out for a bit. We ended up kissing and he was so gentle and strong at the same time. He’s incredibly shy and quiet most of the time and he was silent while he kissed me. It was strange but not in a weird way. 

The weeks I was gone, we flirted and chatted through snapchat. Two weeks worth of build up. By the end he was saying that he couldn’t wait for me to be home and that he was excited to see me. He came over two nights ago. The build up culminated. As we started making out, I paused to give boundaries “This is probably a good time to tell you that I’m not going to have sex with you”. He sort of giggled and said “Okay”. That’s it. I’ve never had that reaction before and I felt extremely self conscious all of a sudden. I wanted him to compliment me, say he liked me, ask to see me again. Instead he was quiet. Attentive, but quiet. Gentle, passionate, talented, but quiet. It unnerved me a bit and I said “You are so quiet.” with a little too much passion that sounded like a criticism. However, I only meant it out of a place of insecurity. I texted apologizing with that later and he responded with “Oh no worries! I wasn’t offended. I’ll be sure to be more communicative next time. I enjoyed everything :)” After we finished, i snuggled up in front of him and he became way more talkative when we weren’t face to face. He told me about his goals-being a head strength coach is his mid goal and owning a high performance gym is his later in life goal. I responded with how great that was that he had clear goals. There was a pause and he says “and you can manage it with your wine store management skills”. 

He left yesterday for a weekend trip to Colorado with his dad. He didn’t ask me out. He didn’t say he wants to see me again. 

So, I’m confused. He says certain things that seems like he admires me and may have a crush as well. Like the comment above. But then he doesn’t seem like he’s pursuing me much. 

Is he just shy? Should I take the lead? The “male” role of asking out each time in the beginning until he’s comfortable? He could say no if he doesn’t like me, right? I don’t think he’s an asshole that just says things like that for no reason. 

Does he like me?

Shit. 

I like him. 

Bellhops, Baggage, and Boys

There are times when you recognize yourself and you think you know who you are. You Hit your mid-twenties and you feel mostly better about what you need and want out of a relationship, friendships, etc., even when you aren’t sure about your career and jobs. So, there you are, just truckin’ along, being happy. And maybe if not happy, being secure. And maybe if not secure, being comfortable.

And then someone pops into your life. It’s been years since you’ve liked someone back. Months and months of telling your friends “I just want to like someone as much as they like me” while your friends roll their eyes at your lack of humility. But it’s true. For 2 1/2 years I’ve wanted to care about someone again. Find someone to go on dates with, show up to events together, be giddy when I think about them.

Here he is. In the flesh.

One month in, and I’ve gotten legitimately upset with him twice. He’s gentle with me when I am. He hasn’t been in a relationship in a few years as well, so he’s rusty. I try to remind myself of this as my thoughts spin and my feelings are bruised and I worry. This specific instance isn’t what worries me- the matter should be easy enough to hammer out.

What worries me is that I care. I want him to care. I nervously think things like, “Oh shit. Maybe I should be cooler. What if he doesn’t call me back? What if he thinks I’m too intense? What if he decides, ‘Nah. She’s not for me.” I want him to care about me. Because I care about him. Already. And I haven’t cared about the boys I’ve dated. I haven’t wanted to see or talk to them every day. Instead, I have been annoyed at how much they think they know about me and love to tell me their intense feelings for me and have ridiculous pet names for me and plan these grand dates and gestures and then expect me to coo over them with praise. I don’t know if he’s different or not, but I want him to be.

That’s what makes me not recognize myself. Who is this girl that maybe likes someone more than they like her? I don’t know her. And I’m not sure I like her. And that’s what worries me more. I’m carrying my baggage with me everywhere and I didn’t even realize it.

I need a bellhop.

Shit, I Have a Stalker

At the end of the week, I was heading home. I’m ready to see my chosen family-the loves of my life, and I’m ready to forget about Boston for a week. I have sufficiently dodged Mr. Kennedy for the last few days. I’m not interested, and we haven’t spent enough time together for our interactions to warrant anything more than a fade out.

He texts me 14 times that first weekend. Asking me how I am, telling me every two seconds to have fun, calling me by ridiculous pet names over and over again.
-I’ll top bothering you now, and during your trip- just wanted to check in as I’ve been concerned about how you’ve been feeling the past week or so. Enjoy the big day, and have a great flight and time! Texas-bound 🙂
-Did you make it? Yes.
 Glad you made it baby 🙂 and thanks for letting me know. Enjoy the much deserved break my dear. Have a sweet time in Texas (jealous) and with the bestie (hi HLM!)
SO many texts before and after. I’m with my friends and annoyed he continues to bother me- sending one or two word answers, then altogether ignoring him.
As he continues to reach out, I read all of this to my friends, them feeling more and more incredulous at his gall.
Then, he reaches out on Facebook:
-I’ll leave you alone Han but I just want to ask one thing
-Do you have time for a quick call? Or we can just talk when you return
I ignore him, because this is getting ridiculous. I don’t even talk a 5 year long boyfriend when I’m traveling and with my friends. Then, another hour goes by, and he calls. I text him.
-Mr. Kennedy, please relax. I’m with my friends and family and that’s the headspace I’m in
-Ok thanks. That’s all I needed to know
-Just please tell me that next time from the beginning- I completely understand that headspace, and I sensed it which is why I’ve been trying to leave you alone. All it takes is 5 seconds to tell me that – then I don’t have to worry this whole past week or so. Enjoy the rest of your time! 🙂
Incredulous by the way he thinks he deserves any sort of response after his ridiculous, needy, possessive, unwarranted behaviors, I ignore him one more time. Then, he calls AGAIN. 
-Mr. Kennedy, I think you’ve made it clear over the last week or two how invested you are in this. I am not ready to date just one person or start a relationship. I just want to focus on my own self and life right now. I don’t want you waiting another week like you said- so I’m ending things. Wish you the best. 

*he calls me-I ignore*
-I had a feeling Le Distraire. Can I at least talk to you for a few minutes? I feel like ending it this way over text is a little harsh, I’d prefer to talk to you over the phone.

-I really don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t have any other explanation besides that I don’t desire it in my life. Sorry that it’s harsh for you. 
*he calls again*
-It is very hurtful, yes. And I was very invested in you…I guess I’m just surprised how quickly it turned for you. I really thought we had a special connection and we’re taking things at a reasonable pace meeting once a week. But I had a sense things were up for you. I did everything I could for you and my generosity and care for you far exceeds some stupid cowboy holding a door for you. I have a big heart and with that comes big losses I suppose for me 
(*he clearly has been looking at my Twitter without following me, because I tweeted about a nice southern boy holding the door in a sweet gesture*)
We had such great chemistry, we even had the same personality type! What went wrong?
-It’s not even a month yet…
-And I opened my heart to you through my writing. I have done that for very few people.

*yikes! yikes! yikes! the intensity level is so clearly elevated way past what makes logical sense that i’m freaked out and annoyed at his anger* 
This is exactly why. Way too intense way too quickly. I think you sensed feelings from my side that just aren’t there. You’ll find someone but it’s really not me.
*he calls again-ignored*
I feel like the least you could do is have a phone call with me even if it’s 10 minutes. Obviously you wouldn’t like to but it would mean something to me- not sure if you care about that or if you ever did. I have never had a text message break up before…
-And I really would expect more from you
-Please Le Distraire.
-And you just removed me from Facebook…wow.
-Very sad day, Le Distraire.

At this point, I’m incredibly weirded out and mad. He’s behaving like we were together, but we weren’t even close. He’s berating me and refusing to leave my alone. He calls me again, I ignore it, but my best friend accidentally calls him back when she’s listening to his latest crazy voicemail.
-Sorry was on the other line – I can talk now
I didn’t mean to call-I don’t feel like I owe you any more explanation. Please stop reaching out. You’re making me uncomfortable. 
-Weren’t you just calling?
-Sigh.
-I’m just curious- how was I being too intense? I did join online dating in the first place for hopes of a more serious relationship than college. And to be fair, some of the more romantic/heavy items like the ballet were things you suggested. And you wanted to see my writing…and you wanted to see me on Wednesday. I’m just confused.
-I never asked if you were dating other guys…and you asked about my family, wanting to see my hometown, etc. I wanted to see you once a week and say goodnight to you, is that so intense?
-Stop. Now.


He’s seriously delusional. The things he mentioned were casual, general interest things. Oh you never stop talking about being a writer? Sure, I’ll read something if you send it. Oh, you love your family a lot? What are they like? Literally, just normal trying to gauge someone in the first few dates. Nothing intense. No huge connection. Hence, the try for the slow fade. Two hours later…
-Ok. I mean hopefully you can understand how I’m quite heartbroken…and was hoping to talk about it. There was a lot I would have liked to talk to you about before you dropped this. All I can say is, I’m sad…and I will miss you.
*an hour later*
Will you miss me at all?
I think that was a pocket text. Please Le Distraire…I hope you take some time to reconsider this decision :/
*an hour later*
I’m sending you one final email which I hope you will read as I have things to get off my chest- all I ask is you read. If I never see you again, I wish you the best Le Distraire. I enjoyed every minute we had together.
*the next day…literally…all of that was one day. i’m exhausted and worried for my safety*
-I just sent you an email (not long, don’t worry) which I please ask you read. Basically, I’m sorry. But I hope you take it to heart.
*an hour later*
-When you have read it please let me know.
The email was sent as an attached Word document…
Le Distraire,

I want to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry for taking things so seriously. I clearly had the wrong mindset about where we were in our relationship. My mindset was probably something that would have been more appropriate at something like the 6 month mark instead of the 1 month. A lot of this I blame on myself, because I do have a big heart, and while it means I am selfless and extremely generous on the one hand, I also can get carried away emotionally. My heart carried me away – and I’m sorry. It’s something I’m working on, it’s a personality thing I have to keep in check and I freely admit that. The last thing I wanted to do was scare you off. I should have left you alone ever since Wednesday and during your whole Texas trip. On top of my own heart, I think I felt an extra urgency to accelerate by the fact that you seemed inches away from leaving this place from early on. I felt extra motivated to be your support network up here, and I jumped in too deep. I was trying to show I cared. I wrongfully thought of you as my girlfriend at this point, and you rightfully didn’t consider me your boyfriend quite yet. I just wish we had an honest conversation about this before you decided to make this decision, I think it would have helped things a lot and I could have easily adjusted if we were just frank with one another. 
Le Distraire…I’m sorry. All I can ask and hope for is that you give me a second chance. Life is all about second chances, and if it weren’t, it would be quite a cruel and harsh world. I would love to start from scratch and date on a casual basis – have a much more slow and open relationship where we see each other less frequently than we were, be fine with dating other people, and seeing where it takes us. I just feel like things ended way too abruptly and that we were just starting to get to know one another. 
Please Le Distraire, I hope you take my apology to heart. I’ve been losing sleep over it as you can probably tell. I hope you find it in your heart to reconsider this decision and to open up lines of communication with me again.”
*
4 hours later- another email*
I really had zero right to question you yesterday about a lack of communication on the basis of 1 month of casual dating. I wish with all my heart I could take it back. I’m truly sorry Le Distraire. And I wish I wasn’t so intense about us. All I can say is if you decide to see me again, I’ll be different – I’ve already learned a lot from my mistake. I do hope you will consider getting back to me and consider casually dating me again – we had a spark that I don’t want to see die :/
*
two hours later- a text*
-I’ll stop bothering you, you’ve made yourself clear. I hope you keep your promise of hanging onto my number if you ever change your mind!
Time can change a lot of things
Again, I ignore this. I haven’t responded in a full day. My male friends are offering to call him. My pseudo moms are worried about my safety when I return to Boston. I’m STILL SO ANNOYED BECAUSE I’M WITH MY FRIENDS and he’s doing the very opposite of what I said I wanted, PLUS he thinks there’s anything between us that might warrant this reaction from him. Holy. Shit. I have a stalker. A this point, I really think he’ll just leave me alone. I promise my friends I will be way more firm if he says anything else, but I just know that he has to be done.
Then, he calls me again, and basically reads the email verbatim begging me for another chance. Another chance at what?! Getting to know if we wanted to see each other again? You don’t get a second chance in that. I just wasn’t interested. I thought you were boring and awkward. And boy was I wrong. You are intense and insane.

-I’m not going to reconsider and the way you continue to handle this is making me feel threatened. Do not contact me anymore in any capacity including a response to this message. I’m blocking your number and will take further action if you violate my request.

He hasn’t reached out since.
And with that, I am officially marrying my dog.