So it only took, what, a week for this most recent dating venture to crash and burn? A new record, to be sure, but then again, this is the guy that invited me to meet his mother after date one (I politely declined), and was talking exclusivity by dates two and three (and four and five and oh my GOD please give it a rest). So I suppose it is only fitting that the ending was equally precipitous. You see, while all this time I thought the biggest hurdle to get over was that I wasn't attracted to him physically, it turns out that, appearances aside, once I got past the physical I didn't necessarily like what was inside. Huh. Didn't see that one coming, did you, Internet? To be honest, I didn't either.
This whole experience has been akin to trying to shove a square peg in a round hole, and of convincing myself that, no, it's not such a big deal, we'll just shave a little off this side here, and nip off a corner there, and look! Only after all that it turns out that it's not a square peg after all, it's a hexagon, and then it's an octagon, and more and more sides and weird angles appearing all the time. Eventually you just have to throw up your hands and say, I give up. It's not worth it to me. Though he may tell me I have beautiful eyes and perfect lips, the rest, oh my god, the rest isn't worth it at all.
After spending the day together yesterday, ten hours' worth, the night ended with me throwing a handful of cash at him, tears in my eyes, while he just laughed. Oh so amused, was he. Back when he admitted to being a former drug dealer, he modified it by saying he was "actually more of an accountant." And oh, if I had known then how apt that label would be. You see, the guy keeps track of everything. Dinners paid, bar tabs picked up, compliments given and services rendered. Everything goes down on a mental checklist, which he would then remind me of on a near-constant basis. At first it was, "but I shaved for you." Then it was, "but I paid for x, y, and z." "Yes, and I paid for dinner last time," I reminded him. "I tried to pay the time before that too, but you said no." "Yes, but I have still paid for more," he said. And what is there to do but throw up my hands? Oh please let me go back in time and pay for more, sweetie, I'm so sorry. "You realize I don't have a lot of money, babe. You do realize that, don't you?" The pity ploy. And this from the guy who sits on his couch watching sports all day. The guy who says, why get a job when I can live perfectly well on the $200 a week I make betting online? For doing nothing! And so proud he is, of that, of doing nothing. And I'm supposed to say what? Oh honey, I'm so proud of you? No. I say, "I don't have a lot of money either. We're both sort of in the same boat, here." Only we're not. We're both in the ocean, sure, only one of us is paddling like hell for the shore, and the other is drifting along eating bon bons and waiting for the Coast Guard to arrive. They're both valid options, I suppose, and I'm not saying one way is necessarily better than the other. But don't try to convince me that you're somehow more stranded than I am when there's a paddle right in your goddamn boat. Use it.
And then there was the pad thai incident. Oh my god, the goddamned pad thai. That he left, in my fridge. And that I, just home from work the next day, and hungry, and the hour late, made the mistake of eating. Not without a little bit of reservation. After all, he had made such a big deal about taking home the leftovers. But I did text him about it, and his response was along the lines that sure, I could eat it if I provided a replacement for it by the next time he came over. In my ravenous state, I concluded that that seemed a reasonable request, and helped myself. And I didn't even eat all of it! I left some of it for him! But when he came over the day after that, and I hadn't yet managed to provide a suitable replacement for the portion that I did eat, oh, did shit hit the fan. And the best part, and oh, this is priceless, was when he said, "You know sweetie, even if you had eaten my pad thai, that would have been ok." To which I replied, "Oh, actually, now that you mention it..." And oh how quickly his tune did change. At first I thought he must be joking around, because seriously? You're making a big deal about this? No, I mean, seriously? But after the n-teenth time that he brought it up, I had about had it. OH MY GOD, I AM SORRY FOR EATING YOUR PAD THAI! I WISH I NEVER HAD! MEA CULPA! CAN WE STOP TALKING ABOUT IT NOW PLEASE?
Last night was sort of the last straw. It was late, we were hungry, and we had failed to plan ahead. A quick driving tour of his small, sleepy town revealed that no restaurants were open, and so we found ourselves aimlessly wandering the aisles of a local grocery store. You know when you're so hungry, and yet have no idea what in the world you want to eat? It was sort of like that. No, that would take too long to make, it's late, I still have homework I need to do, etc. Finally I said, ok, how about spaghetti? We can make spaghetti. He said fine. Back at his house we bickered about whose job it was to actually make said spaghetti. He thought I should make it because I'm the one who wanted spaghetti. I thought he should make it because it was his kitchen and I didn't know where anything was. I told him we could both make it, and I would help him. Grumbling ensued. After a whole lot more complaining and a mostly silent meal, he pointed out that he had now cooked me both oatmeal AND spaghetti (ignoring the fact that I had actually been a pretty equal participant in both) while I hadn't yet cooked anything for him. And not only that, but did I remember that he had also paid for x, y, and z? I mean, not that he minded doing any of that, of course, but maybe I could try being a bit nicer to him. Given that at the precise moment of this conversation I was nuzzled up against him with my legs in his lap, my nose in his neck, and his earlobe in my mouth, I asked him what exactly he thought being "nicer" entailed. "Well not eating my pad thai, for starters!" he said, or rather exploded.
"You know what?" I said, breaking free from our embrace. "Here, why don't I give you ten dollars for your fucking pad thai. Hey, why don't I give you fifty dollars to pay you back for everything else, too. It's worth it if it means I never have to hear about it again." I reached for my wallet, and he didn't stop me. In it were the remains of my commission check from work, for the measly few apartments I rented over the summer. Twenties. Damn. "Here, how about sixty dollars?" I said. I took out three twenties and threw them at him. He picked them up and placed them calmly on the table next to him, grinning all the while.
"Are you sure you don't want to just pay forty?" he said, pleased as punch. "Here, you want twenty back?"
"I don't know!" I yelled. "You're the one who has it all figured out, apparently. You seem to know exactly how much I owe you; you probably have it all written down somewhere. So I don't know, you tell me!"
"Well it's probably more than that," he said with a smirk.
"I'm going now," I said, and headed for the door. "Oh, and look, there's a quarter on the floor, here. You should probably pick it up, since you're so desperate for money."
"You could probably use it more than me, now," he said, still smiling, so amused. Probably thinking I was "ballsy." Probably thinking how he would tell this story to our grandchildren, someday. "So do you still like me?" he asked, before I walked out the door. It seems funny, now, that he said this, but for some reason he seemed to think this was a fight like any other. That I would come back, again, like I always had before.
"I'm working on it," I told him through tightly gritted teeth, because I hadn't processed it yet, and in the heat of the moment hadn't yet come to any conclusions. I even gave him a tight-lipped kiss before I left. But once I got outside, and once I got home, and he didn't text, and he didn't e-mail, and he didn't call to apologize, and once I realized how inordinately relieved I was to be able to go to sleep by myself, in my very own bed that was only mine, well, then I knew. I'm better on my own.
Oh, and also? He was a complete and utter dick about wearing a condom.