When I was little my dad would make me get on the phone and help him sell fireworks, if I was successful he’d give me a percentage of the sale, although I don’t actually think he ever worked out the percentage because I always just got $5. He would tell me to get people to buy more than what they wanted and that the worst they would ever say to me is no. He was right, and soon enough I figured out the game and knew when to fight back and when to walk away.
Dating is the same, its sales, and the worst you’re ever going to hear is no. You then have to decide if it’s worth fighting for or if you’re better off walking away, in this instance, when I heard no, I knew I needed to walk away. Didn’t help much when I ran into him at a bar a week later and watched him make out with another girl. So I did the same thing I do in every awkward situation- found a way to make it more awkward! While he was mid make out I walked up to him and tapped him on the shoulder and waved hello. I walked away and looked up at the sky and asked who I pissed off this time to deserve that. I shook my head and just laughed, sometimes it’s really all you can do. He told me what he wanted and it wasn’t me, so I got my answer and I just move on. I also thank God that my stubbornness comes in handy here. Because it means there’s no going back, it’s done, he’s done, I’m done.
I meet guys and get rid of them immediately, Tater Tot somehow managed to become 1 of 2 guys that I allowed to text me for longer than a week, a month and a half to be exact. Which is basically an eternity. But I was confused and irritated because I didn’t know if I wanted him or if I wanted the win. It’s easy to get caught up because it’s exciting when someone’s actually interested. But truthfully, I don’t exactly know that we were a great match.
I text Terminator and told him about my view at the bar. Terminator is one of my besties from college and he’s probably one of the very, very few people in my life that can call me out on my shit. He asked the same question everybody first asked, “What she look like?”
“A girl he could control.”
“Like I said … he’s not your guy.”
He wasn’t the only one to say this, I just didn’t want to believe it. Week after week I had numerous friends say- “He’s nice BUT … he won’t be able to keep up with you … you’re going to run circles around him … aren’t you bored yet?”
Rewind the clock two weeks earlier, Terminator and I went out to grab beers. He asked me what was going on with Tater Tot and all I could say was that I was interested but I didn’t feel like things should be so difficult. He never took the lead, it was fun when we were together- with friends, but it was the days in between that were hard. He was a shit communicator and all of our conversations were basically surface level. I knew he liked pink Starbursts and he could eat 12 pierogies in one sitting- my pierogie record also stands at 12 and I’d eat 13 just to say I beat him. But where was that going to get us?
Terminator picked up his beer and took a swig, “Look, he’s a cool dude. But I know and I think you already know, he’s not your guy.”
I knew he was right but I didn’t want to admit it. My friends told me to try instead of running away and I was really giving this one a good effort, but I was putting up with too much shit. He never asked me out, which truthfully wasn’t an issue for me for the first 3-4 weeks because I hate dates. I just wasn’t comfortable with him and I knew a dinner date would have been the kiss of death. Probably shouldn’t have ignored that, but I did. I was also tired of having to initiate and make all the plans, I loved that he was so chill, he could go with the flow and do whatever, but it was easy to take it as indifference.
I didn’t know if I liked the idea of him and what he could be, or if I actually liked him, I needed to figure it out and we needed to get on the same page. It was time to have “the talk”.
I invited him over that week, I made dinner- which I’m admitting I completely half-assed. It’s the first time since I’ve been divorced that I’ve ever legitimately planned to make a guy dinner. I settled on lasagna and I NEVER use jar sauce, I think it’s sinful. But I had already decided I was making zero effort because that’s about how much effort I was seeing from him. It had been a month and a half, he couldn’t even ask me out, he was getting jar sauce. I actually got mild anxiety buying it.
He came over, we ate, watched a movie, and then got to it. I asked him what his interest level was and he paused and I knew. Because it’s never a pause, I’ve paused A THOUSAND times. If you’re into it, there’s no pause. If you’re not into it, there’s a pause. He, of course, put it back on me and asked how I felt. I said, “I like you. I’m interested. Not looking to update Facebook statues tomorrow. But if you feel the same we move forward, if not then this is where it ends because I have no interest in being your weekend girlfriend.” He said he understood and then it happened, the cliché bull shit lines started flying and that’s absolutely what I have no patience for. First he said, “Well, I just think you like me more than I like you.” I can’t believe people still say that! Spare me. Then he said it, “I’ve been burned in the past.” That was it. That was the one. That was when I realized it wasn’t our physical age that was the problem (he’s 27 I’m 32), it was our life experience. I have been through this ten times over, I’ve broken hearts and had mine broken but I NEVER use it as an excuse to not date a guy or to avoid saying how I really feel. I told him not to compare me to an ex and he said he wasn’t, he was right, he wasn’t. He was using it as an excuse. I get it, I’m guilty too, I’ve done it and said it all and one day there came a point where I just stopped, because it’s not worth it and all those silly rehearsed lines do is make it worse.
Toward the end of our awkward talk he brought up being burned again and I just couldn’t. I wanted to get up and throw him one of my leftover wedding favors, a pack of matches with mine and my exes name and wedding date all over it. If he was going to talk so much about being burned he should at least try playing with real fire.
I wanted to shake him, he was so caught up that I wondered if he even realized whatever was done to him was exactly what he was doing to me. I got strung along which is the one thing that I DO NOT do to guys. I know rather quickly whether I’m into something enough to keep it going or to end it, it’s a waste of time for both parties involved when you keep someone hanging on. This was the only thing I wanted to call him an asshole for, he knew he wasn’t into it and never bothered to tell me because he was either too afraid or just choosing to be selfish. I told him not to do this to another girl. He won’t listen, he’s not ready and so the cycle will continue.
But I still had one question. I asked him if he knew he wasn’t interested why he didn’t stop, why he kept texting me and hanging out with me and why he even bothered to come over that night. He said he liked hanging out with me but something wasn’t clicking and he thought if he kept hanging out with me something would finally happen. Oh geez. After I did the ol’ eye roll, I couldn’t help but feel some relief. I finally felt like it was an honest answer instead of something fake and rehearsed and that’s when I had to tell him that I kind of felt the same. I liked him, I did. There was something I just really liked. But I told him he was impossible to talk to, he was impossible to figure out. I’ve been told millions of times by guys that I’m difficult to figure out, and I know I am because I do it on purpose. It looks like I finally met my match. I knew this game all too well.
Before he left we actually had a real conversation. Go figure. We talked about everything and anything and it was finally nice. I don’t hate him, he’s not a jerk, and I can’t be mad at him for not liking me, that’s just silly. He’s a cool guy and he means well, we all do and if I see him out I’ll always say hi, whether he’s mid make out or not. If our time together was only meant to be short lived then I’ll take it, it really is better than nothing at all.
I’m also not mad that I broke all three of my major dating rules with Tater Tot. I guess maybe I’m getting somewhere and realizing I’m not completely incapable of liking someone and maybe I do actually have a soul. As with every situation, there’s always something good. In the midst of our “group dating”, I did manage to become friends with some of his friends. They’re awesome and identical to the regular crew that I run around with. If becoming friends with them was the only thing meant to come of any of this than I’m 100% ok with it. I’m definitely not mad about more fun people to hang out with.
However, I am mad at the red flags I chose to ignore. I think the biggest realization came when I was out with other guys. I remembered telling Terminator a while ago that it was going to be easy for any guy to come along and show up Tater Tot. And that’s exactly what happened.
I randomly ended up at the casino with a guy one night, he’s a friend and it wasn’t a date. Everything he did and said was perfect and effortless and he just lead- and he was so patient. I mean, I made the entire craps table give me a slow clap the first time I threw dice. I think they liked me, they were so forgiving when I repeatedly threw the dice over the table. I know I kept losing but he kept sliding me chips, his chips. He lost big that night. And he kept losing, when he dropped me off at 5am I didn’t even offer my couch, I made him drive home. I suck! I wasn’t even thinking! I wasn’t thinking because my head was spinning, I’m like a two year old, I get over stimulated very easily! I was too busy thinking that maybe this was exactly what I needed, a guy to step back and let me steal the show and get my slow clap, and a guy who could just as easily step right back in and take the lead- and give me his chips, potato or poker, I’m not picky. Obviously, all I’m trying to say is that I’m Beyoncé and I need a Jay-Z.
Then a guy, who happens to be a chef, told me he had food for me (I’m such a fattie) and was bringing it over. It was pouring down rain and I told him to meet me the next day, but he walked through a torrential downpour to deliver the goods anyways. I remember thinking, isn’t this what guys are supposed to do? Do anything to see you and not let things stop them? The answer is yes. When they WANT to see you, they make it happen. Always.
With Tater Tot I think I only saw what I wanted to see. And now that I can step back from the situation and remove the blinders that Roomie repeatedly told me I was wearing, maybe now it starts to get a little clearer. Maybe he’s not the guy I thought he was, or hoped he would be. I liked what I saw before, I didn’t like what I was seeing now. There were guys doing things that they were supposed to do. They were being men, gentlemen. And here I was, hung up on a kid.
But, rejection can also be a blessing in disguise. Sometimes it’s what we need to make us realize what people have been saying all along. In my case I get to listen to everyone say, “Quit messing around with the boys and move on to the men.” Fine, I agree and think it’s about time I start getting wined and dined. After all, I am the LeBron James of the dating world. I’m a number one draft pick that’s out of her contract. And I can guarantee there’s one thing that LeBron isn’t doing. He isn’t entertaining people that aren’t going to give him what he’s worth. So why am I?
I guess it’s time this free agent starts playing some hard ball with the big boys. I should probably also start shopping around for a network to air a show about my decision or indecision. It’ll be way better than The Bachelor/Bachelorette, instead of roses I’m handing out gin and tonics. “Do you acccept this gin and tonic?” And I’m completely abusing that line this weekend when I take my talents to Vegas. #CanIGetASlowClap