(Photo stolen from wauter de tuinkabouter on Flickr)
I think I need to tell you about how Nick Asshat and I parted ways.
For a girl who did not date in high school, dated only a handful of times in college, and had precious little experience in the boyfriend department, I suddenly became somewhat popular once I owned my own business and had no time to date much.
I have already mentioned my bad date with Man Named For A Topical Muscle Cream, as well as my would-be bad boy Jay, both of whom I dated during this time. There were others, but none of them were too serious. So I was able to date Nick for four or five months, casually, while having dinner or drinks with other guys, too, occasionally. In this way I saw Nick only at his best -- in an ironed shirt and tie, on his way home from work -- and never saw him drink more than a couple of drinks, not sloshy at all. Of course, that all changed once I stopped dating the other guys and focussed on Nick. Then I had full exposure to the raging alcoholic binge drinker and total social deviant that was Nick Asshat On Booze.
But Nick had asked me, during that very first phone call months before, if I were seeing anyone, and Nick chose to remember my answer at the time, which was "kind of." This set the tone for our casual, no strings attached relationship. (Just so you don't think I was an enormous slut, I wasn't sleeping with ANY of them. I may have played the field but I wasn't rolling on the grass.)
"Kind of." This was the truth, and the truth shall set you free, right? Except when it locks you up, ties you down, sits on your head and drools on your face. Nick saw this as his ticket to get skanky, I guess. I'll never know how many
skanks women he played hide the hotdog with dated while we were seeing each other -- I know only about The One Who Stopped The Whole Damn Hotdog Train. Cindy.
A Friday afternoon in the still-hot autumn in Chico. I had gotten a fresh perm that afternoon, by the best perm artist on the planet, but one who was not above a Really Big Hair Fiesta. Something like this, and I don't mean Harrison Ford:
I met Nick at our favorite bar (which was the one he called his "office," I later learned), and we had a beer or two. It was a festive evening, and we were having an especially good time, the three of us (Nick, me, and my big hair). But Nick had come straight from doing something that required leather work boots, and he needed to change if we were going to go dancing. Dancing? Are you kidding? All we ever did was eat, drink and play liar's dice -- DANCING? This was shaping up to be our best date ever.
So we went back to his house, which wasn't far. He turned on his crappy clock radio while he got changed, and he hit the PLAY button on his answering machine, just across the room from where I sat waiting to go dancing.
EEEEP! "Hi honey, sexyseedymushygushycrapolatalk, okay, 'bye -- call me!"
EEEEP! "Hi, it's me again, pouty-woutybabytalkgagmegagmekissykissy
MWAHH! okay, so call me, all right?"
You get the picture. There were AT LEAST 7-8 calls, conservatively. By this time, even though I had heard very few actual words above the blaring crappy clock radio, I had a very clear picture of the wasteland my love life had become over the past several weeks, without my knowing it.
I was quietly seething in my fresh perm.
Out of the bedroom bounced a buoyant Nick Asshat, buttoning his shirt and smiling a winning smile. "Ready to go?" he asked.
"I'm not going ANYWHERE with you," I growled through my set teeth. Nick looked baffled.
"Wh-why?" he stammered, truly perplexed.
"What kind of person plays his lover-on-the-side's answering machine messages in front of me?!" I demanded. He seemed to understand at that moment. To his credit, he didn't try to weasel out of it.
"How long have you been seeing her?" I shouted.
"Three weeks," was the quiet answer. Now I was crying. After all, it had been only a matter of weeks since we had . . . since I had . . . oh, crap, I can't quite get the nerve to type it.
I remember very little about the rest of that night, except that I know I went home and cried myself to sleep, or to lack of sleep, probably. After all of the emotional stuff I went through with that man -- his mother's memorial service, spending time with his little boy, watching his child move far away from him -- and THIS is how it ended. Unbelievable. Well, there was only one thing to do now, of course, and as soon as I woke up Saturday morning, that's what I did.
to be continued . . .