or "the problem with thanksgiving."
I realized, when in conversation with a friend the other day, that I never did tell the story of my parting ways with my most recent potential boyfriend (PBF), Mr. Ironman. And darn am I bored today and wishing I were outside doing anything but accounting on this beautiful 70 degree May day. So here goes:
The short version: As my therapist pointed out, I had him nailed from the first email he sent me from fitness-singles.com, as an arrogant narcissist who was not particularly cerebral, "but then", she continued, "as you always do, you managed to find something endearing about him," and she rolled her eyes with a smile. And that is the definition of a good therapist, one who gives you a dope slap when you deserve one, without fear of offending your ego and thus your pocketbook.
Anyway, we had some fun, but ultimately despite insisting that he was not as self-absorbed as his actions indicated that he was, finally one day those actions betrayed him and he became more trouble than he was worth. So I said 'bye. The end.
If you would like the details, read on.
PBF had a less-than-endearing way of telling me that I was going to do something with him. He pretty much assumed that if he wanted to go to an opera, or to a party on his street in Society Hill, or to his Sea Isle shore house for the weekend, then I would be going with him. He soon found out that that was not the case, and learned to correct himself and actually ask me if I was able to go with him. The one thing he did claim to respect is that my schedule had to be busier than his, because I was a poor fool who had to work for a living, and he of course had retired at the age of 40 so he could travel around the world competing in triathlons as an age-grouper. Of course this meant he had to watch his every penny, so the entire 12 weeks we dated he always had an excuse not to take me out to dinner. I remember our first meeting at a dive bar in SH called The Artful Dodger. As we were walking back to my car we came upon two acquaintances of his, a gay couple whose names I cannot recall. I do remember the taller of the two men smiling with delight to witness PBF actually out on a date with a woman no less, most likely because there had been discussions about when he would finally come out of the closet at the age of 53. At any rate, perhaps to facilitate this process, the Queen cast a look of pure pity upon me and said, right in front of PBF, "He's cheap." I laughed and we moved on.
"I can't believe he said that to you," my date said shaking his head with a wry smile. I find levity often is a poor shroud for those kernels of truth.
I got to witness that PBF could duke it out with any college freshman in an all night pukefest, he announced that on Thanksgiving morning I would be running a 5K race with him and his friends in non other than my own backyard, Forbidden Drive in the Wissahickon Park. Since as you may remember I had my perineal nodular induration and was off the bike since early July, so had been doing a good bit of running, and continued to do it once a week even when I started riding again. A few weeks earlier after mountain biking for 3 hours in Delaware on a beautiful October morning I raced up I-95 to compete in the twilight 5K, and came in 2nd overall for women [or as PBF would say "I won" (my age group )]. Anyway, I guess he was reasonably confident I would not embarrass him in front of his racing buddies. I said that since I was happily riding again I would probably indeed be there that day but I would be mountain biking instead, but he insisted that I give up my ride; you know, forfeit the opportunity to burn 2500 calories before the Turkey day pigfest and opt instead to train for a mere 21 minutes with him. Whatever. He also invited himself to Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's, because his parents are deceased and he did not feel like driving out to East Bumblefuck to hang out with his brother who had married a, well, country bumpkin. No disrespect to her of course, he would just rather hang out with my educated, cultured family. I'm not making this up.
So Thanksgiving, true to form, was on a Thursday as you may remember. The Sunday prior to it I get a phone call from PBF around 1pm.
"Hey, what are you doing?" he asked. Something was up. I could hear a bit of tension in his usually carefree voice. By that point I had stopped calling him altogether, so when we talked, it was when he took the initiative.
"I'm just getting out of the shower. I had a great ride."
"road or mountain?"
"that's good....what are you wearing?"
"well, I'm going to be doing chores the rest of the day, so of course I'm wearing my latex catsuit with the nipple clamps." What a stupid question.
|just hanging out waiting for you to call dear|
"I thought you were allergic to latex." I was shocked he had remembered this. I laughed. But then I realized he probably remembered it less for an interest in my health and more likely because condoms and sex toys are often made of this versatile rubber. Whatever. He's a guy.
"What's going on with you?" I figured he should just get to the point. Talking on the phone with him was usually tedious if I did not feel like talking about working out. His workouts that is. There was a pause. He took a deep breath. Wow, now I really was curious. And amused.
"There's a problem with Thanksgiving." Well, yeah, I'm sure millions of turkeys feel the same way. Speaking from my vegetarian viewpoint of course.
"Ok....?" I prodded.
"Well, remember how I told you that when I go away, my ex's mother takes care of the dogs?" The "dogs", if you can call them that, were his two repulsive old lady dogs, a decrepid 12 year old Yorkshire Terrier with bad teeth, horrible breath, and a nasty disposition who terrorized Madison and Chloe in their own home. The other filthy little thing was a half-blind Shit-Tzu [sic] who always smelled and who seemed sweet but also growled at my girls when PBF brought them over to my house one time. He thought it was funny. Poor Madison, who can charm ANY dog with her grace, intuition and accepting disposition (towards members of her own species that is) was so stressed out that these animals would not calm down. The Yorkie was a nasty little yipper who never shut up. OK, I can't stand toy breeds in general, but these two were particularly offensive to me. I could not believe he took these poorly socialized brats wherever he went. As a purportedly straight man.
|what real dogs look like|
"OK, so what the problem with Thanksgiving then?" I asked innocently, even though by now I had figured it out. I just wanted to hear him sweat as he laid it all out. This was going to solve my problem about not wanting him to come to Thanksgiving with me anyway, as well as the one about missing my team mountain bike ride in the Wisshickon, all in one fell swoop.
"Well....." Another deep breath. "My ex is going to be here--"
"Why don't you just call her Diana?" I said curtly, "I'm not going to stalk her for God's sake."
"yeah yeah, Diana" he seemed relieved that he could use her moniker, "....and we always did that race together, and she is expecting to do it with me." He hastily added, as if in anticipation of my question as to why Diana would even be with him that morning, "They don't even have a car, I'm driving them around while they are here." I did not even bother to ask who "them" was, but if Diana's mom lives in North Philly, it did not surprise me that she did not have a car.
"So what's the big deal, why can't we all do it?" I asked. Now I was starting to get annoyed.
"Oh....no no no no.,.....I can't have you there while she is there. That would be totally uncomfortable for me. I would not even put myself in that position....." he seemed shocked that I would even suggest this. "I mean Diana knows all of my friends, she will be talking to them the whole time....."
"PBF, I don't get it--you have been telling me I'm doing this race with you for over a month. Are you DISINVITING me to the race?" This was too just much.
"I know...I know....I am so sorry but how was I supposed to know her grandmother was going to die this week? I mean it's just a weird situation, what are the chances?"
"Are you still sleeping with her? Not that I really care, but-"
"no no no no!" he shouted into the phone, "it's not like that at all! It's just that...."
"so this is the girlfriend you told me about that is psychotically jealous and insecure?"
There was a pause. "You got it, " he said quietly, "she's just really tough to deal with in these kind of situations."
"Well I understand if you guys are dating, but...I mean is she dating anyone else?"
"I have no idea. I don't care. We don't talk about that kind of stuff."
"So she does not know you are dating anyone else?"
"I have no idea." Well give me a break Dufus, you either told her or you didn't. She sure didn't read it on my blog.
I tried to explain to him that if what he was interested in was a relationship with ANY woman, that he should be more concerned about HER feelings than of those of his ex, but it soon became obvious to me that Mr. Selfish saw it as a matter of not wanting to jeopardize the sweet free dog sitter deal he had. He had two women, one who he saw as easygoing and understanding (believe it or not that's me) and the other as a problem that he would only have to endure for a few days. He figured I would just be OK with it. I soon gave up even bothering explaining to him how outrageous it was to break a longstanding plan with me so as not to stress out his lame-ass ex girlfriend, although I have to admit I was pretty pissed off.
"What are you doing for Thanksgiving dinner?" I asked. I needed to make sure there were no loose ends before I hung up the phone.
"I thought I was spending it with you" he said sheepishly.
"The hell you are."
"oh c'mon baby, you don't have to be like that..." it sounded like a whine now, so unattractive from a 53 year old man.
"You made your choice...... Do you even know what they are doing? Don't you think the subject will come up at the race? What are you going to tell her, that you are going to your brothers?" the whole thing struck me as so childish. "Why don't you take your out of town guests out? I'm sure they will need a ride to the IHOP or something."
He decided not to fight this battle, not realizing as I did that there were not going to be any chances for redemption.
Ever the optimist, he retorted, "I will probably just go over to my neighbor's, she always has a great spread." Good for him.
And that was that. I ended up riding with my team on Thanksgiving morning, and when we got to that end of Forbidden Drive I tried to get the boys to ride that extra little stretch of trail with me across Bell's Mill so I could do a driveby of the running race to make PBF squirm a bit, but everyone was in a hurry to get home and eat. And I needed a posse around me for it really to have any effect.
I told the story at Thanksgiving dinner itself and had my whole family rolling on the floor.
"I would say not." I said, and his mother rolled her eyes and smiled.
PBF did try and reconcile after this, and seemed totally confused when I refused to entertain the concept of dating again. He eventually stopped coming to my Tuesday morning classes at Cadence. I received a Snoopy birthday card on Valentine's day, and when I called to thank him I asked him then why he stopped coming to class. There really was not much else to talk about.
"I only went there that early so I could see you," he said, "Why should I get up that early if I don't have to go to work?"
As for me, I have given up on online dating for now. I've been cultivating my own garden a la Candide, which means that I will have even more reasons to be disgusted with what I find next time 'round.