Without making the conscious decision, I found myself on Facebook stalking an 'ex'. I was staring at a photo of them on holiday, wondering if they'd had sex with the person they had their arm around. Wondering, staring, resentful, teeth grinding...
CONSCIENCE: Pull up Red Two! PULL UP!!
My conscious mind manages to grab the controls of the plane and pull back hard, pulling myself just clear of the mountains of jealousy.
CONSCIENCE: Phew. That was too close!
This was no great love of my life, of course. It's merely someone who asked me out, who went out with me for five weeks and then, with no prior warning, decided they didn't want to see me anymore. This is someone who, over weeks of daily correspondence, told me they were "in love with my brain" and kept telling me how attractive I was. Positive indicators like that. Then, one morning in bed, I could see in her eyes that she had taken the sum of my being, weighed it up and then, on a total whim, thought "Hmm....mmnaaaaah."
Good old-fashioned no nonsense rejection.
It still singes a bit now. I said to my friend: "She kicked me right in the ego." My friend said "Are you sure that's not just you covering the fact you had feelings for her?" That's backwards thinking right there. When I was a teenager, I conflated everything with love. If my mum didn't get me the kind of sweets I wanted, I realised I was suddenly in love with liquorice comfits. Deeply in love.
No. I knew that the only reason I was thinking about her is that I'd been canned. If I'd decided to stop seeing her, she could be having a fivesome with The Wiggles and I'd be blithely indifferent. When you're not in control of things, anything that happens to you is the world's greatest injustice. Also, there's the dread knowledge of knowing how cavalier you feel when you do the rejecting yourself. "Why is she still messaging me? What does she think this will achieve? Why doesn't she have some self-respect?" And so I sit there and think. "But she REALLY seemed to like me. And then she dropped me for nothing. She can surely undrop me on a similar whim, right?" It's pathetic. But these are the classic symptoms of bruised pride. She caught me right in the soft dangly bits of my ego. I still sit down gingerly.
Incidentally, it's the idea of being so disposable that bugs me. Even with a reasonable amount of analysis, and MUCH has been expended, I can surmise that one of the main things I did wrong was that, on two occasions, I poured wine for myself first instead of her. Sounds laughably superficial. Yet finding myself dumped hours after everything was fine through a vague Facebook message, I think it's fair to put our 'relationship' in a laughably superficial folder. See? I'm referring to the relationship as laughably superficial rather than her. That's good of me. A real gentleman. Well done, me. Classy...actually. She was, too. Flighty, whimsical, cat sucking bitch.
"I don't know if you should write 'bitch' Ed. People may think you're a misogynist."
"I'm referring to one woman."
"Err...okay. Just don't tell them you also like Bill Burr."
The Facebook message she sent me referred to upside down cats. A sort of code of ours, from a happier time (a day before) when all messages to me had x's at the end. That's when I knew her profound love for me had dried up. She went from three x's to none. The kisses were totally withdrawn from circulation. Messages post cat metaphor were "Hi!!! How are?!!! Bye!!!"
It wasn't immediately apparent to me that I had been dumped but then it occurred to me the next day, almost like it suddenly occurring to you that there's a draught in the house. I suddenly felt a shiver down my spine and thought "Where's that coming from? Wait...I think I'm dumped." I have waded in the paddling pool of paranoia more than once so I showed the message to my sister at a family barbecue. I required the services of a female codebreaker that I knew loved me: "That does seem final." Fucking hell! Women, eh? Sorry. Woman, eh?
I had to call her to clear things up. By which I mean, I had to call her to get her to dump me properly. I didn't even manage that. I hate awkward calls so I pretty much just agreed with everything she said.
"Well, it's not even like I'm dumping you because it's not like we were going out."
No! Not exactly! Why am I saying that? Why are you agreeing with her? She's not going to sleep with you!
She can't just change her mind overnight. She should be a man about it: Change your mind overnight and then wrestle with the decision for weeks and months! I then did something worse. I gave her the easy way out. She still hadn't dumped me to my satisfaction, so I went with.
"Anyway, I've got to go to Edinburgh and you're off on holiday, so we wouldn't see each other for a month anyway...so, we can just leave it for now and see where we are after that's all over."
I was trying to wrestle back some control, or at least make her tell me that "There's no way I'm seeing you again" instead she just thought 'I'll just stop replying to any messages he sends. He'll get the idea.' I think I've used that one myself. Damn me for doing things to other people that I wouldn't want done to myself. Someone should have made a suggestion about that. In a book or something.
In fairness I've never been really affectionate to someone and taken them to my bed a lot just to hoof them after five weeks on a whim. Weekend tops. After a week, you have a duty of care. You can look after a child for a weekend but any longer and you need to know about their medical history and what they're allergic to. Fact.
I say five weeks. We met about six times in five weeks. We were in contact every day. That's still a thing. The weather was boiling hot the whole time. I wore shorts every time. Even to a restaurant. She wore dresses. I bet it would have lasted longer if I'd worn trousers...I don't mean worn, threadbare trousers. If anything, that would make it worse.
The worst thing about this kind of thing is that there's nowhere to get a refund or compensation for my squandered time. I obviously can't ask her for a full explanation. We were introduced by a mutual friend. I thought about appealing to her. I have this strange idea that if some female friend of mine vouches for the character of another female friend they're less likely to dick me about. And yet on three occasions the female friends of my female friends have always turned out to be flirts, or flakes, or fluff. There's a reason why your 'lovely' friend is single, you know:
"But she's so pretty and fun. Why can't she find someone nice?"
(My hand shoots up at the back of the class)
Me: "Oooh...oooh...I know."
In fairness, I'm single too. But mostly that's because I'm not really looking, rarely meet anyone I would consider being with and I don't really earn any money to speak of. That wouldn't matter with all women, just absolutely almost every woman.
On our first date she asked me how many women I'd slept with and I actually told her. I thought I was being refreshingly open and honest, but think I made myself sound like a snowplough. "You really shouldn't sleep with these people so casually. It's not very nice..."
No, it's much nicer to feign having deep affection for them, build their expectations up over weeks and then dump them on a whim through the metaphor of cats.
Yep. Right in the Selfworthticles.