Coward or Douche Bag? | Misadventures in the Dark

Coward or Douche Bag?


In the fall of 2007, I did something I never imagined I would do; I signed up on eHarmony. My primary reason surrounded my curiosity and boredom. I was required to fill out an abundance of questions in which my responses would ultimately be used to pair me with compatible matches. One of the matches was a man named “Drew.” We exchanged a multitude of emails which eventually led to the exchanging of phone numbers. Drew first contacted me on a Saturday evening. Our first phone conversation lasted a couple of hours. He was at a friend’s house and we talked until his phone battery died. Moments later he called me from his friend’s phone. I could hear his buddies giving him a hard time, which inspired him to lock himself in his car to continue conversing with me.   Our first date was arranged for the following evening, a Sunday. I selected a random restaurant while notifying a handful of friends of my whereabouts “just in case.” I recall him being far more attractive than his pictures conveyed. We had initially planned on going to see a movie, but opted against it as we found ourselves submerged in conversation. At the end of the date, we arranged for a second date for the next night. While driving away, he immediately called me and said “I should have kissed you.” I told him he would have a second chance the next night and he said, “Tomorrow is too long of a wait. How about now?” We were at a red light of a busy intersection but I still complied and immediately found myself engaged in one of the most romantic kisses of my life (thus far.)
The following evening we met each other while bringing along good friends. Not only did he and I get along swimmingly, but our friends clicked as well. Perhaps it was too soon for the introduction of friends, but at this stage in life, my friends are my family and their opinion is important to me.
The next few weeks continued to be full of dinners, lunches, emails, long telephone conversations, flattery, and charm. He was attentive, thoughtful, giving, and romantic. Our final date began with dinner and CD shopping and it ended with a kiss on the cheek and his promise to call me the following day. This was a Thursday. Friday came and went with no phone call. He had made me aware of his Saturday plans to watch the Razorback game with his best friend, but we had made arrangements to see each other that evening. When he didn’t call, which was unlike him, I attempted to contact him but received his voicemail. Still no word from him the following day and I grew concerned. I wondered if everything was okay. One of his grandparents had been ill and I imagined the worst.
Then Monday happened and the internet opened my eyes. His best friends girlfriend had recently befriended me on myspace. I sent her an email asking if she knew of anything potentially wrong with Drew. Her response was brief and vague but her recently added pictures told the entire story. All photos were taken at the Saturday Razorback game. All showing him with another girl. I felt instant sadness followed by justified anger.
Drew had only been divorced a year or so, but I reflect on the manner in which we met and I feel perplexed. I understand the desire not to continue dating someone. I get that and yet to not have the decently to call someone and end it respectfully? I don’t get that at all. There is an episode of Sex and the City in which Carrie’s boyfriend breaks up with her on a post-it note. It says “I’m sorry, I can’t.” She is enraged by the lack of consideration. At least she got the little yellow goodbye. I got nothing. No call. No text. No email. Nothing. I can handle rejection but nothing is more irritating or devastating than the unknown. It causes manifestation. This ending inspired the beginning of a very dark phase for me. Looking back, I hate giving him credit for anything, even my dark spell. I became reclusive because I didn’t want to hear, “Your can do better.” I told myself I could do better, but needed a little time to believe myself. Several months ago, one of his friends enlightened me. He told me Drew had done this to several other women prior to moving out of state. Suddenly, I found my closure. I’ve always been able to maintain friendships with men I’ve dated in the past. The concept of complete disengagement (founded on nothing) was entirely foreign to me.
I had not thought of this coward (or “douche bag,” the term used lovingly by my friends) in a long time. I hadn’t until last Thursday when a co-worker called to inform me her daughter, an acquaintance of mine (Little Rock is a small town), had recently met this man by the name of Drew. She mentioned he lived out of state but was flying her daughter to see him that evening. Another co-worker and friend, Nan, thought this sounded like the same man who had hurt me several months back. She was calling in hopes Nan was mistaken. Unfortunately, Nan’s memory served her correctly. I told my friend to warn her daughter (who is recently divorced) to be cautious as she should be in any situation. I told her to encourage her to have a great time, eat lobster, laugh, and be merry but to be aware. Her daughter did go despite hesitation and as you could easily predict, he downplayed and excused his disregard for me. He told her he only dated me a week and he should’ve called but was still fucked up over his divorce. All fine and dandy except, we dated longer than a week (I am a journaling fool and I date everything) and no matter the reason, it is unacceptable to treat anyone with such little regard, or it certainly should be. My co-worker asked if I knew the other girls and I don’t. She said “it would be nice to talk to them.” I guess I arrogantly believed his actions towards me were enough to define his character. I honestly wish her daughter well. She is beautiful, genuinely kind, recently devastated, and deserving of more than I feel Drew can offer. But it’s not my place and honestly, I don’t care enough. I like the idea of him remaining dead in my head.
I was hesitant to write this due to the personal nature. I read what I initially wrote days after the “disconnect” and it was reeking of hurt and anger, but I wrote one paragraph mirroring my overall outlook of the entire fiasco; an outlook that is still true for me:
As I mentioned to him, we all have a wall around us and mine is taller and wider than the Great Wall of China, but that excuse is so played out. You still put yourself out there—heart and all—with intention of finding that one unique soul with the ability to break down that wall with the force of a typhoon. You do it because the alternative sucks more. Never allowing yourself to love is worse than the hurt of not knowing. Human nature tells us to proceed with caution. Trust that voice. Listen to that part of you that refuses to take steps forward ‘cause the fire might burn ya. My little voice must have been on vacation that day. That, or sometimes, you believe in something and you talk yourself into wonderful because you really, really want it.

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