Just when you think it is safe ... A supermarket should realistically be the safest place for a girl, right? Unless of course, you are a 200 lb over-eater. Sorry. Tangent. Off again.
Anyway, I've had a bad stomach again all night and day and I was gingerly making my way through the supermarket looking for the makings of a light porridge. Trucking along with my shopping cart, my laptop case and my knapsack, I turn around the corner and who do I see?
An old friend, R. Well, I still considered him a friend even though we have not spoken or communicated with each other in years. I've seen him perhaps twice since and every time I see him, a rush of guilt, regret and sorrow hits me. See, this used to be a really good friend of mine. Recently arrived in Singapore again, he was one of the few people I gravitated towards. We shared the same humour, ironic look at life, love for comics and art .. OK, the music part we had a few disagreements on ... and the man could dance! Do you know how many straight guys out there who can dance and do not use this as an excuse to grope you???
But the most important quality he had was that he made me feel safe. Yes, I know at this moment a million blokes are going "Ouch!". You guys have no idea what an important trait that is to a girl though. He was a refreshing and much much appreciated breath of fresh decency. I was not going to plays or movies or pubs or even dinners because it just seemed that I could not hang out with any blokes even in a group (it seemed during this period) without one of them trying it on. I know it sounds naft but for some reason - perhaps some weird alignment of stars ... woo ooo wooo hocus pocus - during this period, I was literally running around in circles daily trying to avoid situations like that. I once ran around a bar 5 times in one night just to avoid having conversations with blokes trying to chat me up. My friends thought it was hilarious but my feet hurt after the third lap. Note to self: wear track shoes to pub.
I hung out with R all the time and we had the late night chats and it was one of the most enriching relationships I ever had with a bloke. Our discussions were amazing. But for some reason, our friend had a really low opinion of himself. He was overweight and lots of people were really stupid about it. I remember being in a club with him and some women were giving him the "using the dog's eye to look down at someone". I was so irritated by it that I grabbed him and we started dancing. The man is a mean salsa dancer. After that, girls were trying to swarm him for dances. LOL ... doncha just love these women of substance?
Things were fine till my friends, mostly girlfriends, harped at me to start dating again as I was developing a real phobia of men after a very bad divorce.
"It's been six months, girlfriend! It's time you got out there!"
"Because it is not healthy! You're young, beautiful (sic), intelligent ... and you are letting him win if you hide yourself. There so many men out there who are just dying to meet you."
"Now you are reeeally scaring me! I don't wanna! Don't make me! They literally make me puke!" Hiding head under duvet now and rocking.
But even I knew it was not normal when you have to rush off to the loo to barf when some bloke puts his hand on your lower back to move you from point A to B. Er ... sorry, mate but you literally make me sick so can we cancel the dinner please? I decided that perhaps my friends were right and I should break the 6-month sanctuary and go out on a date. But with whom? I looked around. Most of the blokes had this gleam in your eye that made you reach out for the first chastity belt you saw, rusty or not. Hell, I had not been on a date for almost 8 years! I'd forgotten what peeps do on dates. I had to ask my girlfriends what the modus operandi was. Sad but true. So I thought if I really had to go on my first date in 8 1/2 years, I should do it with someone safe and yet I could have fun with. I decided to ask my friend R as I thought he would understand where I was coming from.
How wrong we are. How stupid I am.
I should have guessed when he went dead silent and then totally jubilant when I asked him if he'd go out on a date with me. At first he thought I was pulling a cruel joke on him. He kept asking why him. And I was truthful. I told him I thought it was time I went on a date and he was safe and I knew I would have fun with him. And I would rather spend time with him then anyone else who would make me feel yucky at the end of the night. Also, and I was sincere about this, he was such an amazing person, I thought if I had to explore trying to get back into a relationship with a bloke, he was the best candidate. I am very logical like that. I forgot there is such a thing as chemistry as I had not felt any in a long time.
So we went out on the first date. We, of course, had a ball. Until we went to a club and literally the first person I saw was my ex-husband. It can only happen to me. But it was all good, R & I went somewhere else and of course that gave us lots of fodder for making jokes the whole night. Things were great. We went out for a few dates and I was really enjoying myself. Till the night he sent me home and kissed me good night. It was like kissing my cousins good night. There was totally no spark and it was just comforting and nice. But being a stubborn git, I decided not to make a decision. Taking bat now and thwapping self here.
I should not have been such a coward. Or so blind. While I was wondering if we were better off as best mates, R was spending this time planning our wedding. I of course was clueless. As I usually am. We spent more time together. A few more kisses. Couple of cuddles. Nope. Nadda. But I like him sooooo much. This is so bogus! I was in agony. What to do ... what to do? Finally, I decided to do the right thing. We'd been dating casually for almost 3 months now and it was time to set the record straight. Be brave, Steph ... be decent, be fair, be nice ... get out from under the bloody duvet and just face the man!
R was totally devastated. I was totally bewildered. His response was way beyond what I had expected. I truly had no idea he felt so deeply for me. He kept saying that I led him on, making him think that he had a chance with "someone like me". What the hell did that mean? Someone like me??? He said he knew better than to expect someone who looked like me and all to be interested in someone like him and he was in love with me. I felt like the turd even worms avoid. Now I was devastated. How the hell did someone fall in love with someone else in just three months when all you did was hang out?
I spent the next month trying to assure him that it really really was not him but me. I just was not ready to go out with anyone and truly there is nothing for it if there is no chemistry. But he just refused to believe that it was not due to his size. The man was obsessed with his size! It had bloody nothing to do with it! Gawd, it was exasperating. Nothing got through to him. And then he did the most painful thing imaginable. He told me he could not see me at all after that as it hurt too much. That really hurt me. But I respected his decision and his right to recover his pride so I left him alone.
We tried a little reonciliation later but it was not meant to be. A rehash of my not feeling more for him because of his size and my leading him on finally drove me to lay my foot down. I refuse to be made to feel guilty for not feeling any kind of sparks for him and to allow him to continue to impose his own insecurities on me. It really hurt me to lose his friendship but I felt that it was better for him. He knew when he got over it, I was always there ready to be his friend again.
I saw him with a girl this year and I was really happy. I was delighted to see him with a girlfriend because he really is a great bloke. But his look when he saw me was still bitter, angry and hurt even when I smiled at him and waved. That is not good.
I thought perhaps if he saw how genuinely happy I was for him, he would get over it. Being the daft git I was, I just smiled and gave a nod in the direction of his girlfriend and smiled happily to communicate how happy I was for him. He looked away. Oh well.
So when I saw him this afternoon, I smiled at him again and he walked over. I was pleasantly surprised and thought perhaps it may be the first step towards us forging a much healthier if more distant friendship. Instead, he grabbed my arm and hissed in my ear that it was not fair that I used him and made him fall in love with me and I never looked back. And then he marched off as I stood there completely gobsmacked.
The bruise on my arm now will fade but the lesson will not ... not for a very long time. People ask me why I seldom if ever date. This is why. There are so many sleazy guys out there that it turns my stomach to even have them stand anywhere near me. And the "nice ones" seem to turn psycho on you with time. Most blokes expect you to jump into the sack with them within the first few dates and when you don't they act all surprised and turn Neanderthal on you so you literally have to kungfu their arses out of your way as you tell them to eat dirt.
And the nice ones .. when you hang out with them even in a friendly way .. in a group or just a friendly dinner or movie, they start falling in love with you after a month. What is wrong with them??? Who the hell does that??? And why blame me when I don't operate the same way? I have never fallen in love (rare few times) with anyone till at least 3-6 months after dating them exclusively. So I'm slow. Gimme a break and stop busting my chops about it!
You know, the dating game is hard enough. But it is even harder when you become afraid to hang out with any male mates just in case one of them gets the wrong idea and started imagining they have feelings about you. Sorry for the rant but someone just bloody lead me to the nearest nunnery.
Categories - Rambling Prose