A friend suggested I write an article about one of the most awkward and uncomfortable subjects I could possibly write about. My terrible track record with girls. I’ve been putting it off. I even tried coming up with something else to write about, but to no avail. So this is for you. A tale of trial and turmoil, detailing my dating disasters.
I’m going to start with Monica quick. I’ll keep it short though since this isn’t about her, and the friend who put me up to this already knows. I’ve mentioned her before, so I’m using her real name.
Monica was, and technically still is, my wife. We met on campus at was was called St. Martin’s College back then. Now it’s the University of Cumbria‘s Lancaster campus. She was into Tim Burton’s Batman movies and Nirvana, and she was very interested in me. Since she was only going be there 3 months, I saw no harm in flirting with her rather heavily. So what if she says no, she’ll go back to America and I never have to see her again. Things got complicated and emotional when her Grandma passed away. I was morally obligated to help her through it. I could have been a jerk, but I’m not. She was the first to say “I love you“. She thought I was asleep. I wasn’t. I said it right back.
The day she left I still thought I would never see her again. We’d been through a lot though and it hurt to say goodbye. She kept in touch, left her fiance (that’s right, she already had a fiance), and began sending me care packages from the states. She would call me late at night, and due to the time difference, this would often be between 2 and 4 am. She came back to see me 6 months later. Clearly this was love (or so I convinced myself). Despite the bravado and confidence I’d displayed during the 3 months we’d already spent together, I was fairly certain that this was the best I could hope for. She went back to America with an engagement ring.
Four years long distance before we (she?) decided it would be better for me to move there, to the US. We got married, had a difficult 10 years together before we broke up. I never regained that confidence I had when we first met, until the end. She kept telling me to be myself, but I’d already had to give up much of who I felt I was to keep the status quo. I had colours in my wardrobe. I had white shirts! I owned Khakis!! Yuck. I think the turning point was when she told me it wasn’t my job to make her happy. Okay then, I thought. I have no reason not to be myself.
I expressed some opinions that I’d been keeping to myself, and shortly after I was sleeping on a spare mattress in the office. We still haven’t raised the money for the divorce, or to settle the credit card debt accumulated during the marriage. We’re very definitely separated. I decided that there’d be no more compromising. If I had to change who I was then it wasn’t meant to be. I’d find someone who liked me for me, or it wasn’t worth it.
Post-separation girlfriend number 1. Let’s call her Betty. We met on Ok Cupid. I was immediately put off by the jar of homemade pickles she had posted among profile pictures. Pickles are gross. She was also blonde (I generally prefer dark hair and pale skin), five years older than me, and 2 hours drive away, in La Crosse, a town not far from Monica’s family. She chose to contact me anyway, using the fact that we’re both fans of the Elder Scrolls games, Game of Thrones and home cooking to entice me.
Dating her was fun. Monica had been my first and only ‘sleeping partner’ until Betty. I had been a little worried that she would be the only one I ever could ‘sleep’ with. Betty had her own house, a beautiful garden and chickens. She liked to bake. She made a very good living as a retail assistant manager. However, I was on the rebound from a 10 year long marriage. I was emotionally torn between wanting to spend the rest of my life with her, and to prove to myself that I could make it on my own.
The decision because easier when the little changes I was making to my lifestyle began to add up. She didn’t like that I drank Mountain Dew, and wanted me to switch to coffee. I don’t like coffee, so she’s make mine with two thirds flavoured creamer. It wasn’t bad. She pick out clothes for me that were more ‘hipster’ than I liked. It was fun trying to get my moustache to curl though. She only played Elder Scrolls Online, and I never saw her play it the whole time we were together. We started spending more time watching tv together, and less time in bed, or working on the garden together. We did make pickles together. Did I mention that pickles are gross? She wanted me to try one. We broke up not long after.
By that time I already had an apartment in her town, La Crosse WI. I decided that before I got involved with anyone else, I needed to work on me and heal my broken heart. I was happier without Monica, yet I still ached for what I’d lost. I quit my job. Cashed out my 401k (retirement fund) and spent a few months just trying to get my head together. I thought I would write, but I wasted a lot of time playing Skyrim and dicking around on Facebook.
I got talking to a girl I’d had a crush on while I was still with Monica. She flew from Colorado to be with me. The week she was crashing with me she talked almost nonstop about her ex boyfriend and how much she still loved him. We didn’t ever share a bed. I don’t even remember her name well enough to give her a fake one, but we’ll call her Jan anyway. She had a little problem with pills. I dodged a bullet.
After that I tried to avoid women altogether. Reasserted my decision to work on myself before I got involved, and managed quite well for a while. Still didn’t get any writing done, but I was making time for friends. It was two of these friends though that decided it would be fun to take me to a strip club. I’d never been to one before, but I’d heard it was like going to a freak show. A parade of ugly, talentless and scarred (physically and emotionally) women trying to make a living the only way they can.
The reality was not what I expected, and I came away from experience desperate for a woman’s touch. It’s almost ironic then that my next girlfriend had severe anxiety. She also lived in the town I had moved from, the same town that Monica and I had lived together in. Owatonna.
Let’s call her Sarah. Sarah remembered me from that time and began talking to me on Ok Cupid. She was smart, pretty, funny, good with animals, shared my beliefs, loved Star Trek: TNG, Dr Who and sci-fi/fantasy literature. She was almost perfect, except that I was still desperate for the one thing she was unable to give me. Just not desperate enough to respond to the generous, but intimidating (I still feel sort of inexperienced), offer of her roommate. I gave up on my plans to move back to Owatonna.
Again I was alone, and determined to figure out my emotional crap before getting involved again. I still followed the posts of one of Betty’s friends. Let’s call her Kahli. I had/have a bit of a crush on Kahli too, but I thought trying anything with her would lead to all kinds of awkwardness. Plus she’s really into sport, and I’m completely clueless. However, one of her friends made a smart and funny comment on one of Kahli’s facebook posts. Let’s call the mutual friend Reacher!
Reacher invited me and a bunch of other friends to get together and listen to live music at a coffee shop called Java Vino. I was going to flake, but she messaged me to get there because no-one else had shown up. It was valentine’s day. Clearly everyone else had plans. She wasn’t dressed to impress. The was wearing a hoodie. Her eyes were amazing. We talked and joked about all kinds of geeky things.
I invited her back to my place as a friend, and we watched a show she liked called Warehouse 13. She got sleepy so I let her take the bed, and I stayed up all night watching the show, and in the morning I made breakfast. She showed her appreciation physically. It was fun, but things got complicated. She has a teenage daughter. The two of them are best friends. Even this wasn’t a problem until Reacher got behind on the rent and was going to be evicted. She and her daughter were already spending most of their time at my place anyway, so we upgraded to a 2-bedroom apartment on the condition that they keep up on the housework (their old apartment was a disgusting fly-ridden mess) and that her daughter would listen to me. We broke up because that didn’t happen, and most of her stuff was still in storage when I moved out to come back to the UK.
There’s been a couple of girls I’ve been crushing on since, including a super-hot skinny young goth that was working at the same place I was, and another co-worker that was as geeky as I am and likes to knit. I decided that the potential sexual harassment lawsuit wasn’t worth it. I’ve also had offers from other girls too, one of whom was already married, and if I’d agreed to it, she would’ve been the biggest girl I ever slept with.
Now I’m back in the UK. Living with my parents. I can focus on writing. My heart no longer feels completely broken. If I ever feel the urge, I can just visit a few websites and get over it. I’m in no hurry to begin dating again, but it seems I always say that right before I find myself right back in the game.
Those of you who have been my friends through any part of this. Here’s a quick quiz for you. Leave your answers in the comments and I’ll tell you if you’re right. If I’ve used a made up name, please continue to do so.
- Which one would squeeze her body zits while we were hanging out?
- Which of the girls I actually dated were overweight?
- Which one of them had a chin like a fairy-tale witch?
- Which of them wouldn’t let me say “I love you?”
- Which one tried to get me into ‘My Little Pony’?
I hope you enjoyed my little walk down failure lane. Please make sure you follow my blog so you don’t miss anything. If you have any other article suggestions/ requests, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.