Bad news: the dentist dumped me. I take comfort in that fact that he did it in the most elegant of fashions, which is to say that he sent me a series of ambiguously worded text messages two Sundays ago and then stopped speaking to me.
“He did not!” my friend insisted over lunch the following week. “He actually broke up with you over a text message?!”
“Well not technically,” I said. “I asked him if that was what he was doing and he said ‘no.’ But I haven’t heard from since, so maybe he did.”
Regardless of his decision, I’m pretty settled: we’re through. That’s a particularly unfortunate development for him because, as far as I’m concerned, the only thing worse than getting dumped over a text message is getting dumped by way of a blog post. And that just happened.
Of course, I’d be happy to explain all of this directly if the opportunity presented itself. I certainly don’t have a problem closing the loop on such things. Just ask anyone who was riding the downtown 6 train this morning with me and a guy I went on two dates with back in the fall.
Normally, I wouldn’t care if I ran into someone I went out with casually. But this is the man who transitioned seamlessly between summarizing the entire plot of Silver Linings Playbook and sharing his thoughts on why college rape cases shouldn’t be reported to the police. And he’s also the man whose cell phone number I had to block after he contacted me incessantly. And he is also the man who, several months later, looked up my email address on my employer’s website and sent me a message during a blizzard, thus inspiring the Gentlemen: Lay Off the Google post.
So when he said hello as though nothing was amiss, I couldn’t even attempt to hide my disgust.
“UGH,” I snarled. “You.”
“Wow,” he said. “What did I do to deserve that reaction?” – which is a setup so perfect I couldn’t have done it better myself.
I began my speech with a rousing, “Listen up,” during which I noticed several people put down their newspapers and give me their full attention. Then I launched into a diatribe of every offense large or small, old or new, real or imagined, that this man committed – up to and including sitting next to me on the train that morning. I ended with, “Respect boundaries. Is that clear enough for you???”
Unbelievably, he responded with, “I don’t remember sending you any e-mail. Do you still have it?”
“WHY ARE YOU STILL TALKING?!” I shouted.
Let the record show that this man has accomplished a notable feat: the number of blog posts he has inspired has exceeded the number of dates that we went on. And if that wasn’t enough, he also prompted me to take a dating hiatus all those months ago.
Of course, no sooner than I had committed to that did I find myself at a Halloween party where I met a real-life pilot who was dressed as a priest. I was my usual charming self, which is to say that I snapped my felt crab claws in his face repeatedly and closed out our conversation by accusing him of having a girlfriend in every country he’s ever flown to.
Despite all that, he took me out for a fancy cocktail the next week and treated me to a story about how he and his friends once chartered a small plane to go hiking in some remote area of upstate New York*. I wasn’t totally sold on him at that point, mostly because he kept using all kinds of technical flying terms like “single runway” and “east.” But by the end of the story, things had devolved to the point where he and his friends were taking turns using emergency flares to chase away coyotes.
“This could work,” I said to myself.
It didn’t, actually – but we had a fun month anyway and sometimes that’s good enough.
And since I now find myself in the middle of another self-induced dating break, I’m secretly hoping something like that is right around the corner. Or maybe just to the east.
*May or may not actually be New York. To be honest, I wasn’t listening that closely because I didn’t expect the story to turn out to be quite so interesting.