15. First Date #9: Seth, or The Week When Everything Changed
Seth is damn sexy.
At least in his photos.
We started talking a week or so back, when I didn’t think there was much hope left on Match but wanted to stick it out a little longer. Then we’d made plans to meet on Thursday, making back-to-back dates with him and Paul a first for me.
Seth is from Florida, so we connect on that point. But he’s more of a beach bum who hopes to return to Florida someday, whereas I’d like us to detach it from the United States and forget it exists. He’s got blonde sun-kissed hair and some freckles across the bridge of his nose. His bright blue eyes are sharp as thumbtacks.
I’m so excited to meet him when Thursday rolls around. He hasn’t made firm plans of what we’re doing. We’re meeting at seven, but he texts me ten minutes before saying he’ll be running late.
I still don’t even know where we’re meeting.
I hope that this spontaneity means he’s crazy and fun, not sloppy and disorganized.
Also, I’m looking hot tonight so I feel good about this. I hope there’s at least some kissing action. It’s been a while since Peter and I last had sex and I’m starting to feel pretty horny lately.
I get a text from Seth asking to meet at a nearby smoothie place. Funny thing is, when I get to the address he gives me, nothing is there.
Am I getting Punk’d right now?
But suddenly there he is, in all his beach-God glory.
And he really is hot as hell.
So the smoothie place doesn’t exist because Google led him astray, and it helps us break the ice. We laugh about how spacey Seth is and how he needs to get his shit together. But it’s all in good fun and lighthearted. I suggest we walk down to Oak Street Beach Bar & Grille and we take the Lake Shore Trail along Lake Michigan. It’s truly a beautiful walk. Heading north to the bar, you see the gorgeous buildings on your left-hand side, the lake on your right, and behind you Navy Pier with the huge Ferris Wheel and sparkling lights. In the water, sailboats litter the horizon. The weather is perfect tonight, and it turns out to be an extremely romantic date.
At Oak Street Beach, we’re pleased to find they have a great array of 90′s music playing. My mind vaguely drifts off to thoughts of Peter and lying in his bed listening to 90′s Pandora…it hurts now to think about.
I drink a Miami Vice — the frozen mix of Strawberry Daquiri and Pina Colada — and we talk and laugh and sit closely. It’s flirtatious, laid-back, and cool
We walk back as the sun is setting. Truly such a beautiful night.
And Seth is beautiful too. He’s funny, and charming and sweet and — definitely — sexy.
But I don’t feel a thing. I wonder what the hell is wrong with me.
To my girlfriends, I say he was great. I say I was attracted. I say I was totally into him. I lie.
Because, really, I can’t stop thinking about Peter. We haven’t talked in ten days; I know something’s up.
The next day, I have plans to play softball with Sandra and go out her boy Scott and some of his friends. I decide to invite Peter. I have nothing to lose, right?
Except my pride, my dignity, and the bittersweet comfort of knowing the agony is over. Sure.
So Friday morning I sit at work in a boring meeting and I send him a quick text.
Me: Hey. What are you doing tonight?”
Him: Hey. Going out with some law school friends to dinner. Then I’m not sure. Why?
Me: I’m going out with friends. You should come. We can tear up the dance floor again.
Him: Ha-ha. I have to get up early tomorrow. But I’ll let you know if I’m going to be out late.
And I had hope. It was that simple. All a man has to do to keep a little wimpy girl on his fishing line is to give her a sliver of hope. What really should have happened at this point is that I should have believed my friends. (See “Sidenote: The Stages of Moving On” — I was in the Backtracking Stage.) I should have taken Peter’s silence to mean he was over it. Which should have in turn made me over it. But I kept holding out for that little chance that he was just busy/got hit by a car/had a lot on his plate/had just moved/got some sort of text-message-finger-eating bacterial disease/got amnesia/etc. I continued to make excuses for him while he stayed silent and didn’t do a thing.
Saturday rolls around and he doesn’t text.
By Tuesday, I can’t take it anymore, and I invite Ben #1 over for some “television”. But this time, I’m determined to get physical, unlike last time — where we just…watched…television (what the fuck?!). We’ve talked here and there since then and I’m losing interest but gaining horniness. It’s like when a person eats for comfort, I screw Ben #1 for comfort. But truthfully, it brings me none. The sex lasts five minutes. Then I immediately want him to leave.
I feel more alone than ever.
For days, I am in a fog. It’s not that I was madly in love with Peter that’s bugging me (because I wasn’t…I didn’t even know him that well), but it’s that I was so blindsided. I truthfully felt this was going to beThe Next Guy. The Next Guy I have a relationship with. The Next Guy I truly care about. Maybe The Next Guy I introduce to my parents. I just had this feeling. And now my feelings were all jumbled.
I couldn’t let him off the hook this easy. I felt like I was dealing with a break up of sorts, and for that reason I was chewing off my nails and overeating and feeling shitty about myself. I needed closure.
It’s Wednesday, and I’ve had one glass of wine. A really BIG glass of wine. Okay, more like two.
I muster up the courage to text him. This may be the last time I do it. Hopefully, it is:
Me: I’ve had a lot of fun with you Peter. But I’m starting to feel like you’re not interested. If that’s the case, let me know. I’ll be disappointed, but I’ll understand.
Him: I’ve had a lot of fun with you too. I guess I’m just not looking for anything really serious. I don’t want to be a jerk or send the wrong signals so I realize I’ve been kinda quiet. But it’s definitely not that I don’t enjoy hanging out.
Me: I don’t know what gave you the idea I wanted anything serious either. I just got out of a two-year-long relationship.
Him: I guess I just assume all girls are trying to get serious. That’s what happens when you start getting old like me. It wasn’t anything you said or did so I’m sorry for assuming.
Me: You’re not old! and Yeah. I think it’s a common assumption us girls are used to.
Him: Well. Now that we got THAT out of the way, let’s hang out soon. Saturday?
Me: Sure. Sounds good.
And he does it again. He gives me hope. Granted, I’m a lying piece of shit to say I didn’t want something serious (or to imply that). I didn’t think I did when I first started dating, but with Peter I did. He must have sensed it. I think all men can sense it the way German Shepherds sense fear.
When Saturday rolls around, and I don’t hear from him yet again, I declare that it’s truly, finally, amazingly over. And in a way that’s a good thing; in a way it feels good. I’m tired of the emotion, I’m tired of holding out hope, I’m tired of wasting energy on this guy who totally doesn’t want me.
Looking back on it, so much went wrong with us. Here’s the laundry list:
- I didn’t immediately run away from him after the boob-grab on the first night. (Come on! Idiot!)
- I let him sleep over the first night.
- I let him get comfortable with me always initiating texts. I never made him work for it.
- He didn’t end things maturely by telling me what was wrong. I had to pull it out of him.
- He kept making me believe I would see him again, and then disappointing me.
- I didn’t cut my losses. I kept holding on.
Notice anything? There are more things I did wrong than he did in that list. Doesn’t mean he’s innocent, but I had to sit back and realize my errors too.
It was cathartic coming to this realization. Unfortunately, it’s human nature to constantly blame other people when there’s a decent amount of blame you should place on yourself. We can’t help it. It’s scary to say, “I fucked up.” Especially when it hurts.
I took a few days to really digest this heavy fact: I was largely to blame for the pain that Peter brought me.
Then I went through some funny feelings. At first, I decided to swear off men. I said, “No more of this bullshit! They all suck! It’s all their fault!” Then, I remembered the epiphany I had just come to…and that it wasn’t really all their fault. Rarely is something 100% one person’s fault (save from most murders and rapes — but we aren’t talking about shit that serious).
Then I thought I would just take a break from men not because I was angry at them and wanted to blame all my problems on them, but because I wanted to focus on myself. I wanted to “work on me”. I think this is an awesome thing for any man or woman to do. However, I scratched that idea real quick.
Because soon, I got a new idea. I want to help other people. Jumping back into the dating world after two years of comfortable, easy monogamy had been really hard. There were been times when I was hurt (Peter), shocked (Ben #2, Phillip, Kevin, and any of my time on Tinder), drunk as hell (Ben #1 multiple times), all lovey-dovey starry-eyed (Ben #1 and Peter), kinda scared (Don), and having the time of my life (almost all the time, but mostly Speed Dating). I really wanted to share the range of emotions with other women. It’s scary, it’s fun, it’s exhilarating. It’s dating in the modern world.
Whatever weird things I learned, whatever heartbreaks I endured, whatever lovely feelings I had, I wanted to bring the world along with me on this roller coaster ride.
So the idea for this book was born out of Peter breaking my heart. That’s truly making vodka out of lemonade, huh? Or whatever the saying is.
Posted on September 6, 2013, in 52 First Dates, Depression, fear, Love, memories, Relationships, Sex, Writing and tagged 52, 52 first dates, beach, beach bum, blonde, books, break ups, date, first, first date, happiness, love, moving on, navy peir, optimism, peter, seth, sharing, writers. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.