Awkward Start

So last night was the event I mentioned in my last post. My fitness group was getting together to have dinner. There had been a class earlier in the afternoon, and I had attended. As I was walking out the door, my instructor (not the one I’m interested in) asked me if I was planning to go to the dinner. And I kind of got this “he might be interested” vibe from him. Turns out he was just being nice.

I was a few minutes late to dinner because I had only 1.5 hrs between class and dinner & I had to catch the bus, shower, get ready, catch the bus back. So when I arrived almost everybody was already there (the only other girl who went to the session that day wasn’t there yet). Only the instructor from the afternoon class came, not the one I was interested in. He’d brought along another guy who he shared a flat with.

And it turned out that we didn’t have a reservation. And we were in the theater district at 7:30 on a Saturday night. With a group of nine. Well done event organizer!

I may have been here before

So we wandered around a bit to try to find somewhere that might take a group of 9. I chatted with a few different people in the group and at one point started talking with another guy I was sort of interested in. He’s one of those guys who is just easy to talk to and super nice. I was kind of wondering if he might be interested in me, but when I tried to talk to him as we walked to another restaurant, he didn’t try to prolong the conversation and walked past me at the first chance. I wasn’t sure what the deal was until we got to dinner.

So finally we ended up on the next street over and happened upon this little restaurant that I happened to have been to before…and hadn’t been impressed. So of course, they had space for nine people. I didn’t want to be picky (especially since I was the only newbie who showed up and hadn’t figured out the group dynamic yet), so I kept my mouth shut, and we went in.

Highlights: who’s married, who’s gay, who thinks I’m into them

So we all sit down at the table and people start talking, and wine gets ordered, and people keep talking. The instructor turned to the event organizer and made a comment about how he’d led us to the gay district (“I don’t mind, obviously,” he said. At which point my brain went ????).

Super Nice Guy starts telling a story and gesticulating with his hands – he’s wearing a wedding ring (another “ah-ha” moment in my brain).

Event Organizer, who’s sitting across from me, is slightly cross-eyed, and I don’t realize he’s talking to me until he finishes his story and expects a response.

The guy next to me looks super young (I estimated 18-21), didn’t order booze, ordered two appetizers and mac and cheese as his main course. Later somebody commented on how he’s the youngest one there, and then The Instructor says, “Well, maybe not, how old is Sadie?” I almost choked. “Excuse me?” I said. I looked at The Kid, “How old are you?” I asked. “19” he said. Without meaning to, my mouth formed an “awe”, and I patted him on the shoulder (though I’d intended it to be a reassuring pat, not a condescending one. Not sure I pulled that off). Just so you guys know, I’m more than halfway through my 20s. So it’s a little annoying when people think I’m younger than a 19 year old.

The Kid mishears a comment The Instructor makes about beating wives (I think he actually said “eating wives”) and says “Does R (the guy T.I. brought with him) need to tell us something?” (my brain went “le sigh”).

Towards the end of dinner, The German shows up with a big beautiful white fluffy dog. He sits down in the only empty chair, which is next to me. Oh, I should mention, besides the two ladies who come to class frequently, The German is the only other one I’ve added on Facebook, and here’s why: he invited me to a party and said he’d inbox me the deets. So I added him and he never sent the info. Also he seemed somewhat flustered and possibly blushed (more probably was just still red from working out) when I asked him about the party after class. He’d invited everyone in class (it wasn’t a me-specific invite), but I’d wanted to branch out and meet some more locals, so I asked him about it. Anyway, I think he thought I was into him (I’ll be honest, he does make me slightly uncomfortable, and the thought had crossed my mind), so pretty much the first thing he says in conversation at dinner is “My girlfriend” yada yada yada. Right-O.

Move to the pub

After dinner we head to the pub. As you do. A couple people peel off, including Super Nice Guy (who, by the way, looks a lot like one of my exes).

Event Organizer and The Kid both try to buy me a drink. I order a whiskey ginger and pay for it myself. The Kid tries to tell me what whiskey is. He’s pointing at my drink thinking it’s his. He’s ordered straight whiskey, and it comes with a little pitcher of water.

We all sit down at our table; I’m next to E.O. His teeth are stained from the red wine earlier. Now he’s drinking strawberry cider. He makes a comment about having a girly drink, but The Instructor says, “No, what makes it girly is the fact that there’s a girl sitting next to you drinking whiskey.” True story.

Somebody starts a conversation about how creepy Mr. Tumnus is in “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe”. We determine that if his name had been “Jeff” he wouldn’t have been so creepy. I feel like I’m sitting in a Monty Python skit and can’t stop laughing. In my head I’m making all the Holy Grail references.

The Instructor and R leave around midnight, claiming “for every year you go past 30, you must leave one minute before midnight” like some reverse Cinderella or something. Then he clarifies, “R is tired.”

I’m getting another drink, do you want another drink?

Event Organizer tells a really awkward story about another guy – who we’ll call Jeff – not taking “the hottest girl at the party” home one night, then he yells somewhat belligerently, “I’m getting another drink!” and makes a motion as if to stand. I say I’m tired and ready to go home, and the one other lady who’s stuck around says she’s peacing as well. Event Organizer suddenly has a change of heart presumably since The Ladies aren’t staying, and starts putting his coat on.

We all head outside and congregate on the sidewalk as if we’re about to have a team huddle and chant before a match. Then we all head our separate ways. Jeff, Event Organizer, and The Lady are heading my way, so we walk off together. Jeff makes a comment about The Instructor “and his boyfriend” (relationship confirmed. Boys with accents confuse my gaydar). Then Jeff (who, besides The Kid and Event Organizer seems to be the only available male in the club) mentions that he was supposed to baby-sit his 8 year old niece but instead popped in a DVD and said “see ya later!” I asked him if he just left her at home by herself!? Then it came out that he lives with his parents. (brain does a sigh). He peaces to go find his car.

I watch my bus pass us on the opposite side of the road. 35-minute walk, yay. E.O. and The Lady go a little out of their way to accompany me to a main road, then I walk back listening to “North American Scum” by LCD Soundsystem.

When I get home, The Kid has added me on Facebook.


Lordy, where do I start.

Have been feeling a little down in the dumps today for some reason. Maybe it’s the lack of wine. Or pre-PMS. Or maybe it’s because the weather here is so damned dreary.

Awkward Positions

There’s also this little situation of unrequited love. Ok, I’m being a bit melodramatic, but yeah there’s this guy that I’ve been crushing on since I got here (he’s actually my fitness instructor…), and there’s a whole saga that I’m not going to go into (let’s just say that it was pretty, um, clear when he was helping me with my form that he’s also, um, shall we say “interested” in me…ok that sounds like he groped me. He didn’t grope me, but he definitely…reacted to me). The only issue is that the man has got to be in his forties (and I’m in my mid-twenties) so I imagine that he’s trying to avoid a sexual harassment suit. Which is the reason I’m giving for his not having asked me out (also the possibility that he is married). But it could also be these damned Scotsmen and their damned humility. People don’t have confidence here like we Americans do. In some ways it’s refreshing, but in others it’s just damned frustrating.

In any case, I’d do the deed myself but whenever I develop a crush on somebody I can’t manage to string two words together to form any kind of coherent sentence around them. It’s a curse, I know (and is more or less the true root of all my love problems). So yes, silent suffering. There is a gathering this weekend for our fitness group at a restaurant where we shall likely all converse and be normal people, so maybe that will be good, but maybe he won’t be there, I don’t know. In any case, I’ve done the other thing I often do in these drawn out situations: I’ve kind of gotten over it. That’s the worst. A situation arises that I might actually be able to take advantage of, but I’ve already given up hope on the man, and my attraction to him has started to wane. Oh well.

Art Projected

Then there’s this art thing that I participated in way back a few months ago and sort of did a half-assed job on. And it was for this really awesome dude that I totally respect and admire and if he were even slightly interested in me I’d totally have his babies, but he’s not, boo hoo. Anyway, he finished the art thing and sent out emails today to everyone involved in it, and of course it made my heart leap and I’m all missing home now. Goddammit.

In the US, we make (and sell) a bunch of ridiculous shit. Shit that you wouldn’t get away with in the UK. Shit like surprise-electric-toothbrushes.

So I’m at the grocery store buying some toiletries, and I’m in the toothbrush section. I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but there are a lot of toothbrush options. Why, I don’t know. I don’t think my teeth are that picky so long as they are clean. I get a little overwhelmed by all the options (what shade of fuschia do I want? On a scale of 1-10, how hard should the bristles be? Do I want a rubber ball to massage my tonsils while I scrape the plaque from the exposed bones in my mouth? etc etc).

When I am toothbrush shopping, I have two qualifications: 1) Is it on sale? and 2) does it come in a multipack? (Yes, I am a member at Costco. An Executive Member). General non-suckiness as a utensil is also a plus. I usually go with the first option that meets my qualifications. And that’s probably how I came home with two unassuming ordinary regular-looking bic toothbrushes with a medium hardness and complementing rubber bristles. I ignored the font on the front that read “Pulsar” as some marketing gimmick that is only effective when preceded by the word “free”.

I was brushing my teeth one night a few months later (like any good sober person with a normal sense of hygiene) when suddenly my teeth start to vibrate. ‘Course, my first thought is, “Did I pick up the wrong appliance…?” But upon closer examination, I realized there were two small rubber buttons, one with a plus and one with a minus. It would seem that, like any good American, I failed to read the directions.

Course, now I can’t not use the vibration setting. Does it clean my teeth better? No. All it really does is fling spit around and make me feel like I live in the arctic. But the real American-ness of the product is its hidden genuis. Because let’s be honest, who actually needs an electric toothbrush (besides ladies too embarrassed to buy a vibrator)? But somebody had the brilliance to disguise this thing as a slightly-better-than-shit toothbrush-two-pack on sale at the Piggly Wiggly, delivered a product that serves as little more than a saliva sling-shot, but can sleep easy with the guaruntee of a return customer. Because once you’ve experienced the luxury of an electric toothbrush – even a surprise one – ain’t no goin back. It’s as if you’ve gained a social class overnight. Sure, we may all wipe our asses the same way, but I brush my teeth with an electric toothbrush. Take that, Donald Trump.

Don’t you love when you forget about ordinary everyday objects? I was at the grocery store the other day looking for oranges to put in my sangria, and after looking around the (local farming store) for a while, I finally located them in some big baskets on the bottom shelf. But the oranges were huge, much larger than normal. “Must be all those pesticides they aren’t being sprayed with,” I thought, tossing a pair of the monstrous fruits into my cart.

Later, I pulled them out to slice and put into the sangria, but when I cut into the first one, it was pink on the inside and smelled slightly sour. Oh yeah, grapefruits exist. Right.

Just checked my email after spending a whole day without service to find this gem from Belgium:

Hey S. I thought for sure I had transferred over your number when I got my new phone, but it appears I didn’t. Shoot me a text when you get a chance, my number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. Hope your weekend away went well.


Your new phone? Right. I’ve heard that one before. Chances are you either deleted my number in a fit of rage after our last text exchange, or you deleted it because you felt too tempted to contact me. Neither of these options makes you look good. Glad to know I have more self-control. Then again, the only reason I’d have to contact a guy who rejected me and then asked for nude pictures would be to get back the book I leant him. So yeah, let’s get this exchange over with so we can both move on.

I am back. For a minute. Because I cannot get over this ridiculous coincidence that just happened. Today I ran into Belgium at the Yoga Studio I go to. Now you may be thinking, “that’s not all that unusual. People do yoga. So what?” Except that this was the first yoga class Belgium had ever been to. I mean, he was wearing cargo shorts and tennis shoes for chrissake. It’s not like he was a regular. Also, there are over 100 classes offered per week at the studio I go to. There are three classrooms and several classes running simultaneously. And thirdly, I haven’t been going more than once or twice a week, and rarely to the same classes. Actually, I usually do the hot classes, but today I just randomly decided to do a basic class because my legs are sore from running on the treadmill the last two days.

So yeah. Huge fucking coincidence.

Luckily, I didn’t really catch a good glimpse of him at the start of class since he came in late and set up in the back, but for a fleeting second I thought, “Is that B?” But considering I often think I see old love interests in places that they would never frequent and am 99% of the time wrong, I just assumed this was another one of those times. Which was a good thing, because it didn’t end up disrupting my practice at all, so there’s that.

At the end of class, he came up to me, and I had no idea what to say to him, so I just came out with, “Fancy seeing you here.” Ugh, lame, I know. Talk about awkward. Then there was nothing else to say, so I bust out with, “I read your book.” I told him I thought it was depressing, and he agreed with that analysis. Then he sort of mumbled that he “hadn’t had time to read the book I leant him,” then said louder, “I’d been meaning to text you, actually, to get my books back.”

“Yeah, me too.” I said. Then I just kind of looked at him, at a loss for words.

“Well, should we get together and catch up soon?” he asked.

“Yeah, alright,” I said, “But I’m out of town this weekend.” He sort of nodded at that, then we made our awkward goodbyes and parted ways. Oh, my awkward life.

That College Couple

He pissed the hell out of me in my freshman literature class by playing devil’s advocate and asking ridiculous questions. I don’t remember how we started talking. I think he bet me I wouldn’t do something. One way or another, we ended up having a long argument/flirtatious conversation via Facebook Wall (back in the good old days of FB) which ended in me going bowling with him and his friends, then smoking pot in the back of his friend’s car as we drove back to our preppy university.

We spent a couple blissful months together during the rest of the semester, culminating with me visiting him in Boston over the summer holiday. At first, things were fine. But then somewhere along the way we hit a kink. I think it was because of the pot. I was a goody two-shoes in high school and didn’t really party much in college, either. So when I set myself against his pot smoking (as any stubborn, innocent 19 year old would), it became a big point of contention between us.

Oh right, there was that

Oh yeah, I also lost my virginity. He was sweet about it, but pretty insistent, and looking back, I felt too rushed. When we were back at school, I tried to tell him I wanted to slow down, but he didn’t understand and became defensive. We had a huge argument about it and never really recovered. Being a 19 year old with very few sexual experiences, I didn’t know if I was being reasonable. And no one wanted to talk to me about it. My own boyfriend didn’t want to discuss it, why would anyone else? So I just accepted the status quo, and went back to him. But I was pretty miserable.

The following semester, he went abroad. And was dumb enough (or maybe egotistical enough) to post some of his sexual experiences while abroad in a public facebook group that was meant for his friends, but was not difficult for me to find. We had discussed how things would be when he went abroad and had concluded non-exclusivity (or I should say he concluded non-exclusivity).

Regretting non-action

I wish I had taken advantage of that semester at school without him. There was a guy that I had some interest in, who expressed mutual interest, but I passed over him because I was waiting for my ex to return. I did keep up a somewhat more-than-friendly relationship with that guy for a couple of years, though. It was a rather poetic relationship – mostly we just shared notes and letters and poems with each other, but it was never physical. Too bad he lives on the other side of the country now.

I had originally planned to go abroad in the Spring semester when my friends were going, but I decided at the last minute to go in the Fall so I could “get it over with” and be back at school with a year to spend with my boyfriend.

When I returned in the Spring, we hung out a couple of times (and hooked up, too), before it came out that he’d been hooking up with this other girl. I felt so humiliated and angry. I felt like I’d wasted my time waiting for him. I wished I’d stayed in France for the full year like I’d wanted to, instead of returning for his sake. I cried angry, frustrated tears more times than I care to remember. I completely distanced him, and hated him, and vowed never to go back to him.

First loves always take the longest to get over

I spent nearly 3 years getting over him. Even after I’d had another fantastic relationship that ended only because of graduation, he still affected me. Of course, I saw him once or twice since our “official break up” (in quotation marks because he claimed we’d only dated 6 months, which I understand why, but if you have no intention toward someone, why the constant correspondence? Why hook up with me when I returned?)

But the summer after I graduated (he was a year ahead of me, and our “official break up” was second semester my junior year), he sent me a long email. His grandfather had just passed away, and he’d just broken up with his girlfriend. We had gotten to a point where we were friendly with each other, but I still harbored so much anger and sadness towards him. For a while, he would correspond with me in some way approximately every 6 months. It was as if that was all he could take not hearing from me.

Then I went to Canada.

I spent a year there, and when I left, I drove around the northeast some to tour through the states I’d never seen. When I stopped in Boston, I almost didn’t contact him. I came back to my hostel slightly drunk (ok, pretty drunk) on my last night there, and I sent him a Facebook message to let him know I was in town (oh Facebook). He suggested we have lunch the next day.

A strange warmth

I got a little lost trying to find him (he was at work, so I had to pick him up on his lunch break), so when we finally made it to the deli, he couldn’t stay very long. But we made conversation easily, and I I sensed some regret – on both sides. At this point he had a steady girlfriend who seemed like a very good match for him. I had no plans to cause any kind of rift. For me, seeing him was like finally closing the book. I don’t know if our lunch did that for him. It was clear he felt some guilt about our relationship and its outcome, however, as he made an indirect apology for his conduct. I accepted it readily; it made closure so much easier for me.

When we parted, it was raining, so we were close under my tiny umbrella. We hugged, and there was a warmth there that I hadn’t expected. There was a sense of many things unsaid – not just then, but throughout the past as well. But it was what it had to be, and I have done my best to put him from my mind since then.

The news

But when I read the news today, my stomach dropped, and my heart pounded uncomfortably in my chest. I was so afraid for him. He was a fitness buff, so I knew he’d be running in the marathon, and he’d always been the type to take unnecessary risks for the thrill of it. I was terrified he’d have put himself in harm’s way.

A quick glance at his Facebook wall (oh Facebook) told me he was safe and sound. I breathed a sigh of relief, not realizing I’d been holding it in. But suddenly my eyes filled with tears. Why was I so upset? I know I still hold a place for him in my heart, but I don’t know if I realized the depth of my feeling until he was in potential danger. I truly had put our past to rest in my heart after our lunch. He had apologized, and I had forgiven him. And I have moved on. But have I really? I don’t even know what to think anymore.

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