Back when I was a bigger idiot, I used to date my 32 year old boss. I was just barely 23. I think it started a week after my 23rd birthday. I wasn’t “sleeping with the boss to get ahead”, I genuinely thought I was in love with this manchild and that someday he’d wake the fuck up from his permanent daydream and be like “Oh man, this 23 year old girl who has all the hopes and dreams in the world has been loyal like a dog to me for the last six months and maybe I should give her the respect she’s asking for in return.” Like I said, I was an idiot back in the day. Way more of an idiot than I am now.
This dude was totally handsome and he was this real adult unlike any real adult I had met before. You know, in MY life, not life in general. He kept his kitchen really clean. I would come over with my dog every night of the week and he would make me dinner and it always tasted so good. He shoulda been my mom or something he was so good at making me dinner.
I feel I should clarify that this would not be an ideal relationship for me in any capacity at this juncture of my life because 1) I don’t like people that much anymore. I could never see anyone every day unless it was like “The One” or Ed. 2) I didn’t move to LA to fall in love. I came here to work my little ass off until someone with a lot of money and power found me and my little operation and turned it in to something bigger. I’m working, I’m doing me. I have a dog. I don’t have a schedule that allows for boyfriend/girlfriend time like that. The last guy I dated? We hung out twice a week and that was perfect for me. We barely even talked on the phone. It was just one of those things where it was mutually agreed upon that we loved each other and we wouldn’t cheat on each other and that we knew that we’d never do anything to hurt each other on purpose. 3) I don’t need anyone to do anything for me except just be a good friend. I don’t need your dinners or your snuggles or your apartment that’s bigger than mine. I don’t need to call you after I’ve eaten lunch to discuss the texture of my blue cheese dressing. If and when I’m ready to hang out with a dude in an exclusive manner again, we’re working with those restrictions. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about finding time for us when we’re not doing what we need to do for ourselves. But we’d love each other completely stubbornly regardless of the apparently unfortunate restrictions we’ve had to set in order to get what we really want out of life.
ANYWAY! I was really in love with this old man I was dating. He refused to commit to me on a boyfriend/girlfriend level because he “wasn’t ready for that”, which even a barely 23 year old idiot knows is a horrible thing for a man to say when you’re sleeping in his bed seven nights a week. I knew his last relationship ended because he cheated on his live-in girlfriend with a woman he worked with at a horrible network. His ex was a dog walker! How are you going to cheat on a dog walker? OK, I mean, I know how you’re gonna do it, but have a heart, man. She’s walking dogs all day and being spiritual with animals. Break up with the dog walker or hook up with the network skank, right? You’d think that that would have been a serious red flag, right? Crimson. Very very red. It wasn’t. I was a 23 year old idiot.
It ended when one morning we were lazing about in his bed, listening to NPR with my dog snuggled under the sheets and I asked to use his laptop to check my email. Now, America! LISTEN TO ME! Listen to me, World. It is REALLY GROSS to read someone else’s private email. Really gross. I have never told anyone my G-Mail password. I don’t care if you’re my husband of 50 years and we have six kids together, I don’t want to know your email password and you’re not going to know mine. It’s just no one’s fucking business. It’s the crassest of the crass to read someone’s email or texts. HOWEVER, he happened to leave his email open when he handed me his laptop and rolled back over to catch his final Zs.
At the top of his inbox was an email exchange between him and a woman who I knew he had dated after the dog walker but before me. I guess she cheated on her boyfriend in order to be with him because she found out he was single again and then once he thought he was finally going to be with this woman, it turned out she was just taking a couple steps back for a moment in order to revisit a man she’d always been physically attracted to. He was broken hearted and as a result, rebounded with the 23 year old idiot practically fresh off the plane from Massachusetts that was working at his office as a writer.
The email he sent her was one line. “I have been fantasizing about your ass all day long.”
“I have been fantasizing about your ass all day long.” ”I have been fantasizing about your ass all day long.” ”I have been fantasizing about your ass all day long.” ”I have been fantasizing about your ass all day long.” ”I have been fantasizing about your ass all day long.” ”I have been fantasizing about your ass all day long.”
Do you know how many times in my life that one line has come back to haunt me? Probably a million? Sometimes I’ll just be laying in my bed and BOOM! ”I have been fantasizing about your ass all day long.” There you have it. I’m thinking about it.
I reacted pretty bravely. I do, you know, have this really zen like quality in the moment of crisis. I never want to end things horribly. I never want to throw someone’s laptop off their second-story balcony. I never want to punch them in the face. I just do what I was raised to do. “You’ve really hurt me. I was in love with you and I put up with you pulling me back and forth for so long. I can’t talk to you anymore. Bye.” I got in my Ford Focus, Chihuahua in my lap, and I drove home to Koreatown where I proceeded to spend the next two weeks of my life a crying, shivering mess of a human that couldn’t eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom properly. Is that gross? I’m sorry. When you don’t eat, your stomach stops working. It’s crazy! I’m telling you! I don’t understand the Master Cleanse for that reason!
That relationship (or lack thereof) fucked me up for awhile. I actually broke up with the dude who just broke up with me for the first time because six months later, I still didn’t “trust men”. The Boss, said he had no real reason for emailing her. He explained it away as a moment of weakness. Weakness? Yipes. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of a man explaining away an single line email that read ”I have been fantasizing about your ass all day long” as a moment of weakness and I cringe for myself. I cringe thinking about a version of myself that would date a man that would muster up an excuse like that for behavior that so clearly lacks self-control and decency. “A moment of weakness” is buying cookies at the grocery store. Writing an email of a highly sexual nature to someone you know is in a relationship when you yourself are in some semblance of a relationship is sinister. It’s gross human behavior.
For a really long time I blamed myself, obviously. I would sit around and think “If only I had huge boobs and more Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses. Then I would be enough woman for him.” That was it. I thought I wasn’t enough of a woman for him. As I’m writing this, Dearest Internet, I am chuckling to myself. If I have learned anything about myself the past couple years, it’s that I might be a little too much woman for most of the men I’ve dated. I went down this path of sadness and destruction that coincided with me dating the guy who lived across the hall from me, working at Gawker and drinking 32 nights in a row. I drank at least a fifth of Stoli every night, even through the flu. I would be out at the club in a pre-Swine Flu world and I would be chugging down all the drinks I could get for free in between taking asprin to control my fever and Sudafed to stop my sniffles. I think I might have experimented with some drugs. Oh, the liver damage.
I started purposely mismatching my clothes, listening to Fiona Apple really loudly and I wouldn’t shampoo my hair. I would just get it wet in the shower. I thought it was a cool look. I was clearly in the middle of a crisis, but I was also a 23 year old idiot and I thought my coping mechanisms were great.
At this point I was living in a building without laundry and so was Ed, so one night we piled up all of our clothes in trash bags and went to a laundromat in Silverlake. We decided to hold out on the laundry for an hour and grab a quick bite to eat. While we were crossing the street, I spotted a black station wagon and I said to Ed, “Ha! That looks like that fucking loser’s car. I bet you he’s on a date with someone and that’s why it’s parked down here.” I was half-kidding, but completely correct.
We walked another three feet, and there was my former boss and former love, sitting in front of an ice cream shop with a really average woman in a pale green sweater. She looked so normal that it shocked me. She looked like a teacher. She was pretty, but in a plain way. She was kind of buttoned up, but you could still tell that her modest sweater was her “fun date outfit.” I could feel the blood draining out of my body and in to my feet. I think it was the first time that a person had ever made me feel so betrayed. It wasn’t that he couldn’t date, it was that he couldn’t date me. Fuck, right?
So, I walked up to him. I said “It’s really nice to see you. Who is your friend?” Now, in retrospect, that was creepy of me. At the time I thought it would have been the wrong thing to do to just walk on by like nothing happened. Also, I wanted him to know he had been caught. I realize now that I was not as smooth as I thought I was at the time, that I didn’t need to catch him in the act and humiliate him. The way he humiliated himself that day I decided I couldn’t take it anymore was really enough humiliation for all of us. It’s not as delicious as you’d think to put someone in their place when they really deserve it because most of the time they already know.
He asked me what I was doing in that part of town, looking at me up and down, clearly examining my new “carefree” look. I told him we were doing laundry and grabbing a bite to eat and his date, the green sweater lady piped up with, “You know where you should go? You should go to Good. I’ve heard it’s pretty… good.”
You guys, I got stiffed and heartbroken by the kind of man who would replace me with a woman who would make a joke about the fact that there’s a decent restaurant called Good. At the time I felt like I would never, ever recover. Ever. I thought my life was over, but almost three years later, I am sitting here and writing this and laughing and laughing and laughing. Audibly. In my little apartment that I pay for myself with my sparse writing gigs and other forms of non-literal whoring, I am laughing my ass off thinking about how badly I let that man hurt me and all the wonderful, life-altering things that happened to me in the years after.
It’s pretty “Good”, huh?
I’m sorry. KILL YOURSELF.