Alright, let’s get back into this Jerry action. Where were we in this tale? Oh right, the uber Mr.-Nice-Guy I’d been on half a dozen dates with and had (I’d thought) ridiculous chemistry with decided to ghost me the day after first meeting my friends. Twelve days later I had sent precisely three texts — the last of which included a huge out if he wasn’t interested — and received radio silence. Everything was awesome! (I’m trying really hard not to type out some Lonely Island lyrics right now.)
I was still annoyed, but decided to just forget Jerkface Jerry. Forty-eight hours after my last text (14 days after his disappearance), I’m getting ready to hit the gym when whose name lights up my phone? Of course. Before I even read what he has to say, I text J with: Ugh, Jerry just texted me!
Me: He said, “Hey there – sorry it took me so long to respond. Yeah, I’m not really feeling the connection so much anymore, sorry. I still think you are pretty cool though, so I would be up for being friends.”
My initial super bitchy thoughts? Ohhh well thank GOD you still think I’m “pretty cool,” otherwise how could I face another day? After all, I do derive all of my self-worth from the opinion of men who have known me for two months. Ugh, don’t be an ass, B…you know what he means, he’s trying to be nice.
J’s opinion echoes my first feelings: send him this: <middle finger emoji>
Me: I should’ve. Instead I went with, “K. So that’s totally fine — absolutely no hard feelings about not feeling it — but not responding for two weeks was a pretty dick move. If you honestly want to be friends, that could be nice.” I think that’s fair.
J: That’s perfect.
J’s right that it’s perfect. I’m a huge people pleaser, and usually I go along with whatever someone says they’re willing to give — even if what I want is vastly different. Six months before I met Jerry, I probably would’ve responded with something like, “No worries. Yeah, I’d like to be friends,” so I’m proud for saying I understand while also asserting that his actions were not okay. I wait for his response, anticipating an excuse; some reason why he’s not a dick and I’ve simply misunderstood.
Jerry: I know. I’m sorry. I didn’t know what to reply.
Huh…he agreed with me and apologized. Unexpected. I give him a few points for that, but then my snark rears its head and I think, “you didn’t know what to say? You say the same damn thing you just said!” I must’ve been high on the fumes of my first foray into sticking up for myself, because I say just that!
Me: Well for future reference, you say exactly what you wound up saying–only earlier. Before the other person feels like shit for a few days wondering what they did that was offensive enough to warrant being ignored.
As I stare at what I’ve said, I feel a mixture of pride and horror. The latter feeling causes me to add a, “sorry if that seems harsh,” before sitting back to wait for the defensive anger that I figure I’m in for.
Jerry: No I know, you’re right. I’ve been through that before myself. I’m sorry.
If you ever want to make someone’s anger with you dissipate rather quickly, be like Jerry. Every time the other person accuses you of something, agree and apologize. It’s pretty hard to stay upset when your opponent is nodding along with your points of contention instead of balking about them. Unsure of what to do with this apologetic man — an elusive creature, for sure — I say, “Apology accepted,” and figure we’ll never talk again. Sure there was the mention of being friends, but in my experience that’s usually just what you say to sound nice. Besides, as my friend recently told me, I probably don’t need to add to my menagerie of friends who used to be a POI (person of interest).
At one point, J mentioned that she “breaks up really well.” Now you get to learn about something I do really well: make up my mind “for good” and then reverse that decision once I’ve had time to toss an idea around in my head long enough. However, I don’t think this is due to my being indecisive or not having willpower. It’s because once I get some distance from a decision, I can look at it intellectually instead of with emotion. I’m a weird combination of being prone to strong feelings (thanks mom) and being able to detach completely to examine things with acute logic (yay dad) — qualities that seem to contradict one another. I’ll admit, this pairing can lead to some interesting internal debates about “what’s best” or “how to proceed” at points in my own life. It may also be the cause of some jarring interactions for new friends who haven’t grasped that I’m a strange blend of sensitive and completely not.
Anyhow, I digress. On Friday I packed up Jerry in a suitcase and threw him off the balcony, and on the following Monday I was bending over the balcony railing to see just where exactly the suitcase had fallen. I was bored (read: horny) and had decided that while, yes, Jerry was still kind of a dick, he also had quite a lovely dick (my response when J asked why I contacted him again was, “because that dick’s a work of art! And mama’s taking a trip to the museum!” [okay, I only actually said the first of those two sentences]), and why can’t two adults have no-strings-attached consensual sex? They can, right? Right!
Problem…how do I know if he’s still interested in having no-strings-attached consensual sex with me? I consider being direct, but wind up going with coy flirtation (ok, ok, I said one coy thing and was then forward as fuck). Lo and behold, he’s on board. Great! We make plans for him to come over, and I figure this is going to be a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am sort of encounter. Two people having fun and then he’ll be on his way. Seems likely since he’s, “not really feeling the connection so much anymore.”
We wind up talking for hours.
Some generic interesting conversation and then I go on a tangent (that happens when I’m drinking) about dating. I say that I really hate the constructs of modern dating where you meet someone online and have to decide within a few in-person interactions whether you could be seriously interested in them or not. I’d much rather a situation where I can get to know a guy slowly over time and see if feelings evolve naturally, and not on a timeline that’s sped up because you’re trying to vet someone quickly so as not to waste your (or their) time. It’s hard! Sometimes I may like a guy after two dates but if I don’t feel lots of chemistry, I won’t say yes to a third date for fear that I will have led him on if romantic feelings don’t ever develop. Maybe they would’ve though, if there weren’t the pressure of deciding definitely yes or absolutely not so early on!
I also mention that I am incredibly happy with my life exactly the way it is. I have awesome friends and fun hobbies and I go on great vacations. Would I like to share my wonderful life with a companion? Sure I would! That sounds lovely. But it isn’t something I need so badly that I’m willing to fill that role just for the sake of filling it. If it isn’t right, I don’t want it.
“My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude” -Warsan Shire
I’m not sure what part of my long meandering spiel it was that resonated with Jerry, but when we eventually go inside and I assume he’s going to kiss me — to commence the banging and leaving — he instead hugs me and says, “I’m really sorry for how I treated you. I like you a lot.”
I don’t know how you react to a handsome man apologizing and then hugging you tight with their face against your neck, but I silently sighed a long ermigerrrrrd and then poked him in the side saying, “Yeah, WTF was up with that?! I’m so nice and understanding! What were you thinking??”
Jerry’s “I don’t know!” was muffled by a series of kisses as he walked me backwards toward the lifeboat (read: my bed). Then I wooed him with my sexual prowess until he wanted to cry.
With love, B!
P.S. Later, while we were lying in the dark, I shook my head and sighed sadly, “it’s just too bad that we don’t really have a connection.” Jerry chuckles and says he had felt like it seemed awkward at the end of our last hang out, and admits he was probably being a little too skittish.
Part of my wants to balk that I’m never awkward, but life rule number one is “be honest,” and that would be quite the lie. Quick flashes from the last time we were together go through my mind — me lying there silently stressing out about if he wanted me to leave or not — and I realize that even though I always think my anxiety is contained within my own head, I probably send out awkward vibes whilst my mind freaks out.
I pull “a Jerry.” I acknowledge that I had been acting awkward and apologize, but tack on, “sometimes I’m gonna be awkward! That’s going to happen. If/when that happens, say ‘hey, stop being so fucking awkward,’ and then I’ll stop.”