A Very Long Engagement

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I’ve been in Portland three years. I love the summers here; they seem like they go on forever and then disappear in the blink of an eye. They say summer is a great season to fall in love. It’s been a while since I fell in love. I’m not on the dating apps: they alternately bore and frustrate me. But once in a while, someone catches my eye in real life and I give it a go. This is one of those stories, this is a story of my worst date, if not ever, then certainly this month. This is the story of my date with Mike Schneider.

My name is Ivan. I was honestly surprised when Mike reached out to me, surprised that he still had my number. We flirted online a couple of years ago, I’m not sure if it was OKCupid or Tinder or who knows. We followed each other on Instagram eventually. Man, Mike sure likes taking pictures of his own face a lot, doesn’t he? I thought at first he looked unfriendly in a few of them, but he just has Resting Topface.

Anyway, he would pop up on my feed once in awhile. The last time we texted was December of 2014. It seemed like it was leading to meeting up: I felt like I was pursuing him but maybe he was shutting me down a bit? I can’t tell. Add to that the whole other issue of his blog. Ugh, yes, this guy is one of those blogging weirdos who think people actually want to read what they’re going through. Yes, I guess there’ve been a couple times I glanced at his writing when it floated by online. He’s aiight, but he writes about dating and stuff about his life and I didn’t want to end up on it.

The new year started, and something changed: a guy started popping up on Mike’s social media more and more: pictures of him, references to him. The guy was pretty gorgeous I guess: dirty blond hair, a big beard, blue eyes, killer smirk. I can see why Mike would have fallen hard for this guy. This guy got to Mike before me, and in a big way: Mike seemed smitten with him, and I guessed this was going to be one of those “happily ever after” stories. In the meantime, I had my own life, my own career to devote time to.

Months passed. At some point I suddenly saw that Mike and the guy broke up. It didn’t seem like it was amicable, or on good terms. A few months passed, and then one day Mike texted me out of the blue. He was complimentary, and it surprised me. I was suspicious, and asked him why. He mentioned that he had noticed me again because of the beard I grew. This, I thought, was extremely fucking weird. This was a guy who wouldn’t meet me before, wouldn’t even give me the time of day, but apparently my beard was the kryptonite that wore him down? Portland is fucking weird.

We texted for a week. It got a little hot and heavy at times, and I ended up telling him my reservations about meeting up: I chased him before, back a couple years ago and got turned down. How am I supposed to think he’s not just some fuckboi who has honed in on his next target? He made a lot of dad-jokes, told me to “Be the burrito I want to see in the world”. He talked to me about his ex, that guy I had seen in pictures with him. I asked if he was ready to meet someone new, ready to meet me. He said he was. I believed him.

I finally agreed to meet with him. He suggested a place near his place, called Swift. I had never been, so I biked across town from Northwest and met him there. I had already been drinking, which I told him over text before I met him. He sounded a little weirded out over text that I had been drinking before the date. What the fuck? I thought, It’s happy hour.

I locked up my bike and walked to the bar. You here? I texted him. Sorry running late he said. Okay, I typed, walking into the bar and standing in line to order drinks, what’s your ETA? He sends back: Oh my god like half an hour.

I was pretty annoyed but then I heard a noise behind me, turned around. Oh. It’s him. He was texting me from right behind me.

Okay, so he was grinning and it was charming and cute, and I admit I smiled for a second. We said our hellos and that it was good to finally meet in person. There’s those first moments when you’re meeting someone when you’re checking them out, sizing them up, subtly but thoroughly. How would his hand feel on my neck? How would it feel being underneath him? What would his voice sound like grunting my name? Is this really what I came here for?

We sat outside and chatted, and he asked me a lot of questions. He asked about my family (Next), my friends, my time in Portland. He didn’t always agree with my opinions. We chatted with the woman at the table next to us, traveling for work from the Bay Area. The guy at the table to the other side of us flirted with me a bit, and Mike smiled agreeably but I could tell he was a little annoyed. We both had a couple drinks each and towards the end he rushed me to finish.

We left the bar and Mike asked if I wanted to come by his apartment to “meet his cat”. Suuure, Mike, I’ve heard that before, we know what that’s code for. I walked my bike with him to his place. He let me in, we sat down, he poured wine. We kissed.

He got up to get us some ice water since it was hot in his apartment. I took off my clothes while he was in the other room, quietly so that he wouldn’t hear. He came back and I was sitting there in my underwear on the couch. He didn’t say anything about me having taken off my clothes, but maybe since I was casually leafing through the coffee table book when he came in he thought to just ignore it.

He sat next to me, drank his water, we kissed some more. I laid back on his couch and moaned: I wanted him to take me, to dominate me. He was hesitating, I could tell. “You’re very beautiful, but this isn’t what I wanted tonight to be.”

In silence I picked up my clothes off the floor, I dressed. I finally spoke: “This is over.” I couldn’t help but let my anger come through my voice. “You’re not looking for me, you are looking for David.” Again, silence from Mike. He just sat there looking at me getting dressed, but did I see a small reaction at my use of his ex’s name on our first- and now last – date? I got my bike, went to his door, unlocked it. Mike stood up to see me out, he got close. I wonder if he expected me to hug him. “Cheers” I sneered as I left his apartment. I expected the door to be slammed behind me. Instead, it closed softly. I walked past his open window and got on my bike, and I may have heard a sound coming from his window. I don’t know, whatever.

I got home and texted him that I hope he finds what he is looking for. He asked if I got home safe, he called me beautiful again. I replied that at least he’ll get a good piece for his blog out of the date. I told him I’m an idiot. I’m still not sure if I meant I’m an idiot for thinking he was ready to meet me, or if I regretted the way I acted when he wouldn’t fuck me. I’m not sure he knew which one I meant either.

He texted me the next morning: “Why are you an idiot?”

I never replied back.

 

Yay good the material is never-ending! Shudder at my recounting of my childhood crushes on Matt Baume’s podcast, and gawk at my tale of getting back into the dating scene after my breakup.  Let’s be horrible people together.

 

5 thoughts on “A Very Long Engagement”

  1. With the caveat that I am a loyal reader but complete stranger and also that you already know this, I feel somebody needs to say out loud that people shouldn’t be throwing David back in your face when you go out looking for love. This is I think the second reference I’ve seen to someone giving you flack for “looking for David” and really, what’s the matter with that? David contained many qualities you want, and you are searching for new people with the same qualities. You are perfectly within your rights to look for love after David, to look for someone who makes you feel the way David did, to do the kind of things David did with you, to always have a soft spot for him even as you try to move on, to never really get over him even as you explore things with new people, to date someone who is the spitting fucking image of him and to otherwise have David flavor your all your future romances the way your exes before him flavored your romance with him because that’s life on this fucking planet when things don’t work out. They don’t disappear, they leave a mark, they affect how you move forward and all future lovers will consciously or unconsciously be compared, favorably or not. You don’t necessarily have to hash out past feelings for past lovers with every new relationship, but it’s not cool for people to try and ding you for having been with someone that you still miss. You can miss someone achingly while being with someone new who also makes you happy in similar or different ways and that’s okay.

    I know a woman who had a boyfriend for several years, before getting dumped painfully. She ended up a year later dating the spitting image of the man, and we all kind of rolled out eyes behind her back in a “get over him already!” kind of way, and 15 years later they are a happy and successful couple. Because, and apparently this is true, people who look similar are not actually the SAME person. It’s crazy!

    Also, why do so many people go on dates with the torch they plan to burn the bridge with already lit? I mean, I guess I do it too sometimes, but I don’t understand why entirely. Embarrassment? Insecurity?

    Anyway, love the blog. Just don’t think people should be dinging you for thinking love is still possible post-David. Or weirdly assuming all the new connections you are trying to make are just you trying to make David golems of everyone else. The fact that so many of us are bitter and jaded over lost love doesn’t mean you have to be. Jesus Christ. I am angry on your behalf! I know that is weird and I am sorry.

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