Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Romance, Nerve-style

I've been on and off Nerve for the past few years. Online dating works in my brain, but in practice, it's really mostly a drag. I try to remain positive but chemistry is not something you can determine over a computer. You show up, and 8 times out of 10, you aren't into the person, at least not that way. I continue onward in hopes that the law of averages will eventually play in my favor. And at the very least, you often meet nice people.

I dated this guy a couple years back. We had a lot in common, he was smart, a film critic and professor at the New School, a little too old for me at the age of 48, often very arrogant, and not really cute, but I gave it a shot for a few months in an effort to try something different and break out of my regular dating patterns. Something didn't quite connect between us, like he had some big secret (I guessed herpes!) but I thought it might pass with time and familiarity.

After fairly regular contact while both of us were out of town over the winter holidays and maybe 6 or 7 dates, he disappeared about 3 months into it. No email, no call, no explanation, zip. Okay, this happens. (BTW, It's classic guy behavior like this that makes women crazy when an bullshit explanation like "I just can't do this" would suffice, but I digress.) Anyway, it made me feel crappy. I was a bit bummed, but since I was still involved with Colum the whole time I dated this guy, I wrote it off and moved on.

Fast forward to six months ago. I've been back on Nerve, sort of hanging out and seeing what happens. I notice him checking out my profile regularly through the "Who's viewing me" option and adding me to his "Hot List." (both features that can drive you nuts, btw) Then he spams me about his long-promised book -- yet another biography of Gram Parsons (because there apparently needs to be a fifth 'definitive' one...) I tell him to not spam me and please take me off his Hot List. He does.

This fall, I notice he's still checking me out. It starts to annoy me more and more, as I'm thinking "Hey, you blew me off. You were not nice, and I want nothing to do with you because of it. No backsies." Finally, this week, after noticing him doing weekly viewings, I shoot him an email that says something along the lines of the above, telling him it's creepy and weird, and it was his choice to disappear without any explanation so why is he still interested? The correspondence from yesterday over a 12-hour period triggered by my first three sentence email appears below.

Truly bizarre and icky. And a lesson in why online dating is not for the faint-hearted.

It's not weird nor creepy. Well, from my end there's no wierd nor creepy intent. And nothing voyueristic either, since that implies passivity.

I apologize if my checking you out has made you uncomfortable or annoyed. It'd be nice if you would be flattered; there is, from my end, a flattering explanation if you're at all open to talking to me after my vanishing two years ago. If you ain't, I understand. I know I behaved like an asshole. I am sorry.

I've been looking at your profile because you're been very much on my mind and I've been summoning the will/nerve to write you. I was going to write you to your old email address rather than here. It seemed more real. But today's a precipitating day, it seems.

A couple months after I last saw you, I started a relationship with someone. (NO, I was NOT seeing someone when we met) That ended a few months ago. And since then, I've thought of you...I've been to a few shows wherein I could just see you being there. One of my best friends married the guitar player from Soul Asylum, and at the various SA & Golden Smog shows I've been to here I looked around for you, wondering.....this past week, too, I re-tooled my fucked up iTunes and Push-Pull (a mix CD I made for him) reappeared after an absence of some time. That was probably when I went right to your profile...

I was shocked when I came back on the site and you were still here, still looking.

I'd like to talk. I'd like to see you. Here's a photo from the Third Man Ferris Wheel in Vienna. If you would rather not, tell me and I'll piss off. I still have numbers for you, but don't know if they're working. Mine is: xxxxxxx. I've moved; I lived on the west side of xxxx now and my Gram Parsons book is actually done. It's quite good.
I trust you're fine, that all is well...I'm not that much an apologer by nature, but I am sorry if I've been intrusive...
There it is

I respond:

Not only did you behave like an asshole, you WERE an asshole.

It's not surprising that in this whole email, there's no explanation STILL, 2 years later, for your disappearing act. And that's all it would have taken back then: a few sentences, a little bit of communication to let me know what was going on. Even a "I can't do this right now" or a "I've met someone else" -- whatever it was. I'm a big girl, but you never had the balls to step up and be honest with me. It didn't have to be that way, but you decided it was.

Instead, there was nothing but a big, fat silence. Is your ego really such that you'd think I'd want anything to do with you again, or could trust you again after that kind of nonsense? Plus, a total disregard for my feelings? You really have got to be kidding. And to act like you are doing me some great service by apologizing now -- well, now I'm the one shocked.

My numbers and email have never changed, so had you wanted to contact me at any point, it would have been very easy. Instead, this late, great apology comes because I finally contacted you first. I just want you to quit making me feel stalked by someone who made it so crystal clear that they wanted nothing to do with me anymore.

And since you semi-asked, I am good. I've had success with work in the past year or so, getting to travel a lot and working on publications I'm really proud of. I'm sure the long-awaited Gram book is fine, but as you might guess, I won't be giving it much lip service.

As you said, there it is. Hell hath no fury and all that shit.

And then he goes a bit crazy and gets kind of scary. Whoa, dude. No need to freak. I just don't like you:

I thought I made it plain when I wrote you earlier, that I was waiting to speak to you, or communicate directly with you about how I behaved. I did apologize; it's right there in my email from earlier today. It seems to me MORE chickenshit to disappear as I did, then WRITE an apology/explanation than to communicate with you, tell you to your face/voice that I am and was sorry. And to try and explain my behavior. In this email from you, you rank on me because I didn't say more NOW? This confuses me...I would like to talk to you, and tell you I'm sorry, and try to describe my own behavior (though it eludes me, too, at times. ) Then you can tell me to fuck off in person or over the phone and that'll be that.

It had nothing to do with you being a good girl. Simply me being uncertain and a coward. I just faded away -- I wasn't sure what my feelings were or how to proceed, so I reverted to adolescence. No excuse.

An FUCK THAT STALKING BULLSHIT...yes, I looked at your profile a couple of times. And so did 10,000 other men in NYC. You could have blocked me from seeing it any time you wanted. So, let's keep language - our specialites -- in the realm of the real. Have I ever called you? Ever emailed you? Ever kept my attentions on you in some aggressive way? Never - a profile's public space and yours to close off. So, be as pissed as you may be, but could we please keep the name-calling to a minimum?

AND NOBODY SAID I WAS DOING YOU A SERVICE BY APOLOGIZING...please to read my email again. I was attempting to clear the air. That you have always behaved perfectly in every relationship situation is now clear to me - I didn't understand that before.

And hell yes, I thought you might want to see me once more. 'Trust you after that sort of nonsense'? What sort? Letting things fade? Did I ever press you for anything you didn't want to do? Was I not the soul of rectitude? You got a pretty servere fucking ego yourself, Susan, or else you're quite pissed at someone else and taking my apology as a chance to unload that anger. And this much anger is just plain disproportionate.

Yes, I came back after 2 years and here you still are, on the web. Could that lead me to think that you had yet to find someone to connect to? And to think back on the commonalities we had and to see if we might try again? Yes. And nothing untoward about that, either.

But you would rather not connect. You'd rather hang onto anger. Hang onto it, then. Wallow in the moral high ground to your heart's content. And in two more years, you'll be right here.

I offered you my apology. I offered you a chance to explain. I offered you a moment of re-connection. You threw a tantrum, and judging by the content, it ain't got shit to do with me.

Now THAT is weird and creepy.
And it's too bad, too.
There THAT is.

Then this, 30 minutes later. This is where I become convinced he's bi-polar or at the very least, psychotic:

Susan, I'm sorry you're so pissed at me. My crimes seem a bit less to me than your explosion, but so be it. I actually thought of inviting you to the Soul Asylum/Cheap Trick show on Thursday. Fuck it - I still will. I'm plus 1, you can come as my guest and never speak to me again for the evening if you like..or yell at me all night if you prefer... And you know what, you WILL give my book lip service when it comes out because it's fucking good. D

And my last email to him, in reference to the pre-invite email:

This email is really mean and kind of scary.

I’m not that angry, and you haven’t even come close to seeing me in “explosion.” I just don’t think you treated me very well. You blew me off. And that’s your choice: no problem. But I didn’t like it, it hurt my feelings and because of that behavior, I don’t have any interest in you except to clear the air once and for all, since I never got that chance before. Why does that make you so angry with me? Why does that call for such comments like “Yes, I came back after 2 years and here you still are, on the web.”?

That’s super nice, and really makes me want to see you. Do you even know there was someone else the whole time I knew you, who I became more serious with after you? And I’m still here. Funny what you assume about me just to be mean-spirited.

Most simply put, I wish you had talked to me two years ago when it might have made a difference and I wasn’t just Plan B.

And his vitrol ups in his final missive. Notice, he makes fun of the mix CD i made him as a parting shot, which cracks me up:

No, it's OK music, with one or two really good songs and several dull seques
...hey - you got what you wanted: an apology. And you got to be shitty after it.
If you want to communicate, pick up the phone.
I'm done emailing with you.
I reached out, I apologized, I got a huge load of disproportionate anger
And then I get accused of being mean & scary
So, one way or another, you neither have to address your own tone or leave the moral high ground.
Whoa- good for you.
And this after I said no more rancor.
Go away or pick up the phone.
All else gets deleted unread.

The End. And thank god I never did really get involved with him. What a total freak and chump.


Xmastime said...

hold up....your guy knows Dan Murphy? my squad!!!!!!!!

The Know All said...

Sorry, dude. I should have hung in there so you could be pals with them. My bad.

Anonymous said...

pardon me for probably an inappropriate manner but I was reading it with a smile face. take it easy, heh heh..

Hairnoi said...

This was truly enjoyable. And yes, I am stalking you.


Anonymous said...

Susan, he's totally creepy. And still scary.

Anonymous said...

...That felt good.

PAT from Ohio