A Good Sport

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“Sporting” was given his name by my partner in crime, who helped me get this thing started in the first place. One piece of advice she gave me was to not “name the puppy.” What she meant was to give men a nickname amongst your friends until they had earned the privilege of being called by their real name, that way I wouldn’t emotionally invest until we had been out a few times and I knew things were going somewhere.

Sporting was a few years younger, 26 to my 30, which didn’t seem to pose a problem while we were e-mailing and texting. I still hadn’t learned that talking on the phone is a must before you agree to go out with someone.

After my date with Doggies a few days prior, I was pretty excited to meet this guy. He had planned a great date: dinner and then a minor league baseball game. We met at the restaurant. He had parked fairly far away in the parking garage as it was supposed to storm while we were at dinner and he didn’t want to get hail damage. What? So I’m driving us to the game? Whatever. I like to drive and I don’t trust many people behind the wheel.

Strike one: Cassanova took me to a steakhouse. This would have been okay if I had not been a vegetarian and wasn’t eating fried food at the time. However, he was very charming and we had a great conversation over my plate of steamed vegetables and his chicken fingers (really? Chicken fingers on a first date? At a steakhouse?).

After dinner, we hopped in my car and headed to the ball field. It was a short drive, and he remarked at how impressive it was I drove a manual. Does no one know how to drive a stick these days? He confessed to me that he couldn’t find just two tickets to purchase so he bought four. There was no one sitting on either side of us, which I guess was nice. Then the inappropriate touching started: strike two. Not that he was grabbing my boobs or going for my nanner, but we had been sitting for three minutes max when he put his arm around me and began massaging my shoulder like it was one of my tits. And the singing… Oh the horrible singing. Every time the organ played something, he hummed along and did this awkward dance/bobble-head thing and looked at me like I should want to take his clothes off. I laughed at him and told him he looked ridiculous. He did it more. I started to ignore him. He wanted to sit through the whole game, even though it was a Tuesday night and we both had to work the next day. I thought maybe he was catching wind of my annoyance with him, but he was pretty oblivious.

When were walking back to the car after the game, he put his arm around me like I was his. I shrugged his arm off of me, smiled and said “that makes my back hurt.” Which it kind of did after sitting in the stadium seats for hours. When I dropped him off at his car he hopped out, told me he’d call me and left my passenger door wide open. I shouted at him to close it, but he didn’t hear me. I had to get out and close the damn thing myself. He saw me get out and thought I wanted a goodnight kiss. Wrong! He hugged me and tried to plant one on me, but I turned my head and he got a mouthful of my freshly colored hair. I hopped in my car, rolled the windows down and sped off into the night.

He did text me the next day about what a great time he had and would like to see me again. I told him I just wasn’t feeling it, but I was sure there was another lady who would better compliment him. He then wished me good luck at finding whatever I was looking for and made a few rude comments about how I led him on just like every other girl. Um, we texted for a couple of days and went on one date. I’m pretty sure that’s not leading a person on. I didn’t respond, but rather got back on the wagon and set up 4 dates for the next week.

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Bearded Doggies

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I can’t remember his real name. In his pictures, he looked like a ton of fun and pretty cute. The night I drunkenly joined Match.com, he was one of the three e-mails I sent out (with the help of my sober friend over the phone). We wrote back and forth for about a week before we scheduled a date. He was witty and sarcastic, and I was pretty freaking excited. I gave him my phone number and, two days later, I was meeting him at a local bar and grill for drinks.

It was Friday night and I was dressed to impress: cute sundress with sandals and killer red lips. He showed up in… painting clothes. The first thing I noticed were the grey speckles in his hair and he was shorter than I expected. Now, when I say grey speckles, I don’t mean salt-and-pepper but rather he had paint EVERYWHERE. He said “hi” in a high-pitched voice I wasn’t prepared to hear. Then I noticed, as the waitress led us out the patio, that he had a giant hole in the ass of his jeans. I could see the entire left half of this guy’s ass (at least he was wearing boxers). We sat down and he ordered a beer. I was new to the game and figured it best to drink water so I didn’t embarrass myself. He hadn’t showered before he left his house. He smelled terrible and every time he smiled I wanted to punch him in the face. Hindsight 20/20, I should have gotten shit-faced.

“Doggies” (as my friend dubbed him: “you can’t name the puppy until it’s yours”), was a total disappointment. I didn’t want my first Match date to be a total flub, so I tried really hard to be interested in what he had to say. About an hour in, I started yawning and saying what a long day it had been and how I should probably get home because I had to be up early the next day, which was a total lie. I hugged him in the parking lot and we both said “nice to meet you,” but neither of us said “let’s do it again.”

Luckily, I was in contact with two other fellows and didn’t have to wait long for bad date number two…

So pretty…

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Trey was so pretty. I use his name because we aren’t friends and I don’t care if I ever see him again. It should have been a good story to tell our kids: we met at a bar (minus that part). The ladies’ room was right next to the bar in the back and there were a few tables. Trey and his friend were standing at a table closest to the ladies’ room when I exited. Of course, I couldn’t let it go and said “what are you doing standing next to the ladies’ room like a couple of creepers?” They acted shocked at first, then laughed when they realized I wasn’t really angry at them. I struck up a conversation, he told me I had beautiful eyes, and I gave him my number.

Trey texted me the next day and we made plans to see a movie. Oblivion. We are both sci-fi fans and it was either that or Star Trek (which we saw a couple of weeks later). He walked me to my car, like a gentleman, so I drove him to his car. While we sat in my car, saying our goodbyes, he basically ate my face off.

Later that week, he came over and I made him dinner. We sat out on my balcony and drank beer while looking at the stars. It was an amazing date. It ended with our clothes on the floor. He had a ridiculously spectacular body and was incredible in the bedroom. However, that’s about all he had going for him. He called me once because he had to reschedule a date. During this call, he told me how he had bought a new truck. It had worse gas mileage than his car, the insurance was higher, and he would have a crazy high payment, but this truck was meant to be his. Now, you would think I would have said “okay. This is probably not the smartest fellow and maybe I should keep looking.” Nope. I liked the attention and the regular sexual escapades, no matter that we couldn’t talk politics or religion or science. He had giant, matching crosses tattooed on each bicep. I’m pretty sure he was republican. He once told me a fifteen minute story about going to the Verizon store to get a new phone, only it wasn’t a Verizon store but an authorized dealer and the phone broke and they wouldn’t honor his warranty… This story went on FOREVER, but all I kept thinking was how great the sex was.

He was a daddy. He had a seven year old son, but had never been married. Mom had majority of custody, but Trey had him every other weekend and Wednesdays. He worked construction, so he had to be up early and usually go to bed early. At least twice, we made plans to hang out and he stood me up. He would text me the next day about how sorry he was but he fell asleep and by the time he woke up, it was too late to text me. The third time it happened, I drank a bottle of Riesling, put on my sweats and joined Match.com. And that’s when the fun started…

Mixed Signals

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BM taught me the art of communication. He was fun, laid back, and the social butterfly I longed to be. He was B but with a steady job, a car, a place to live and a cell phone. The down-side? He was like dating two people: one was sober and the other was either drunk or high. Our first date was classic: he picked me up for a movie date that ended with us watching the Walking Dead at his house with his roommates. He brought me flowers four days later on Valentine’s Day. When I said “thank you,” he said “I’m glad I have you to give them to.” I melted at the romantic gesture. My ex-husband was the last man to give me flowers, but he didn’t calculate our anniversary correctly and they were a week early. How you can forget July 1st, I’m not sure, but that’s beside the point. BM also texted me every day: he texted “good morning” and he hoped I had a good day and he texted “goodnight” when he was headed to bed. I was smitten with all the attention.

The weekend following the 14th, I had plans with my friends and he with his. He called me that Saturday night and asked if I could be his DD since I was still out. I picked him up at this ridiculous theme party where he was dressed in neon running tights and a sweatband around his head. I could tell he was intoxicated, but I didn’t think anything of it. He asked me if I would spend the night with him. Of course, being smitten, I agreed. We woke the next day and I drove him back to his car. I then realized he wanted a ride home because he had a Breathalyzer in his car and could not have driven the previous night whether he had wanted to or not. Somehow I was still okay with where we were headed.

We went on a couple of dates, but our relationship slowly turned into drunken, late night phone calls from him asking me to come over. I was in love so I would gladly drive to his house at 2 am, with a smile on my face, to “cuddle” with him because he said he missed me. Only he didn’t miss me. For about two months, we did this dance.

I wish I could say I came to my senses and called it off, but I didn’t. When he stopped texting me every day, I asked him what was wrong. He didn’t want a girlfriend, but a FWB. He thought he wanted a girlfriend, but realized he didn’t and was sorry for hurting me. I was devastated. How could he treat me like that? How could I let someone treat me like that? I didn’t know what to say. I asked the question that can’t be answered: do you want to be with me in the future? He couldn’t answer. We talked for two hours then he asked me to come over. He said he didn’t want to have sex, but just hold me and sleep next to me. I hesitated, but went. I cried in his arms and we fell asleep. The next day I drove home and told myself that I couldn’t do this anymore. We spent one more night together, but he again called me and said he just couldn’t be with me.

Six days later, I met T at a bar. He was so pretty…

Lessons From a Rebound

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B was my rebound. I’m not sure I loved him, but he taught me a lot about love, life and just generally being okay with myself. Just 6 days after my indiscretion with my mechanic, I met B at a bar in my favorite college town about 40 minutes away. He was tall, tattooed, pierced, and everything I’d never experienced. We stared at each other all night, but he didn’t approach me until the bar was closing. We exchanged names, but not phone numbers. He had lost his phone, or so he said, and told me I could give my number to his friend. I declined and we parted ways. Three days later, my friend came across a Craigslist Missed Connections that mentioned my first name, my red hair and my new wrist tattoos, so it had to be me. It was, quite possibly, the most flattered I’ve ever felt. I had made such an impression on this fellow that he basically posted a love note on a public forum. I promptly printed the post and presently keep it in my journal. In his post, he asked me to meet him at the same bar Tuesday night for a drink, but I didn’t see the post until Wednesday. I replied to the random Craigslist post number with his name, writing I was sorry I missed his post but still wanted to get a drink. We e-mailed for 2-3 weeks before we met again in person. It was very… 90s romantic. He was so much more handsome than I’d remembered. He stood 6’4″, 14 inches taller than me and he had beautiful hazel eyes that saw into my soul. He was very loud and boisterous and told me stories that you only tell a person you’ve known for great lengths of time. I was instantly attracted. The night we became re-acquainted, it was pouring down rain. We swung at the park and walked around town, getting soaked. We landed back at the place where he was staying. He told me he was staying with his friends on the couch until he could save a deposit to get a place of his own. I would later come to find that B was not only good at stretching the truth, but telling outright lies. He was sleeping on a futon mattress stuffed into a storage closet next to the stairs. We spent the night cuddling on the couch, where I was sure I would get lung cancer from his chain smoking “roommates,” or the Plague from the Hoarders-like disaster they called home. I was physically ill for two days.

B’s saving grace was that he was ridiculously romantic. He really wanted to make our first intimate night together magical, so he put glow in the dark stars on the ceiling of his closet and played some really cheesy lovey-dovey music on his iPod. I’ve always been able to look past material things to fall in love with a personality and charm. I say this because B had no car, no cell phone, and rarely had internet access. He was off the grid. If I wanted to see him, I had to call his various friends until I found him. He would occasionally call me but, more often than not, I was the one tracking him down. I visited him almost every weekend. I was still living with J, but was rarely home. Between finding reasons to work late, going to the gym and just busying myself in general, B became my escape. One weekend, I brought B back to the house I shared with my soon-to-be ex-husband. We watched television and had wild, crazy sex until I was almost certain J was going to come home. B had been kicked out of the Hoarders’ place, and had nowhere to go. We drove out to the lake, had a quickie in my car (the first time I’d had sex in a car – at the age of 29), and slept on the dock. That was just the tip of the iceberg of wild, teenage-ish things we did together. We would sit on the rooftops of buildings downtown and look at the stars. I don’t know how we didn’t get caught by security guards almost completely naked on the top of a parking garage on Halloween… B’s friend was in a business that I didn’t ask about and he didn’t tell, though I decided I was in over my head when they gave me a code word just in case someone came up behind me with a weapon and forced me to call up to his apartment. After that, I only picked up B and dropped him off but never stepped outside my car.

I invited B to my Holiday Party at work. He was a hit. He was such a child discovering everything for the first time. Not that we have the fanciest of parties, but I had to purchase clothing for B to wear, as I was not going to take him in the jeans he had made into shorts then sewn back together when the weather turned cold. That weekend was my last to inhabit the house with J, but luckily B had recently moved into an apartment with another fellow and we had somewhere to spend the night – in a bedroom that was all his.

The next weekend I moved to my own place. I asked B to stay with me the first night as I was scared to be living alone for the first time in my life. I was not planning on asking him to help me move – I was merely going to pick him up after my family had gone. However, B wanted to spend the entire weekend with me. I stayed with him Friday night and he rode back with me Saturday to help me move. He met my parents, my brother, my friend from work. It was beyond awkward. He wasn’t my boyfriend and it’s not a comfortable situation when your dad is having a deep discussion with a guy who is basically a long-term friend with benefits. He stayed with me that weekend, and every weekend after. It really was a symbiotic relationship. I got attention and sex while he got shelter and to watch Netflix while I slept. This went on for the entire month of December before B started talking to me A LOT about his lady friend H. They had known each other since high school, and he was helping H with her sick mother. I knew B wasn’t my boyfriend and I pretty much assumed he was banging her. I was freshly divorced, tried to act like I didn’t care and we played “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Then B asked me if he could move in with me. He was being kicked out of his apartment and needed somewhere to go. I lived 40 miles away and asked why he would want to live with me when his work opportunities and friends were so far away. He became angered and stopped answering my e-mails and Facebook messages. At first, I was desperate and would send multiple messages, asking if I did something wrong or if he was okay. He would respond with short little messages like “I’m fine, thanks” or “been busy.”

I tried to focus my attention on other things. Toward the end of January, I chatted up a fellow that worked at my gym. Let’s call him BM. Yeah, that’s appropriate. BM and I always had long chats but, during this particular conversation, I mentioned I was single. He asked me out, and two weeks later we went to the movies and back to his place to watch the Walking Dead. Four days later was Valentine’s Day. BM brought me flowers. B messaged me “Happy VDay!” then I didn’t hear from him for a solid month. I messaged him to ask why he hadn’t tried to contact me. He said I had met him at a vulnerable time in his life and he wasn’t the person I knew any longer. He said incredibly hurtful things like I was immature (coming from someone who was kicked out of THREE apartments in 5 months, I knew who really had the issues) and I needed to grow up. I told him I was glad to have known him in his vulnerable state, but if he had changed this way, I had no further desire to have him in my life (NOW who’s immature?).

To my shock, B sent me a Facebook message in August apologizing for “being such a cunt.” I thanked him, asked him how he was and let it go. B taught me how to live in the moment and not care what other people thought of me. He also taught me that my 401(k) is pretty cool and it’s great to have a steady job, a place to live and good health insurance.

How it all began

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I think it started in high school. I changed boyfriends every time I washed my jeans. Not that I was all over every guy. I was a prude. I immediately broke up with the first guy that tried to touch my boobs at age 14. It was almost four years later, one week after high school graduation that I would lose my virginity to my first love, whom I’d known since the age of 3. Let’s call him D. I ran into D at a bar several months ago. He said he’d “thought about it a few times” since we broke up 12 years ago. I hadn’t, but now I do, though it most likely won’t happen.

I was never single for more than a month. It’s always been this way. After a magical Christmas where D gave me a beautiful bracelet (the only jewelry I had ever received as a gift), I broke up with D and started dating M. M Just happened to be a high school friend and his roommate. M and I were together for two and a half years. I loved him, but I worked two jobs and went to college full time while his mommy and daddy paid all of his bills. They even gave him extra money when we almost didn’t make rent because he spent his whole monthly wad on video games. I strayed, but I told him I wanted to see other people. I dated another man while we lived together. Eventually I moved out. We called it off (or rather I did) several times before I became infatuated with my soon to be husband.

I dated J for two or three months before I began hounding him about marriage. Five months later, we were engaged and 12 months later we were married. It all seemed rosy in the beginning: he had a job, he was close with his family, he (almost) had his bachelor’s degree. He was taking evening classes and working part time while I already started a full time job. The problem began when he wanted to continue to work part time after he graduated, while I still worked full time and mostly supported us. His family lived about 45 minutes away, and he was very close with his little brother. He began spending the night at his parents’ house in order to spend time with his brother. I will never understand why a married man needs to spend the night at his parents’ house when his new wife is at home. I continued to feel neglected as we bought a house closer to the city and closer to his family. I quickly learned that a shorter drive meant more time away from me. Whole weekends were spent by him with his friends and his brother, and I was not invited most of the time. For several years, I sat at home every weekend watching television and gaining weight.

One day, four years later, my friend asked if I wanted to join the boxing class at the gym. This is where my life turned around. I had been seeing a therapist for a year and a half, and though it helped some, I was lacking real motivation. I started boxing and the weight started melting off. I was in fantastic physical shape and my mental health was on the up and up. My friend quit the class, but I kept going. I felt strong and sexy. When I went out with my friends (J refused to go out with my friends), men would look at me in a way that I had never noticed before. I finally felt attractive. I tried to explain my feelings to J: the loneliness and the isolation that were being replaced by lust for attention and a need to be seen. He seemed to understand, but I don’t think he did. He thought he was doing right by me and telling me I was pretty and grabbing my ass constantly. What he didn’t understand was that I needed his time. We scheduled one date night per month, which never made it past two months. We tried to do more together, but the more time we spent together, the more we fought.

It began to unravel on a trip with my mom to Minnesota. I call him my mechanic because that’s his profession and that’s how we met. A friendly, “how’s your car?” while Mom and I ate dinner at the hotel started the whole affair. We texted all weekend. It was sexual from the start. My husband? Never heard from him. When I texted him, he told me he was busy. Mind you, I left at noon Friday and didn’t come home until Sunday evening. I showed up at home Sunday night and he was on the couch eating dinner. He didn’t even get up when I came in the door, like I was coming home from work, even though I hadn’t seen him in almost four days.

I didn’t hear much from the mechanic for a while, just a sexy “hey, how’s it going?” every couple of weeks. It was two months before I had the liquid courage to do something about it. I was at a bachelorette party, and he was saying all the right things. After that, I was hooked. I didn’t care that he had a girlfriend or that I was a married woman. I wanted more. It was two more months before round two. It was a Sunday night, and I don’t stay out late on Sundays. I was at my parents’ house; the perfect cover, I thought. Only I didn’t leave his place until 11:30 pm. I had several missed calls and text messages, not only from him but at least 5 people he called because I wasn’t answering. By the time I got home, I decided I had to tell the truth. I was miserable and I needed out. He did and said things to me that night that I will never forget. I understand what I did was not right, but what J did to me that night will forever haunt me. We went to counseling, but he told the counselor he didn’t think I wanted to make it work, and he was right. I had six years of feeling less than loved, and I felt that was plenty. We lived together for four, painful months while I saved enough to put down a deposit and first month rent. He had lots of sex with college-aged girls who were friends of his brother’s, who is 14 years his junior. I tried not to let on how much it bothered me, even though I was out dating someone new as well. But that’s another story…