So I seem to have an affection for confessional prose. I didn’t know that’s what this writing was called until someone defined it at this writers’ group I was in. How ‘baring your soul’ was a thing other writers like to do and there were enough of us to call the work we do ‘confessional.’ Some people think the genre is selfish because the writer is the only one who gets the catharsis out of it. I disagree. I’m drawn to stories of vulnerability. Like Brene Brown or Lena Dunham, I’m fascinated by the way shame presents itself. The way it breathes, the way it slithers and hisses, the way it bites when prodded. Not because I like the way it makes me feel but because the sooner I can recognize it, the sooner I can release it and Jesus can heal me.
Anyway, I’ve been hesitating to tell the story about Yale because, I mean, who wants to admit they fell for their pen pal?
The answer is nobody because it’s a dumb thing to do.
But I’m going to do it because: a) I want to move on, and; b) When I write the meet-cute scene between King Zirk and Myrtle, I don’t want it to be this fantasy of Yale. I want Zirk to be Zirk. Not an imposition of who I want him to be. I want it to be a sincere scene. Not this sick fantasy of Yale on re-run. So I’m going to try just spitting it out and see if that fixes the scene so that every time I look at Zirk I don’t see Yale. I don’t know if that’s even logical but I’m going to try and see if that works. If it doesn’t work and the meet-cute comes out corny and stupid, and I just spilled my guts out in a completely undignified way then that’ll definitely suck but at least I tried.
So ever since I read Bridget Jones Diary, I’ve basically been on the hunt for Mark Darcy. It’s dumb (Every time I admit it and re-read that sentence in my brain, it gets dumber because it’s so true). Bridget Jones and I are very similar. We’re clumsy and emotional, we’re awful cooks, stick our feet in our mouths and we make air bands to Celine Dion. And I figured that if a lawyer like Mark Darcy could handle Bridget, then surely a lawyer could handle me, too.
Yale is a young lawyer. The first time we spoke over the phone, we talked about books, Futurama, and writing for television. At one point, or maybe even a couple, he tumbled over his words a bit, felt bad, and tried to re-trace his steps. It was at that moment and for this very reason that I liked him immediately.
For the first little bit, I followed the dating advice of the books I was reading (I would tell you what those books are but they are kind of like Fight Club and the first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club) but then I let my guard down. We were starting to get flirty and I threw out all the dating etiquette out the window. At one point, we were texting when I was very tired and because my comprehension gets worse when I’m tired, words were getting jumbled. Almost all of his sext-ing advances were met with bizarre confusion. Like once he told me he was fantasizing about us hanging out in his apartment in our underwear and my dyslexic brain thought he was talking about the event like it already happened and so I was like, “i think you’re talking about somebody else ba ha ha ha ha ha ha” And then I realized that he wasn’t and I think he was actually sincere about his fantasy to get me to take off my clothes. So I ended up apologizing because I felt bad for laughing at his fantasy. He recovered well and we went on as normal. I continued to make nerdy sexual innuendoes using legal terms and he continued to misuse the phrase, “riled up” but I knew what he meant and that seemed to work for us.
As much fun as it was to joke with him, I also knew this wasn’t how I wanted to date. I had made the mistake of moving too fast with another guy before and I didn’t want to do that again. I honestly liked Yale but this wasn’t the way I wanted to begin the relationship. I knew better. Plus, things were starting to get weird with some of the other dudes online. One guy sent me dic pics. Another wasn’t on their for himself, he was trying to help a friend find a booty call. And then, I found out that another guy I was talking to was actually married and he was just online because he felt he could express himself differently online than he could with his wife. It made him feel “free” I ended it as soon as I found out he was married but I was ashamed of myself for getting emotionally involved with a married man (albeit, unknowingly but still involved). It’s happened before, too, and I don’t want to ever, ever, ever do that again. So I suppose it kinda triggered that fear in me and sent me running.
I said goodbye to Yale, wished him well and deleted my profile.
Of course, I missed my little lawyer so a week or two later, I signed back up on Bumble. He was still there. We matched again and started chatting. He could tell that I was conflicted but he assumed the conflict was me not knowing what I wanted. Which was completely false. I wanted him but I knew that I couldn’t get into a committed relationship with him because he wasn’t a Christian (he grew up Catholic but there was no evidence of his allegiance to Jesus in his speech or conduct. Not that I was behaving all that well either but I sincerely want to wait till I get married to have sex and that view is less than popular with men. The problem is I’m a terrible tease and I really need to stop because that’s why things are so messy).
Anyway, we agreed to be friends. Platonic friends. Which has never worked for me. I’ve never been able to pull off a platonic friendship with a dude I previously liked. I mean, I have guys who are friends but I’ve never had feelings for them so it’s not a problem but for guys that I have had feeling for, I just can’t turn them off. I’m not built that way. I just can’t turn feelings on and off. And because he felt like I didn’t know what I wanted — which again, is not true (but because I’m a tease, I could see why he’d feel that way)– was the reason why he was hesitant to move the relationship forward.
Which makes sense. He is the logical one, after all.
We continued to talk and text. I was fascinated by his work and how he became a lawyer. What it’s like and what it takes. We both hated Regina and he was planning to leave as soon as he could. Every week he’d give me updates on his plans and I kept telling him I was happy for him and how I wanted him to be happy and he said he wanted me to be happy and our conversations moved from flirtatious to genuine. Well, it was genuine on my end at least. In spite of all the ways I so deeply want to villainize him for the times he was immature, blunt and rude, I can recall moments of sincerity, even class. He had class.
I was on and off the dating sites, trying very hard to get over him by dating other men. But every time I signed back on, he’d be there and we’d match again and so there’d be this hope that maybe we could actually pull this off. We’d talk on the phone. He’d ask when I was free and we’d plan to meet but nothing ever came of it. At one point, I was so frustrated that I unmatched with him on Tinder (pre-banishment. Yes I was banished off of Tinder… that’s another story entirely) because I couldn’t stop looking at his profile. I was addicted.
I can’t speak for him or why he never followed through. Maybe he truly was busy. Or maybe he just wasn’t that into me. That’s what my dating books would tell me and I think I’m finally ready to believe them. Whatever the case, I was getting increasingly frustrated and came to this breaking point about a month ago. We had finally found a day to meet. Everything was fine and then he cancelled on me to go to a concert. I finally had enough and just leaned into him hard. I leaned into him the way I’d lean into a class of rowdy grade eights who are being total shits and tried to assert myself. It’s a losing battle. You can’t win someone’s respect just by ordering them to treat you that way. It doesn’t work that way and when it’s done poorly, it becomes less assertive and more entitled which just digs the hole deeper. Anyway, when he didn’t respond, I continued to perpetuate the problem by texting at least five times trying to fix it. Whatever dignity I was trying to win before was lost after that and I imagine this is how Queen Vashti must’ve felt when King Xerxes banished her from the castle. And if I could, I’d re-write her story. I’d help Queen Vashti find a home in the midst of her banishment. Maybe the King would find her and they’d make amends. Or maybe she’d come to terms with her banishment, re-adjust her crown and carry on.
I don’t know what is going to happen in the storyline between Yale and I but I’d really like a do-over. A fresh start. And if I can’t have that, then I just pray that God will help me end it with dignity. Not that I have much of it left anyway but something redemptive and heart-filling, rather than heart-breaking. That would be nice.