Photo: Ashleigh Pinnell
There is only one thing worse than being rejected, and that is being rejected twice. By the same person. In my case, my bruised ego’s need to one-up indirectly led to a sprained ankle and a directly humiliating second run in at a Long Island City bar.
We had met in that same bar a starry March night six months or so before. I’d pulled a not-bad one-liner to draw him in, and we gradually separated ourselves from our friends. An artist, he had a massive upper body, Clark Kent glasses and a shy, dry wit. He kissed me under a tree outside. Later, he sent me Youtubes from Truffaut’s ‘Jules et Jim‘ and I informed several people I’d found my new boyfriend. Boyfriend? Oh, no, no. No. My soul mate.
We went out a few times, had mind-blowing sex in his Bushwick apartment. I laid on his chest and stared up at him, addicted. I petted his tiny cat. I told him that, yes, a Thigh Master made of quartz and wood chips completely asserted the negated structure of the ideal. Like completely.
I went a little mad, I think.
But the chemistry, the conversation, the banter! I imagined him proposing in a phone booth and began picking out the length of pantsuit I’d wear at our Chernobyl-Meets-Sweat Lodge wedding. It was a sweet and exhausting few weeks. Total La bohème, except the coughing blood into a handkerchief part.
And then I did it.
One night, drugged on sex, I asked… to see his studio.
But not even after that came out did I see the end near. Certainly not after he kissed me tenderly, wearing black boxer briefs, and told me to sleep in while he left for work. It wasn’t after the first three days… or five… or two weeks, after texts and calls back petered out and I had to start detoxing. And by detoxing, I mean crying.
After that, I got back on track, dusted my snot stained self off and got back to being relaxed, emotionally unharmed and deeply suspicious. I was fine. I WAS FINE. I was better off, and…and…. well he had to know. So, one night/morning, I broke one of my cardinal rules which is DO NOT EMAIL THINGS YOU SHOULD NOT EMAIL. This is what that graveyard o’ crazy called your ‘Draft Box’ is for! Unfortunately, after four Woodford Reserves and a previous sleepless night I decided, at 6am, that it was really important he know I was fine. So I sent a one line email to that effect. Kind of like this:
‘HEYI’MFINEJUSTLETTINGYOUKNOWIMFINE AND WASNTTHATSOFUN??SEEYAWHATEVERIDONTCARELOLCATCHYALATER! OR NOT!’
And after that, it was an even better idea to go running in Prospect Park and sprain my ankle on a tree stump in the dark. Only later, at the Urgent Care Unit watching my ankle billow red did I imagine my shame doing the same thing.
I recovered, accepted, moved on to other dudes with great cheekbones and better Gchats. Until, months later, I saw him at the bar we met at. I pretended not to see him, and sailed by with friends. The last thing I wanted, of course, was to leave.
“Nadine!” I heard. What? Why was that voice so energetic and why, for Christ’s sake, was he trying to get my attention?
“Nadine!” Again. He bounded up, friendly and excited to see me. What? Like, what? “How are you? How weird to see you here…”
He kept talking, maybe something about how he was building a bowling alley out of human teeth and Astro-Turf, and my mind wandered back to those weeks after. Maybe he DID like me. Maybe he didn’t get my email…or any of my texts! I wasn’t going to go after him again, no way, ego trumps ass every time for me and I was seeing someone anyway. But I had my second chance! To give him a taste of rejection, a vengeful dream. Plainly, I’d win. We’d make plans and I’d never call.
I came back to the conversation, grinned, cocked my head.
“That’s awesome. Well… hey… did you want to get a drink sometime and check it out?”
He smiled, looked confused, then…. Oh God….a pitying smile?
Oh God. What did I do.
He put his hand on my arm.
“No”. he said.
“No” again, “but I had a great time!”
He walked off, and I was left gaping and rejected, once more, but this time having done it to myself. In an attempt to dominate someone who hurt me instead of accepting that the pendulum just didn’t swing in my direction that time, it happened twice.
It’s not that important to make sure people know you know who you are. You just need to know. So you can find someone who likes that. That’s what happened to me. It’s also important for when that first blow-off happens, because you’ll know it wasn’t you. And if it was, well, you can send Youtubes to yourself, drop them in the Draft Box, and send ‘em when you need a lift.