So there’s this guy I was seeing – we’ll call him Mickey. (Seriously – why do I always pick the most retarded names for the pseudonyms? I literally spend five minutes and come up blank. If anyone has a list of men’s names that don’t suck but also aren’t stupid or boring, please let me know).
Anyway, I’d been seeing Mickey on and off for over six months so I knew him fairly well, and most of the things I knew, I liked. We clicked emotionally. We were on the same level intellectually. We were both open and free with our sexuality but also treated it and ourselves with a level of respect that warranted a feeling of mutual understanding. In other words, we both had it together and liked that about the other. We were well matched.
That said, neither of us was looking for something serious at the time. And despite living only a few metro stops away from each other, we both had very busy schedules that rarely matched. Whenever we did manage it, the conversation was stimulating and so was the sex, which proved quite the intoxicating combination. So intoxicating that we finally admitted that unless we scheduled a date 3-4 weeks out, it would never happen. So we scheduled a date for a Friday weeks in advance, complete with handcuffs.
Meanwhile (and I swear to God this relates), I go to a rather specialized dentist. The type of dentistry is a long story I don’t feel like going into – suffice it to say it’s a new kind of eco-friendly, very low chemicals thing. The important thing is that it’s rare and relatively unknown.
So the week of the date with Mickey, I was at said obscure dentist. I’d been texting back and forth with Mickey about Friday (a date 3 weeks in the making warrants ensuring that it’s still on, as well as logistical arrangements – we were really going to go all out and get a hotel room this time, plus, of course, there was the matter of the ‘cuffs). At any rate, I knew he was excited to see him and particularly after some subpar sex I’d recently had, I was thrilled to see him as well.
You can therefore (try to) imagine my surprise when a young woman in the waiting room recognized me from a bio picture, and when I asked her how she heard about the article, announced, “I’m Mickey Smith’s girlfriend.”
First of all, Mickey had a girlfriend? I was blissfully unaware of this despite having known him for over half a year, and a little creeped out given that he and I were literally supposed to fuck on Friday.
My mind raced. Was she serious? (She seemed to be). Was it possible? (Of course). Could it have been a misunderstanding between the two of them? (Possible, but unlikely).
Secondly, what the fuck? Was I on Candid Camera or something? Mickey’s girlfriend really went to my dentist, a dentist who has a tiny following out in the boonies? And we just happened to be together in the waiting room (where you almost never have to wait) on the exact same day at the exact the same time? I felt like I was on a soap opera on the CW.
To be perfectly frank, I was more amused than anything else by the entire thing. On my end, I wasn’t that bothered. Mickey and I were never a committed couple. I didn’t have any issues with either of us fucking around with other people – in fact, I assumed we both were. The most important thing was that we used protection.
What did bother me was the idea of him actually being committed to someone else (not just fucking around). That meant that I was suddenly put in the position of essentially choosing between covering for him or being forthright with a fellow woman.
What was I supposed to do? Tell her about Friday? Not tell her about Friday? Give him the benefit of the doubt? Assume that he was a douche?
The truth was, I didn’t know what was up between the two of them, the background, the current status, whether it was a misunderstanding or he was just an asshole. And frankly, I wasn’t interested. Whatever was going on with them was going on with them, not me. I just didn’t want to feel caught in the middle. Which I was.
I felt like I was either going to fuck over someone I knew and was friends with, or fuck over another perfectly imperfect woman, a fellow human being valiantly attempting to navigate the absurdly treacherous terrain of relationship.
I therefore ended the encounter with only one thing absolutely, 100% certain: I will never, ever trust Mickey again.
… like ever.
Fact: however Mickey treats another woman is how he’s going to treat me. Period.
Fiction: I’m somehow different and/or special, and he would change his behavior if he were with me.
Bullshit. If there’s any lie that both men and women tell themselves, it’s that someone will change for them. NO ONE WILL EVER CHANGE FOR YOU. Never. It just doesn’t happen.
Now, someone may change for him/herself, and it is sometimes possible that you are involved in that equation, but they usually don’t and you usually aren’t. The times that change actually happens are usually when you spark someone in realizing something about themselves that they weren’t previously aware of; you are, in other words, a catalyst. You are NOT the source of the change. It’s like you turned on the light in the room and they were like, “HEY, I should rearrange this furniture.” It NEVER works to tell them or expect them to rearrange the room or get rid of that old futon. It just doesn’t.
So when this thing happened with Mickey, the biggest thing I took away from it was that I can’t trust him. He would do the same kind of shit to me if we ever did decide to take it to the next level and get into a relationship. I can’t trust him.
So it was that on that day, Mickey lost me forever, at least in terms of something real. For ever and ever and ever. I was glad I wasn’t nor will ever be his ‘girlfriend,’ and I felt bad for the woman who thought she was.
In fact, once the amusement over living through an actual soap opera wore off, I felt scared at the idea that I might have been hit at some point by a bullet I’d just dodged. The event brought me up short: this was a man I might have at one point considered, and he had just proved that he would fuck me over (me in the form of another woman at that point, but potentially me me in the future).
I also found myself feeling sad. Achingly, profoundly sad about something I still can’t quite put my finger on.
Perhaps it is this: even when someone betrays someone else and you are merely a witness to it, it sparks actual grief. There is a sense of mourning, of the loss of something beautiful and ephemeral and as tremendously important as it is tenuous: