Person or Prop?

It was really fun putting out the online dating archives” series last week. Yesterday, when I didn’t write or put anything out it was suddenly weird and I wished I’d done something. Plus, I’ve been thinking of lots of obnoxious dating stories now and I can’t get them out of my head. This story is pretty mild on the scope of my dating-hell spectrum, but it was a meaningful lesson I’ve been mulling over recently and I wanted to tell it.

So, I was at this party with a group of friends–mostly guys–and one of our other friends shows up already kind of tipsy.

He’s this really smart guy–very eloquent and outspoken. He’s a pacifist, a feminist, and an intellectual. We’d been on a huge road trip together and talked about how much he loved his girlfriend and what he was doing to make sure lines of communication were open between them. I wasn’t the only one who respected him, but a lot of the guys in our group did. He elevated the tone of a lot of our conversations from just quippy banter to being really meaningful and eye-opening.

So he comes in, gets a drink, sits down and starts talking to me about his relationship with his now wife. He got married about two months prior and it’s not going well. No one else is in this conversation, it’s just the two us and I’m understandably a little uncomfortable. At the same time, this is a friend. I’ve met his wife. I know him. I know that I’m not going to do anything with this guy. You don’t give a drunk guy his car keys and you don’t mess around with a married guy when he’s hit a rough patch. But he needs to talk enough to put me in this awkward situation, so I’ll let him talk. If we’re both lucky he won’t remember he said any of it and I don’t ever have to tell his wife I knew they hadn’t had sex two months into their marriage.

Because that’s where it goes. And I keep telling him that they’ll figure it out and it’s difficult for some people to get past the shame, but you’ll make it work and it’ll be okay because you’ve told me how much you love her and she feels the same way about you.

Finally, someone wants to do shots and it’s an excuse to be a part of the group again.

I’ve got my shot and we’re waiting for a few others to be poured and suddenly his hand is on my ass. Not a grab. But it’s an unmistakable invitation.

If it had been anyone else I would have given him so much shit in front of everyone. But this was my friend too. He wasn’t in a good place.

So, I didn’t do anything. I just stood stiffly and waited for him to get the message. And he did. And he didn’t bother me about it anymore. Not that it kept him from making that mistake later.

And I’m upset. And I want to talk to a friend. But my friends are all here and I can’t ever tell anybody.

So, this other group of friends arrive, and with them, the guy I’ve been sleeping with. I was clear about wanting a relationship. He doesn’t want to be exclusive because he thinks that’s just the first phase in my plot to marry the shit out of him. And he’s been hurt before so  he just needs that space. So I didn’t push it, but every time he gets drunk and saying, “you’re so fucking pretty, you’re so fucking pretty, god, you’re so fucking pretty” like a goddamn parrot, I end up with him. So, I’m sleeping with him, because he gets horny when he’s drunk and I’m an idiot who thinks he thinks I’m special somehow.

Anyway, his group is here and I’m sober enough to know I want to be home, but too drunk to drive.

So, the guy I’m fucking and 3 other guys are going to a second location and I don’t care that I’m out of their way, I want to go home.

They drive me home. I get out of the car and start walking to my place and the boy I’m fucking gets out. He wants to walk me to the door.

Now, this is the first time he’s even seen the condos I live in. He’s never so much as attempted to take me out on a date. Once, he joined me at a coffee shop when he was applying for a job at a company my friend worked at and he wanted some tips on interviewing for the position. He doesn’t care about my well-being. He cares about our friends thinking he cares about my well-being.

I see all of this and I don’t want him to walk me to the door for this very reason. I tell him to get back in the car and go. He says he’s worried about me getting into my place safely (which I’ve been doing every day for 6 years). I tell him I don’t need him to walk me to the door. He says he’s already doing it so why don’t I just let him do it? So I let him walk me to to the door. He’s walks too close the whole time. I let my posture go “cave-man” and surly like an angry muppet.

He gets me as far as the top of the stairs and I say that that’s far enough. He doesn’t know why I won’t just let him walk me to the door.

I say that he’s never been there before and that I don’t think he cares about me. I wish I’d said that I thought he cared more about what type of person his friends thought he was that the type of person he actually was.

Instead, I said I didn’t want him to meet my dog. He likes dogs and my dog is awesome, so I don’t want the boy I’m fucking to meet him.

I imagine when he got back in the car he made some comment about bitches being crazy.

It was the night I realized I wasn’t a person to some people who I thought were my closest friends. I really thought that we cared about each other, but I wasn’t even a character in their lives. I was a prop. I was a thing they acted on to feel good or to feel good about themselves.


One thought on “Person or Prop?

  1. Dearest, This is very sad. The poor boy is so frustrated and mis-informed that he doesn’t know who to turn to. You are very nice to talk to him about his very real problem. You should have sent them both to a sex counselor. After years of “shame”, that’s what they need.

    And you, who are undoubtedly the only normal, emotionally intelligent woman he knows and trusts with his pain, are blaming him and kinda yourself for trying to listen and be his friend. He is of course completely out of line to grab your ass; this would be the perfect opportunity to slap a man acting out. It is tough to do that in front of people and “out” his bad behavior, and noble of you to let it slide. But to assume he doesn’t care for you as a friend is not true either. He didn’t know anyone else to turn to, apparently. Perhaps I’m excusing him too much. Needless to say, he owes you an apology before you ever speak to him again, and I would certainly never be alone with him unless I had my hand ready to slap him.

    When men start this kind of talk, critisizing their wife, even if they are old friends, they are generally making a pass. It’s the old “MY woman doesn’t understand me, and you do”. routine. Otherwise they would be bitchin’ to their men friends about it, who of course have nothing but terrible advice to give.


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