Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Expiration Dating: Part II

Disclaimer: There are probably going to be points in this post where I sound incredibly bitter—and I totally was. But keep in mind this blog is told in the past tense ;)

The last week of October, I realized something slightly terrifying—I liked Johnny way more than I thought or intended. Which was worrisome. Since he knew for sure now that he was leaving after Christmas (it was up in the air there for a bit), I was convinced that he was going to break things off early—right as I got all emotionally involved.

After the Halloween party, I was ecstatic. I had won a small victory in my mind, and I began to think that this was possibly a game-changer.  Perhaps this meant that Johnny was rethinking our original plan—maybe he’d decided that that he didn’t want to give me up, give us up, because of a measly two-hour drive. One word, two syllables, and I was making plans.

I was delusional.

The day Johnny called it quits, we were supposed to grab lunch. I hadn’t been able to see him as much lately, and I was looking forward to spending some time alone with him. About an hour before we were supposed to meet, he sent me a text to say that he was sorry, but he had forgotten he’d already agreed to eat with Sophie—one of those girls with whom he actually had meaningful discussion.

I won’t lie, I was pissed, not only because I felt like he was blowing me off, but also because of who he was blowing me off for. And it’s not like he didn’t know how I felt—we’d talked about how I wanted him to make more an effort to open up to me on a more emotional and/or spiritual level, and here was his chance and he was throwing it away.

Sidebar: I am fully aware of how needy this sounds.

Anyway, my afternoon and evening were booked up, but we decided that I would pop by between choir and CARPOOL later that night.

At choir practice, I told my friends the good news—Johnny had finally moved us to the next level on the commitment measuring stick. They knew that this was a long-fought battle, and so gave the obligatory squeals of excitement.

I don’t remember what exactly happened on the drive to his house, or if he said or did something when I got there that brought all of that pent-up frustration and jealousy to the surface, but I do remember that for the ten minutes I was there, I acted like a caricature of a whiny, passive-aggressive girlfriend. In fact, I’m fairly certain that I even threw the phrase “If you don’t know why I’m mad, I’m not going to tell you! Figure. It. Out.” or one of its derivatives down when I left.

Yeah… I’m not proud of it. I had spent two months being all chill and mellow, pretending like we didn’t have any problems that needed to be dealt with, so when all that emotion was finally released, it was a freakin’ deluge.

In my defense, I am pretty good about knowing when I need to apologize for something, so I called Johnny five minutes after I left and said that I was sorry for being a crazy person—it had been a long day, and I knew that I took it out on him with no warning whatsoever. I asked if I could come over again after my meeting so that we could talk it out, and he said yes.

An hour and a half later, we were sitting in his room, and I could tell by the look in his eye that he’d already made up his mind—we weren’t going to be talking anything out after all.
I refused to cry in front of him, so I played it cool as he rambled on about wanting to spend more time with his friends before he left CStat, and how he didn't want to have to worry about me being jealous that they were taking time away from us.

Me (slowly): So what are you thinking? You think we should just break up now?

Him: That’s kind of what I’m leaning towards…

Me (nonchalantly): Okay. That’s fine. We had a good run.
Him: Don't do that.
Me (in mock-anger): You were just using me for my Sweeny Todd tickets, weren’t you…

He was less amused by this. I promised him that I wouldn’t cry or hate him forever (which was not a lie. I only hated him for a little bit).

In the car on the way home, I called my friend, Emma, from choir, to whom I had just given the good news—I could hardly get this out, I was laughing so hard through my tears: “Sooo, remember tonight when I said that Johnny finally called me his girlfriend? Yeah…he changed his mind.” The whole thing in that moment just struck me as incredibly funny.

Sidebar: I am not crazy, I just find the timing of my life hysterical. Like when I got rear-ended on my way home from getting an estimate done on some self-inflicted, accidental damage to my car—support beam…long story.

Thanks goodness for cell phones (and T.I.). My roommates were there when I got home, ice cream at the ready (Caroline is addicted to Bluebell, so we always had a couple of gallons in our freezer).

Over the next few weeks, I dealt. I dyed my hair, cleaned my closet, rocked out the GRE. I began to refer to the night we broke up as “Guy Fawkes Night,” which made my inner history nerd chuckle. I rationalized things and engaged in some impressive self-therapy sessions. I both avoided Johnny and sought him out. I wrote exactly one angry free-verse poem. I called Indy up (“Surprise! My newly-serious relationship with Johnny is now newly-ended...”), and invited him up to a friend’s party.  

A month went by. I have this theory that guys have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing if you’re close to getting over them, and if you are, they have this compulsion to do something immediately to reel you back in. Johnny drunk dialed me over Christmas and left me a nonsensical, though slightly leading, voicemail, followed up with some tipsy, flirty texts over the rest of the holiday. I’m ashamed to admit, I ate it up at first, but then it started to piss me off that he only ever contacted me when he was drunk, horny, or in need of an ego-boost.

Soon after that self-realization, I discovered that he had started dating someone new. She was blonde, bubbly, beautiful…and eighteen. She also lived in College Station, but they were going to try the long-distance thing because they were just—so—CRAZY about one another.

I mean, whatever. It was cool. There was a “If she was born in the 90s—go for it!” clause in fine print there at the bottom of his playbook.


  1. You know what cracks me up?? I think I went through somethinhg super similar with my college boy-although we did actually use the boy/girlfriend terms for awhile there. I was leaving town-he didn't want to do long distance-I thought we were getting to the point where it wouldn't matter-then bam-breakup a full 5 weeks sooner than I had "planned" and a new girlfriend over Christmas!! Creepy. Must be genetic ;)
    Sister #4

  2. Damn that Johnny Brandoff..

  3. E,

    Expiration dating...I like the term and having been in the army for the last six years, never sleeping in the same bed for more then nine months at a time without moving, I can completely appreciate what it means. So this has gotten me thinking about the purpose of dating. Is this a journey or a destination thing?

    As I look back on the last few years, from high school, through college, on to my early twenties, I think I can say dating has had many different meanings to me, but has always, even if I didn't realize it, allowed me continue to try to grow into someone who would be worthy of spending a life time with.

    The cliff notes of mark's journeyed destination:

    In high school, I was just trying to get good at being a kid. Making my way through class, attempting to get a little playing time on the football field, run a little faster and jump a little higher on the track, all the while trying to get a decent SAT that would allow me to attend the college of my choice. I barely knew myself, much less how to be a good friend, or how to be labeled as a "boyfriend." But, that was the point I guess. Me and my afore mentioned homecoming date, did not know anything, but we ended up learning tons from each other, growing, and realizing just how much our time meant together, but also seeing just how off our timing really was. College was coming, and our paths were parting. That was hard.

  4. Then college comes around...and things were crazy. I was trying to get through my engineering studies, and survive all the extra circulars that were expected of me. I had no time for a girlfriend, but that didn't seem to matter to my hormones. I got involved with a nice girl from virginia who I met through my sister. We dated for two and half years...most of my college life. We would visit each other about once a month or so, time depending, talking as much we could on the phone in between. We turned 21, and the bar scene opened up...our relationship did not survive it. There was a "break" which was sooooo not a good idea and the last nine months or so went down hill pretty fast...she had anger management issues, and I had croquet mallet swung at my head, and not in that aww she's cute playful way, but in the, I can't believe you just sent me across the yard, i'm going to kill you, because I am an over completive, not nice person. Oh, and she yelled at me in front of my mother for her getting lost (ladies, never a good idea to yell at your boy in front of their their mother there's no recovery from that one)...but i'm not still i've totally moved on. So why did it take nine months for things to really fall apart...she was drop dead gorgeous. I really thought she was the best I was going to get...but the thing is, as the de-motivational poster out there says, "No matter how hot she is, there is some guy somewhere, that is tired of taking her shit." So that is what I learned in my college years of dating: a girl must be attractive to me, AND nice. (And here I though I already knew that...never underestimate the stupidity of a guy when a hot girl is around.)

    Then there was my early twenties...we'll just leave that to, there was a lot of soju, a lot of lies, and lot of pain. My naivety was crushed and I realized life is no longer black and white, but all kinds of shades of grey.

    I then found the smartest girl I have ever met at my next duty station...she was an american who worked with me in Pakistan, and was the brightest girl I have ever gotten to date...she skipped middle school, got perfect SATs, GREs, LSAT scores...but unfortunately, just kept sitting on her winning lottery ticket not really doing anything. I wanted to fix her, motivate her, and really help her achieve something great...she wanted to travel, and play. That is when I learned one cannot make someone into their desired, but must find someone as they are.

    (By the by, each of these girls went on to marry their next boyfriend...not sure what that means...)

    There was also the left over Chinese food girl, the dodged bullet, the i'm never playing the would you rather game again with girl, or the I liked her friends more then her girl. But those are more on the "Randa" side of the house, to be told at a later date. ; p

    And of course there was the series of eHarmony fiascos...

    All this is a personal and round about way to explain that we don't know what the point of our dating exploits will be, but that does not negate the need for it. Even if we know they are doomed from the start, middle or only at the end, we get a chance to learn about ourselves, others, and are better prepared to not screw it up when the correct person comes around.


  5. I don't know but Mark yin seems to be E's yang. Is anyone else picking up on that??

  6. (By the by, each of these girls went on to marry their next boyfriend...not sure what that means...)

    Basically, what "mark" is saying here is, date me E and you'll find your husband after we break up.

  7. "A month went by. I have this theory that guys have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing if you’re close to getting over them, and if you are, they have this compulsion to do something immediately to reel you back in."

    We are impulsive like that.

    And the last comment was hilarious... and apparently true.

  8. I have decided that Mark is either a tremendous asset to the world and an awesome bro, or a tremendous tool.