Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cass O'Nova, the Earl of Sandwich(es)

My freshman year of high school, I was duped by Big; my freshman year (and, let’s be honest, my sophomore year, too) of college, I was hoodwinked by Cass. I’m telling you—freshmen are idiots.

It’s funny—when I first met Cass, he was a paltry shadow of the lady-killer he was to become. He was pretty quiet and unassuming at first, though he was ridiculously good at guitar (I’m a sucker for musicians, what can I say). However, after a few weeks, Cass apparently felt comfortable enough around our group to let his flirt flag fly.

And what an excellent flirt he was. Cass had the remarkable ability to make you feel like you were the only girl in the room: he’d hug you with his whole body and hold on a beat longer than necessary, he’d give your arm a squeeze as he’d walk by and flip you a look and you felt like it was a secret sign passing between the just the two of you. He was hardly an Abercrombie model, but he was fairly easy on the eyes, and it wasn’t long before you realized you were half in love with the guy.

What you didn’t realize (or perhaps, simply didn’t want to acknowledge) was that every other girl around you was in love with him too.

I later came to understood that to have feelings for Cass was (as I cautioned another girl who had fallen prey to his blue-green eyes) akin to catapulting into a swirling vortex of self-loathing.

Sidebar: I later relayed this description to the man himself. He laughed good-naturedly, and then pointed out that a vortex by definition is swirling, making my portrayal slightly redundant.

However, my freshman (and sophomore) self had masochistic tendencies, at least in the emotional sense, and so I continued to beat my head against that wall for months.

Sidebar: Remember that boy Johnny B. mentioned that came between me and a certain female friend of his? Yeah, this is the guy.  

I once told a friend that crushes could either be measly blips on your romantic lifeline (like the time I liked someone for a week, simply because my roommate suggested it), or they could be overarching, spanning months or even years (like Graham, the hot asshole). Cass was definitely the latter. It’s true that sometimes I hated him and other times I pretended indifference and other times I even liked someone else, but during those first two years, Cass was always there in the back of my mind.

I won’t go into all of the gory details of my insanity—this was no mere baby crush after all—but inevitably, all of this repressed emotion and unrequited feeling had to come to a head at some point.

And it did. At a party after Christmas break my sophomore year, after I spent the holiday not talking to Cass because I was pissed at him over some perceived slight.

Sidebar: Okay, okay, but this is all you get. I was very chatty my freshman year, and very concerned with talking about my feelings, and not very concerned about who I told about them. Confused by Cass’s behavior, I decided that we needed to have a DTR (not that we were actually dating, or anything, I just wanted to know. Because being clear with one another about our feelings is so important, right?) Long story short, I may have, in my eagerness to “define our relationship”, woken up Cass from a deep(ish) sleep in order to have a chat about “us.” It’s a wonder he was still friends with me after that…

Anyway, the party. One thing lead to another, and miracle of miracles, Cass and I kissed. And kissed. Aaannd kissed.

Naturally, I wanted to talk about it the next day, which we did, eventually, with a little (a lot of) prodding from me. We concluded it was just a fluke, brought on by too many vodka shots, and resolved that it shouldn’t happen again.

Of course it happened again, and this time there was no alcohol to be blamed.

In my naiveté, I thought perhaps these increasingly less-random MOSs meant that Cass had, in fact, developed feelings for me.

After two more “tête-à-tête,” I decided that the time had come to talk of many things—of feuds— and relationships—and DTRs—of “maybe now?”s—and flings.

Cass awkwardly removed his arm from my shoulders, and uttered four words that crushed my nineteen- year old spirit for a good week and a half: “This is just lust.”

To say that I was mad is an understatement—I was livid. Did he really think that I was the kind of girl who flittered about making out with just anyone? Hardly! I was extremely picky, except when I wasn’t, but even still, I could count the number of guys I’d kissed on one hand.

I gave him the what-for a few days later, fuming in measured tones from the backseat of his car, “It’s going to be a long time before I trust you again, Cass!”

Sidebar: Maybe they weren’t so measured…

I grieved on my friend’s couch with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and as much junk food as I could hold from the C-Store. We watched Ever After, and Pride & Prejudice, and many other movies that featured leading men in tight-fitting pants. I got over it enough to function, and began to move on with my life.

Of course, he called me two weeks later.

Before you get your panties in a bunch, though, know that it wasn’t to get me back on his hook. There were no teacup pigs involved in this portion of the story (though I had heard the “I just can’t be with you…right now” line before). No, instead of a teacup pig, Cass presented me with…a sandwich.

You see, in the couple of weeks between my failed attempt to get Cass to date me, and this brown bag lunch meeting, Cass had gotten together with Emma. Who was also friends with me. Emma, being the good-hearted person that she is and knowing our history, didn’t want me to find out about their budding relationship from anyone other than the primary source, so she urged Cass to arrange a time to tell me himself.

Which he did. Over a ham and cheese on Wonderbread sandwich.

I recall that the conversation went something like this:

Him (handing me the sandwich): So…the reason I asked you over here was to let you know that Emma and I are dating now.

Me: Okay. Cool.

Him: So, yeah. Just wanted you to know.

Me: What do you want me to say? She’s a nice girl. Congrats.

Him: …okay, then.

So, gold star to Cass for having the decency to tell me straight up that he ate his famous last words (“I don’t want a girlfriend…right now”), though I would suggest different fare if you’re planning to borrow this strategy…after all, nothing says "I don't like you, but enjoy this tasty consolation prize!" like filet mignon!


  1. Who hasn't fallen into that swirling vortex at one time or another?

  2. rebuttal?? please?


  3. I wonder how many "sandwiches" Cass has had to prepare...

  4. High Commissioners of RMOS,

    Is this the guy that necessitated the need for the RMOS rules?

    That is all,
    Commenter Mark

  5. If there were a need for said rules, this would be it. Standards!

    Instead of the Filet Mignon, you got the Wonder-bread sandwich.

    Every crush has a vortex. The question is how to minimize them.

  6. Bryan Ryan or free sandwich? I think you got the better end of the deal.

    -- Katie