My response to seeing yet another Gawker post about dating. Just because.
It was an uneventful Friday evening and I resolved that I was not going to be looking for love until I made some sort of effort to drop the pizza weight—a recent acquisition that narrowed my thigh gap down to a glory hole's worth of negative space.
I drove a few blocks and signed up for a gym membership with such a triumphant air for having agreed to allow them to make withdrawals from my checking account every month, as if that were some sort of insurance policy that I'd actually show up. The next morning, however, as I walked in, feeling virtually heroic for having done just that, a man I dated once (read: cheap takeout Chinese food and quickie sex) shows up there "Every day at this time too!" as he'd so jovially announced at the prospect of seeing my floppy ass over and over again. Again. No, not again exactly, since my ass had not been quite so floppy when he'd experienced it firsthand a few months earlier.
My exultant gym experience, my newfound vigor towards personal grooming, had been transformed right then and there into the following exquisite image: sweaty and gross, mascara'd and lipsticked, just to impress some guy I didn't even want anymore and barely remembered having slept with. Oh, and do not forget how it was he who had not returned your call.
Calls. Plural on that one, like a cherry on top. That is the sort of detail that one somehow always manages to relive upon such regretful encounters, no matter how much the remainder of the memory has been permitted to fade away into the dust and ashes of our dating histories. How fascinating a torture mechanism the mind can sometimes be.
So, poor me. I can't imagine how many other women have to endure such stark raving mortification right off the bat like that before even getting an inflexible muscle on the stairmaster. But I still did not fail to recognize that, were I my worst enemy, witnessing a glimpse of that frozen look on my face as he walked toward me—the look I vaguely caught in one of the ubiquitous mirrors that inhabit these evil places—would have been worth the price of admission all by itself.
My experience, however short-lived, taught me a valuable lesson. I imagine that it was similar to the way a certain desperate stepsister felt when trying on what must have been one very uncomfortable slipper and the subsequent dawning that it just wasn't the right fit, no matter how much depended on it. The fact that someone she hadn't even considered to be her rival would secure the 'prize' was what made the loss exquisite and, for the winner, sublime. So, I took it all as a sign. The gym just wasn't for me. Too bad it took me six months of automatic withdrawals to return and confess that to their accounting people.
Why the hell had he been so damned friendly and familiar with me that day anyway? Aren't men supposed to fear this the most? Seeing us again in an alternate and vertical universe? In daylight? I don't know about him, but as far as I'm concerned, there is no neutral territory once you've seen me naked, on all fours, boobs akimbo, twenty three minutes after you've arrived to pick me up for an innocuous glass of wine, General Tso, chick flick, small popcorn-and-a-soda date. If you don't bother to rsvp the follow-up invitation, then please move away to a land I've never heard of before and God be with you. Don't show up at my parade three months later all nostalgic and atwitter over the cotton candy and fried dough, forcing me to recollect the image of your hotdog.