Last weekend the weather was gorgeously hot and sunny, so to capitalize on the last days of summer I decided to make Sunday a pool day. If you’re not up for swimming in the pacific ocean or one of the several lakes here, you basically have two options: hit up the super posh, oh-so-gorgeous-beach-hotel pool/spa that’s located right on the ocean, or the go to the downtown hotel that’s slightly ghetto but has a decent pool and cheap drinks. Not in the mood to run into a bunch of people I know, I chose the latter.
So, there I was at the ghetto pool, laying out on a pool recliner, enjoying my $6 neon green margarita and remarking on the fact that I’d chosen wisely (aside from myself, there was only a small group of girls, a two guys and a couple sharing the pool deck = heaven) I was just starting to really get into my book and slip into a deep feeling of relaxation, when I noticed a man and a teenage girl walk into the pool area and approach the group of girls who were sitting in the pool chairs next to me. I looked up from my book and thought,
“Hey, that guy looks kind of familiar”
Then it hit me.
SHIT. THAT GUY IS FITNESS GUY. HE’S HERE. WITH HIS DAUGHTER. FUCK.
I haven’t seen or heard from Fitness Guy since he stood me up and I called things off. It’s a small town, and I knew that eventually I’d run into him – in fact, I’d been dreading the moment since we parted ways. I just didn’t expect it to happen at that moment….you know, while I was half naked in a bathing suit.
When he sat down three deck chairs away from me, my heart started to race. Luckily, I was wearing giant, oversized sunglasses a la Audrey Hepburn, so he didn’t recognize me right away. I hunched down in my deck chair and furiously texted my best friend:
“Fitness Guy is here. With his daughter. What do I do?! Run? Hide?! Jump in the Pool and see how long I can hold my breath?!”
As I waited for her to respond, I tried to calm the pounding in my chest. It took me by surprise because I hadn’t felt this kind of anxiety in months. As I waited for my second margarita to arrive, I gave myself a very angry pep talk.
WHAT THE FUCK SIMONE. WHY ARE YOU FREAKING OUT? HE’S A JERK. YOU DUMPED HIM. HE HASN’T SEEN YOU YET BUT YOU LOOK FUCKING HOT. YOU’VE BEEN WORKING OUT AND LEARNING HOW TO PUNCH THINGS AND YOU’RE WEARING THAT RETRO LEOPARD PRINT BIKINI THAT MAKES YOUR BOOBS LOOK AMAZING. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER. WHY ARE YOU SWEATING A 40-YEAR OLD GUY WHO’S WEARING DAD SHORTS…AND WAIT, ARE THOSE AQUA SANDALS?!
However, the longer I stayed paralyzed in that deck chair, listening to Fitness Guy talk to the girls next to me (who I learned were his younger cousin and her friends), I realized something: I don’t think he recognized me…at all. You date someone for a few months, see them naked, and yet don’t recognize them in a bathing suit? Is this actually possible?
To test my theory, I dove into the pool, did a few laps and then got out of the pool right by where Fitness Guy was sitting. When I emerged out of the pool, water dripping off my leopard print bikini, I looked directly at him through my dark shades. If there was recognition in the blank stare he gave me, I didn’t see it. Why was I surprised? He didn’t see me when we were dating, why would he now?
When the two guys sitting nearby asked me what I was reading and whether I’d like to join them for a drink, I decided that this was a welcome escape from the awkward situation playing out next to me.
With my back turned to Fitness Guy, I took my seat at the table with my new drinking buddies: a guy who looked like a cross between Russell Crowe and 1980’s Axl Rose (right down to the pair of red high-tops he was wearing) and his friend, a dude with a shaved head and a very noticeable neck tattoo (among other piercings & tattoos.) These guys looked like they could have been extras in an episode Breaking Bad.
I was perhaps too quick to judge because as it turned out, Axl Crowe and Neck Tattoo were actually pretty nice guys. We shared a few rounds of drinks and had a few laughs. Three margaritas in, I told them about Fitness guy (who was now at the opposite end of the patio from us.)
“I don’t know what my problem is. I usually don’t ever get nervous around guys, but for some reason he threw me off my game. He got under my skin and I don’t know why.”
To which Axl Crowe replied, “Well, the way I see it is this: you’re a beautiful woman, you look smoking hot in that bathing suit, you’re clearly very smart and you have a good job. Why are you even worrying about this guy?”
Good question. Why did I care? Then it hit me.
Because I opened myself up to him and he was indifferent.
Now that I have a handle on my anxiety, the only time I feel legitimately anxious is when I know a situation isn’t good for me – for example, when I’m dating someone I shouldn’t be. I was so wrapped up in my attraction to Fitness Guy, that I failed to see that what I mistook as a case of sexually transmitted awkwardness, was actually anxiety. Looking back, dating him didn’t make me feel emotionally safe or particularly valued. My nervousness was my body’s way of saying, “Girl, you should get out of here!” I’m glad I finally listened to my intuition.
With that said, what exactly did I want from him? Nothing really. Although I like to think if the tables were turned I’d be the bigger person, if I’d acted like he did, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t want to acknowledge my presence either.
With that settled, I spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out in the sun, talking to Axl Crowe and Neck Tattoo. Axl took quite the liking to me and at one point grasped my hand and asked earnestly, “Would you like to come back to our house to play video games. We can order Chinese.”
Just like that time I decided it was a good idea to order grilled Salmon at a pub, this was one of those situations where I should have immediately said no, but didn’t. I’d been saying for months that I wanted to interact more with the local male population. Playing video games and drinking with some random (seemingly) nice guys – neck tattoos or not – totally qualifies as social interaction with the opposite sex, right?!
Then I heard Neck Tattoo yell out, “HEY I LIKE YOUR HAT!” When I looked over to where he was pointing I saw an elderly Chinese couple. Neither of them were wearing a hat. I knew I had to get out of there immediately.
I politely told them that it was probably best I head home.
I knew I made the right choice when I started to speed-walk away and heard them call after me:
“IT WAS NICE MEETING YOU SARAH!”
Another weekend, another bullet dodged.