What I’ve learned recently, is that sometimes you need to fall completely backwards, in order to catapult yourself forwards.
As you may have guessed from the title, this post is about Fitness Guy. You may remember him as the guy who stood me up, then pretended he didn’t see me/recognize me when we ended up at the same pool a few months later. Yes, that guy.
“Thanks for the training info, but I’m not sure who this is.”
“Sorry, it’s Fitness Guy. Hope you’re doing well!”
(I assume he sent the message out to his whole address book. Who does that in 2014?)
I thought that was the last I’d hear from him, however about a month later, I received another message saying that he’d been walking by the pub near my house the other night & had been “thinking of me.”
Reluctantly, we began to chat back and forth.
“Truth be told, a couple of my friends emailed me your post about the 20 Guys You Will Meet Online Dating in Victoria. It was hilarious and I have been debating whether to reach out to you ever since” he revealed to me.
Although I vowed to ignore Fitness Guy if he ever contacted me, I’m human and my ego got the best of me. Here was the guy who used to send emails that just said “K” in response to my questions, initiating a full on discussion about my writing, the recent attention my blog has received on social media and my freelancing business. It was equal parts flattering and completely perplexing.
Eventually though, he cut to the chase. “I know this ship has probably sailed Simone, but I’d love it if we could grab a drink and catch up sometime.”
Although I know better, I couldn’t help but wonder if the leopard had changed his spots. Against my better judgement, I agreed to meet him for a drink.
My rationale for saying yes can be broken down into three parts: a) I was curious to see what his intentions were and if an apology was on the menu b) I wanted to confront him about the pool incident c) he had mentioned that he’d injured himself 6 months prior and hadn’t been able to keep up with his intense fitness regimen that kept him looking like the human incarnation of Joe the Intern when we were dating. On the other hand, I’ve been working out like a beast. I figured he was probably feeling a bit insecure. I couldn’t resist seeing him, knowing that I’d have the upper hand. Evil, I know – but who hasn’t at some point wanted to stick it to an ex?
Cue to a quiet Tuesday night in Victoria when I met Fitness Guy for a drink at Ferris’ Oyster Bar. I dressed for the date like I was going into battle: a black pencil skirt, fitted black sleeveless top and black, pointy-toed, patent leather pumps. Purse: Alexander Wang, heavily studded. I was prepared to go in there, let him say his piece & not budge an inch. But, the Universe (or should I say, my raging hormones) had other plans.
When we saw each other and he wrapped his arms around me in a giant hug, I knew I was in trouble. However, luckily my Pheromone-high (“Oh my god, I’m touching a real, live, sexy human!”) came crashing down almost immediately once we sat down at our table.
That’s how long Fitness Guy spent talking about about himself without letting me get a word in edgewise. I learned about all kinds of things I never need to know about: The intricacies of his recent travel schedule. His issues at work. His issues with his coworkers. Weight gain. His training schedule. Kale. Something about car parts. GPS. Information systems.
He wasn’t talking to me. He was talking at me.
I spent the whole time with my back pressed against the banquette, greedily nursing my Pinot Grigio and wondering why he invited me out in the first place. When I realized that this monologue of his wasn’t anywhere close to being finished, I had to repress the urge to burst out in hysterical laughter.
All I could think was, “This man is absolutely and totally ridiculous. This date is totally ridiculous.”
However, by drink #2 the date switched gears and we started to have an actual conversation. I confronted him about the pool incident and he fervently denied seeing me at all.
“If I’d known you were there, I would have said hi and probably tried to make a bad joke” he explained.
“But I was sitting right next to you. How could you not see me?” I told him.
“I’m really sorry. Often, I just don’t notice other people.”
Yet, despite Fitness Guy’s questionable explanation about why he ignored me, those pesky, uncontrollable butterflies still decided to make their unwelcome reappearance. That old chemistry that sizzled between us when we first met – it was still there.
“Why don’t you?” I whispered back.
And so it goes.
(When I told my best friend this story, she said, “Please tell me you didn’t sleep with him.” A fan of Fitness Guy she is not – and rightfully so.)
The point here is that you can still make terrible decisions even when your life is going swimmingly well and you’re this supposed bad-ass sex blogger that knows much better than to have sex with their ex while propped up against a dumpster.
This is also proof of an on-going problem I have where I think with my pants instead of my head. That’s the only way I can explain what happened. Sometimes the pants just want what the pants want.
A few days later we met up for lunch.
Prior to our impromptu lunch date, he’d added me to LinkedIn and requested my advice on branding a new business venture of his (“Simone, I know you’re a whiz at this kind of thing so I’d love if you took a look at the work”) Once again, my ego was flattered so I gave him a few tips.
The lunch was easy and casual, however I noticed a few things that I’d selectively chose to ignore during our previous date.
How I hated the way he always winked at waitresses after placing his order. His propensity for talking about himself. His new found fondness for hunting and killing some of my favourite Canadian wildlife (“Bear meat doesn’t even taste good, but I’m hoping we’ll get a few anyways.”) How unless he was talking about my work, he rarely ever paid me any compliments. The fact that he brought his own protein shake to the restaurant.
These are all things that I’d noticed about him when we dated, however now everything seemed amplified, in crisp HD resolution and it was all just so, so much worse.
I had my lap top in my bag, so when the topic of my writing came up, I asked him if he was interested in reading something I was working on. The ultimate romance killer was his reply.
“Read to me? What am I a child?!”
Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I love reading out loud. Whether it’s passages from my favourite books read to a lover in bed, or a funny stories I’ve written shared with friends, I’ve always taken great pleasure in the act of reading to the people I care about. Plus, I like doing all the voices. Just ask my friend Casey who has heard me do my “guy voice” on many occasions.
“But, it’s better when I read it. I do all the voices” I gently teased him.
“If your writing only makes sense when read out loud, maybe you should be recording an audio book, not attempting to write an actual one.”
FYI, this is not how you woo a writer.
We exchanged a few texts after that day, however when he didn’t reply to my last message I didn’t bother following up. That was in April and I haven’t heard from him since.
I remember when we dated the first time around he told me, “Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own stuff that I forget about other people and things like texting.” So, I got in the habit of always texting him first. Chasing. Chasing. Chasing. Reminding him that yes, there was this girl named Simone that he was supposedly dating. This time around though, I made a promise to myself that no matter what happened, I wouldn’t chase him.
Despite above mentioned lapses in judgement, I’ve grown and changed a lot over the past year. I was was hoping that maybe he had too and that we could somehow meet in the middle. However, despite how things turned out I don’t regret giving him another chance. This experience reminded me of something I knew all along:
I don’t want to date someone that I have to remind of my existence.
The right guy isn’t the one who disappears.