For The Dogs

“I love watching fathers play with their kids.” he said as we walked around a lake. I pleasantly agreed but probably missed his point.

Later after our hellish walk around the lake concluded he made an ass of himself at his apartment by going on and on about some woman’s breasts. She was about to get implants and his words were both lustful and filled with scorn for her. His friends looked at him open-mouthed and aghast and then looked at me with awkward and sympathetic smiles, clearly intensely uncomfortable with the turn in conversation. But I was mostly just very perplexed.

Regardless, he did seem to be in a nasty mood. Intent on being crass and as hurtful and objectionable as he could muster. Perhaps he also hoped to score a few points with his friends if he could? You know, impress them by saying lots of cool “guy stuff”. Big fake boobs and all that jazz. Guy stuff.

Who knows…

…But then came the moment of truth.

Sitting in the car as he drove me home for the last time in a genuinely rational and calm attempt to understand him better I asked in foolish but sincere curiosity, “Do you really like big breasts? Is that what you’re looking for physically in a girlfriend?”

He straightened himself up in his seat and became icy. Then in a very angry, frustrated and hurt tone of voice he yelled back at me, “No!” And so while I couldn’t figure out what he meant by everything he had said earlier about implants, I assumed he was just trying to reject me one way or another… I tried not to take it personally. Even make conversation pleasant again maybe?

“Tic Tok” by Kesha came on the radio. “Oh!” He said in disgust and turned the station quickly. “I hate that song!” he said. “Don’t you?”

“Yeah.” I answered trying to be agreeable as he still seemed upset. Truth be told though, I found it fun. I still do. But I had the sense he felt it was too rowdy and low-brow and I really didn’t want to make him nastier. I let it go.

And then (I’m leaving out the rest of that night because it mostly just went on that way) came the text two weeks later after I finally asked him out (he’d been the one asking for dates), “I don’t think we have any chemistry.” …Except we did.

In response I very politely disagreed and tried to suggest we could be friends if he wanted. Plantonic friends. I was really trying to be understanding. Ha!

Was it the calf hair leopard print flats I wore on a date to the movies that were stinky from being worn out in the rain? Was it the way I wore my hair? I changed it halfway through our quick relationship. Doubtful.

I think what’s most likely is that we misunderstood each other. Over and over and over again. Until no matter how lovely our chemistry actually may have been…nothing could be done.

I think I was supposed to get angry. Jealous. Confrontational. Except, I’m not a passive aggressive person and not being in that mindset at all, his maneuverings went over my head. I’m also not a jealous person. To an unusual degree.

But I loved his ability to feel deeply. If only he’d had the maturity and kindness needed to open up just enough to honestly clue me in. Genuinely confront me about his real concerns. Maybe? I obviously wanted to know. And of course I’m responsible for lacking the maturity, wisdom and romantic experience to realize that he may have been hurting more than he felt he could openly show.

“Do you like women with large breasts then?” His answer in my ideal world should have perhaps been, “Well, I mean they’re objectively attractive because they’re breasts, but no. That’s not my type. I was saying that to piss you off.” That would have left me speechless in the best way and perhaps he could have then told me what was really bothering him… He might not have guessed my response. I wish he’d been braver. I wish I’d been more perceptive. Taken his compliments more seriously…

But perhaps he was right, in a way, after all. We did have chemistry…but he didn’t “see me”. See my heart. If you can sense someone’s presence but your mind decides, for whatever reason, that they aren’t there the chemistry doesn’t matter anymore. It’s unrequited.

And in the end…what we deny the existence of matters. And our choices become our fate.

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