Let’s call him Terry….
I was connected with a guy through a friend. I had made complaints about my inability to find a healthy relationship and I suppose my friend thought she was doing me a favour…I would hope in the future she’ll do some vetting first. 🙄
“All I know is he is handsome, divorced and has his own company. He’s an entrepreneur…like you! And he even has a nice car….” she said handing me his number.
It took a few days and more than one glass of wine before I got up the nerve to send him a message. I was doing that ridiculous woman thing we all do;
“What if I’m not his type?”
“What if he thinks I’m too fat?”
“What if he’s emasculated because I’m a successful woman?”
“What if he’s a serial killer?” (We all ponder this one even if we are only half serious)
I send him a message. And almost immediately I get a charming and grammatically correct reply. Good start.
We text for over a week. He wants to meet for a drink or dinner but he’s out of town working. He has a crew on a job and can’t leave them. This is exciting for me….he ACTUALLY has a career!
He lets me know his next day off and we set up a meeting time. He’s taking me to a small wine bistro for a great red wine they serve and tapas. He WAS listening to my likes…score!
Date is set. I’m far less leery….
I arrived a bit early to get settled. I usually do this to settle my nerves. I saw him crossing the street from out the window of the bistro. He was well dressed. Not too short. And…he was carrying flowers! A gentleman! This was definitely going to be my best date, I decide.
He comes in. Hugs me warmly and sits down. He tells me to order whichever bottle is appealing to me and we will share. The wine comes…and we start to talk.
Initially the conversation was superficial, but friendly. We talked about jobs, travel and food preferences. It was going really well and the wine was going down easy.
We pour glass two and decide on a charcuterie plate to share. I’m so impressed that he actually called our little meat and cheese plate charcuterie that I ignore how fast his wine glass is emptying.
Conversation turns to kids…and eventually exes. I explain my situation very honestly but lightly…I don’t want to ruin the mood and graphic detail of my divorce is not necessary at this point.
“So…” I say. “How long have you been divorced?”
He looks down and says “You can’t judge”.
“Of course not!” I say “I honestly don’t judge. Who am I?” I chuckle lightly.
“Women judge me” he says “I don’t like it when I feel judged”
“Of course you don’t….who does!?” I reply
So he begins to tell me his story. He seems heartfelt. He had a moment of indiscretion with a woman on his job site. It destroyed his lengthy marriage and hurt his teenage kids. I’m not going into detail because THAT is not my story to tell, but I truly didn’t judge him. We have all done things in our past that we are not proud of.
My response was “Did you learn from that mistake? Did it help you discover who you are and what you’re looking for?”
He pours more wine into his glass…”oh! It wasn’t a mistake per say” he says….
He picks up his phone and starts scrolling.
My mind is racing…I’m trying to grasp what he’s told me and gauge his level of self loathing about his situation…it seemed to be at about a full zero. My gut starts screaming at me, as it always does when I start learning the ugly truths…
He leans over to my blank, confused face and says “She was so fucking HOT! You have no idea. My friends were jealous.”
The internal dialog started at that moment for me:
Ugh. Are you kidding me?? You shared your mistress with your friends?
Fucking hot? That’s how you describe the marriage destroying decision that you made? Hot?
Certainly seems you feel bad buddy!
(Ok. So I was judging…a bit) 🙈
In my out loud, empowered woman voice, I said “really?! So if it wasn’t a mistake how come you aren’t with her?”
“She has a boyfriend” he replied
I start looking for the bathroom and trying to decide how I can gracefully exit this date without being rude or hurting his feelings. (Yep, I said hurting his feelings…this is who I am. Who I’m trying NOT to be anymore. I always put other people’s feelings first. I will endure a full date from hell or give someone a second or third chance because it’s who I am. Not weak, not self depreciating, but SO OVERLY empathetic and kind that I’ve lost pieces of myself).
As I’m taking a deep breath and wondering how I can flee, he pours himself another glass of wine, takes a bite of bread and shows me his phone screen.
“I means seriously” he said, spraying bread crumbs from his mouth “look at how edgy and sexy she is!”
I stare in disbelief. He is flicking through photos of his mistress on his phone, and they certainly aren’t job-site photos. He’s showing me intimate photos that she has obviously sent him in trust and confidence. Several scantily clad photos in various poses and state of undress.
First of all, This is ridiculous. Who does this on a date?! I’m seriously scanning the room for Ashton Kutcher’s camera crew from ‘Punked’.
Secondly, how awful to share photos she had sent him privately! I’m disgusted.
And lastly, What the actual eff is he doing on a date?? He’s clearly enamoured with this woman.
I smiled at him sadly.
“I think you have some shit to figure out. You’re being rude and selfish and you’re wasting my time. You should maybe look this girl up if you can’t stop thinking about her. And for her sake I hope she has changed her number.” I reached into my purse and dropped a $20 on the table.
I got up and walked out. I didn’t take the flowers. I didn’t look back.
I got into my car and on my way home I called a girlfriend to share my horror so she could make me laugh. Once again my faith in ‘Man’kind was shaken.
I got home feeling duped but better because I had vented. My phone vibrated. Text message. I looked down and read…
“I KNEW you looked like a judgemental bitch!”
I wiped the surprised look off my face, chuckled to myself and deleted his number.