On Gay Modern Love: Was I on a Date or Baby-Sitting? OMG! What an Asshole!

26Apr08

In which The Gay Recluse makes fun of the sad straights who appear in this week’s Modern Love offering in The Times. Those looking for our quantitative analysis should click here.

Was I on a Date or Baby-Sitting? OMG! What an Asshole!

By JULIE KLAUSNER and THE GAY RECLUSE

Published: April 27, 2008

So this asshole in a rock band sent me an e-mail message. We had a friend in common, and he saw me sing “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses one night in Brooklyn, at karaoke. (Yes, I’m kind of an asshole, too!) He wanted to say hi, he wrote, but was unshaven at the time and didn’t want to make a bad impression. OMG! What an asshole!

But even though he was an asshole, he was hot! Which I discovered thanks to Google: lanky, thin, straw-colored hair, cheekbones so sharp they could…shave slices like Post-it notes off a block of Jarlsberg? (Remember: I’m kind of an asshole, too!)

He continued, in all lowercase, to introduce himself. I scrolled over his rambling exposition, waiting for the payoff. Was he going to ask me out? He didn’t. “i’m at home absolutely spazzing out because we’re leaving in a few days to make a record and i have to/really should finish a long list of songs. so, waving hello and/or re-hello! all the bestest.” OMG! What a major asshole!

My enthusiasm waned. A hot guy in an indie band waved me hello and/or re-hello mid-spazz-out? And he’s leaving in a few days to make a rock album? How old is he: 40 going on 19? OMG! What a fucking asshole! I rolled my eyes, but they only landed on those cheekbones on my computer screen.

I wrote back and made it easy for him. I even used all lowercase, mirroring his asshole casualness. “hi. let me know if you ever wanna get a drink sometime. it would be fun to meet up.”

A relationship book I once read told women to use the word “fun” whenever possible. The author claimed it had a subliminal aphrodisiac effect on asshole men, who want a relaxed girl attached only to good times — the human equivalent of Diet Coke. This is obviously not me: I’m an asshole, not fun!

Over the next month, I got a few texts from him reporting on his band’s stay in the Northwest: updates on their shitty album, the stupid weather. His texts were postcards; he was broadcasting, not communicating. OMG! What an asshole! But desperate as I was, I liked hearing from him and pathetically wondered if he would meet up with me in New York, or if he would flake out. Despite my skepticism, I still wanted to go on a date with a good-looking guy who went through the trouble of getting in touch with me after seeing me sing in a bar.

While he was away, I asked my loser musician friends what they knew about him. Joanna, a singer, summed him up: “Well, yeah…he’s a huge asshole.”

I was not that surprised to hear he was already a father. I was 28 then and had never dated a guy with a child. Also, like many assholes, he seemed like sort of a kid himself.

I have never been one for musicians. They’re such assholes! I know girls are supposed to go crazy for asshole frontmen who close their eyes when they sing and nod their heads when the drums kick in, but I’m like Shania Twain with that stuff: Assholes don’t impress me much. Even though they kind of do, as this story proves. I like to pretend I’ll take wit and brains over the ability to carry a tune any day, but really I want an asshole! You can teach a monkey to play the guitar, you know. (Remember: I’m an asshole, too!)

Still, any asshole who can make a living doing something creative is impressive. And he did have a nice face! I would have to take Joanna’s word for it about his lyrics, though, because I tried to listen to a couple of his songs online and was too bored by the melodies to pay attention to the words. (Remember: I’m an asshole, too!) It was typical emo stuff: every second was droney, thick, exhausting, tedious, disposable, putrid, nauseating bullshit, but I guess if I had a gun to my head I might call it “heartfelt.” Yuck.

He sent a text message when he was back in town and asked me out for Monday. I said yes, and he wrote, “actually, are you around tonight?” OMG! What an asshole!

“No,” I wrote. I felt like an asshole establishing boundaries. I heard back an hour later: “monday it is!”

The asshole already annoyed me, and we hadn’t even met! I would soon learn a lesson men have known for years: that it’s possible to be attracted to assholes, especially if you’re an asshole, too!

Maybe “like” is the wrong word. There was something clumsily endearing about him, or maybe it was just his looks. News flash for those who missed the last ten thousand years of civilization! Even cynical women can be reduced to “buttery puddles” by an asshole with a pretty face.

He told me to meet him at his subway stop in Brooklyn. OMG! What an asshole! Of course he was pint-sized with a huge Napolean complex but otherwise very cute. I wore heels and a dress, like an “adult” on a date. He wore corduroys and slip-on Vans sneakers. OMG! What an asshole! I hovered over his shaggy blond head, wishing I could smash it like a coconut!

He took me for a walk around his neighborhood. OMG! What an asshole! I’m always suspicious when a guy takes his date on a walk, because it reeks of poverty and an inability to plan. And in this case OMG I was right! It seemed as if he was taking me on a stroll of his estate, and from the way people on the street greeted him with questions about his tour and album, it was as if he was the king of his neighborhood. Seriously, what a fucking asshole.

We wound up in a bar, where we sat next to each other on stools. Once I got my beer, he put his knee between my legs, I put my hand between his and OMFG I remembered why I agreed to go out with him: he had an A+ package! I felt my contempt for his Peter Pan posturing slip away as hormones seized my body. All I could think about was how “the corduroy” felt between my bare thighs.

He told me he bought a DVD of “The Electric Company” to show episodes to his son. I had told him that I was a fan of 1970s children’s television. “Do you want to come over and watch ‘The Electric Company’?” he asked. OMG. Creepy.

I squeezed his “knee” with my legs. “Sure.”

He lived in a one-bedroom apartment and had converted the bedroom into a playroom for his little boy. It was cluttered with wooden toys, and everything was at shin level. He kept this room for whenever his child came to visit him, which apparently was not very often. Which I could understand, because it was so creepy.

We retired to the living room, where dresser drawers hid a Murphy bed. His mattress lowered like a drawbridge, and we fooled around on it for a few hours. And even though he was a creepy, self-centered asshole, it was fun.

Three days later, I got a text message from him: “hope you got home okay last night!” OMG. Then, right afterward, “oops sorry julie. i thought i sent that text tuesday.” As if. What an asshole.

Thanks to technology, there are so many more ways to fail. OMG! What an asshole!

After the fail text, I heard nothing. I feel dumb admitting it, but part of me believed that making out with “moi” would launch the asshole into action mode, almost as if our respective asshole natures would cancel each other out, so we could relate to each other like sane people.

And even though I knew I should have written him off, I was being such an asshole! I craved him! A few weeks later, on a flight from Chicago back to New York, I couldn’t sleep: I had cast myself as the lead in the pornography looping in my head. Just like Splenda can make you hungry for more sweets, even a – and here’s another news flash for those who missed the last ten thousand years of civilization! — casual sexual encounter can breed a craving for what can’t be sated by a night of fumbling on a Murphy bed. Dumb pathetic asshole that I was, I sent a text message from the baggage claim area at Kennedy Airport.

He said he was “cleaning.” I offered to come over with my DVD of “Free to Be … You & Me” on the chance he was up for some ’70s children’s TV, which by now I assumed was a euphemism for “OMG will you please fuck me!”

I took a cab over to his place, where we hung out in his kitchen listening to music and eating ravioli while he told me about his son.

The custody proceedings in the last week had turned ugly. The child’s mother didn’t want him to have any visitation rights, and even though he was a huge asshole, he was heartbroken. Or at least pretending to be.

He quickly unleashed a torrent of lies: he told me they had gone out for three months but he had never called her his girlfriend; that when he broke up with “the dumb bitch,” she announced she was pregnant; that he thought she was on the pill and figured she had gotten pregnant so he wouldn’t leave; that he did anyway, after which she had the baby and moved overseas.

I felt bad for the woman if she thought a baby could act as “maturity Miracle-Gro” on such an asshole, given that he had dated her for months but still kept it casual. But because I too was an asshole — although of a more passively pathetic kind — I felt bad for him, sideswiped by this unfortunate side effect of a life lived dreamily. I remember Joanna telling me how many of his songs were about longing and loss: I thought about the love of his life, this little boy with yellow hair, living a world away. Still, he was a huge asshole: you couldn’t take that away from him!

One thing in his favor: He made sure to use a condom with me that night, on his son’s bed. (Creepy.)

Afterward, I didn’t hear from him. Asshole! I didn’t want to call, but I realized I had left my earrings and DVD at his apartment. I needed to get my things and move on, but I knew it was up to me. He wasn’t going to get in touch with me: I was waiting for the Great Pumpkin to give me back my earrings. Such an asshole.

Back in “p.a.” (passive aggressive) asshole mode myself, I sent him a curt text on my way to the subway telling him that I wanted my stuff back and that I would be in his neighborhood later. In the meantime, I went to meet a friend for drinks at a bar not far from his apartment.

Hours after I had sent the text message, I heard back from the asshole: “hi julie. so sorry i’ve been out of touch. things have been crazy. the other thing is that i’ve started seeing somebody else and wanna see where it’s going. anyway, i have your stuff, just let me know where i can drop it off, xo” O.M.G.

I felt my cheeks get hot. How did this happen? Even though I had seen right through this clown, I still managed to get hurt. I did like the asshole, despite everything! It wasn’t fair. Why was I such a pathetic asshole?

Soon he entered the bar with a shopping bag and slid into the booth between my friend and me. The awkwardness was palpable, sultry, like…fondue?

“Hi,” he said, handing me the bag. OMG. What an asshole.

“Thank you,” I replied, passively staring at my drink like an asshole.

There was a long pause. We were both being such assholes!

“So,” he said. “What are you doing?” OMG. What a stupid asshole!

I took in a sharp breath and finally looked him in the eye. “Having a drink,” I said passive aggressively, answering the world’s stupidest question like the world’s biggest asshole.

He took a moment to assess, then rose silently from the booth and slipped into the night. I took out my DVD, put my earrings on, crumpled up the shopping bag and finished my Diet Coke. OMG. What an asshole.

Julie Klausner is a writer and performer who lives in New York City.

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