My name is Sonja and I am a first class A-hole. There, I said it; does this mean I'm halfway to a cure? I certainly hope so. It's not easy for me to admit being a giant jerk face; I usually find much more comfort in playing the part of the victim. "Oh poor me, I can't believe he lied to me, he seemed so sincere. Boo hoo, I've never been so disenchanted! I really thought he was going to be different." Blah, blah, blah!
After I had been stood up for a blind date with so-and-so and brokenhearted by what's-his-name I decided to swear men off altogether. It seemed that all of my bad picks were melting into one another, so much so that I was having a hard time remembering which disappointment went with which guy. I started remembering them by the outfits I wore, and even that was questionable ... Hmm, was I wearing Nanette Lapore when I found out that my beloved Greg had slept with a stripper while I was home sick, or was that my black Bebe sweater and notso-lucky-Lucky Brand Jeans? No matter, after a big upset, I'd put whatever outfit I had been wearing into what I deemed my "Unlucky in Love" pile to be sent to charity, my only solace being that somewhere there were women in crisis who looked damn good.
So, suffice it to say that I was in a foul mood the night Bill and I ran into each other at Hanna's in Summerlin, and I pretty much stayed that way for the next six weeks of our relationship. How we even became all relationshipy is beyond me—one minute I'm running out of a restaurant considering the life of a nun (nun in the morning and nun at night)—the next I'm doing the "exclusive" thing with the first guy that was decent. Go figure!
One thing is for sure, I somehow stuck Bill with the bill. He was forced to pay for all the wrongdoings of his predecessors, and boy was there hell to pay. It's too bad, too, because Bill was one of those, what do you call them? Nice guys! He was kindhearted and thoughtful, sweet and compassionate and above all else, he was crazy about me. I know this because of our second date, which I'm surprised ever came to fruition given the nightmare that was our first date: I drank myself stupid and started sobbing like someone who had awakened to find that she'd been robbed of a kidney in a deep sleep. (I have a vague recollection of saying things like: "Live for the moment, BILL! There is absolutely no promise of tomorrow, there's nothing to hope for! Today is all we've got, BILL!" Each time I said his name I spat it in his face. Charming, I'm sure.)
But apparently Bill was smitten, or at the very least a glutton for punishment, so he called for a second date. I arrived late, but he didn't seem to mind and I could tell he was happier to see me than I was to see him. A recipe for disaster. Thirty seconds into the conversation, he made Fatal Dating Mistake No. 2: He showed his hand too soon. "My palms are sweating," he said, holding his hand out. "Go ahead, feel," he urged.
He was a regular clammy Sammy! "Can you believe that?" he asked. "And my heart is racing and I have butterflies in my stomach! I said to myself, 'Can you believe you're finally going out with this girl?'" No game. Bill had no game. He was like a broad just throwing it out there. And I had suddenly become the man. In my state of mind, his enthusiasm was completely unattractive and I found myself glancing over his shoulder looking for the next good thing. It was like the chicken and the egg, which came first? Selfish bastards who treated women like crap causing them to become bitchy ice queens? Or bitchy ice queens who had eaten one too many men-lie sandwiches that consequently turned nice guys into selfish bastards? What a quandary.
I couldn't believe what was happening. I was on a date with a good-looking, charming guy who was saying things that would usually cause me to swoon, and instead, all I could do was smile, nod my head, knit my eyebrows together and pretend like I gave a crap about what in the hell he was talking about. But the truth was that I didn't care, not in the least. Because as far as I was concerned at that very moment, Bill was just like every other idiot I'd ever been seated across from in my entire single life. His lips were moving but all I could hear him say was, "I'm lying. I'm totally lying. I'm so full of shit. You understand I'm lying, right?"
Regardless of what a stand-up guy he was, I wasn't about to trust him or believe in him, or allow myself to care for him. I'd been disappointed one too many times. Soon enough I became unaccountable, I didn't call when I promised to, didn't show up when expected, I started to speak Man-ESE saying things like, "Oh baby, I'm so sorry ... I meant to call. Ah, don't be mad baby, you know what we have is really special to me." And the saddest part is: The worse I treated him, the more he seemed to want me.
The cycle had become complete. I had become exactly what I hated most: an unreliable, unaccountable A-hole with an agenda and no concern for the feelings of anyone other than myself. Forgive me, Bill. I let a nice guy slip through my fingers because I'd been burned in the past.
In the end, I guess it is important to remember to treat people the way you want to be treated, not the way you've become accustomed to being treated. I hope that lesson will follow me into my next relationshipy experience. I also hope that the suit I wore the last time I saw Bill, no matter how wrinkled and worn, won't end up in the "Unlucky in Love" pile ... It was after all, my birthday suit!
Sonja is a writer who covers the ins and outs of relationships. Or is it the ups and downs?