Stage Eight Clinger

A few weeks ago, I sat at a local bar on a Saturday night, alone, waiting for my date (nickname: Marathon Guy), who informed me at the very last minute that he was running half an hour late.

Marathon Guy and I had been talking online for about a month, and I had to give him credit for sticking around, as he got a strong dose of my cynicism and sarcarm right after I got the e-mail from CJ's fiancée. To my surprise, he not only took it, but threw it right back at me. It's rare that I find a guy who can keep up with me; often my sarcasm is taken too seriously and they run away with bruised egos.

The catch? Marathon Guy reminded me a LOT of The Lawyer in looks and personality, and even his voice was similar. It was a little unnerving at times, and I was often struck with déjà vu. However, we connected incredibly well, and he was financially sound (although he had just been let go from his job due to cutbacks, and was hunting for a new one), had his shit together, and knew exactly what he wanted, which included kids (you would be surprised how many 30-something guys are still unsure if they want children).

I mulled all this over, chatting with my little bro on my shiny new iPhone and sipping on a vodka cran, when the door opened and Marathon Guy walked in. He smiled huge and wrapped me in this giant hug that made my nervousness disappear. He was only a little taller than me (I'm 5'7"), with light brown hair and a full beard. We moved to a table away from the door and he sat there grinning at me.

"What?" I asked.

He leaned across the table and motioned for me to meet him halfway. I did, and he whispered, "You are fucking gorgeous."

I blushed bright red and sat back, shaking my head at him.

"You're blushing. Gorgeous AND cute."

"Jesus. Would you shut the fuck up?"

He laughed and ordered a beer.

We talked for a good hour about anything and everything, while I analyzed him to death in my head. He reminded me SO much of The Lawyer, it was really unsettling. He was kinda cute, but a little too preppy for me. He was very skinny, and I doubted he would pass the thigh test. One minute I thought I liked him, the next I wasn't so sure. Interrupting the great debate going on in my head, Marathon Guy asked me if I wanted to go for a walk, and I agreed.

The waitress brought the bill, and placed it on the table.

"How do you want to do this?" he asked.

Fuck, I had forgotten how awkward the arrival of the bill could be. "You pay for yours, I'll pay for mine," I said, and placed my $20 on the table.

I put on my jacket and we exited the bar, heading east. We turned a corner and I was asking him about the marathon he had run, when he suddenly pulled me into his arms and pressed his lips against mine. I was too shocked to react, until he stuck his tongue in my mouth, and then I pulled back. Ugh, first of all, kissing a guy with a full beard was kind of like kissing a sasquatch. I took inventory of my emotions and reactions: butterflies? No. Dizziness? No. Desire to be kissed again? Not really. He was staring at me with this half-grin and crazy head-over-heels look in his eyes. Not good.

We continued to walk around the neighbourhood, and he kept trying to thread his arm through mine. How manly. Finally, we reached a park with a little stone bridge and he grabbed me and started kissing me again. I'm fully aware that I should have pushed him away, but it had been SO long since I'd been kissed, I went with it for a minute before taking a step back and wrapping my arms around myself. Defense mechanism?

"Aw, you're cold," he said, reached out, and pulled me in close. I kept my head down to avoid another kiss, which he completely misunderstood and said, "Hey, Redhead, don't be shy with me. I really like you, and this is one of the best dates I've had in a long time. Don't you agree?"

Fuck fuck FUCK.

I smiled at him (a little painfully) and said, "I'm not sure yet."

"Not sure of what?"

"Of where this is going. It's too soon to tell."

I started walking down the stairs and he caught up with me and made an attempt to grab my hand, which I pulled away and shoved in my pocket.

Nearing the subway station, I realized I was doing that thing where I only talk forward, not to the person I'm with. I do this mostly subconsciously to avoid eye contact and remove myself as much as possible from an uncomfortable situation. Standing in front of the station doors, he offered to give me a ride home, which I politely declined.

"Redhead, I really like you, and I'm going to call you tomorrow. Promise!" he said, while I shuffled my feet awkwardly and stared at the ground. Suddenly his lips were coming at me again, and I took a step back, told him it had been nice to meet him, and walked into the station.

I was really disappointed that, as usual, I had not connected really well in person with someone I had connected with really well online. I had also reset, and badly. I define "resetting" as when you meet up in person with someone you were talking to online, and there's a disconnect that happens. Suddenly, the person you knew online is gone, and you're starting from scratch with a whole new person.

The next morning, too early for an insomniac, I received a text message:

I like you a lot. You're beautiful, Redhead.

I avoided him for a couple days, and then I got the following text:

I really miss talking to you. Any chance you'll come online?

The worst part? I REALLY missed talking to him, so I fell back on old, stupid habits and decided to give him another chance.

Marathon Guy and I picked up conversation right where we left off, except he took the flirting up a notch, and while it was nice to hear how pretty and smart he thought I was, and how taken he had been by me, some of the things he said raised red flags. He had told his friends and his MOTHER about me already. He tried to manipulate me into confessing feelings and a desire for him to kiss me again. AND he told me this: everything I ever thought I knew about how I could feel about a woman flew out the window the moment you walked into my life.

What the hell is a girl supposed to say to that? After ONE date?

The week leading up to Christmas was incredibly busy for me at work, and I was unable to schedule a second date with Marathon Guy, which I thought would help to clarify my mixed feelings. The day I was leaving for London, he contacted me to ask if he could stop by my place, just to kiss me "passionately". This really weirded me out, and I refused his request. Instead, I ran the situation by some friends, who found it clingy, smothering, and too much too soon. I left for London very happy for some time and space to think.

For the first few days, I was busy doing family stuff, and barely signed on to MSN or checked my e-mail. I had asked Marathon Guy not to send me text messages, whether from the Telus website or his phone, as I didn't have an unlimited plan and it was costing me money. Christmas Eve, I finally got a chance to check my e-mail:

From: Marathon Guy
To: Redhead
Subject: Someone might be missing you..

Can you guess who?

What was he, 32 going on 12? Still feeling apprehensive, I ignored him. Just after Christmas, I got sick and spent a couple days in my pyjamas, feeling like crap. When I was finally healthy again, I checked my e-mail on my way to have lunch with my grandmother:

From: Marathon Guy
To: Redhead
Subject: Hey, have you not been getting my msgs?

Then, a text message:

Ah shit i've been texting the wrong number all week

My phone rang: Marathon Guy. I was with family, and ignored it, obviously. An hour later, he tried again. Two hours later, he tried AGAIN. Another text message:

Are you ok? I'm a little worried. I haven't heard from you- my sending texts to the wrong number nonwithstanding.

Graduation from stage five to stage six clinger. I was annoyed, and after talking with my brothers about the situation, I decided to, politely but firmly, tell him to back off:

From: Redhead
To: Marathon Guy
Subject: RE: Hey, have you not been getting my msgs?

I'm sorry to e-mail you like this, but it's late and I'm a little irritated right now.

First of all, I've been spending time with my family, whom I don't get to see as often as I'd like. I've been online a couple of times, but only briefly, as I have other things to do and people to see.

Second of all, I've been sick, and spent a few days in bed. Today is the first day I've been feeling better, and was out with my grandmother, so I was not answering my phone.

Third, I asked you not to text me, as it costs me money, and for some reason you've ignored my request. Apparently I would have received more texts, had you not been sending them to the wrong number.

I need some time and space to think. Please respect that. I'll contact you when I return to Toronto.


The next morning, I got his reply:

From: Marathon Guy
To: Redhead
Subject: RE:RE: Hey, have you not been getting my msgs?

Hey...I was worried about YOU, not me.

As in....were you sick or was there something wrong (with you)

Don't make me feel bad for wishing you a Merry Christmas.

And for the record. I texted you 3 times. Twice to the wrong number.
One was a Merry Christmas (which I said I'd send) and the other 2 were
cuz I was getting worried.

You can have all the space and time in the world. You can end this-
whatever. My intentions were 100% noble and not harassing...or at
least not meant to be. I was genuinely worried. It's not like I'm the
harassing type...don't blow this out of proportion. I'm glad you're
not dead.

I'M GLAD YOU'RE NOT DEAD? I burst out laughing when I read that...what a complete psycho this guy was, and after only ONE date. With no intentions of contacting him again, I partied with friends and my brother on New Year's Eve. Just after midnight, I received a Happy New Year text from an unknown number with a 613 area code. I texted back, asking who it was, but there was never a reply. It didn't occur to me until I was back in Toronto that Marathon Guy was from Kingston, Ontario, which had a 613 area code. The douche had used a friend's cell phone. Stef decided that he was a stage eight clinger (he bypassed stage seven completely).

The Monday after I was back in the city, to my dismay, I received another e-mail:

From: Marathon Guy
To: Redhead
Subject: Hey

I've struggled with this.

Whether to keep my mouth shut and be patient...you said you'd contact
me and I'm sure you will.

That said- I understand I very inadvertently overstepped some boundry
over the holiday and made you uncomfortable. I really didn't think I
pressured you or was bothersome, but upon some reflection I can
understand why you felt that way. The truth is- it was very innocent,
but I annoyed you and for that I'm sorry.

I'm not a pressure-er. Look....although we've chatted a lot its not
like I've made a habit of calling/texting you checking up on you. The
cute texts was one thing...but anyways.

I am not good at keeping things in...as you've noticed. I feel guilty
for pushing you away and for annoying you. I will give you the space
you need....but please remember I've always had the best of
intentions. It was hard not hearing from you for 2 weeks when we spent
6 weeks talking a lot. I'm sure you've had a chance to think
and reflect and perhaps not miss me as much as you thought. That's
fine. I've always got my eye on YOU- the jackpot. If I miss out...I'll
be sad and hurt....because I'm a jackpot too.

I've already said too much. If you did feel pressure..I may have made
things worse.

Either way....I think I've reset myself. This isn't a plea for
anything. It's just a note to tell you that you're a wonderful woman
and I recognize all the snarky goodness. Someone likes you...and will
wait. I'm just not good at shutting up.

Hope work is better. And take your time......just don't forget about me.

It wasn't the worst e-mail I'd ever received, and I was happy for a little breathing room. My brother advised that it was time to let him down gently, and I was working on an e-mail to him only a couple days later when this appeared in my inbox:

From: Marathon Guy
To: Redhead
Subject: I know this email won't work

But...the fact you've been non receptive means something's going on. I
don't know what it is...and since you won't communicate with me I
assume I did something horrible that has cost us our friendship.

I'd like to think I've earned some amount of trust insofar that
whatever's going on- I'd understand. I understood about the fact you
were busy before Xmas....or maybe you're seeing someone

Whatever. I hope it's the latter. At least that makes sense.

This is the last time I'm going to bother you. I'm sick of holding out
hope. I don't have hard feelings...infact I hope when things chill
out- that you'll look me up. We've got something alright....usually.

Take it easy ok? I miss you a lot.

Crisis averted! ...or so I thought. Last Saturday night, I was up late watching tv and checked my POF e-mail. Here's the problem: if someone adds you to their "Favourites" on POF, it tells them the last time you were online. Marathon Guy was apparently checking up on me, and I immediately received a message from him in my inbox, with a nasty "fancy seeing you on here" comment. Furious, I blocked his ass, as it was none of his business when I was online. He went all exorcist on my ass and e-mailed me:

From: Marathon Guy
To: Redhead
Subject: I didn't deserve that

I don't know what I did really. Honest to god.

I'm confused and hurt.

You'd be mad at some guy that did this to you- then why would you do that to me?

Au contraire, Douchebag. I would NEVER harass someone like that, especially after they told me to back off. Had he no shame?

I called Stef, absolutely flipping out. It's not often that my temper gets the best of me, but this guy was pushing my limits. My phone beeped. Text message. Cringing, I looked at the phone:

You hurt me so much. I didn't deserve that.

Motherfucker sent it from the Telus website, so it would cost me money, but not him. I didn't skin his goddamn puppy; I simply didn't share his feelings! We had been on ONE date, and I owed him nothing. Weighing the pros and cons of telling him off vs. silence, I decided on the latter; a reply would just open up lines of communication and start a fight, which I did not want.

Thankfully, that was the last I've heard from him. I hope it stays that way.

The good news? I've been on a couple dates with a new guy, and I really like him...but that's a blog entry for another day!


  1. Anonymous11:50 AM

    Beards r sexy, luv tiki

  2. Anonymous4:40 PM

    Haha...this blog shocked me. Where do these losers come from? You seem quite articulate and thoughtful, though with an abrasive sense of humor. Maybe you're pretty? Assholes seem to be magnetized to pretty girls.

    Anyway if you want good guys, look for guys who are warm, good people, and who care for who you are -- not what you look like. And project confidence and love for yourself.

    I'm a mid-twenties guy who has been single since my ex wife left me, 3 years ago. I tried to date girls, but no one was really interested. I thought I had what girls wanted, a good job, looks, humor, fun, advanced degree, etc. A couple girls flirt with me, but they all have boyfriends. So for a while I was really despairing, and jealous that girls have it so easy in the dating department. But this blog really makes me thankful that even though it's hard to date girls, most girls are pretty sane. I used to joke a lot that I would have to buy a bride from Russia, if no one dated me by the time I was 35, but maybe the grass isn't greener, and it isn't much easier being a woman.

  3. Hey, thanks for your comments. I'm pretty convinced that there's a factory here in Toronto, where they produce assholes just for me to date.

    Wow, and here I thought guys had it so much easier! I guess we both had it wrong, and it's nice to know that I'm not alone in my dating frustrations.

  4. Anonymous6:52 PM

    Damn, I have friends that act like that with girls and if they talk to a girl at all they are all over them. I try and tell them all the time to just relax and flirt and they will show you if they are interested or not. There is no need to stalk a girl, she will let you know how she feels. This just further proves my point.