Jack Rabbit (Art Boy, Part II)

Following my rather difficult breakup with the Troll, I would be living on my own for the first time in my life. Once my family moved the last box into my new apartment, gave me a hug and closed the door behind them, the silence was overwhelming. My new bed wouldn't be delivered for two days, Bell was on strike, so I didn't have a home phone or internet, and it would be a few days before Rogers connected my cable. I turned on some music and busied myself with unpacking, which I managed to complete in record time.

When my cable was finally hooked up, I happily ate giant bowls of ice cream while flipping channels in my purple cat pajamas. My new bed was delivered and—ecstatic to have a double to myself for the first time in my life—I threw myself on top of it, arms and legs spread like a starfish as soon as the delivery guys were gone. Willow batted her toys up and down the long hallway and watched the birds through the big glass doors.

I ordered pizzas with my favourite toppings (pepperoni, mushrooms, green olives, yum!) and loads of greasy chinese food so I would have leftovers for a couple days (I had never been much of a cook, save for a few recipes my mother had passed on to me).

However, at the end of the day, I was alone. My family lived two hours away, Angie was busy with her own life, Stef was working out west for the summer, Scooter was dating a girl who hated me (and vice versa), and Big Sis lived in Scarborough. This gave me WAY too much time to think and reflect and make reckless decisions, like signing up for online dating…and e-mailing Art Boy.

I had wondered about Art Boy a number of times over the years, and had always been sad about how things had ended, as it would have been nice to have at least one friend in London. Our parents were still friends, and I would occasionally hear bits of information about him through my mom.

I sent him a simple 'Hi, how are you? It's been forever. Do you still use this e-mail?' message, and he replied right away in one big run-on sentence with no grammar or punctuation…some things never change. He said it was good to hear from me, gave me the Coles notes version of the past eight years, and said he would like to see me the next time I was in town, which, coincidentally, was only a couple weeks later for the August long weekend.

After spending the day shopping with my mom, I gave Art Boy a call and he invited me to come across the street and hang out in his parents' backyard. Upon my arrival, he opened the gate and gave me a big hug. Art Boy hadn't changed a whole lot in eight years; he still wore squarish glasses, striped sport socks, and clothes that looked like they had been purchased at Value Village. However, his hair was now a dark brown, and he wore it longer. His ears were stretched and he had gained a substantial beer belly.

We sat down on some patio chairs and spent hours catching up. He had gone to college for photography, but had been working retail since graduating, as he did not want to waste his time photographing weddings, engagements, and families. Then he took me inside and showed me his work (old, rusty cars, artsy landscapes, etc.), some of which were pretty cool. He began to poke and pinch me a lot, which was exactly what he did when we dated eight years earlier. At 4am I called it a night (morning?), and he gave me a hug and told me to call him if I wasn't busy on Sunday night.

Sunday night rolled around. My parents were already snoring on the couches and both of my brothers were out, so I gave Art Boy a call. We went for a walk to the store and then hung out in his parents' basement, which he had turned into his own little bachelor pad. I was making fun of his music (just like I used to) when he grabbed me and hugged me and wouldn't let me go.

"Uh, Art Boy?" I said.


"You're hugging me."

"I know. It's just…I didn't realize this until now, but every girl I've dated after you has resembled you in some way. I tried to find someone with the same sense of humour as you…you know, a little sarcastic and mean. I've always wondered how you were doing, and now you're here," he said.

It was strangely comfortable, and we spent the rest of the night talking about how we were at exactly the same point in our lives, where we didn't do the bar scene anymore, and it was hard because most of our friends were in serious relationships/married/getting married, and we felt very alone. Both of us were looking for the right person and wanted to get married and have kids someday, but were focusing on our careers at that point in time.

It was very late, and Art Boy had become a pothead since the last time I'd seen him, so I sat outside with him while he smoked his joint. He walked me to the end of his driveway, gave me a big hug, and suddenly he was kissing me. Surprised, I pulled away, and started to walk across the street.

"Wait! Come back here!" he whispered loudly.

I turned around and gave him a quizzical look.

"Shit, we didn't even talk about anything! What do we do now?" he asked.

"I have no idea?" I replied.

He said that he would come to Toronto to visit me soon, and we would e-mail each other as often as possible.

I headed home, a little confused and a little excited.

Back in Toronto, I gushed to my friends about Art Boy, who were a little concerned that it was too soon and too difficult, due to the distance. I promised them I wouldn't jump into anything too quickly, and kept my options open by talking to some new guys on Lavalife.

I bought a phone card (Bell was still on strike) so I could call Art Boy with my cell phone, and one night he randomly mentioned that his mother wanted to know where I would sleep.

"Where will I sleep?" I asked.

"When you come to London. Where will you sleep?"

"Still not following."

"My mom wanted to know if you would sleep at my house with me, or at your parents' house," he said.

I remember thinking that it was really too soon for him to be asking me that, and talking to his mom about us, which freaked me out a little. "Oh. Uh…I hadn't thought that far ahead. Look, I'm not going to be running back and forth across the street in my pajamas and be labeled the neighbourhood whore," I told him, laughing to cover up my discomfort.

The next day, Art Boy e-mailed me:

ya so my mom was stumped by the whole where will you sleep in london thing too but she does not want it known that she dosent care if you sleep over or not although im sure you woulodent say to your mom "but artboys mom dosent care they let him stay up later to and he gets more allowence..." and so on it would be funny to try that though it might work. its kind of funny hat my mom dosent want anyone to know that she dosent care if im a whore and girls sleep over. heres a question if you tell your mom that i visited will you tell her that i slept there and if not are you asamed of me you can tell me the truth i promise not to cry too much not like when you made fun of me when you were 18 and cruel. o and im totaly going to bring you a small gift when i come to toronto because as you pointed out i am much sweeter now and the more you think that the sooner i get to see you naked i think thats how it works i have a graph at home that seems to prove it. (does it make me stupid if i can touch type but i have to look at the key board to do it , is that still called touch typing?) the gift will be small and inexpensive dont worry you dont have to get me anything just seeing you is all the gifts i will ever need see totaly sweeter, this shits gold i better get laid now this is all my A material if i rememberd the colour off your eyes i would say somthing about them right now too, and it would totaly seal the deal but other than the fact that they are the prettiest eyes of whatever colour they are that i have ever seen other than that bullshit iv got nothing but a "girlfriend" with the prettiest eys ever ok maby i have goten a little slicker or your just got stupider either way i think it means ill score . design something for me you little monkey i just dont think relationships can last with out nausiating pet names monkeys just an idea to be truly objectionable you should probably think of one your self remember its not a good one if it doeent make evryone around us sick well the balls in you court pet name wise enjoy 
i miss you and hopefully i will talk to you this weekend if you have time bye


See what I mean by run-on sentence?

The more we spoke to each other, the more he would reveal about his sex life; Art Boy liked it rough, and he was a big fan of anal. While I'm aware that anal appears to be the new black, my ass is not on the menu (and guys, seriously, we're not stupid. There's no such thing as 'oops').

well it looks like even when im sick and almost asleep i can email you but you dont have time in your busy work scedule for me but that is fine just think of these two things im writing this naked and i have tattos (im naked cbecause i just got out of the shower im going to the gym i dint just strip down to wwrite you) and im working out so i look good for you and you cant even try a little anal i work and work on this relationship and you do nothing ass wise for me thanks for nothing jerk, i miss you have to go now get buff and think about geting more tatoos for you ps. i thought about you in the shower last nite very hot i cant wait to see the real thing 


Yes, I'm aware I should have run when I had the chance. Instead, I headed down to the Greyhound bus station to meet him the following Friday night. We took the subway back to my place and his intentions became obvious when he stopped at the local pharmacy to buy condoms. So awkward.

That night was the first time I had shared a bed with anyone since my breakup with the Troll, and it was a little weird. We began to fool around and I realized that Art Boy had an uncircumcised penis. I had NO idea what I was doing, and although he tried to direct me, I felt rather clumsy and uncomfortable. Things went from bad to worse when he tried to put the condom on and had a reaction to the spermicidal lubricant, which resulted in limp dick. Ugh.

The next night, we headed out to meet up with Angie and some of her friends. He held my hand all the way to the subway (I've never been much of a hand-holder), and I began to feel smothered, as I had when I dated him in high school. Hanging out at Angie's apartment, she caught me alone on the balcony.

"Dude, how's it going?" she asked.

"Um. Okay..." I trailed off


"I don't know. I'm not sure I'm ready for this," I said. "I feel a bit like I can't breathe."

"I'm not sure if he's the right person for you. Honestly? He seems a little...gay," she said.

I laughed, "He's not, he's just artistic and a little weird. I guess I'll see how it goes."

We went to a local bar, and had a pretty good time, although Art Boy didn't like to let me out of his sight. He would hold my hand across the table (Angie would catch my eye and give me a look, as she knew I was uncomfortable) and would come looking for me if I went out for a smoke and didn't come back quickly enough.

Back at my apartment, we were both drunk and started making out. Art Boy was very pushy in the bedroom, trying to force me into positions I was not comfortable with so quickly. He had picked up different condoms, and I quickly found myself having the worst sex of my entire life. Just like in that episode of Sex and the City, he was highly aggressive, as if he were a teenager having sex for the first time ever. Pound-pound-pound, I had to brace myself against the wall at the head of my bed to prevent a concussion, squeezing my eyes shut and praying for it to be over quickly. Once he was snoring, I lay there in the dark, staring at the dark ceiling in horror. What the FUCK had I gotten myself into?!

The next morning, I felt like I'd been punched in the crotch, which I guess technically, I had been. Art Boy began to grope at me, so I slid out of bed and walked, cringing, to the washroom, trying not to limp. Instead of returning to the bedroom, I sat down to watch some TV in the living room. Art Boy eventually got up and decided to cook us spaghetti for lunch. He handed me my plate, sat down beside me, and I started to cry. I cried so hard that I began to hyperventilate, and then he tried to hug me, which just made it worse. I pushed him away from me, wrapped myself into a ball, and shook my head when he kept asking me what was wrong. I think it was a panic attack.

When I finally calmed down enough to string coherent sentences together, I told him that it had all been too much, too soon. I was still recovering from my last relationship and it was too early to have someone in my space for any length of time. I felt like the walls were closing in on me and I couldn't breathe.

He kept trying to hug me and I would pull back and wrap my arms around myself in defense.

I got up and went out for a smoke. When I came back in, he was rolling a joint, for about the fifth time in two days. I refused to let him smoke it in my apartment, so he went for a walk to the park down the street. For the record, I never smoke up. I've had some really bad experiences with pot, and it makes me sleepy, stupid, and anti-social, so I don't touch the stuff. I can tolerate the occasional pot smoker, but I cannot relate to those who need it to get through the day.

Late that afternoon, we headed downtown so Art Boy could catch his bus back to London. He held my hand all the way there, and while we waited for his bus to arrive, which didn't help my feelings of suffocation.

I watched his bus pull away, breathed a big sigh of relief, and called Scooter, to see if he could come by and talk.

When Scooter arrived and asked what was going on, I babbled the entire story to him with tears rolling down my face. He pulled me in for a big hug and just held me while I cried it out. Afterwards, he took me out for coffee and cigarettes, and I felt ten times better. I knew what I had to do.

The next morning, Art Boy e-mailed me as if nothing were wrong. He said he missed me and wanted to see me again soon. I took a deep breath and wrote a reply:

Art Boy,

As I told you, I have a hard time expressing emotion, so I've decided to try writing everything out. I told you I was going to be honest and up-front with where I'm at, so I'm going to do just that. 

After you left, I had a very long talk with a close friend to work out my thoughts and feelings. I believe that because of what happened with my ex, I have a hard time dealing with people—anyone—in my space. Like I said, I have walls up and I've gotten used to my solitude, so suddenly having you in my little apartment for a whole weekend was kinda crazy. In a normal situation (for me, anyways), we would have had many dates before you came to stay at my place for any length of time and I think it was a mistake to throw ourselves into that situation after seeing each other only once after eight years. It probably would have been better if you had stayed with a friend and we had spent some time getting to know each other better.

You are a MUCH more touchy-feely person than I am, and that was also uncomfortable for me. I've never been much of a hand-holder or one for constant public displays of affection. I just felt a bit suffocated.

Basically what I need to tell you is that this has been too much too soon. I had said many times that I wanted things to go slow, and I should have stuck to that, knowing that you were used to very intense relationships in a short period of time and I wasn't ready for that. I'm just not ready for a serious relationship right now. After everything I've been through, I need to put myself first and consider what is best for me at this point. I need to figure out who I am and what I want out of life, and I need to do that alone.

I hope you don't hate me for this and can understand where I'm coming from.


He tried to call me a bunch of times, but it was never a good time for me to talk, as I was either at work or out with friends. He left a few mushy messages, where he talked about trying a long distance dating thing, and sounded very stoned, so I was in no hurry to call him back. Finally, I received this e-mail:

well sorry to hound you on your phone but i guess i will write what i was going to say. nothing i am about to write is designed to make you feel bad or guilty it is simply how i feel about the situation and i have no hard feelings.

i felt like when we started this i could trust how you felt and trust that you knew what you wanted i unfortunately no longer feel that for obvious reasons this has taken me right back to how i felt after my most recent break up which by the way when we started dating i was just getting over. this is a very bad place for me to be as i don't really want to feel like shit all the time. this is unfortunately where my head is and i can not function like this and for that reason i will also not want to go over anything that was said as far as i am concerned i have no interest in anything other than friendship as well.

the ball is really in your court as far as communicating goes i will not call and i will send an occasional email updating you on my life and that is all i do not want to discuss what happened and i do not want to discuss what might happen as far as i am concerned it is a dead issue i wish now that i had not started this it has clearly been too much for both of us and was much to soon after both of our disappointing relationships. i was glad to hear from you 3 weeks ago and will continue to wish you well in the future and would like to hear how things are going for you but i do realize that emails will be few and far between and right now i cant say i have a problem with that this has unfortunately been an unwelcome reminder of how easy it is to be hurt in these situations as i say i have no hard feelings and i wish you all the best.

i am sorry if this email has sounded cold or angry i am now in the position where i have to protect my feelings and i am not happy to be in that situation i hope that you understand how i feel and give me the space and time that i need as well to get over the sudden decision that you have made.

good bye artboy

That was the last time I ever spoke to Art Boy. He added me to Facebook, but we have not bothered to communicate with each other. Our parents often get together for dinner (which is very weird for me), and his parents attended my grandfather's funeral last summer. I had not seen them in eleven years, and his mother hugged me and remarked about how I was "all grown up". I found out afterwards that she had taken my mother aside and asked if I was single again, as she noticed I was there alone. Seriously, who does that at a funeral?

As for Art Boy, his parents bought him a car, and his grandparents willed their house to him, so he really lucked out, considering he was going nowhere with his life. Recently, he got engaged to a girl who seems equally as odd (yes, I Facebook snooped), and all I can think is that she must enjoy concussions and sex sprains. Ha.


  1. LMAO, especially at "there's no such thing as oops!"

  2. Anonymous7:28 AM

    "reaction" to spermicidal lube? Is that a real thing? Cause I might start using that excuse after a bit too much whiskey....