When I turned 18 I thought I was finally an adult out on my own. The reality was I was still a child, but I had switched from candy, to marijuana and any alcohol I could get… also sometimes candy. Like any first year college student I wanted to sow my wild oats, and discover the joys of threesomes, and anonymous sex. Like most college freshman I ended up doing none of that and quickly landed a very serious girlfriend.
A week into my relationship with Nicole I discovered that I was a Bob Villa project, a “Fixer Upper.” I had no sense of style, I wore insanely baggy clothing, I wanted to be a writer, and I smoked weed and drank daily. Clearly not marriage material, but she assumed she could work to mold me into something more useful.
First, she tried to get met to go to fancy Boston eateries; this was doomed to fail. I was living on a part time tire sales job at the time. So suggesting that I pay for food and drinks at an expensive restaurant was misguided. It was either food OR drink, but never both, and I quickly made my decision.
“What would you like tonight?” the waiter at The Top of The Hub would ask.
“I’ll have the tartar of yellow Tuna, and the Pan Seared swordfish for the entre,” she responded, before inspecting a wine list she couldn’t possibly hope to understand and picking a white wine that was not so expensive it was apparent she was picking based on price, albeit expensive enough to show “class.”
“And for you sir?”
“Whiskey, neat, and keep ‘em coming,” I said
“Anything to eat?”
“Yeah, I’ll take another basket of the bread,” I replied to Nicole’s instant horror.
The way I saw it he was going to get $160 (plus tip) out of us anyway, so there was no need to put on airs, I would take my 80 dollars in $8 whiskeys. Thus began the long reformation process that consisted of everything from attempts to convince me to take her to the opera, to elaborate dinner parties where we were forced to discuss books neither one of us had ever read with first year English majors that just regurgitated their professors’ “wisdom.”
This was not, however, what ended up killing our relationship. I was resigned to her attempts at turning me into something she would be proud to introduce to people, mostly because we were having regular sex. Though she did suggest we make the sex classier with candles and rose petals, something I found cliché and tedious in general, and obnoxious to do in a dorm room the size of a broom closet.
No, our relationship ended for a reason that had nothing to do with my refusal to change, and everything to do with hers. It was the first warm day in March and asshat baseball fans were wearing their “Yankees Suck.” T-shirts, a sentiment I share, but refuse to sport in slogan form on my chest. As two very surly looking Boston University students passed by me, she turned to yell at them.
“The Yankees do not suck! The Red Sox suck, how many championships have you won?! That’s right! How many have we won?!” she yelled. It was 2002, two years before the Red Sox would break an 86 year-old curse. It was Boston. Unbeknownst to me, I’d been dating a Yankees fan.
The two behemoths looked at me to suggest I was about to back up my girlfriend’s love of the Yankees with a fight. I abhor physical violence, mostly because I am a coward, but even if I didn’t I suddenly found myself in a position where I had to defend “The Evil Empire.” I had no desire to do this.
“Gentlemen,” I said in a calm and measured tone, “You misunderstand. I too am a Sox fan, and like you, kind of feel like punching her in the face, so if you are going to take a swing it should probably be at her.”
They laughed, and my face remained unpunched.
Later in the afternoon I successfully convinced her that “I was merely joking” and trying to “defuse the situation.” Which, of course, was a lie. While I was hoping for a peaceful resolution, I was perfectly willing to accept the alternative outcome of my girlfriend taking a punch to the face for being a Yankee fan. I am strongly opposed to any violence directed at women, but she was a Yankees fan, and therefore not technically human.*
We broke up a few weeks later, just before the start of the season.
Nicole was the first person to try to mold to something more palatable, and I was perfectly willing to let her so long as she kept having sex with me. That all changed with my introduction to internet dating. Once I realized that with minimal effort, I could meet a bevy of women who would come to my local bar, get drunk, and have sex with me, I stopped putting in even the bare minimum.
It no longer seemed worth it to go to fancy new places, when my local bar had friendly bartenders who kept buying me rounds. It was half-price dating. I got to be myself, there was only one problem with the approach.
I was myself.
“So are you always this uninterested and disengaged?” a date asked me after my seventh whiskey, and the second time I disappeared up to the bar to talk to the bartender for 15 minutes rather than converse with her.
“I suppose it depends on the date, but for the most part… yes.” I replied adding, “If you don’t feel like having sex would you mind leaving the bar? It’s just that I live nearby, and I still have a lot of drinking to do.”
I guess some things are better left unchanged. Still beats the opera though.
*Author’s note: Several of the editors said this might alienate our New York audience, and that I should include an addendum explaining that we actually have Yankees fans on staff. We no longer have any Yankees fans on staff.**
**Only kidding folks, there were never any Yankees fans, you can all rest easy.