April Fools #6: The Napster
I met Thomas via Craigslist. I can’t remember if I had placed an ad and he replied or vice versa, but someone posted an ad and we emailed a couple of times before agreeing to meet up one evening. Turned out he lived just a few blocks away from me in Astoria, and so at the end of our phone call we decided to start walking towards each other’s houses and meet up somewhere in the middle. This was an utterly blind date–neither of us had sent pictures, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised to meet him and find out that he was pretty cute.
We decided to keep walking and chat for a bit. It was really nice, and I learned that he was a writer and had a great sense of humor. It started to rain, and we took shelter in a bar near my place and had a couple of beers. Then he walked me home and kissed me goodnight in my driveway, in the rain. It was romantic and sweet and I was really looking forward to seeing him again.
The feeling was mutual, and over the next couple of weeks we had a few more dates. Since starting rollerderby, I don’t usually tell guys about my hobby/lifestyle right away; previous experience has taught me that once that bomb is dropped, it will often become the only thing a guy wants to talk about. So I wait until I know that I have a connection with someone before revealing that the mysterious thing I disappear to several times a week involves rollerskates and bodychecks. I met Thomas at the tail end of my “fresh meat” period with the Gotham Girls, so we had the Derbytaunt Ball coming up, which is the coming out party for all the new skaters and kind of like prom for derby girls. Thomas and I had spent a good amount of time together, so I told him about derby and he was interested, and I asked him if he’d like to be my date for Derbytaunt. He readily agreed, and I was excited to finally have a date for an event. I had been to many weddings and other similar events in my life to that point but had never found anyone worth bringing as a date. I’m perpetually flying solo.
The Friday before Derbytaunt (which is usually on a Sunday night), Thomas IMed me to say hi while I was at work, and we chatted for a few minutes before I left for the day. He mentioned at some point that he needed a nap, and I jokingly said (with winky emoticons and everything, so there was no doubt I was kidding), “Haha, when don’t you need a nap?”
OK, to fully understand this, you have to know that he’d mentioned napping every time I saw him. Every time we’d hung out and in a few of our text/IM conversations, he’d mentioned either waking up from a nap, wanting to nap, or being on his way to a nap. The man was a nap machine. When I’d stalked his MySpace (I didn’t let him know I’d put his name in, but that’s par for the course nowadays, to do a little online research about a new interest), he’d put napping as one of his interests. And he put it in his initial email to me as an interest. Thomas liked to nap. There was no indication that this was a sensitive subject.
Anyway, so I said that completely jokingly, and he got all touchy, saying I was being snarky. Well, yeah, I was, but I wasn’t being mean. It’s called teasing. People do it a lot when they flirt. Get used to it.
He got defensive and I told him, sorry, but you always talk about naps. Not like it was a bad thing. But maybe he needed to sleep more at night. Most people wouldn’t get terribly offended by this, but Thomas did, for whatever reason. He said he would just stop talking about naps and was there anything else I would like him not to talk about? His offense was very clear, even through IM. Holy overreaction, Batman! The conversation had turned very short when he told me to have a good night. Exasperated, I signed off.
We had made tentative plans to get together over the weekend, but I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t hear from Thomas that night or the next. It was OK with me, I was pretty irked at how he had reacted to an innocent joke. I’d resigned myself to the fact that I’d be going dateless to Derbytaunt after all, but that was still better than the prospect of having to tiptoe around him in subsequent conversations.
Around 11 a.m. the morning of Derbytaunt I got a text from Thomas:
…So what time are we on for this shindig?
I replied: We’re not. I thought you were pissed at me after Friday and I didn’t hear from you when we’d talked about getting together, so I made other plans.
Thomas: Are you serious? You’re blowing me off and breaking plans?
(I wanted to reply, “Damn straight. You blew me off this weekend and I wasn’t thrilled about taking such a pansy to Derbytaunt anyway”.)
Instead: Well, it was kind of a metaphorical boner killer when you seemed to get all offended about my teasing about your napping. And we’d talked about doing something this weekend and I figured I’d let you call or whatever when you cooled off. Nothing. So I wasn’t putting any bets on you coming out tonight.
Thomas, in four texts: We had discussed the possibility of hanging out this weekend before sunday, but no definitive plans – just a casual mentioning. [OK, I’ll give him that, but he had followed through on every other mentioning of getting together to that point] Whereas the event tonight was you asking and me accepting which seems to be plans in all senses of the word. So much so that even though I was indeed a bit put off by what you had to say on friday I recognized tonight as an important event for you that I had agreed to go to with you in support for you, so I spend yesterday going all over the city to find something to wear. Even more than that though is when you initially asked me to go with you, I didn’t realize the date, and when I did I still decided to keep the plans because they are plans, passing up other opportunities tonight and deciding that we’d go to your thing and presumably have a good time, and that’s how I’d spend my birthday.
WTF. Birthday? Really? You’ve got to be f’ing kidding me. A quick check of MySpace indicated that this was, indeed, the truth. How passive aggressive does one have to be to not say anything about something like that, cancel their other plans and then get all pissed when, after giving all indications that they’re not going to be there, they’re shot down after deciding to go at the last minute?
[And, how passive aggressive does one have to be to blog about it two years after the fact?]
Me: You didn’t realize before that today is your birthday? and you broke your other plans for this? Your choice, not mine. Also your choice to run around for an outfit. And your choice to get all pissy about a bit of teasing. I can’t say that I was thrilled at the prospect of spending one of my biggest nights with someone who can’t take a little ribbing. You are still on the comp list for tonight, your choice if you want to show up.
It was really hard to resist the urge to text, “Oh, and by the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” but somehow I managed.
In the end, Derbytaunt was a magical and fun evening, and Thomas did not show up. He probably took a nap instead.