I met him through a woman I met at a bar. She was selling Mary Kay cosmetics in the restroom at a local disco. She had her makeup kit with her and was offering makeup advice, giving free makeup samples and makeup makeovers to the women who walked in. It was a unique sales tactic. This was how I met her. She was the woman who would introduce me to my first blind date.
When I first walked into the restroom, she greeted me as though I just walked up to the hostess stand of a fine restaurant. Instead of offering me a seat, however, she offered me a chance to have my makeup touched-up or to use the sample lipstick she had brought for the women to try. I declined. “On, no thank you,” I replied. “I just stopped in for a moment.”
She welcomed everyone as they walked in. The counter surrounding the sink in the restroom now looked like a sales counter at Macy’s department store. She had her makeup kit displayed on the counter with samples of lipstick, blush, mascara and perfume for the women to test. The makeup samples were lined up near the mirror to reflect the shiny cases which sparkled against the backdrop of mirror and lights. She wore a pink dress. She had long, blonde hair which was held in place with hairspray and bobby pins that matched the color of her hair. She wore hot pink lipstick with the perfect shade of light pink blush to complement her looks and match her dress. Her fingernails were painted in matching pink also. She was pretty. She looked like a sales representative of a makeup company. She was the type of woman men notice.
After I finished using the facility, but before I walked out of the restroom, she offered to give me a free makeover if I would set an appointment. She was pleasant, pretty and eager to make a sale. I agreed to set an appointment at another time. We exchanged telephone numbers and I accepted her business card.
She telephoned the next day, we made an appointment and, shortly thereafter, I was at her house receiving my free facial. The products were good, the moisturizer smelled edible and it was nice to have a woman to talk to. She fixed me canned tomato soup for lunch, complete with saltine crackers. We talked and ended the day with promises to meet again. This was how I met her.
Months later, while talking on the telephone about our plans for the weekend I confessed that I had not been on a date since my husband deserted me for another woman. I jokingly asked if she had any “rejects” that I might be interested in. She laughed and said, “Well, yes, I might.”
Little Black Book
She asked to me to wait while she retrieved her little black telephone book. When she returned to the telephone, she began to read me a list of several men she knew who were “not her type” or whom she hadn’t really “connected” with. They were all nice men, she offered, but none had been a love match.
As she read through her little black book of names, she proceeded to name one man, at the top of her list, who was her first choice for me. However, after reading his biography, from notes in her address book, I found a couple of reasons not to be interested. “I’ll pass,” I told her. “Who’s next?” I asked.
Looks and Compatibility
She laughed. After hearing herself lists his traits, she understood my reasons for rejecting one of her rejects. She moved to the next man on her list which quickly grew to ten names mentioned that she thought I might be compatible with. Then, after I rejected them too, she suggested that maybe I would be more interested in someone to commiserate with. She was right. I didn’t want to put on a happy face, pretend to be someone I wasn’t or make promises I wasn’t going to keep. I wasn’t even sure if I was ready to start dating. I was just getting used to the idea of being alone. It was a relief to no longer share a bed with husband Number Two and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to expose myself to another relationship that required compatibility with co-morbidity.
As she read their names from her book, she briefly told me a little something about them, what they looked like, what they were looking for, whether they wanted a relationship or just something to pass the time. She named about ten men, whom we both agreed were not my type either. Then, while at the end of her list, she said, “Oh, you need to meet him. He hates everything.”
Her comment about me liking someone who hates everything was in reference to my negative attitude. She thought I had a negative attitude. As a newly, about to be divorced for the second-time woman, I did have a negative attitude. She was right. Marriage had failed me. She had been trying to cheer me up, teach me a little something about positive thinking and promised that a new man would help.
Nonetheless, after hearing more about the man who hates everything, I was interested. He was good-looking, she promised. He used to a cop, she confided. He was 6’2″, had eyes of blue, a muscular-build and was on the quiet side. He didn’t talk too much, she told me. He sounded perfect. She offered to telephone him immediately to see if he might be interested in meeting me and would give him my telephone number if he was willing to take a chance.
We ended our telephone conversation. Then, to my surprise, she called back in a few minutes to tell me that “yes,” he would call me before deciding whether to meet me. Ten minutes later, he called.
He called. It was more like an interview than a social call. He had his questions ready and asked them the way a cop asks questions during a traffic stop. He was straight to the point. After answering his first few questions, he told that he would meet me half-way for a cup of coffee and, then, if he liked me, he might buy me dinner. We ended the conversation with an agreement to meet at the Coco’s restaurant on the north-side of Denver. This was supposed to be a half-way point between his house and mine.
As it was, the man who hates everything concluded our brief telephones conversation by asking to meet me that Wednesday evening. He called it a “mid-week, pick-me-up.”
After we ended our conversation, I quickly prettied myself up by wearing a grey sweater, blue jeans and my favorite pair of shoes. I touched-up my lipstick and hurried away. Our half-way meeting point required that I drive an hour or more in rush-hour traffic in order to be on-time. I rushed out the door on my way to meet a stranger.
I arrived about ten minutes early. It worked out well. I was sitting in the lobby when he walked in. I knew it was him. A couple of other unescorted men walked in before him, but I remained seated. Then, when he walked through the door, wearing a baseball cap that read “LA Police” printed across the top, I rose to greet him. I didn’t say anything. I just stood up. I almost wanted to reach for my wallet to present my driver’s license, but refrained. Instead, he nodded to acknowledge that I must be his date as we both walked towards the hostess stand in preparation to be seated.
The hostess led us to a booth near the front of the restaurant. He waited while I chose my side and slid in across the booth to sit in the middle portion. He sat in the booth on the other side of the table. We looked at each other trying to decipher the person we just met.
The waitress arrived. He ordered coffee and so did I. We waited. The waitress returned with our coffee, remembered to bring me cream and departed. We started to drink our coffee. After taking a sip of his coffee, he looked at me. I looked back. He didn’t speak; neither did I.
The Silent Treatment
We sipped our coffee, glanced at the cover of the menu and sat in silence for a very long time. I did not look at my watch, but ten minutes or more must have passed. I started to think about leaving, but changed my mind by deciding to wait to see how long he would remain silent. I already knew his type. I changed my mind again and decided to start the conversation with a question.
“So,” I began, “which branch of the Armed Forces do you belong to?”
He continued to stare at his coffee mug, but I knew he hated me in that instance. He didn’t reply. He remained silent. I remained silent.
We continued to sip our coffee while making short glances at the waitress or customers who walked by our booth. I refused to speak and so did he. It was a silent stalemate.
Another ten minutes or so passed before I asked another question. “Well, are you going to tell me, or do you want me to guess?”
He refused to reply and remained silent. I wanted to ask if he wanted me to read him his rights first, thinking that maybe if I defined my terms of conversation he might want to respond. Instead, I kept my silence too. It became a waiting game to see who could sit silent the longest. I sipped on my coffee to indicate that I could sit quietly as well.
Several more minutes passed as we shared the silence between us, each trying to drink our coffee without making a sound. Then, just as I reached for my purse to leave, he said, “Guess.”
“Once a Marine, always a Marine,” I immediately replied. His eye twitched.
The silence continued to linger in the air. I waited.
Then again, at about the moment I was rethinking my option of finishing my coffee and just leaving, he replied with a question, “How did you know?”
This was the only confirmation he gave. As soon as he said it, he regretted it. He knew it confirmed my suspicion and he didn’t want to confess to the truth.
I didn’t answer him and let the silence between us linger longer. I really wasn’t in the mood and no longer wanted to get to know him. I already knew more than I wanted to. Then, sensing this, he started to talk.
Does Not Want to Get Married
“I don’t want to get married,” he said.
“So, who proposed?” I sarcastically asked. I then used all the body language I could gesture by opening both eyes real wide as though it was a surprise to hear that some man didn’t want to get married. His eye twitched again.
Love ’em and Leave ’em Kind of Man
“I’m a love ’em and leave ’em kind of man,” he explained. “I never look back. I just up and walk away.”
I reached for my purse and began to slide out of the booth on my way towards the door, to the parking lot, into my car and back across town. Just as I was about to make my exit, he reached across the table and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Well,” I said with as much patience as I could pretend, “if that is the kind of man you are, then, you are not man enough for me.”
I wish I had kept leaving, but when he asked me to explain, I decided to remain and explain what I meant. This was probably my second mistake.
“Well,” I replied, “let me see if I get this straight. If I understand what you are telling me, from what you have just said, that you are the type of man who meets a woman, has sex with her for as long as you want and, then, one day, without explanation, you just leave. No phone call to say goodbye, no big break-up scene, no long conversations about what went wrong, just nothing, just disappear and never look back. Is that right?”
“Well, yes,” he said.
“Well, then,” I continued, “that’s not man enough for me.” Then, I did stand to leave, but he wanted me to explain more. By this time, the words were starting to flow, so I sat down a moment to continue. I now wanted to tell him what I really thought and knowing that we were seated in a public restaurant with others nearby he would be forced to listen to prevent me from making a scene. He was now my captive audience. I decided to talk. Being polite was now over. This had to be done – quietly, discretely — but done.
“Let me ask you this,” I continued, “when you quit a job, do you give your boss notice?”
“Well, yes,” he said, though he still wasn’t sure where I was leading with this line of questioning.
“When you decide to move out of your apartment, do you give your landlord notice?”
“Well, yes,” he replied.
“Well, then,” I said, “I expect at least the same respect you would give a boss or a landlord when you are ready to take-off. If you can’t do that,” I continued, “well then, you are not what I call a ‘man’.”
I wish it would have ended there, but it didn’t. He acknowledged that he understood what I was saying and promised that when he was ready to leave, he would, at the least, give me 30-days notice. He smiled and rolled his eyes at me to indicate that he would try to play nice.
He sat quietly for a moment. Then he smiled sweetly as he handed me the menu to read.
“I’ll buy dinner,” he offered and winked at me. This was his way of letting me know that he liked me. We had an agreement. Negotiations were now closed.
We saw each other for about eight months after that. He called every day, took me to dinner every Saturday night and spent the night every night for almost the entire time. The only night he didn’t sleep over was on the eve of Thanksgiving. He never mentioned the holiday forcing me to ask the night before what he wanted to do. That’s when he told me that he was going to his brother’s house. I wasn’t invited. That left me alone for the day and I hadn’t even bought a turkey to cook for myself. It was his way of controlling my plans. He didn’t want to spend the holiday with me and leave me with the impression that we were a couple. He also didn’t want me to make my own plans so he just failed to mention it. He had already told me that he was a “love ’em and leave ’em” kind of man and, thus, he considered me warned.
I let him leave my apartment without an argument or sulking in his presence. I got the message. He delivered this type of message every day in every type of way just to remind me that he wasn’t in-love with me – he was just passing through my place on his way to some better place. I watched him walk out my door knowing that I had just seen his cruel side. I also decided not to bother rushing off to the store to buy a turkey at the last minute. I decided to just let the day pass like any other day and spend Thanksgiving alone.
The Day After Thanksgiving
The day after Thanksgiving, on Friday morning, he called. He was planning on coming over after work and would call me again later to let me know what time. He worked nights and I worked all the time, so his company was a nice change of pace for me. It also gave me a reason to leave my den and walk into the living room or into the kitchen to fix him a pot of coffee while I waited for his arrival. He usually brought cold sandwiches with him when he came over after work. He always brought me one too. He ate sandwiches for dinner which we ate around midnight. This was our routine for about eight months.
Christmas Eve Morning
Then, on the morning of Christmas Eve, he called as usual. This time, instead of offering to come over, he called to break up with me. He explained that he had bought a Christmas present for his ex-girlfriend. “I want to give it to her with a clear conscience,” he said. I remained silent. I really didn’t know what to say to a man who slept in my bed every night for eight months who only calls to inform me that he bought a present for the ex-girlfriend, but didn’t bother to get me one. I guess he’s just a one-present sort of man and, worse, seems to think that his conscience will somehow be cleared by another cruel act on Christmas Eve. It was just too planned and plotted to respond to. When he tried to explain his logic a third time, I thanked him for the call and hung up.
A man like this will never understand that intentional cruelty, especially on Christmas Eve, does not clear one’s conscience. Two wrongs do not equal one right.