I must be the most fickle of beings because it is ridiculous how contrary I feel sometimes to my own thoughts just a few months or days ago. Here’s yet another horrible date I was on. It takes two hands to clap so admittedly I am slightly guilty as well.
Remember this guy? Miguel had been back in Seville for a bit now and we had been in touch as he traveled around the world. We even chatted a couple of times over video and for the most part, I enjoyed talking to him. I did not, for a second, hope that we would ever date again but I did not rule out the possibility of hooking up with him in a random location. Of course I already knew I would be in Spain while he was there albeit not in Seville. He in turn said that he had to schedule an interview for his US visa in Madrid anyway and could time it such that we were in Madrid together. So a while back we agreed to shack up for the week that I was in Madrid. Even then, I flinched at the thought of spending 5 evenings with him. Too Much Commitment. Me No Likey. I guess it was already a sign considering I was not even seeing anyone then.
Three weeks ago, barely a week after I started seeing Sam (and liking Sam and adoring Sam and gushing about Sam), I wrote to Miguel. I confessed that I was seeing someone I really liked and even though it was early days, I didn’t feel comfortable going ahead with our plans. I offered an olive branch too – dinner, if he’d like to. I did not want anything more and I didn’t care if he never replied. But Miguel did reply saying that he was very happy for me (though disappointed for himself). We exchanged a few more emails and chats and he picked a really quaint 19th century restaurant in the uber-cool Cheuca neighbourhood for our very platonic rendezvous.
Sidebar: I had no intention of hooking up with Miguel. None of my girlfriends believed this. Some said that it was okay for me to do so as Sam and I have not yet DTR-ed (define the relationship). Later they cautioned me, implored me to behave. I already knew I would. Obviously, Sam has bewitched me.
We met at 8 pm and went to a café nearby to kill time until 9. He gave me a big hug, as friends do. He was wearing a shirt that was way too tight on him and he had a paunch (ok, not that I should talk but..). He also had the worst haircut – the kind I despise, the kind where every single strand regardless of its location on the scalp is the same 1/2 cm length, the kind I summarily classify as a Supercuts haircut, the kind whose sole purpose is to prolong the time to the next haircut (no, I lie, the secondary purpose is to render the person completely unfuckable). I was so put off I found myself wondering how badly sex-starved I’d have to be to considering fucking someone with a Supercuts haircut. I am a terrible person. Moving on.
I ordered a carrot/pineapple/orange juice and he, a cappuccino. I did not plan to drink (and do not still) after I had terrible headaches and on one instance, a blinding flash. Six straight days of binge drinking will do that to a girl. He pretty quickly launched into a preachy diatribe about how I have a drinking problem, how I should, like he does, stop myself before I get drunk, blah blah. Cutely but firmly, I said “Hey, no judgey”. He tried speaking to me in Spanish but I firmly insisted on speaking in English as I had spent the entire day attending meetings in Spanish and my brain was fucking exhausted. I didn’t need him to patronize me with “but this is what immersion is all about”. This date was already turning out to be fantastically bad idea. I was exhausted, dehydrated and sober. All I wanted was my bed and I still had 3 hours of dining and smiling to endure.
As we entered the restaurant, he touched my back and said that I was slimmer than before. Hmmm, good effort, but I know that’s not true. Let’s get seated for his next blunder, shall we? He asked for an English menu for me. My eyes widened. I did not need an English menu. I can read Spanish! I maintained my charming outer layer and said that I’d ask him if I had any questions. And I fucking did. I asked him to translate words I didn’t recognize (and I am a foodie so I do know most) and get this, he couldn’t translate a single one. I brutally chided him for this. He understood that this was payback for implying that I would need an English menu. Maybe he was the one who needed an English menu?
Miguel and I have always disagreed when it comes to money. He thinks I spent too much and I think he spends too little. Fair enough. Contrary to his beliefs, I do save a decent amount (most months!). The waiters were the nicest I had encountered in Spain thus far – they explained everything and even prepared our order with less salt as per my request. I mentioned how I’d like to tip them generously. Miguel disagreed, he said it wasn’t necessary to tip. I knew that but I really felt that they deserved a tip. He countered by saying that he would prefer leaving no tip than leaving a 1 euro tip. Uh huh, there is door #3 – tipping a decent amount!
He then recounted how the worst thing that happened during his travels was getting stranded without a hotel in London because his airbnb host bailed on him and how he went from hostel to hostel till he found a dorm. Mind you, this is a 30-year old man working in a well-paid job, probably making more dough than yours truly. I asked why in such an emergency he didn’t consider getting a hotel for the night. He seemed proud of having found a bargain instead. I know that the circumstances for people being savers versus spenders are different but at some point in the night, I got quite weary of His Preachiness and asked “Are you going to take all this money with you when you die?”
He then talked about how he regrets not ditching his travels to come spend more time with me in Hong Kong. I called bullshit on this white lie because I had asked him to consider not going to some (useless, boring) countries on his agenda and stay longer in HK instead. He hadn’t. So this was clearly some sort of lame effort to score brownie points. I said it didn’t matter anyway because it would be short term either which way and not a serious relationship because he had a job elsewhere. To which he defensively said “of course, I am not going to quit my job”. I know. I literally just said the same thing. I really wanted my dinner to be over. All I could think about was Sam, how easy it was to talk to him and how warm and fuzzy he made me feel.
In the next fifteen minutes, it became clear to me why this dinner was the worst idea I’ve had in a while. Miguel grabbed the check. I didn’t want him to but he did, out of character and clearly an effort to impress. Fine, I was grateful. Beaming, he said “I wanted to pay the bill for this dinner but only at a restaurant that I picked”. Right, time to go home.
It was now midnight. I thanked him and said it had been really good to see him. He moaned that he had expected to spend the entire week with me. “I know, Miguel, but sometimes life gets in the way of plans. I really like this guy and I want it to work out”. As we walked out of the restaurant, Miguel has his hands on my shoulder. I counteracted by talking about Sam till his hand returned to his side. Success. I saw the graffiti of the chimpanzee herein and stopped to take a picture. He tried to grab me by the hips and pick me up. I resisted. We had to walk a bit more to get to the main road where I could take a cab (against his advice, the bus would only take 35 minutes!).
“I am only going to ask this once, are you sure you want to sleep alone tonight?” (just three hours ago, he had said that he was genuinely happy that I had found someone, especially since we would never be on the same continent. How generous)
“Yes, I am sure.” (as sure as I am of my father’s name)
“Come on….I could just sleep next to you, we could cuddle” (CRINGE ALERT! SQUIRM ALERT!)
“No, sorry, I don’t think that’s a good idea. It’s difficult but it’s the right thing to do” (White lie on my part, it was not difficult at all)
I hugged him twice, blabbed about how I was here for him, kissed him on the cheek and with a huge sigh of relief, jumped into a cab.
P.S. Did I mention that Miguel was addicted to porn before and I was his only confidant while he rehabilitated himself? I sure know how to pick ’em.
P.P.S. I am not going to feel any regret if Sam and I don’t work out.