I dated you and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

I’m sure we’ve all heard, at some point, someone in a movie (or, if you hang out with cliche-spouting douchebags like me, in real life) say: “I don’t deal well with rejection.”

Congratulations, genius, because I doubt that anyone does!

Even those of us who take it quietly on the chin, or respond to it with anger, probably don’t like hearing anyone tell them that they’re not good enough. I know I didn’t. These last few weeks, I’ve been grappling with matters of rejection and self-loathing in my own way. I’m an emotional broadcaster, so “my own way” entails telling the world I’ve been dumped, that I’m sad and that I need a hug and a decent therapist. I put it on my lips, on my face, on my facebook profile and in my twitter feed. I’m surprised I didn’t sign up for MySpace just to let people who are bigger losers than me know how I’m doing.

For about as much time as it takes to make a baby, I dated a girl. She is caring, sweet, disarming, funny and quite possibly – although this may have something to do with the rose-coloured glasses I have on right now – the most beautiful woman in the entire universe. Unfortunately for me, she prefers a life of, pretty much in her own words, subjugation to men (and not the kinky kind either). This is by no means a bad thing. In a world where women fought for the right to choose, you are well within those rights if you feel like you want to be told what to do by a man (take that, feminists!). The problem is, anyone who knows me knows that I’m, first and foremost, talky, emotional, a snappy dresser, an eccentric dancer and that I spend a lot of time with my “girlfriends”, eating ice cream and watching sad movies that claim to be set in the real world but always end with the charming asshole seeing the error of his ways and unchaining his black heart for one lucky lady.

Maybe leading with all my bordering-on-queer qualities wasn’t the best move I could make as a guy looking for love with this woman.

To this you might say that I don’t need to change who I am to suit the tastes of ‘some girl’. The problem is, no girl that I want to date will ever be just ‘some girl’ to me. We’re not similar on the surface, but being human’s pretty much about finding the similarities and celebrating the differences between us all. While I can’t easily compromise on my decidedly liberal views for anyone, I’m pretty capable of accepting that other people have different opinions than me. And there’s also the fact that Love makes you do strange things.

So there I am, both blinded and rocking my rosey shades


...and fighting ninjas, of course...

and I’m convincing myself that ‘a love like ours’ isn’t doomed to tragedy and failure. Then it ends, unceremoniously, with two people who were supposed to go out for dinner watching Frasier reruns and eating snacks instead. The really crazy thing about me is that I am an obsessive analyzer. I analyze everything that happens to anyone from as many different perspectives as I can manage, to try and find a reason, and a solution. I was raised on a diet of Superman-style philosophy, after all.

Superman demonstrates his philosophy about sex.


Some (Most? All?) people have said that the analysis is wasting vital time I could instead spend rebounding off some other poor girl with a low self esteem and a lower pair of panties (if she’s wearing underwear at all), but love, like I said, makes you do strange things. When it comes down to the stages of self-involved heartache like I just went through, your friends tend to ‘remind’ you, like little well-meaning Robert Smiths, how the girl was never there, how saying sorry won’t change her mind and how she doesn’t care how I do that trick. They don’t necessarily dislike her. They don’t necessarily even know her. That’s not the point of the exercise. They just want you to know that they’re on your side, that you ‘won’ in the end and that you’re better for it. Meh. I don’t want to come out on top and I certainly don’t feel like asserting some sense of grand superiority over my ex. As far as I’m concerned, we both lost this round.

All everyone is offering as consolation is the equivalent of walking away from a game show without the full cash prize.

I dated you and all I got was this lousy life lesson. Another step towards maturity and a cynical “adult” attitude that I’m not sure I really need. Wherever we go from here, I’m going to avoid making cracks about the woman I loved. No need to be an asshole to someone I care about over and above ‘coming out on top’ or whatever everyone’s trying to tell me I just did.

And besides…

Maybe sometimes there isn’t always a way. But there’s always a next time, right?



3 thoughts on “I dated you and all I got was this lousy t-shirt

  1. Ah, dear-heart! The most painful of all painful things, the end of a love-road. I like very much here how you’re not willing to let the ‘ouch’ (ok, ok, if we don’t euphemise unbearable pain we might as well stop moving, its how we remain functional) of the ending wash out the significance and beauty both of the relationship and the lady in question.

    I think that’s maybe one of the hardest things to do, and one of the ones we’re least willing to do is value a relationship after it’s died. Its so much easier to get angry and decide the other person wasn’t ‘good enough’ or ‘compatible enough’. We live in a culture that only build value on ‘the’ relationship, the one that leads to marriage ( and that’s a whole other patrio-capitalist wormcan I won’t open here) but the very real danger of that is that every relationship that ends becomes worthless

    Because I am a Shakespeare nut and a Hopeless Romantic, I set great store by the lines
    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    admit impediment

    I just think we interpret them wrong. ‘Marriage’ in this context is a spiritual joining, a merge through understanding, rather than a marriage in the social sphere. Meaning that every time we fall in love we join with the other person, we break our boundaries and step outside of our walls. We grow and learn and share and experience a joy that is not accessible solo. Every time we fall, its for a reason. Every time we fall, that persom is the right person for us, for who we are at that time. There is nothing braver and more beautiful than dropping our boundaries and BEING in love, giving ourselves to someone else

    And then, for whatever reason of out-of-syncheness it ends. And it hurts. Like knives. Like an amputation. Like someone died. But we are allowed only a minimal grieving period. If the relationshi ended then clearly he/she/it was not right for you in the first place. The whole thing was just a colossal waste of time, and you’d bwst busy yourself finding ‘the REAL relationship’ because time is ticking, and goodness knows uf you don’t put a ring on it, you’ll get left behind.

    This is all a load of bull. Every person we give love to grows us, as we grow them, and the universe itself is enriched. ANY love given is beautiful. ANY relationship that involves more than a knocking of boots is exquisite, musical, will change us forever.

    So you’re right. Your words here are heros words and your journey well worthy of good old Kal El. Not because you’re ‘too good for her’ or ‘ a stronger man now’ but because you were brave enough to love a beautiful woman, and brave enough to still call her beautiful after it ended. That, sir, is true heroism.

    Here’s to Romance, and wearing the pain proudly. And to steal from your words, here’s to next time.

    Or, to put it differently. Deep, bru.

    You’d better rewad this fast. I feel a delete button in its future

    • Don’t you dare delete it, Meg. What you said, you said far more beautifully and succinctly than I managed with the exact same message. Thanks for your response, and for understanding better than anyone else what I was really talking about.

  2. Pingback: Temples of Doom and Self-loathing | Popcrowd

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