Getting Ornery in My Old Age

It was the last day of March, 2017, and I innocuously responded to a post made in an enormous private Facebook group created to be sort of a digital watering hole for people in my profession. It was just a basic post asking where everyone was from. I responded in the thread’s infancy, so I kept getting the subsequent notifications when other people would comment. Whenever anyone else said they were from my home state, I would go and Like the comment, for solidarity’s sake…or maybe just because I was just bored at work and dicking around.

Not long after liking one of these comments, I got a friend request from its writer. I noticed we had a few mutual friends and that he worked in my state and thus saw no harm in accepting a colleague as a friend – I do that pretty often. Not long after I accepted, he started messaging me about where I’m from and where I work. For all intents and purposes, we shall affectionately refer to this person as Lucifer (definitely no foreshadowing at all going on here).

Lucifer started off very polite and charming and extremely complimentary. He made it known right away that he thought I was beautiful and that he was definitely approaching me in a romantic sense. Only Lucifer was at the moment deployed to the Middle East as part of an Army National Guard unit and wouldn’t be back until late July.

It was for that reason, and the fact that he is several years younger than me, that I started off very guarded with him and took him and all his flattery with a grain of salt. But Lucifer was persistent and before long he grew on me. Whereas initially I was indifferent to him reaching out and about talking to him in general, before I knew it there became a time when I started looking forward to his messages and realizing that they put a smile on my face. I started liking Lucifer. After all, Lucifer had made it very clear that he was looking for a serious dating scenario when he got back from deployment. And it didn’t hurt that he was fairly cute.

When I started developing more of an attachment to Lucifer, I made sure to pore through his Facebook page to look for any evidence of any current romantic involvements; I could not find anything recent. The last pictures I could see that looked like it could’ve been a girlfriend were from a wedding in 2015. Otherwise, there was no other photographic evidence to be found. I’d monitor his posts fervently when he made any to see if any suspicious comments were made by any females. Nada.

Now, as our talking progressed and Lucifer appeared very consistent and genuine with his contact and his intentions, admittedly, our talk turned increasingly steamier over time. Even though I told him right off the bat that I was definitely NOT planning on being any kind of x-rated entertainment for him, and he seemed okay with that, eventually things did progress toward that end. But it was okay, because I liked him and he seemed into me and it was fun. And I also thought it was sweet that when I asked if he needed anything over there, like supply-wise, he only asked for letters. I ended up writing him 3.

Only…at certain points, most notably starting around Memorial Day weekend, his contact started to wane a little bit. Whereas I was used to hearing from him almost daily, it started being a couple to several days before he would say anything to me. And while I gave him the littlest bit of the benefit of the doubt given that he was deployed, it was hard for me to keep on doing so when I could clearly see him active on Facebook, liking posts and things of that nature.

Then, not only was his contact becoming more sporadic, but slowly but surely it became evermore focused on sexual talk when he did bother to say anything to me. There were several times that I called him on this stuff but he would just say he’s sorry but it’s just been busy…he’s just lonely…blah, blah, blah.

I knew deep down that something was amiss, I just really wanted to believe him, I guess. But what really started to grind my gears was the fact that, as his deployment timeline started wearing down and eventually it was just a matter of weeks before he got back to the good ol’ USA, he wasn’t at all forthcoming about any kind of general time frame or anything. Everything I managed to scrounge up regarding his unit’s homecoming was via Facebook. Nothing from him.

When his unit came got back to the United States, they had to go to Texas to be demobilized or whatever. So there’s Lucifer, finally back in the United States with normal phone capabilities. Did I get a phone call? A text? Nope. And I had made sure to give him my number at one point, so he could make “real” contact with me – I figured he’d be delighted to after having been relegated to Facebook Messenger chat the whole time, but nope. Not a peep.

I’m not dumb, although I act like it sometimes. I knew the writing was on the wall when the guy who had spent the last 4 months romancing me over Facebook Messenger did not at all bother to actually make phone contact now that he certainly could. But alas, I held out, certainly not bothering to trust my own well-honed intuition when it comes to these things – because what’s the fun in that?

He was in Texas for like a week before coming back home for good. I got a Facebook message the night he came home to let me know he was back. We vaguely discussed plans to hang out in the future. I told him I understood that he firstly has family and friends and business to attend to now that he’s home, but it would be nice if we could hang out sooner rather than later. He seemed to agree.

And then…nothing, for the most part. He wasn’t even really making conversation with me. I kind of called him out on that at one point and he claimed his house flooded and he’s been busy with that. It was like the first weekend in August at this point; he had been home for just shy of 2 weeks. And over that Friday and Saturday, those 2 consecutive days, he said we could hang out and then he abruptly canceled on me both times. Ugh. Then back to radio silence.

One night during the second weekend in August, I had swung by a buddy’s retirement celebration and then met Carly and her boyfriend out after. I was also waiting for Scout to make an appearance. But there I was innocently browsing Facebook and what do I spy? Lucifer has been tagged in several pictures at a wedding with a lovely date.

Wow…really?

And that’s exactly what I remarked on one of the pictures, being as I was absolutely floored, although really not too surprised. His date was someone who had first ended up on my radar maybe around the beginning of June when I saw that he had tagged her name, along with one of his brothers, on a music artist’s post. All he wrote was her name so there was absolutely no context to it, but upon noticing that she was a very pretty girl who lived around his hometown, I kind of had a feeling about her. But her page was fairly locked down so I wasn’t able to glean much other than that he was all over every picture or status she would put up. I did find my way to her Twitter, but there wasn’t really much to go on from there either. All I knew was that I felt a certain kind of way about the tagging, and my instincts turned out to be correct.

Well, unfortunately, as I never had a phone number for Lucifer, and he had already proven to be quite unreliable with checking his FB messages, at least when it came to me, I had no other recourse but to call him out on one of the pictures: “Really, Lucifer?” He promptly blocked me. Ah, but not before the date noticed (it was her post and he was tagged). She ended up sending me a message later in the night asking if there’s something she should know, and we got down to business.

The gist of it was that she and Lucifer had been acquaintances for several years, but were never really single around the same time so nothing ever took off. Around the time he started creeping on me, he started sliding in her DMs as well. And clearly he saw more value in her as a potential girlfriend since she was obviously the one he came running home to date. They were at that very moment out of town together for the wedding of one of his friends. So I surmised that all my instincts had in fact been correct and that he had just been pretty much using me for entertainment after a certain point.

At this point, it’s not like I had any clear cut ammo against Lucifer, but I was just trying to be honest and let her know what’s what. I showed her screenshots of things he had said while he was still deployed and clearly telling her the same shit (although in her case, I guess he actually meant it). According to her, he had asked her to be his girlfriend maybe a week prior to this, and I had clear screenshots of our ill-fated attempts to hang out, which would’ve been subsequent to their relationship starting. But I guess none of that was truly hardcore evidence of any wrongdoing on his part, depending on how you wanted to swing it. I mean, there was some slight overlap but the fact is is that we had never actually met and while he was being slightly shady, there was really nothing conclusive. I was just being honest about what went on – she could take it as she wanted.

But funnily enough, she said she had had some suspicions about me from some activity on Lucifer’s Facebook. Ha. Which really did make me seriously question his intelligence level since, given that me and the GF were both friends with him on Facebook until that night, what did he really think was going to happen?

She did try to play the strong, empowered, “take no shit” woman role for a bit – saying he’s done with him and all this and that. But the fact was is that they were currently staying in a hotel together (he drove and had been drinking, so they were stuck). So I knew the likelihood of him being able to sweet talk his way back into her good graces by the next morning was pretty high. And lo and behold, the next day I heard from a friend that they had made it “Facebook official.” So you know it was extra serious then.

So, of course, Lucifer was just one additional jackass in a long, storied line of jackasses. Nothing really new. But I think what really bothered me about the situation in particular is just the abject callousness in how he discarded me immediately once his ass was on the line, and then that was just that to him. I’m not particularly angry at the fact that he had been talking to someone else all along and then set his sights on her – that’s just an inherently sucky part about dating…you’re always kind of implicitly starring in the bootleg version of “The Bachelor” – it was just the fact that he never bothered to address anything with me.

I never really got closure, I guess. Like, to date (and this happened last August), I have never heard a word from him. Not a “thanks but no thanks,” not an “I’m sorry” or anything like that. I mean, you don’t have to want to date me, but I kind of feel like it takes a bit of a psychopathic mind to have spent 4 months befriending someone, getting her to trust you, asking her to write to you, and then just kicking her to the curb without explanation or warning without a second thought. Like, am I not a fucking person?

No worries, though. Karma is a bitch sometimes.

Around the time I got my surgery that fall, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands since I had to take it easy for several weeks. And still feeling a certain kind of way about the Lucifer situation. So one day I came up with a fantastic plan to try and screw with him.

I rounded up some pictures of him, typed out a couple of super basic, bare-bones lines about his interests, and I made him a Plenty of Fish account. And the work pretty much did itself from there. I did reach out to a few girls at first with basic greetings, but I really didn’t have the energy or inclination to actually carry on conversations with people as if I am really him. Especially since a couple of people I reached out to indicated that they had interacted with him previously. Not exactly knowing the nature of these interactions, I didn’t want to risk blowing my cover too soon.

And I quickly learned that I could be way more subtle anyway, because Plenty of Fish shows you everyone who looks at your profile. So all I really had to do was to set my location to his town and find as many girls in the vicinity as possible so I could look at their profiles and be in their history. I figured that someone eventually would be a friend of the GF’s and it’d get back to her somehow that “Lucifer” is creeping on Plenty of Fish. And eventually, I did strike gold because I did run across someone who obviously knew of them:

JA

I think I followed up with “just looking for friends” which is exactly what an asshole like him would probably say when he gets caught. Never heard anything back though and didn’t want to press it so as not to be too obvious. I wasn’t really sure what I expected out of this adventure anyway, but I was happy with that if it caused him even the tiniest bit of strife somehow.

While enacting this course of action, I was also inadvertently able to obtain further evidence of just how much of an asshole he is: one girl ended up reaching out to “him” and it was immediately clear that he knew her somehow. It turned out that they went to high school together and that she had liked him back then but he apparently never liked her. But then about a year before, they had talked a bit and decided to meet up at a park. I get the impression that he just wasn’t into her in person because apparently he just kind of upped and left really quickly and then kind of ghosted on her. She was still a little salty about that, but she did seem to really like him still. God knows why.

That was the only thing that made me feel a little bad up about what I was doing. I had 0 scruples about screwing with him in itself because he deserved it wholeheartedly, but this girl was so obviously into him and excited to be talking to him and thinking she actually had a chance.

She kept pressing for phone contact, but I told her “I” had a girlfriend and was kind of just trying to sort all that out first. She started getting really pressed and impatient. She claimed to have been able to dig up his number and then asked if she could text, but I told her that wasn’t a good idea for now. Clearly I didn’t want her actually reaching out to him because he’d obviously know that he wasn’t on Plenty of Fish. BUT I think she ended up doing just that. When she didn’t speak for a few days, I hit her up because I had a feeling, and she told me she knew my account was fake. Ugh…well…ya got me there!

At that point, having been discovered, and not really knowing where else to go with this because I had already seemed to make contact with someone who knows the GF, I deleted it.

Later in the year, I happened to find out through a little birdie that Lucifer and his GF had broken up. I think they made it to maybe early November (my POF adventures took place in mid-to-late October). One of the reasons cited by the now ex-GF was Lucifer creeping around on Plenty of Fish. When she called him on it, he tried to say his identity had been stolen. LOL. There were also questionable meetings with other women mixed in the reasoning as well, so while he did get falsely accused from the POF angle, he still in fact is a certified asshole and got everything he deserved.

He was still trying to win back her affections as of her birthday in December, because he apparently sent her flowers, which she promptly threw away. Awww.

And these days, per her Instagram account, she’s now seemingly enthralled with someone else who is not Lucifer.

And we all lived happily ever after. Except Lucifer, because fuck him.

Mean Girl

I ended up sending Chad a couple more texts that fateful Wednesday night. Topped off with a phone call – none of which he bothered responding to.

Well, okay then, asshole.

I was pretty bummed out over it at work the next day, envisioning how super awkward it’d be to run into him and what would even go down if that happened. But as fate would have it, I ended up getting some pivotal intel that evening.

Chad and I have a mutual friend that we both used to work with in different capacities. I happened to ask this friend about Chad that preceding week – about whether he was a good guy or a bad guy and offering scant details about our activities. Friend said he was a good guy.

That Thursday after work, I happened to text said friend to joke about how he vouched for Chad , who is now acting like a tool as he stood me up Tuesday night. Friend mentioned running into Chad late that very night and a pursuant conversation during which Chad remarked that his girlfriend was moving in next month. And apparently she was at his house that night.

Yikes.

I immediately texted Chad to express my dismay. He wasn’t interested in answering until I mentioned his girlfriend by name and stated I might be in the mood to have a conversation with her over Facebook about her boyfriend’s recent antics. Then, lo and behold, suddenly he was picking up right away when I called. Imagine that!

Several issues were coalescing at this point: A) Why had I not heard from you since Tuesday evening when we were supposed to hang out? B) What is this about you and your girlfriend about to move in together? That sounds a lot more serious than you made it appear, buddy.

Many excuses abounded regarding Tuesday about how he ended up working later than expected and blah, blah, blah. Right. It was never established why a text or phone call to advise of this remained nonexistent. We didn’t have time to delve into the relationship issue as he said he had to go and would call me back later.

I stopped at happy hour and was shortly thereafter joined unexpectedly by Manny. He ended up being so kind as to give me a ride home and changing the flat tire I had discovered that morning, resulting in an impromptu Uber to work as I didn’t have time to deal with it right then. Chad called me while I was on the way home but I rejected the call and said I’d call him back in about an hour. As promised, I did, but nothing productive really resulted from the conversation as I was a little tipsy and irritated. He said he would be out of town over the next few days for work but said he wanted to meet up on Sunday when he was back so we could talk in person.

Sunday arrives. I wasn’t really sure what time I was supposed to hear from him and I wasn’t confident that he would stick to his word anyway. He called  mid-morning to say that he was  90 minutes or so from being back in town and would call me back when he was about 30 minutes out. He suggested meeting at our building at first but I didn’t really want to intermix what would amount to a personal romantic discussion/altercation with the office – didn’t think that too appropriate. I suggested an entertainment locale around the corner instead.

Our conversation took all of 10 minutes because it was essentially just a plethora of BS apologies on his part, him begging me not to tell his girlfriend, and me looking and feeling quite apathetic toward his entreaties. It wasn’t sincere. He wasn’t sorry, he was just scared that I’d screw his relationship up. His eyes, that used to be warm and kind toward me, were now cold and distant and that said it all.

Even still, I could’ve walked away without ever having caused that man trouble and moved on with my life quite easily. He was starting to make me smile a bit with the extreme amount of charm he laid on, but I didn’t necessarily like him to any significant extent just yet. And I almost did walk away and leave well enough alone.

But the nail in his coffin was when he admitted that his radio silence was his way of trying to “dissipate” our thing. That pissed me off. Like, seriously? So after being Prince Charming for 2 weeks, you were just going to do a total 180 and kick me to the curb just like that? That’s not very nice. That sealed the deal for me in that I decided that since he felt I was deserving of so little respect and consideration, then I will treat him the same way in the only way that will matter to him. Only, I’m not him. I’m not particularly a coward or a liar and I told him right to his face that I was still leaning toward pulling the trigger.

It equally annoyed me when he tried to use my own logic against me. I had brought up over the course of Wednesday, that, being as we are colleagues and will probably run into each other from time to time, it’d be nice if he could actually respond so we could just sort things out and not make it a “thing” where it’d have to be all awkward and tense should we have to cross paths. He tried to turn that around on me in person as to why I shouldn’t say anything to his girlfriend…because he didn’t want a bad personal or working relationship with me. LOL. Oh, so now suddenly he cares about that. Nice try. We’re past that point. That just irritated me even further.

To emphasize: I wasn’t TOO angry about the girlfriend. I knew about her; the only minor bother I had was that obviously they were quite a bit more serious than he let on, or that he acted like they were. That out-of-state wedding he had just gone to, he claimed when I asked that his girlfriend wasn’t going, but I have reason to believe she did. Why lie about that? I’m still not sure if he lied about the amount of time they were together, because while it’s not unheard of, moving in together after a mere 6 months is pretty quick. Our mutual friend couldn’t confirm how long they had been together, and Chad wouldn’t, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they had been together for longer and he was fibbing to once again downplay the seriousness. But in any case, it wasn’t the girlfriend part that bothered me extremely.

It was his admittance that he was in fact purposely giving me the cold shoulder and obviously thought that that is what I was worthy of. Blowing off our scheduled hang-out and then not even bothering to explain or face up to anything. By his own admittance, what he SHOULD’VE done was just explained that he’d had second thoughts about all of this. I already knew that was probably the deal and so although it would’ve come completely out of left field, I would’ve been good with that. No harm, no foul. We’re cool.

Scout and I have waaaaaaay more time in and way more emotions involved and even if HE suddenly started having doubts or second thoughts and wanted to end things, I’d be pretty devastated for a little while I’m sure, but I’d never feel the need to go snitch on him to his wife. I’m just really not like that.

But, Chad? Eh. I guess I just didn’t really care. We weren’t a “thing” long or intense enough for me to care about him. Or really, at the risk of me sounding demented, for me to care about hurting him. Upon us walking back to the building for our cars together, I tried to give him some encouragement by remarking that maybe his girlfriend wouldn’t even break up with him once she knew. There’s always a bright side to anything. I was being facetious, of course. I’m not sure he appreciated it.

It has been few times in life that a guy has pissed me off enough for me to contact a significant other. I’m not saying one reason is any better than the other, but it’s never out of a sense of wanting to sabotage other romances so that he will get kicked to the curb and want to be with me or something. Some of it is spite/revenge, of course, and some is genuinely wanting to warn another woman. She can do what she will from there, I consider it a burned bridge at that point and have no further interest. It certainly didn’t deter the girlfriend of one such jackass, Robbie. Funnily enough, Robbie and I actually keep in contact on occasion. After my conversation with his until-then secret girlfriend, though she vehemently declared that she was done with him for good since she’s had issues like that with him before, they were back together within, at the most, 6 months. And they got married in May of this year. Way to take a stand, girl!

Anyway, once Chad and I parted ways I went immediately home and composed a Facebook message to his girlfriend giving an overview of the experience I’d had with her boyfriend over the past couple of weeks. From our first meeting to his obvious ulterior-motive emails the next week to his myriad of texts and phone calls and breakfast and drinks and making out. The only problem with Facebook is its random message filters that send your attempted communications to No Man’s Land if you’re not friends with a person. And I’ve never been sure if there’s a way to tell if it’s been seen or not if that should happen. She and I actually have a friend in common (the wife of aforementioned mutual friend), but it’s always been a mystery to me as to what actually gets to your main inbox and what doesn’t. I’m not sure if the one common friend is enough to “legitimize” me to the Facebook algorithm.

Not satisfied with that, because it just doesn’t sit well with me, the idea of my message languishing in some filtered inbox for days, weeks, months, or even years, the next day I decided to up the ante and email her. I’m not sure what’s considered stalker-ish or creepy nowadays, given that the internet makes it pretty easy to find any type of information on a person if you’re looking for it, but it’s possible I’m somewhat in either or both categories. So be it. But let’s just say that she’s a pretty accomplished individual with a distinctive name so a simple Google search proved to be very fruitful.

I composed a follow-up email referencing my original Facebook message and kept this one really short and sweet, sending her a screen shot of texts Chad and I exchanged in the first hours of us texting (all my incoming and outgoing texts are automatically saved through an app), and told her if she wants to see more or has any questions or needs clarification, she can feel free to contact me.

I never heard from her. Not really concerned with whether I do or not. Ditto for Chad, who I haven’t heard from or seen since our Sunday rendezvous. I did what I wanted to do and am done with it. I’ve barely thought about it since, to be honest. In a fucked up way, it’s almost as if I feel better because screwing him over boomeranged the negative energy he imparted on to me back over to him, like volleying a tennis ball back across the net. I put it back where it belongs and now am relieved of it. I have no idea if she ever read any of my communiques, or if she did, whether it put him in the doghouse or not. It really doesn’t matter either way.

I’m quite sure this makes me some unsettling combination of crazy and mean, but what I actually feel like is that I’m just tired of peoples’ nonsense. Oh well. What I am, I am. And what I’m not, I’m not.