He Wins…Again

Toward the end of April I matched with a cute military guy on Tinder. Unfortunately we were no longer in the same vicinity by the time we got to talking, as he is stationed on the West Coast – California to be exact. Drats. But somehow, although we established the long distance aspect pretty quickly, we just kind of kept up intermittent conversation over the course of the next week or so. And then I asked him if he had Snapchat and he added me.

I was still talking to and highly interested in Dale then, but I wasn’t feeling the most encouraged about that situation so this guy seemed like he would be a good distraction in the meantime. We shall call him Rusty.

Rusty and I started chatting through Snapchat. And I noticed eventually that a fateful gold heart appeared next to his name. I found out that meant that we Snap each other the most. I thought that was kind of cool for some reason – it made him seem like he’s not a total manwhore.

In early May we got around to exchanging numbers and texting. Again, I was still highly interested in Dale and he was my “front runner” but I started taking a liking to Rusty as well. Our senses of humor and general political and life philosophies meshed well. But of course, there was still the fact that he lives in California and I reside definitely not in California. There was no immediate discussion of anything concerning if and when we would ever meet, but I just went with it, as I do most things in life.

There would be periods of several days where I wouldn’t hear from him and I’d think perhaps he’s grown bored or started dating someone, and I would lament it for several seconds and move on, but then out of the blue I’d get a text from him again. Some time in mid-May, he was drunk texting me and telling me he couldn’t wait to meet me. We made super tentative plans for me to come out there the weekend of June 15, but never discussed it after and it didn’t come to fruition. Funnily enough, he actually flew out to my area that weekend to pick up something from when he was stationed over this way, but I was out of town at the beach.

BUT, as the weekend before happened to be when Dale and I imploded and I was feeling kind of down, as it happens I had actually made plans to travel out to California at the end of June anyway. Not for the purposes of specifically seeing Rusty though…I didn’t consult with him beforehand or anything like that. I learned my lesson from Japan and definitely did not want to come out there *for* him specifically, but I did let him know I’d be out there the week of July 4 and down to hang out if he would be around. He seemed amenable to it.

I didn’t really hear from him the week before my trip. We had talked extensively the weekend before, but then contact fell off. I didn’t know what to think, but I again reminded myself that this trip was not about him – I’d either see him or I wouldn’t. But I definitely did not want to plan around him.

I only texted him the Friday before to remind him I’d be out there and see if we were going to get drinks, as previously discussed. He said “Of course.”

I woke up bright and early the morning of June 30 and headed to my local airport, landing in California in the early afternoon. I texted Rusty while I was on the way to my hotel. He texted back immediately to get specifics about the area I was staying in. He said he was working on his house, going to a cookout, and then game to hang out.

We ended up meeting up a little before 6 PM at a spot he suggested. He got there a little before me and directed me to him. I was able to spot him right away and we settled in together like two old pals. We talked and drank and seemed to warm up to each other pretty immediately. We were at the original bar for maybe an hour, and then he suggested another one right on the next corner, so we left and went there. At the second place, the conversation and warmth continued effortlessly. We even started making friends with 2 guys sitting next to us. It was also particularly flattering that one of them felt the need to remark that although I am not ordinarily his type (demographically), he still thought I was really attractive. It never hurts to have a stranger innocently dote on your looks in front of your date, of course.

At one point when I leaned toward Rusty a little bit, maybe to hear what he was saying or something, he took the opportunity to kiss me very sweetly. I thought that was cute.

After a while he said that we were going to go back to the original place – some of his friends/colleagues were coming out and we would meet them. But when we got back there, they had scaled things up for the evening I guess, because they wouldn’t let him in with flip-flops on. Luckily there was a shoe store right down the street that was still open so we hurried there to get an appropriate pair of shoes for him. On the way, he grabbed my hand to escort me across the street and to help me keep up with him as we dashed along to make sure we made it to the store before it closed. He scored the cheapest pair of shoes there that would be acceptable (which still ran him 55 bucks), and I put his flip-flops in a nylon shoulder bag they gave us and carried them around for him for the rest of the night. How sweet I am!

We were able to make successful entry into the bar the second time around and meet up with one of his friends and friend’s girlfriend. Rusty made the introductions, we got drinks, and we maintained for the next couple of hours as more of his friends and their significant others showed up. His friends were all nice and fun to talk to. We ended up going elsewhere eventually. Maybe one or 2 places within walking distance. Dancing…drinking…fun times had by all.

Rusty playfully pulls my hair at several points. We make out some. We pull an Irish Goodbye on his people and end up at a pizza place to soak up some of our drunkenness. I find $20 on the floor of the establishment that belongs to no one in there, so I use it to buy our slices of pizza and I let them keep the change. We Uber back to my hotel. We make out some and pass out.

The next morning we wake up right after dawn and start making out some more. I’m glad we didn’t do the drunken sex thing, but we finally get around to it after he gets a condom. It’s decent – not mind-blowing, not horrible. Just that “first time” kind of sex. We lie back down and sleep for a little while longer. He’s clearly not eager to get up and go, so I find that encouraging, but he is uncomfortable because it’s a little hot in the room. I find out I don’t have the A/C completely on so I adjust it to try to make him comfortable. We switch places in the bed so he can be nearest the unit. We lie for a little while longer and then he says it’s time for him to start his day.

I ask if he wants to hang again at some point before I leave – “of course.” He says he can’t hang out that night, but the next night (Monday) he’s down. Awesome. We get up and dress; I want to get downstairs to the lobby to get some of the continental breakfast. He puts some water in his hair to tame it and smacks me on my ass playfully before we leave the room. He orders an Uber and then we both have some juice during the quick wait. When it’s there, he kisses me goodbye.

I mostly chill throughout the day with a little day drinking intermixed throughout. I’m determined not to initiate contact with him. I want to wait it out and see. If I don’t hear from him, then I’ll just have to chalk it up to it being that one-time rendezvous. That afternoon he texts me to see what I’m up to. He’s been studying and working on some home projects. We chat some and I eventually ask if I will really see him the next day and somehow I confuse him telling me what he’s doing that moment (studying, home repair) to mean that he expects that he will be busy the next night, so I take him to be blowing me off preemptively. Stupid, tipsy, me rereads eventually and see that I mistook things, so I apologize. He laughs it off.

The next day I entertain myself by venturing out to a mini amusement park and getting on some rides. I text Rusty sporadically throughout the day with random banter, to include a picture of me and a stranger I crossed paths with who happened to be from my state and other assorted tipsy ramblings as more day drinking ensued (I mean, it’s vacation).

A little after 7 PM, Rusty texts me that he’s almost done with work. I acknowledge. Close to 9 PM, he texts me that he’s finished. I acknowledge and ask what the plan is, in so many words. After half an hour goes by with no response, and I do start getting a little antsy, I admit. I’m still on an east coast timeline, so my internal clock thinks it’s nearing midnight at this point. I’m getting tired. Not understanding why he’s not hitting me back. After a while I tell him I suspect we’re not really going to hang tonight so I guess I will go to bed. But then I decide I really don’t want to waste a night, so I decide to go out instead. I try to call him before heading out in case it turns out he’s driving or something and can’t text. He doesn’t answer. I head out to the popular neighborhood bar.

Since I’m getting a bad feeling about this whole thing and thus starting to feel crappy, I drink quite heavily. Maybe an hour into being out I send him a few texts, just kind of wondering aloud what was going on. I did remark that if he didn’t want to see me again, he didn’t have to say he did. Then a little while after that I started giving him the benefit of the doubt and apologizing for making assumptions. Stupid, drunken texts. I think I did call him a couple of times as well, but he didn’t answer.

A little after 11:30 PM, I look at my phone to see that I had a missed call from him a few minutes before. I call him back – no answer. I text him – no answer. Really, at this point, and probably because I’m intoxicated, I really don’t know what to think. But I actually start to legitimately wonder if something happened. Is he okay? Is he in distress? His behavior is legitimately becoming unsettling to me. So I did call him quite a few times over the rest of the night. But he never called back and I never heard anything from him. I sent another text near the end of the night to ask him why he was acting like this. Nothing.

The next morning I woke up to see that he still had not made contact over the night, but he finally wrote around 9 AM to exclaim that I am “cray” (modern vernacular for “crazy”). I exclaim that he said he was coming and did not, wtf. He said work ran later than expected and then I went “cray.” He followed that remark with laughing emojis, so I thought he was only about half serious. I apologized, said I didn’t know what was going on and I had gone out drinking and acted stupid – sue me.

Then for the rest of the day I proceeded with intermittent bantering texts like normal. I didn’t think anything was a big deal, but I did take care to apologize again for my antics the night before. I knew he was working and probably wouldn’t answer immediately, but there came a point that evening when I realized I didn’t really know if he had been serious about me being “cray” and blocked me, was just ignoring me, or was just working. Or maybe all at once. But I started to get a nagging feeling inside of me. Why no response at all?

I tried calling that night when I thought he might not be busy with work, just to say I’m sorry again. And also that I had decided to extend my trip until Thursday (was originally supposed to leave on July 4th, but decided to hang around to attempt to see my brother) and that maybe we could get together at some point before I left. No call back…no text…nothing. I went to sleep kind of bummed.

I only realized the precariousness of the situation on Wednesday morning when I found that he had deleted me from Snapchat. Really??? We never talked through there anymore anyway, but it was only then that it became clear that he was genuinely put off and he took Monday night more serious than I thought. Ruh roh!

The rest of that week, and the past few weeks in general, have pretty much been an adventure in befuddlement and frustration in terms of trying to understand his odd, intermittent responses and general stonewalling and callousness. I guess I can gather, overall, that he was put off by my antics that Monday night, but given that he would bother to throw out brief, apparently mocking, snippets every once in a while, and even to proceed to make moves in a current Words With Friends bout we had going (that had started before my trip), I still really don’t understand what went on here.

But in terms of the daily play-by-play…

Wednesday: I called and left a voicemail in the morning trying to apologize once I discovered the Snapchat deletion. I wasn’t really sure at this point what to think and even thought he may have actually blocked my number since he never said anything past his cryptic comments the morning before. It didn’t seem like he blocked my number though, because from what I could research, when I called it would’ve just rang once and went to voicemail. It rang like normal before going to voicemail – there was just no answer. Nevertheless, I never heard anything back. I went on that day and night to run around and try to enjoy the holiday, but I felt kind of bummed that he was obviously peeved with me and ignoring me.

Thursday: No response from the day before. I proceeded to the airport mid-morning for my afternoon flight only to find out my plane is already 40 minutes delayed from wherever it was coming from. My layover between connections was only 59 minutes as is, so they were trying to reroute me to another airport an hour from my house. No thanks. I just had them change my ticket to the next day and they put me up in a hotel for the night. I kind of felt that this might have been a moment of pure serendipity – maybe my flight cancellation would provide me an opportunity to make up with Rusty. But somehow I just felt too self-conscious to contact him at this point. If he already thinks I’m crazy or whatever, I didn’t want him to possibly get the impression that I changed my flight on purpose and was stalking him or whatever. I dunno, it just felt like it might seem TOO coincidental and that I was that eager or pressed to try and see him. So I left things alone and went off to enjoy my last night in California.

Friday: I woke up and just suddenly didn’t feel like leaving. I figured I already had taken the full week off now anyway between staying purposely until Thursday and then my flight being cancelled the day before, so I decided to make another weekend of it and changed my ticket to a Sunday flight out and booked my hotel room for a couple more nights. I went out day drinking. Got to texting Rusty eventually, trying to apologize. I didn’t bother to let him know I was still in the area, again feeling self-conscious, but I still wanted to try to make up. He answered eventually only to say I went “cray” and then said “too late” when I asked him to stop. Nothing else. But to my surprise, he has started making moves against me in the Words With Friends match we still had going – wtf?

Saturday: I woke up that morning and suddenly felt like trying to reach out again, this time letting him know everything that had happened with my flight and asking if there was any way he might see me before I left for real. It felt crappy that we were within a single digit mileage of each other, and he’s giving me the serious cold shoulder. So that morning I did break down and let him know about my cancelled flight and deciding to stay the weekend. And that it would be nice to see him again before I leave. No answer. That evening I found myself back at the strip of bars that we had been at together the weekend before. I let him know that I’m there and said maybe we can meet up if he’s nearby. No immediate answer, but half past midnight he sends this: Chuck Norris Watches Despacito. I’m too tipsy to attempt to interpret what that means at that moment, so I don’t answer.

Sunday: I’m in more of a sound mind to try to interpret what he meant by sending me that link. Was he trying to make me laugh, like old times? Was he telling me I’m annoying and he’s tired of me? I had a feeling it was more of the latter. I went down to the hotel bar that morning to have some mimosas and reflect on this and then somehow managed to figure out that it’d be cheaper to fly home the next day instead of that day, so I changed my ticket to Monday and booked my room for another night. I didn’t answer him until that afternoon, telling him I get it – NO DRAMA – and trying to be conciliatory as usual. I didn’t tell him I was staying there another night. But he didn’t respond back anyway so whatever.

Monday: I finally flew home. But not before texting Rusty that morning to let him know I had actually stayed Sunday and to tell him I hoped he won’t always be mad at me, and that his friendship kind of does matter to me. Nada.

Thursday – Sunday: I made it through most of the next week being okay with everything, but then I started texting him again that Thursday. After all, he had continued against me in our Words With Friends game throughout the week, so wtf? So I was trying to be “normal” and flirty. Hoping he will at least throw me a bone and be willing to talk now that I am home and officially out of his hair. Nothing. On Sunday, he pulls off a surprise victory in Words With Friends with some obscure ass word that I’m 97% sure he cheated to come up with. I text him to tease him about that. He answers eventually with “I win…again.” I answer with various remarks from addressing his gloating to trying to address the elephant in the room. No response. I swear him off from that point on.

And was doing quite well for a little over a week until I cracked this past Tuesday afternoon and then just asked him to please just tell me why he got so freaked out. I explained that I was not trying to come off, in my behavior that night, like I thought we were suddenly a couple or anything. I let him know that his behavior was really bothering me and I wish he would just simply discuss things with me instead of being so stone cold.

NO ANSWER. SURPRISE!

Yesterday morning I decided to just swear him off for real now (again). I had challenged him to a Words With Friends rematch, but I resigned from it and just took the stat hit (so you know I definitely meant it), and I deleted his number from my phone, along with a choice few other jackasses that it’s just time for me to be done with for good.

I don’t think I’ve really ever had anyone approach things quite in this manner, so I guess that’s what irks me more than anything. It’s not that he thinks I’m crazy or whatever he wants to think of me, it’s more so really just the obvious lack of respect or consideration from a person who genuinely seemed into me the faintest bit. It’s not like I thought I would leave California having met him and with us suddenly being an item, but I thought he at least had respect enough for me as a person and a friend and that we could build from there. He DID in fact spend over 2 months entertaining me before even meeting me – there must’ve been something he liked about me. He did definitely enjoy my actual company in person as well, it seems.

It bothers me to have thought I had even the littlest bit of a connection with someone and for him to be so mean, really. Someone who brought me around his friends…held my hand…spent the night with me…hooked up with me…gave the appearance of genuine interest in me even post-hookup…yet stonewall me after the littlest hint of trouble. Or 95% stonewall me then 5% answer me just to fuck with me. Who the fuck does that?

The only things I can think are:

1. He was in fact legitimately freaked out by my drunken antics. I mean, that’s certainly a possibility, I just feel like my behavior didn’t really rise to the level of actual “cray” or whatever he wants to call it. I’ve said things before to people, when I was more immature, that I could objectively look at afterward and say “Yeaaaaah, that was a little psycho.” I just don’t think this was it. We’d been in near daily contact for 2 months previous to meeting and I’ve been plenty of drunk before and have said outlandish things to him. I know there is a difference between *fun* drunk texting and *freak out* drunk texting, but it’s not like I lost my temper and was rude or belligerent or cursing him out. Or like I started being super clingy emotional and emoting about feelings and shit. Everything I said was basically along the lines of telling him that if he didn’t want to see me again, he didn’t have to say so, and then kind of wondering aloud (as I got drunker) what was going on. Did I overdo it with the phone calls? Sure. But I was drunk, and honestly legitimately concerned. It just doesn’t make sense to me that he would really be startled by any of that. Especially since he clearly hadn’t blocked my texts and then later on went on to finish our Words With Friends game. Why not not just go scorched earth on all forms of contact since he felt the need to delete me from Snapchat? We hadn’t even talked on there in a while and he barely posts anything.

2. Convenient excuse. Maybe he really did intend for it to be a one night stand, but felt a little bad about cutting me off cold turkey after, so kind of played along and then ducked out when I gave him the ammo to by being “cray.” Again, it’s possible, but still doesn’t really feel right to me. Why start texting me on Sunday to see what I’m up to then? Why start texting me in the evening on Monday and lead me to believe hanging out is imminent only to then fall off the face of the earth? What did he really think anyone’s reaction would be to being legitimately stood up?

3. Found a better deal. It really doesn’t make sense to me that he texted me on Monday night and said he was done with work, then the next morning claimed work ran later than expected. So you don’t know when you’re done and not done? It wouldn’t surprise me at this point if he actually had a date set up with someone else and opted for her instead of me. And maybe they hit it off and so he just started giving me the cold shoulder to get rid of me.

4. He actually is attached. I know he’s not married. And he swore he didn’t have a girlfriend. And I don’t really see a guy who does have a significant other taking me out around his town and around his friends. But who really knows. He is in the military, so maybe it’s like Ben’s kind of deal where there is someone somewhere, long distance.

Very odd. Or maybe he’s just a damaged individual. Maybe you get that way when you have had both a wife and a fiance break up with you via email, as he has told me has happened to him. Maybe since he felt like he mattered so little to people he cared about, he really has no compassion or empathy for other people in turn. We’re all disposable beings, aren’t we?