I had never had much luck on the dating scene. Something always managed to go wrong, leaving me lonely and single for all of eternity.
Let us take a look at the first time I tried to get a girlfriend, shall we?
It was a beautiful, sunny day in late April back in grade ten. The bell had just rung for lunch as countless students poured out of classrooms and into the cafeteria. They were not so much excited for the probably expired food the cafeteria was serving, but for the fact that one more painfully boring class was over.
I was excited because I was planning on finally asking Ali out on a big, expensive date, or at least as expensive as a guy who was not legally old enough to work, could afford. I caught her hand as she rushed out of her class and pulled her away from the sea of students.
"Alex I'm hungry!" she whined with a little pout, trying to pull me along the hallway towards the cafeteria.
"We can eat in a sec, I just gotta ask you something."
"Okay. What is it?" She looked at me patiently waiting for me to ask. It felt like my tongue had swollen to three times its normal size, my mouth was dry, my stomach knotted and my brain forgot how to think. This was a very bad start. Come on Alex, man up! On your tombstone they're going to write 'Too damn chicken to ask the love of his life out. Died of a broken heart.' Do you really want that? No? Then just ask her you nimrod!
"Um, duh, uh…" wonderful job. Ali is incredibly fluent in caveman dummy. Her stomach growled and she quickly became impatient.
"Come on, Alex, you can ask me later. I'm starving and if I don't eat something soon, I'll eat you."
She pulled her hand away from mine and started walking down the hall. I followed her taking a deep breath.
"I was just wondering if you'd like to get something to eat with me tonight. Just the two of us," good boy, now that wasn't too painful was it. You asked and didn't burst into flame, didn't melt into the floor, or have an asthma attack. Good on you.
She turned around and there was no smile on her face, just a look of utter confusion. Uh oh… abort mission, abort mission, not cool! Laugh it off, say you were kidding! Request not accepted! Danger, danger! "What was that?"
It's a trap! I took a deep breath and again asked her, "Would you like to go to dinner with me tonight?"
A smile found its way onto her lips and lit up her face, "That's what I thought you said. I'd love to…." YES! She'd love to! Who da man? You da man! "But I already have a date for tonight." NO! The world crumbled and I felt two inches tall. Of course she had a date, she always had a date, why should tonight be any different.
"Oh… that's cool… have fun" I tried to walk away with my head hung low. Rejection hurts in case anyone is wondering.
"We could double!" she announced cheerfully.
Of course, in order to double, there needs to be two couples. Right now we were at one and a half. This is why every guy needs female friends. They prove to be very good at fixing their guy friends up.
We decided to eat our lunches outside today. It was nice enough and the cafeteria always managed to smell like fish. We were sprawled out on the grass while the matchmaking began.
"What about Amanda?" Andrea asked pointing at a pretty brunette sitting on the bleachers.
"Nope, fake boobs and smokes weed, Alex is too much of a goodie goodie for a girl like that," Rachel shot.
"What about Michelle?" Morgan asked.
"Sleeps with anyone who asks," Katie said. "The girl is a walking STD."
"I don't really like any of these girls for Alex now that I think about it," Ali mused. "None of them seem good enough for him."
"Well, what about Mike?" Rachel suggested. Everyone's jaws dropped as we turned to look at her. Last time I checked, Mike was a guy. I was fairly certain that I was not gay. "I'm just saying, you have pretty crappy luck with women, maybe it's time to start batting for the other team."
"Not going to happen Rachel." I muttered angrily.
"Meh, just as well, he's out of your league anyway."
I take back my previous comment. Female friends are absolutely useless when it comes to fixing up there guy friends. Sometimes you're better off just doing things on your own. I managed to find a date on my own. Didn't know her name then, don't know it now, didn't need to know it.
I didn't quite know what the general rule of being stood up was. When does one know that they've been stood up? After ten minutes? Twenty? Well right now we were around the forty-five minute mark and neither one of our dates showed up.
Ali looked beautiful as per usual, I looked ridiculous in a dress shirt that did not fit. We were at one of the nicest restaurants in town, The Rose. I had to bum some money off of my parents just to be able to afford to come here. And yet, it appeared that I may not even need their money since it didn't look like my date would be joining us tonight.
Ali was fiddling with her phone, no doubt texting her date to find out where the hell he was. Her hair was slowly breaking free of the tight ponytail it had been tied in. Her nerves were getting to her.
"I think we've been stood up," I said flatly looking at my watch. Fifty minutes. I was pretty sure that classified as being stood up.
She slammed her phone down on the table with a huff. "Nope, just got a text from Jeff, they got here an hour ago. We weren't here yet so they left together and went to the movies. Together."
"So our dates, stole our dates?"
"Sure looks that way. Should have figured, Jeff has quite the reputation."
While I was relieved that my date didn't show up, Ali seemed pissed. I doubt she had ever been stood up before. "Well, at least we didn't get stood up alone. We don't have to go through the awkwardness of sitting at a table alone for an hour. As far as anybody here knows, we are each other's date."
She smiled as she perused the menu. "This is very true, and I'm sure you're the better date anyway. See, if I could just find someone like you, I would have zero problems in my love life. No more broken dates, no lies, no cheating. Nothing." Her eyes widened as she saw the prices on the menu, "We're going fifty-fifty, right?" she asked.
I laughed as I picked up my own menu. "It's on me, a beautiful girl shouldn't have to pay for her own food. Especially if I'm expected to live up to the role of date," I smiled at her and her eyes lit up. "Just keep it cheap, I'm not made of money."
"Of course. Thank you for being an amazing pretend date. I'll leave the tip."
On second thought, maybe my dating luck wasn't too horrible. That night wasn't bad at all. That was my first "date" with Ali, it was a great night.
Crap, I was supposed to be moving on. Forgetting about her. It's a lot harder than it sounds. It was a mission and I was damn well going to accomplish it.
I wasn't too fussy about bars. They were loud and I couldn't quite understand how grinding up against somebody's crotch qualified as dancing. I also wasn't a very big drinker so to say I was out of place here was a bit of an understatement.
"Come on Alex, one of the conditions of getting a girl is you actually have to talk to one," Matt said as he dragged me to the bar and sat me down. "He'll have a vodka," he told the waitress.
"I'll have a coke," I corrected. "I'm driving." I wasn't quite sure why I had picked Matt to be my wingman. Jason was unavailable tonight so Matt was really the only option I had unless I brought one of the girls. I was beginning to think I should have just come alone.
"You can't come to a bar and just drink coke. Nobody looks cool drinking coke. Get vodka."
"I have to drive!"
"That's what cabs are for!"
"What happens to all of the cars that get left behind by drunk owners?" I asked absent mindedly.
"I honestly don't know," he answered. We took a moment to muse on this. They must get towed or something. I imagined all of the sad looking cars that got left behind. It was depressing. "Get a coke Alex, do it for your car."
The waitress brought me a coke and Matt quickly chugged down his beer to be followed with a loud burp. The waitress grimaced and rolled her eyes. I scanned the dance floor searching for a girl. God did I ever feel like a pervert.
"So what make are you looking for my friend, we've got girls here of every type. What catches your eye."
"That's really rude and offensive."
"No it's not. I say it with love. I'm very equal opportunity, I love every type."
I only had one particular type on my mind and it was Ali. Maybe this whole thing wasn't such a good idea. Maybe I should just accept that I was doomed to love Ali and only Ali forever. It seemed impossible that there were at least 100 girls in this room and not one of them caught my eye in the slightest. Maybe I was broken, wired completely wrong so that I could only see her. It made no sense. It wasn't fair.
"You know what, I am looking for a specific type. You know Ali's type, I want something the polar opposite." An image of Ali floated to the front of my mind and I quickly pushed it aside. No more. She's gone, not my problem anymore. I didn't have to be shackled by her anymore. Bring on the ladies.
It took a while and I got shot down a few times, but I finally found a girl who made a decent substitute. She was pretty, not beautiful, but definitely pretty. She had dark brown hair that fell down her back like a sheet of liquid metal. Her eyes were a deep, warm brown and she smelled of smoke and alcohol. I was going for the opposite of Ali and that was exactly what I got. Her name was Candy… I think… It might have been Cindy… Okay I didn't know her name! This was only supposed to be a one-night stand anyway, it was probably for the best that I never found out her name.
We arrived at my front door and it was now or never. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach from a mix of nerves and excitement. I had never done this with a complete stranger before. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time. I probably should have asked her about her sexual history, found out if there were any diseases that I should be worried about, but who has time for that?
I could make a huge mistake tonight or it could be the best thing that's happened to me in a long time. I put the key in the lock and turned it. I was so anticipating feeling those soft black sheets for the first time. Nothing was better than using sheets for the first time, except for maybe sharing them with somebody else.
I opened the door to see that my clean apartment was no longer clean. It looked like a hurricane had run through it. The kitchen was full of dirty dishes and baking pans, the living room was strewn with tissues. What the hell happened to my apartment?
"Hi Alex, I was hoping you were coming home tonight!" Ali came running out of her bedroom in nothing but a pair of shorts and one of my t-shirts, eating from a carton of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. Her face was smeared with eyeliner and her eyes widened as she took in my guest. "Oh I'm so sorry! I didn't realize you had company, I'll just go to bed, I'll see you in the morning," she quickly scuttled away into her bedroom.
I looked at my date and if looks could kill, I'd be dead five times over. "I take it we should end the night here?" I asked mildly disappointed. I shouldn't have been surprised, I have notoriously bad luck after all. It figures that the only time I don't want to see Ali, she comes home. I stepped aside and let the girl leave before closing the door behind her. Well that was a complete and total waste of time.
I was torn. Again. On the one hand I was unbelievably pissed off, on the other, I could tell Ali was upset. Ben and Jerry's was never a good sign.
Sometimes I really hated being a good guy. With a loud sigh of defeat I walked to her door and knocked twice before letting myself in. She was sitting cross legged on her bed with one of her many stuffed animals in her lap, ice cream in her hands and tissues strewn all around her garbage can. Her hair and makeup were a complete and total mess. She was a disaster.
"Do I want to know what happened?" I asked standing in the door frame, my arms crossed. I needed to practice keeping my distance. This was no different than the countless other times she came home in tears.
"Where's your girl?" she asked sniffing back a few tears.
"She went home I'm assuming. So what did Andrew do?"
"Am I that transparent?' she asked with a small smile. I didn't answer. "I found a thong under his bed. I don't wear thongs. I thought he was cheating on me. Turns out he was cheating with me. It's not the best feeling in the world."
"Oh, is that it. Well I'm sure you'll bounce back and be with another guy in a week or so. Feel better." I walked away leaving her stunned on the bed. I walked into my bedroom and she followed.
"What the hell was that!" she yelled in my doorway. I threw myself on the bed and stared at her.
"I haven't heard from you in two months! Two months you've been playing house with this guy who I warned you was bad news from the start! Now you come back crying and expecting me to sympathize with you? Not this time! I am done dealing with your boyfriend drama, making you feel better. It's not my job especially when you can go off and pretend that I don't exist for two freaking months!"
"I live here and I have a right to feel upset!"
"I'm not saying you don't, I'm saying I don't want to deal with it anymore! You never listen anyway, you get over one guy and move on with the next! If I didn't know you any better I would think you were nothing but a slut!"
I said it in the moment and I regretted it the second it came out of my mouth. "I swear, I didn't mean that Ali, it just came out."
The damage was already done. Her eyes welled up with tears as she folded her arms across her chest, "So you think I'm a slut?"
"No! I don't know why I said it I was just so angry. Ali please forgive me."
"Do you know why I always come to you, Alex? I have other friends besides you but I come to you because you mean the most to me. I know that I can trust you not to judge me. To give me advice when I need it. To be there for me when I need you. I know that I have problems and that I make mistakes that I never seem to learn from but I thought that out of everyone, you would be the last one to judge me. I guess that's just one more mistake I've made. I'm sorry I'll leave you alone."
"Ali, please don't leave," my heart felt like it was being ripped from my chest. I was angry at her, I wanted to get over her, but I didn't want her to hate me.
"Why shouldn't I? You clearly don't want anything to do with me anymore."
"God you are so off base right now! For two months I have been left completely alone. I thought you were never going to come home. I went out tonight to try to forget about you because it seemed like you so easily forgot about me. I am so jealous of every guy you look at because it means that's one less look you're directing at me." I don't know why but everything just started pouring out of me like I had taken some sort of truth serum. I couldn't stop it, I had truth diarrhea.
"I don't want to lose you, especially not to some guy who doesn't know how to treat you, who's going to return you to me broken and in tears. You're always saying that you hope you find someone like me someday and yet you constantly date these assholes who treat you like garbage and I just don't understand it!"
She sighed and curled up next to me in my bed. "I do hope I find someone like you, I just don't think I deserve it. I'm not good enough, I am a mess at the best of times and am constantly causing problems for everybody. I don't think you understand the type of girl a guy like you deserves. You deserve perfection, not someone broken."
"If I were someone like me, which I kinda am in case you haven't noticed, I'd love you anyway."
She smiled and nuzzled into my neck, "If I were with someone like you, I'd be crazy not to love you too."
I wrapped my arm around her and hugged her tight, "I am sorry that Andrew turned out to be a douche by the way."
"Maybe it's time I stop dating douches…"
The black sheets on my bed did get used that night, even if not in the way I intended. I realized how dumb I was to think that I could simply get over her. It wasn't going to happen no matter how angry I get at her. She stayed in my arms all night and I have no idea what will happen in the morning, all I know is that I love that girl more than anything in the world and I will never make her cry ever again.