I’ll be writing for the next month, the last month of my twenty-eighth year, to purge stories from my “romantic” history (inspired by recent abandonment).
In an effort to not be such a bitch, I’m going to protect the anonymity of my past lovers by calling them all Eddie. I have thereby entitled this series, “Eddie, I hate you”.
The One Where I Lose My Virginity
I met Eddie at a party.
It had been a long little month in my life. I was just graduated from the University of Toronto. I was twenty-three years old. I was working for my father full time which was unfulfilling not because I find nepotism unfulfilling or even the nature of our family’s business unfulfilling but specifically I had been working under a woman who wasn’t giving me anything to do. It’s hard for me to receive indolent instruction with anything more than resentment for the instructor especially because, in the meantime, I had opened my first theatre company, I was producing a festival, I was meeting new goals and people, I didn’t have time to be useless. But, there I was, every day, an hour and a half commute away from my home, doing absolutely nothing.
After I spent my summer producing my first theatre festival and then immediately jumping into another production of a small show, I had left myself with too much adrenaline and not enough time. I wanted very badly to accomplish more artistic efforts but I really didn’t have the time to research what those efforts could be or how they could be financed or really what any of my opportunities were at the time. Come September, I was crying to my grandfather in his lounge while he ate a quarter of an apple and half a sandwich during his pre-lunch meal around 10:30 AM.
My father was out of town but I had thought very hard about quitting while he was away and, in his absence, I began to have daily panic attacks. I had come to my grandfather’s lounge to panic but, there he was, sitting calmly, looking at the business section of the Globe, biting into a slice of apple (slowly, he never liked those apple slices).
“Oh, Rachie. Hello.”
“Are you ok.”
“Sorry? It’s so nice to see you! Would you like an apple?”
He frequently gave us his apples.
“You don’t look happy, Rachie.”
And I cry.
I haven’t cried to my grandfather since I was very little, crying for my mother to come home when she was “out of town” and we were being looked after by my grandparents. I used to cry all the time but I have a distinct memory of my grandfather telling me that “only babies cry and, if I’m not a baby, crying makes me look like one so don’t be a baby and don’t cry.”
It wasn’t powerful advice but it was terrifying to imagine myself transforming into a baby time and time again. He cured my crying years ago, why wouldn’t he do that now.
It was there in this tiny lounge that my grandfather encouraged me to go “be very famous, or at least for five years you try. If it doesn’t work out, you get married and that’s the story.” (This was six years ago. I’m not sure anything has worked out and I’m not married so, the story has somehow changed, into what, I’m not sure.)
I left work, I quit. I lay at home, planning for my company and writing all kinds of plays. The excitement expired in a couple weeks. By December I was stuck again. I had grown bored with myself and my language. I had grown lost at the prospect of consistently challenged productions.
I was writing a show for the Fringe Festival. It was taking up all my time. The show originated as a short with two women in it but when we got into the festival, I added a second half. There was a third character in the second half and I had no idea how to introduce this character. His entrance literally drove me crazy.
My best friend was living with me at the time but come mid-December, she left to visit her family. I was alone with my failure.
After a week of lying on the couch, literally not moving, fantasizing about this entrance which consisted of only one line (BUT, WHAT LINE?), I decided to move.
I got on Facebook, I RSVPed to each invite I had received that had anything to do with that evening. I got dressed. I got drunk. I went out.
I went to several parties that night. This is the only night of my life where that’s ever occurred: I was several places, I went to several parties, I was, actually, according to my Facebook, everywhere.
Everything ended at this “End of the World” party hosted by a friend of mine.
It was late.
I showed up and the only people there were the hosts and Eddie.
I sat beside Eddie.
I didn’t know him but he kept giving me wine.
The conversation didn’t include me mostly because I was drunk but I swear I heard Eddie talking about a woman who I presumed was his girlfriend because I was wondering, I was wondering if he was taken. Eddie was just my type.
The party had already ended so, within forty minutes of sitting down, I thank the hosts but I tell them I have to go.
Eddie has to go too.
I don’t know how to get home.
“Is this the bus”
He nods his head. I am intimidated. He seems connected and he’s cute and I might be way more drunk than he is but I’m not sure.
We get on the bus. And then we get on the subway. And then we sit beside each other.
I think I asked him a few personal questions. I remember him being distinctly silent.
Finally I say “I’d fuck you if you didn’t have a girlfriend.”
REVIEW: I am a virgin.
Eddie shrugs and says “She’s NOT my girlfriend—“
I kiss him immediately.
We make out on the TTC.
I grab his hand, I lead him to my building, we make out some more.
This is it, I have been waiting to lose my virginity and I have fucked it up with so many other Eddies, this is going to just be it, I’ll be a new woman, I’ll have all the material in the world to write from because my vagina will no longer be pure. My vagina will be Eddied.
We’re in my bed. I ask if he has a condom.
Eddie, you disaster.
I don’t have birth control because I don’t have sex.
I say “It’s ok, just fuck me in the ass”.
What and who and why, I don’t know.
I remember it kind of happening. It happened enough to make it pretty hard for me to sit down the next day. I don’t think we accomplished much more than trial but something happened.
Eddie leaves. I laugh knowing I did something stupid and I’ll never have to see this person again.
I fly to Puerto Rico with my family the next day.
Days go by, I laugh in my head a couple times at the fleeting memory of this Loss Of My Virginity event and how unromantic, how cherishably unromantic it was.
Eddie gets me on Facebook.
He messages, “Hey it was great to meet you the other night.”
Great to meet me.
Eddie, you really have no idea.
We end up chatting the entire trip. I’m thrilled to come back to my room at night just so I can write my play (which has now flown far past adversity and is floating on charm) and talk to Eddie. It takes me three days to even think about looking through his profile. I learn: Eddie is in an open relationship.
I have never heard of an open relationship.
We’ve been having dirty, intimate conversations, the kind that feel kind of wrong to someone who just lost her virginity. He tells me he’s been with his girlfriend since high school, they are in it forever but they decided to open it up.
I don’t know what he means.
I decide I’m ok with it but I don’t even decide, I don’t think hard enough to decide, I’m just excited he’s taken interest in me.
I make a date with him for the night I get back.
I fly home with makeup in my bag. I get off the plane, our bags are taking forever, I get mine and I don’t even wait for my family to get their luggage, I just find the first cab I could (which is one of those unmarked shady ones) I get in and I ride home.
Eddie forgot. It takes him a while to come over. I told him I would be naked with bourbon which I was (mostly naked) and he said I seemed “under-dressed”. If I had lit candles, it would have been the most embarrassing miscalculation of cliché romance ever to happen (in that apartment, at least) but I had left embellishments to my bra and saved myself a slight margin of dignity by not decorating the space.
Once again, the sex was slight, unfinished. He remarked on how sweaty the bed was. I moved us to the couch. The evening ends with him deciding to go home because he’s tired. This is when I learn he lives with his girlfriend. He leaves me for their bed. I sit on the couch for a while. The Wild Turkey diminishes.
I don’t hear from Eddie for months. I message him all the time. I wait to hear from him. I obsess. Nothing.
I invite him to my Fringe show, he avoids it, he avoids me. I am devastated by his sudden disinterest but every once in a while he comes back.
Once in a while, once in his while, I hear from him.
And he comes over.
And then he leaves.
But, I never say no.
For three years, every once in a while I get a message, a long monologue regarding his feelings for me, sometimes the word “sorry” is used to stutter through statements of regret regarding how he’s treated me, he misses me, I’m one of his closest friends. For three years I’m spun into someone else’s bullshit and I never say no to seeing him, sleeping with him, escorting him through insecurity, allowing myself to waste away amidst unfulfilling want.
My own bullshit becomes increasingly clear: I want what I can’t have. I don’t really want to be with this person but I get angry because I can’t have him when he’s right there. I start blaming myself for my obsession. I start feeling ashamed.
I’ve moved to Montreal for school. I’ve been sleeping with strangers, moving through an unglued foundation of sexual experience that I hate but I can’t seem to stop engaging in.
I hear from Eddie a few times but I don’t always reply. I have moved past him, sort of. I still think of him. I still get excited when he messages me but I don’t always reply. I no longer want to. I move to vivid anger. I offered him a lot. He took a lot. I become very angry about the inequity I willingly participated in.
One day he writes an extended monologue of regret, he’s ashamed of everything including his sexual performance and I wonder what’s happening in his life that this is what he needs to speak about right now. I haven’t spoken to him, I don’t want to but he keeps popping up.
I tell him
“I don’t know why you’re telling me this but you should know that it’s extremely unfair to show up with long monologues every so often. I’ve tried very hard to forget about you and now you just keep appearing. Please stop.”
He agrees that it’s unfair.
This man is so classic, I can’t even swallow the taste I get when I think about how I fell for his bullshit: He is sad, he remarks on his sadness and he believes his sensitivity to be remarkable when really, it’s just the same sadness we all have. The Especially Sad Eddie. It seems sweet at first. I find myself attracted to it constantly. But, looking back, he never even let me get to know him. He never told me about himself, it took me years to learn his girlfriend’s first name, what she did, why he loved her, I knew nothing.
I don’t know what open relationships are supposed to be but this made me feel like the compost bin where he deposited his semen every so often because his girlfriend is too lovely to swallow it.
Eddie, I do you The Favour over and over again, you come and go whenever you choose, I give you reason to believe that you’re worthy and now, after I’ve successfully rebuilt myself away from the demeaning repetition of your complete avoidance of me and my repulsive chase, chasing that pain just because I thought you were a temporary version of Him despite not being allowed to know you at all, after all that, you want me to read your regret and feel bad for you?
Fuck you, Eddie. I should have said, Fuck You, Eddie, I should have said, you have no idea what kind of asshole you are but I used dignity to explain to him what he couldn’t understand and I deleted him from my feed.
I stopped thinking about him.
I move back to Toronto.
I see Eddie at a show.
I’m with a friend. I invite him to our table.
He sits down but he is half sitting, really, and he gets up in the middle of my friend speaking to go say hi to someone more important. He ignores me the rest of the evening.
I have handled his penis repeatedly. He says hi to me once and is finished. Learn.
I write him a lengthy message when I get home letting him know that I will see him at other events and how dare he be rude to me. It doesn’t help. I feel worse. What do I want from him?
What do I really want from him?
He couldn’t even fake being a friend when I was “with” him and now he has no reason to try. I don’t even like him. At least I can’t find reason to when he’s misleading me.
He writes me back. He apologizes. He feels bad (he says) and he lets me know that it’s his habit to take people for granted when they really care about him.
Well, I guess so, Eddie.
I deleted Facebook this year but then returned.
Eddie messaged me “did you delete Facebook?”
“because I was looking for you and I thought maybe you deleted me but then I realized no, you deleted it.”
“Yeah, you JUST made the cut above men I would delete from Facebook when I figure out they aren’t that interested in me”
“Cool do you want to know why I was looking for you”
“I’ve been painting my nails and I was nervous to be public about it, should I, shouldn’t I, having moments of self doubt and then I heard your voice tell me to just do it. Is that weird?”
“Eddie, I am the exact person who wouldn’t normally think that is weird but I find it hard to believe in your supposed level of respect for me.”
“What? No, I have all the respect in the world for you.”
And I could believe it if I wanted to but, I just don’t need to anymore.