I have spent six months without Original Eddie, weeding through men, once in a while sleeping with one of them but generally just sitting in front of a guy, talking to the guy, leaving him going home.
Monotony drains me. I have chemistry with no one. I miss O.E. I cannot believe I miss him after all these other trials but I do, I miss him.
The final Eddie is so vacant and therefore so symbolically satisfying, he ends my year by vanishing, just in time for his vanishing to coincide with themes of renewal. Thanks, Eddie. Maybe I needed that.
This is one of those circumstances where I saw what I wanted because I wanted to see it.
I had a mild crush on Eddie’s dog.
I met Eddie on a dating app, initially liked him because of a picture he displayed, taken at his gigantic Rottweiler/German Shepherd’s birthday party, both of them smiling like idiots, looking like the family I hope to live with one day.
I tell him I like his dog.
He tells me about the birthday party.
By the very next day we had exchanged enough words to agree to meet but not before I jumped too far ahead of the circumstance and into the land of Desperate Visions For My Romantic Future.
Within the chatting we had been doing, Eddie tells me that he is shopping for his three year old nephew. This is a week before Christmas and Eddie has decided to buy his nephew a stuffed German Shepherd because Nephew apparently believes that he’s a police man and, upon meeting Eddie’s dog, he fell in love. So, Eddie decides it will be cute and amazing to get him a stuffed toy version for Christmas. He cannot find the toy anywhere.
He tells me this and without thinking I tell Eddie “Oh. That’s actually an easy problem because my family owns one of the oldest plush toy companies in Canada and I bet somewhere around the office is at least a sample of a German shepherd.”
Why did I say this?
I never ever tell anyone about my family’s occupation especially not men I am meeting for the first time. I might as well have told him, NO PROBLEM, I’M ACTUALLY THE QUEEN OF TOYS AND I CAN ENSLAVE SOMEONE TO MAKE THIS FOR ME BECAUSE I AM ENTITLED AND PRIVILEGED (thumbs up emoji).
I jumped in with an offer because I knew I could. I also may have jumped in with an offer because I saw the opportunity to forge a relationship to this person.
It was not a conscious move. I just felt the urge to make a personal connection. I didn’t think about how I have never met this person. I didn’t think about how I don’t even know if he wants to meet me. He had told me where he worked it was close enough to me that I knew I could have dropped off the toy without ever seeing him. That’s what was in my head.
In my heart…I don’t know what was in my heart. Only the heart knows.
Eddie is thrilled.
He says he has to complete his shopping but if I want to get a drink, he’ll be around. I say yes and I can tell right away he does not expect me to say yes. He took about three minutes to respond to an otherwise pretty hasty conversation.
In those three minutes, I message a friend of mine who works for the company.
She finds me a toy.
I message him a picture of the toy.
He is very excited.
He names a time and place for the date.
We meet at a hip and pricy bar.
I ask him if theres a part of the (quite large) bar he would prefer sitting in because I never come here because I think this bar is stupid.
He admits to also thinking the bar stupid.
We fly to the pub across the street.
We talk about ourselves and drink, mostly having a good time but clearly a good time between strangers. Nothing feels too familiar or too comfortable but we can carry on a conversation and enjoy ourselves. That’s fine. That’s a first date with someone you can never see again. Normal.
Somewhere near the end of the date, we’re talking about our dogs.
I remember he mentioned to me while we were chatting on the app that his dog is still in B.C., where he used to live, and I remember knowing right away that the dog was with an ex-girlfriend. I figured it out.
Eddie confirms what I already felt.
I didn’t judge anything. I didn’t care. But, I felt his sustained connection to the ex-girlfriend in B.C.
The next day when I give Eddie my phone number because I’m sick of the app. (I usually delete dating apps every…day) Eddie tells me that he doesn’t have a Toronto number yet.
I ask, wait, how long have you been here.
Four months, he says.
My head does the math: “You have been here for four months. You left BC to come here. Your dog is still in BC. You were obviously living with the woman who now has the dog that you co-owned. I reckon, you have only been single for four months. Maybe five months.” It swirls in my head. I say nothing.
I do, however, feel that the mystery of our first date’s weird ending is now illuminated.
At the end of our first date, Eddie hugged me and walked away, indicating with his hand that he and I “You and I?” He says “this is gonna happen again”. He kept walking, leaving me at the foot of my street. I was confused. I didn’t want to kiss him. I didn’t go on this date because of any sexual ambition. Still, the way he left, I couldn’t help but feel very unattractive and very all of a sudden tired.
The next day when he did initiate conversation over the app, he was asking about getting the toy. I had already told him not until Friday. He says well, we’ll have to hang out.
I ask him if he wants to do that, to hang out with me again and he exclaims, “Yeah!”.
Eddie does not follow through.
He can’t pick a time. He has two nights between me getting the toy and him going home to the suburbs for Christmas.
Eddie is full of contradictions.
He says we should hang out but he has no time and at this point in the year, after the Eddies who have had no time, I say fuck it and I let him know: “I am dropping off the toy at your work. If you want to hang out with me, great, but no pressure.”
He exclaims, “Awesome, thanks!”
It snows on Friday.
I see a last minute play which leaves me very late for getting up to my weekly visit with my grandmother in North York.
It’s the Friday right before Christmas and every cab in the city is going to the airport.
I need a cab for my dog and I to go up to dinner.
I start to panic.
If I do not go to dinner I will not see my brother.
My brother has the toy because he works in our office.
I have to go up to North York or else I will not get the toy and I promised this man who I don’t know who doesn’t seem to want Me for much more than this toy that I would get him his nephew’s gift.
It becomes important and I still don’t know why.
I stress about not getting a cab.
I finally get one.
I get the plush dog.
My brother drops me off downtown.
By some miracle my best friend happens to be downtown and she asks me if I want to meet up with her. She goes with me to the restaurant. I drop off the toy with a server. Eddie comes running out the door to thank me. I give him a hug. I am so nervous. I walk away nervous. I don’t know why I did what I did.
It doesn’t matter because the messages from Eddie are really grateful and endless, a lot of gratitude and a lot of joy. I cannot tell how I feel. Excited but only because I am reaching a level of complacency wherein all I want is for a guy to keep talking to me. The specifics of chemistry and intrigue are increasingly unimportant.
Eddie travels home to the suburbs for Christmas the next day.
He messages me with a phone number.
I send him a message on his phone and now we are texting non-stop.
I begin feel like I am dating him. I have known him for five days.
He sends me pictures of his family, of himself in the kitchen, his nephew eating a cake.
Upon receiving the images of the nephew I ask if he gave him the toy.
“Oh yeah, he hugged me and then shot me with his nerf gun.”
I get nudged in the shoulder by intuition.
Something is contradictory again.
He was so excited. He was Text-me-all-night kind of excited. At one point he had even just messaged me an image of the toy sitting on his dresser which I didn’t understand but it seemed sweet. He told me he would send me images of how excited his nephew was and then he just…forgot about me.
It makes sense. In reality, it makes sense that I am unimportant to him.
We don’t know each other.
I have had one date with him.
One hug after that.
I went out of my way for him because I have that kind of time to do that kind of thing for an older guy with a steady job.
Even if he forgets about me.
Christmas Eve he indulges in his feelings a little more.
“I’m bored” he tells me more than once “really bored”.
It occurs to me that I might be the only Toronto number in his phone.
It occurs to me that I am just entertainment.
He is supposed to come back to the city on Boxing Day. He mentioned this more than once to me on our first date. It was a big deal that he couldn’t be there because Boxing Day is usually his family’s big Holiday party.
I ask him if he’s coming back in the morning so that he can go to work.
Eddie has no idea what I am talking about.
It’s possible he got out of having to work but he never told me about his plans changing. He complained about the original problem for a while and then resolved the problem and then he forgot that he ever spoke to me about it.
The disconnect is so confusing.
For the first time in my life I ponder the word “relationship”. How is he trying to relate to me? What is he trying to convey?
Is he just bored?
If he is just bored, then I am just a game to him. He might as well pick up his phone and play a game. It’s the same process: Follow an impulse, watch the impulse land, respond to the result. Conversational strategy and game strategy are similar and for the first time in my life I understand relationships. I understand that there truly is a way to win and lose.
It is organic to evolutionary instinct for us to play in a relationship so long as we’re winning.
He has an impulse.
If the impulse were coming from attraction or sexual desire or even friendship, it would be lovely and it would be withstanding.
But that’s not what this is.
He is bored so he mesmerizes himself by documenting things that might be interesting and then gaining validation for how “interesting” he and his world might be by sending shit to me and letting me respond.
The relationship, the way he relates to me, my relationship to him is stimulated by his boredom and therefore the game which supports this relationship is purely selfish on his end.
I see this happening as I sit on my couch on Christmas Eve and wonder if I should remind him that he spoke to me about his life and that’s why I’m confused about why he isn’t going to be in the city for Boxing Day.
I don’t care.
I don’t need to see him.
After a week of knowing him, I don’t crave him in any way. In fact, the only reason why we speak is because he instigates conversations, seemingly out of boredom but I have no urgent, commanding impulses towards him. The only way I win from this apparent relationship is if he messages me first. When he messages me first, I gain validation for the instinct that he could be into me and I feel attractive which is an evolutionary strength.
Of course, I’m not sitting on the couch wondering about my evolutionary progress or how I fit into game theory.
I am sitting on the couch confused and annoyed. I would even add a faint “disgusted” to that list. I do not like the feeling of being a novelty, a far away woman to speak with, for the time being that he’s in Suburbia.
I do not like the feeling of being an icon of anything.
Fuck this person.
I don’t respond for the rest of the night and he sends me meaningless things until he likely falls asleep.
I receive more messages throughout his trip and I answer them.
Maybe I like him.
I keep laughing at what he’s saying, I keep smiling at his adorable level of love that he has for his family, certain traits. He is a still an older guy with a steady job. He is still talking to me. Maybe I like him. I think I like him.
The instinct to Like someone comes from one of two places. Either intuition or growth. Either two people have chemistry and, once sparked, they can only get closer or, two people meet each other amidst the right time/space allowance and they grow to like what they learn.
In order for growth to be The Thing that secures a comradery, I believe at least one person in that duo has to Need a friend.
At this point, when Eddie is still in Suburbia, I am almost perfectly sure that I am the only person in his phone. I am sure he waited until he got to work to give out his new number, I have a feeling his family isn’t in there yet because he was surrounded by them the entire week.
I just have this image of my first name or even just my number sitting in his contacts, alone, as if a Contact were just some collected coin or button, scraped off the fucking ground.
I just have this feeling that I’m being held in a pocket until someone remembers that they’ve been meaning to throw me away.
And, still: I wait.
This is a new guy, I found a new guy and maybe I like him and even if I don’t like him yet, he’s still talking to me so maybe we’ll grow into each other and I can just take a fucking break from feeling Loose and awkwardly dirty because I’ve spent months contacting men just to see if they’ll like me.
He comes home.
He messages me to make plans.
It doesn’t work out the first night.
He messages me around one in the morning, he’s drunk and we speak for a long time about Patti Smith and our longing for noodles.
He goes to bed, promising that the next evening we would meet after he was done at work.
He forgets about me.
I’m out with my best friend, I’m having the best night I have had in a very long time and I just interrupt it to message him because for some reason I think it’s important that I see him right away. I do not want to think about him if he’s just stringing me along. I don’t want to think about him if his relationship to me continues to be all about his boredom. I just want to sit with him and see if there is anything there.
He doesn’t get back to me.
He is late at work and he tells me he’ll message me when he’s done.
It’s about 11 PM, three hours past what we originally planned but I really don’t mind that. He’s a chef. It happens. I’m glad we’re getting a drink. I am really glad. I get out of bed for it. I don’t know why. Maybe because he is the text in my phone that’s been making me laugh for a week. Maybe because I’m bored too. Maybe I’m excited because I have fantasized this older man with a steady job into a version of someone else, someone I wish I was with instead, someone who instigated this whole bullshit dating extravaganza and, for that matter, this entire series of essays.
I know, in the back of my heart that I will not really care about this person, at least not for long, but I get out of bed.
The conversation went something like:
Eddie says, Hey, later than I thought, still wanna grab one in your area?
I say, Yeah
Eddie says, ok let’s go
I say, Ok, meet me at _____? It’s just down the street?
(Five minutes later) I can also meet you anywhere, I don’t care
I leave the phone.
I do my make up. I change my outfit. I change it again. I change it again.
I’m chatting with my best friend. She is graciously reading through my nervous excitement about this drink.
A half hour later, I haven’t heard from Eddie.
I text, “Where are you?”
I hear nothing.
I walk my dog.
It’s been an hour.
I write, “cool, I’m going to bed.”
Three hours later, I get a message “Sorry, went home. Eating gluten free noodles and they’re shit”
I say, “Why didn’t you tell me you went home” and I add a “lol” because I’m afraid to be needy or real.
He says “just got in a cab after work. These noodles taste like cement.”
He goes on about the noodles and I don’t reply.
I wake up in the morning crying.
I wake up: Crying. Not heavily. Just, residually.
Eddie, are you fucking brain dead?
I spend the day with my best friend.
I buy an amazing pair of earrings because I just want to feel valuable.
I let the new year arrive without anyone at all.
I finally eat noodles.
I spend the night vomiting.
And, I’m fine now.