My friend Nick who is probably one of my favorite people in the world, just wrote a blog post about being courageous enough to have the break up talk despite the situation and not just “ghosting” or deferring to radio silence. It is something I totally admire about him and something I would want (and respect) but not something I always do. Case and point, Thursday night.
I was in a weird mood and a guy I’d been chatting with back and forth asked me on a date. Now…I wasn’t sure if it was a date at first because he mentioned what he was doing but never explicit asked me to join him. In fact, I was the one who first offered, “Oh, is this an invitation?” He said yes as if it were obvious. Looking through the rearview mirror there were many signs that this “date” never should have happened. So he suggests we go to a sports bar. I won’t name the sports bar because I think some people might go there and like it. I will say that the bar was NOT my scene. And I’ve frequented what is often known as the “best” dive bars in San Diego (Waterfront and Aero Club) hell I’ve even been to a bar with plus velvet booths and $3 whiskey gingers–the price of whiskey always tells you what kind of experience you can expect; nowhere on God’s green earth should firewater ever be that cheap. Anyway, so here I am at this bar in a strip mall (sign #2). I walk in and several people look at me. This is an old jeans a t-shirt kind of a place and I had on black jeggins a blazer and a cheetah print scarf, in other words I stood way out. I found my date on the far side of the bar and before I could sit down there were dirty napkins a half finished beer and ranch dressing all over the bar top. I asked him, “Um, is someone sitting here?” He said “No.” Yet he did not make any effort to clear the space nor ask the bartender to do so. He finished eating his buffalo wing and we engaged in introductory banter as I stood there awkwardly not wanting my belongings to touch any part of this bar. He stood up saying, “I’ll be back, gonna run to the bathroom.” It was then that I assessed the situation…the bartender brought me a Stella (which was $7–wtf! in this dump?!) and the girl next to me moved the food down saying it had been her friends’ plate. I sat and I saw a man staring at me across the bar with wing sauce dripping down his hands and covering his mouth. Shortly there after, I got up and left. Yes left. No, not without deliberation with my date. No, he never returned from the bathroom. Yes it felt like I waited at least 5-7 minutes. No, I did not and do not feel bad about it.
I got to my car and felt an overwhelming sense of relief. But WHY!? I did the thing you are never supposed to do, walk out on a date. Yet here I was having done it and feeling no remorse. What I did know, however, was that I’d been holding my breath since I pulled into that strip mall parking lot and now I could finally breathe again. I could literally feel the relief in my lungs. I called a friend and told her what had happened and she laughed at me asking, “Was it really that bad?” I pleaded with her, “You KNOW me! I am NOT that type of person. I’m bougie yes, but I am not unkind. You know it had to be BAD for me to just leave like that.” I cannot recall a situation in recent memory when I’d been made so uncomfortable. And let me be clear, it was not the place or the people it was that anyone wanting to have an intimate relationship with me who feels comfortable in such a space, having not accommodated me in any way isn’t compatible with me. I mean, ordering before I got there, not making space for me, not asking if I wanted a drink before he jetted for the bathroom…And I was going to try to make it work and I think that is what made me uncomfortable. Otherwise, if it were just about the bar, I would have never walked in the door.
I told a few friends about the story the next day and they all said that I was horrible. I still do not feel badly. Yes, I could have sent a text explaining why I left. ((I did not because I blocked his number AND after such a long time missing in the “bathroom” I had a hypothesis that he left before I did, though I cannot imagine why? He knew what I looked like prior to the date and I hadn’t had time to say anything offensive.)) But I do not regret leaving. I’ve explained that every single thing in me was screaming “NO!” and here I was still bargaining and trying to find the silver lining. For once, I stopped that and I just moved. The sense of relief that I felt let me know that while it may not have been the best method, I did the right thing. That situation was not the best one for me.
What I can say in regards to Nick’s post is that perhaps I should take the time to explain myself. To be honest and to share my thoughts, not because he deserves it but because it is indicative of my own character and the kind of person I want to be. I talk to my mom about this often. I don’t “play” nice for others, I am kind because that is who I am and the type of person I aspire to be. In that way it comes from a more authentic place; it is not forced or obligatory. There has to be a balance, right? Of deciding what is best for you (to leave the seedy bar) and moving towards that end in a way that honors the being you are and the values you hold (to not go ghost). So perhaps this moment is an opportunity for me to bring some resolution and be a big kid.