First off, a public service message to my single friends out there. Have you ever had a Catch.mom subscription, but let it lapse (or set up a user name and password, but didn't actually pay for membership, thinking, "I'm just going to lurk and check things out for a little while first")? During that period of non-payment, have you gotten messages from Catch.mom excitedly telling you that someone winked at you(!), and encouraging you to pony up for membership to find out who? In case you have wondered if perhaps Catch.mom is messing with you, if perhaps NO ONE has winked at you, and these mysterious emails are just a way of suckering you over to the signup screen, YOU WOULD BE CORRECT! Do not fall for this trap, my friends.
I am feeling more than a bit jaded and beaten down at the moment, so before my account could auto-renew recently, I clicked through the four pages of hoops they make you jump through ("Are you SURE you want to cancel? No, are you really, REALLY sure you want to cancel? Perhaps you didn't understand the question. Do you really, really, REALLY want to cancel? You must be joking, right? Because NO ONE could possibly EVER want to leave..."), and I stopped my membership. But because I didn't want Mr. Perfect-for-Me stumbling across my profile immediately thereafter and sending me an impossibly clever, well-crafted message that I would actually never see, I also hid my profile so that no one browsing through the listings would be able to view me. And yet, THREE TIMES since I did this, I have gotten messages from Catch.mom, assuring me that Mr. Right is out there, and he's winked at and is waiting for me. Obviously I am unconvinced. If Mr. Perfect-for-Me has the techno-skills to find and view my invisible-to-him profile and discern a way to wink at me, then he should have the skills to locate me in person and woo me in real life, possibly plying me with free drinks. Until that happens, I'm just going to assume Catch.mom takes me for a sucker, and frankly I won't have some silly web site do that to me.
All this is a roundabout lead-in to the question I have been dodging for a while now. I have been vague-blogging recently, and I do apologize for that, mentioning a stupid boy and a metaphorical stomach ache, but not elaborating beyond that at all. I've talked about only one prospect recently, and hence, the question could of course be distilled simply to, "Hey Stef. What ever happened to The Buddhist?"
What ever happened to The Buddhist indeed. Unfortunately, I can distill it to an equally simple answer. I have no fucking idea, to be frank. The Buddhist has, as far as I can tell, completely vanished on me.
I could tell you the long version or the short version of this story. The long version is fraught with idle details and personal commentary, so perhaps the short, "just the facts" version is the one you'd rather hear from me. The facts are thus. I had my doubts. I knew The Buddhist was in a not-so-great place personally and professionally right now. He lost his job the week we reconnected. His finances are a mess. But I honestly thought he had grown up a lot emotionally since we'd last met. I wanted to believe our paths crossed again for a reason. I wanted to believe maybe it was supposed to work this time. There were red flags just like there were eight years ago. But along with those red flags, there were compliments and glimmers of hope. He used the words "relationship" and "girlfriend" in near-direct allusion to me. He gave me the key-code to his house. He told me to remember what kind of cake I baked for his birthday, because he'd want the same cake again next year. We talked about how the last time we dated, he didn't break up with me when he started feeling freaked out about the status of us; he just grew more distant and flakey until it forced me to break up with him. We talked about that, and he looked me in the eyes and said, in all earnestness, "I promise I won't do that this time. I promise that if this isn't working for me, I will tell you it's not working for me. I promise I won't do that to you again." He told me that, and I followed it, of course, by asking, "So... is this working for you?" and he answered, "Absolutely." And a week later, he vanished with no explanation or warning. And I remain hurt and baffled by it.
Without going into too much detail, I can think of at least two semi-valid (in his mind) reasons he might have completely shut down and shut me out. Because I have an overactive imagination, I can think of at least 11 additional, near-ludicrous reasons he disappeared with no notice. But none of those reasons justify the complete and total vanishing act. None of those reasons keep me from wanting to punch him in the stomach should I ever see him again. I say this, and yet, I know this idiot has some hold on me. I am a smart girl, and yet, I still want to hear from him. I want an explanation. And somewhere, in some shameful, Jerry Springer Guest Candidate part of me that I wouldn't admit if I hadn't just finished off the rest of the sangria I made for a friend's brunch yesterday, I actually want to believe we still have a chance.
What that is about I have no idea. When did I become an "I sure know how to pick 'em" kind of girl? Did I tell you that The Traffic Engineer contacted me yet again not so long ago? The Traffic Engineer, who is a perfectly nice man who unfortunately does nothing for me. A man who I had a completely filters-off dinner with two months ago, in which I sighed about my recent (at the time) "best date of '08" disappointment and he gingerly countered by asking if perhaps I'd considered the possibility that I might be too picky. I was not in top form on that non-date. I didn't care what he thought of me, because nice as he is, I thought little of him. And yet, a month and a half later, in comes another message from the man, asking if I'd perhaps like to see another movie together. Maybe The Traffic Engineer is a prideless loser. The more time passes, the more I think that's probably the case. Or maybe he's just a nice guy beaten down by dating just like I am. It's unfortunate I can't muster any interest in him whatsoever. No, instead I'm crying over some apparently fake Buddhist who should be concerned about karmic consequences and yet who's treated me with more disregard than any idiot since my 25 and clueless days. Perhaps you have some insight on that, because I really can't explain it myself.
Maybe I'm supposed to meet The Buddhist again in another eight years. Maybe the third time is a charm. Wouldn't that be an even better Lifetime movie? Or maybe, as is more likely, I need to admit that I was wrong about him, that all that wondering over the years was for nothing and he has never particularly been worth my time. It'd be easier if it really were just that simple, wouldn't it?