I made up my mind to ditch East Coast Boy for The Ten. My logic was, if both relationships are just casual and friendly-like, why not pick the one that’s more exciting on the physical front? At least I’ll come away with some beautiful memories.
Then something crazy happened: The Ten got uppity. Seriously. Go ahead, snicker—but I’m not being a supercilious bitch. The story follows below:
Out of nowhere, he announced that my friend James should give him a job. When I asked him what he had in mind, he thought about it for a second, and then decided that James’ job would be acceptable. (James is an EVP for a huge company—he makes about $500K a year, works 80+ hours a week, and hobnobs with Congressmen almost every day.)
“B- but- but you know nothing about that field!” I spluttered, probably looking as shocked as I felt.
“I’ll be his shadow,” the Ten said confidently.
Instantly I pictured The Ten, in his board shorts and three-day stubble, trailing James all over Capitol Hill like a Labrador retriever. Saying, “What’s up, dude?” to Senators. Telling them about the time he saw Lynard Skynard live at the San Bernadino County Fair.
“You know,” I said gently, “James worked for 20 years to get where he is. You can’t just jump into it overnight.”
The Ten began to look sulky. It was a look I’d become familiar with over the past couple weeks. He sulked when he was hung over after too many tequila shots, and needed me to go pick up Advil. He sulked when I told him that the song he’d been writing for the past however-many months had no discernable chorus. He sulked when I wouldn’t let him blast Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” in the car all the way to Newport Beach.
He pouts as much as a 17 year old boy! I realized.
Actually, The Ten was starting to remind me quite a bit of a very pretty, spoiled 17-year-old boy. Except with the baggage and my-way-or-the-highway habits of a 35-year-old bachelor. The day he demanded James’ job was the first time I’d seen him in over a week. I’d called him days before, but not heard back.
I looked at him curiously.
“Was something wrong this week?” I asked him. “Only because, I called you last Monday, and you never called me back.”
He stared at me insolently.
“Do I always have to call you back?” he asked.
I walked to the kitchen and puttered around for a bit, considering his question. It didn’t take me long. I went back to the living room, and looked him in the eye.
“Yes,” I said. “I don’t know how you treat other people in your life, but when I call you, YOU CALL BACK. It’s just the polite thing to do.”
For a few second, our gazes locked, a force field of mutual annoyance and disagreement crackling between us. Then he thanked me for coming over and I thanked him for inviting me, and I showed myself out.
That was the end of it.
Since East Coast Boy hadn’t even known The Ten was in the picture, he never guessed how close he was to being ousted for a himbo. He could therefore be forgiven for assuming that I’d spent the whole week mooning over him and our wine-tasting, making-out-in-public mini-vacation. He probably thought I was ready to start building a cozy relationship nest. Little did he know…
Whereas some people would have decided to hang onto East Coast Boy rather than risk having no one at all, I decided to go all-or-nothing. Like I said, it’s not like either of them were giving 100% anyway, so what did I really have to lose?
“What’s next for us?” I asked him bluntly, when he called on Sunday to invite me over for a mellow evening of HBO and casual sex. I didn’t need to remind him that we’d been acting like honeymooners only five days previously. He knew exactly what I was talking about. And he had an answer for me immediately.
“If you’re looking for a serious relationship, I ain’t it, baby. But if you ever need a booty call…well, by all means, you have my number.”
It was totally surreal. Who talks like that? Had he rehearsed it? It was as though an Entourage character had possessed the stocky body of a Toyota-driving, Dockers-wearing, mildly neurotic mid-level corporate executive. My head reeled.
“What if I don’t want either?” I finally responded.
In point of fact, I wanted nothing in that moment except to hide away in a monastery in the Himalayas and never speak to a man again.
I did the mature thing, I suppose: explained to East Coast Boy that he was sending mixed messages, told him I was not looking for a “booty call,” apologized for any confusion I might have added to the mix, yada yada yada. Then I told the whole sordid story to my sister, and made her promise to stage a full-on intervention if I ever tried to see him again.