Scottie is caught out by the idea of the perfect man, which then falls down between first impressions and the eventual truth.
I usually know quickly enough if I’m going to get on well with a guy on a date. You can tell from the body language, the awkward silences (of lack thereof) or from the kind of conversation if you can relate to him – and that’s before you even get into aesthetics. Recently, I dated a guy who ticked all the right boxes; tall, handsome, chatty, ambitious, attentive, passionate (in more ways than one!) and romantic. He seemed like the perfect guy, but it was in that moment that I made the horrific mistake of dating; no-one is perfect.
Our first date set the scene, making him seem like some sort of Disney prince. We talked for ages about the ridiculous amount of things we had in common. I was interested in design, and he worked in it. He was interested in media, and I worked in it. We loved the same music, films, comedians, books and more. We sat down on a bench, looking over across a gorgeous Dublin Bay as the city’s lights sparkled and danced on the sea. Nothing could have made that night any better (well, warmer weather would’ve been nice, but let’s not start on that).
We dated for just over a month, seeing each other regularly enough and texting every day in between our dates. I’d wake up to a good morning message waiting for me on my phone, making my smile every time. But when I finally decided to add him on Facebook, things started to become less perfect. He never accepted; he had been out for years, used social media regularly enough and was apparently single, but he didn’t accept the guy he was dating. I tried not to think much of it, but things like that are like the tingle you feel before a cold sore; try as you may to ignore it, but it’s about to get worse.
One particular weekend, nothing was planned. I knew I’d be going out with my friends on Saturday night, it was fine that nothing was arranged for then, but there was no contact at all. Sunday was a write-off for him, thanks to a hangover, which meant that he clearly had a good night out the night before too. Cool, but funny how he never mentioned that he was going out, even when I mentioned my plans. The hangover then turned into a flu for the next few days, which meant that he couldn’t see me, even though he still made it into work and his night course classes. Curiouser and curiouser.
Then my suspicion reached an all-time high. I wanted us to have a weekend away together, but plans got changed and I wasn’t going to be free on Good Friday. The rest of the weekend wouldn’t have been ruined, I thought, as we’d still have Saturday & Sunday together. Apparently not; he only planned to spend Friday night with me, as he told me at the last minute that he had family plans on Saturday and a mates night out on Sunday. The first long weekend together was not going to be together at all, and what was more surprising was that it seemed that he never wanted it to be that way.
I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the odds were building up against him. To try and make up for our thwarted Easter plans, I wanted to see him on the previous Thursday. I was already in the city, as I had arranged to have a quick meal with my best friend; why not kill two birds with one stone and see if he was free that evening too? I texted him to see what his plans were, and he only told me that he was already home from work. Thinking it was a bit vague, I asked if he wanted to meet up, but all I got as a reply was an “X.” Presuming I was missing some text, I wrote back in jest, saying I guessed he was busy.
“Scott, I was writing an e-mail, am I not allowed do that??”
I stared at the screen, eyes widened fully. That response came completely out of nowhere. My text to him was neither sharp nor passive-aggressive. I couldn’t have done anything to provoke a reaction like that. I was genuinely in shock.
I didn’t hear from him for the rest of that evening, but I had expected that. What I hadn’t expected was that despite my texting him the day afterwards, it took a further two days for him to reply at all. By that stage, my patience and good will has completely run out. Any benefit of the doubt was used up, and I had given up on him. Had we been a few months into the relationship, I might have let him have a bit of a moody strop, but when it’s only weeks into it – no thanks.
Now, maybe you’d do something different. Maybe you would’ve taken no offence to it, or not have taken it to heart so much. That’s only one of my problems, though; I take things to heart and have no idea how not to. Sensitivity is not something you can un-learn, I think. Once I let my guard down for someone, I don’t expect to be hurt by them If I am hurt, that’s the one & only time it will happen; that bridge will burn down faster than you can say inferno.
So, what’s the moral of the story? To remember that even when someone makes an amazing first impression, no-one is perfect. In fact, the more pristine the surface appears, the less genuine it’s likely to be.
‘Scottie’ Illustrations by Stephen Charlick