Second-fiddle girl.

I met him on a night when I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone special: an event called a Mingler.
The e-mail said to bring a snack to share. I brought chocolate-chip cookies, my surefire instant friend maker. Wear comfortable clothes, it said, and pack a pair of slippers to keep your feet warm after you’ve taken your boots off.
Romance wasn’t on my agenda.
At all, actually.

Men with no heads.But he was tall (!!!) and had kind eyes, looked strong underneath his loose-fitting sweater; his first job, I learned during an icebreaker game, was collecting trash at Six Flags. He had a golden retriever and loved his family.
Who am I to argue with fate?
So I went home with him.

It’s not what you think.
He had to walk the dog; she’d been home alone all night. So he invited me to his apartment for a glass of wine.
The dog had taken a crap in the kitchen while he was gone.
A great story to tell our friends later.
He poured us glasses of sweet white wine; he gave me the grand tour of his bi-level Lakeview apartment, showed me “where the magic happens.” He lit candles, and we listened to music on his iPod stereo as the golden retriever, duly chastened, nudged at my knee and begged me to throw the toy just one more time.
Just one more time.
One more kiss.

When I finally got up to leave, my contacts were gritty, my lips were chapped and I was drunk on possibility. We linked arms and walked to Southport, where he hailed me a cab, handed me a $20 bill to get home and made me promise I’d let him know I was home safe.
He kissed me on the forehead.
Sigh.

Clearly, it’s all downhill from there.

That charmed first meeting happened three days before I left Chicago for the holidays.
We exchanged a few texts and enjoyed a lovely phone call a couple of days after Christmas. We arranged to spend more time together when I returned. I was so excited.
Then he got the flu.

Don’t hate me, he begged. He’d really been looking forward to it, too.
Then his dog got sick. (Should have known she’d be a problem, after our messy first meeting.)

Then I was traveling.
He was busy at work.
The calendar was not our friend.

We finally set another date for mid-January. For this past Saturday, actually. More than a month after our first meeting. He’d pick the place; he’d pick me up — just as we’d planned.
Yes, a real date!

Then, after my run on Friday — before my much-needed shower and before the voicemail from the Knight, who had spotted me from inside Starbucks — I got the text.
Don’t hate me.
He was canceling our rescheduled date, canceling me for good.
He wanted to see where things might go with another girl he’d been “hanging out with.”

What.
I. Don’t. Get. Rejected.

Okay, that’s not true.
I’ve been rejected a lot. All throughout high school, in fact. I was rejected wholesale by the fraternity community of the University of Kansas (except for the cliché of a man who got me belligerently drunk two nights in a row, then ditched me when he realized I wasn’t going to put out no matter how much jungle juice he pumped into me). The men of New York rejected me in my infinite virginity.
Rejection, yes. Fine. But what came next:
No hard feelings? Can we keep in touch? You never know what will happen in the future.

Right. So. If dream girl doesn’t work out, you can feel free to schedule and cancel some more dates with me. Second-fiddle girl.
Rejection I can handle, but I’m not used to being second choice. All or nothing, bucko. I’m a gem, dammit.
Asshole.
Cue irate, rapid-fire tweets and responses from an army of 140-character supporters. His loss, they told me. Yeah. His loss.
I wiped one hot, bitter tear from my cheek, and I washed that man right out of my hair.

Later that day, he wrote to ask how I was doing. And I told him I didn’t want to be friends. Didn’t want to wait around for him to decide whether I was worth his time.
I wasn’t hurt; I just wasn’t having any of it. Dramatic? A little. But the waiting around, the wondering if he’s going to change his mind? Not worth my time.

The truth is, he’s not an asshole.
I’d rather have known before we went on a date, before I got attached to his dog and his bi-level Lakeview apartment, grew accustomed to drinking wine on his sofa and riding in his car.
He did the right thing. Until the “you never know” moment.

Men are so dumb. They are really dumb.
For real.

He thought he was doing me a favor, thought he was letting me down easy. He thought it had broken my heart that he’d chosen another woman, so he planted a little false hope for the future, something to dampen the blow he’d dealt me.

And actually? Maybe he’s not even dumb.
Maybe other girls relish the possibility of a second chance with a guy like him.
A guy like him.
What is that, even? I’ll probably never know.
Darn.

It’s easier to place blame, point fingers and call the man out for being an asshole and an idiot. Hell, it’s more fun, too.
But I’m realizing, again and again, that it’s really no one’s fault. He just wasn’t the one for me.

And false hope is just that, and it doesn’t get me anywhere but disappointed. The only sure thing in my future is sitting at this keyboard typing.
Yes, it’s me.
And for now, at least until my next accidental romance stumbles onto the scene, I’m surprised to find I’m actually all I need.

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21 Responses to “Second-fiddle girl.”

  1. Karen Haithcock Says:

    Here’s what I think the moral of the story is….be careful of boys in Chicago with dogs…..I knew a boy once who lived near Wrigley field and had a Black Labrador Retriever….he met a girl in a bar near there one Saturday evening….She said she always wanted to meet a nice boy with a dog….So they hooked up….Sounds good huh ? Except….he was married….to ME….oops !…..So my suggestion is in the future to stick to guys with fish…..after everything is copacetic and you’re ready to live happily ever after THEN you can get a dog….together.

  2. Tweets that mention Second-fiddle girl. -- Topsy.com Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paige Worthy, Manny Navar and Christopher Foltz, Christopher Foltz. Christopher Foltz said: I LOVE this writer…From @paigeworthy dot com: Second-fiddle girl. — http://bit.ly/e4ma10 […]

  3. Erin K. Says:

    Paige, thank you so much for writing this! I have a story that is so similar it’s a little scary (the guy was 6’5″but the dog was a Yorkie… that probably should have been a sign) and it’s nice to hear I’m not the only one. So many of my friends are married or in serious, long-term relationships that at times it seems like I’m the only one who has these kind of things happen.

  4. fsugimoto Says:

    any guy who cant potty train a golden retriever, the worlds most trainable dog, or who doesnt care enuff to plan advance to let the dog out so it doesnt dump in the house, doesnt care enough to take care of a dog, much less a person you aint lost nothing,
    advice to women on men with dogs. — dont fall for the man or the dog, if he doesnt take care of the dog he wont take care of you.
    if the dog is well trained, well groomed well fed. friendly loving and from a shelter so its not a high priced status symbol trophy, then you wont be either.

  5. Jeff Willinger Says:

    Paige-you are a magnificent, wonderful story-teller and I am truly sorry this was not a happy ending and he was not your prince…keep kissing those frogs…xo

  6. Jennifer Says:

    I once said to a guy, “Listen, pal, I’ve been Plan B enough times to know when I’m not Plan A, so no, I don’t want to come over! I’m a catch, and you’re either going to man up and make this happen or you’re not.” Yep. Men are so dumb. They are really dumb. I know it’s a disappointment, but, seriously, eventually someone will man up and make it happen…no matter what.

  7. James Says:

    P-

    That day when we tell inappropriate stories to each other, either online or while drinking somewhere… I will happily tell you the story of how I went girl-crazy for like six months. I mean Girl Crazy. I read everything I could on seduction techniques (yeah, 80% are… the worst thing on earth), persuasion techniques, interpersonal behavior, social proofing, framing, NLP, etc. If it was designed to get a girl interested in me, I read it.

    Yes, a lot of it is just atrocious, designed to get guys who never learned in high school to take a shower before a date to attract women who would normally never talk to them to be interested (you know the type: terrified of a lack of self-worth that comes from defining their own internal image on their beauty knowing that no amount of surgery would save them from being… a stand-in for one of the Real Housewives of Bumfuck Iowa, filled with daddy issues, competitive with the billion other look-alikes in bars around the world, etc. In other words, not you).

    But it’s interesting, and if you can read without judgement, filter out the evil crap (like NLP mechanics… just for the losers), there’s a lot of stuff I learned (in conjunction with therapy… this is a private blog, right?), but the best stuff was how to be me.

    There’s Outer Game (peacocking, negging, reframing, social proof, etc) designed for me to look like the most interesting person in the room to a gaggle of girlies, which is all bullshit. It’s male equivalent of a temporary boob job. I ended up tossing all that aside for what was more interesting: Inner Game. Inner game is all about knowing you’re a delightful person, so don’t go chasing what will find you eventually. It’s the guy in the room who always seems surrounded by interested parties, despite going out of his way to pushing them all away.

    Something my therapist explained to me and I have taken as gospel: You find people who are at your level. So if you’re insecure, you find insecure people. If you’re confident, you find confident people. It’s cool two ways: 1), to get what you want, be what you want. 2) If you are seeing the same people over and over, it’s not them, it’s you. What is it about you that makes a certain type of person (liars, cheaters, sleezoids, keeping-an-eye-out-for-whats-better, etc) keep coming back to you again and again?

    What was my point? I don’t remember. I think I just wanted to talk to start a conversation. So… go!

  8. Acegrl Says:

    Girl, you deserve to be #1 every fucking day of the week. You have heart, talent, brains, passion and soul….so if this guy that wears his rectum as a hat can’t see that, he’s not worth a second of your time. You’re beautiful and you deserve that in return.

  9. Dan Says:

    Awesome post, but for what it’s worth, a very good friend of mine met a guy through mutual friends and they hit it off. But it just so happens that he had just started dating another woman. (It was very early in that relationship, but they had slept together and in the interest of not wanting to be a man-whore, he thought he should see how things went with her.) Of course, my friend was disappointed and figured it was a reflection on how he felt about her… that he didn’t think she was good enough or he liked the other woman more… whatever.

    Things didn’t end up working out with the other woman. The guy wanted to give it a shot with my friend, but was really worried he’d blown his chances with her. And to be honest, when she heard about this from their mutual friends, she was offended. She felt like she was the 1st Runner Up in a pageant and was only being called because the winner had been unable to fulfill her duties as Queen.

    But after thinking it over, she decided that he handled it the best way he could. She appreciated the respect his actions showed for the other woman in the situation… the one he had started dating just before they met… and she cautiously accepted an invitation to a date.

    They’ve currently lived together for over a year and while not officially engaged, they’ve been discussing marriage quite seriously. They are awesome together.

    Moral of the story: I completely agree with your decision to not wait around hoping that you’ll someday get a call from this dude. That would be ridiculous. On the other hand, I’ll give him credit for not trying to juggle both of you until the eventual Rose Ceremony where he decides which one to keep. And as I’ve seen, he’s right that you never know what will happen in the future. 🙂

  10. James S. Says:

    Very well written. 😉

  11. Paige Worthy Says:

    @James – The part that worries me about this is that I’m NOT an insecure person, and I still manage to attract mostly cripplingly insecure men. What. GIVES.

  12. Dan Says:

    So I read this post after you just mentioned it on twitter and I must say it is well written and it looks like you have some great readers that comment on here. I think one thing to do in this situation is step back and say “What if he didn’t tell me there was another girl?” What if you were strung along for 6 months and then you found out about girl #2 through a friend or while scouring his cellphone for dirt?

    You’d be in a crappier position and a lot less happy. Chicago is a big sea, go fishing.

    • Paige Worthy Says:

      Dan, I completely agree. I even said that, here:

      The truth is, he’s not an asshole.
      I’d rather have known before we went on a date, before I got attached to his dog and his bi-level Lakeview apartment, grew accustomed to drinking wine on his sofa and riding in his car.
      He did the right thing.

      I don’t think he’s the type of guy who would have strung me along for six months, as hurt as I was by being passed over. The real point of this story is that there are, indeed, other fish here, and the only one I need in my aquarium at this point is really me.

  13. Brian Says:

    @James, I get what you are saying, but at the end of the day, don’t we all want someone who likes/loves us for who we are?? Peacocking, inner game, outer game…whatever…
    We, or I guess I want someone who recognizes my strengths, and makes them better, and realizes what my foibles are and accepts them…But that’s just me…

  14. Paige Worthy Says:

    @Dan – Great story about your friend. And as I said, better for me to know now than later that a) there were two (or more) women and b) I wasn’t her.

    If you ever make a Bachelor reference here again, though, I’ll ban you from commenting. Just kidding 😉

  15. Wardell Says:

    I see this was posted on my birthday but I digress. Very captivating story, I’ve never really understood why some people want to be friends or buddies when a romantic relationship doesn’t work out, even if there are no hard feeling why try to turn the relationship into something it’s not or ever was, when it over let it be over and move on.

  16. Ashley Says:

    Loved this post. But my favorite thing? The fact that you referenced the bed intruder song…at least the second time in just a few posts, or did I just make that up? I totally love it, though. It cracks me up every time.

  17. Relationship kryptonite? Says:

    […] myself, my relationships, my feelings, bothers some people. A few weeks ago, after I wrote “Second-Fiddle Girl, a male friend sent me an e-mail. He doesn’t read my blog regularly, but some turn of phrase […]

  18. Kim Andereck Says:

    A very good read. Nicely done.

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