2. fish: tix & texts.

I matched with fish on Bumble not long after my separation (ironically, I had just got off Plenty of Fish since it was, well, a swamp). My first message to fish was uninspired, something along the lines of “Hey we’ve never officially met but I’m Xxxxx Xxxxxxx’s daughter.” He replied quickly, “No way … you are?” Since Bumble day 1 fish and I have never been out of touch for more than a day or two. In relatively short order, he sent me his phone number and told me “it was easier to text” (inaccurate flex but ok – I’ll bite). I shot him an SMS letting him know mine in return.

Now, if I’m going to do this verbatim thing with some of fish’s standout texts, be forewarned: he loves abbreviations and taking phonetic liberties in his spelling and grammar. Also if you’re like me and appreciate the smaller details to help round out your understanding of a person’s unique features, know this: the small adjacent rural town that fish grew up in is known for having a slightly affected southern-esque drawl to their speech, which adds a certain flavour to fish’s first SMS text: 

Fish: Gonna take ur mini me to Jurassic Park or is that outta the age range? Thatd be a good theatre movie for my free tix.

While I did appreciate that he took my daughter into consideration in that small way, I remember being very fixated on the “free tix” aspect of the invitation. On one hand, does broadcasting free tix in the invitation seem cheap? On the other hand, I really appreciated the chillness of it all, somehow almost takes the pressure off of the date, like “it’s not big deal, it’s just free tickets”. Two other thoughts on the above: A) Fish has met my daughter in passing, with my mother, around age 4. This notion still sort of weirds me out. And B) Fish’s entire family is OBSESSED with movies and television. The longest and most in depth conversation my mother ever had with fish was on a two hour drive together to a work event was entirely about TV shows. Both of them have since told me about that conversation; apparently Shameless is a really good show and they both think I’m an idiot for not watching it but I digress.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how I responded to that Jurassic Park movie date thing request? Well I dodged it, duh. Why? Because I was too busy waffling over whether or not I thought the “free tix” statement was awkward or not. Over-analyzing and coffee are my main vices in life. One make me mentally vibrate into nigh catatonia and the other costs $3 at Starbucks. But at any rate, rest assured dear readers, there’s lots of callbacks in the comedy-of-errors that is fish and I. 

In all of the back and form messages, Fish and I came to realize as time wore on that our calendars were perfectly at odds with one another, and as it usually goes, the longer you text, the more unsettling the idea of actually meeting in person becomes. Weekends would come and go and we’d rattle off our respective social commitments, and setting a date never worked out. We resigned ourselves to a nickname for one another “penpal” and even now, we still use it. We both play more than one team sport, have active social/travel calendars, and put a priority on seeing family and getting sufficient me-time to recharge from our jobs that we both take seriously. I do however suspect that fish has, at best, a tepid attraction to me – much the same as I feel about him, which could also be in play for why we’re often unable to nail down dates with finality, examples to follow. 

One text exchange during this pre-first-date period that I was particularly fond of came when fish told me he had a friends wedding to attend out of town:

Fish: I’ll be up by Casinoland.
Me: Dancing!
Fish: Never know what the night brings.
Me: Bridesmaids 😉
Fish: is pretty funny ya
Me: Lol
Fish: Would you be jelly or something
Me: Of what?
Fish: Ahh nothing
Me: Bridesmaids spend so much money on the hair and makeup and nails. It’d be a shame if it went unnoticed. Toss em a wink for the good of humanity.

This won’t be the last time fish brings up the concept of jealousy with me. And this won’t be the last time I demonstrate an unwillingness or inability to emotionally invest in him. Maybe all for the best though, because what I didn’t know at the time was that fish was attending this wedding as a +1 with a girl he would later refer to as “his last fling”, and who will make an unexpected appearance later in our story. If I’m correct in my understanding of their timeline, they had already decided to call it off between them and attended the wedding as friends.

fish3

I was always pleasantly surprised by the types of texts fish would send me on weekend mornings. The Sunday routines for fish generally involve being hungover, chores and what I refer to as “domestexts” aka the shmoopy texts he sends me when he’s doing laundry or making dinner. He’d tell me what new recipe he was cooking for dinner, what sports he was watching and then seemingly out of nowhere the conversation shifts abruptly and I’d receive messages like “I’m crushing hard on you Xxxxxxx” (my last name) or “your personality is prime”.

When I took inventory overall of the type of texts he sends me in order to write this blog, I came to realize he is not often crass or overtly sexty, but there have been a few select times he’s been very tongue in cheeky about masturbation which I found genuinely funny (knuckle children was a new one for me). He does drunk text me things like “U sweet little babe” and“Hheeeyy babbay!” Verbatim innocuous nonsense he stumbly-thumbs into his phone screen before passing out iPhone-in-hand.

To get the story back on track: after he had attended the wedding and after I had received a proper scolding from my mother for leaving fish hanging on the movie date, I texted him with two emojis: TRex & Film Reel. My attempt to get us to Jurassic Park fell flat because he was too hungover. Then I left for a week of family cottaging, he checked in. Then he got sick for two weeks, but still checked in.  All of the aforementioned texting habits formed and one day he saw on social media that I had gone to a drive-in movie, checked in AND offered up Jurassic Park again, but alas, the calendars just would not jive at all.

Fish was about to leave for a week-long trip to the Dominican Republic for a family wedding. We joked about how I was coming with on the trip and what sort of dress I would wear to match him. The next exchange offers a bit of foreshadowing:

Fish: Sorry if I dont penpal u down south
Me: Oh don’t be sorry. Enjoy your damn vacay like a champ.
Fish: Haha maybe if we chilled once b4 u could be on my mind though
Me: The goal of Dominican should be zero on your mind, plastered af poolside.
Fish: Its nice to have a girl to think of
Me: I mean, I’d vote for Sandra Bullock but I’m cool too I guess.
Fish: Yaa I’m building a little crush

We’d been texting almost every day for weeks; some of which included jokes and references to being together in the future, none of which seemed like it would actually come to fruition. And yet, we are at the point in the fish tail tale where in the next blog I’ll tell you about how, rather unexpectedly and about 28hrs before he got on a plane, fish and I have our first kiss. Until next time dear readers. Glub glub.

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4. eight: destiny is cold af.

Eight has a way of letting you into his life with one fraction of a tiny detail at a time, but only if and when he was good and ready. Asking him questions generally made him back off entirely – so I learned to let him come to me. Why does he get the destiny theme in the titles? Honestly because I think he might actually be the boy version of me. But the few differences between us made all the difference in the world. The things I learned about eight, as I said, came slowly and at his pace; they all reminded me a lot of myself. He’s very close with his family, especially his mom; same. Our extended families are from up north; same town. Virgos; same. (Rest assured I sort of knew this was doomed from the start, imagine 2 Virgos, yikes.) He holds himself to a very high standard; same, sometimes too high. He seems to genuinely enjoy being around kids, especially sports mentoring; same. The people in his life love him fiercely; same, they will cut you if you hurt me. He’s unabashedly prone to singing and dancing anytime, any place; same, this is the one thing I can’t shake about him. And he is probably one of the most polite-on-paper people I’ve ever met, eight will find a way come hell or high water to fit ‘thank you’ into every conversation multiple times; same, thank you very much. Those qualities are all fine and dandy but, and this is a big but, he seemed to lack motivation, which, if you’ve been a bachelor forever, is sort of counter intuitive to dating. Like I said, eight has taught me that potential is meaningless without forward momentum.

The frequency and quality of the communication with eight had taken off the week leading up to my birthday, which fell on the Saturday. My Wednesday was busy as heck, eight had texted me to say he was going to his usual wing night with friends that night; it was the hot spot for our high school, I guess they never grew out of it. I never knew if this was his way of saying don’t text him, or do text him, or show up at the pub; but I always settled in my mind on, “uh I only care about where you end up if you outright ask me to join you, otherwise, have fun I guess.” I received a Thursday afternoon text from eight, telling me about his wing night leftovers for lunch (yes, really, thank you for the update eight). I was still be-bopping all over my schedule, generally crushing goals like a champ, and I knew he had a game that night in town, and since I’m a busy lady, I hit him back with the one-two punch because, carpe diem dat ass:

“I’m coming to see your butt tonight I think.”  – Me, a demure desirable lady.

Fortune favours the brave – and destiny, well destiny will send you a cute tush if you just tell it you’re coming to see it. “Oh nice, I’ll wear my extra tight pants then” he replies. Dead. Swoon. Wait, was this what he was waiting for? Me to just show up. I didn’t text him back for the rest of the day knowing that the text silence ensured neither of us said anything to kill the flurt vibe that took what feels like forever to figure out.

I went to the game that night looking adorably incognito in the white-girl-at-sporting event uniform: a white tee, plaid shirt, ripped jeans, and cap. I arrived as the anthem started, grabbed a Caesar and took my seat closer to the opposing team among a group of white haired old men who know nothing about sports – my favourite kind of spectators, for real. It only took a second, and I then I saw him. It felt like a big deal at the time, frankly well past “long overdue”, it was bordering on asinine at this point. He was crouching by the team bench in his tightest pants; he has the meatiest butt and the thickest thighs (and I think I loved him). No I’m being stupid. None the less, very quickly I realised just how adorable he really is (do guys hate being called adorable, because too bad, bitches, some of you just are adorable mkay). He’s just a little taller than me and he’s thick the way I like dudes, with one of those crazy dark working tans that make men look like they’ve rubbed dirt on their arms. It’s evident he’s well loved by his teammates as their faces light up when they talk to him, slapping him on the back energetically. But the best part about finally seeing him? I knew, without hesitation, he was looking for me. I sat there, across a field, watching him scanning over the crowd, over and over and over again; he wasn’t even being discreet about it. There was something voyeuristic about the whole “I can see him, but he can’t see me” thing – it was exciting and also weirdly embarrassing too, like the two of us had a secret the other thousand people there didn’t know. Spoiler alert, the secret is that we’re idiots and this thing between us is never going to work out the way either of us wants it to. Don’t hold your breath though, I stayed undercover for the duration of the game, that night, he didn’t know if I was there or not, and I preferred it that way. The ironic part about him not seeing me was that where I was seated was directly in his eye line for most of the game. Like the depth of field for a camera lens, I was sitting in the middle of his field of vision, but I would’ve been out of focus if he had his eye on the plays, so  there I was, able to look straight at his face, unseen, it was surreal.

The other swoon-worthy thing (apart from his butt) is, whenever the music comes on between plays, he dances, and not like a little; he slaps the sides of his fist against his thighs and tosses his head back and forth. He feels music, and it reminds me of me. I send my closest girlfriends from highschool a video of him dancing – they’ve told me a hundred times to drop eight like a hot potato, but they still send heart eyes back to not kill my vibe. “Does he know you’re there?” they ask. “Not for sure I don’t think.” The combination of the intensity of the game and my lusty bologna made my stomach butterfly city. They didn’t win the game, but it was the kind where it was so well played by both sides you can’t even be mad about it for a second. I was full blown shivering from the night air by the end of the game, so I hightailed it out of there faster than you can say “bye bitch”; he wouldn’t have had a chance to spot me making my way down the stairs.

I went home and threw on some jogging pants and began rolling myself a joint in my futile attempt to try and warm myself back up from being so cold for so long. Ding, my phone goes off and I see his name light up my screen, well that didn’t take long. “Didn’t see you at the game tonight.  Where were you sitting?” he says. I tell him roughly where. “Fuck off. For serious?” I replied with a cool “Yes.” (So cool.) He was sitting in an uptown pub with the team drinking beers, as is their tradition, and yet surprisingly, this ended up being one of those texting conversations where both people are just super present. It’s less than a minute between each message and every text is short rapid fire. He seems disappointed he didn’t see me and says “I’m slipping, I normally see everyone.” I tell him that his dancing is my “like my favourite thing ever”. We talk a bit about his game: his best plays and the moments that rattled my chill. He told me about one of the opposing players previous temper tantrums. I told him I liked his pants, he thanked me but said I probably liked lots of pants that I saw (take the compliment jeez). I reiterated that dancing pants are the most distracting. We got onto the topic of our high school, what I was like back then, I tell him I’ve never been in any major trouble with the law or authority, mostly low-key. He tells me I should live a little and I tell him that I do, and to “try me”. He tells me he was suspended twice for smoking weed on school trips (be still my heart) and I remark that there are things that are fun to get caught doing, smoking weed isn’t one of them. I send him a picture of the joint I’m smoking on my porch, he sends me a photo of the beer he’s drinking. It’s just after midnight, now a Friday morning and he tells me “You should sleep you probably work in the morning.” I tell him I don’t, and he tells me that he doesn’t either. I take the opportunity to tell him that my birthday is Saturday, and that my work gives us the closest weekday off before quickly changing the topic. I ask him what sports he’ll play in the next season and he tells me – but that doesn’t last long because he watches the emoji stamped panoramic video of the sports complex that I had posted to my Snapchat story while I was at the game.  “I just saw your story. I can’t believe I didn’t see you there. I’m shocked and pissed.”

Now, the following exchange is as sweet as it gets between eight and I – from now until the end. It’s this conversation that let me know that when he wants to, eight is capable of making a risky move to see a girl he likes. The other edge of this sword though is, of course, that once I know a man can be this motivated to get to me and he chooses not to, I move on. For now try to imagine me in that moment and enjoy the best of eight and I, because I know I still do:

8: I just saw your story. I can’t believe I didn’t see you there. I’m shocked and pissed.
me: Why pissed?
8: That I didn’t see you sitting there. My focus is in that general area for most of the game.
me: Well. Heyyy!
8: I’m slipping.
me: No. You’re watching the game.
8: I watch everything. Who’s coming in, who’s getting food, who’s warming up. I scan the crowd constantly.
me: Well I got my drink during the anthem, which is when I got there.
8: That means I didn’t see you the entire game. That’s bad.
me: Well there was well over a thousand people there.
8: So.
me: You’ve never met me? (Hint.)
8: Doesn’t mean I don’t know your face. (Cute.)
me: I had a hat on? I don’t know! It’s not a big deal dude. Hiiiii!
8: Like I said, I have high standards. I like knowing everything that is happening during the game. Everything.
me: Because? You’re analytical? Whats the goal?
8: Not so much analytical but it helps me focus.
8: If I roll up a pinner and come pick you up, wanna go on a doobie cruise? (This.)
me: I literally just finished a big joint. lmao
8: It’s your birthday / day off / live a little goodie 2 shoes.
me: Ok. (Be cool bitch.)
8: If you don’t want to that’s cool, you can say no, I’m just busting your metaphoric balls, but if you do, whats your address? (Are you stupid, get in the car already.)
me: XXX Xxxxxxxx Drive
8: Ok I’ll be there in about 10. I drive a black Jetta. I apologize in advance it’s not the cleanest.
8: Out front.

It’s 2am on the day before my birthday, I’m high as a kite and chilled through to the bone, I’ve changed back into my jeans, wiped the smudged mascara under my eyes away, smoothed my hair behind my ears, and I’m getting into a black Jetta, with tinted windows that’s parked against the boulevard outside of my home. I practically skipped down my driveway, opened the door, and didn’t even try to hide the smirk, I got in the car and said “Hey … so this is unexpected huh?” He reached into the console of his car and handed me a joint and a lighter. “Do you always smell this good?” he asks. (Am I wearing perfume? Nope, I’m not. I had hairspray in my hair earlier. Is this a line? What’s happening? Can we make out? Omg, shut up.) I say it’s hairspray, he says it smells like flowers, I shrug, and light the joint, and I look like a bad bitch doing it too. I could feel the heat blasting, seat warmers on high, thank god, but I was still shivering, and it was visible, and I was immediately annoyed with my body core temperature. I’m not a nervous person and I’m realizing how I look like one. (But maybe just maybe if I get higher that’ll go away. Nope, it didn’t, got worse, cool.) We drove around for 15 or 20 minutes, smoking the joint and getting to know one another in little bits. I told him to stop asking me deep “whats the meaning of life” questions because I was way too high. He laughed and asked me something else that was way out of this world “Oops I did it again. Sorry.” Honestly I don’t even know what we said, that’s how high I was, that never happens to me, ever, honest. He asked me what my big day off plans were later that day, I told him shopping and he suggested, that if I’m interested, we could go get a drink in the afternoon together on a patio somewhere. I said yea I’d like to. We finished the joint. He dropped me off and wished me a good sleep. I went inside, changed back into my jogging pants and a text came in:

8: Are you going to be ok?
me: About? (Jesus, he noticed the shivering, fuck.)
8: Well you seemed a little uneasy. (Fuuuckkk.)
me: I had assumed you were going to be my funny penpal forever?
8: I’m pretty easy, we can do that if you want.
me: I didn’t say that.
8: I know I’m just razzing you. 🙂
me: I’m still cold from the game and high as balls. (Be honest.)
8: No wonder you’re cold your pants had tonnes of holes in them.
me: Ok dad.
8: Well it’s not rocket surgery.
me: I wear office bullshit all week. I like to dress like an idiot on my days off.
8: You could dress like a warm idiot. (This is still one of my favourite things. Ever.)
me: Ok mom.
me: Its still goddamn summer, I’m sorry I expected weathhher more congruent with our season.

fruli
The aforementioned jeans of a cold idiot.

We chatted a bit more. Why he couldn’t have just STUCK around and said all this in person I’ll never know. At 3am he signed off “I’m going to crash. Have fun shopping tomorrow. Message me if you’re down for that drink.” I replied in typical me fashion; “Same. Duh. I will/am.” I was so goddamn proud of that text – you don’t even know – probably because I was high, but I thought it was adorable. Eight replied “Ok, sweet. Have a good sleep.”

3. eight: destiny’s infatu8ion.

The goal here, today, me and dating, dating and I, isn’t necessarily to find a boyfriend or love right off the hop. I’m also here to be present, me, as I am, enjoying the growth and the journey I’m on in each moment. I’m learning all moments have the opportunity for sweetness, even bittersweet. Eight will come to tell me, in a conversation towards the end of our brief nothing, that there’s “nothing sweet” about bittersweetness. How wrong he is. Are you ready to hear just how effective that Snapchat Story was? Lets go:

How has my summer been, he wants to know, or does he, its possibly the laziest way to test my waters but I was pushing myself back into his life with social media – something I would eventually find out eats up a lot of his time. I found it adorable that he included his name in the text; in case I had deleted his number, silly goose, we both had each others numbers in our phones, Snapchat needed those to add each other.

“It’s not rocket surgery.” – Eight, after meeting me in person the first time.

We talked about our summers: for him it was all sports and work. I told him I had been cottaging and working a lot as well. I think I followed up with asking how the sports season had been going, they were doing really well, and he felt as though they had a chance at the playoffs. I threw out a quick double entendre “I have a good feeling about your chances.” Did he pick up on it? He explained a few “unspoken rules” of his league, with regards to player behaviour, stuff I found genuinely interesting and wished he would keep talking about, and then boom, mid message about team drinks he dives straight into the fray.

“… So I’ve been meaning to ask you what your situation is? Are you divorced, separated, still living with your baby’s daddy??” Whoa destiny, I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure very few love stories start this way.

I tell him I was never married, just engaged, and provided as little context as I could manage without coming off as distant because the phrasing frankly feels like he thinks I spend some of my spare time being interviewed by Maury Povich. His inquiry that night focused around timelines for the split, where I was living. He commented that my situation was “still sort of fresh”, and I agreed the formality of it was, but the context of the separation was comfortable for me. My mind wandered off “Is he trying to figure out if I’m emotionally available yet? Because that’s adorable and exactly what I want.” I asked him if he had any longer relationships recently; he had none to speak of. I mistakenly used the phrase “been chilling” to describe one of the circles of hell commonly understood levels of modern dating (we need to stop validating this shit), he agreed it was a good way to describe it. “Chilling seems like the decent play” he says, again referencing all the divorces his friends have gone through.

eight2

Over the next few days we start to exchange Snapchat selfies and videos while we’re at work. He’ll send little chat messages to tell me I’m cute, all of it is enough to make me smile when I see his name pop up. I make the bold move to send him a follow request on Instagram, he doesn’t post anything new, his account is full of travel photos from a big European trip from last summer, but he likes everything I post, and sometimes sends me a message to ask me about whatever he had seen. But the best moments of chatting with eight was when he would text me from his team bus on game nights. Those conversations are playful; there was banter and flirting and selfies. I assume that these conversations were the best because he was a captive audience who probably liked the idea of a girl texting him, A LOT, in front of his team mates – yes I’m a cynic. But none of that matters really; just that in those moments he is the eight I liked and miss now.

Full disclosure before this next part: Between all this fruitless texting I’m very busy being an employed, gym-frequenting, puppy-owning, shopaholic, coffee-addicted, mother-of-one who also happens to be involved in a fairly frequent and intentionally undefined friend-with-benefits situation with another “past life peripheral” guy, that you’ll find I am going to introduce as “fish”. And as of writing this, I still flop around on the fish deck. 

One afternoon, it’s a game day for eight and he’s en route to a town three hours north of our city, he texts me that he’s had a horrible day at work. He never elaborates into detail about anything so instead I tell him I can UberEats him a steak and milkshake if that’ll cheer him up. He says all he really needs is a vacation and rest, but that the idea cheered him up. He asks me what I’m up to and I tell him I’m getting ready to go to the movies. He asks if I have a group of people to go with and I give him the most non-chalent non-answer I can muster “Yes I do have friends lol.”

The truth was I was going to the movies with the aforementioned fish that night. We had sex in the backseat of the car in the parking lot afterwards, because I’m a romantic at heart.

I changed the subject with eight to ask about pre-game rituals, and I think maybe this was the first time eight let me try to flirt with him: “And then what? Run around and talk about how good your butt looks in your pants?” He told me they leave that to the fans. I replied with “Can you be a fan if you’ve never been to a game? Asking for a friend.” He said “Of course you can.” And I set him straight: “They. Of course THEY can. My friend. You know.”

Later that night, after my teenage-esque tryst in the parking lot, my phone buzzed on my nightstand a few times – it was eight. I popped over to Twitter to see what their score had been; the tied up game had gone way over but they got the much needed win to continue on in the playoffs. “Just what I needed, over-time on a Tuesday” his text reads. Maybe he wants congratulations but I’m still fixated on his tush, so scolding he gets. “Stop it. Are you happy?” “Yep but tired.” “Happy makes you sleep well. Ride the high into Wednesday.” “You mean Thursday.” “Why not both?” “Good call.” I put my phone down and go to sleep. In the morning I woke to a video he had sent sometime during their bus ride home: it’s his face, only intermittently lit by oncoming traffic, loudly singing along to David Wilcox: “I’m sailing away from my heartache … on a Riverboat Fantasy.” I’ve mentioned before how I’m unreasonably swayed into romanticism by music – well, you better believe I played that song while I blow-dried my hair – and the grin on my face while I got ready for work on that Wednesday morning can only be described as stupid.

And dear readers, in the next post, I’m going to tell you how the very next evening, eight and I finally ended up  face to face.

2. eight: destiny interrupted.

Eight took his sweet ass time using my damn phone number. I wish I could say but at least the drinks came shortly after. But we know that’s not true.

The drinks don’t come for a few more months, yes, I said months, and I had to do some serious mind-fucking to get us that far. When that first text came through he went straight back to his check-ins, and some days I’d catch a whiff of a nice gesture or intent, and others I’d find his texts to be a chore not to chuck my phone over. Part of me thought, maybe he’s insecure, maybe he’s not sure if dating a single mom is something he can handle, not a single part of me assumed that he was going to waste vast amounts of my time. But we learn these lessons best by experiences.

At this point of the summer he’s pretty busy between his work and game schedule. But he continues to check in, and I think, he wouldn’t waste precious time doing this if some part of him didn’t care. (Girl, shake your head, I know.) Its in these brief texting conversations that it first becomes apparent that our communication styles are completely at odds with one another. I never know what he means by anything, he misuses words, things contradict themselves and he keeps bastardizing all my favourite turns of phrases, and I really love idioms, so it’s throwing me for a loop.

I’ve worked as a graphic designer for the same firm for ten years, it’s my second home, second family, they’ve watched me grow up, make mistakes, become a mother, and finally, take charge of a life I was going to just let pass me by. We’re chatting about work and my history there, and all the perks that come with such a tenure. I reciprocate the inquiry and ask him what he did before he got into his trade. I’m not even joking a little when the conversation comes to a screeching halt with his response: “I was a little late to the party but I’m glad I’m here.” Excuse me, but what the fuck does that even mean? You can’t say “Oh I worked odd jobs. Oh I went to school for a few years.” I’m not going to judge where you’ve been, how could I, I’ve lived a life, it wasn’t perfect, but today and now I’m ready to build something new, that’s why I date. We’re supposed to be trying to get to know one another and the answer just felt out of place in the pacing of the conversation. These sort of abrupt out of place answers are a dime a dozen for us, I never know how to respond, so I generally just stop replying, and the next day: Ding. “How was your day?

One day I’m surprised he’s sharing more about his team and he suggests he’d like to leave me tickets to a game at the box office sometime, but doesn’t specify when. A few days later I joke about how he’s so elusive, and send a little wink face. I’m flurting, it’s like flirting adjacent. And again I get a response that drops my emotional IQ another point: “How am I elusive? My game schedule is very public, you could track me down with one google search.” I’m dumbfounded, he hasn’t invited me out to a specific game; I felt like I had to be a faceless fan to be within earshot of him. I don’t understand the comment – if I was playing I wouldn’t want the distraction/pressure of knowing a guy is there to see me – a guy I’ve been putting off meeting for weeks.

I can’t remember what his last text was, only when, sometimes around the beginning of the summer, and I had just had enough and I didn’t reply. I didn’t get a follow-up invitation to a game, I never found out what he did for a living for the last decade, and we never went for those drinks I suggested. An entire month would pass before I found a way to reel him back to me, without saying a word. I don’t know if its psychological warfare but Snapchat stories can be just the spark you need to burn your own goddamn time with fuckboys. 10/10 would do again though. 

Here’s the trick. It’d been a number of weeks since I had stopped replying. Guys had come and gone since swiping on eight. Ironically, I had been asked on a date to go see eight’s team play (I swerved on that guy for other reasons but I’ll tell you that story another time), and I found myself thinking about him, his dark eyes, and sporty summer dates. I still had a morbid curiosity about why eight was so elusive with me. I had long since deleted the text thread, out of sight out of mind after all, but I still had his number in my phone, because as much as I love replying with “new phone who dis” I do sometimes prefer to go ghost on guys who’ve proven they can’t take no for an answer.

Our MVP of this part of the story is definitely Snapchat’s “Add From Contacts” feature. I added eight, without a text, or a reason, in the middle of a workday and he added me back almost immediately. Over the next few days I posted some nonsense photos of my new manicure and some random things from my workplace downtown. Look at me: I’m feminine, and funny, I have an interesting and active social life that involves a lot of trendy pubs and I can keep up with bros, I promise. I stayed radio silent – never chatting or sending anything directly but when I knew I had his attention in the views I posted a muted video on my story. It’s of my face saying “bitch I might be” with an overlaid caption that said “Living My Best Life”.

mybestlife

Now, take that dose of crazy with a grain of my self awareness: I’ve always worked in design and advertising, and thanks to dating apps and my gaggle of bro-friends that shoot straight with me, I know which photos, and thus, which of my “looks” perform best with most men. For whatever reason, my hair half up in a ponytail and a mischievous smirk gets me the most attention, which equates in online dating to matches. The game plan in advertising is always the same: when you have good ROI on a branding esthetic/content – you ride it out, build on it, get feedback regularly, and when results stagnate start implementing your new campaign that, if you’re smart, you’ve been developing for a while. And rest assured dear readers, I’m running a whole new campaign these days. Boys better bring their A game – because I will literally tell anyone everything I know about mind fuckery.

So let’s rewind to earlier in the summer: Eight knew what is was like to be in daily contact with me. He knew what my social life and weekend habits were like. He knew I was generally a positive person who was easy going. But he only ever had access to my Bumble profile photos back then. They’re unfiltered and generally I try to look pretty put together, I’m trying to attract a gentleman after all (I think? Am I? I don’t know.) But this was the new frontier for him, he had seen snippets of my life in Snapchat photos, he could understand the brand of myself that I projected to my followers, and now he had la piece de resistance: he had seen of video of what I look like talking, with a shit-eating smirk on my face. Was the message for him? Well, we all know it was here and now. But at the time, those were details he didn’t know. He was missing two pieces information that would’ve rounded out his understanding of me: 1. what in the hell I was playing at, and 2: by design, I had muted the video, so he would wonder what I sound like.

From my own experience, it’s jarring when you know how someone talks, then find out how they sound. Those first few minutes where you internally adjust to what their pitch, tone and cadence is as they’re rambling off nervous hellos on a sidewalk outside a restaurant. I miss a hundred percent of what guys are saying in those moments. I could avoid this by telling them to call me first, but honestly so far all the guys I’ve met are never really ballsy enough, except one.

And by the way, if my boss ever reads this, I need a raise. Because my viral marketing skills are fire flame. Within minutes of posting that video on my Snapchat story I had a new SMS text message: “Hey! It’s Eight. How’s your summer been?”

And I literally cackled out loud “Gotcha bitch!”