I was really excited all week for my craigslist date today with a guy who responded to a post I put up Monday night. I told him that he sounded just like me, but with balls--both literally and metaphysically. He'd moved here from San Francisco to attend grad school, but disliking it, had dropped out. He'd recently given up The Drugs and The Booze and found himself enjoying a "less exciting" life, but felt more happy, productive, and optimistic, and was trying to make it as an artist. He sent me a photo and I thought he was cute, and we made plans to meet up today to enjoy the warm weather and to drop in at my friend's art show in Brooklyn. It was all really easy, and I had a really good feeling about it.
He was running late, but called to tell me so. We met up and chatted for a little bit; it was easy conversation, and I felt comfortable. He was covered with tattoos, which surprised me. I think we talked for about a half hour before walking to the show, which was more like an expose for these very out-of-place luxury lofts in Prospect Heights. I could tell he wasn't into it, but it's not like we were going to stay there forever. He wasn't making an attempt to even feign interest; I think he was too cool for that. Okay. I just wanted to say hello, and then we could go wherever.
The show was at a set of four buildings within a few blocks of each other, and we walked to the second building, met my friends at the top floor, and he said he was going to get a drink on the bottom floor, and I went out to the balcony to chat with my buddies for a bit. I'd had enough of the place already too, so I decided to make an exit as well, and texted him to meet me outside. I went out to have a cigarette and waited, and then called, but he didn't pick up. Hm. This made me uncomfortable. I waited another fifteen or twenty minutes just to make sure I wasn't being paranoid and crazy, to give him the benefit of the doubt, because I didn't think he was an asshole. Would he really just...leave?
I tapped out a stupid message, something like, "Wow, nice to meet you too," but that was just gutless. It was neither here nor there. I wanted to say, "You're really not as cute as your photo either," or "Jesus, at least say you've got diarrhea or something." But I also didn't want to send four text messages. I could only send one.
It was hot and I was thirsty. So I went and got myself a juice, and then sat down to drink it, wondering how I could possibly come out of this situation feeling okay--because really, I was not feeling okay. I have never been walked out on before. What a shitty fucking thing to do to someone for no good reason at all. I was really, fucking angry, and I wanted to be really, fucking mean. But at the same time, I really wanted to be wrong.
So I called him and, going straight to voicemail, was forced to leave a message that went something like this. "So...unless I'm mistaken...it looks like you just...took off...which is really, really, really not cool."
I felt kind of good about this message, because it said all that I wanted it to say: not cool, man. I do not approve. But part of me really wanted to be mean, because my feelings were hurt. I don't know why I couldn't be mean. I really wanted to be. I think the situation warranted it. What he did was mean. I didn't deserve to be treated that way, and I cannot comprehend what a person can be thinking when they do something like that. The situation was so innocuous. It wasn't even five in the afternoon, and we were both sober.
Recently I was talking to My Friend about online dating and how one can just be a complete asshole, because you have no connection to this person. By contrast, if you were set up with your co-worker's sister, or a friend of a friend, or something, you would have to maintain some level of etiquette because of group norms and accountability. I love My Friend and all, but he lacks a certain kind of humanity that some men lack. I would never treat a complete stranger badly, even if I know I'll never see them again. It has nothing to do with it coming back to haunt me, it's because it's a fucking human being, and treating each other badly puts poison into the collective consciousness. Why do we need to do that? How gutless and gross and pointless. To his point, though, particularly in the circles we run in these days, what's the guarantee that you'll never see this person again? That person you treat like shit may end up being your landlord, your creditor, your boss one day. How would that be, then?
I really hope that one day I run into him. One day I'll cover an art opening where he'll be this big success (who knows?) and I'll be there interviewing people or something and I hope our interaction will go something like this:
SB Hi! I hear Untitled #7 just sold for $3 million! That's amazing!
craigslist date who ditched me Thanks.
SB Your work has come a long way. Tell me, though, with your newfound fame and fortune, are you still a spineless asshole?
SB You know, do you still just wince out of situations you find uncomfortable?
CLDWDM What...? What the fuck are you talking about?
SB I don't know, let's say you went on a date with a girl and wasn't into it, how would you handle it? Would you make a polite exit like a man, or, like a spineless asshole, just take off, leaving her to wonder what the hell happened for about 30 minutes?
CLDWDM Ah, shit...
SB Still single?
SB Well, let me give you another pointer. Try to keep the mentions of the ex-girlfriend(s) to fewer than fifteen, if you can, at least during the first hour of the date. But congratulations on all of your success otherwise.
CLDWDM ...Seriously? I thought you looked familiar.
SB Yeah, small world. Look for the interview in ArtForum, buddy.