I was at a party and this guy wouldn’t stop staring at me. It would have been really creepy, if he wasn’t so cute. At first I thought I was imagining things, but when he followed me to the bathroom, and told me I looked like a painting… I knew it was really happening. Clark was younger than me by 5 years or so, he was extremely confidant and incredibly attractive. We chatted for a bit and then I went off with some friends. When I got back, Clark had left.
But my friend who hosted the party told me Clark had asked for my number. I was excited.
“I should warn you,” my host friend said, “Clark’s a player. He just got out of a ten year relationship and he’s become a total dog. I should know. He’s my best friend.”
Crap. That’s all I need. Another player. I have a string of Player heartbreaks. Who doesn’t?
“And, he has a girlfriend. Do you still want me to give him your number?” My host friend asked, clearly wanting me to say no.
Clark called me the next evening. “So, I can’t stop thinking about you,” he said, on the phone. “I just think you are so beautiful and funny… I’d really love to take you out but I should tell you… I’m in a relationship. But it’s open.”
My head was spinning a little. He’s a Player I kept telling myself.
“She lives in New York and I live here and… neither of us are going to move.”
I wondered why they just didn’t break up.
“So we both see other people… and… I’d really like to see you, if you are OK with that. I mean, who knows what could happen?”
He’s sweet. He’s a Player. He likes me. He’s just trying to get laid. Back and forth. Back and forth my mind went.
“Just a drink?” he asked when I’d paused too long.
I wanted to. Did I mention he was charming and sexy? “Sure,” I said.
We went out for a drink a few nights later. I’d dressed in layers, hiding my post holiday weight gain. I felt really self conscious about it which was why I was extra sure this guy couldn’t really be interested in me – besides the fact he had a girlfriend and his best friend warned me he was a Player… what was I doing? …I was giving it a chance.
So we huddled in a corner booth drinking beer. He was actually quite wonderful; down to earth, self deprecating, funny, asking me lots of questions, complementing me…. I was charmed, but trying to stay on guard.
He kissed me. There was a lot of chemistry. Crap. I didn’t want to like him. He drove me home and wanted to come up. “No,” I told him, mostly because I felt so fat…
He called a lot in the next few days – the kind of calling that’s too much too soon. The kind of calling that would usually make me lose interest. But I liked it. I was liking him. He’s a Player. He’s a dog. My host friend’s words echoed in my head. I’d been played and dumped before. I wasn’t going to let that happen again.
I finally answered his call and told him the fact that he was in an open relationship was off putting. I thought we should just be friends.
I hoped he’d say he was going to end his long distance relationship. But instead he said, “Then we will have to be friends in public places, so I won’t be trying to kiss you all the time.”
OMG. That was kind of hot.
We made a plan to see a movie (public place.) That plan turned into going to his home to help him with some of his work and bringing in dinner “Just as friends.” (I was weak.)
I went over to Clark’s and we tried to work on his stuff and then we just started making out. He brought me into his bedroom and I had 2 thoughts:
1. You can’t sleep with a Player on the second date.
2. I’m so fat right now, if he sees me naked it’s all over anyway.
I stopped him. “I’m just….” I wanted to tell him I liked him, but I didn’t want to get hurt. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t want a friend with benefits; I wanted more. I wanted to tell him that if we were going to continue like this I wanted to get to know him better before rushing in… because I liked him – but instead, I said, “I’m just looking for a connection.“
He stopped and looked like I’d just shocked him. “Oh. A connection. You want a connection?” he said, standing up. He muttered connection a few more times. “I’m sorry.”
He walked me to my car and hugged me. I waited for him to call again, because, let’s face it, I wanted him to prove to me that he really liked me. But he didn’t call. It wasn’t till many weeks later, when I’d replayed that night over and over again, that I realized maybe it sounded like I was saying I didn’t feel a connection with him.
I didn’t know what to do. Should I call him? Should I tell him I did feel a connection I just wanted to take it slow? No. He’s a Player. Best to let it go. At least I’d ended it, instead of him dumping me. Right? But the thought of what could have happened if I’d been clearer, tugged at me for a while.
About six months later, my host friend casually mentioned that Clark was dating someone. “She’s a redhead like you,” he laughed. I felt a little sick.
About a year later, my host friend told me that Clark was living with this redhead girlfriend. Then they got married and had kids… the whole thing. “I guess he wasn’t a player, after all,” my host friend shrugged…. as if he hadn’t convinced me not to give the guy a chance!
Why did I say that thing about the connection??!! Did he think that meant wasn’t interested? Could this have been something if I wasn’t so obsessed with him being a Player? These questions plagued me.
I ran into Clark at a restaurant about four years later. He was very happy to see me. I still felt a pull towards him. I wondered again what could have happened had I not told him I was looking for a connection. Probably nothing. Maybe something.
The other day, Spenser and I were watching the Little Mermaid. The song Kiss the Girl started up.
“What happening?” Spenser asked me, as Eric and Ariel flirted with their eyes. “What Eric saying?”
I thought about it for a second. I wanted to make sure my son knew that love is about more than just physical attraction (even though he’s 3.)
“Eric is saying that even though Ariel can’t talk he feels like he really cares about her and understands her and knows her and respects her and loves her. He has a connection with her,” I heard myself say.
“Oh. Like I have a connection with you, Mommy,” my son beamed. My heart melted.
One missed connection is another found.
photo by www.maracaseyshoots