Dating Bradford: Punched In The Gut


On the morning of what was to be our third date, the lawyer called me. "Hey, handsome!" I answered. "Am I seeing you tonight?"

"I don't think so," he replied. "That's why I'm calling. I think you want more than I can give you right now."

as this sounded, it still struck me dumb, and I tried to figure out how
we got from two romantic dates, with awesome sex, to this prosaic prose
in a week, with no communication in between.
Then I remembered the sweet voicemail message I had left him on
Valentines Day, wishing him well, and telling him that even though he
hated "Hallmark holidays," to know that I was thinking of him and would
be his Valentine nonetheless.

"Well, I guess wishing you
happy Valentines Day was a bad idea," I managed to utter, though I felt
that I'd just been punched in the gut.

"No, it was sweet,"
he replied, "It's just that you're a little too intense for me to get
emotionally attached to. I like to keep things more casual, that's all."

"Casual how?" I asked. "As in casual sex with no strings attached?"

I wanted to add, "Meaningless sex like I can get from Manhunt?" but I refrained.

"Oh, come on," he chuckled. "You're such a slut, you know you love it."

final blow sent me to the mat. I could hear the referee counting to 10
before issuing a KO as the bell clanged. Somewhere in the roar of my
imaginary crowd I heard my smallest voice saying in sheer disbelief,
"Do you really think of me as a slut?"

"Oh, no ... uh ...
" He back-pedaled, obviously hearing the hurt in my voice, "Listen, we
can talk about this later, I've got to step into a meeting."

right ... sure. I said, Give me a call when you ..." My words failed
me. All the air had left my lungs, and I felt my legs threatening to
give out from under me. There was nothing more to be said. I knew the
second we hung up that it would be the last time we spoke. The romantic
feelings I held for this handsome, successful lawyer, with his
beautiful downtown loft, house in the country (complete with power
tools and Labrador) and fridge stocked with Veuve and jumbo prawns from
Balducci's, was gone.

I know, all those superficial things
like job titles, residence addresses and net worth should not a romance
make, but let's face it, they help. It wasn't so much that I was
dumped, if you can call it that after only two dates, but that my
enthusiasm for dating had just been sucked out of me. It felt like the
scene in "Death Becomes Her" when Meryl Streep fires a shotgun at
Goldie Hawn, leaving her undead, but with a large gaping hole in her
abdomen. All my hope had gone out through that hole.

I coped with this by lying in my empty bathtub like a fresh corpse,
letting the shower run over me until all the hot water was gone. I'm
not sure it helps, but it's like an egg timer telling me that my
grieving time is over, and to get dressed and move on with my life.
Sometimes it takes a few of these showers.

This got me wondering how other people cope with this feeling of being punched in the gut? Please let me know how you coped in the comments field below.

(Photo: Greg Powers)