Okay fine, I never really dated him.
But our relationship was so much longer than so many others, as friends.
Until the night of the pole dancing. We were with the mutual friend who had connected us and stirred up our conventional lives. We both loved her deeply. We listened patiently to all of her stories about her awful relationship with her ridiculous boyfriend. And when the four of us went out, we politely kept our judgments to ourselves.
Her boyfriend was judging too though and had whispered furtively to our mutual friend that we were totally going to hook up that night.
It had started with drinks, and more drinks, and friendship. In all honesty, I had liked him once upon a time. But not by then. By then it was a very platonic friendship. But then we went to the bar in the basement, with poles in the middle of the cavernous side rooms. And our mutual friend showed us some stripper moves, because of course she’d been one in a past life. And then he attempted a move. And it was amazing how fit he was, able to turn his body in a simple, elegant move, although even he admitted it was difficult as shit.
And somewhere in a cavernous side room, he kissed me. And we kissed some more, in an embarrassingly public manner that I don’t remember at all. And I was shocked and wasted and didn’t know what was happening when our mutual friend pulled me aside and hissed, “Don’t you dare treat him like shit.”
But I did, in my way of indifference. Nothing came of that unexpected mess of a night. We were just friends, despite the flirtatious texts and the night of bonding, as our mutual friend bartended and her boss asked if we were married. I wanted him to chase me, to validate me, to show me that he really liked me for me, through all he’d learned as my friend. He wanted that too, perhaps. Neither of us did anything of the sort though. We were still only friends.
A year and one month after our first coupling, it happened again. We hadn’t seen each other in awhile, so when we were sitting at the bar with our mutual friend and she asked, “Is this awkward?” it was, a bit. But when she left, and he and his friend came along with me to meet my friends, it all seemed ok. And then, perhaps because I had slipped and bumped my head, it seemed totally normal to be kissing him outside the bar. Even though I stopped it multiple times to insist, “This is a bad idea.”
His apartment was beautifully organized and perfect. I immediately decided he had OCD. But that wasn’t the truth. The truth was that he was an adult and had his shit in order. I, on the other hand, was unemployed and hated my living situation and was a month behind on rent. I was woefully beneath his level of maturity, I decided.
I often wonder how different it would have been if my life hadn’t been such a mess. If I hadn’t been such a mess. When he likes pictures of me on Facebook, I wonder if I could convince him that I’m not a mess anymore, that I found the confidence he always insisted I lacked. But that is pure fancy. I know that we are not destined to do anything other than accidentally fall into each other once in a Blue Moon induced drunkenness.
We will never really date.