When Terrible Dates Strike
Let me tell you about the first time I saw Macy. She was explaining to her beer pong partner how vinyl records make a scratching noise before the music starts to play, thus the name of her podcast “Scratched.” First hint that trying to date her would be a mistake: she podcasts about vinyl. But Macy has these gorgeous blue eyes, and thrift store attire that reminded me of Juno; these are the only two traits I look for in a girlfriend.
I was outside smoking a cigarette alone when I saw Macy leaving a party. She was arm in arm with a guy who looks like he never stops wearing a beanie. Macy pushed him away, ran up to me, and mumbled, “We should hang out”. After exchanging numbers she left with that guy, which was odd. I’m sure they’re related or best friends or probably not going to make out in a cab later.
The next day I called Macy while shopping in an Urban Outfitters because I’m the reason the world hates young white people. She answered, and in between hyperventilating I asked her if she wanted to see a movie. I received a monotone, “Yeah sure” — not the most excited response, but with foolish optimism I figured it could only go uphill from there.
By the time I get to her apartment, which was decked out with vintage Janis Joplin posters and Christmas lights, I was very noticeably nervous. On a scale of “Jaywalking” to “The Nuremburg Trials,” I was the latter. To release my tension I complimented her apartment a lot. I must have complimented her shark-shaped oven mitt eight times. She was slowly getting sick of me, and I was slowly realizing it; all in all great start to a first date.
Before the movie started, my stomach began to have sharp shooting pains. I ignored it and continued talking, “So you ever been to Europe?” “I already told you.” Screw it, I’m going to the bathroom, this girl hates me. I ran into the men’s room and felt like I was going to puke; I then proceeded to throw up blood. I cleaned myself off as best I could and returned to the movie thinking, “Man oh man do I hope this girl doesn’t realize that I just threw up blood.” I sit down and she said, “I’m bored, you want go to a party? Do you know of any parties?” I tell her there’s a party at my house and we left the theater.
We got to my apartment, which had yet again been filled with about a hundred people of which I knew maybe four. As the party went on, Macy started talking to more and more people including my roommate Duncan. He was evidently hitting on her and knew I was on a date but he rarely cared about things such as: people, standards of living, or anything not named Duncan. In all this commotion my stomach pains returned.
I dart for the bathroom where I throw up blood again; this time I felt like I was going to pass out. I started shivering with blood around my mouth; who wouldn’t want to date this? One of the four people I know, Joanna, came up to me and asked, “are you okay?” YEAH I’M GREAT JOANNA, JUST BLEEDING FROM THE MOUTH WITH THE SHAKES! I didn’t say that, but I was in that kind of mood. I told her about the night, mostly my blood vomit and how it happened again. She tells me to take a cab to the E.R. so I do. I leave without telling Macy because I was mad and inexplicably bleeding.
I got to the hospital and waited in a doctor’s office until 4:15 a.m., when I get a text from Macy, “where are you?” I didn’t answer. What was I going to say? “Threw up blood, in ER :(“? No I wasn’t going to say that. I didn’t answer her and the doctor came in. He said he thought I had a stomach ulcer and wanted to make sure there was no internal bleeding. The only way to check for that is with a prostate exam. Yup, one of those. So that happened, and it was weird and awful. Most people don’t need one till their about 50, but why not one earlier? Why the f-ck not?
The doctor informed me that I had a small stomach ulcer but no internal bleeding. I needed to take medication and not drink or smoke for a week while staying out of stressful environments, as they will aggravate the ulcer. Stressful environments such as: horrible dates, parties with horrible dates, getting molested by a doctor at 5 a.m., stuff like that.
I took a cab home at 5:30 a.m. to find my apartment wall to wall with passed out bodies. I went into my room to find someone sleeping on my bed and my floor. It felt like “Goldie Locks and the Three Bears,” but with more blood and less porridge. Macy invited her roommate to the party who I found sleeping on my floor next to some guy who looked like a roadie for Phish. With nowhere to sleep, I headed to the roof of my apartment with a sleeping bag. My roommate Nick woke up to my stumbling around; he opened his door and without thinking I asked him, “Did Duncan and Macy…” neither of us said a thing. I retreated to the roof.
I woke up at 8 a.m. to a homeless guy yelling at me not to tell anyone about this “spot.” I told him I lived downstairs, he said “Me too” and left. I went back to sleep and woke up later to find my wallet missing. I walked downstairs at 11 a.m.; by this time everyone was gone, the floor was no longer covered with people and my bed was unoccupied so I collapsed onto it. My body was falling apart and my mind had learned to stop trusting people. Nothing had gone right that night, and I walked away thinking about one thing: Why exactly did that doctor need to give me a prostate exam?
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.