Maybe you’ve never admitted it out loud, but we all have the capacity to be cruel. The Bad Girlfriend has the capacity and then some. She’s a friend of ours who we love for being trustworthy and smart, funny and exceedingly loyal…to her girlfriends, that is. But boyfriends? That’s another story. We pity the fools who end up on her arm — give it a few months, a year, even three, and suddenly they won’t know what hit ‘em. We don’t expect you to love her, but we do expect that you may, begrudgingly, see a bit of yourself in her bad deeds.
You know that song by No Doubt, “Ex-Girlfriend”? The chorus goes, “Kind of always knew I’d end up your ex-girlfriend”? When I hear that song, I change the words to this: “Kind of always knew I’d end up a bad girlfriend,” because no matter what, I inevitably do. I don’t mean to be sleazy. I don’t set out thinking, “I’m going to cheat, lie, and steal from this sucker,” each time I enter a new relationship, but I do. For some reason, I am totally cruel to dudes. Still, after each fresh new breakup, I feel that I’ve learned a valuable lesson from the experience. And that counts for something, right? One of the meanest things I’ve done to a guy was steal from him. No, I didn’t rifle through his drawers and take his gold chains or pinch twenties from his wallet. In fact, this guy was pretty broke, which made what I did even meaner. He was a German, living in L.A., where I was a student. I met him at my local coffee shop, where he had just started working. I flirted with him in the morning on my way to class. He wore a little hat like an old-fashioned railroad operator and tied a kerchief around his neck, both of which I found adorable. (“He looks like he should be riding an old-lady bike with a baguette in the basket,” noted my best friend.) Euros—so delightfully charming. I can be charming too—we ended up exchanging numbers and going out for drinks. He was fun. So I started sleeping with him. He wasn’t bad in the sack, but I did notice that he had a very prickly back. I asked about it. “Oh da, I shave it,” he said. Okay, I thought. Actually, what disturbed me more was that he must have had someone shave it for him. I asked about that too. “Oh da, my roommate does it.”
That was one major strike against him. Still, the sex was fun, and I thought it was cute he was raised on a “Shvinesfarm in Munchen.” (Read: Pig farm in Munich.) Then one night I took him out with my friends, who were passing around a one-hitter, smoking pot at a club. The German became weird. He grabbed the one-hitter, threw it on the ground, and then took the bag of pot and dumped it out too. I knew then it was over, but I took him home for one last shag. The following morning, he asked me to do him a huge favor. Since he was an illegal immigrant, would I cash a check for him that he’d gotten for an odd construction job? Would I? Of course I would! He gave me the check and said he’d come around later to pick up the cash. It was then that I officially decided to dump him, in my usual wimpy manner—hide out, avoid all phone calls, and never go to that coffee shop again. Whatever, I’d made $300 out of the deal. And he’d turned out to have Hitler-like tendencies when it came to the pot.
But, here’s the problem: the German (unsurprisingly) really wanted his money back. And so, after I ignored his hundredth call, he managed to sneak into my apartment building and arrive at my front door. When I heard the pounding, I ran into the bathroom and locked the door. “YOU BITCH!” he cried. I was actually scared. When the yelling finally stopped, I came out and opened the door, only to find he’d carved “BITCH” into the wood. Eh, that was easy enough, I thought. I was still $300 richer.
I was leaving to go home for the summer a few days later and a friend was driving me to the airport. When I came down to get in his car, the German was standing on the street corner, pacing. He’d obviously been waiting for me to come out. He came running at me, shouting, “Give me my money!” Like a scene out of a movie, I jumped in the car and yelled “Drive!” My friend and I sped off, leaving the German chasing after us in the dust. I never did hear from him again. I’m thinking he probably got deported back to the shvinesfarm in Munchen.
Shitty or not, I did learn a lesson from this experience, and no, it’s not “Don’t date men who shave their backs.” (Which is pretty a good rule, by the way.) But it’s this: Always keep your finances separate. Yes, even when you’re married. Always hold on to a job and always keep an account open that is yours and yours alone. Because you never know when you’re going to have to jump in a car to the airport, leaving your weird boyfriend in the dust.