Dealbreaker: The Bad Speller
It was our third date before Chris brought me back to his apartment. He was a writer as well, which should have been an immediate red flag. Our relationship was bound to see its demise surely brought on by rabid insecurity leading to competition, some hate sex and then ultimately an anti-climactic break up. But I ignored the little voice in my head and went out with him anyhow. Something about beggars and choosers.
Rene Magritte once wrote something about his favorite walk being the one he took around his own bedroom. Well, my favorite walk is around someone else’s bedroom. There’s so much to discover (Criticize? Dissect?). And there is nothing better than trolling the bedroom of a potential love interest for clues. I looked around Chris’ room searching for something that would make him a more interesting person than the one I currently thought him to be. There was an absurdly large television. Plaid sheets. A computer. A basket of dirty laundry. An autographed baseball. Pandora’s box, this was not.
I turned to him quizzically.
“Where are your books?”
He replied he didn’t have any.
“No books?” I asked. Call me crazy, but books are, like, a totally important part of my life. As, like, a writer and as a human.
“Do you mean my college books?” he asked me.
“Any books,” I told him impatiently.
“My college books are at my parents’ in Florida.”
“Your books are in Florida?”
I couldn’t wrap my head around this. Miami was in Florida. Sand and surf and Jews were in Florida. But all of one person’s books? In a whole other state?
“What do you read?” I finally asked, sitting on the bed, my head in my hands, completely perplexed.
“I don’t,” he told me matter-of-factly.
I excused myself and went to the bathroom where I found a Sports Illustrated and a Sodoku book. He was literate. Doctor, I can feel a pulse.
Despite what I considered to be this gaping fault, I continued dating Chris. Now, just to be clear, it’s not as if I was walking around dropping V.S. Naipaul references and waxing philosophical about David Foster Wallace, but I have read a tome or two in my day that has possibly changed my life and is not The Great Gatsby.
Soon, Chris and I were emailing on a regular basis and this is where the trouble continued. Not reading leads to not being able to spell and not being able to spell leads to looking like a moron. And looking like a moron is emasculating.
The spelling errors began simply enough – a “there” instead of “their” – things I could chalk up to typos and being in a rush. Who, after all, had the time to spell check their emails? But soon they were everywhere, glaring, overwhelming, like blinking lights outside of a strip club, or the entire city of Las Vegas. One day we were writing together and he looked up and asked me how to spell “socket.” Really? It’s sock with two extra letters on the end.
The demise of our relationship though, came late one night. Chris had gone out on the town with his “boyz” and I stayed in, curled up with a book and a good glass of pinot noir. I was more satisfied than I had been in months. At about 1 a.m. my phone buzzed, with a text message. I opened it up, and there were the dreaded words:
An intentional spelling error, one so egregious, and so revolting, even Larry Flynt would have known better. I balked.
Two minutes later, another one:
I had reached my wits end. I quickly texted him back and told him I couldn’t cum anywhere — I was right in the middle of reading a book.