I knew getting into it that Phil was an eccentric character. He was known for certain oddities—a fondness for shiny objects, spiky hairdos, the color red, to name a few. What should have really tipped me off to his peculiarities, however, was the night we were laying in bed and he confessed, “One of my exes became a dating columnist after we broke up. A lot of her stories were about me.”
Phil and I weren’t dating — we were hooking up. We’d slept together a few times, and who knew where things would go. We shared the same group of friends, so either way, it wasn’t as if we’d never see each other again if we decided to go separate ways.
After our first night together, an inner Shakespearian torture took over my brain: I was torn. He repulsed and bewildered me, yet I couldn’t deny that I liked him immensely.
When I told a girlfriend the next day about my hookup with Phil, her reaction was exactly what I had feared: “You hooked up with Phil?! Him? Really?”
I went on a tirade. “I know! I know! He’s old, he’s not that attractive, his hair is horrible, his style is laughable, he’s full of himself, he’s a total player, he hangs with [awful, awful person’s name redacted]….”
To be sure, Phil was the sort of guy who just had his “thing.” He spiked his hair with pomade, wore dark, thick-rimmed glasses, sported ironic t-shirts, and usually accessorized with a totally ridiculous scarf that I could only gander was purchased in the women’s section of H&M. To top things off, he had a horrible facial hair situation—a single, quarter-sized patch of whiskers beneath his lower lip. A poignant remnant, he claimed, of his signature goatee that he had finally gotten rid of.
Despite all these things, I found him completely endearing, and my fondness for him grew exponentially in several days. I was ashamed of this.
After our second time together, I started to take notice of more hilarious things in his apartment. The man had laptops everywhere, conditioner in his shower (what man uses that?), silver sneakers, and a particularly dreadful silver blazer. Hello, Eurotrash, I thought when I saw it, then cringed at the thought of ever being seen next to him in it and known as the girl who is dating the guy in the blindingly shiny suit. I was smitten.
I didn’t even think for a second that these were relics of a past girlfriend. I thought he had to use it himself. After all, foundation is a woman’s makeup staple. You have the one that works for you and that’s it. One. Not two.
Ohhhh noooooes…..The man wears makeup.
I was in a bad mood that morning to begin with. Phil was leaving the next day for the Hamptons for a week. I had been hoping that he would invite me for the weekend, which would be a sign that we weren’t just screwing. He hadn’t, and I could only guess things were over.
As I sat at his desk tying my shoelaces, my eyes fell on an index card that showed a list.
Tent. Video camera. CONDOMS. Oh puke. It was the worst list I had ever seen. One that made me picture Phil going to the Hamptons to make a sex tape in a tent in the backyard of Oprah Winfrey’s beachside estate.
I snapped a picture of the list with my camera phone.
That picture now serves as the desktop wallpaper of my laptop, a reminder that the devil’s in the details.