Last night I was thrown for a loop when I ran into a long-ago ex at a party that he had no business (that I could fathom) attending. I was not happy to see him. In fact, over the past ten or so years, I’ve made it a point to avoid being anywhere he might be. I haven’t been pining; he’s someone I actively avoid because he’s psychotic and I had no idea what he—or I—would do if we ever crossed paths again. I’m not a violent person, but the thought of stabbing him in the eye is not an unpleasant one.
When you’ve tracked as many laps around the block as I have, you’re bound to run into the occasional ex—even the ones you’d rather forget. As the rage disappeared along with the tequila in my glass, I got to thinking about how just the random act of running into someone can ruin, or make, your day.Much Younger Guy
This guy was scandalously younger than me and so, while I was flattered by his pursuit, I was dubious about dating him. But his smarts, wit, and firm butt sucked me in and I fell hard. Unfortunately, like so many youngsters, he was fond of the drama and I soon found myself in the midst of an angst-storm, the likes of which I hadn’t experienced since puberty. Looking back on this relationship is a lot like re-reading your teenage journals. He’s tried to Facebook-friend me, but do I really need to be reminded of my ridiculous behavior every time I log on? I think not.
Emotion Evoked: Extreme Embarrassment
M and I went out a few times when we were both very young. I had a mohawk, he had a guitar and, though I was smitten, we were kids and it was casual. It ended when I blew him off for another guy one Saturday night, but I still see him from time to time—once onstage with Bruce Springsteen (him, not me!), but usually out at a club or bar. I wouldn’t call us friends, but it’s always nice to see him and I’m genuinely happy for all his success.
Emotion Evoked: Warm Nostalgia
I still expect to see my first boyfriend show up on the news one night for blowing up a school or murdering a litter of puppies, so when I met The Rescuer as the first guy and I were breaking up, I was very excited. For one thing, TR was nice. Though he technically didn’t save me from my scary bad relationship, he restored my faith in men and I still associate him with my escape, so I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart (and head) for him.
Emotion Evoked: Gratitude
When friends ask me why I stayed with the hygienically challenged, sporadically employed, socially inept Dirk, I testily inform them that he wasn’t a boyfriend; he was a cry for help. He’s the kind of guy you end up with when you’re convinced you’re never going to get laid again. The kind of loser you know is wrong from the get-go, but unlike seemingly every other man on the planet, this one actually likes you, so holding your nose every time he takes off his shoes seems like a small price to pay. Until you wise up, dump him, burn your bedding and Febreze the hell out of your apartment.
Emotion Evoked: Relief that I no longer need to smear Ben Gay around my nostrils any time I want to get kissed.
Luckily, the look of unadulterated loathing on my face convinced the psycho ex to keep moving last night. Though I can’t really think of anything positive to come out of that particular relationship, writing this piece reminded me that not all of my exes were bad. Though at least one of them sure smelled that way.