You are Found Guilty of Gaslighting and Sentenced to Embarassment

I penned this post back in January on my phone in Penn Station after a conversation with a boy made me absolutely furious.

At the time, I didn’t have the balls to press post. Now I figure why the fuck not. So here ya’ll go.  

 

Let me pull a Taylor Swift blog style for a moment.

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Ever since the conception of Twenty Something What is my life and the first post I ever penned about “I’m Sorry” gifts, I’ve been on and off reeling from a rather interesting encounter with a supposed textbook Southern charmer from North Carolina. He is the mainly guilty party in my Hall of Lame I’m sorry gifts post.

Let me give you a quick profile. Thirty years old, small southern accent, works in the food industry and I met him in a bar that he managed. Super polite to everyone, but you’d never peg him as a huge ladies man. Initially perceived as a very sweet and nice guy that was raised to be a gentleman.

On top of being a liar, he is also guilty of gaslighting. For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to an asshole who does something warranting a rather negative reaction. If said reaction makes them unhappy, they feebly attempt to make you feel bad about it. Gaslighting aims to make victims doubt their own perceptions and feel guilt.

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For those that need a more substantial example let’s say Mr. Charmer practically BEGS you to be exclusive with him, and as soon as you decide to not use your charm, sass, and boobs to get drinks and flings with other guys, his list of highly questionable actions start piling up. The sequence of events is as follows.

1. Charmer decides to bring me and my girlfriend to a friend’s house after meeting up with several people at a bar. Call it an after-party of sorts where I am meeting his friends for the first time. More people come to the house, including his friend of the female variety who I had met a few weeks previous. I met her, she met me, and we exchanged the usual pleasantries before he privately explained to me that they had never hooked up… ever. She comes in and I smile, and I am met with a look of drunken disdain. Girl was throwing shade like Regina George.

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Oh well, hello to you to. Well I brush it off since I’m in a 4loko haze and there’s the sweetest dog at the party that I’d rather hang out with anyways. My next question is why Charmer and this bitch are in the bathroom for an hour? I guess Charmer didn’t let his friends in on his manipulations, because it’s one of them who told me the truth about the two having previously dated.

Charmer spends the next 30 mins wondering why I’m not going anywhere near him and why I’m leaving the party. He insists they were “just talking” and for the next few weeks, continues to tell me nothing happened.

2. Then comes the actual sleeping with this girl, while we’re supposedly exclusive. I find out from her, not him. In fact he goes a few weeks without telling me. She also confirms my suspicions on the bathroom incident and when I bring it up, Charmer claims he really did not think anything happened, and that he didn’t find out the truth until a few days later. Apparently, he was really just THAT drunk.

3. He begs to be let back into my life. He actually wants to be my BOYFRIEND. He decides it’s worth cutting all ties with her even when I refuse to stop seeing other guys.

4. For a few months, he’s attempting to win me back, and in some cases it’s working. I refuse to be completely exclusive, but I rarely have time to spend with anyone else. I don’t think I can handle him talking to her again and he tells me he won’t. He tells me I’m the first girl he loves and that I’m the one. I take it with a grain of salt, even if I secretly wish he was being honest. I make it clear that any evidence that he’s speaking to her and I walk out the door.

5. I find out that he’s been texting her behind my back. BIG SURPRISE. I give him up.

6. He starts sending me I’m sorry gifts when I move to Boston.

7. I blog about it.

 

It wasn’t until yesterday that he discovered my blog post. The reaction to me calling his gifts pathetic and selfish set the following conversation into motion:

Charmer: I’m not sending you anything in the mail. I’m not trying to make you a true piece of artwork that I try really hard on and have it mocked on your blog. Maybe later when you think I’m no longer sending you “I’m Sorry” presents. Those were things to just make you smile and start your day off with a hit. I said I’m sorry, I don’t need to give you gifts for that.

Me: I dislike getting your gifts because every nice thing you do for me is in some way for you to feel less bad about what you did. Did you ever try to make me smile when it wasn’t after you did something horrible to me? No. The first nice thing you did for me was after the bathroom incident. The second? After you slept with her. Sending me the flowers? After you texted her. While we were together? Nothing.

Charmer: I’m trying to show you that I care.

Me: So you didn’t care for me when everything was fine and I wasn’t halfway walking out on you? You should’ve showed me you cared by NOT lying to me. I guess buying me flowers is a lot easier.

The conversation becomes circular. He keeps claiming he loves me and cares for me, while I start getting furious. I just want him to stop the word vomit! I hate word vomit… especially when it’s of the bullshit variety.

Charmer: I didn’t realize the damage I was causing when I did those things.

Me: Are you stupid?

And the gaslighting begins.

Charmer: Conversation is over if you’re going to start calling me stupid. I wish you could believe me when I tell you that I loved and cared for you but I know everything I did counters that.

Me: You lied to me? That’s stupid. You’re stupid because you did the one thing I said would result in me leaving and then bellyache about losing me. A stupid person counter acts what they want.

Charmer: Have a good night.

BUT ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t end there. The gaslighting continues.

Charmer: I ask you not to call me stupid in this conversation and you do the opposite. I’ll talk to you all night and day about what happened to us but I’m not going to be talked down in this manner.

Me: If you don’t want to be a liar, don’t lie. If you don’t want to be a cheater, don’t cheat. If you don’t want to be called stupid…. you can get the idea. And I wonder how it feels when someone that supposedly cares for you does the exact opposite of what you ask…. hmm…

 

GASLIGHTING: Blaming me for calling you stupid… when stupid is as stupid does.

 

 

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Tools that the Dating World is Missing

At twenty-one, I graduated a semester early and then moved thirteen hours away from my friends and family to work in a new state and live alone. I made some pretty big decisions, including adopting a rescue dog and then transferring back up North to live in Boston, a great city where the rent really is too damn high. I put money into a matching 401K, got off my parents insurance policy, and started picking my own doctors.

In the past three years, I’ve gotten quite comfortable and capable. I understand my job, schedule my doctor appointments annually, pay my ridiculous rent, and essentially get shit done.

However, one thing that always been a mystery to me and to be honest, something that seems to be a mystery to most twenty-somethings is dating. I do not, for the life of me, understanding dating and marriage, and sometimes I come back from a night out wishing that certain tools existed to help me better identify who I should be investing my time in. Because most of the time, my friends are all:

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And I’m like:

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1. Indicators of availability: How many times have you struck up a genuine conversation with someone, only to realize that they have a significant other at home, overseas, arriving later, etc. I would like indicators that automatically tell me who is available to chat up and who isn’t going home to a bed that they have to share. Wedding rings are a great signal so how about they make rings for exclusively committed.

And what about the guys that don’t tell you they have a significant other? I would like insurance to know that I am not intentionally home wrecking.

Personally, I would also like indicators of crazy ex girlfriends that are still in their lives, because ain’t nobody got time for that.

2. Tinder in Real Time: I would love to know who in the bar finds me attractive. That way I don’t waste my time with guys that are completely uninterested. I know this might seem superficial, but guys aren’t going to strike up a conversation with me because I look like I like the Wire. They are going to chat me up because they are into Asians with subtlety placed Eagle tattoos.

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3. Disclaimer of Intentions: Honestly? I would appreciate it if guys that have only wanted sex just said that they only wanted sex. Don’t date me to entertain me. I could be hanging out with friends or treating myself to a massage, both things that are infinitely more intimate than any time I’ll be spending with you after hours.

4. Criminal Records, Ex Wives, Hidden Children: There are some things that are fun to share during a date, like food preferences, family stories, and common interests/hobbies. Things like wrap sheets and prison tattoos? NOT.

5. More Overt Invitation to Approach: Countless of times, my girlfriends and I will lock a target of hot eligible bachelors in our sights, and we end of spending the night eye screwing them until someone makes a motion hours later.

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By that time my face hurts from smiling, and I’ve already consumed too many shots to care. In the animal kingdom, various dances are performed, colors appear, and feathers are revealed to signal a “come hither”. In the human world, we spend the entire night wondering if he will come over, if I should go over, what do I say when I go over, and then regret it when nothing happens.

6. Gamer Player or Game Changer: Because I would like to know if you feed into this whole “if you care less than you are winning” game or if you’re an adult and text me when you want to talk to me. I’ve spent years playing this game and to be honest I am exhausted.

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7. The Fab Five: Knowing the top five things that you two have in common would be a fantastic way to differentiate between the guy at the bar that shares your interest in politics and dogs, or the guy with whom the only interest you share is that you both have a brother.

8. Alcohol Meter: I would love to know how many drinks someone has sucked down before I had the honor to meet them.

9. An Out of Five Star Rating: Knowing what the common consensus of an individual was before meeting them would be pretty helpful. Like any hotel or restaurant that comes with a five star capable rating for things such as menu, service, and cleanliness; those ratings for a potential mate would be much appreciated. Any personal reviews would be welcome as well.

10. A Bullshit Radar: would be strong for the obvious reasons.

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To Court or Abort: The Five (and a half) Stages of Courting

While I’ve had my shares of heart break, mistakes, both rational and irrational instincts, spazzes, and successes; I’m self proclaimed as being able to give some stable and sound insight (I’d rather not call it advice just yet) into the world of dating. Ironically, I’m not in any stable relationship at the moment, yet am enjoying being alone for the time being. What is my life?

This post comes in response to a conversation that has lasted over the past few days with a friend of mine. Last week, she had gasped over a surprise text she had received from a male acquaintance of hers expressing his interest in taking her out on a date after they had a brief run in the day before. Within the half hour, a date was set for next Friday at a Venezuelan restaurant. Fantastic; she has a suitor.

A few days later, the conversation came up again as my friend had to explain to her suitor that she had to delay their date on Friday a few hours. As the conversation continues she exclaims, “I just want to be courted!”

But wait, isn’t flirtatious texting and setting up a one on one over empanadas and candles considered courting? The answer is yes. So I took it upon myself to explain the Five and a Half Stages of Courting:

  • Stage Point Five (.5): This stage doesn’t even get a whole number since it could potentially lead to pure friendship as well as happily ever after. I categorize this stage as the communication gates opening and whether they flood or not is up to either parties. This first text can be recognized by the unknown contact number at the top of the screen as well as the text containing the first and last name of the person that you just gave you’re number to. This may or may not be followed up with an “It was great meeting you tonight!” and an emojicon smilie face.

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  • Stage One: Stage one is what brought about this whole conversation with my dear friend. Stage One occurs when the courtier suddenly makes his true intentions fully aware. All of a sudden you realize that they find you attractive, and want to set up a date over some Taco Bell (oh wait… that’s just my fantasy isn’t it). Basically it’s when the texting comes from a place of intimate interest and is not just platonic, hence the whole number. Hold on to your seats ladies in case you’re potentially blown away by his stunning good looks, witty quips, and perfect biceps.
  • Stage Two: Stage two marks the commencement of the face-to-face courting and can be identified with the first official date. Instead of hiding behind your phone or Facebook, both of you are finally gazing into each other’s eyes over cheesy gordita crunches (I swear I’m not starving or anything..) All of a sudden there are other factors that you need to take into account. How excited where you before you embarked on this romantic outing? What are you wearing?

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Does their breath smell, did they pick up the tab, are they going to hold your hand, and what about that kiss goodnight??! Stage two can bring on all sorts of emotions such as excitement or anxiety, but what it really attempts to bring about is the reality of whether or not you two click.

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  • Stage Three: This stage is the post-date communication which is usually more frequent than the pre-date communication if Stage Two went swimmingly well. Commonly used phrases in Stage Three include “I couldn’t stop thinking about you today”, “I can’t wait to see you again”, and “Let’s try ______ next time.” Stage Three typically eludes to a next date and possibly more. Communication, like I said is more frequent, possible daily, and all of a sudden the flirtation meter rockets off the map.
  • Stage Four: Eventually if you like the person it’s bound to happen. Stage Four is when it all gets physical. All of a sudden you’ve added a whole new set of insecurities into your courting. Hopefully things go will in between the sheets so that things can go really well out of them.
  • Stage Five: The last stage is where you might as well be dating, but you haven’t made it official yet. In regards to my last post, he’s your franchise player. You stay over each other’s places on the weekends and maybe even have a toothbrush on their bathroom sink. You have dinner dates AND make out dates. You text flirt the crap out of each other and you’re inching closer and closer to putting on the labels.

That about covers that. You let me know if there are any outstanding questions.