Thursday, January 12, 2012

Disappearing Act

For the past two years I've been recording my strange dating encounters on this blog in the hopes of somehow reaching an understanding as to how men and women interact. Unfortunately, I am no closer to reaching that understanding than when I started. This is true not only in dating instances, but even in friendships with men. Maybe I should stop trying to be friends with men I've dated...

I first wrote about Matt on 9/2/10 in The Curse of the Fourth Date. To refresh your memory, he broke up with me on our fourth date but asked if we could still be friends. He explained that it just wasn't the right time for him to get involved in something that could become serious, but as the friendship continued maybe something "serendipitious" (his word choice) would happen and we'd end up together. I doubted this would actually be the case and went home that night with no plans to see him again.

But he kept calling me. He kept texting to see when we could hang out again. So I finally swallowed my pride a month or so later and met up with him for gravy fries and beer. The month after that he invited me over for dinner, which he cooked: spaghetti, complete with home-made noodles and self-canned tomato sauce. We spent time together pretty frequently in the following months: bar trivia nights, beer chugging contests, dinner, concerts, walks in the park with ice cream. Though he sometimes sent me mixed signals (texting me early on a weekend to tell me to get out of bed and come have breakfast with him, occasionally picking up the whole tab when we went out, etc.), I was genuinely happy being his friend. Not only had I given up hope that anything would come of it, I didn't even want it to. We were in a really good place.

He came over on Easter to paint eggs with me. After hours of painting eggs, he stuck around to talk. For two hours, we just talked. About work, family, what we want and don't want from our lives. Even for our close friendship it seemed deep and serious, yet effortless. It kind of felt like a turning point.

And then he dropped off the grid. He stopped returning my calls and emails. At one point he apologized, explaining that he was sucked into a black hole at work that would probably continue throughout the month.

The month ended and still... nothing. So I stepped back and gave him his space.

Four months passed until I saw him again. We had tickets to a concert purchased months previously, but when we met up at the show we picked up right where we left off and had a great time. There was one slightly awkward moment when an older couple we were chatting with asked us how long we'd been together and when we explained that we were just friends they reacted with surprise and said, "Well, you should be together!" Their opinion echoed that of my family and friends. Everyone who saw us together thought we were blind to the fact that we belonged with one another. I regret to inform them all that they were mistaken.

I've talked to Matt only once since then, when we randomly ended up in the same train car. We chatted for two stops, agreed we should get together in the near future, and then I got off the train at my stop. That was six months ago. I will never understand what happened, why Matt was my best friend for nearly a year and then all of a sudden decided he didn't need me in his life anymore in any capacity. He dropped me cold turkey and it hurts. I miss the bastard.

Despite it all, I still don't believe that Harry Burns (When Harry Met Sally) was correct when he said that men and women can never truly be friends. For the most part, maybe he's correct; when I analyze the majority of my friendships with (straight) males, we've either dated or one of us has tried to score with the other at some point along the way. I have but one exception to this: Jake. He's been in my life for ten years and though I find him handsome and he thinks I'm pretty, neither of has ever wanted the other. Not remotely. And I know this because we tell each other everything and he would tell me. So Harry was only mostly right. But he was right about Matt.