Right after my sister died, I reached out to a friend, P. P. and I met on OKC a few years back. At the time he was living with his Dad in his Park Avenue apartment having recently broken up with his girlfriend and was “in between” places. That was something I learned on the date. In emails he said he lived on the UES. Once he clarified this bit of information I knew right then that this guy was not dating material. But he was enjoyable and, because he was “an actor” (read: unemployed), he had a flexible schedule and was around to grab drinks during the day.
I reached out to him a few days after my sister had died asking to meet for drinks. We made plans for the next day. The next day comes around and I get an email from him. He was running errands and had to be somewhere at 7, but he could come over at 4:30. He only had about an hour, he said. He then suggested we do the next day because he had his whole afternoon and evening free. I told him he could swing by at 4:30 even if he only had an hour. 4:15 comes around and he sends a text saying he’s going to be delayed another 20 minutes and wouldn’t be able to get to my place til 5 and then he’d have to turn around and leave in order to meet his friends across town. He asked if we could postphone until the next day. “Please don’t be mad” he said. “I want to be able to be there for you and don’t want to be rushed.” I had sent him the angry email from my nephew and told him I had been left out of my sister’s obituary, so he knew I was upset.
I replied and told him the next day would work. “Please don’t blow me off” I said. He said he’d shoot me a message early afternoon.
That message never came. I followed up with an email asking if we were still getting together. No response.
I’ve always known exactly who P. was. He was an UES rich kid who has floundered around, always with a story about some project he was working on or audition he had. He was masterful at cultivating a support system of people who always managed to buy his schtick. He never appeared to have a job, yet always managed to have cigarettes and a gym membership and could afford to go out a few times a week. Having a sister who exhibited the same behavior, I knew he was mostly full of shit and that he was likely telling people a sob story and they’d throw him some cash. But, as the saying goes, I took the good and left the rest. (Though I never gave him money.) He wasn’t a malicious person, nor did he steal or intentionally try to hurt people. He’s just someone who has never been forced to be responsible for anything.
In any case, I saw a status update from him in my Facebook feed the next day. He was asking people to remember his deceased mother who had passed a few years earlier. “Go do something nice for someone in memory of her” he suggested.
I rolled my eyes and closed the page. The next day another update appeared. He was wondering aloud what to do for Thanksgiving. I think he was hoping someone would invite him somewhere. I wrote a comment on his update that said, “I know. Why don’t you make plans with a long time friend who just loss a family member and then blow them off and not even apologize for it. You’re good at that.” The comment stayed up mere seconds before it was deleted. Normally I’m very good at curbing my angry impulses, especially publicly. But in that moment I was just so disgusted at how insincere he seemed. My only choice was to suck it up and take the slight, something I feel like I’ve been doing over and over again for the past year and a half.
I debated whether or not to confront him and tell him how I felt. I decided against it because I knew I’d have to listen to a story about his insomnia or an interview or how his Dad was sick. It was always something with him. Worse, it was never his fault.
The moral of the story? I suppose it’s that some people just don’t care if they hurt you. Or they feel like they can get away with it because you’ve let them do it before. You can lash out of them or tell them off, but it really doesn’t do any good. They’ll either offer a hollow apology or they will turn the tables. Neither will leave you feeling acknowledged or vindicated for long. Some people don’t care. Others, like P., don’t care enough. That’s the true rub. They might lend an ear when you need it, but you will never take priority in any capacity. They also don’t have the grit it takes to admit that they did something wrong.
There are so many people like P. on dating sites. The actors, the stand up comics, the writers. They mention all of their important projects in their profile in the hopes of conveying a level of success they don’t really have. They’re lives are completely topsy turvy, and yet there they are out there dating. I told the story a while back of meeting the guy on OKC who said he lived in Brooklyn, but who turned out actually to live with his parents in Massachusetts. I connected the dots before our third date when he asked, before we even met up, if he could stay over. That seemed odd to me given we hadn’t slept together yet so I asked why. He said, wait for it, that he had always had a fantasy of being woken up by a woman giving him head. Um, what? Dude, you’re 40. You haven’t made that a reality? Something’s off. I asked him point blank about his living situation and then he admitted the real story. I cancelled the date and never saw him again. OKCupid Hobos are real, y’all. No doubt that guy had a nice roster of women in Manhattan that provided him with a place to sleep. No way was I going to be one of them. I’m funny about stuff like that. For my friends, I’m happy to help any way I can. But with guys I’m casually dating? Nope. Earn your keep, bubba. Work and pay your bills like the rest of us.
Nothing rings more false than an apology you had to chase. It’s like texting back and forth with someone who never suggests you meet, and then you ask them out and they accept. If you have to do that, if you have to take the initiative and put it out there after all that time invested, how interested could they be?
If you have to force someone to acknowledge your hurt, how much could they possibly care in the first place?