40. The Leo

light-bulb-1246043_1920Or “How I Realized I Didn’t Know Myself As Well As I Thought”
Or “How My Dating Life Turned Into a Series of Rom-Com References”

Let’s start with The Leo. In case you were wondering when you’d meet the guy who’s been reading the blog as a means of figuring me out, here he is. He’s kind, smart, ambitious, funny, and outgoing. And for better or worse, personality-wise, he’s remarkably like me. Before we even met, he suggested that I write a blog, and I carelessly told him that I already had one, which of course prompted him to ask if he could read it. Initially, I told him no, that it was confessional in nature — mostly I was just concerned that he’d read it and not like the real me. After a moment’s hesitation, I sent him the link, reasoning that if he was going to reject me, I’d rather that it happen before I get attached.

To my surprise, The Leo loved the blog…a lot. He somehow possessed the self-control to read it piecemeal over a week’s time, an incomprehensible feat that I knew I could never pull off if our roles were reversed. In an attempt to elicit the kind of vulnerability that I believed I had shown by sharing my blog, I asked that he compose a brutally honest version of his dating profile, and he did. First line? “I’m one of the coolest muthafuckas I know.” Brutal honesty is a win in my book, and I was hungry to know more.

On our first date, we talked for three hours then kissed in the rain. On our second date, we talked for three hours then kissed in my car. On our third date, we watched a movie, rang in the new year, and celebrated by finally getting off first base. No red flags, no concerns, nothing but chemistry and enjoyment and lots and lots of laughter.

Keeping all that in mind, what happens next is how I ended up with the subtitles above.

A few days after I last saw The Leo, I met The Voyeur for a drink after work. We hadn’t seen each other in about two months (not for lack of trying), but we were already caught up on each other’s lives, seeing as how we’ve kept up daily communication for about seven months. After about two beers (me) and two bourbons (him), no topic of discussion was off limits. We talked and laughed about everything — our sad cumulative romantic histories, modern feminism, the contradictory nature of calling oneself a realist. I stayed an hour longer than I planned. We said goodbye outside. We kissed.

**Some history: The Voyeur and I have discussed our unsuitability for one another ad nauseum, and I felt confident of our friend status. I wasn’t secretive about my attraction to him or the fact that I cared about him, BUT the friend line (which I had drawn months earlier) was firm, contingent upon significant growth (read: emotional work) on his part.**

Do you remember in Clueless when Cher realizes that she loves Josh? A refresher: “I love Josh! I am majorly, totally, butt-crazy in love with Josh. Now I don’t know how to act around him.”

That scene kept coming to mind as I pondered why the hell I crossed the friend line, and I kept returning to a realization that even now makes my stomach drop: I love The Voyeur. This man, who is infuriating and challenging and charming, who pushes me to confront my own narrative when he spots a plot hole, who knows ALL my dirt, who makes himself more vulnerable with me than literally anyone else in his life, who can read me better than I can read myself sometimes. This exasperating man who I still inexplicably adore. I love him.

So now I can’t help but think of Love Actually (yes, another rom-com) and that bittersweet scene when Mark stands in front of Juliet and has her read a message he feels unable to speak aloud. Like Mark, I find myself compelled toward this moment of no-nets boldness, knowing that it may make me feel better, yet not change a damn thing. The only outcome I feel sure of is that I’ll disappoint The Leo. This certainty is the bitter in my bittersweet.

What’s next for me? And the blog? And my potentially disastrous choices? All I know is that this creative outlet has brought me more clarity and introspection and fulfillment than I’ve had in a long while. I can’t see abandoning it now, as I’d be the only one to suffer. The posts will continue. My story is still being written.





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