So I was about to sit down and watch Lemony Snicket, which I picked up at work today, and I remembered the date I was on when I saw it in the theater (2004?).

His name is Mike Kent. He works at a coffeeshop and plays in a band. I know, I know. But wait, it gets better–he’s 34. I know! How DO I find them? So needless to say he’s charming, witty, and adorable. Also a deadly flirt. He introduces himself to me one night when I am hanging out in the back of the coffeeshop being broody. He’s the kind of person that enjoys confusing others; saying things that are bizarre or cryptic, just to have an advantage over them. Usually I find this manipulative behavior juvenile and obnoxious. But for some reason, on him, so cute! We make a date for the following weekend.

We meet at Versailles and both have garlic chicken. He tells me about this girl he’s been seeing, how he bought her a perfume but wasn’t sure if she’d like it and what did I think? I ask What kind of perfume? He doesn’t know, but it was on sale at Sav-on. I tell him that perfume is usually a very personal choice but I’m sure she’ll like whatever he picked out. Then his phone rings and he answers it. To his credit, he does walk outside to finish the call. He comes back, shaking his head, That girl is crazy. Same girl? No, different girl. He’s marking his boundaries and if I want to join in, I’d better mention at least two other men I’m more interested in than him. I get it, but I’m not going to play his game. We split the check (actually, he was short a couple of dollars), then take his car to the theater. He puts his feet up on the seat in front of us and talks during the movie. Afterwards, we call it a night.

Inexplicably, I can’t stop thinking about him. And of course he doesn’t call for more than two weeks (during which time I have to avoid the coffeeshop and the whole neighborhood, in fact). When he finally does, it’s to ask in that blase way of his if I’m busy, then and there. Before Smart Helena can think up a good answer, I’m saying No and Sure I’d love to see you. I meet him at the apartment where he lives with his ex-girlfriend’s parents…oh, did I forget to mention that? Yeah, so I meet him there, we hop in his car, and he says Well, let’s start with a drink. That usually sounds good to me, so I say where would you like to go? But he meant the liquor store and not a bar. He buys a 40 oz. of Miller and I grab a pack of Guinness. At this point it’s like I’m in fucking Backwardsville. This guy couldn’t be a bigger loser. So WHY do I like him more and more? On the way out, he tries to get me to go next door into the Pleasure Chest (a sex shop on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood), and calls me a prude when I refuse. In his room, I drink enough of my beer to not be rude. We kiss and he immediately tries to take my pants off. I leave. He doesn’t call anymore. And I am totally, completely crushed.

Why? Why is it so hard to tell someone to fuck off when it would actually be useful? When they need to be told that? Why do I need to win them? It’s like I am watching myself do these things, unable to intervene. My brain is outside of my body, but it’s completely helpless. It watches me the way people watch bad slasher movies, saying, Naw man! Don’t open that door! Don’t open that–aw, damn! What a stupid bitch!

And then she gets ripped to shreds but no one feels sympathetic. When the credits roll you see she didn’t even have a name, just Girl #2.

Still, a thousand times over, I’d choose to be the idiot rather than the thing behind the door.