Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Best of the BLOW OFF: The Milestone Birthday Blow Off

During my twenties, I was in a long, torturous, dysfunctional relationship with a man I once wanted to marry. I could be wrong, but I honestly believe I coined the term “emotional terrorist” sometime around ’97 to describe him. Once I turned 29 and I had to admit this was going nowhere, I decided to grow up and be done with said Emotional Terrorist. So I ended it with him once and for all, and decided I needed to get back in the saddle and date someone new.

Around this time I had just moved from New York to Los Angeles and reconnected with a guy I had known a few years before while I was in law school. We’ll call him Keith. I had met Keith my first day on campus and he asked me out shortly thereafter. Over the next year, he asked me out a few more times, and being in love with the Emotional Terrorist, I had not even the remotest of desires to date him. I thought that was the reason, but I had to admit there was something else. Keith was smart, very good looking and seemed interesting enough. There was no discernible reason why I didn’t like him, but for some reason I didn’t.

Fast forward to 29, Los Angeles, and newly unattached me. Keith tells me how much of a crush he had on me back in school, and asks me out to dinner. I’m still not really interested in him, but I figure sometimes you have to force yourself back into the saddle, so I accept. Over the next month and a half, he and I see each other regularly. I go through the motions – we have uninspired sex, we go on various dates, we argue about whether it’s my turn to go see him in Venice or his turn to drive to see me in West Hollywood. It’s pretty tiresome, but I still tell myself this is what I need at that moment.

One day Keith invites me to dinner and then goes radio silent until way past dinnertime, and when he finally calls I tell him “It’s OK, honestly I don’t think we should be dating each other anyway.” By this time it’s very clear to me that I’m not going to fall for this guy, ever. But I clearly underestimate Keith, because he uses some Jedi mind trick to get me to agree to keep dating him. Somehow, in an effort to counter his claim that I am breaking up with him over this one isolated incident, I give up and say: “Fine! We’ll keep seeing each other!” But the truth was, I didn’t plan to ever go out with Keith again. I decide it’s finally time for me to give him the blow off.

A few days later Keith has a death in his family, and he calls me very upset. Since I’m not completely callous, I postpone my blow off plan and I go over to his apartment to comfort him. During this time, in a moment of weakness, I invite him to a 30th birthday dinner party a good friend is throwing for me the following week. He may not be my dream man, I figure, but it’ll be nice to have a date on my birthday.

On the big day, Keith calls me when he’s leaving work to say traffic is terrible, so he’ll be late, but he’ll be there in time for dessert. OK, not a big deal. At dinner I save the seat next to me for him. Dessert comes and still no Keith. I check my phone – no calls, no texts, no emails from Keith. All of my friends are awkwardly inquiring about where he is. I try to downplay it – traffic is really bad, he’s coming from the Valley, blah blah. They say: “maybe something happened to him!” And I knew in my heart of hearts that this dude was perfectly fine. But I’m also thinking: he’s got to be here eventually – it’s not like he would stand me up on my birthday! No one would do something so outrageously rude.

As it turns out, that’s exactly what he did! After dinner, dessert and the rest was done, without one word from Keith, I decide to call him one last time. What, after all, could he possibly say to me? I wanted to hear what excuse he could come up with. The phone rang and rang and went to voicemail. I hung up and immediately deleted his number and all of his contact information. I was irate. Not only was it my birthday, but it was the much-hyped 30th milestone birthday, not to mention I had tried to blow him off first!

For the next few days, I wondered what excuse Keith would come up with for missing my birthday. Soon I realized that there would be no apology for the blow off. So I dust off my ego and get on with my life, giving Keith little to no thought. Months and months later, I get a voicemail from an unrecognized number. For the first half of the message I am completely at a loss as to who it is until there’s a vague reference to not talking to me “since around your birthday” and he asks me to give him a call if I “wasn’t too mad.”

Ha! As if! I sooo wanted to call him back just to tell him how high a leap he could take off the nearest jagged cliff. But I realized I just didn’t care enough to be bothered. Besides, he did give me a great story to tell my friends. So I let it be. Over the next year, I got various mass emails from him (until I blocked his email address) and I eventually wound up running into him randomly at a party. He sidled up to me and told me how good I looked – I’ve got to hand it to this guy, he’s got balls. He’s lucky said balls didn’t get intimately acquainted with my foot. But I took the high road, said thanks, goodbye and I walked away.

That was the last time I saw Keith and gladly I haven’t heard from him since. Thanks to him, I learned a valuable lesson about trusting my instincts in relationships. And you can be certain I’ll never again force myself to continue to date someone I didn’t actually like. In the end, Keith might have won the blow off prize in our relationship, but I win the “better off for the blow off” award, hands down.


  1. Trust your instincts... good call. I've also stopped reaching out for that "one last time" to give them the "benefit of the doubt". They always just let me down in the end!

    You shoulda kicked Keith in the balls when he told you you looked hot. That's really satisfying, but really, what a prick!

    Great post!

  2. OMG, what an A-hole! Love the post though and good call never giving into his later advances. We'll need to make "better off for the blow off" t-shirts stat!