I was living in NY where I recently reconnected with a friend from high school. She was throwing a birthday party at a bar on the lower east side and I had no one to take with me. All my friends were either on dates or had other plans. So, I decided to bite the bullet and show up at the bar alone and force myself to mingle. I think I was sick enough of being single that I was in the "put myself out there" phase. You know, the phase where you don't turn down any invitations, because saying yes could mean meeting the love of your life?
So, I put on my lucky earrings and my page boy hat (yes, this is back when they were in style) and took a cab downtown. Going to a party alone is probably right up there with my fear of getting raped and murdered, but I was determined to have a good night. I asked the birthday girl if there were any cute single boys and she said all the guys there were either "gay, had a girlfriend, or she'd already hooked up with them." SO, I spotted two guys hanging out together, approached them and said, "Liz says all the guys here are either gay, have a girlfriend or have made out with her. Which category do you guys fit in?" It was the perfect opening line if I do say so myself and what was even better is that they were in the "none of the above" category. I spent the rest of the night talking to one of the boys and he ended up escorting me back to my apartment that night. He spent the night and it was all very PG-13, but there was enough action for me to know that we had chemistry. And that he liked going to the gym.
A few days later, we went on our first date. He took me out for Spanish tapas, because he had lived in Spain for a year. He spoke Spanish fluently. He played guitar and wrote music. He had a sexy, deep voice. He was half-Jewish, but didn't care that I wasn't. He was liberal. He was an atheist. In a word he was: perfect. He mentioned how much his mom would like me and as we were walking down the street, he pulled me aside and kissed me. It was probably one of the best first dates I've ever had and a quintessential New York evening. A couple days later, I flew home for Christmas, but I knew we would pick up where we left off the second I got back.
And that's when the ex-boyfriend reared his ugly head. The ex that got away who was going to be moving to New York in one month and who invited me to dinner and seduced me afterwards. I thought it was fate.
Suddenly, when I got back to NY, my perfect guy was not as cute, not as funny, not as charming. He was just a thorn in my side. I called him and was completely honest-- I went back home, reconnected with an ex, and because of it, I didn't feel like I was ready to get involved with him. And do you know what he did? He fought for me. He asked me to please meet him for a drink, so we could talk in person. We had another great night out, but I stuck to my guns and the ex and told him we could only be friends. CUT TO:
A couple months later. The ex has moved to NY and things fizzled out just as quickly as they heated up. He gave me the "I just moved here, I'm not ready to be in a relationship" line. My roommate and I threw a party at our place and ex and perfect guy both show up. Here's the ultimate boyfriend material litmus test: all my gay friends LOVED perfect guy. They said he was super cool, nice, friendly, and yes, straight. They even compared him to Noel from Felicity (pictured above). But stupid me was still preoccupied by the guy who had made it clear he wasn't interested in me. Somehow, by the end of the night, I'm at a bar down the street with perfect and ex. After drinks, they both walk me home. At the door, in front of ex, Perfect asks me if he can crash at my place, cause he's too drunk to go home. This was obviously a strategic move, because one of the beauties of living in NY is no matter how drunk you are, you can still get home. I say yes, but because I'm still so emotionally tortured by ex, I actually make Perfect guy sleep on the couch. We don't make out. And in the morning, I complain about how hung over I am so he'll make a quick exit. And that was the last I ever saw of him.
It all turned out for the best, because I couldn't be happier with where I ended up relationship-wise. BUT if I could have a conversation with my 24 year old self, I'd slap her silly and tell her never to let an emotionally unavailable ex get in the way of a perfectly sweet guy who actually wants to be with you.