Tag Archives: The Pedant

…but on a catty note…

I always found The Pedant just extraordinarily hot, which is why I put up with the amount of shit from him that I did. He was a vaguely dangerous-looking goth boy of the sort that I’ve always lusted after but who rarely – if ever – wanted me back, usually because I am neither goth nor dangerous-looking. But The Pedant did want me. He was a sinewy, wolfishly gorgeous, high-cheekboned man with long hair and amazing outfits, and I got to peel those outfits off him and fuck the shit out of him and it never stopped feeling validating.

But in the past year or two he’s started going seriously bald – his hairline was receding when I met him but now it’s receded even more and the whole top of his hair has thinned way out to where I can see the ghost of male-pattern baldness underneath (and dude has a huge noggin – he used to get his turtlenecks custom made because a storebought one the right size for his body wouldn’t go over his gigantic melon head – so his very receded hairline leaves nothing to break up the vast, domed expanse of his forehead). And he’s gained weight. Once upon a time he used to be heavier, but it was distributed all over so he just looked pleasingly solid. Then he lost weight for a while and his body was all slender and tight. Now he’s still thin all over except for a bulbous little middle-aged paunch that strains the bottom few buttons on his shirts. I don’t even mind a guy having a belly – The Dandy has quite a lot of extra weight on him and so did The Bunny – but The Pedant carries his weight in a very “suburban middle-management dude who’s given up on life” kind of way, and what originally attracted me to him was that he looked like the antithesis of all of that. He was otherworldly. Now he’s just some paunchy security guard.

If he had still been making me happy, his changed appearance barely would have registered with me. But he’d stopped doing all the things I liked several months before we broke up, and he was no longer the pretty shiny thing I’d once fetishized, so it’s just as well he dropped the hammer. It frees me from a whole huge dilemma I would inevitably have had, wanting to preserve the relationship because we had all that history together and he was almost what I wanted, but at the same time not feeling happy with him or even attracted to him anymore.

It also gives me a warm glow of schadenfreude to imagine that perhaps other women will be put off by his prematurely middle-aged appearance, too, and he won’t have as much luck getting laid as he used to. I want to be the last woman ever to dote on him and call him beautiful. And I want him to be painfully aware of this and to realize that he fucked up by letting me go.

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Then again…

I also get the feeling that The Pedant was afraid of commitment. Probably he sees relationships as a series of obligations (which they kind of are, but ideally there’s also so much good that it balances out).

We had a while – last summer or something – where he was being really great at giving me what I needed and I was just feeling absolutely over the moon for him as a result. I was so bursting with love for him that I wrote him mushy letters and painted him a wee piece of art that was heart-themed. And I think it was pretty soon after that that things started falling to shit – that the sweet things he used to do started falling by the wayside. It was either shortly after my big obvious gestures of love or shortly after I wrote him the manual outlining the stuff he did that I liked and telling him that as long as he did those things, I’d be happy with him.

And then during the whole argument over the fucking keys and me wanting him to try to be on time and whatnot, I clearly expressed to him that I was in the relationship for the long haul so I was willing to wait a few years for him to get his lateness problem in order. I just wanted him to start working on it a little bit at a time, was all.

So part of me thinks he began to feel distant and then left because I loved him and made it clear I wanted things to go long term (like, officially, not just a “hey let’s hang out and have sex” arrangement that just kinda doesn’t stop) and it freaked him out.

Which, good riddance I guess. I want a relationship at this point in my life, not an elaborately nonchalant ongoing fuckbuddy thing. Still though. The Pedant loved me; he didn’t run away when I told him I loved him; he told me he thought of me as his primary partner; he stuck around for five years; when we had issues he tried (except at the very end) to solve them and get us back on track. He clearly wanted a relationship with me, so it’s just so stupid that me being open that it was a relationship scared him away.

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Mourning person

Now that The Pedant and I have been split up a while and I’ve been processing everything, I’m able to articulate the thing that pisses me off about our breakup.

For our entire relationship, I knew on some level that he is essentially really, really selfish and that this was his motivation for just about everything he ever did. Our weekends of sex and sushi were awesome – I couldn’t help experiencing the sex and food as acts of love – but I suspected that really, he wasn’t thinking “I want to spend time with Cowgirl and make her happy through food and naked touching.” He was thinking “I like hanging out with Cowgirl. She sexes me really well. So I think I’ll go over there this weekend. Also I’m craving sushi so I’ll take her with me.” There’s still affection for me in there, mind you. I do believe he loved me. Just…in a weirdly self-centred way. We didn’t share our lives; he lived his life and let me tag along.

There have been many times that he’d told me that his work schedule was too hectic for him to able to see me for a while, but then I gleaned from Facebook that he’d gone to a concert (never the exact same day that I’d asked him over, so it could’ve been worse. But during a general time period where he claimed he would be too drained to socialize). There have been many times that his coming over was conditional, in some way, on a concert or clubbing event he wanted to attend – “I’m gonna see if this concert has any tickets still available at the door and if they don’t, I’ll come over” “there’s a thing I wanna go to in your neighbourhood tonight. I can come over after if you’d like.” It’s not like I expect a partner to make grueling sacrifices for me all the time but I mean…I don’t want to feel like a convenience or a backup plan! I want someone to want to see me, and to want this enough that they’ll happily make plans to come over just for that reason. Not because they’re in the neighbourhood or because there’s nothing else to do.

As I said, my time with The Pedant was usually filled with satisfying things and left me feeling happy and loved. But I was very, very careful never to ask him to go out of his way for me because subconsciously I knew that my internal framing of our relationship was probably inaccurate and I didn’t want my illusions shattered by asking for something and being rejected. The night my friendship with The Veteran imploded and I was afraid she would stalk me, I didn’t ask The Pedant (who knows legal stuff, is a trained security guard, and is generally unafraid of anything) to come over and keep me safe because I had a dreadful feeling that he would just be like “Nah, by the time I got there it would be late and I have to work in the morning.”

So there was this precarious balance where I could be happy in the relationship if I convinced myself that the things he did were for me and not just selfish – but in order to maintain that happiness I had to keep my expectations minimal and kind of shrink myself down so I didn’t take up too much room. If I asked too much of him I would eventually (or immediately, as it turns out) cross a line and then it would be pretty obvious just how little he was willing to do for me if it didn’t happen to coincide with what he wanted anyway.

But sometimes my anxiety makes me paranoid and skews my perceptions of things. And our relationship had been chugging along for around five years, and the few times that I told him there was something making me unhappy, he encouraged me to tell him the issue and he made changes. And in fact shortly before the breakup I told him I wasn’t happy and he paid so much lip service to the idea that we would totally sit down and talk it out, don’t worry, we’d fix things. And despite having told me before that he can’t stand dealing with anxiety in people, there were a few times that I texted him that I wasn’t doing so well brain-wise and he called me and talked me down. I hadn’t asked him to call me; he just did.* So I started thinking that maybe I hadn’t put enough faith in him; clearly my happiness was important to him and he wanted the relationship to run smoothly, right?

So I had the wacky, wacky hubris to ask him to use my spare keys I’d given him** to let himself in when he’s late, and to maybe try to sometime in the future not be hours late for every fucking plan we ever made. This was the first real change or sacrifice I’d ever asked of him. After five years with him I finally had the confidence to do that.

And he broke up with me over it. Getting keys cut and showing up on time was apparently too much for me to ask of him.

And I’m so fucking pissed off.

 

*But I realize in hindsight – almost exclusively during his commute home from work. And when he reached his front door he would sign off. So he was up for helping me with stuff, as long as there was almost nothing else he could be doing but staring off into space.

**Or to get new ones cut, since the keys he had were pink and he was embarrassed to have them on his keyring, which is how he always ended up forgetting them at home on days he was meant to come over. Whatever. The point is he was hours late all the time and I wanted to be able to go places and live my life during those times instead of sitting by the phone waiting for the “I’m here” text.

 

 

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Moar Dandy stuff

The Dandy and I talk a lot about past relationships and I can’t tell if it’s because we’re both middle-aged (thus thoroughly at the stage of abandoning all dating pretense and straight-up saying “here’s my baggage and here’s what I need in a partner, you up for it or not?”) or if we’re both maybe not quite over all that previous stuff.

I definitely try to hold back on that kind of talk when I’m with a young’un because they’re usually so fresh and optimistic and inexperienced that they don’t really talk about past experiences, they just wanna throw themselves into this awesome new one. So stuff doesn’t really come up and it would feel gauche to wedge it into the conversation. With guys my own age (in my very limited experience) it does come up a bit more; the mutual sussing-out of compatibility is a lot more blatant. But I still haven’t usually talked about my history as much as I do with The Dandy. Not this early in the game, anyway. We name names, even. He knows the names of the exes who have affected me most. I know the names of his. I have never been on that sort of basis with anyone until months into a relationship. I like it. But I still worry that it might be unhealthy, because worrying is what I do.

The Dandy is usually absolutely silent when I tell him things (like explain about how my mental issues affect my life or tell him I’m anxious about something or mention other partners I have) and it unnerves the shit out of me. My ex-husband was usually silent when I had anxiety freakouts and I’m 99% sure it’s because he had no idea what to do and was panicking. So he’d listen and maybe be sad that I was suffering but feel helpless to stop it and he’d go get shitfaced with his friends in order to drown out his icky helpless feelings. I think with The Dandy he’s just trying to be non-judgmental and let me vent? But I’m not sure, so I’m kinda waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Like, yesterday I gave notice at my part-time gallery job because I realized I just don’t have the right kind of brain to handle the level of multitasking and human interaction required. During my quitting talk, my boss said she was relieved to understand that’s what was going on – that she’d been frustrated, wondering why I wasn’t doing certain aspects of the job (“Does she just not like doing those things so she doesn’t do them?”). I had told The Dandy ahead of time that I was planning on quitting and he asked if I would need him to come over after work for emotional support*. I ended up summoning him, and cried in his car after work. I told him how the big quitting talk had triggered some baggage for me because it’s not the first time people have attributed the symptoms of my brain problems/health problems to some kind of moral failing. I told him how when I was a kid my parents had all these earnest talks with me about why I wasn’t cleaning my room when asked. Why oh why was I so lazy and/or disobedient? I even asked myself that. I didn’t feel like I wanted to disobey my parents; I wasn’t a rebellious kind of kid. So I figured I must just be a lazy shithead. Except actually I had undiagnosed celiac disease and was basically suffering from malnutrition and felt sickly all the time and that would be why I had a hard time doing things like cleaning. I told The Dandy all of this and he just kind of absorbed it in absolute silence. I’m really pretty sure the two of us just have different communication styles but my knee-jerk reaction is that if he agreed with me that my parents/boss/etc were being assholes and that I am not in fact bad or lazy, he would say so. And he’s not saying so, so…

But he’s still going out with me so it’s probably fine.

Still, though, I prefer a more active sort of support so I should probably mention that. I still find myself having boundary issues (a problem that plagued me with Minx and The Pedant as well)…it just feels like it would come off so controlling and petty to be like “You’re not even saying anything! Tell me I’m not a bad person and stuff!” (even if I say it nicer than that). But I do want that, and maybe if I asked for it he’d do it. I tend to go straight to assuming that a thing I don’t like about a guy is part of his core personality and I’d therefore be an asshole to try to change him.I mean…I really like The Dandy. But I’m not in love with him. So maybe he’s the ideal practice ground for throwing caution to the wind and just (tactfully) telling him what I want from him instead of always talking myself out of it and trying to adjust my reactions, instead. And hey, if he adjusts his behaviour and starts doing the things I want, he’ll have become a better partner to me and this actually might make me fall for him.

People are funny. The Dandy is a better partner than The Pedant in almost every way. Not just better for me; I mean universally better. Better communicator, better life prospects in general, better conversationalist, better at paying attention to what his partner enjoys and doing those things. The Pedant is weird and selfish and claims to suck at reading people…but he was preternaturally good at dealing with my anxiety. I never even had to explain what I needed from him, that I recall; he was able to see what needed to be done and do it. If I’d ranted to him about people calling me lazy, he would have said they were stupid and that I’m obviously not lazy because [examples]. When I had anxiety freakouts he wouldn’t just nod sympathetically; he’d be able to see exactly how my thinking was fucked up, break it down for me, and – if I was freaking out about a task I needed to complete – he’d break that down for me and give me a small first step to focus on so I wouldn’t keep angsting about the “big picture” and feeling overwhelmed. And I miss that, especially when I’m telling The Dandy how I’m freaking out about a thing and I kind of pause and wait for instruction but he just looks at me and nods. ARRRRGH.

The Pedant never contacts me anymore, btw. Perhaps when he said we’d remain friends he was just paying lip service. I’ve thought about calling upon him for support when I’m anxious, but if he doesn’t come through for me I’ll be crushed and if he does it’ll probably inflame my ardor again so it’s tricky. If only I could magically transfer his considerable skill with my mental issues directly into The Dandy’s brain…

 

*That’s the second time he saw I was maybe not doing well emotionally and offered to come be there for me without me having to ask. I love that so much. Like…so much. With The Pedant I didn’t ask for his company when I thought The Veteran was stalking me and might show up at my apartment because I was positive he’d say no.

 

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Satisfying

My kitchen sink strainer was all full of disgusting food paste and a sponge couldn’t properly get in all the little holes so I cleaned it with The Pedant’s toothbrush that he left behind.

 

 

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Oh btw…

When The Pedant was here on Christmas day he had a bunch of times where he couldn’t grasp something I was saying to him and jumped straight to assuming that I didn’t know what I was talking about.

This is the defining feature of my relationship with my dad – I say a thing and he misinterprets it based on (apparently) believing that I’m incredibly stupid. (Or just proactively assumes I’m stupid before I’ve said or done anything*, but The Pedant doesn’t do that part.)

For instance, he helped me move my two small, low dressers side-by-side under the loft bed that Mine made for me. I wanted to have access to an outlet under there (just in case I ever used the remaining underbed space to lay out a sewing project or something) and the only outlet was on the wall where the dressers would be, so I plugged a power bar into it so that it would stick out in-between the dressers. Unfortunately the cord on the power bar was a wee bit too short; I had hoped to push the dressers almost all the way together with just the cord between them, but instead part of the bar was stuck between, making a gap of 2 inches or so. I said to The Pedant that I wished I could scootch the dressers closer together but since the power bar was in the way, this would have to do. He apparently thought I meant that I wanted the dressers closer to the wall, and started prattling on and on about how some power bars have a low-profile plug on them so I just needed to get one of those. I repeatedly said “No, I’m not talking about that, yes, I know about low-profile plugs, that’s not the issue, I’m talking about the dressers being closer to each other and that would require a longer cord, not a different plug, dude just look where I’m pointing.” He wouldn’t shut up about his thing and finally I said “You’re not listening to me and I’m running out of patience so I need to leave the room for a minute” and just walked out to stand in my hallway and take some deep breaths for a while.

Not long after that I indicated with hand gestures where I intended on moving the remaining, tall dresser, and said that of course I’d have to take the mirror off that wall first. The Pedant kept insisting that the dresser wouldn’t block the mirror, because (again) he was assuming that I’d meant something different than what I’d actually indicated.

He’s done shit like that on occasion in the past. Now I’m wondering if he’s always been this bad but I just overlooked it because I had feelings for him. How totally creepy to think that I’d been dating someone so similar to my father in such a major way. Ew ew ew ew fucking ew.

 

*I can’t remember if I’ve told this story here before but one time my dad and I were on a road trip and we got some McDonald’s drive-thru. I accidentally dropped a fry and as I bent down to retrieve it from the floor of the car, dad said “Don’t put it back in the box.” YEAH THANKS DAD I WAS TOTALLY GONNA PUT THIS FLOOR-GRIT-COATED FRY BACK IN WITH THE ONES WE’RE EATING. TRULY, YOUR PRESCIENCE HAS SAVED THE DAY. I was like fifteen at the time, btw. That’s what my dad is like with me. All. The. Time.

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Huh.

The Pedant ended up being here for like ten hours but we did not have sex. I didn’t even get to string him along and torment him like I’d daydreamed about; there was pretty much no sexual tension in the room at all.

Either The Pedant really is done with that side of things so he arrived with his brain firmly in all-business mode, or…I swear there was a moment, right when I opened the door – a split second during which

  • He seemed like he was about to break into a smug, you-know-you-want-me smile and step in for a hug
  • I was already stepping back cordially to let him in by the time I caught his feint toward me
  • He saw that I was being distant and polite rather than my usual barely-contained ball of horndog self and swiftly followed my lead so as not to look dumb

He claims not to be able to read people very well but I think he picks up on lots of things, actually. Possibly without consciously realizing it, but yeah.

So possibly there had been potential for sexual tension but my chilly reception made him toggle his brain into “I-guess-it’s-not-happening” mode.

And I am fine with this. Mostly. I yearn for what the sex would represent (feeling wanted, feeling accepted, feeling loved, being close to someone) more than I yearn for the sex itself. Plus of course my stupid brain still associates The Pedant’s body with comfort and pleasure so I felt a bit of a pull toward him even if it wasn’t mutual. At times while he was next to me on the couch fixing my laptop I shoved my feet under his thigh for warmth, which helped.

Also…I put so much more into the relationship than he did. It irritates the shit out of me that not only was he the one to initiate our breakup, but he also doesn’t seem to be pining for the sex. At times during his visit I curled up on the couch almost-but-not-quite touching him and I didn’t feel him get all anticipatory and receptive. He didn’t mirror my body language or position himself so we were spooning-except-four-inches-apart like he did that other time.

I mean, I don’t know…this might actually be it, for us. After years of being each other’s complete Achilles heel sexually he might finally, for real, just want to be friends. Which is a more profound level of breakup than we’ve ever had before, and not one that I was expecting: our sexual connection was unlike any I’ve had with anyone else and I really thought it would be there forever.

I actually think that I, too, could get to a point where I’m friends with The Pedant and his face doesn’t hypnotize me with pretty and his body isn’t full of magic. It might be necessary to lose that and move on, now, but it still makes me sad. I hate to lose that alchemy we had.

But yeah.The Pedant came over and spent a bunch of time copying files from one of my laptops onto a USB stick while I put a steady rotation of Christmassy DVDs on for us to watch. I made us food and then he helped me do a major furniture rearrange in the bedroom and then he set up an iPod dock he’d found (thrown away at his work but still totally functional) so now I have music. And he didn’t have any visible response at all to me curling up near him or sticking my feet under him to warm them up or lightly grabbing his hips so I could maneuver past him in a crowded space. I made us more food and we ate and talked and listened to songs from my iPod that was now plugged into the brand-new-to-me dock and a sad song (plus nostalgia for the physical affection we might never have again) made me cry a tiny bit but he didn’t notice.

Throughout the visit he thanked me profusely for having him over (which seemed odd since he came over to do me a favour, but then I remembered: it’s Christmas. He’s taking refuge from his parents), for making him food, for still having soda in my fridge (I don’t drink the stuff; I’d bought it for him, back in the day, and not gotten rid of it). And before he left he hugged me and there was still no sexy vibe at all, and I kissed his cheek to confirm this and yeah – no little intake of breath at the feel of my lips on his face, no attempt to extend the hug or linger his face near mine as I pulled back. Well fuck.

It was nice huffing the smell of his neck while I had the chance, though. I’ve missed his smell.

He says he’ll come over again sometime soon to keep on transferring shit from the older laptop to the less-old one. It’s nice that he’s still gung ho to help me with stuff even though we’re not fucking anymore. And he seemed very much on his best behaviour today, with all the volunteering to do stuff and the thanking me for every little thing, but to what end if not to win me back? Maybe he feels guilty for not being into me anymore because he knows I  treated him really spectacularly well and he feels like he should be more grateful. I dunno.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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