Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I didn't know things like that happened in real life...

In my last post, I mentioned an incident wherein a would-be suitor showed up at my workplace four days before my wedding, and asked me to abandon my fiancée and take up with him instead. Truthfully, I hadn't thought about the episode in years, but several commenters indicated that they thought the story needed to be told here in its entirety. JD, suzicate, and Kathy , here ya go.

(Note: Names in this story will be changed to protect, well, me. I don't want the fellow in question to Google himself, find his name on my blog, and track me down.)

"Ben" was a co-worker at a crummy job where I made no money, but had a lot of fun with all of the other broke 20-somethings. He made me laugh, and we became "work friends," but I never considered dating him. After a while, Ben began inviting me to play (ahem) Dungeons & Dragons with him and his friends. When I told him that D&D really wasn't my thing, he set up a couple of group outings with some of our co-workers. Oddly enough, all the other people cancelled at the last minute, leaving me alone with Ben. I was annoyed about the deception, but too polite to just leave. On the second outing, Ben suggested that we walk around a small pond in the shopping center where we were supposed to meet our friends (danger! danger! romantic setting!!). Ben then proceeded to tell me that he was in love with me, while I fervently wished that I could just die on the spot. If you have never been in the position of being the recipient of an "I love you" that you have no intention of returning, consider yourself fortunate, because it is dreadful. I was still praying for death when Ben swooped in for a kiss, and I nearly tumbled into the pond, trying to back away. Most. Awkward. Moment. Ever. (And I have a double-major Awkwardness and Embarrassment, with a specialty in Public Humiliation.) Needless to say, I deployed the "I care about you as a friend" speech, posthaste. Ben told me that he wouldn't give up hope that I would change my mind someday. A couple of months later, he found another job, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Moved on with my life, which included meeting and falling in love with Mr. Nerd.

A little over a year later, Mr. Nerd and I are in the final stages of preparing for our wedding. I was sitting at work, about four days before the wedding, when the receptionist called to say that I had a visitor at the front desk. Not suspecting anything amiss, I opened the door to the reception area and nearly fell out when I saw Ben and Ed waiting. (Why did he bring his friend? That was weird, and I never thought about it until now.) Ed left us alone, and Ben said he had heard that I was getting married in a few days. When I told him that was true, he asked me to reconsider. Ben said that Mr. Nerd was probably a nice guy, but he could make me much happier if I would give him a chance. He also asked me if I was really sure that I was in love with Mr. Nerd.

Stunned? Incredulous? You have no idea. My love life had always been pretty lacking in drama, and now here I was, face-to-face with this odd guy who was asking me to abandon my fiancée DAYS before the wedding, and pick him instead. I think pre-wedding stress was the only thing that kept me from kind of flipping out. Those last couple of weeks before the wedding had been so exhausting that I was just too out of my mind to respond normally. I think all I could say was, "I love him very much, he makes me happy. I appreciate the gesture, but I am getting married this weekend." Turned around, walked back to my desk, explained what had just happened to the dear friend with whom I shared an office. And then freaked out a little.

Looking back on it nearly 14 years later, I guess it was a little flattering to have a guy make a Grand Gesture for my sake. Please don't get the idea that I was some kind of temptress leaving a trail of broken-hearted Bens in my wake, though. He was 26, and probably had not had much attention from girls. I just happened to be the one who was nice to him. Since I had been on the opposite side of many (MANY) such unrequited crushes, I really hated the thought of hurting his feelings. When things like that happen in the movies, it seems all dashing and romantic, but I was kind of mortified by the whole thing. I don't know, maybe it only works if the Grand Gesture is followed by a bus ride with Dustin Hoffman.

(awkward t-shirt comes from here)


suzicate said...

Great story. I'm glad you decided to share it. Most.Awkward.Moment.Ever.=fabulous blog flodder! Not very many women are approached days before their wedding and asked to! Enjoyed this post.

Kathy said...

OMG. Two words: Dungeons & Dragons. OMG.

I'm sorry all this happened to you. It's like a mix of bad luck and bad timing. If only you hadn't worked there. If only your friends hadn't ditched you. If only you hadn't been such a sweet and nice person. Ugh.

All I can imagine is how much time it took Ben to work up the guts to meet with you and ask that you not proceed with your wedding. I mean, did he think you'd suddenly realize your mistake, forget your fiance and suddenly be awestruck and fall into his arms in a loving embrace? God!


JD at I Do Things said...

Thank you SO much for telling the story! And I agree with Kathy. D&D should be your first clue to RUN! I know you were being kind and polite, plus he was your friend at the time, but . . . D&D!!!

I had a weird former boyfriend stalker situation when I was 12, for crying out loud. The cops were involved. I still wonder if he's going to show up at my door . . .

absepa said...

suzicate: Thanks! I guess I should be grateful that I get in a lot of embarrassing situations. What else would I write about?

Kathy: OMG, indeed! He didn't seem nervous at all...he seemed pretty pleased with himself, actually. I wouldn't be surprised if he had thought that I was going to run away with him.

JD: You're welcome! I know, I was totally not down with the D&D thing. I can't believe you had a stalking experience--with police!--when you were only 12!! That might have been enough to put me off boys forever.

Bethany said...

I really enjoy your blog, and the way you tell stories! I nominated you for a blog award, I hope you don't mind. Check my blog for the details and award graphic. Thanks!