The entirety of my first “proper” relationship. Holy fuck, does it make me cringe to remember any part of it. This was his first relationship too, so we were novices with good intentions and very rough abilities, but we made it work for a while.
Interestingly, these aren’t all regretful cringes. I sometimes cringe about the reactions we would receive from others, especially his family (they didn’t like me. That’s fair enough, but they didn’t have to hate me so much…). Sometimes, my family would make us cringe, and we had a lot of enemies due to the nature of our relationship. I now see that I was wrong to form a relationship with him, but I felt justified at the time. That’s another post for another day, as it contains some things I still feel weird for thinking about, let alone writing or talking about it. Anyway, here are a few highlights:
- On one of my birthdays, I received a large number of small gifts from someone I didn’t know very well, despite living in the same house. I thanked her, but I saw the gifts for what they were – a weird attempt to throw shit at a wall and see how much of it stuck, and a failed attempt to address a conflict we had (the birthday card was filled with weird and vague lies, none of which were linked to my actual birthday). I still have one of those small gifts, but that’s beside the point. When my BFATT (BoyFriend At The Time – I tire of using the term “ex” and am trying something new) saw these gifts, he flipped his shit. He got very angry at the gift-giver, and me. He eventually admitted that he was insecure about his gift, which was homemade. I assured him that I’d far rather have a genuine homemade gift than many disingenuous store-bought ones, but he kept flipping out. I understood his insecurity but didn’t understand his need to blame me for it. He called me a fake cunt for “being so popular”, and I’ll never forget that. These days, anyone who gives me shit for the limited social success I have gets taken out with the trash, with no explanation. Despite the fact that I didn’t consider the initial gift-giver as a true friend, I still resented how the BFATT resented me for being loved or even liked by anyone but him. Happy birthday, Ilene!
- We used to make out in public. All the damned time. Whichever few friends we had left were either grossed the fuck out, or learned to pretend they were OK with it. Some still maintain that they were happy for us and thought we were cute, but c’mon guys. A messy stoner bogan (admittedly with a pretty top-notch ass) sucking on an extremely awkward emo/hipster’s face on the bus is not cute. It’s fucking inconsiderate. We did a lot of inconsiderate things because our heads were way too far up each others’ asses (read: young love. Yes, I know. Eew).
- Our arguments were just as public. The disagreements took a while to start, but we ended up antagonising each other a lot in the final year or so (a bit over three years in total), and it would leave us both in quite a state. He’d wake up with a ridiculous amount of missed calls, and I’d spend the following day giving him shit for that. I took him for granted, and would throw a tantrum if something involving us didn’t go as planned. Did I really need to call him, knowing he wouldn’t pick up, knowing that I’d use it as ammunition in a future argument, thus continuing a new mutated form of the old disagreement? No. Fuck no. I’m shuddering as I type.
- He took me for granted too. I am quite generous with my means, be they many or few. At the time, I was the only person I knew of who had moved out of home while still attending school and holding down a part-time job. I struggled a lot, but still managed to make things work most of the time. Unfortunately, the ol’ BFATT didn’t have many female role models in his life, and treated me sort of like I was his mother. Maybe that’s wrong to say, but I felt like he treated me like how he treated her. I didn’t like his mother, but I also wasn’t a big fan of his casual disrespect towards her (or the idealisation of his largely absent father, but that really isn’t my place to elaborate upon) and his unwillingness to see her as more than just a means of getting what he wanted. He’d flash his cash & cool shoes or whatever, and still call his mother a dumb bitch. And I’d still end up paying for dinner, drinks, the movies, weed (we loved to get high, and it was cute. Weirdly, it’s the only part of the relationship that I truly miss – he was a great stoner buddy), whatever he thought we needed to have a great time, I always footed the bill. As long as he appreciated it and respected me, I didn’t mind. Sadly, he dropped the ball with that one, and I played along for far too long. I still feel really foolish for skipping meals just so we could go out somewhere, and have him still complain about my shitty choice of activity despite also wanting to do it at first.
- I still remember that one time he wrote “Sucka Bitch” on my favourite pair of sunglasses with a permanent marker he’d probably shoplifted. They weren’t real Ray Bans, but he didn’t know that, the fucker. Not cringing yet? Well, it was at one of the outside front tables of a cafe I’m still too ashamed to return to. Friends were there, and we were all thinking, “What the fuck, dude? Why’d ya do that & how’d nobody notice?” He swore it was a joke that I simply didn’t understand, and I refused to drop the matter. I then threatened to steal his Nintendo DS (ahahahaha, that shit just made me feel a bit old) and write “Cheese Dick” on it. I actually got up and chased him, screaming, “Sucka bitch, huh? Huh?! Suck that, bitch! Fuck you, fuck off!” I repeatedly told him to fuck off, whilst chasing him. Boy, I’m wincing now. Jiggling in my seat.
- Pet names. We had many pet names for each other, mostly made-up gibberish words. We basically had our own language, which was a weird fusion of LOLcat/memeburger stuff, wanna-be gangster shit, and song lyrics that we liked. We really enjoyed the exclusive two-person club we had going, and this was reflected in how we spoke to each other sometimes. I randomly remember some of these made-up words and pause for a moment, and try really hard not to call myself a freak for liking that weird lingo we had. I think it made us feel like we were special and that we belonged somewhere, but it still makes me cringe so much that I don’t feel OK with citing any examples. I simply raise an eyebrow and stare into the distance for a very long time. I’ve been told that I look like I’ve just returned from war by someone who saw me react like that. It’s weird, man.
- I hate the way we broke up. Or rather, I broke it off with him, but he still hung around for a bit, somewhat hoping we would get back together. I led him on by being unwilling to let go at first, but I eventually and suddenly went super cold on him. “Gimme my shit back, and I’ll give you yours. Wait, this isn’t all my shit, you asshole!” I slammed a sliding door, and glared at him through the glass. He looked like he was about to cry, but didn’t. He was trying to produce fake tears and I walked away, making sure my ass looked good as I did so (I look good in yoga pants. I know this for a fact). No matter how mature I seem to feel sometimes, I still get shitty about that missing controller and that Street Fighter 2 Collection. I have to put on tight pants just to feel better.
I cringe about him and us, but if I had to pick a BFATT to be trapped on an island with, it’d probably be him. Partly because the other BFATTs are simply far worse people than he was (I can’t claim to know him these days, but I assume he still means well), but partly because he really wasn’t such a bad guy. He had a rather unique way of thinking and even though I sometimes cursed that, I really liked it most of the time. Was he inexperienced? Yes. A little disrespectful? Yes. A bit irresponsible? Yes. But so was I. And that’s where the real cringe lies. Despite all he did to hurt me, intentionally or accidentally, in my mind, I feel I was very bad to someone who was never all that bad. And I never apologised. That moment has long passed.
Ugh, cringe. I suck.