After the disastrous holiday with Julius, I hoped never to have to see him again and so was quite daunted when his email appeared in my inbox a few days ago asking for a face to face if I wanted him to return some DVDs I had lent him. Of course I’d rather give those DVDs up as lost than have to meet up with him, but conscious that he had also lent me a set of his own, I offered to send these to him if he would only provide me with his postal details. Fortunately I never heard from him again, which is a tremendous relief. This may be due to the fact that he has not survived his hospital visit (he had probably hoped to play the sympathy card by telling me he was an hour away from being admitted for an investigation in his most recent email) but I did not rise to the bait. Hopefully I’ll never find out and I rather suspect he is healthily being a nuisance to some other unsuspecting woman.
Trying to unpick what put me off him completely, I have to return to the first date when he was already pushing for an intimacy which I hadn’t felt ready for. At the time I was sufficiently strong in myself to say no. As we exchanged messages and I found myself being attracted to him, there was continued pressure for intimacy from him, even after the second date. I must admit that I was by that stage feeling apprehensive about it – that should have been sufficient warning bells, but perhaps I was flattered by his situation, his obvious interest in me – he was an intellectual and it appealed to my vanity that someone learnèd should be interested in me. So the second date ended with him in my bed. It wasn’t fantastic, but I did not want to be thought of as shallow or callous – he had been honest about his erectile dysfunction and I felt I had been and needed to be considerate towards him on that front.
The next red flag appeared when I told him about some of the fantasy/sci-fi stories I had discovered whilst exploring this genre which is more his domain. One of them was by a woman writing under a male pseudonym, Love is the plan the plan is death – this is a short story which I had found fascinating and told J about. Well, he wasn’t interested in looking it up. And so a missed opportunity to engage in discussion. It also made me realise that he tended not to have a very balanced view about the sexes and despite another heads up from me of another recent fantasy/dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel, also by a female writer, he had not appeared interested. I couldn’t help wondering at this point if he was unsympathetic to the feminist viewpoint or at worst a misogynist. You might excuse his age for some of his unenlightened attitudes – some might mistake these for chivalry, but believe me it is fairly tiresome to have someone insist on walking on one side of the pavement (and just ridiculous that he would rush to the edge when we had to change direction) or holding one’s hand when crossing the road. I am not a child and whilst yes I might be shorter and physically weaker, I do have road safety awareness!
Added to the suspicions I was having, I began to notice that my preferences were disregarded and when I had expressed a desire to do something different to his own I was the one who had to compromise. Initially I had been happy to acquiesce to my lover but as there was no quid pro quo, his shine began to dull. In addition, I found his lack of respect for my personal space insensitive – he thought nothing of tapping my arm/knee/hand with the end of his pen or whatever object he happened to be holding when we were facing each other in conversation, to make a point or in an absent-minded fashion. I’m sure most people would find that kind of familiarity annoying too.
By the time the holiday came round, I had managed to avoid seeing him for a couple of weeks prior and regained my self-esteem. Initially I tried to be cheerful and neutral but his continued lack of empathy and neediness just grated on me. When the holiday ended and we agreed to remain friends, I knew that I would only keep future contact minimal. He had written a final email to apologise for his bad temper during the holiday but in the same breath chastise me for not wanting to continue a platonic relationship with him, bringing up the fact that I remained friendly with most of my exes. I did not feel the need to respond to this part of his email judging that it would only result in a to and fro of blame-casting. Moreover, his touchy-feeliness creeped me out: his constant need for touch – I’d felt pawed towards the end of the relationship and right up to the last time I saw him when he had insisted on more than just the handshake I would have been more comfortable with, had felt as though I was begrudging when he hugged me. Now why would I put myself in that awkward situation again?
And so ends finally I hope the unhappy chapter of my infatuation over Julius and any further encounters I might have with him. The one advantage of meeting someone from a dating app is that in real life our paths would never have crossed and so lessen the likelihood of stumbling over each other without prior arrangement.