I knew that she had been seeing someone else. And why not. We had only just met and I don’t even know her middle name or her favorite movie. Actually it was Braveheart - her favorite movie not her middle name but that’s not the point. We’d only been out a few times and, although I had had fun, I never really felt like we’d connected. She’d been hesitant and half-ass which made me a little hesitant. Everything I do is half-ass so there was no change there. If you never really try all the way then you’re never really that disappointed.

That disappointed. I was still a little disappointed when she told me that this other guy had asked for exclusivity and she’d said yes. It’s not like I had illusions of marriage or anything but I figured that things were going pretty well. I felt like someone who just lost the job but didn’t even know that he was being interviewed. I felt the way I imagine Art Garfunkel must have felt when Paul Simon told him that he was going solo. I had fun, Art, thanks for all those years, albums and memories but I think I’m going to go off on my own now.

Not really betrayal because there had never been a contract but I still felt that sting of rejection. Maybe I wished that I’d thought to ask her first. Maybe I wished that I’d thought to give up a little earlier.

Give up. If I did it quick enough and took to some Irish whiskey my heart might not even know the difference. Denial can be a powerful tool when used with alcohol and a seasoned hand. So that’s what I did and I think it almost worked. What I didn’t count on was that annoying little feeling under my skin where she had somehow gotten. They work fast if you don’t pay attention – women.

She was beautiful and intriguing and we had pretty good conversations. She wasn’t ditzy or annoying and she never sold herself short. I think she was smarter than me but she didn’t flaunt her intellect. The weird thing is that I couldn’t get all the way into her. She was a really bad kisser. Like a passion fruit, she was exotic, delicious and rare but that was it. There’s no real passion – it’s still just a fruit. That was my first thought after I kissed her. Also, she didn’t seem comfortable around me but that could have been my fault. Maybe, I’m really intimidating or something.

But probably not.

So how come I feel like I got dumped? It must be that age old feeling of pride that gets damaged when a girl picks the other guy. I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with me and I’m sure he’s not super special but it still feels like I blew it. Maybe it’s because as soon as I knew about this other guy I quit giving. I quit trying with as much effort as I could have. The fear of failure made me crawl back into my safe little shell of objectivity and indifference. I hate it when I do that.

I’ve always believed that you should love like you’ve never been hurt. Kahlil Gibran said it better in his book the Prophet:

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

I’ve always believed that too but I didn’t do it and that’s what makes the sting that much sharper. Not only did I lose the girl but I also lost to myself and my own quirky dogma. Damn!

And that’s how it went. It’s too late to try and salvage my chances and it’s too early to try and upgrade from friend to boyfriend, which is already a difficult task. There’s the other guy and she chose him over me. I’m sure that I’ll continue to see her as a friend and that’s fine – really. It’s just too bad that I didn’t try harder.

Next time I will.