Dateland: It Doesn’t Add Up

My girlfriend, Wendy, and I were sitting on the deck last night, drinking a glass of wine and playing the fun game: Who Has Humiliated Themselves More Over A Girl. I was fairly certain I’d win, because my history of love humiliations has been spectacular.  But because my embarrassments were so routine and consistent over the years, they came off as mundane when stacked against my girlfriend’s singular humiliation.Yes, that’s right…she’s 47 years old and has managed to play the fool for love only once.  She was a cool customer throughout her dating years, blithely loving and dumping women and leaving a trail of broken hearts right up to my doorstep. (Note to the ladies who have been devastated by my girlfriend: take heart! I make her life a living hell, so she is being well-punished for her callous youth.)Last night, weakened by wine and my merry romp through the tales of my dating shame, she reluctantly admitted to a brief moment when she allowed herself to be vulnerable to love, and, predictably, got kicked in the heart.Wendy was 21 and was pursued by an ardent 40-year-old lady periodontist.  Now, I’ve never considered this a particularly sexy profession, but, apparently, this broad used her dentist chair to great erotic effect. After the good doctor won Wendy’s heart, she proceeded to treat it like something to be washed down her spit sink.

Wendy was accustomed to being the object of desire and was blindsided by the notion that someone else held the upper hand. And the good doctor was using that upper hand to pleasure any number of other youngsters. This left Wendy feeling insecure and desperate to distinguish herself her from the herd.

“So, I would drive 300 miles every weekend to see her, and she would always be busy with a patient when I arrived. I didn’t want to sit in her waiting room, because that would have been pathetic. So, instead, I’d tell her that I had work to do myself, and she could meet me at the public library.”

Clever girl! She was attempting to take control away from her master. But, what she didn’t calculate into her brilliant plan was the fact that she had no important work to complete at the library because she didn’t have a job. At the time, she was an itinerant musician, sleeping on floors of the goodhearted of Cambridge, Mass.

So what did she do to convince her lover that she was “an important business person” who demanded respect and attention? She got her hands on a book of accounting spreadsheets (this was in the mid-80’s—well before laptops and Excel), and would “study” them until the doctor arrived to collect her.

“I’d stare at them for hours, flipping through the pages and making notations in the margins, because I didn’t want her to catch me staring into space when she finally showed up,” she said.

“Did she ever ask you what the spreadsheets were for?” I asked.

“No, she never showed any interest. But I thought they made me look quite important,” she said.

“Do you think the reason she never showed interest was because she knew that you weren’t actually “studying” them? Because why the hell would a folk musician cart around a 50-pound book of nonsensical spreadsheets?” I asked.

Wendy dropped her head in her hands and sighed. “I always assumed that she broke up with me to sleep with someone else, which was humiliating enough. But, really, it was the spreadsheets, wasn’t it?”

“It was the spreadsheets,” I confirmed, filling up her glass. Then to make her feel better, we looked up the periodontist’s web site and spent an hour discussing how ungracefully she had aged.

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