About a week and a half ago, I woke up at 5:00am and found myself consumed—oddly enough—by both terror and hope. Why? Well, naturally, I blame Match.com. Two weeks ago, I received a message from a man who, at 13 years my senior, lie just beyond the realm of my “Kat, be sensible about older men!” resolution, and, to make matters worse, he mentioned that he was reading Madame Bovary.
(A note for those of you who don’t know me personally: older men have been my downfall since my senior year of college, and possibly even before then. Despite my online persona, I’ve always been rather mature for my age, hence my complete and utter disinterest in boys who might, you know, actually understand my wanderlust, my post-college soul-searching or the fact that buying a house is the furthest thing from my mind right now. But I don’t care, because boys my age are stupid. And they have cooties.)
So the Bovary Reading Bachelor and I exchanged emails, then phone numbers and before I knew it, he was texting to ask my permission to call.
Obviously, I said yes.
What transpired was a record-breaking two and a half hour conversation during which we discussed everything from literature to philosophy to love. Can you blame me for waking up at 5:00am the next morning and thinking, “Holy sh*t! He might be The One?”
Granted, our conversation reminded me of the conversations I used to have with a former flame during my year in Oxford (and the ensuing relationship that was easily the most toxic of my entire life) but because I equate rambling with romantic, I chose to ignore this fast.
So we continued corresponding and during the weekend of the Susie McSusie’s Dance Competition, I received an email from the Bovary Reading Bachelor. It contents? Well, here is where it gets interesting—and here perhaps is when I should have gone running in the opposite direction.
He’d written me a letter—an actual letter—in a pocket-sized notebook, which he then photographed, page by page, and emailed to me in a series of jpeg files.
It was, undoubtedly, the most romantic thing anyone has done for me since… well, since Date #17 bought me flowers on our third date back in November and a hand written letter trumps flowers any day in my book.
Naturally, I was blown away and given my penchant for drama, I responded in kind. This, perhaps, was my first mistake.
By the time we finally met in person we were both so hyped up on the idea of falling in love that we’d skipped right past the process of actually getting to know one another. There was no small talk, no laughter, no flirtation—none of the components that make a first date fun.
Unfortunately I didn’t realize this until after we’d gone to dinner, after his neighbors had “accidentally” dropped by to check me out and after we’d spent approximately four hour gazing into each other’s eyes like a pair of love sick teenagers, caressing each other’s fingers in the candlelight. (What can I say? Gotan Project was playing in the background and I always lose all sense of propriety when faced with sexy techno tango music.)
He escorted me home and kissed me on the front steps of my parents’ house before saying goodnight. Not four hours later, I began to panic.
There was something about him that unsettled me. A certain turn of phrase, a certain look in his eyes, an almost desperate hope that things would work out between us—and after several hours of trying to put my finger on it I realized that I’d been down this road before.
I’ve always said that I wish I could combine all of my ex-boyfriends into a single being: take one’s sensitivity, one’s good looks, one’s spontaneity with another’s sense of responsibility and so on and so forth. But the Bovary Reading Bachelor was the exact opposite of my imaginary boyfriend: he was all that didn’t work with my ex-boyfriends rolled into one. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, he was already infatuated with me.
So I did what seemed (after much deliberation) the only sensible thing to do: I ended it.
It was all a bit more complicated than that (there were more phone calls, more emails and more letters but for the sake of his privacy and the fact that I still feel rather badly about the way everything played out, I’m not going to share their contents).
To add insult to injury, last week’s column was due before the aftershock of our first date had run its course. As such, I wrote that I’d “definitely” be seeing him for a second date but given everything that transpired during our last conversation, I definitely will not.
And that folks is the unfortunate tale of the Bovary Reading Bachelor. Remind me not to avoid men who idolize Flaubert in the future—for their sake and mine.