So there’s this guy I really like. Let’s call him Joe Smith. We met at a dinner party and for about a month have been eagerly texting, talking, hanging out and dancing to jazz records. We’ve been hooking up. We’ve had introspective conversations and shared silly inside jokes. When I was stressed at work one Friday evening, he texted me from a barbeque and wrote, “James Brown. Booze. Grilled veggies. Life.” And I thought – I could fall in love with this guy maybe.
I wasn’t asking anything of him, aside from text messages in pirate speak. We made no promises or commitment (geez – it had been less than a month!) I felt no need to “have a talk,” attach strings, tie him or myself down. In many ways, I’m in love with my independence.
It’s tough to know or realize when emotions sneak their pesky way into casual affairs. But as of a few weeks of non-dating this guy, I felt like I was riding fancy free and high.
And then I logged into Facebook.
I was minding my own business. I was fully intending to post a link on my wall and then dash right back out into my real, non-virtual life, where I had to do some dishes and straighten up my room. But BAM – there it was – right on the top of my “Newsfeed”. A giant heart, and the words:
Joe Smith is engaged to Jane Dear
I gasped and almost dropped my laptop on the floor. WTF?!
This was clearly a development of the past 2 hours. Joe Smith was definitely not “In a Relationship” when we became fb friends weeks before. And it wasn’t just the announcement that literally floored me. There was a host of comments on the post from friends, co-workers and loved ones. Congratulations! This is awesome! This is the best day of my life! A lady who could only be his mother wrote in with happy surprise. And HE commented in that the relationship with this girl had been under the radar but…they were eloping and moving in together.
I couldn’t believe my eyes – or my heart.
My first thought (after I decided against leaving my own comment to the effect of “fuck you you fucking fuck!”) was that – the engagement MUST be a joke. Joe was a jokester kind of guy. And even though I’d only known him a few weeks, I admired his friendliness, his openness and hospitality, and the care and respect he had shown me. Did he really have a girlfriend-turned-fiancee the whole time?!
I felt confused and betrayed – but also silly and completely insane. I didn’t know what to do or how to respond. I was in a Choose Your Own Adventure comedy of errors. Did I react with humor, confusion, spite, scorn? What exactly was I supposed to confront him with? Or maybe there was no way to confront him at all. Who knows what it was we had been doing. Maybe I’d been having a clandestine affair with an otherwise committed guy, or maybe we were in the exciting, lustful first weeks of a growing bond. His “engagement” was an event of major consequence – or a meaningless series of words on a virtual page in a pixillated universe.
And in that moment I realized that it didn’t actually matter what the truth was. Maybe he was engaged or maybe it was a joke. The fact was that it didn’t matter because either scenario COULD be true.
I had no basis on which to judge. What lay before me were two alternate realities – each equally possible – and even if I called him then and there and he told me it was a joke and he proposed to ME on the spot, I would still be left with the nagging feeling that the universe constructed around me could come crashing down with one inconvenient “Facebook Status Update.”
It had happened to Sandra, Elin, Elizabeth, Silda, Hillary. Who’s to say it shouldn’t happen to me? Even worse, I had found myself potentially the inadvertant other woman. When do we know we can trust someone, even about the basic facts of life? Maybe the careless betrayal and humiliation of these magnificent women had bred in me a kind of crazy, unwarranted paranoia.
SO – was Joe engaged, or was it a joke? Is he The Guy Who Just Blew Me Off, or are we living Happily Ever After?
What do YOU think?
(to be continued…)
Rebecca Coale - aka Becky - is a writer, musician and producer. She and childhood best friend Jessica Donalds created Dating & Hookup and founded J&R Creative Media. Becky blogs about love poetry and modern life & womanhood. She lives with her husband, Howard Coale, and their family in Manhattan and Philadelphia.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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