Several years ago I worked with a guy at a telemarketing place. In between my modelling gigs. That guy was funny and we would hang out sometimes, but he had been with the same girl for a long time so us hanging out never meant much of anything. One time I even had a get-together at my place and he came over and met my brother and his friends, which was cool. Eventually he moved on to a different job and then a few months later I ended up there as well, so we started to get pretty familiar with each other.
About three years after we had last worked together, we started messaging each other on Facebook about getting together to catch up. One Sunday night he invited me out for drinks, but it happened to be on the same day as my little sister’s baby shower. I wasn’t planning to go, but the shower ended a few hours earlier than I expected and I didn’t feel like just going home, so I decided to show up at the bar. I had seen him posting on Instagram that his girlfriend was on her way home from 9 months in Korea and they were getting ready to start a new life together, so I assumed he was in a serious relationship.
He was with 3 of his friends at a classy bar on Queen Street. Two of them were already wasted and had obviously been drinking for hours before I showed up, and the third friend kept going outside to smoke, which seemed a little sketchy and weird. My old friend told me that the relationship he’d been posting all over social media had already ended and that he didn’t want to talk about it. That was my first red flag. But on the whole the night went well. We had some really good conversations and seemed to connect well. It seemed like we had a ton of things in common. (Looking back, I think he was probably lying about some of it – guys will do that when they’re flirting.) He was a very sweet, open guy, and was really kind to everyone around him at the bar.
His friends left without tipping – second red flag. I tipped extra to cover for them and apologized profusely to the server. Then the two of us went to another bar where he seemed to know everyone. Again, he was so kind and pleasant to everyone, telling them he loved them and all sorts of wonderful things. I asked him how he was so close with the bartender.
“Oh, I did coke with him last night,” he shrugged.
Third red flag. After a few drinks he took me out in front of the bar and tried to kiss me.
“No,” I said. “We’re not there yet.”
“I’m so sorry,” he said, hanging his head. “I just meant…I didn’t mean anything.” He nearly fell over himself apologizing.
“It’s fine,” I said. “You’ll know when we are.”
We went back inside and had another drink and I decided I was having a really nice time.
“You’re going to sleep at my house tonight,” I told him.
After we left, he ended up taking me home rather than the other way around. At his house, things got very tender. We only kissed, but I slept in his bed and we had a great vibe. When I woke up in the morning I had to leave to walk my dogs, but I lingered for longer than I should have, The sexual energy passing between was hard to ignore and I could tell he was getting frustrated, but for whatever reason I held back.
“I love you!” he blurted out, and then realized what he’d just said. “Sorry. I don’t know why I would say that.”
“I can’t say anything like that back,” I said. “It’s way too soon.”
I left, but we had made a good connection. The next night he slept over at my house but again, it was mostly talk as we bonded with one another He let me listen to some music he had made which was dark and atmospheric but really terrific. He didn’t like showing it to anyone – he said it was too personal – and he even got anxious just letting me listen to it, but I appreciated it and told him so. I liked him, but I thought it was weird that he still smelled like alcohol. He’d worked till 1 AM at the restaurant he managed yet apparently he’d still found time to have a couple of drinks on the way over to my house. That was my fourth red flag. I told him I didn’t really drink and that I didn’t really want to get involved with someone who was heavy into the sauce. He shrugged it off and said it was nothing.
A few days later he called to let me know he’d made a reso for me at his restaurant, which was owned by a well-known chef in the city. I told him I hadn’t had a good day, but I was looking forward to hanging out with him so I would come. As we walked in, he held my hand, which made me feel awkward – almost as if we were onstage. But my previous boyfriend had been emotionally unavailable so I still took it as a good sign.
At the restaurant we were sandwiched between another top chef and some rich, boring people who seemed to be listening to our whole conversation. He started ordering me a bunch of things, and when I told him there were certain things I didn’t like, he simply made substitutions and went right on ordering. That was my fifth red flag. I don’t like it when guys order for girls – I can order for myself, thank you very much. While we were there a bunch of people kept coming by to say hello and explain the intricacies of each dish, breaking it down by ingredient. I could feel the eyes of everyone who worked there on me the whole time. I felt like his prize, someone he could show off for all his friends and coworkers. It all got to be too much for me – the production, the doting servers, the eyes. I tried to tune it out and focus on the food. We ate oysters, then tuna ceviche, then some salad that was disgusting, and finally some green curry chicken. I took one bite of the chicken and stopped him dead in mid-conversation.
“Where’s the washroom?” I said. “I’m gonna puke.”
Since I’m so thin and was a model for so many years, people have often asked me if I’m bulimic. I hate that question, and I hate puking even more, but in the bathroom of this fancy restaurant I projectile vomited out my whole dinner. I was embarrassed that it had happened – and even more embarrassed that it had happened in front of so many watching people.
When I got back to the table the food was gone and he was waiting for the bill. We walked back to his place and he asked if I had gotten sick because I was stressed. I was offended. I told him no, it was clearly something to do with the food. In retrospect, I don’t know what it was. When I looked it up later I realized that real food poisoning usually takes at least 4 hours to upset your stomach, but maybe one of the weird ingredients triggered an allergy or maybe I was already sick. Back at his place I ordered a pizza for us, but he refused to eat any. He told me he had once been 300 pounds and since he’d lost the weight he’d stopped eating late at night. I sat in his apartment and ate the pizza by myself, and he went to bed.
We went on one more date after that. Someone offered him free tickets to the David Bowie exhibit at the AGO, and then after we saw that we went to Ai Weiwei‘s “According to What” exhibit. I really enjoyed going with him – he really seemed interested in what the exhibit had to say about art and life, and I was impressed by the worldliness of it. He kept telling me how much he enjoyed my company and how much he liked me. (Maybe I shouldn’t have seen this as another red flag, but I’ve had a lot of bad experiences and I never really trust when guys are touchy-feely like that.) As we parted ways after the exhibit, he invited me to a Nine Inch Nails concert the following week.
We hadn’t slept together yet, but things were going really well and I was ready to take things up a notch. A couple of days later I had to work late so I turned off my phone but I told him that I was ready to tell the other guys that were chasing me that I was interested in him.
Kisssssssses, he texted back – another red flag. Who doesn’t have something substantial to say to that?
When I turned my phone back on after I finished work at 11 PM, I found a message from him saying he was out drinking with friends and wanted me to come. It was my friend’s last night at the bar that night, so I told him I was just going to go out with work people instead. It had been a long day and I was tired and my phone was dying, so once I finished up with the work party I was planning to just go home and crash.
He didn’t take that well. He responded with a crazy text saying that I had been judging him from the beginning about everything. He said that every question I had ever asked had been a personal attack on him. He said that I told him he had no manners and a drinking problem. (To be fair, I had suggested both of those things, but only in a gentle way – I thought of them as minor issues that could be corrected if we got serious.)
After sending the text, he called me and tried to pick up right where he’d left off. I told him I thought we should talk about it tomorrow – partly because he sounded drunk and partly because I didn’t want to have a fight on the phone in front of all my coworkers. We hung up, but things seemed fine. I got home at 3 AM from the work party and called him but got no answer. The next morning I tried calling him and then texted his name with a question mark, but he didn’t respond. When I decided he just wasn’t taking my calls, I left him one final message:
“I wanted to talk about this but I guess not. Take care and good luck with everything.”
He texted back and said he would call me after work. I waited up till 2:30 AM, but there was no call. The next morning I deleted him off of Facebook, Instagram, and blocked his number. He was a complicated character and looking back, I know I made the right choice – someone who lashes out like that is not a good person to get involved in a relationship with.
Our fling was brief but intense. I call it a “weak romance” – it only was a week long and we never slept together, but it had the arc and intensity level of some of my more serious relationships.