Ryan and the Technicolor Wardrobe
Short Stories and Essays

I recently found out the my ex-girlfriend go married.  I found out via social networking; but not through Facebook or Twitter, or Myspace, but through Linked In, a business social networking site.  After the breakup, we decided not to keep in touch and she is pretty anti-social networking.  I haven’t really updated my Linked In account for a couple of years, I just tend to add people when I get requests, so I forgot to delete her.  One day I was e-mailed “updates” from people we were connected to and when I opened the e-mail I saw a name that I didn’t recognize.  It was her first name but a different last name, and then I finally put two and two together.  “What?  Oh.  OHHHHHHHH.”

Finding out your ex got married is one of those landmark signs of adulthood.  (The first, I believe, is being genuinely happy for your friends when you hear they got engaged, opposed to wondering if pregnancy is involved with the engagement.)  It’s always kind of a weird feeling.  Even though I never had any ideas about getting back together with her, I will be honest and say that it threw me for a loop.  We had been broken up for over 2 years so it made logical sense that in that time, she could’ve found someone, dated them, and gotten married to them, so I can’t say that the timing was a huge shock or anything like that.  Perhaps it’s because in the time it took her to get married, I’ve been on a grand total of 0 dates.

Now I know that getting married isn’t a race, so it’s silly to think of my dating life in those terms.  I also realize that going on a bunch of dates with a bunch of different people isn’t going to make me feel anymore successful about my personal life if I’m not finding any people that I can have a worthwhile connection with.  I understand that finding the right person can take some time and doesn’t mean that it’s a reflection of how people view you when you’ve been on a bit of a dry spell.

I was at a sushi bar last week with my roommate.  We sat at the bar, and there was a seat between this woman and me.  She was asian, much older, and had already been drinking by the time we had gotten there.  I just wanted to enjoy my sushi in relative peace while making small talk with my roommate, but this woman forced herself into our conversation when my roommate asked me if I was going to take my parents out for Korean food the next time they were in town.  She proceeded to ask me if I was Korean and then told me about how the person that was on Deal or No Deal that day was a Korean man who was on the show so he could win some money to fly his parents back to the motherland and that he ended up winning $38,000.  After trying to humor her for the duration of her story, I tried to shift back into sushi eating privacy mode.

I tend to wear very interesting t-shirts.  I know they draw a lot of attention so I’ve grown used to people asking me what they mean, or what brand I’m wearing.  It comes with the territory.  On this particular night, I was wearing a t-shirt that Bruce had gotten me for Christmas a couple of years earlier.  On the back of this t-shirt, a man in a banana suit is chasing his friend with a knife.  If you don’t understand why there’s this image, don’t worry, it’s kind of an inside joke.  Unfortunately this woman decided to make the worst possible interpretation of this shirt ever:

“Is there a banana on a shirt because you’re a banana?”

“Excuse me?”

“You know a banana, yellow on the outside, white on the inside!”

I politely tried to explain that my friend got me the shirt and I didn’t know what it meant (a lie – I just wanted to keep the conversation short). She asked me if she had offended me and told me that she would stop talking to me if she did.  She said she wouldn’t take it personally but then said she really would (the train of though of a crazy person), and my discomfort level was off the charts at this point.  She got the hint that I didn’t want to talk to her and then she started telling the sushi chef that she was in her own league and that she was 44 and single and awesome.  She was pretty wasted at this point and she was kind of ruining my dinner.  She finally stumbled out of the restaurant after being surprised that her credit card didn’t get declined and that was the last that we saw of her.

On the ride home, my roommate teased me about the whole incident and how he was scared that the woman was going to try to sit on my lap or do something crazy during the night.  I honestly felt bad for her.  At 44, she was desperately seeking connection but she was shut out.  Drunk or sober, I was probably not the right person for the job.  It reaffirmed that I’m probably happier going on 0 dates than going on a bunch of dates where either myself or the women were just desperate for some sort of connection.  My ex might’ve found that certain someone and I’m happy for her.  I’m happy and resigned to the fact that one day, I’ll also have that certain someone, and that it’s okay that it’s just not today.

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