One night, while heading over to Stew's friend house, he fessed up to something BIG. Prior to meeting me, Stew read a dating manual. I don't think I ever met a guy who read a dating manual or at least admitted to it. Fessing up actually won the chap some points but I felt really bad he wasted his time because my type can't be decoded in a manual. Or, so I thought . . .
I had to know more. I wanted the name of it. I wanted to read it. I wanted to see if I could pick out the tricks he used to reel me in. I wanted to see if my reactions to such tricks fell out of the confines of the book. The last thing I wanted to be is labeled "a typical broad." Of course, sensing danger, he pleaded amnesia to remembering the name of the book and the name of the author, only saying he got it online. I was intrigued because I like a good mystery and I HATE not knowing something.
A few short months later, all my questions would be answered . . . .
While helping Stew pack up his condo, we were throwing a bunch of books into a box. I knew right away from its low budget, no frills glossy white cover, this was the book.
"Oh wow!" I said holding it up, "Is this THE BOOK?" It looked like a galley copy of my first novel . . . well, ONLY novel . . . so far.
Stew laughed, the nervous laugh. The "oh-moses-now-she-is-going-to-read-it" laugh. "Yeah, just put that in here." He looked down at the box. I could see the hope that I would put the book in the box turning his cheeks that crimson red they get when he's embarrassed.
I tightened my grip on the book. "No way, this holds bullshit guy code. I want to read it."
"If you want, but you really shouldn't."
"Move over" I said, kicking off my shoes and climbing onto the bed ready to devour it from cover to cover. So much for packing.
I noted the name, "The System." It sounds so manly. No cutesy title here, this was a book about getting down to business. Then I noted the author's name, "Doc Love." This was going to be great. This was better than finding $5 in the pocket of an old coat.
"Ok," Stew said resigning himself to the fact that I was going to read it. "Let me just say that I customized the book. A lot of it were real asshole techniques and that's not me so I used a few things from it but not everything. Some of the stuff is stupid. You are going to hate it but without that book I never would have met you, the love of my life." Ok, so I added in the "love of my life" part but the rest is true, I swear.
"Let me be the judge of that" I said cracking open the cover, which seemed pretty stiff for something that was supposedly read. Then again, I know how Stew scans . . . I mean reads.
Turns out, Stew and I read the same book except mine had a catchier title and did not cost $99 because I could find it at Borders. My book was called "Why men Love Bitches". The basic gist was about how to make yourself seem unavailable and more mysterious to generate more interest in you because the second he knows he has you, you are done for. The basic gist of the System is "Keep a lady guessing all the time how you feel about her because the second she knows she has you, you are done for." So, the mysterious, unavailable bitch meets the equally mysterious asshole and they engage in a game they both say they don't want to play anymore but know they have to.
To this day, Stew vehemently defends The System explaining had he not read it, he would have approached our relationship straight up, called me a lot and eventually smothered me until he drove me away. Or, worse, I would have played him like a cheap fiddle knowing he liked me so much that I could don a pair of Doc Martens and do a jig on his heart.
Stew is right . . . and wrong. While calling me all the time would have easily driven me away, I would not have stepped all over him because that's just not my nature . . . and Docs are too stiff to get jiggy in*. Plus, anyone that knew me while I was just starting to date Stew must've heard me say a million times, "We don't seem to have that much in common, yet there is something I like about him but don't ask me what it is because I can't tell you."
I couldn't figure Stew out. I mean, I knew he liked me, he kept asking me to go out and entertained my absolutely ranting non-sensical emails. But, in retrospect, coming up on almost 2 years later, I think me not figuring Stew out had more to do with his dumb luck and my laziness than with The System. See, Stew met me when I had officially hit my limit with online dating. I was dating a few people but promised myself when that bullfrog pond dried up, I was going to take a break from it for a while. I was just so sick and tired of the scene that the thought of meeting someone new didn't give me the same rush of excitement it once did. It filled me dread and I treated it like a chore.
Stew technically could have stopped reading this book at page 2 and requested a refund. Right after he read, "Until a woman stops playing head games and throws in the towel, you have to convince her that you are the greatest thing since popcorn."
This was evident when I was late for our first date. I came to dinner that night rife with "this is me, love it or lump it" attitude. I was, as he put it, "so real" and "real" was what he was looking for. "Real" was something I was used to hearing. "Real" is my gimmick until most people get tired of it when they realize it's not going away. Every time Stew said it, I cringed because I knew one day he'd wake up and long for "fake and typical" because "real" is too much work. Real requires her emotional wants and needs be fed before he takes her to dinner.
So, when Stew insulted me by calling me quirky and then left me in the parking lot with just a "well, bye." I had to go out with him again because I had to know what the heck his damage was? Who insults me and just leaves me in the parking lot wondering?
Apparently, a very smart man who read The System.
*Doc Martens are only too stiff to get jiggy in if you don't wear them every night to CBGB's.