O'TOOLE: I fell in love and he didn't

Oct 2, 2012


Nice. The guy doesn’t even have the decency to dump me in private. There are other couples just a few feet away — smiling, laughing, touching couples — while I go home alone, rejected, unwanted, dumped. I hate them.

I jump up and stomp past the other couples to Marty’s car. He follows.

I peel off my shoes with a groan and toss them to the floor of the car. “These things kill my feet!” They’re 4-inch, open-toe wedges — Barbie shoes — and I’ve only worn them once before. My toes are blistered and red.

“But they’re fantastic shoes!” Marty punches his sissy little ignition button and says with an imperious sniff. “There’s a price to be paid.”

A price to be paid? Excuse me? Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m guessing this man has never gone to work with a burn on his forehead from a hot curling iron, never suffered puncture wounds from an underwire bra, never shown up to an anniversary party with hives all over his brow and lip because of an allergy to wax.

What a jerk. For a moment, I’m relieved that he dumped me.

But just for a moment.

Thing is, Marty seemed so promising in the beginning. He titled his Match.com profile, “Learning. Laughing. Loving.”

My profile header was “Just A Big Hunk O’ Love Will Do," which I almost deleted because I was afraid it made me sound like I had a fat fetish. It’s a line from an Elvis song. I was hoping an Elvis fan would recognize it and respond with the next line. No one did.

Love is not what Marty was after, and that’s where the whole thing went wrong. That’s where I went wrong. He warned me on the first date that he wasn’t ready to fall in love. He also said, “I could fall for you so fast.”

Which message do you think I heard? The one I wanted to hear, of course, which would be the second one. That’s because I am a woman, and also because I am stupid.

On our first date, we conversed so easily that the server came back twice before we even opened our menus. It was more like catching up with a long-lost friend than a blind date. We were so simpatico. We’re both former teachers who dabble in journalism. He is an adoptive father; I am an adopted child. He wears a hearing aid; I wear two. We were so excited to share a hearing problem that we plucked out our hearing aids and laid them on the table, comparing them and exclaiming over them as if they were iPhones.

After dinner, we walked the boardwalk. It was like a movie scene: warm May night, sunset over the lake, a handful of runners and walkers grinning at us because we looked like two people falling in love — walking hand-in-hand, talking, laughing and kissing.

When I revealed I’m an Elvis fan, he said arrogantly, “I don’t get the appeal.” I stamped my foot and said, “Damn it! And it was going so well!” He pulled playfully on my arm and we simpered at each other like a pair of schoolchildren.

Instead of laughing at his condescending attitude toward Elvis, I should’ve pushed him into the lake. Unfortunately, there were too many potential witnesses. If a guy with Marty’s intellect and perception doesn’t “get” Elvis’ appeal, he’s being deliberately obtuse. In other words, he’s a snob. (I promise my next column will make no mention of Elvis. Crap. There goes half my column right there.)

The feeling that we were simpatico so strong that I didn’t care that Marty was an Elvis snob. I didn’t care that he was a terrible kisser, an annoying driver or irritatingly officious. I felt more like myself when I was with Marty than I had felt in years. We went on a second date and a third, and then I lost count. I passed many a giddy summer night in Marty’s company.

But I fell in love and Marty did not. And that was that.

Three months after the brutal public dumping, I have closed my Match.com account. I can’t afford it. I can purchase “Fifty Shades of Grey” and a “personal massager” for less than a Match membership. A personal massager wouldn’t stomp on my heart like it was the grapes at the Salmon Festival and it wouldn’t dump me in public. Now where’s my credit card?

— By Tribune community columnist Kelly O'Toole



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