Lessons in Love: Once Bitten, Twice Shy should not equal “I quit!”

Brand new BougieTale to kick off Love and Relationship Week. This week, we'll be discussing lessons learned. In today's lesson, see how my current gun-shyness about relationships propelled me to act a complete ass and get called out for it. Enjoy:

Very up and down Valentine's Day weekend for OneChele. On the one hand, I did receive lovely roses from an ex-SO that I gave a laser-beam side-eye to before putting them in a vase and setting them to the side. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I was cursed clean out by a fellow I haven't even been out to coffee with. And when I say clean, I mean I got the wind up, "I hate to have to say this…" the full pitch, "And as long as I'm airing my feelings…" and the strikeout, "When you get over yourself you know where to find me. CLICK." Wow. Okay, before I make it sound like all of that came out of nowhere. Let me 'fess up.

Remember the dude (we'll call him Aaron) who sent the email asking if we could finally get together for coffee? The email came through 17 times and I thought he was begging in a stalker-y kind of way? Turns out Aaron sent the email once and some MS Outlook glitch replicated it. ANYway… I called him to say, "Hey!" and sure, we could get coffee sometime. Now here's where I'm just 22 parts of wrong: Every time he called to set something up, I had reasons why I couldn't go. Like a gajillion times in a row. Now before you all give me the "Oh, Chele!" let me sort of explain (list my excuses).

I do have this deadline. I was sick, I did have a gang of family descend for a weekend and on top of that… I really just didn't feel like going. Yeah, I said it. I just do not have the time or the energy to even TRY right now. Just the thought of putting on the dateable face and tipping out to make small talk seems a little exhausting. Add to the mix an ex-SO calling up with some reconciliation discussion that distracted me for a half second and I just wasn't feeling the new guy.

Which is what I SHOULD have said in the first place… I know this. Instead, I hoped that my vague promise of "sometime" would linger out there for a while. Aaron was not about "sometime." He called, he emailed, he texted. And too his credit he even asked, "Do you just not have time to pursue a relationship right now?" Seriously, he threw it out there. All I had to do was pick it up and take the out. But no. I didn't want to be the girl who pouts about not having a relationship and then saying I don't have time for one. And yes, a part of me liked the attention and wanted to keep him around until I made up my mind. Yes, I recognize this as a selfish trait. Moving on… What I cockily said was, "Oh, I make time for what's important." <- - those words will be come back to haunt me.

This past week he called and said, "What reason do you have for not seeing me this week?"

Ouch. Trying to do some damage control I said, "I'm sorry; I know I'm being impossible. I'm not sure I'm in a place to date anybody right now. I've had a string of unfortunate dating experiences and I'm not at my best."


After a super-awkward silence he said, "Really? That's what you're going with? After five weeks of excuses, you're going with the gun-shy fallback?"

"Oh I AM gun-shy-"

"What does that have to do with me? I haven't hurt you. I'm just trying to get coffee with a woman I thought was attractive and interesting."

Kevlar needed. Shots fired. "Um…"

"Why don't you think about that answer and get back to me before the weekend?"


So right here was my opportunity to put on the grown-up girl pants and either say, "Okay let's go." Or "Not right now but thanks for your interest." What did I do instead? Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Yes, I'm coming across real shady right now.

Therefore, when Aaron called and unleashed his wrath on me telling me that I was a wishy-washy woman acting like a scared little girl, I really couldn't say much. When he said I could've just told him five weeks ago that I wasn't up for even baseline relationship maneuvers instead of having him call again and again… I agreed. When he said he wouldn't have thought I was the type of girl to string guys along for the fun of it, I was ashamed. When he told me he heard me say I make time for what's important and I hadn't deigned to carve out fifteen minutes for him, I winced. When he said I was too old to be playing with folks, I had no viable argument.

And when he hung up on me, I knew he was justified. Even knowing all of that, I couldn't just leave it there. I hate being the bad guy so… I called him back. And apologized sincerely, even went as far as telling him that if I had been treated like that, I wouldn't have been HALF as gracious as he was. And then I asked if he wanted to meet me for coffee at the Barnes & Noble where I had to sign some books. He said, "So this is a pity coffee? You think you can toss some last minute invitation out and I'll just hop at the chance?" I didn't answer. He sighed, "I'll see you in twenty minutes." [sheepish grin]

It was okay. He's a nice guy. No major sparks but again, I'm not on my A game and would not recognize sparks if they came in the form of 20-ft high firecrackers on the Fourth of July. And of course now I'm wondering... why DID this guy wait 3 years and 5 five weeks to have 45 minutes of coffee? I mean I'm cute but not all that! I can't think of anyone I'd wait 3 years and 5 weeks for... maybe Idris or Maxwell... maybe not - none of us are getting any younger. So, what is that about? Yes, now I'm just all in the weeds.

Aaron reached out later in the afternoon by sending an email saying, "I could tell from the way you left it that you are happy to slide me into the Friend Zone limbo. But before you do that, have you heard this song by Joe?" He sent a song that I actually really love. It's called Why Just Be Friends (song is great, video is sucky. Stay with me):

And in case I STILL didn't take his meaning, he sent some lyrics:

Now I know that love has failed you many times before.
But I'm trying to make you see that the only one is me.
So forget the other guys you dated long ago.
And just let your mind be free, let's be more than just friends.

Stop, drop your fears. Baby come get with me.
Give me your tears, I got the remedy.
Take down your shield, I'm not the enemy.
Girl I just wanna be the only one who can make you happy.

It's actually kind of sweet in a super-persistent kind of way. Interestingly enough, if I was giving advice to myself I would say, "Give the guy a shot. What can it hurt? When you get knocked down, you don't leave the ring. You get back up and come out the corner swinging." But how often do we listen to the advice given to us?

Okay BougieLand, hit me with it. You may comment on my idiocy OR you can share your own "once bitten, twice shy" tales. Would you wait 3 years and 5 weeks to have coffee with someone? Or just say hello… the floor is yours.