Usually dibs implies a gentleman’s agreement. Two ascot clad men shaking hands, one vowing to stand aside as the other puts forth his most gallant efforts to woo a dame. Or it’s to secure a spot in the front seat near the air-conditioning vents on a crotch-hot day by screaming "shotgun" like one of those grown men who should’ve outgrown calling shotgun. The kind that still race down the aisles of the supermarket riding the back of the cart as if it were a scooter. The point is, the whole need to call "first dibs" implies that there’s something of value at hand.
When I think back to my relationship with Turner, it’s hard not to also think of Oliver. Turner had dibs because we’d met first.He didn’t call dibs or anything. I mean, not that it should work that way with dating, but when that first guy comes along that you actually want to call you (and who actually does call), you start to hope things might work out. And you kinda favor him because it had just been so damn long since you were that damn happy. I saw the red flags but waved my hand at them, thinking maybe they’re really white flags–urging me to surrender– that somehow got thrown in with that one red sock. I didn’t want to see what I should’ve be seeing. Just let me have this, damn universe!
In the end, I told him I couldn’t see him anymore. I stuck to it. I felt sick. I called Poppa and cried. Why can’t I just meet someone already?! So fucking annoying. I’d kept thinking it might go somewhere, bought the new bra and fun top, those cute earrings. I cooked him things. Assembled salads. Composed a grapefruit brulee (basically just wanted to show off my blowtorch). But all the hair blowouts and new pairs of "they make you look soooo skinny" jeans couldn’t make us work. My friends thought he was a drip. "Actually, Stephanie, we didn’t say ‘drip’. We said ‘dud’." Yeah, but I like duds. "Yeah, milkduds. In your popcorn! Not in the man you’re rolling around with." Who says "rolling around with" anymore?
I told him not to contact me, that it made it too hard, that we couldn’t be friends. I mean it! Then I hit refresh waiting for the emails. Had the cell on vibrate, waiting. And waiting. Then I stopped waiting and started dating Oliver. Started liking Oliver. Wow, maybe this can work. And that’s exactly when the emails and phone calls came. When I was finally over it. Typical.
And that’s when the seep happens. When you think it’s safe to let the past back in because you’re finally composed and happy, and let’s be honest, totally the one in control with the upper hand. You make him eat it. "Sure," I said over the phone, checking out my reflection in a makeup compact, "I’ll meet you for a drink after work, but just one because I’m meeting Oliver for dinner." Salt, meet wound.
Except guys don’t think this at all. All he really hears when I agree to meet him is: she still wants me. Maybe I’ll get laid.
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