This is an urban dating nightmare. This is a story that I should be telling in the dead of night with a flashlight under my chin. This is a story that is just that bad.
Last year at the tail end of SlutFest 2004, while still enrolled on my sleaze dating site of choice, I received an email from a man who seemed interesting. He did not, at the beginning, seem too good to be true. That came later, the too-good-to-be-trueness, and as you probably guessed from filling in the adage blank, if he seemed too good, he probably was.
He was indeed too good to be true. But at the beginning, he merely seemed good.
His name is, and was, WMB. I usually employ pseudonyms, but this man is just so pernicious that I will take the liberty of employing his initials. Moreover, they figure into the narrative, so there they are: WMB.
He seemed interesting. His pictures were attractive, but not ridiculously handsome. His profile was exciting—money was apparent, but more importantly to me so was some healthy erudition and culture. He had clearly been around the world a couple of times, literally, and wrote grammatically, logically, and effectively.
Suffice to say there were no “LOL”s at his own jokes, no smileys, no multiple exclamation points beating enthusiastically like a retriever’s tail.
He was in London when we first started corresponding. We IMed. We made a date. He said he liked to cook, so I said I’d come to his apartment and he could cook for me. He was funny, witty, charming.
Only one little thing set off alarm bells. He IMed me, saying,
WMB: You must not make me fall in love with you.
I had not yet met the man. He offered to fly home from London two days early to see me. I told him no, that we would keep the original date.
I went to his apartment. It is on Park Avenue. It is one of those buildings that has two apartments to each floor. He had just spent three years renovating it. The walls were that smooth, creamy plaster that makes you wish the earth would turn just so you could roll around on them naked.
In person, WMB was yet more charming, yet more witty. He cooked well and it was lovely, really. We chatted, he came and kissed me, we ended up in bed.
And it was lovely. It felt quite sparkly and nice, and though I had my little guard up, it still felt unusually genuine for an Internet hook-up. I was thinking less emotional intimacy, more hott hott doggystyle action walking in to his absurdly high-tech and expensive showpalace of a home, but I was pleasantly surprised.
We did end up in bed, and it was fun, though I’ve had better, and certainly much worse. After sex, he wrapped me in a big fluffy white robe with his initials on it. I noticed then that his initials were everywhere. I pointed them out to him.
It was so that I would remember who he was, he said. Later, much later, it occurred to me that he had probably emblazoned all of his belongings with his initials to help him remember who he was. But that realization came a bit too late.
We made a date for the following Sunday. He didn’t call. I saw him online on Monday and rebuked him, saying that big boys call and cancel dates. He claimed he didn’t have my phone number at his house on Shelter Island, which was, frankly, an excuse so gossamer you could read a legal disclaimer through it.
He invited me out to his home on Shelter Island to make it up to me. He offered to fly me. He conference called me with the pilot. He asked if every single detail worked for me. And I felt great.
Sure. Yes. Plane? 2:00 p.m.? Yes.
I went. And it was an amazing weekend. He cooked, we ate on his verandah, candle light lit us as we talked. He asked me about my childhood, my life, my dreams and so forth. We fucked. We slept, we got up and we did it all again.
It felt very much like a real thing, like a real date. And then, when Tuesday morning came, he dismissed me. You see, every detail had been planned, discussed, agreed to with/by me. Except for the leaving. He never asked when it was convenient for me to leave. And while I was flown out to Shelter Island, I was driven back in a crappy van.
I wept. For hours. I felt so confused. I had read the entire situation wrongly. I had thought he had cared for me, and he had not. I went home and checked the sleaze dating site and he had been online while I had been driven home in a crappy van with a driver who listened to Kenny Chesney.
He was in London again, and I wrote him telling him how angry I was. He promised an apology. One never came.
Suffice to say that time passed and I forgave him and fucked him again. I fucked him, but I did not talk about my childhood. I did not play the heart-to-heart game. He did not get the boyfriend experience.
One night when I was in his ridiculously expensive apartment, and WMB was sleeping the sleep of the just fucked, I looked at the favorites on his computer. No fewer than three escort services had been saved. His latest Google searches were on some Slovenian model. Her picture was on his favorite lists too. I felt simultaneously saddened and relieved. Clearly, I thought, this is a man whose problems stretch beyond me. Clearly, I thought, this is a man who has some serious soul flaws.
By the holidays, I’d had enough of sportfucking. Donny and I had been doing our relationship strobe dance, but even though we broke up at Thanksgiving, I wasn’t going to do the fuckbuddy thing. I realized it was snackfood sex, and while it curbed a craving for a moment or two, it wasn’t healthy, it wasn’t fulfilling, and it wasn’t what I wanted.
On 1 January, I got a text from WMB.
“Back from London,” it said, “I would love to celebrate the new year, maybe with a dinner?”
No, thank you, I wrote.
“How about something else? What do you suggest?” He texted.
No, thank you, I responded. I don’t want to see you. I’m not interested in doing the fuck buddy thing anymore, but thanks for your offer.
“I can appreciate what you’re saying,” he responded, “but what if we discuss it someplace else, outside of New York? Maybe a spa or someplace warm?”
No, thank you, I wrote back and thought it was the end of that.
A couple of weeks later I was home from having dental surgery. I was in pain, on Vicodin and feeling generally pathetic. I get an IM from WMB. He asks me to a play. I say no. He asks me to a matinee. I say no. He asks me as a friend, I say ok.
I hadn’t had a date in two months. I was in pain. I was on Vicodin. I said yes to a matinee. I shouldn’t have.
He called me. He arranged his driver to pick me up. He was early. He picked a play to appeal to my feminist sensibilities. He held my hand and stared at me the entire play. He invited me to dinner. He cooked rack of lamb. He asked me out for the following Thursday with his friends. He bought tickets for the Thursday show.
He told me he was feeling ready for a relationship.
He told me he missed me.
He told me everything he knew I wanted to hear.
He bought me tickets to London to come and visit him. They were first class tickets. He bought them with me and he printed them out and put them into my hot little hands.
Of course I fucked him.
In bed, he told me he was ready to fall in love.
I felt like I had entered some other magical person’s enchanted life. I couldn’t believe what was happening. And for good reason.
Remember the part about being too good? It was not true—none of it. Not the words, not the actions, not the feelings. All of it was manufactured to make me fall, to make me exhale and begin that slide into caring.
He is an evil vampire, that WMB. He collects those falling moments, and he stores them somewhere. He takes them out and looks at them, those soft exhalations, lines them up and counts them. He keeps them as trophies.
I found out a couple of days later that WMB had called the next day and cancelled my tickets. He did not have the courtesy to tell me; I found out from the lovely British Airways agent.
No magical, enchanted life. Just a series of encounters with a soul-sucking vampire. It would have hurt a lot more if it hadn't been so pyrotechnic. This operatic finish was so complete all I could do was laugh. Laugh and tell the story.
And I tell you this story not so much because I am bitter—for I am not anymore—but because I have heard from two different friends of him having done the exact same thing to friends of theirs. Two other women who were flown to Shelter Island. Two other women who were cooked their favorite meals. Two other women who were catered to until they began that soft exhalation and two other women who were summarily dumped.
I tell you this story to let you know this: vampires walk among us. They may not take our blood, but they take something from our hearts.
And it’s no reflection on you; it’s no reflection on me. Vampires, they leave no reflection. But they do leave a good story.