Just before I moved to Brooklyn, I got a message from an extremely good looking guy. He lived in Brooklyn, although not in my neighborhood. As usual, we exchanged lots of good messages, and we were both excited to meet. We both liked books, and identified as homebodies.

We set a date for my first night in Brooklyn. He came over, though, and although we had a good time, there was no spark. We agreed to be friends anyway.

There were a couple weird things about him. Most notably, he told me that an ex was his “best friend.” He kept referring to her as his ex in conversation, rather than his best friend. There was some bizarre point being made there, or at least an attachment not completely dissolved. I don’t know if it’s possible to have an ex as a best friend. Every time I’ve ever said that my ex was my best friend, it was a lie, and I still had feelings for him. Not that my experience is the rule, but I do think it’s the norm. He did admit that they had had an extended and messy break up, but insisted that they were just friends now. Even though they still had sleepovers. Ok.

Anyway, we got a drink as friends later that week. We both drank too much and he wound up coming over and we made out. Clothes stayed on, though. He was much cooler once the pressure of dating was off the table.

We got together again a few days later. We decided to go for a walk in Dumbo and it was totally weird. Once again, I felt no spark at all. And this time he was just so unpleasant. We had agreed to meet at 6 pm, but he got there at 6:30, because he had stopped to get something to eat. That meant that he wasn’t hungry at all to get food with me. Around 7:30, I got hungry. But because he had already eaten, he was not particularly pressed to have dinner. He made me walk around for an hour. I didn’t know the neighborhood, so I couldn’t take us to a place to eat. Finally, after an hour of walking, at 8:30, we passed an Indian place. At that point, I did not give one fuck about what I ate, I just needed to eat. I insisted we go in.

He ordered a plate of naan and a seltzer. I got a meal. Throughout dinner, he was pretty much silent and I was not having a good time. But I was eating, finally. When the bill came, he handed me five dollars and mumbled that he would just owe me some money. Great. I was picking up the tab. Thanks for the five bucks, bud.

We left the restaurant, and I asked what he felt like doing. He said, “I don’t know.” I suggested a few things, and he shot down every idea. Frustrated, I asked again what he felt like doing, and he again said, “I don’t know.” We spent at least fifteen minutes in this scenario. I was beyond irritated. I asked if something was wrong. He said, “I don’t know.”

So I suggested that we could both just go home. He agreed to that. He offered to take the subway with me to my stop. I asked what was wrong again. He said, “I don’t know.” Finally, I exploded on him.

“Listen, you are being extremely irritating right now. Will you just tell me what is up?”

He told me he would in a minute. I waited a minute. Then he said, “I think we should go back on the friend path.”

Oh sweet Jesus. After that whole interaction? Yes, please. Friend path. Please.

We got on the train together. I told him he had been a wildly unpleasant child all evening. I told him that his relationship with his ex was fucked up. He said something about his personality that was unbelievably unself-aware. I told him so. He told me he understood that he had been irritating, but that was just who he was. He didn’t like disappointing people. He offered to walk me home. I said no thank you.

When I got home, I got drunk and smoked too many cigarettes to try to diffuse my feelings of immense irritation. Thirty-year-old men need to be able to interact as adults. Maybe, if you’re really good-looking, you never do?

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