Have you ever experienced a dreadful burning sensation that washes over you when you have been caught doing something you really shouldn’t?
In fact, it’s a feeling that I’d rather not repeat.
I can’t even begin to describe how humiliated I felt at the time, but I was so embarrassed that I put this story on the back burner for a few years.
Three whole years to be exact.
Fortunately, hindsight is 20/20 and after doing some much-needed introspection, I quickly came to the conclusion of how, and why, I made such a bad decision.
Plain and simple, I wasn’t happy. How could I be happy when I felt I had so much to offer someone, yet here I was, stuck being single much longer than I thought was ever possible. Of course, I was dating here and there, but I didn’t just want to date. I wanted to find the man with whom I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with.
Other people found their mate. Why couldn’t I?
Looking back, out of all the years I have been single, consciously, I did my best to make the right decisions. I tried. I really did. I know I faltered here and there, but thankfully I never got to the point where I was going to quit. I felt that I had learned a lot of lessons about myself and I knew there was always room for improvement, but damn I was exhausted.
And even though I felt exhausted and that I finally had a better handle on my self control, the Universe wasn’t done with me just quite yet. Not even by a long shot.
A good example of this would be my story about Richie Rich…
It was a warm summer night. I was sitting outside on the patio at my brother’s Irish Pub, enjoying the evening with friends, you know, just minding my own business, when a group of men, all dressed in suits, sat down at the table next to me. One particular gentleman was clearly older than the other four men who were with him. He definitely stood out and I’m pretty sure it was the first time and older attractive man had caught my eye, who wasn’t a celebrity.
This man, to me, was a breath of fresh air compared to the usual suspects that frequented the pub. It wasn’t common to see anyone wearing a suit at this pub. Besides the suit and tie, I could tell underneath that expensive fabric, that he was probably in great shape, too, which didn’t hurt.
It was dark outside, so I figured that getting up to use the ladies room a few times that he would eventually notice me. It worked after the second I got up, because on the way back to my seat, he stopped me to introduce himself.
Honestly, I think we were a little star struck with each other, as we were both all smiles and flirty. The flattery was in over-drive, as I told him that I had only met well-dressed men like him in New York City. He returned the compliment by saying that he couldn’t believe he would ever come across someone like me in our small town.
He was quick to invited me to sit at his table with him and his colleagues. I stayed for about 20 minutes and then announced that I had to leave. I didn’t want to be one of those girls who were too eager and I could also hear my brother’s advice in my head, “Where’s the mystery, Carrie?” reminding me not to be too available, too soon.
I excused myself and explained that I had to get up early the following morning. We didn’t exchange phone numbers. Instead, adding to the mystery, I told him that my brother owned the bar and that I usually came down during the week. Adding that I would probably bump into him again at some point.
It took a few weeks, but eventually we showed up at my brother’s bar at the same time. We sat next to each other at the bar and had some interesting conversations over a pint of beer or two.
Well, I was having a beer.
He drank the hard stuff.
Phone numbers were eventually exchanged and I ended up meeting him out a few times, always with a group of regulars that frequented the bar. They were a fun group to hang out with and it gave me an excuse to go visit my brother from time to time.
Conversations and a little flirting here and there were going along nicely, until someone in our group told me that he had a girlfriend.
We weren’t dating, so I figured our mutual admiration wasn’t going to go anywhere. But that changed when one day he day he asked me out to lunch.
Knowing that he had a girlfriend, I was naturally hesitant, but accepted his invite anyway, and figured it would be a perfect time to bring up the girlfriend.
He took me to lunch at a quaint restaurant downtown, which I found to be odd. If he had a girlfriend, then why would he bring me to a restaurant that was quite popular in our small town? Surely, it would look bad if he was already attached an out with another woman, right?
And, not just any woman. He was out with me.
After we were served our lunch, I figured it was the perfect time to bring up the subject. “So, I have to ask you, do you have a girlfriend?”
Without even hesitating he said, “Yes, I do. Why do you ask?”
“Well, I would think that sitting here with me, at lunch, would be a conflict of interest, if you have a girlfriend.”
“Carrie, look, I am dating her because I didn’t know you existed.”
And, like a dumb-dumb, I ate that up.
Apparently, I was overwhelmed with intrigue and flattery that I lost all reason and logic because I didn’t question his motive.
In the few hours that we spent together that afternoon, he spoke candidly about his background and how he got to where he was financially. He also took the time to ask me questions about myself and how I ended up in our small town after living in New York City.
I’m not going to lie, our conversations were fun and were intriguing. I was definitely interested, but not quite sure what to make of our time together.
I’m not one to day drink, but after lunch our conversation took us a few doors down to a cigar lounge he often frequented. The cigar lounge wasn’t exactly a favorite of mine, only because going there would make my long red hair come out stinking like a cigar.
I love the smell of a cigar — just not when I smelled like a cigar.
The place was empty and we found ourselves all alone. I guess that’s why he took advantage of that moment, walking through the lounge into the back bar area. He took my hand and as soon I saw him leaning in, my thoughts floated to the saying, “If a tree falls in the forest…” knowing that I had just kissed someone’s boyfriend.
The timing of the kiss couldn’t have been worse, because right in the middle of my smooch with Richie Rich, my brother’s business partner walked into the cigar lounge.
He walked in, bought his cigar and walked out, as if he didn’t see us, but I knew better.
Richie Rich didn’t seem to care and shrugged it off that we had just been caught. I felt much different about getting caught. It was a sobering moment and, honestly, I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I decided to leave.
My brother’s business partner was a man of few words. He was very quiet and kept to himself. One would think that a man of few words would not say anything to my brother but, just like any gossip in a small town, it took less than 24 hours for that news to get back to Nathan.
Right when my cell phone chimed with a text message from Nathan, I knew why he was texting:
NATHAN: Did you have yourself a little make-out session with someone burly, and quite grey?
CARRIE: Good God, your partner is just like a girl.
NATHAN: He’s got his friends in mind.
CARRIE: No, I’m sorry, he’s WORSE than a girl…
CARRIE: As you would say, I’m just having some summer fun…
NATHAN: The same guy you were kissing, came in last night with his GIRLFRIEND, by the way.
CARRIE: That’s on him, not me. Yes, I know about her. We are just friends. And for the record: HE KISSED ME.
NATHAN: Be careful. It’s a small town. You don’t know if she’s a trained ninja or might be proficient with firearms and explosives….
NATHAN: She could be crazy.
CARRIE: Fine. You have a good point.
I have learned that over the years, my brother has good judgement and gives sound advice. How can I be mad at him for calling me out, when he makes me laugh at the same time?
I may have moments of weakness when it comes to dating, but somehow, one way or another, Nathan always has a way of waking me up out of those moments.
I didn’t like the position I had put myself in, and on top of it, I had just been called out by my own brother.
I couldn’t argue with him. He was right. My dignity had been bruised and I knew it would only take one little slip-up to ruin my reputation.
I had no reputation and I wanted to keep it like that.
I was embarrassed for being caught — that was a given. But I also felt humiliated after hearing that Richie Rich had no issue kissing me and then parading his girlfriend around at my brother’s bar.
I had a lot to say and I just needed to say it. I didn’t want to be labeled as a crazy girl so I had to be careful of how I worded my text. I wanted to make a point, more than I wanted to express my anger and humiliation.
CARRIE: We need to talk.
RICHIE RICH: What’s up?
CARRIE: I need to say this: It’s on me that I was out with you when I knew you had a girlfriend, but what I don’t understand is why you would take your girlfriend into Nathan’s bar, when his partner just saw you kissing me. Apparently, it’s no secret that you have a girlfriend. Did you think his partner wouldn’t tell Nathan? And you want to know why I know he’s already told Nathan? Because Nathan just sent me a text…
RICHIE RICH: Obviously, your brother has a problem with me.
CARRIE: No, you’re missing the point — I have a problem with you. I have a problem with all of this.
RICHIE RICH: What did I ever do to your brother?
Around and around we went and the conversation went nowhere fast with him. I knew he wasn’t going to be accountable. He was Richie Rich, he didn’t have to be accountable. I was so disappointed how he responded to my texts that any interest I had in him was immediately obliterated. The dopamine and endorphins that once danced in my head, which clouded my better judgement and let me kiss a guy who had a girlfriend, suddenly left.
I knew I didn’t need this drama or any kind of drama in my life. I didn’t need this kind of attention. I wanted the right kind of attention, not attention from someone who clearly had a girlfriend. I wanted better for myself and I was hell-bent on finding it. THIS WAS NOT IT.