Have you ever experienced that dreaded burning sensation that washes over you when you have been caught doing something you shouldn’t?
In fact, it’s a feeling that I’d rather not repeat. Like ever. 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 to be exact.
Fortunately, hindsight is twenty-twenty. After doing some 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 been single for a much longer period of time than I thought was possible? Of course I had dated here and there, but I didn’t just want to date. I wanted to find the man with whom I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life. I know he’s out there, it’s just a matter of finding him or him finding me.
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. But, somehow, maybe the Universe felt that I hadn’t learned all my lessons yet and if I had any insecurities left in me, there were going to be tested by the men I attracted.
A good example of that is 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, dressed in business attire, sat down at the table next to me. One particular gentleman was clearly older than the four men who accompanied him, and I think it might be the first time an older 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. Not that I never saw anyone come in wearing business attire, it’s just not that common. Besides the suit and tie, he was in great shape, too, which didn’t hurt.
After getting up to use the ladies room a few times, he eventually stopped me to introduce himself.
Honestly, I think we were a little star struck with each other, as we were both all smiles. I told him that I had only met well-dressed men like him in New York City and he was kind enough to return the compliment by saying that he couldn’t believe he would come across someone like me in our small town.
We only spoke for a few minutes before he invited me to sit at his table with him. I joined him and his friends, but soon after I decided to leave. I just didn’t want to be one of those girls who were too eager and I could also hear my brother’s voice in my head reminding me not to be too available, “Where’s the mystery, Carrie?”
I excused myself and explained that I had to get up early the following morning. We didn’t exchange phone numbers. Instead, I just told him that my brother owned the bar and that I usually came down during the week, and that I would probably bump into him again at some point.
Over the next few weeks, he showed up at my brother’s bar and we ended up sitting with each other and had some interesting conversations over a pint of beer or two.
Well, at least 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 people. Most of the people in the group, I already knew from being regulars at Nathan’s 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, until the 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.
We ended up having lunch at a quaint restaurant downtown, which I found to be odd, considering he had a girlfriend and he didn’t seem to mind being out with another woman.
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 of this well-dressed, well-mannered man, who appeared to be quite wealthy. In the few hours that we spent that afternoon, he spoke candidly about his background and how he got to where he is 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 all of it.
After we finished lunch, and had a leisurely afternoon cocktail, which I’m not really one to drink in the afternoon, our conversation took us a few doors down to a cigar lounge he often frequented. Our downtown area is a small place and with serveral restaurants and bars. 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, so 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, by taking my hand and pulling me in for a quick kiss. 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.
And, as my luck would have it, right in the middle of my smooch with Richie Rich, my brother’s business partner walked in and saw us.
He didn’t say anything.
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 that we had just been caught, but I sure did. It was a sobering moment for me 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, and 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.
And when I saw my cell phone ding 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 was in and it was bad enough to be called out by my own brother. But 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.
On top of feeling embarrassed for being caught doing somthing I shouldn’t have, I also felt humiliated after hearing that Richie Rich would kiss me and then go parade 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 ahve 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 I got 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 Richie Rich responded to my texts that any interest I had in him was immediately obliterated. The dopamine and endorphins that once danced in my head and had let me kiss a guy who had a girlfriend, suddenly did an exit stage left.
I knew I didn’t need this drama in my life. I didn’t need any of it. I knew I also deserved more than anything Richie Rich could offer. He didn’t have the integrity what it took to be the man of my dreams, that was apparent.
And, without even having to ask my brother, I knew Nathan would agree.
Thankfully, this story ended before it could even really start.