The Cost of Figuring Out a Guy Isn’t Right
I know that traditional wisdom dictates I’ll have to kiss a lot of frogs before I find the right person. Do I have the patience for this? Yes. Does my wallet? I’m not sure.
This past weekend marked my first fizzled love affair of my second year in college—and thus my first fizzled love affair on a budget. Finding out things weren’t going to happen was actually pretty expensive.
Patrick and I met while both carrying our clothes down to the common laundry room in our apartment. It turned out he lived two doors down from me. We only chatted for a couple minutes—it’s hard to keep a flirty banter going while acutely aware you have lacy underwear nestled in your arms—but I made a vague promise to “stop by sometime.” College students may be the flakiest people on the planet, so I think we both assumed I was never stopping by.
But the plans my roommate and I had fell through, so we found ourselves knocking on his door later that night. He and his roommate invited us in, and we ended up talking in the kitchen for more than two hours.
Not only was Patrick an engineering major, but he also loved photography, ran every day, could carry a conversation, spoke German, laughed a lot, and eschewed the normal college guy diet in favor of espressos, French toast, and pesto tortellini. I was besotted.
A couple days after our kitchen rendezvous, Patrick asked me if I wanted to go on a jog with him. I love to run, but hadn’t for weeks as my shoes were too worn-out and I’d been avoiding getting new ones. No matter: This could be my future boyfriend! My roommate drove me to the local running store, where the salesperson almost cried when she saw the state of my Sauconys, and $116 later, and I had new sneakers—and a date.
The run was pretty fun, although it’s bit hard to get to know someone when you’re going 9 miles per hour. We got back to the hallway outside our rooms and grinned at each other, the sweat pouring down our faces. I wanted to hang out, but I wanted even more to shower.
“So, I’ll see you?” he said. I nodded happily.
According to the rules of twenty-first century dating, the next date was my responsibility. We got lunch (I paid) and ate on the pier, watching the sun slowly melt into the water. The conversation flowed non-stop for three hours.
The weekend after that, we visited the local pumpkin patch, accompanied by our roommates. Between the corn maze, huge slice of pie, decorative pumpkin, and carving supplies, the afternoon cost me around $25. Although I go to Foods For Less for chicken broth because it’s twenty cents cheaper than at Trader Joe’s, I thought nothing of plunking down five bucks for a cheesy corn maze. This was an investment in my happiness, I reasoned—and kept reasoning, as we took turns paying for movies, lunches, and coffee.
This meant my $30 a month budget for “fun” stuff was hosed. But I was still focused on how perfect Patrick was and how many of my boxes he checked. Smart, cute, and fun—I’d hit the motherlode.
Except not so much. One day, as I was carrying my laundry back to my apartment, I heard my name. Patrick and his roommates (who, remember, lived down the hall) were talking about me and had clearly forgotten their door was wide open.
“She is so weird!” said Roommate Number One. “Tell me again why you’re hanging out with her?”
Patrick laughed uncomfortably and said nothing. Roommate Number Two joined in on the ribbing.
“Dude, remember when we were all on that hike together and she fell on her butt and then she tried to pass it off like it wasn’t embarrassing, but her cheeks were bright red? That was freakin’ hilarious.”
(For the record, yes, I did fall, but no, I wasn’t embarrassed. My cheeks were red because we’d been hiking outside for hours, jerk.)
“Yeah, she can definitely be a bit off,” Patrick finally responded.
I turned the corner and waltzed over to the entrance of their apartment, laundry basket still resting on my hip. (Pretty ironic that laundry both started and finished my Patrick affair.)
“You might want to close your door next time,” I said sweetly. Then I spun on my heel and walked away.
Not only did Patrick fail to come after me, but he wasn’t even brave enough to send me a wimpy text apology. In a couple of days he’d gone from a dream guy to someone I wouldn’t even wave to on the street.
My disappointment over the failed relationship was compounded by the realization I had spent more than $250 in the last two months on Patrick-related expenses. Hopefully, distinguishing the frogs from the princes isn’t this expensive every time, because I have a lot of dating ahead of me.
Oh well: You live, you learn, and you spend, I guess.
This is the fourth column in a multi-part series.
Aja Frost is a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo who loves writing… and dessert. Follow her on Twitter @ajavuu.