March 12, 2007–Monday (non-italic text within parentheses are current notations)
Today’s Truth: MEN SAY STUPID THINGS TO GET A WOMAN’S ATTENTION.
Like Ryan (not his name) telling me Lisa’s not wired right. Bruce (not his name) telling me a story about how he’ll be “into” his girlfriend later today. Victor telling me he had a lap dance or would like to see Thunder From Down Under so he can take advantage of some horny women. Are they trying to turn us off or on? Do they even know? How calculated are the dumb things that come out of their mouths? Or do they just blurt out whatever’s on their minds? What do they hope to gain by sharing this information? They certainly can’t help themselves. And they know they shouldn’t say it because moments or days later they’re backpedaling or covering it up, probably forgetting they ever said it by sheer will because it’s so stupid. But we women remember because that’s what they wanted. They said it to get our attention and get it they did. I won’t ever forget those three things those men said to me. In my head forever. And now on paper. And I know where we were when they said it and how it made me feel. Like crap. Stunned. Like, “I can’t believe you just said that.” For no other reason than to get a reaction. Is it a test? What will she think of me if I say this dumb thing? What will she do?
. Yes, men certainly say some dumb shit.
The thing that stands out to me the most in reading this some ten years later is the line about how these three things will be in my head forever. Because I completely forgot about Bruce’s and Victor’s comments until I just read them now. I don’t take them so personally anymore, either. Now I can see it for what it was: men are constantly thinking about sex. Victor’s harmless comment about screwing random horny women is like my knowing my mom made me a peach cobbler but I’m still ogling the apple crumb pie at the Barnes & Noble café. As for Bruce, everything out of his mouth around that time was about his girlfriend, from “we went to buy a carton of milk” to telling me the song playing on my cd (cd’s were the thing ten years ago, beautiful babies) was her favorite. Who cares? Clearly I did. Wish I could reach back in time and tell me to lighten up. Now Ryan’s comment–totally different story. This one I do still remember, and it’s a remark that continues to piss Lisa off to this day. Let’s break it down for you:
In January 2007 Ryan turned 40. A group of us (me, Lisa, Ryan, Ryan’s wife Liv and friend Paul–not their names) went to an Irish pub to celebrate. Four of us–that would be everyone but Liv–had spent time together that past September in Los Angeles. It was supposed to be a trip to shop a comedy pilot Ryan and I had co-written, but Ryan was a little sidetracked by visiting a woman he clearly had the hots for. I won’t go into details, I’m not sure of all that happened, but at this time Ryan was having trouble in his marriage and was contemplating leaving Liv. I was having my own drama with Victor, Lisa was being strung along by some guy Ryan and I worked with at HOB, so the three of us spent a lot of time talking, both on that LA trip and at Einstein Bagels back home in Vegas. Lisa didn’t like Ryan or anything, but she is a flirt and although she didn’t flirt with him in front of Liv at Ryan’s pub birthday, she didn’t offer Liv the respect she thought she deserved as Ryan’s wife. I don’t know what Ryan was telling Liv behind closed doors, but she clearly didn’t like me and really couldn’t stand Lisa, especially when he opened Lisa’s gag birthday gift of a mini blow-up girlfriend. Inappropriate in front of his wife? Sure. And I think it spooked Ryan, who was afraid Lisa would somehow inadvertently spill the beans on his extracurricular pursuits. Then on the Friday before my birthday in February, Ryan caught up to me at work, grilling me about Lisa, what was her problem, why was she the way she was. The way she was? Uh, I’ve always thought of Ryan as a little Amway himself, so I was like, “What do you mean?” He gets this real serious look on his face and says, “She’s really intense.” Intense. I ponder this. I know she’s a nudgie. I know she’s an artist. I know she can be a drama queen. But intense? I ask again: “What do you mean?” Looking quite intense, Ryan says to me, “I’d watch out for her if I were you. She’s not wired right.” He left me then to go start his shift and I’m completely dumbfounded. What happened? What does he know that I don’t know? What is Lisa not telling me? My mind goes back to the most recent upset I can grasp, when she playfully offered to give Victor a foot massage he’d never forget and I lost my shit on her, right in front of him. Had Ryan been privy to something else?
When I got home I brought up my conversation with Ryan. I wouldn’t normally pass on that information to her because people’s negative stupid comments and opinions rarely add to one’s esteem, but I was hoping she would shed some light on why he would say something like that. She was quiet for a minute, then just said, “Wow.”
. “Why would he say that?” I pressed her. I was thinking about the guy we handed our script off to in Los Angeles. Yep, Lisa had flirted with him, too, so much so that he asked for her number (neither Ryan nor I got a callback for our efforts, but Lisa did). Did Ryan’s comment have anything to do with that whole thing? Lisa only shook her head, grimacing. “I have no idea why he would say that,” she said, repeating, “Wow.” I felt there was more to the story, but decided to leave it alone for the time being. We were going out to have dinner at Claim Jumper that night with Lisa’s co-workers Paul and Nancy for my birthday, something Lisa had organized to cheer me up.
Turns out what she’d organized was a little surprise dinner party of sorts, with ten others from my job and hers. Now, let me say I hate surprise parties. Marry that with the fact that I’d been crying just before getting to the restaurant and you can understand that I was more than a little spooked. 2007 was a rough year for me because of Victor’s departure and I spent the first part of it crying. But seeing all these people who had shown up for me, and Lisa’s taking the time to organize it, helped me to see how lucky I was for having such genuine, caring people in my life. And it was on the way home after this party that Lisa revealed what had gone down between her and Ryan.
Shortly after his pub birthday Lisa got the idea to host a secret dinner party for mine. She called Ryan to invite him and Liv. He said he’d see what he could do. The day of my party she called him again to confirm. He said Liv wasn’t feeling well, her bad back was flaring up, and they probably weren’t going to make it. She told him that if he just came for a little while–appetizer or dessert–it would be better than nothing. Come without Liv. Surely she could understand given how much cheering up I needed (Ryan had been witness to the Victor situation, during and after. I’d cried to him many times) and how I had been there for his pathetic dinner (my word pathetic, not hers). When he was still waffling, Lisa offered him this advice: “I’ve known Rachel for a long time. Friendship and loyalty are everything to her. She’ll remember everyone who shows up at this party, but more important, she’ll never forget who didn’t. If you don’t show up for her, your relationship will never be the same again. I’m just telling you this as a friend. You better show up.” After this he saw me and out came the not wired right comment. Knowing how he felt about her–because I told her–she still called Ryan from Claim Jumper–he lived ten minutes away–and asked if he was going to show. He said he was on his way out the door but Liv needed him home; he wasn’t going to make it. So he never showed. He never even got me a card, or brought up to me that I had a party he was invited to and just couldn’t make. I wasn’t even that important to him that he couldn’t just say, “Sorry I was so lame.” In a string of disappointments, this indeed was the topper. “The final nail in the coffin,” I told him one day as I handed him the treatment I’d done for one of his scripts. “I didn’t know we had a coffin,” he said to me. I shrugged. “And therein lies the problem.”
My dear friend Jefe witnessed this exchange (he was at my party and now he’s in heaven making the angels laugh, God, how I miss you Jefe, your loyalty, your cheerleading, it’s still so fresh, kisses and tears to you, my friend, I wish you could read this so you could see written down once again how much you meant to me) and later when Ryan would approach him for advice, Jefe said simply, “I think you blew it.” And he did. Yes, we’re “friends” on Facebook, but we never went out again after that, never socialized, never wrote together, never had another coffee in Einstein’s. Indeed, I’ve never forgotten that he didn’t show for me, never forgot that he told me the person who always has my back wasn’t “wired right.” Screw you, Ryan. Don’t know which infraction is worse: dissing me, or insulting one of mama bird’s peeps.
Yes, ten years later I still agree that men say some dumb shit, but it’s what they don’t say that can be the final nail in the coffin.