A few years ago, I scored tickets to the ribbon cutting for a swank new executive business center in downtown Chicago. It was a red-carpet affair with many of the city’s most glam in attendance (how I managed to get tickets is beyond me). I took a good girlfriend with me and we spent most of the evening stalking the waiters for hors d’oeuvres and sucking down the free wine like it a Friday night instead of a random Tuesday.
I don’t remember the exact details, but at some point, my girlfriend and I struck up a conversation with two guys (or maybe they struck up a conversation with us) and when I mentioned to one of them I was a freelance writer, his eyes lit up (I get this a lot)—he was looking for a ghostwriter for a project (I get this a lot, too) and would I be able to help him? Sure, sure, why not, I thought as I handed him (let’s call him “Ray”) my card, my only thought being “that’s cool, a potential new client.”
On my way home that night, my phone rings and it’s Ray. “Hmm,” I thought, “he must really want some help with this book. I mean people usually call during business hours to discuss new projects.” Never occurred to me he was calling to ask me out. Yeah, sometimes, I’ve got no game.
We dated for a few months, but truth be told, the chemistry wasn’t really there; he was cute, but not drop-dead cute. He wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but could be entertaining. He was nice enough, but didn’t send me swooning. I guess I kept him around thinking something might spark. I mean, don’t we ALL hear these urban legends about couples with no chemistry in the beginning who later fell madly and passionately in love with each other? I could be missing out on something amazing by cutting him loose.
I continued to mull this over when Ray came over one Sunday night to hang out. For some reason, I was so tired, I could barely keep my eyes open. I announced I was going to bed early and instead of joining me, Ray said he wanted to finish the movie we’d been watching.
“By the way,” he asked. “Is it okay if I use your computer for a few minutes to check my email?”
“Sure,” I shrugged as I keyed in the password before shuffling off to bed.
The next morning, as I got ready for my day, I went to check my own email. Because I am a naturally curious person and because duh, I’m a woman, I clicked on my browser history to see what sites, other than email, he’d been on the night before.
First, I laughed. Then, I might have thrown up in my mouth a little.
There were pages and pages of porn sites.
I shut my computer off and waited for Ray to stumble out into the living room. I sat on my couch, calmly eating a bowl of shredded wheat when he made his appearance twenty minutes later.
“Good morning,” he said. “How are you?”
“Yeah, fine. Listen, I don’t appreciate you looking at porn on my computer.”
“No, I didn’t,” he said, just a little too quickly.
“Uh, yeah you did.”
“Oh,” he said, clearly busted. “Well how can you tell?”
I laughed. “If you don’t know, I’m not gonna tell you.”
“Oh,” he said, before lapsing into silence and concentrating intently on “Good Morning America” on the TV. I mean, what else could he say?
Ray hung around a few more minutes, trying to make small talk with me before I finally told him he had to scoot because I had places to go. All day, I wondered how someone could be so brazen and not to mention stupid enough to go trolling through porn sites on someone else’s computer and worse, not be savvy enough to CLEAR THE BROWSER HISTORY. Needless to say, any ambivalence I felt about him had been wiped out in one fell swoop.
Since I’m a masochist, my curiosity got the better of me again. I just had to know exactly how many sites he’d been on. So when I got home that night, I counted and came up with a grand total of 45. 45! (and no, I didn’t look at any of them. I’m not that much of a masochist).
I sent him a text message. “I don’t appreciate you looking at 45 porn sites on my computer. Do me a favor and lose my number.”
No sooner than the message left my phone that he started auto-dialing me. I ignored all his calls, sending them to voicemail. I figured he would give up after a day or two, but funny enough, he hung in there, robo-calling me a couple of times a day for about two months. I never responded to any of his calls or messages and eventually he gave up. About a year later, I got a friend request from him on Facebook, which I deleted, but not before taking a shower.