On Wednesdays, Amanda Chatel will be sharing stories about her strange, fascinating and sometimes wonderful dating life. If it makes you want to date, check out TheGloss dating page.
“What is that?” I asked.
“My notes,” said G as he sat next to me on the couch.
“And what’s that?” I asked pointing to the lower half of his body.
“You’re wearing a skirt.”
“It’s a sarong,” he explained.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I’m trying something new. Sometimes a man needs to try something new.”
“Yes, Mandy, I’m a man.”
“But you’re a man in a skirt,” I said. I was too stunned to laugh. “Oh, look, you even have some pink in your skirt.” I reached down to feel the fabric. It was a cross between a rayon and a linen, if that’s even possible. When he stood, it was a couple inches below his knee, and yes, it did have pink in it – and violet and emerald green, too.
“This is serious. We need to talk about us now,” he snapped sliding away from me on the couch.
I got up to turn on the air conditioner. It was mid-July and after the sun shone on the windowpane all afternoon, the apartment had started to feel like a tropical rain forest. I turned around and looked at G; he had just cut his hair short, almost Marine-style cropped, and it revealed a dusting of grey along the sides. His dark-rimmed glasses sat low on the bridge of his nose, and when I walked toward him, he bit his lip the way he always did when he thought he was getting his way. I sat back down, close to him, and put my hand on his knee.
“How can it be serious if you’re wearing a skirt?” I asked condescendingly.
“Margaret suggested it. She said it’s important for me to get in touch with my feminine side.”
“Her name is Margaret? Oh, darling, that’s rich!”
“You’re so rude. This is why we have to end things immediately,” he said.
“I wouldn’t be rude if you weren’t wearing a skirt. And sitting on my couch. And…”
“I don’t think we should see each other anymore.”
“I don’t think so either. You’re a man in a skirt,” I said.
“Why can’t you be serious?” he asked angrily.
“Because you’re a man in a skirt, G! How can anyone be serious around you?” I jumped up and stared at him. “You’re in a fucking skirt! You came to my apartment, with notes, in a skirt! A skirt!”
If he thought he was going to end things with me while wearing a skirt (he could call it a sarong all he wanted; I wasn’t going to use that word), he was out of his mind. Once a fella wearing women’s apparel dumps you, you immediately slide down several points on the bell curve. I did not have the necessary genes or personality to crawl my way back up the few notches I would have fallen had I let him have control of the situation.
As he went to unfold his notes, I beat him to it: “I’ve been seeing other people. Lots of people. Like over a fifty,” I said. Obviously this statement was extremely believable. “So technically, I ended this first and you can put your notes away,” I continued. He didn’t seem to be listening.
“After lots of thought and even more tears, I think we should date other people… wait,” he said, “let’s skip that part and start here: It’s been a great four months and there are a lot of memories…”
“Four months? Ugh. Seems longer. Don’t you think it seems longer?” I asked.
G sighed and glared at me. “Can I continue? Where was I? Oh, there are a lot of memories and I know we’ll always be friends…”
“I find it fascinating that you’re still reading your notes. You’re not embarrassed?”
“Why would I be embarrassed?” he asked.
“Because you’re wearing a skirt and reading break-up notes. I’d be embarrassed if I were you.”
“Okay, this is going nowhere. We’re not seeing each other anymore. How are you taking it?”
“Fine. Did you think I was going to cry?” I asked.
“Well, I thought you’d be upset about it.”
“Why? There’s nothing here to miss. I have a greater connection with that old dude across the street who sits in the lawn chair all day.” I pointed to the old dude I could see from my window who, I might add, I did say “hello” to every morning.
G shook his head. “You’re impossible. Can I have my book back before I leave? The one I let you borrow, although I know you never did.”
“I never read it because I don’t read that type of malarkey,” I explained.
“It was a really great book, Mandy. It’s my favorite so when you insult it, you insult me,” said G in an overly dramatic tone.
“The only reason it’s your favorite, G, is because it’s the only book you’ve ever read.”
“Either way, just give me my fucking book.”
“Can’t. I don’t have it. I threw it out.”
“Why? Who throws out a book?”
“I was uncomfortable with it sitting on my bookshelf. I had friends over — I couldn’t let them think I read The Da Vinci Code. I have standards.”
“You’re so immature,” said G. He stood up, but not before pulling his skirt back a bit as if to make room for his elaborate exit. He stared at me for a minute without saying a word, then leaned in to hug me goodbye. Just as his fingertips reached my bare shoulders I pulled away.
“You’re wearing a skirt because your new lady friend suggested you do so. Based on that alone, I don’t think you’re in any position to pass judgement on me,” I said quietly. I was trying to restrain myself from something; I just didn’t realize what just yet.
“Have a nice life, Mandy,” said G as he walked to the doorway.
“That’s a original,” I balked. I didn’t look in his direction until I heard the door shut. I walked to my room and fell backward onto my bed. I immediately started to cry. I called my sister and tried to formulate the words of what had just occurred, but couldn’t.
“Just breathe, then tell me what happened,” she said.
“G,” I started with my trembling voice, “he –he just tried to break up with me… and — and… he was wearing a skirt.”
“What do you mean? Like one of your skirts?”
“No. He came over wearing a skirt and tried to end things with me, but I did it first.” I had finally gained some composure so I could push out those few words.
“So you’re crying because you almost got dumped by a guy in a skirt, right?”
“Yes!” I yelled, “I’m not crying over him obviously!”
“You know,” said my sister, “you can never tell anyone this; you can never let anyone know you were almost dumped by a skirted-boy.”
“I know!” I yelled again, “I should go take a shower or something — like wipe away my mascara and the memory of the skirt.”
“Can I ask you something first?”
“Of course,” I sighed.
“Was the skirt at least pretty?”
“Well, the fabric was okay, but it wasn’t something I’d wear,” I said surprisingly serious about the matter.
“He always did have a really bad sense of style,” she said, “one can only imagine how badly that would cross over into women’s wear as well.” As usual, my sister was right.
I headed to the bathroom, turned on the water and let it run until the room was steamy. I washed G’s attempt at a hug from my body, and scrubbed my fingertips clean from the touch of his skirt. I do hope, wherever he is, that was his first and last foray into the world of skirts, or as he called it that day, a “sarong.” Honestly, I can’t pull off the color orange and he can’t pull off a skirt. It’s just how things go sometimes, and there’s no sense in fighting it.