Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Just an update on the high school reunion guy. For some reason, I woke up last Sunday wondering why I was planning to have lunch again with a someone who:
          1. Sent me an email invite to have lunch after fifty years, when we had barely been acquaintances in high school. He said it could be the date we never had, but should have, making it sound like he was single. The date thing was news to me. And I thought a bit presumptuous, but flattery won out. 
          2. Never bothered to tell me he was married -- not once during our lunch, even though he mentioned a former second wife. I found out he was on wife number three afterward, when he posted a profile on our reunion website.
          3. Began to email me several times following lunch with newsy reports of what he was doing on his work trip to Europe. Yes, we had agreed to have lunch another time when he came back from his travels. One of those "Let's do this again" things. But this was behavior of someone you're dating. Not someone you have lunch with once every fifty years. Who is MARRIED.
          4. Told me in an email that he'd had a "row" with his third wife, who accused him of trolling for a fourth. No backstory. No explanation. Why in the world was he sharing this with me? Was I part of the trolling? Did he, in fact, actually know his true motivation for contacting me? I have received phone calls from former boyfriends after many years of silence. I always assume it's because their marriages are this close to going down the tubes. I sometimes wonder if they even realize it. And I'd never had a date with this guy.
          5. Said he thought feminism was sexist. In a reply to one of his emails that mentioned lunch, I said that, as a feminist, I would be happy to pay for my own lunch. Instead of kidding with me and suggesting I pay for both our lunches or something, he has to tell me he thinks feminism is sexist. My response, "Eat shit and die."  Kidding.
          So, all these transgressions had piled up and started to simmer as the days and weeks passed, until I woke up and realized, "Nope. Whatever this is, is over."
          Here's the letter I wrote to say adios:
          When I got up this morning, I realized I am not looking forward to having lunch with you again. I think it has taken time for my sense of integrity to catch up with what's going on here. Mostly I'm wondering, WTF is going on here? 

I was amused when you contacted me, although somewhat puzzled/annoyed about your date comment -- the date you said we never had, but should have. It seemed quite presumptuous, but I let it ride. Also, as I mentioned at the time, I wouldn't ordinarily have lunch with someone I barely knew in school and hadn't seen for fifty years. Hey, we're old. What's the point?

But the date comment still rankles, first because it never occurred to me that we shoulda/woulda/coulda had a date in high school. We never ran in the same circles. And secondly, the comment made it sound as though you were single. After I learned you were on your third marriage, it became extremely inappropriate in retrospect. 

On a side note, lest you think I don't have married men friends, let me disabuse you of that. My best friend [man or woman] for over thirty years was married. I was visiting him and his wife and family at one of their homes practically every other weekend. With my kids, a boyfriend, or by myself. He died five years ago and I still miss Sunday morning breakfasts arguing over what's in the New York Times. 

You also made a second comment about having a row with wife number three, who accused you of trolling for wife number four. Talk about too much information. And inappropriate information at that. 

Another issue is one you may or may not understand. I hardly knew you in school. So it was a little disconcerting to have lunch, agree to have another lunch sometime -- sometime being the operative word for me -- and then start getting all manner of emails like we were dating. I didn't sign up for the newsletter. 

My point being that every relationship has its distance, especially in the beginning, whether it's with a woman or a man. If I'd had lunch with some woman from our class who barely knew me back in the day, and she started emailing me about her travels while she was on business, I'd back off really fast. Because honestly, I don't give a shit, unless there's a funny story, an interesting piece of information I would like, or at least something relevant to ME. 

But more importantly, I take a long time to get to know people -- years in some cases -- before I feel like being friends. Too bad we're so close to death.

I originally thought having lunch another time could be interesting. I like good food. I enjoy people who have led interesting lives, and have stories to tell. I like to be amused. 

However, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of you is money. And generally that's not a compelling attraction for me. Especially if it's inherited. And having money, making money, spending money, and giving money away seem to be top of mind with you. 

That's when I realized that your money was the only reason I would be having lunch. To pick your brain for ideas for funding. I'm sure that's not what you had in mind.  

Plus I am a feminist. Not because of any books I've read or meetings I've attended. Because I've lived it. It probably started when I couldn't play Little League, even though I was the best baseball player in our neighborhood. Then there was the night I found myself talking to a stupid ball player who was getting a free education to play football at Duke, while I had busted my buns to get in, so my parents could pay through the nose.  Or the day I got hired with more experience for less money than the guy they hired on the same day, in the same position. Plus he got business cards. And I didn't. Not to mention the good times a divorced mom can have from the day she gets out of her marriage and starts raising a first grader and her little sister alone.

So I hardly appreciated your gratuitous comment about feminism being sexist. I found that quite insensitive, not to mention as ignorant as using the "n" word. 

Perhaps you can understand, after reading all this, I think another lunch would be all right, but only if you brought your wife to meet me, and I am able to pay my own way. Otherwise, see you at the reunion. 

Needless to say, he opted out.


Donna said...

Wow. You do have a way with words. Way to go!

Judith HeartSong said...

"I didn't sign up for the newsletter..."

He should take his wife to lunch and maybe get to know her.

Emily Suess said...

I love everything about your response to him. You'll have to thank him for me -- for being so entertaining.