Monday, February 28, 2005

"You could learn a lot from a dummy"

Monday, February 15, 2005
Steve's work, 9th floor conference room

Jerry approaches me, looking sad.

"I need to speak to you after the meeting."

"All right."

Steph has not mentioned Elena at all. I have no idea how Elena and Jerry are doing, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if she's dumped him. The guy was up her ass like a cheap pair of panties, and he sure as HELL wasn't listening to me when I told him to cool it.

I've spoken to Jerry a couple of times since we had lunch on the 7th, and he's only mentioned Elena very obliquely. "What would you buy for a girl for Valentine's Day, if you just started seeing her very recently?" He asked a few days ago.

I'm tempted not to answer at all. This is the guy who was all gung ho about following his instincts, remember. "I'd buy her a little stuffed animal and a cute card, and I WOULDN'T write the word 'love' at the bottom," I say.

11:30. The meeting ends.

"I screwed up," Jerry says.

"How so?"

"I bought her a necklace with a little....diamond on it, and-"

"You bought her a DIAMOND?!"

"Just a little one! On a necklace!"

I'm not training Jerry anymore. I have to remember that he's not my problem at this point.

"So what happened?"

"She opened it, and she liked it! And we had a nice night; we went out for a few drinks and had dinner. And then we went back to her place and we were talking, and I... just said something stupid. And now she's pissed at me, so..."

"What did you say?"

"Something stupid."

"Go ahead, tell me."

"You're gonna tell me I'm an idiot."

I look at him. "Tell me."

"I said, 'I could see myself marrying you someday'. But I said 'someday'!"

"Ugh," I say, as if punched in the stomach. "What did she say?"

"She just got this really pissed off look on her face and said, 'Jerry, you gotta back off'."

"NOW do you see why I was warning you?"

"I know, I know. I just have such rotten luck. I have terrible luck! Why can't luck be on my side, just once?"

We start to walk down the hall.

"How did you leave off with her?"

"She said she had a lot of studying to do, so I left. I haven't talked to her today yet. I'm sure she's probably breaking up with me now."

"It's a possibility."

"It was just that one stupid sentence. One WORD! Everything would have been fine if I didn't make that stupid comment! Now she's gonna break up with me! I always do this! I'm such an IDIOT!" he smacks the wall with an open palm.

"Easy, killer. You're not an idiot."

"I wish I could take back that one stupid word. I wish I could just take it back. Maybe if I call her and apologize-"

"Listen. I already told you what the problem was. Your approach and your attitude were all wrong. THAT'S why she's pushing you away. It's not because of bad luck, or because of a certain word or sentence. It's the whole way you're going about it!"

"But that was what I felt in my heart!"

"You were just starting a relationship! What you were feeling in your heart was .... googly-eyed mushiness!"

He shakes his head. "I'm gonna die alone."

"Cut it out."

"Will you have Stephanie call her and ask if she's breaking up with me?"

"No. This isn't high school. Next thing we'll be passing her a note: 'Are you breaking up with Jerry? Please circle yes or no'."

He laughs.

"I think if you kept it more casual, you could've done something with her for a while, but you might just wanna write her off at this point."

"So you're saying that, if I had handled it like you, I could have had some casual sex for a few weeks or a month?"


"I don't want that."

"You don't wanna get LAID? Come on, Jerry."

"I don't want casual sex! I want a girlfriend!"

"Fair enough."

"So what's the point of doing it your way? If the girl doesn't want someone serious, I don't want her anyway."

I look at him. In a way, he's right. I still believe he went too fast at the beginning, but at some point he's got to show his true colors. And there ARE girls out there who respond to that sort of thing. So maybe THOSE are the girls he should be looking for.

The two of them clearly want different things. There would only be one reason for carrying on, for delaying the inevitable: Sex. Jerry could have gotten laid - a lot - while the relationship slowly dried up, withered away and died. That's how I would have handled it.

But that's just the thing: Jerry is not me. And MY way of handling it is not necessarily the best way for Jerry to. It's not necessarily the RIGHT way. It's just my way.

"You have a point."

We reach my office. He shakes my hand. "I know I disappointed you. I'm sorry I let you down."

"You didn't let me down. Just take it slow at the beginning with the next one, ok?"

"OK, Steve."