There are many advantages to being a D.C. townie. Lifelong friends. Familiar bartenders. Free shots. Running into people I went to high school with, and finding out how many of them peaked in 1993.
But there’s one drawback: Washington is lousy with romantic failure. My failed romances, to be exact. I work five blocks away from my first boyfriend. I pass my ex-husband’s apartment (and my ex-car) on my way to a friend’s house. I routinely run into guys I’ve gone out with, everywhere from the sidewalk to the bar to the police station.
This isn’t as bad as it sounds. I’m friends, or on friendly terms, with almost everyone I’ve ever dated. My Facebook friends list is a veritable Ouija board, conjuring the Ghosts of Beaux Past. It’s no big deal, and I can make small talk with virtually anyone.
But one category of run-in can knock me speechless: smacking into an Ether Boy.
We all know an Ether Boy. He's that man who took you out two, three, or four times, never to be heard from again. A tsunami of enthusiasm, a barrage of the you’re-so-pretties, followed by dead air and queasy inadequacy. I can handle rejection with fantastic grace, but an information vacuum turns me into a bunny-boiling insecure wacknutter. When a run-in happens, I can’t decide whether to dive behind a tree or shove the guy into traffic.
So, what do you do if you both like the same bars? And you run into one another? And what if the Ether Boy is on a date? Lucky for me, I have a cadre of loyal (and mentally twisted) girlfriends who enjoy a good Dater Demolition Derby.
Last week, we downed sausages and beer and waited to see if the latest Ether Boy had the gall to show up at my favorite happy hour spot. The girls cheerfully offered to go up and say something awful:
But that might not be enough. It might be necessary to get weird. Pick your favorite:
1. Hi! I’m Ether’s parole officer.
2. He’s allergic, you know. To the female orgasm. He gets hives.
3. Ether really likes it when you lick his left elbow.
You know, I’m almost disappointed that the Ether Boy didn’t show. Because this would have been gold.
Happy Friday, gang.