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Ghosts of Boyfriends Past (Part 2)

October 20, 2010
notebook paper, spiral bound

Photo Courtesy of theilr

Last time, I told you about some of the first guys I ever dated. Catch up here if you haven’t already. Now, it’s time to get back to my quick recaps of all the guys I’ve ever dated (don’t worry, there aren’t many):

My One High School Boyfriend – I met My One High School Boyfriend when I was telemarketing at MCI, so honestly, I never actually dated someone from high school that I met at high school. HS Boyfriend was a cute guy, super nice, but had some family issues that were a bit much to handle at times. He also didn’t have much direction for after high school (and I was certain I wanted to go to college). We met when we worked together, but at some point he stopped working at MCI (I can’t seem to remember if he got fired or what), and then we only saw each other at school. I was basically working 25 hours a week, going to high school full-time and preparing for college. One day, HS Boyfriend broke up with me via a note on college rule notebook paper that he handed to me in the hallway between classes. He claimed I didn’t spend enough time with him, but I suspected there were other reasons (like I didn’t want to sleep with him. I was really sticking to my guns here). I was a little pissed that his delivery was via a note, but strangely, I didn’t care all that much. I was excited about college and didn’t see how the relationship would have lasted anyway. But, it was fun, for one brief moment in time, to have a boyfriend in high school that actually went to my school.

The One Who Got Away (TOWGA) – The real reason for these posts, if I’m honest, is to tell you about The One Who Got Away. TOWGA holds a very special place in my heart, and I call him The One Who Got Away, because, well, he literally got away. Despite my very best efforts. I probably came close to kidnapping him, I liked him so much.

I met TOWGA at the gym as well (hmm, note to self: the gym is a good place to meet men). He was … beautiful. I don’t have any other words for him. He was physically attractive but also had this amazing personality that radiated from him. I saw him at the gym one day, walked up to him and made my attempt at a pick up line:

ME: Are you married?


ME: Are you gay?


ME: Are you busy tonight?


ME: My name is Catherine.

I was quite proud of that effort and have been looking to repeat it ever since. TOWGA went out with my best friend and me that night. TOWGA was a Marine, and I distinctly remember bringing him to my father’s house one day while my Dad was at work. When my father got wind of that, he said (being a retired ARMY man), “Don’t you EVER bring another Marine in my house. EVER!” He was pissed, livid. But that made me want TOWGA even more. It was like a forbidden romance, a la Romeo and Juliet. Only I had no intentions of killing myself.

Here’s the rub though: TOWGA had a girlfriend in Mississippi. And he didn’t want to cheat on her. So we went out several times as friends, and it was like a perfect romance movie. We completed each other’s sentences, immediately had inside jokes and every single time he touched me, I felt this incredible electricity. I remember one time, he came to the lake with some friends and me and we had the most amazing weekend. It was rainy, so we had to find things to do to entertain ourselves. We ended up walking through abandoned houses, hoping they were haunted. Turns out they were just crack houses. But it was fun anyway. Then, we came back to our camper, and I remember being chilly from the rain, and leaning back into his arms. My friends were talking, but all I could feel were his arms around me, his breath on my neck. Nothing else mattered. I probably didn’t talk for an hour (which is rare for me, considering my nickname growing up was Motor Mouth), because I was so content in his arms.

I eventually told TOWGA I thought we had a connection, and that he was only 19 and how could he have such a serious girlfriend that lived so far away? He should live a little (aka, live a little with me!). He wasn’t buying it. We fooled around one night, but that was about the extent of our romance. I was heartbroken when he wouldn’t give me a chance, and we lost touch shortly before he went to Afghanistan.

A few years ago, TOWGA contacted me on MySpace (oh, MySpace. How I miss you. Simpler times.). When I saw his message, I was dating my ex fiancée (but we weren’t engaged yet). My heart stopped. I had been searching for him online for years, wondering what had happened to him, worried that he had gotten hurt, or worse, died in Afghanistan or Iraq. But here he was, contacting me on MySpace. I called my friend to tell her about it, and found myself crying tears of joy that he had found me. Tears, people. How could a man I knew so briefly affect me in such a way? I wrote him back, and … never heard from him again. True story. That is why he’s the one who got away.

For years, I wondered what I could have done differently. I had acted a little (read: a lot) crazy for a bit, trying to convince him that I was his soul mate, and this included a few tears and me asking him, “Don’t you feel this connection? This is something special!” But at the end of the day, I put everything I had into making him want me. Maybe he just didn’t feel it. Maybe he felt it, but with his girlfriend in Mississippi. Or maybe he was gay, which is what a lot of my friends said later, because he did have some effeminate characteristics. But I’ll tell you this: If my life were a romantic comedy, he’d come strolling back into my life. Right about … NOW. But alas, my life is not a movie.

Short Guy – Short Guy was super nice (and hence the name, the only guy I’ve ever dated that is pretty close to shorter than me), but not really ambitious enough for me. For example, he had been working on his associate’s degree for years and years and years. He did finally get his associate’s, but he’s still working on his bachelor’s (and we’re seven years later now) and living with his mom. So I guess my first impressions about his ambitions (or lack thereof) were correct. Anyway, Short Guy and I dated for a couple of months. It was with Short Guy that I committed my worst ever dating act (yes, worse than dating brothers).

I was at a graduation party for Short Guy’s associate’s degree, I believe, at my sister’s house. While Short Guy and I had been seeing each other for a few months, we had never declared we were in a serious relationship. Short Guy had too much to drink, and passed out in a back room. I was still awake, and as the party thinned out, ended up hanging out with the man who ultimately became my ex fiancée. Well, me and my ex fiancée shared our first kiss that night, really our first make out session, on my sister’s couch while watching When Harry Met Sally. Short Guy awoke from his drunken slumber, and went to find me. And walked in on me making out with my ex fiancée (his friend). I’m such an asshole. So that was the end of me and Short Guy.

And that concludes the story. After making out with my ex fiancée that night, we began dating and ended up together for seven years. Almost got married. Almost did a lot of things – including babies and till death do us part. And I’m back in the dating world again. I started dating at 16, now I’m almost 26, and it’s amazing how many things have changed (remember my comparison of dating in 2003 to 2010? An oldie but a goodie). But, it’s also amazing how some things have really remained the same. I still love attention. I still love kissing. I still love recklessly flirting. I still want to track down Nice Hair Guy and ask him what kind of shampoo/conditioner he used. And I still, about every year or so, try to find and reconnect with The One Who Got Away.

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that in attendance at my high school graduation party were: Ex Fiancée, HOT Gym Guy and My One High School Boyfriend. It was a lot of fun juggling those three romantic interests in one night – not being committed to any one of them. And that was my last significant single moment, because a few weeks later, my ex fiancée texted me, in the back of my Dad’s car, “Will you be my girlfriend?” To which I replied, “Yes. I will be your girlfriend. On a 30-day trial basis.” Wow, that was a long 30 days.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. Elle permalink
    October 20, 2010 9:17 am

    Hilarious stuff. Too bad you weren´t dating whore so we would get to read Boyfriends: Part III.

    But don´t give up on TOWGA, you don´t believe in comebacks? MySpace is dead, Facebook´s on the way down (like my good friend said, really cool people aren´t on Facebook, but maybe he was just making moves on me cause it´s notorious I never entered Zuckerberg´s Kingdom of Heaven:), the time of real-life dating and TOWGA may come. Again. 🙂

    As I already said in reply to your previous post, your up-to-date view on your own dating history is refreshing and funny. But
    have you ever had a romantic purely platonic object, you secretly adored and never told him? It would deserve a new list:
    Dreams of Boyfriend´s Past:)

  2. October 20, 2010 10:30 am

    Elle: Thank you! Yeah, wish I had more stories to tell, but damn I was with the same guy for seven years. Sorta reduced my opportunities for dating :).

    Now on TOWGA – it’s been seven our eight years since I last saw him. I have tried to find him on Facebook, I’ve Googled him, I’ve done a lot of crazy stuff to try and find him (including calling a random number I found one time because I thought it was his). If he’s not on Facebook yet, I’m not sure he’s going to be. You know? But I do hope to see him someday, I just don’t think it’s in the cards for me.

    Hmmm, now I’m thinking about if I’ve ever adored someone and not told him. Actually, there was this professor in college that I thought was amazingly hot. I obviously didn’t tell him. What’s funny, though, is that one day I was talking to a female professor of mine (she was really cool and laid back, and felt like a friend) about how hot this other proffesor was. He was like Richard Gere. I used to daydream about us talking politics in China (he taught International Studies) or the implications of the Cold War over dinner. Then, we’d have amazing sex afterward. Well…. I told this fantasy to my female professor, who then said, do you mean Professor ____? And I was like yes, how did you know? She informed me that he was her husband. They just had different last names. FAIL!! LOL. I’ve always wondered if she told him about my little fantasy 🙂 So he’s definitely on my Dreams of Boyfriend’s Past list 🙂

  3. October 20, 2010 11:47 am

    I think most of us have a TOWGA in our lives. I’ve been trying to find mine for years now, but even the mighty Facebook has been of little help. Probably because she’s got a pretty common name so there’s, like, 895 of her on there, not to mention the fact that I’m also sure she’s happily married with a new name now, anyway. But does that stop me from trying occasionally to track her down? Not anymore than it does you, trying to find your own TOWGA.

    Best of luck with that.

    • October 20, 2010 12:55 pm

      You think most people have a TOWGA? I guess I never thought about that. Somehow thought I was special and that my love for this long lost man was unique. 🙂 I hear you on the search for your TOWGA – it’s so frustrating, butsometimes I get really excited about it, you know what I mean? Like this time, I really believe that I’ll find him. And then I don’t, and it’s dissapointing all over again. I think I should probably just stop looking at some point. He probably married the girl from Mississippi long ago….
      Good luck to you too 🙂

  4. natasha permalink
    October 20, 2010 3:47 pm

    lol – I love matching the nicknames to the actual person. It’s nice having insider infomation … Wonder if I could use my insider info to make money like Martha Stewart did…

    • October 20, 2010 4:19 pm

      Natasha: LOL. I bet it is fun, you have all the details (even those I’m too embarassed to reveal on the blog!!). You could probably blackmail me with a few of those details, but alas, I’m broke, so probably not a good blackmail target!

  5. Matt79 permalink
    October 20, 2010 4:27 pm

    Nice work on the TOWGA pick-up lines – I’d like it if more women took that kind of direct approach! Shame about the vanishing act. Do you know the full names of any of his close friends or family? Maybe they’re on Facebook and have clues on their profile open to viewing. I found an old friend that way. You’ve probably already thought of this though!

    • October 20, 2010 5:12 pm

      Thanks, Matt!! I really do enjoy being so direct. Sort of catches guys off guard. However, I’m not sure it’s entirely effective… I think there are still many men (maybe the majority) who still want to initiate. But why should I have to sit around and wait for someone to talk to me?

      I don’t know any of his family. I looked up a couple of his friends on Facebook, but when I looked at their friends lists, I didn’t see TOWGA. I once considered messaging one of them to see if they could connect me, but that seems a little too crazy/extreme. I mean, if he wanted to talk with me, he’d find me. I’m soooo easy to find on the Internet. I don’t know, it does kind of bum me out that I don’t think I’ll see him again. I just hope I can have that kind of connection with someone else someday.

  6. October 20, 2010 5:43 pm

    Ok, legit your story about TOWGA almost had me in tears. We all have a TOWGA and every situation is almost cry worthy because you can’t help but wonder “What if?” I once tried to find my 3rd grad boyfriend online but he had the most generic name EVER and has moved out of state when we were nine. Clearly I never found him.

    Maybe in another four year TOWGA will find you on Facebook.

    • October 21, 2010 1:42 pm

      It’s so hard, the constant “what ifs.” But in my TOWGA situation, I really gave it everything I had. I made it clear to him the connection I felt, and even though I acted slightly crazy at times, I gave it a shot. He just didn’t want it. So I’m glad I don’t have to look back and say, “what if I’d told him how I felt?” I mean, sometimes I look back and think, “what if I didn’t act so crazy/intense, would things be different?” But I acted that way because of the intense emotions I felt. And, I act crazy sometimes. It’s just me. 🙂 So, I try not to harp on that so much.

      I’m so happy I posted this, because I don’t know why, but I never really thought that everyone has a TOWGA. Somehow I thought my situation was unique. Definitely a good reminder :). I also think it’s hilarious that you even remember your third grade boyfriend. I can’t even remember the third grade! LOL 🙂

  7. japanesemiscellany permalink
    October 20, 2010 6:09 pm

    I admire ur honesty, putting your dating life out there. I hold myself to a very high openness standard concerning my past and dating….and I sooooo very much would like to write about my 2 years of post X dating but I just can’t lol. The only way I could pull it off respectably would be to just write about the dating and leave the random bar make-outs out lol. At the time as I was working thru things it felt empowering…and now as I’m in a different life phase (settling down, getting all of my ducks in a row, heading toward marriage and family and 30) I think “YIKES when did I ever have time for the gym”. Even as I write this I really don’t know why I care what other people would think….I am anonymous after all. Yet it’s the constant reinforcement of seeing how our society reacts to women who date a lot that for some odd reason now holds me back and prevents me from spilling the beans ….yet anyways. I have no shame or regrets….guess I’m just not ready to share it with the world yet. Even I heard someone mention on the radio this morning women who date a lot are considered either unlucky in love or tramps…men who date a lot are considered studs (ignorant and stupid I know). Anyway, kudos to you!

    • October 21, 2010 1:48 pm

      Thank you! It’s hard sometimes to put it out there… but when I write, I try to forget that anyone is reading it. I do get a little panicky at post time sometimes, wondering what the comments will say (or if I’ll get any comments at all, LOL!). So, thanks for your nice words :).

      As far as your 2 years of post ex dating, I’d love to hear about it! But I understand about not being comfortable. But, for the record, if you ever wanted to share a story on an anonymous basis, you could always do a guest post on my blog! 🙂 That would be just one more level of anonymity beyond your blog. But I hear what you are saying about the way people perceive men who date frequently vs women who date frequently. BUT – I do think this is slowly changing. Especially with online dating and just the sheer number of dating blogs out there (mostly written by women).

  8. October 21, 2010 6:59 am

    I think everyone has a TOWOGA 😦 Mine was my gorgeous to-die-for flat mate when I spent two weeks in Spain at the tender young ago of 17. And yes, I still think about him EIGHT years later! I still can’t believe I lived with this guy for fourteen days and never made a move- oh wait, yeah, I had a boyfriend (my one and only high school boyfriend) waiting to meet me in France a few days later…

    • October 21, 2010 1:49 pm

      Aww, thanks for sharing the story of your TOWGA. Maybe you could track him down and he could be like date #45 or something? 🙂
      It’s crazy how people like this can stick in your mind. I wonder if I’ll be 80, still thinking about my TOWGA. At some point, I’m just going to have to hire a private investigator to find him to give me some damn closure. 🙂

  9. October 21, 2010 7:23 am

    Thanks for the background on TOWGA! I was wondering what the story was there.

    I feel like there’s still time for him to pop up in your life.

    And I have height boyfriend issues as well. They have to be taller than me.

    • October 21, 2010 1:50 pm

      Definitely, guys need to be taller. Makes me feel sorry for the short dudes but oh well…
      Part of me hopes he does pop back into my life too, just so I can have some sort of closure. What’s funny, is he might not have been a match for me at all. I only knew him for a few months… I could have tired of him or found out things I didn’t like. Just didn’t have the chance!

  10. October 23, 2010 10:27 am

    Definitely liked this article, direct yet amusing, and the 2003>2010 one, it’s amazing how people’s perspectives on dating changes over the years. Kudos to you also for sticking to your convictions and not settling for people that might seem “right” at the moment either. I know far too many that have made that mistake.

    Also agree with the poster that claimed a lot of us have TOWGAs, honestly there are enough people that don’t make the move when they really should have (and the guy isn’t even in another relationship or commitment or whatever).

    • October 25, 2010 11:06 pm

      OneFoot: Thank you! It is funny how dating has changed over the years. I’m wondering (if I’m still single) what my perspective would be another five years from now. What you want, and how you approach dating, definitely changes a lot. I’m just proud that I didn’t succumb to all these guys who wanted to have sex or they would break up with me!

  11. October 25, 2010 4:48 am

    Those are perfect pick up lines. Noted!


  1. Catherine’s Dating Resume « Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey

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