Backsliding is a term I first learned from FOX’s new comedy series (starring the beautiful Zooey Deschanel), New Girl.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary to backslide is “to lapse morally or in the practice of religion [and/or] to revert to a worse condition”.
According to the series’ stereotypical douche-bag, Schmidt, “Backsliding is what happens after a clean break, when you freak out and you go crawling back and you make everything messy and horrible.”
I am a bit embarassed to say that within the past week I have practiced the sport of ultimate backsliding with such expertise they should be sending me to the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
“You backslid all the way down the hill and back into the parking lot,” says Schmidt. Yes, Schmidt, I most certainly did.
– – –
It began last Thursday, the day of my roommate and best friend, Lola’s, return from a month studying journalism in Jordan. The plan was to welcome her back with a night out at one of her favorite Fenway bars (have I mentioned I’m from Boston?). Of course this welcome back party would not be complete without all of our closest friends, a bit of booze, and a bit of drama.
After spending the afternoon with her, I finally asked if a certain someone was coming. His name is Ryan. Let’s pause for a minute for a brief history lesson on Ryan Harp.
I met Ryan nearly two years ago. He lived in the apartment across the hall and because of this we soon became friends. He was different from other guys I knew. He was a bit of a hippy. He had one hell of a beard. He had two tattoos. But most importantly, he had gaged earlobes. I have this extreme weakness for guys with pierced ears. So at this, I swoon.
Initially, I wasn’t very interested in Ryan, not right away. The idea crossed my mind, but at the time I had promised myself I would try to maintain soley platonic relationships with guys unless I was falling madly in love. This was the case because in the previous spring and summer months I had managed to break the heart of one of the sweetest guys I have ever dated, the best boyfriend I have ever had, Justin Clare. But more on him later. Back to Ryan.
One night we all went out to a party together and with the assistance of some booze and some dancing we ended up making out on the dance floor. At the end of the night I told him that it shouldn’t have happened, that I wasn’t looking for anything and with us being neighbors, I just wanted to be friends. He was seemingly cool with it. And that should have been the end of that. But of course, here we are, nearly two years later, still talking about Ryan. Because Ryan is my fallback. No matter the situation, I always go back to Ryan.
Time went on and we kept hanging out. He would flirt, tell me he wanted to kiss me, tell me he wished we could be more than friends, and eventually I fell for him. And I fell hard. Flat on my face actually. Because as soon as I reciprocated the feelings, he suddenly wanted nothing to do with me (see How I Met Your Mother Season 4, Episode 24 “The Leap”).
This has been going on, back and forth, for the past two years. Finally, while I was abroad in Barcelona, it occurred to me that nothing positive was coming of our friendship and I decided to write him off as asshole #2 (asshole #1 was in high school, he’s not significant at the moment). Ryan had gone to France to visit a friend studying there and whilst he was in France a friend of mine and I went to meet up with Ryan and his two friends in Paris for the weekend. Not only was Ryan a jerk the entire time we visited Paris, but also about a week after he left I found out he managed to sleep with two of my friends. All details aside (I hope you get the point) I decided to delete him from my life. Not only did he cause me constant stress, but he also caused me repeated heartbreak. A guy like that isn’t worth it, is he?
Well, after being back in the US for a month and a half I began to miss him. He was a fun friend when he wanted to be. And I didn’t want to cause drama within the friend group. Maybe I’ll give it another shot, I thought. I wasn’t with Cedro anymore so Ryan couldn’t hate me for that (because he most certainly hated Cedro) so what’s the harm?
Back to the night out with Lola. She said she didn’t invite Ryan because she didn’t want to make me uncomfortable. TO HELL WITH IT! I thought, invite him anyways! I miss him! It’s fine!
I saw him, I gave him a hug, the night went on and soon a group of us were outside talking. Then only Ryan and I were outside talking. Then Ryan’s current girl, Caitlin, came outside. The night ended with Ryan breaking things off with Caitlin, just to walk me home.
The entire walk home we fought and argued and tried to resolve our issues once again until finally we decided to just drop it. I spent the night with him, but nothing happened. I spent the entire next day with him, but nothing happened. Our friends were suspicious, but we were okay. We were flirting, but we were getting a long. And I let myself fall back into that trap. I am so attracted to him and it will not go away. But I know he’s attracted to me too. We both talked about it and it was very clear. Maybe it will work this time, I thought.
– – –
Fast-forward to the following night, Friday. Friday night my friend and current “wing-man”, Mason, finally convinced this guy Lawrence Bley to go come out to the bars with us. Now I hope you’ve been paying attention because Lawrence has been mentioned before. In “The Epiphany” I mentioned how Baseball-Cap-Canadian reminded me of my more-attractive friend from back home. That’s Lawrence. I also mentioned the guy I kissed and danced in the rain with during the week I had broken up with Cedro. That’s Lawrence. I had always had a crush on Lawrence. He’s a smart, good looking guy. Why not, right? Well, of course Lawrence decides to come out on the night after I stared to reconnect with Ryan. Hello drama. This could get awkward. But things could only get worse because before going out I received a text from one of my closest, most trusted, best friends who also happens to be my most significant ex-boyfriend as well as my first love: Danny Traver. When Danny asked me what I was up to that night I felt obligated to invite him as I had blown him off a few weekends prior and kept giving him a hard time for never having time to hang out with me.
So here we are, in a bar with myself, Ryan, Lawrence, and Danny. I cringe at what may come of this. My immediate reaction was to shut out Ryan, but of course we managed to make eyes at each other from across the room at one point. He told two of my friends on that night that he really wanted to hook up with me. But I knew he was the worst option, and I wanted to focus on including Danny among my friends and looking pretty for Lawrence. But of course things took a turn for the weird.
The night ended with Danny trying to be my wingman for Lawrence and as Lawrence and I made awkward small talk the night slowly came to an end. He was on his way out and as he was walking out the door he gave me a kiss and said, “See you in the fall.” In the fall?! Yeah, he’s going to Costa Rica. Talk about leaving someone hanging. He’s smart, leaving his doors open. But I wasn’t having it. I left the bar with Danny and as we were walking back to Lola’s apartment where we planned to crash (we both live outside the city and the trains had stopped) we somehow ended up sitting on a stone wall, making out for all the world to see. Oh alcohol, why do you cause me to make these decisions? But I wanted it. I never expected it, but I wanted it. I had always wanted to know what would happen if we were to hook up again. He called for a ride to come pick us up and we spent the night at his house. And man did I backslide.
I realized after the fact that I no longer had any attraction to Danny, that hooking up with him again was something I had fantasized about, but not something that was truly satisfying in reality. We’re good friends, and that’s that. As much as this backslide was extreme (we’ve been broken up for nearly four years) I found myself glad that it happened. I got it out of my system, out of the way, and now I could focus solely on Ryan. Things were gonna happen with Ryan this time, I could feel it. Or so I thought.
– – –
Fast-forward to this past Thursday, June 28th. I go to a company party and who do I run into? Justin. Of course I was thrilled to see him as I knew hardly anyone at the event (I’m only an intern) and was happy to have a familiar face. Of course working in the media world, I have quickly learned, means a lot of socializing and a lot of booze. What a hard life I lead.
Brief Justin history: Justin and I dated our freshman year of college. I was a lost soul and he was my savior. He was fun and interesting, sweet and charming, and to be honest the best damn boyfriend a girl could ask for. Too bad I like assholes. So I dumped him, he was just too perfect and I was bored. His friends won’t let me forget that I broke his heart.
We chatted for hours, catching up and making jokes. As I looked at him I was kicking myself for not being more interested in him. As I became a bit intoxicated I started to babble on about how nice he was. I prefaced my statement with “You wanna know something really sappy? I don’t say this kind of stuff to people, but I feel like you should know” and told him he was the nicest guy I had ever dated. It wasn’t a move and it wasn’t just courtesy, I had just recently realized this and thought he should know. Who doesn’t want to hear how awesome they are?! (I feel like I’ve written that one before!) He blamed himself for the breakup which I quickly negated. He did nothing wrong, I just like jerks. Obviously.
When I left the event he walked me to the train where he tried to make a move and I gave him the cheek. No, I told myself, don’t go there. Do not open that can of worms. You’ve done enough damage this week.
I got my drunk self home and began texting Ryan. Obviously nothing that happened this past week wouldn’t have happened without alcohol. Silly silly girl. But this is what your 20s are all about, right? I can be responsible later. Anyways, I texted Ryan because he cancelled our plans for the following day and was being irrationally pissed at my friends and me because he didn’t want to drive to the beach (even though he offered). This, of course, lead to an argument and lead to me spilling my guts to him via text message. His response: I think we should just be friends. I’m sorry.
– – –
Justin invited me to a party at his house the following night where he asked me to be his beer pong partner and offered my girlfriends shots. He’s just so damn nice and this time, when he made the move, I reciprocated. Why? Because I’m an expert backslider, that’s why.
– – –
I’ve made some new rules:
Rule #4 – Stay away from Cedro.
Rule #5 – Stay away from Ryan.
Rule #6 – STOP BACKSLIDING.
I think my addiction to assholes goes hand in hand with my addiction to drama. Why go through a stress free life looking for a new guy when you can go mess around with guys you’ve already been with. Gosh, I don’t know, maybe because it makes everything messy and horrible?