Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Wrath and the Case of Vile Vincent
The Case of Vile Vincent
Vincent was tall, blond, and intelligent. He worked in publishing – sadly, only for academic books (so he couldn’t help me get published). But I could tell that he was genuinely attracted to my intellect as well as my body. But the sexual chemistry between the two of us was electric – like electric!
I was still getting over Greg, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for another young boyfriend. But Vincent was also super keen. He was persistent, despite my concerns, so I thought, “Let’s let things play out.” He had to travel to Chicago for five days for work, but before he left he and I had been talking about whether to take our relationship from casual dates and shags to boyfriends.
I made a joke that I hated traveling across the Atlantic, because it’s just too much stress making that long flight and it takes me ages to get over jet-lag. I said that I was hoping I could one day have a boyfriend who would either run away with me to a tropical location or just let me visit with his family over Christmas. He said, “Well, play your cards right and we’ll see.”
Four days after he left, I got a late-night call from my mother. My grandmother was sick with pneumonia. The doctors gave her four days to live, I needed to fly home immediately. My grandmother was the glue that held our family together. She was a rock. She was tough as nails. She had an amazing career despite all the sexism that confronted her in the 50’s and 60’s. She was very religious, so she and I never discussed my sexuality, although I know for a fact that she had guessed. But she really was a larger than life figure. I was on the flight across the Atlantic the next day.
My father died when I was a teenager, but he and I were estranged. I never really knew him. My grandfather (my grandma’s husband) died a decade before, but he was such a dick-head, I never really missed him. This was the first person in my family with whom I was close to pass away.
Everyone in the family was beside themselves – particularly my mother, who had so many unresolved issues with her mom. I had no one to run to or share my grief with. Greg was obviously out of the picture. I couldn’t run to anyone else in my family, because they were going through the same thing. I knew I had only been dating Vince for a few weeks, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to call him. He didn’t answer my call. A few hours later, he texted back, “I just got back from my trip. I’m exhausted. Can we talk later?” But later never came.
In not knowing what to do, I just went to the only outlet I could find: Instagram. I shared about my grandmother and our strained relationship and the toll her dying was taking on me and my family. I saw that Vince had watched the story, but he didn’t respond.
I finally texted him stating I didn’t think he was being very supportive. He then proceeded to have a go at me for sharing my grief on Instagram, because he felt that was inappropriate.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” I thought to myself. My grandmother is dying, and you’re not there for me, and yet you’re going to lecture me on how I process my grief? I obviously pointed out that at a time like this, I should be allowed to grieve however I want.
He came back with “Yeah, but…” Now, I was getting angry. I again pointed out that lecturing me in the middle of this crisis was both tone deaf and cruel and that I needed support from people at this moment.
You wouldn’t believe what he said to me…
“I’m sorry for what you’re going through, but I have other commitments, and I can’t keep checking up on you.”
Those were his exact words. I shit you not. Just days ago, this man was musing about introducing me to his family, and now he can’t “keep checking up on me”? But in truth, he had not checked up on me at all that day.
Now, I was pissed. The texting escalated, as I told him that his behavior was appaling.
You wouldn’t believe what he said next.
“Well, at least I’m employed. You’re not.”
What. The. Fuck! I was literally sitting next to my grandmother’s death bed, and he’s having a go about me about my career. I was furious but in pain. I was barely hanging on to my own sanity. I needed someone to be there for me – anyone. And the man who only days ago wanted to be my boyfriend was making cheap jibes. It was disgusting, and I told him so.
He came back with “Yeah, but…” He added, “I don’t care.” So eventually, I just blocked him. I was so furious and beside myself, I literally couldn’t cope. I have never felt so trapped, in pain, helpless and alone (despite being surrounded by family). I was freaking out. And I had no one to turn to. I got up, left my family at my grandmother’s home, and I went back to my mom’s house and took a Valium. I was so upset, I literally couldn’t stand to be near anyone, even though I knew my family needed me.
A few minutes later, I got a voice mail. I figured it was Vince apologizing. Maybe he had come to his senses…
He said, “I needed to leave you a voice mail before you blocked me from calling you. But I just want you to know that I don’t care…” I deleted the message instantly. I was incredulous. I was furious. All I could do was race home and wait for the Valium to kick in.
My grandmother died the next day.
Don’t worry, I saw her in the morning before she passed. But her last evening on earth, I spent upset and alone, furious at a boy, rather than being there for my family. I feel stupid and humiliated letting him get to me. But never in my life had someone been so vile to me when I was feeling so vulnerable. It takes a lot to shock me after everything I’ve seen and been through. But Vile Vincent shocked me. I needed someone outside of my family to be there for me, and no one was. But I spent my grandmother’s last night on earth, pondering Vincent’s viciousness.
Never in the years that I’ve been writing about gay dating have I ever considered actually naming and shaming someone. I get that I’m giving my side of the story, and I’m revealing some unflattering details about certain people. We’ve all fucked up, and we don’t deserve to have our worst moments put out in the public sphere. But boy, I was so tempted to plaster Vince’s real name and face all over my blog – and this book. Something this vile required justice.
And what was he going to do? Sue me? The Harvard lawyer… Part of me dreamed about this. Finally, I could put one of these narcissistice little shits on trial! I would welcome arguing the facts and letting the truth of Vincent’s vile behavior be known. The world needed to know just how depraved this guy is. He has the blackest heart of anyone I had ever dated, and if he was capable of this, there is nothing else he couldn’t do to hurt others.
But on some level, losing my grandmother made me realize a lot of people simply can’t handle the notion of death. I don’t think this is a gay thing, but rather death is so overwhelming, painful and deep, it makes people act crazy – even if they don’t know the dying person. People often don’t know how to help or be supportive, so most people just back off, because it’s a weird situation that makes them feel uncomfortable, so people. I’m not saying that’s ideal, but I can see how a normal human might react that way. A few people told me “I was giving you space to grieve,” but I knew that excuse was bullshit. If I wanted to grieve privately, I wouldn’t be blasting my pain on Instagram.
I also noticed a few guys, who previously had been keen to date me, disappeared. Fair enough. If they saw me at my absolute worst and couldn’t handle it, so be it. But in the moment I felt like I couldn’t cope. And to say that Vince rubbed salt in an open wound is the understatement of the century. I mean, even Sammy the Sociopath would have handled that situation better.
On some level, I know it was better to find out that Vincent was a snake now, rather than a year or two after dating him. But in that moment, I felt like I really needed someone to be there for me. I needed a shoulder to cry one outside of my family. And the man I chose to lean on kicked me while I was down.
Now, you may not have done something as vile as Vincent, but we’ve all kicked someone who didn’t deserve it. My advice to you is APOLOGIZE. Yes, you they may have said something that triggered you or maybe they didn’t approach you in the right way, but if you committed the sin of wrath, get responsible for it.
And don’t do any of those half-assed apologies like “I’m sorry you felt sad by my words.” That’s bull shit. Get honest with yourself and the other person. “I behaved like a complete ass hole. I was being vicious, and I’m not proud of it. I’m so sorry.”
But what if they yell at me? You might be asking yourself. Then take it. You’re an adult. To my gay readers, I say: If you can take a man’s 10” dick, you can take his reaction too. Let him or her yell at you. It may not be pretty, but be the bigger person. That may give that person some closure and the ability to move on. Your taking responsibility will not only help heal their wound, it will help heal your own.
If you know that you kill people off with your wrath, you won’t be able to change until you get really clear how your behavior impacts you and others. If you don’t take a moment and really let the other person’s pain seep into your consciousness, you’re going to do it again. Otherwise, you’ll be single all throughout Trump’s second term… And honey, we’re all going to need someone to lean on during those dark days.