Stella Dixon’s take on romance at the shore – where the odds are good, but the goods are seriously odd.
My friends say that when living in a town as small as Cape May, a girl should always expect to run into her ex. This way, when she sees him for the first time since being dumped, she’s sporting a fabulous new hairdo and a this-will-make-him-sorry outfit. It helps if she’s sporting a new man on her arm as well.
It was shortly after Thanksgiving when I ran into my own ex. After four slices of leftover pumpkin pie, the only one feeling sorry was me. Instead of a sexy outfit, I wore my best I’m-so-bloated threads, and hit the Brown Room not with a piece of arm candy, but with Ted, a delinquent family friend. Ted was visiting for the holiday and since I hadn’t seen him in years, I wanted to spend some time with him. I thought we’d get to know each other over a beer, but he wanted to share his recent sexual adventures instead.
“So I get this chick home,” he said, “and she’s growling at me on all fours, you know? So I figured, if she’s going to be a tiger, I’m going to be a –”
“Why,” I interrupted, “would I want to hear this?” I shuffled us away from the bar where my boss was enjoying a cocktail. I pointed the man out to Ted, hoping this would prompt him to behave.
“Which one is he?” Ted asked, “That chump over there?” Then Ted swiped a mozzarella stick off of a plate of appetizers that had been set up for a private party. I felt like hiding under the covers with yet another slice of pumpkin pie. But before I could tell Ted to knock it off, he started to cry. Out of nowhere, he’d launched into a heart-to-heart about the importance of friendship.
I was so busy trying to quell Ted’s beer tears out of my boss’ earshot that it took a while to notice my ex and his new girlfriend standing just a foot away. My ex looked from me to the drunken, weepy man spilling marinara sauce beside me, and laughed.
When I pictured running into my ex, I pictured graciously sharing the kind of small talk that always seems inappropriate once you’ve seen each another naked. Or, at the very least, I thought we’d civilly ignore one another. Either way, I’d hoped to appear classy and impossibly together. Getting laughed at while stumbling through an awkward social situation in a pair of elastic-waist jeans is not something I’d envisioned.
So running into my ex did not go as I’d hoped. Then again, neither did our relationship. This less-than-ideal encounter was the appropriate footnote to a less-than-ideal romance. Now that it’s over, I can move on. But not before crawling under the covers with that last slice of pumpkin pie.