I keep hesitating. I look back at my phone sitting on the coffee table. I reach my hand out and pull it back. Just do it! Shouts the little voice in my head. I swallow, trying to gulp down my cowardice. I can do this! I can achieve this New Year’s Resolution. And with that, I grab my phone before I lose my courage…
One of my big problems is that I have trouble saying no. It’s one of the tiniest words in the dictionary. No, non, não, nee, na, ni … it’s so easy in so many languages. It’s only one syllable for crying out loud. Why is it that I (and many, many other people) have so much difficulty saying it? Alas, maybe if I ever go back to university I could write a long dissertation on the subject, but in the meantime I had to make a New Year’s Resolution: to say no when I don’t want to do something. Piece of cake… no?
Faithful readers can probably recall a few incidences when I should have said no, for example, when the Mexican asked to move in with me (ack!), when the Film Guy wanted to meet for a drink to “talk about feelings” (not feelings for me!), when the Catalan said “you don’t mind if we stay at my parent’s place, do you? (still haunted by those memories!), or most recently when my brother offered to have Chuck pick me up (the horror!). The simple word “no” could have averted all of these catastrophes, but then we would have sadly missed out on these entertaining stories.
The “no” that I needed to utter—or rather type out—was to Mr. Militaire, a “no” I should have given months or even years before. Some of you might recall his text message in the top 12 shortlist, and you might also read the full story about Mr. Militaire one day, but for now here is a quick low-down. We first met around 5 years ago and I made the mistake of not saying no back then with his persistence to just have a cup of tea at my place at 3:00 in the morning. We went out with him extremely briefly, and since, he has never quite given up, true to his profession. What had started as a barrage of text messages began to dwindle to one every few months, finally diminishing to a biannual “salut ca va?”. All of which I had not replied to, that was, until last October.
Spam. I can blame it on spam. I swear I hadn’t clicked on any suspicious links, but suddenly my account spammed not just everyone in my address book, but I think absolutely any email contained in any message in my inbox. Uggh! The worst is the ex-boyfriends, no need to give them an extra reason to a) think you’re a fool or b) contact you! Which was the case here.
Bonjour, comment çà va depuis le temps – Hello, it’s been ages, how are you? Was Mr. Militaire’s (first) email. I thought that I owed him a response seeing as I’d just sent him a link to a porno or viagra site, I wouldn’t want him to get the wrong encouraging idea. Plus I thought that after all this time he must have moved on. Mais non! Think again!
My nice how are you sorry for the spam reply presented him with the opportunity to suggest getting together as he’d be in Paris for a few weeks. Luckily I had that big work trip to save me… or so I thought. Upon hearing my return date, he cheerfully announced that he would still be in Paris. I filed him into the problems to deal with later folder in my mind and went off on my trip, during which I managed to dodge the Catalan in Barcelona and meet Mr. Mystery … elsewhere.
Sure enough even before I got back the messages started up. I completely ignore them, but I thought—once again wrongly—that I could simply meet him for a harmless drink, after all, he’d only sent friendly innocent messages so far. Plus, I sort of felt like I had to meet him for a drink because I’d kind of agreed to see him at the beginning of the month… Much before meeting Mr Mystery. So I caved and accepted to meet him a few days after I’d returned. Maybe he wanted to share his exciting news that had actually got married in the past 4 years??
While he’s a nice guy and it was pleasant to see him, we really have so little in common besides our mutual green eyes, that I wasn’t in the slightest tempted to extend our evening to dinner, my faux jetlag (I’d only been one hour behind in North Africa) was a great excuse to head home. I’d survived our encounter and I had acted like such a boring dud that I figured he wouldn’t bother contacting me again…
Coucou tigresse, ca va? C’était super de te voir. Toujours aussi charmante! sexy! Bises coquines! – Hey there, Tigresse, how are you? Great seeing you! Just as charming as ever! sexy! Naughty kisses!
Naughty kisses?? I’d reopened Pandora’s box! I don’t think I even replied to his message. But it didn’t matter to him… he waited a few days and then sent another one, this time an invitation to an art show opening. I’d lost my perfect opportunity! I should have replied to his other message: Nice to see you too, but I’ve met someone else, and since you seem to have intentions to give me naughty kisses, au revoir!
I do love art show openings… and Pussycat was also going (they were friends too), so I chicken-heartedly didn’t say no and went along. This only perpetuated the problem, as he sent several messages while I was away over the holidays, again none of which I replied to. However, when he sent a sweet Merry Christmas email, I thought Santa would give me nothing but coal if I didn’t reply so I sent a quick ho ho back (a lot of good that did, we know what nasty holiday surprise Santa gave me in return!).
Which leads us to his last email, the traditional French New Year’s greeting, wishing me a list of many wonderful things, ending with love. I sat on that message for weeks, the clock was ticking. In France you have until January 31st to send New Year’s greetings and as the 31st rolled around, I agonizingly pondered the issue. On the one hand, it was mean to not send a well-wisher return greetings, yet on the other painful hand, it might only encouraging him. I really wasn’t interested! Nevertheless, my gentillesse got the better of me at about 11:55 pm and I sent off a quick Happy New Year (without the love). This gave him the premiss to text message me yesterday with apparent good news. He might get transferred to Paris and then we could spend more time together. What? No, non and não!
Hence today’s revival of resolutions. After meeting Mr. Mystery I’d gradually been refusing invitations such as from the Film Guy who tried to make a reappearance mid-December. I said non merci I’d met someone (to which he replied: So what, come over anyway! That time I did manage to say a firm no!). I did the same to a few other magically appearing ex-suitors. Even if things don’t work out with Mr. Mystery, it was great to get rid of these hommes, why carry around old baggage? It was honest and freeing! Mr. Militaire was now declaring more serious intentions. It was time to end his military attack as well.
I’m back to eyeing up my phone… all I need to do is pick it up and type two simple letters. Well, I might babble on a little too… maybe I should email instead? Either way, I have to stay strong. Resolutions will be kept! Out with the old and—hopefully—in with the new!