I’m a woman. I’m a woman who has dated men before meeting the love of my life. I’m a woman who has not moved from the town I was born and raised in, and therefore, I allow myself the opportunity to have inopportune run-ins with ex-boyfriends. So really, I shouldn’t have been surprised that eventually, I’d cross paths with a former flame.
Except, my former flames sure know how to stay hidden. I’ve had two long-term relationships before meeting my husband, and both men still live in the city. Yet, neither of them are on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media sites that would allow for mild cyber-stalking, which is of course completely acceptable and arguably a right as an ex-girlfriend. Of course, you’ve probably guessed by now that we do not stay in touch, which on some days is a shame, as it would relieve me from my online-creepfests and the disappointing results.
So I guess you can say that even though I have ex-boyfriends, they are somewhere in the city – doing their thing, living their life – just as I am. And as such, they are normally the furthest thing from my mind, and I’ve learned that the odds of a chance encounter are very low. Low, but not zero.
Cue the embarrassment.
It happened last week. I was rushing around, trying to juggle a thousand things like I always do. And, I was particularly stretched thin as I had been sick the week before – hence, I was in catch-up mode for everything from blogging to grocery shopping to getting my hair done. Last Wednesday, I was scheduled to host a private shopping event with AIR MILES for Toronto’s top influencers, and I sorely needed to have my roots touched up. So, I did something I don’t normally do; I scheduled a hair colour appointment for the very same day as the event.
Perhaps I should elaborate. You see, just as I’m picky about doing my own makeup, I’m also very particular about who styles my hair. In fact, 9 out of 10 times, I am so underwhelmed by the stylist’s efforts that I schedule my appointments for a random weeknight so I can just go home and sleep. However, being sick the week before meant that I had to cancel my random weeknight appointment, and I could only be squeezed in on the day of my event.
It wasn’t a big deal. All I had to do was allow the assistant to wash out the colour, and then I’d just go home and do the dry/style myself. I’ve done it before, and my colourist is somewhat used to me flying through the salon with air kisses, rushing off to do my own hair at home. However, on this particular afternoon, because I did have an event that night, I opted to skip makeup as well, knowing I’d need a precise application for the soiree later on.
You do see where I’m going with this, don’t you?
Oh yes. It happened. For eleven years, three months and sixteen days I hadn’t seen my ex-boyfriend. Yet as I emerged from the back of the salon, with dripping wet hair, bags under my eyes and wonky glasses, I caught glimpse of my ex standing at the check-in desk. And to this day, to this moment, I don’t know what possessed me to smile and say hello, but I did. Perhaps I felt that I should own it; that I should be the bigger person and just come right out and ease the awkwardness. Perhaps I wanted to show him that after all the pain he put me through, the past was the past and had no effect on me whatsoever.
Perhaps I forgot that I resembled a swamp creature who had just emerged from a sewer. OH! F*ck My LIFE.
How many times had I fantasized that I would run into him? How many times had I pictured the scenario: me, looking so fabulous it hurt, and him, looking on with longing plainly visible in his eyes, realizing that he had truly given up the best thing that had ever happened to him. Instead… well. Instead.
To add insult to injury, it took him a moment to recognize me. And when he did, he didn’t have to say it. I could hear it in his surprised greeting; I could see it written all over his face. And in that quick exchange of pleasantries, as I awkwardly fished in my purse for my credit card and he paid for a “full pampering” package, which I can only assume is a gift to his significant other, I realized what he was thinking. And it was: “WOW. Dodged a bullet there.”
Well, that was that. I blew it; I blew the inconsequential meeting with the ex where I was expected to look like a supermodel and instead resembled a drowned rat. And later that night, as I styled my hair and applied my makeup, I stared at my reflection with dismay. But then, I did the only thing I could do under the circumstances; I took a selfie. And I changed my Facebook profile picture, and my Twitter profile picture, and I made a mental note to write up this blog post.
This is who you were supposed to see. This is the person you were supposed to encounter. The 35-year old woman who is aging beautifully and by the way, thinks little of the Nike track pants you are still wearing.
Signed, An Alanis Morissette Song
Okay, now I think I can get on with my life. But not before I tag this post “Lena Almeida”… in case he decides to do a little cyber-stalking of his own.