“Hi Bradley – I’m so sorry but I think it might be best if we reschedule. I’m home sick from work today and I’m not sure how I’ll be feeling tomorrow. The last thing I want to do is think I’ll feel better and then cancel last minute and waste your time. Is there any evening you are available next week?”
And then I wrote something which I thought was cute and charming. I’m not going to put it here, just in case it wasn’t so cute and charming after all. I don’t want to know.
I hit send. And then I sighed to myself sadly.
I was truly disappointed to cancel my plans with Bradley. There was something about him that made me really excited to meet him – more so than anyone I’d been in contact with online. But I had no choice. I had to break this date.
My first inkling of this inevitability had come the day before. Floyd had sauntered up to my desk with his shit-eating grin, singing, “Traaacey, Traaaaaacey?” so I knew immediately he was going to ask me for a favor. Floyd is our company’s resident 25 year old hipster, club kid. He owns a staggering array of quirky hats as well as a bountiful selection of colorful, patterned socks. He’s the guy who a few weeks prior had come to my desk and laid back on the exercise ball I use for visitors and, while doing sit-ups, had said, “So, what if you met a guy and he asked you to come back to his tent?”
I’d squinted at him in confusion. “What? What are you – ”
He’d cut me off. “No, wait, hear me out. What if it had a disco ball and a waterbed mattress and it wouldn’t be creepy, more cozy and there were candles and …” and I had to admit, once I’d heard him out, it sounded quite enchanting. I’d enthusiastically given him my thoughts on how he could up the allure factor even more.
But that day, I was in no mood for tent-talk.
“What. What is it Floyd?” I growled. My salty reaction surprised us both.
“Can you print something for me?” His eyebrows were raised in friendly expectation.
I scowled at him. “Didn’t I tell you three weeks ago to work with IT to get your printers set up?”
His face fell. “Yes, but -”
I put up my hand to silence him. “No. Fuck this. I can’t just be your go-to whenever you’re too lazy to take care of shit. Do you know how many people from this office come to me and want me to print things for them? Or do other random crap? If I said yes to all of them I’d have no time to do my own job.” He was backing up now, hands splayed in front of him, as if to protect himself from my venom. But I continued on. “I mean, I know everyone thinks assistants just sit around all day, eating Fritos and cruising around Facebook, but I actually have a lot of things to do. Like ALL THE TIME.” And then told him he was, “cruising for a bruising” and “skating on thin ice” and all sorts of things that were not very nice.
“Okay Tracey,” he said softly as he skulked away. “I’ll get someone else to do it.”
“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” I said and breathed a mighty sigh. “Just send me the damn document. I’ll do it.”
“No, it’s okay. Really, it’s fine,” he said. He turned from me and rounded the corner hurriedly. The next thing I heard was him singing, “Eeeeemily? Could you help me with something?”
The rage pulsing in my chest was disproportionate to the situation. I knew this. That’s when I looked at the calendar. Oh. Now it made sense. It was my Pre-Time Of The Month.
Again, sorry Fellas. I know this is not a popular topic with you.
Anyway. At this point, I know myself pretty well. I know how these weeks go. It starts with a bitter, “Kick Out a Window” day, as I call it, where I hate everyone and everything, then moves into weepy self-loathing, where I wonder, WHY AM I POSSIBLY EVEN TRYING TO GO ON? MY LIFE IS ONLY FILLED WITH DEFEAT AND MISERY. And then a set of days when I am extraordinarily weary and bloated. I’ll look at my stomach and note that I look 6 months pregnant. I’ll wear flowing dresses and tight leggings to try to wrangle in my gut.
I’m not going to pretend I speak for all women but I think I speak for some when I say, the last thing you want to do when you’re held captive by Pre-TOTM is cram yourself into skinny jeans, a cute fitted top, cover up your hormonal acne and go make flirty small-talk with a stranger in a bar. No. All you want to do is go home, watch TV, cry at commercials, eat a cheeseburger and go to bed at 8pm.
So it was with this knowledge that I cancelled my date. With that little-white-lie of being sick.
I was actually really worried about this. Online daters are notorious for being flaky and I didn’t want Bradley to think I was like that. I hoped he would accept my cancellation and set something else up. I didn’t know. All I could do was wait. So. Fingers crossed.
*And for those of you who are wondering – yes, I later apologized to Floyd. He then bought me a cannoli and helped me set up my Fitbit app on my phone (ie, he set it up). Then I helped him decipher some texts from a girl who was clearly playing games. I told him to shut it down. And he listened to my wise, aged views. So we’re all good.