“You clearly didn’t think this through, did you?” asked Archie.
“Noooo,” I said, shaking my head slowly. “No, I didn’t.”
“What’s going on? How was the date last night?” Lux appeared at my desk. She was holding a large Starbucks coffee and was still wearing her coat.
“The date was amazing,” Archie answered. “Like the best stranger first-date ever.”
“Really??” she asked. Her eyes were shining.
“Yes,” Archie continued. “They bonded over comedies from the 70s and their love of cheese and talked about her Fitbit and talked about their families and even have a lot of similar goals.”
“He even asked to see a picture of the cat,” I said sadly.
“And he’s totally allergic and doesn’t like them. So that’s a big deal,” Archie said. He took a sip from his own large Starbucks coffee.
I looked down at my thumb and picked at the smudged polish. “He said he’d just take Claritin.”
Lux shook her head. “So I don’t get it. What’s with the face? This is all great!”
“He’s asked her out again and sent his personal email.”
“It’s – ” Archie started.
“It’s got his full name in it,” I broke in, pointing at my laptop screen, which displayed Bradley’s message.
“Oh good,” she said. “Did you google him?”
“Of course I did.” I rolled my eyes at her. “And he’s exactly who he says he is.”
“That’s the problem,” said Archie.
The realization set in and the mood darkened.
“Oooh,” she breathed. “And you can’t send him your email because it has your last name and he’d google you and see the blog.”
“Exactly,” Archie said with resignation.
My date with Bradley had been great. Like really great. He was charming and attentive and a good listener. We’d laughed a lot, had a ton in common and I was able to keep my nerves in check and only looked awkwardly into the silent abyss twice. Of course, I’d then forfeited any points I’d gained from that by totally botching the end of the date. Bradley had walked me to my corner (I didn’t let him walk me to my actual apartment – Safety First) and when it had come time to say goodbye, I’d sort of swooped in for a graceless hug and then stumbled backwards. Then, giving a jaunty wave, had said, “Welp, talk to you later.” Then I’d turned on my heel and walked away hurriedly.
So I was pretty surprised when he’d responded that night to my thank you email with a request to get together again.
Of course, I’d accepted.
Then, I’d panicked.
I had always planned on telling a guy about the blog around the 4th date. I’d figured by then he’d know me well enough to not be shocked by all the, um, antics that are spelled out here. But I didn’t consider the fact that if someone knew my last name they’d find out about the blog in about .3 seconds. And let’s be frank. The information here is not what one would want to present to a potential suitor.
But on the other hand, as I sat with Bradley and he talked about himself and his life and his job and I talked about myself and my life and my other writing – the omission of the blog felt like a lie. And I didn’t like that feeling.
“Hide the crazy, Tracey,” Shannon always says. “In the beginning, hide the crazy.” And I agree with that wholeheartedly. But there’s no way for me to ‘hide the crazy’ anymore. It’s out there. For all to see.
I looked at Archie and Lux. “I do have an email account that has a fake last name that I use with guys I meet online who want to chat off the dating sites. Just so they don’t know who I am before we meet. You know, to prevent a weird stalker situation.”
“Perfect,” said Archie, with a wave of his cup. “Just send him that.”
“No,” Lux said adamantly. “What if you marry this guy?! And then the whole basis of your relationship is a lie!”
“Calm down,” Archie muttered. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.”
“Archie’s right,” I said. “Remember I told you about the last guy who asked me out for a second date? The one from six years ago?”
“You haven’t been on a second date in six years?” interjected Floyd, as he meandered by holding his large Starbucks coffee and a Ping-Pong paddle.
I threw him a withering glance. “Anyway. Yeah, he asked me out and then – ”
“The one who emailed you and said, ‘Upon further reflection, I’ve decided I don’t want a second date with you?'” Lux asked.
“Right, that’s the one,” I said. “Just because Bradley’s asked me out again, doesn’t mean it’s actually going to happen.”
“That’s true,” said Archie. He was engrossed in his phone now.
“Okay, let’s just say it does happen,” I said earnestly, because I really wanted it to. “Won’t it be weird if in a month I’m like, ‘Hey, so you know that person you’ve been emailing? She doesn’t exist. My real name is Tracey Stone. And I write an incredibly personal blog about my life. An YOU’RE in it! Ta Da!!'”
“Sounds good to me,” Archie murmured.
“Archie, you’re not even listening,” I reprimanded.
“Yes I am,” he said and lifted his head. “What.”
I opened my desk drawer and pulled out a pack of Advil. My head was swimming. “Oh and Lux, by the way, my fake identity is my first name and your last.”
She cocked her head to the side and smiled. “Aw, we’re sisters.”
I downed the Advil. Then I started to whimper. “If he reads the blog, he’ll find out how crazy I am.”
“It’s endearing,” Lux reassured.
“He’ll find out I smoke.”
Archie offered pragmatically, “Just put on the patch before you see him and say that you quit.”
“He’ll find out I drink too much.”
“All the bad drinking stuff is from when you were in a break up or during stressful times. It’s totally fine,” Lux said.
“Totally understandable,” said Archie, nodding.
“He’ll find out I cancelled on him because I had PMS.”
I put my head in my hands. “I’m screwed.” I then lifted my head and peeked out between my fingers. Neither of them would meet my eyes.
Clearly, I’d blogged myself into a corner.
I’ve asked a lot of my friends for their feedback on this. Here are some of the responses:
“Tell him! You should be proud of the blog! It’s wonderful!”
“You need to find a guy who likes you despite your faults, tell him.”
“NO. Don’t tell him right now. It’s way too much for a guy to take in.”
“You should have been upfront with him. Now he’ll think you’re sketchy for lying. It’s a lost cause. Forget about him.”
And then Zeke said something that really hit home for me. “I don’t know, Trace. But you WILL continually run into this problem with that brutally honest blog of yours. So you better figure out now how to handle it.”
He’s right. I need to figure it out now.
So let me ask you guys. What do you think I should do?
Should I tell Bradley the next time I see him?
Should I try to hide my identity and tell him when I know him better?
Moving forward – should I just tell the guy immediately?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Let’s figure this one out together. 🙂