(Note: this post is stickied. Newer posts, I think, will appear below it. At least, that’s how it should work in theory. That’s how I’m meaning it to work. We’ll see how it ends up working.)
I’m really pleased people are already wanting to buy Meets Girl. In formatting the text for Kindle, I noticed a few details that needed cleaning up, so I’ll be making the necessary changes. I just want it to be perfect. Which I realize is probably impossible, but I can still do everything I can to get it as close as I can, anyway.
So I’m going to.
After finalizing the design–and, I’d thought, the text–I ordered some copies with the intention of sending them to some author friends of mine I’d hoped might say something nice about it.
Now, I’d over-ordered just to be on the safe side. I hadn’t finalized the list of people to whom I intended to send a copy, so I just got a handful. I mention this because I’ve got a couple extra.
When I mentioned this to my editrix, we looked at each other and said, at about the same time, “Contest.”
Now, I suck at contests. I’m never good at coming up with something people can do. But I wanted to do something, and I wanted it to be both fun and coincidental with the themes of the novel. I didn’t want it to be, like, the first 50th comment, or a whole comment thread, or something like that. I might do that later, but not for the first one.
My editrix came up with a great idea, though. And so I’m basically letting her run the contest, for most intents and purposes. I mean, it’s going to be here. But she’s judging.
It comes down to something really basic and simple: tell me your best story about unrequited love. We’ve all been there, done that, and written the bad poetry, right? Tell me about yours.
Entries must be posted in the comments section of this post before midnight on Halloween night. Which is technically 12:00 am on November 1st, 2010, for clarification purposes, and that’s Eastern Standard Time.
What we’ll do is I’ll copy and paste every comment into a different file. I’ll give them–stripped of any identifying information–to my editrix. She’ll choose the winner from said entries.
And the prize?
You didn’t think I was just going to give away a copy, did you? Of course not. The prize will be more experiential, and revealed in full when the winner is announced. For now, suffice to say that it will include a personally inscribed paperback copy of Meets Girl. It will also include a few Meets Girl appropriate surprises.
Approximate retail value: er. No idea, really. Given the nature of the prizes, could be hundreds of dollars.
Don’t you just love surprises?
So, er, let’s see. I think that sets the rules, yes? One entry per person. Mark the comment as your entry. Do we need length restrictions? I mean, it’s gotta be long enough to make her care but not so long to bore her, right?
Anyway, if you have questions, just let me know. Good luck. Have fun.
October 13, 2010 at 1:02 pm
My story of unrequited love is short and simple. Love stinks, “you want them when they don’t want you as soon as they do feelings change.”
October 13, 2010 at 1:30 pm
My most hideous unrequited love I turned into a short story, so too long for this contest.
Another which comes to mind, however, is from my freshman year of college. I was living in the coed dormitory, and the guy across the hall from me was my unrequited crush. What made matters worse is that he was NICE to me, which made it all the more difficult to write off his romantic disinterest and move on. He was gorgeous, funny, a musician, kind of shy, and had the most beautiful full lips and long, dark eyelashes. I was goofy, with spiky punk rock hair. His girlfriend was a stereotypical gorgeous blonde, who was also nice enough that I couldn’t hate her entirely. I pined after him all year, finding excuses to talk to him, which I think amused him more than anything else. How is it that at 18, I was so dopey, and he was so cool?!? Towards the end of the year, I ruined my chances with him. I and a friend went to the Primus concert. We had backstage passes. The object of my affections was not attending. After a rocking show, we went backstage, where I witnessed my crush’s girlfriend blowing Les Claypool, after which he said “Thanks, kid”, and tossed her a Primus hat. MOST undignified. My first impulse was to run to the boy, tell him that his girlfriend was a cheating whore, and of course this information would make him realize that he loved ME and not her! Thankfully, I repressed that particular impulse but was unable to keep my mouth shut when I was talking to him in the hall that night and she returned from the concert and gave him a kiss. He asked her how the concert was, and I said “Ask her where she got the hat.”
October 18, 2010 at 8:06 pm
When I was in college, I frequented a few local clubs where I fell in love with a regular bar fly named Lance. He was tall and lean with a chiseled face and blond hair, and icy blue eyes. What wasn’t to love about him? Lance often took to the dance floor early in the evening when no one else was there yet, or no one else was drunk yet, or no one else was dancing. Being a white guy, he just sort of swayed with his hands in the air, and a beer in hand of course. There’s a reason why the lights are out and strobes flash overhead at gay bars; it all helps with the illusion. But Lance didn’t need help. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes and danced like no one was watching. I was watching. I thought he was beautiful.
I don’t know how I came to know him, besides quickly becoming a regular myself. We chatted each other up from time to time. Once I learned his name I always made a point to say hi when I ran into him, on or off the dance floor. Even though we no more than exchanged hellos, others were quick to warn me that Lance was HIV positive. I didn’t care. I’d only looked. I’d never touched. But why should he remain a Greek sculpture in some museum behind a velvet rope? Did Lance not deserve love too?
The truth was…he didn’t think so. During small talk at the bar, he told me he was “damaged goods” and didn’t deserve a boyfriend. Some nights I watched him stumble around the bar either too high or too drunk to even dance. His eyes were glassy. He once clung to my arm and begged me to buy him a bottle of water, unable to even speak. He just pointed to his mouth and whispered “water.” I wanted to take him home and put him in a shoebox under my bed, like some boyhood backyard frog in my pocket, only taking him out from time to time to play with or scare others. But like the real frog, I let him go. Or he got away.
Some nights, I didn’t see him at the bar. I looked for him. I still thought about him. I asked others about him. “He’s home sick,” they’d say. I prayed it was just a cold or stomach bug, but I knew better. My heart ached for him like a boy band crush. Had there been posters of him, I would have plastered my walls. If I knew where he lived, I’d be knocking on the door with chicken soup. Or beer. Or water. Or a mix tape. Whatever he needed from me to know he was loved, I would have given it to him. But I never stepped up and took a chance. I was shy and still thought he was out of my league.
After college, I moved away. Two years later I returned to the city and went out with friends, yearning to rekindle the “old days.” I needed a disco ball and a Pet Shop Boys beat. And secretly, I wanted to see Lance out there on the floor, overcome with a “thumpa thumpa.” And what perfect timing for me to be in town! I did run into some of the same old faces. Nothing had changed, except they were wearing black armbands that night. And I knew. I just knew. I still needed confirmation, so I went up to someone and asked.
And I was right. Lance was gone. And to this day, my biggest regret is that I never told him how I felt. Sure, I’ve told him since then, but it’s not the same. Love just isn’t the same when you are separated – in life, in death, or even on the dance floor.
October 28, 2010 at 12:49 am
The object of my unrequited love story still frustrates me, almost on a daily basis… because he’s a coworker, a friend, and I still see him almost every day.
Last January I returned to work from vacation to find a fresh-faced, eager and absolutely lovely new trainer at the gym where I work. This is nothing new (having worked there a little while now, Will, you know this), there’s a new batch every few weeks or months and there is no shortage of eye-candy among them. I see him through rose-colored glasses now, but the moment I met him I didn’t think anything special of him… just another good-looking young guy with a great body. He just also happened to have a name I couldn’t pronounce and a European accent that made me giggle. I had recently cleared my plate of men, having dropped 3 guys I had been seeing in December. I had no crush at the time, and within a few weeks I made the conscious decision to have a crush on this lovely new coworker. It wasn’t love at first sight, I wasn’t overwhelmed by his charm… I think I was just bored and needed a target for my boundless love and affection. Silly girl…
My crush on him started to spin out of control instantly. I analyzed to death every word, every look, every hug or passing touch, every text message. He was flirting with me, I knew it. He went out of his way to talk to me. He asked me questions about training when his mentor was in the room. He expected a hug every time I saw him. We checked each other out on the training floor, exchanging glances and smiles, and like an invisible string between us, this flirtation and connection kept pulling us together (no, literally, we’d always end up in each other’s way, or training next to each other). Other people could see this too – this energy between us, the way we’d each light up when the other was around. He would be so focused on me in conversation that he wouldn’t notice there were other people there, even when they were trying to get his attention. Coworkers who knew I liked him started referring to him as my boyfriend, like that would help manifest it (and because it as easier than trying to pronounce his name).
But when it came to actually making something happen, I’d always run into a dead end. I’d invite him to breakfast after his 5-9am shift, but he was too tired to go out and could not be persuaded out of a nap. I’d invite him to lunch during a break from clients, but he needed to go write programs and make phone calls. I’d invite him to a movie or to hang out with a group of friends (in case he wasn’t comfortable with a 1-on-1 “date”), but he had to work at his other job. And yet, the flirtation was still there, that energetic connection was still visible to seemingly EVERYONE. It even seemed to be getting stronger and more obvious. During one particular workshop we practically played footsie through a weightlifting bar, constantly mirroring each other and exchanging glances from across the semicircle of the class (so much so that it made the girl next to me uncomfortable).
Then came the questions (and at this point I had at least 3 spies/accomplices, including his mentor, trying to help me figure him out and “catch” him)… Does he have a girlfriend? No way, he would have mentioned her – as all the attached straight guys make it a point to drop the word “girlfriend” every other sentence or so, just so there’s no confusion as to which team they’re on. Is he gay? No way, he made that clear to a male coworker he thought had called him “Sweetie” (when the guy, who did have a crush on him, had actually just called him “Z” – what most people called him when they gave up on his full name). Maybe he’s just shy. He doesn’t talk to a lot of people, and keeps politely quiet when the discussions in the staff lounge get racy.
Around March I was working with a small-group life coaching program, with the intention of cleaning up several areas of my life, including my love life. Many of my talks during the weekly conference call revolved around my feelings about him and how to get him to make some kind of move (because I definitely didn’t want to be the one to make the move and scare him off). Again, every interaction was up for thorough analysis – from his awkward “we should have lunch at this place sometime” to his offer to help me pay security deposit on my apartment (which was very difficult to come up with myself in the 2 days I had to do it), and my life coach was kind of sick of my inaction.
So, my friends all knew about my crush, my clients all knew… they all wanted constant updates and for a while I had nothing – well, nothing tangible, though to me everything felt like progress. Even his mentor, my good friend, took every chance he had to engage him in “guy talk” about girls and sex to draw his attention to me and encourage him to make a move. By April, I’m thinking something has to happen, and soon. So, I start making things up for my life coach (as the program is about to end), and the client who lives vicariously through my social life. I conjured up a story about a simple yet perfect date, just to shut them up.
The same week, the unravelling and crushing of my dreams happened in 2 quick steps. The first came after getting a backrub from him (which was a pretty common thing for us). I joke that I need to repay him for all the massages, and he replies, “You already pay me back with your knowledge.” WTF? KNOWLEDGE? That’s all you want from me? (I didn’t say this out loud, of course). But all the help I’d given him his first few months at work meant a lot to him. OK, despite my feeling then that he was clearly uninterested in me for anything more than a friendship, my spies tried to convince me that this was a good thing, that he values me on a deeper level. I had a hard time seeing it their way. Step two: my crush’s mentor quit, and on his last day he was pushing the guy talk hard. Basically, he flat out told my crush to “tap that ass” (his words exactly). When he reported back to me… (yes, I remember the conversation word-for-word)
Me: “So what did he say?”
R: (shaking his head) “Just forget it, it’s not gonna happen”
Me: “What? Why not? What did he say?”
R: (sigh) “Why do you think, what would be the one reason that he would not go for you after everything I’ve been saying to him?”
Me: (almost heartbroken) “He has a girlfriend?”
Me: “What then?”
R: (barely a whisper) “He’s gay.”
Oh. My. God. My heart felt like it dropped 4 floors down into the pool in the gym basement. It was the heartbreak of a lifetime, the great tragedy. Nothing made sense. He told another guy he was straight… was he in the closet? Why? There is no safer place in the world to be out than my gym. Why was he flirting with me? Was he really flirting with me, or was it all in my head? I can’t have made it all up, other people saw this thing happening between us. (Nevermind that I now had to create a cover-up story for the people I’d lied to about my “perfect date”). It took all the restraint I had not to cry for the next 2 hours while I worked. I went to yoga that afternoon and cried through the class (like an idiot).
I just felt so stupid. I still don’t understand it. After a few weeks I was better, it was even easier to talk to him now that there was nothing at stake. But I couldn’t ask him about it, find out for sure, because he had come out to his mentor in confidence (probably only because it was his mentor’s last day & this safe to tell him, and/or he was sick of hearing about me from him). It felt like I had been jolted awake from a dream with nothing but unanswered questions and fleeting images of what I thought had happened.
He has never told me that he’s gay (to this day), so I pretend I don’t know or don’t care. I’m not sure if he believes it. He still talks to me about everything else in his life all the time. He makes comments to everyone else about how smart I am and other ways that he thinks I’m amazing. When he’s on vacation or out sick, people ask me about him (because I’d be most likely to know where he is and what’s going on). There’s still a “lighting up” in his eyes when he sees me. So forgive me for being confused. He still seems to flirt with me… and hug me… though I try not to use him for massages anymore, that would just be torture.
Six months later, I’m dating other guys – I’m even in a semi-serious relationship – but I’m still in love with him. Even though I know he will never, ever want me. I want to believe he loves me too, just not “that way”. But then, if he can’t even tell me the truth about himself, are we really even as good friends as I thought we were? I’m not even sure I can honestly say I know him. Maybe it was all in my head. He was the 3rd guy I’d had feelings for that turned out to be gay, so maybe there’s something wrong with me. I had invested so much energy and emotion in such a short time, its hard to recover from that. And more than anything I just felt like a stupid teenage girl… I mean, rule #1 at my workplace where hot new coworkers are concerned is that the guy is gay until proven straight. I knew that rule and I chose to ignore it.
But damn, every time I see him, it’s hard to take my eyes off him. Everytime I pass him by, I can’t help touching him. I don’t have that feeling about anyone else right now, even the guy I kind of refer to as my “boyfriend”. Part of me is dying to have that same feeling for someone else, and have that person feel it in return.
He probably knows by now that I’m crazy about him… everyone else does.