I feel guilty for a lot of things most people would probably not think twice about. Maybe I didn’t hold the door as long as I should have and then I curse myself for allowing NYC to rub off on me. In my rush to get to work, I have been known to brush past people who stand and stare a moment longer than I can handle and I spend a large portion of my morning feeling bad about my actions. Sometimes I get an email from someone looking to advertise on my blog but I can’t justify inclusion because I have a clear purpose for my corner of the web and I notice a conflict. And I feel guilty again.
Several months ago, I met up with an Irish guy from OKCupid and we drank coffee from a Starbucks in Union Square. I had reservations before the date. I wasn’t particularly in the mood to meet anyone at the time and there was something about his profile that raised a red flag. He only had few pictures up: one of him with a fake facial tattoo; the other showed him sporting a fake mustache. He was wordy and a bit pretentious, but his email seemed friendly enough and it was clear we had at least a few things in common, most noticeably our love of writing.
What the hell, I thought. It’s just a coffee date. And on a bright and sunny Autumn evening we sipped our hot beverages and discussed life and love and writing and books.
It was enjoyable but the spark just wasn’t there for me and so I spilled my hidden secret–one I always kept hidden from anyone I met online. I told him about my blog (though thankfully I had the sense not to reveal the URL). His eyes lit up and he told me about a book he had written about dating. He kindly asked if I would write up a review and I reluctantly told him I would check it out if he wanted to send me a copy.
Then I went to Paris, Bennington, and Newport and met someone who made my heart flutter.
I had forgotten about him until he text messaged me out of the blue and asked if I could still review his book. I sent him my work address and the book arrived a few days later.
I sat down one day a few weeks ago and my heart sank. It was the most misogynistic book I had ever read (published anonymously, mind you) about how he liked to hurt girls mentally, and once, physically. He described the thrill of stealing souls and compared himself to a serial killer who felt no remorse for the people he killed.
I read on and tried to convince myself this book was his way of apologizing to all those poor unsuspecting women whose hearts he had broken. Twenty pages in and the assaults continued. He described the night he made a girl cry and how he had a beer thrown at him. At the 50-page mark he detailed the ones who were bad in the sack. I made it to page 75 and the time he moved to the Midwest and developed a love affair with his right hand. I cringed when he discussed the short story he had written about how his left hand became jealous.
Then I put the book down and sent him a text message. I would not be reviewing the book for my blog.
I had enough and refused to feel guilty.
Fucking creep. And to think I almost indulged him in a second date.