You stuck around,
You stuck around,
Until you got me
And then, and then, you dropped me”
— from “Dull Tool” by Fiona Apple
Not too long ago, over the course of listening to “Dull Tool,” Fiona Apple’s This Is 40 soundtrack contribution, about a half-dozen times, I zeroed in on the lyrics at 0:47 and wondered, has Apple been dating an Argentine guy?
The type of dating behavior she sings about in “Dull Tool” is so Argentine, rampant among both gay and straight guys in Buenos Aires. People from outside of BA, including one from Salta whom I dated briefly in Bangkok last year, swear it isn’t an Argentine thing but rather a porteño malady that doesn’t exist beyond the Capital Federal city limits. I can’t say for sure if that’s so, but during the four and a half years I lived in Buenos Aires, I constantly found myself encountering guys who would pursue me with wild abandon only to seemingly lose interest when I offered them the slightest bit of encouragement.
They’d proceed to drop out of my life, then, in an annoying but somewhat gratifying twist, re-emerge unexpectedly at some point in the future. I can’t tell you how many “Hola! Tanto Tiempo!” text and MSN messages I received in four and a half years from guys who had pursued me relentlessly, blown me off when I agreed to go out with them, and then disappeared for months. As I used to say to my friend Rob, “Argentine guys always come back!”
I thought I’d escaped that sort of head-scratching behavior when I left Buenos Aires behind two years ago, and for a while, I did. But something strange must have entered the water in Melbourne. Maybe it’s the hot-and-cold summer weather that’s making guys mimic it. If I had closed my eyes during and after some of my recent boy encounters (see Marty, who chased me for weeks only to spend a quarter of our date on the phone), I might have sworn I was back in BA.
My friend Marcus assures me that it’s not so much Melburnian guys turning Argentine as it is a Gen Y thing. (That’s what I get for continuing to date guys half my age!) They like to collect men for the ego boost and keep them stacked on a shelf for future use whenever their self-esteem needs a little lift. How lazy and unimaginative of them! Back in my Gen X day, we’d just find new ones to toy with.
When I was gone, I was not forgotten. At 4am, he sent me the same text message twice: “It’s Nicholas. You are very, very sexy.”…”It’s Nicholas. You are very, very sexy.”
At 4.29, another: “Are you still at the Peel?”
At 4.30, yet another: “I really want to see you again.”
I wouldn’t read the 4.30 text until five hours later, along with a provocative one he’d sent in the interim. At 8.14, Nicholas had offered a headless shot of himself lying naked on his stomach in bed. I should have been turned off. Normally, I would have been. I’ve never been good with nudity (for reasons detailed here), and I generally prefer photos that highlight body parts above the waist.
But I was intrigued, and he had been an excellent kisser, so I responded, kicking off a sequence of back-and-forth text messages. He asked if I was on Facebook and added me as a friend. We decided to go out for dinner and drinks the following night. When he texted me later in the evening, just to see how I was doing, I thought, Well, maybe there’s more to him than nice lips and a great ass. I didn’t even mind that he was only 24.
I had spoken to myself too soon. When I texted him the following afternoon at 1 to make a firm plan for the evening, I expected to hear back from him within the half hour. By 5.30, he still hadn’t responded. I decided I wouldn’t play games and texted him again.
“So are we on or off tonight? I never heard back from you.” I already knew the answer by this point, but I was determined to let the story play out.
About 15 minutes later, he resonded: “Some friends dropped by unexpectedly. I think I might have to take a rain check.”
“How nice of you to tell me this so early. Don’t worry about the rain check. I’ll pass.” Send. Delete — from my phone, from Facebook, from my life.
If things with this Nicholas guy were going to begin so badly, I didn’t even want to think about where they might have led. His blase response several hours later to my final text — “Okay.” — minus any attempt at an apology, and another Facebook friend request two days later (?), told me I’d dodged a deadly bullet indeed.
The only “Dull Tool” I want in my life is the Fiona Apple song.