Why My Friend Rob Is A Dick
He's also a huge dick.
Let me explain. While Rob has an obviously sweet side, he also has an equally large malicious streak. Without thinking, he'll sometimes focus on a flaw you have, such as a forehead zit or weight gain and tease you mercilessly about it. I don't think he believes he's being mean, but his barbed tongue can slice and dice a man into a thousand pieces. It's only when those pieces tumble to the floor does Rob notice he may have spoken out of turn. An example:
I once told Rob a story about the worst online date I ever had. It was around 1997, and I was still living in Lakewood, Ohio, sick of the same old gay bars filled with the same old gay men, single bordering on desperate as Summer approached and Spring left me bereft of booty. I had taken to spending more and more time in the then-new AOL gay chat rooms, specifically Cleveland M4M (ah, mem'ries). One evening, I received an IM from a guy named Mike who lived in Columbus. Virtual sparks flew, pics were exchanged and a mutual attraction was confirmed. Mike happened to be built like a brick shithouse, which never hurts. I soon found myself making plans to drive down two and a half hours to Columbus to spend the next weekend with him.
Saturday morning came and I made the trip in record time. As I pulled up to Mike's home, he greeted me warmly and I think we both breathed a sigh of relief as we both matched our pictures with no horns or other disfiguring items showing in the harsh light of reality. We went inside and...had a nice cup of coffee. Honest. We sat in his kitchen talking and drinking joe for about an hour or so. It started off pleasantly enough, but the more he talked about his life, the more uneasy I felt.
Mike spent an inordinate amount of time talking about his ex-boyfriend, who was apparently a real piece of work. According to Mike, the ex was a roided out musclehead (not entirely dissimilar to himself) with a mean temper. They fought constantly, and when the verbal sparring didn't resolve anything, they resorted to basically beating the shit out of each other. And not your basic, run-of-the-mill bitchslap fests, either - Mike raised his left tricep to reveal a long, nasty scar that ran nearly the entire length under his upper arm. That was from the time his ex grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed him.
I can only imagine the look on my face at this point. But good ol' Mike wasn't finished with me yet. I asked whatever happened to the ex...is he in jail, did you get a restraining order, what? Oh no, Mike explained. The ex kindly drove him to the emergency room and no charges were filed (I wonder how they explained or got out of that one). "In fact," Mike said brightly, "we're still good friends!"
Oh. Mah. Gawd.
Then Mike dropped the real bombshell. We had planned on going to dinner at a local gay sports pub and guess who would be joining us? That's right, Stabby McJealousEx.
This was a disaster. My mind raced...what to do? I had just driven nearly three hours to meet this guy, so I wasn't exactly relishing the prospect of immediately turning around and heading home, although that's exactly what I should have done. Besides...Mike was hot! My dick was doing all the thinking. Ah, youth. What harm could it be to go to dinner with these two? If nothing else, I'd get a great anecdote out of the experience.
Not more than 30 minutes after this announcement, who shows up at the house but Stabby. I guess this was going to be one early dinner! Mike ushered Stabby into the kitchen to meet me. Stabby towered over me at a good six feet, around 250 pounds of juiced up homicide. I immediately began planning escape routes. Stabby smiled as he shook my hand but it was barely over a glower that couldn't be hidden. This was not going to end well. When we walked up to Mike's car and Stabby tilted the passenger's side seat up so I could climb into the back, that was pretty much all the hint I needed.
Lunch was a tense affair, as I sat and listened to Mike and Stabby catch up, then argue. Then argue some more. Bite of food, argue. Sip of cola, snipe. Chat about working out, followed by a bite of sandwich, then another argument. I sat silent, just watching the freak show. The pub was nice, though!
Mike drove us back to his house and as we got out of the car, Stabby asked what we were doing tonight. Before I had a chance to say, "GETTING THE FUCK OUT OF COLUMBUS" and sprint to my car, Mike answered, "Oh, we're going out to the bars tonight! You should come!"
Are you fucking kidding me?
Stabby said "sure", then drove off as Mike walked back into the house. I stood right where I was until he noticed I wasn't moving. "Coming inside?" he asked innocently.
Are you fucking kidding me?
I let loose, telling Mike that he and his ex obviously had some issues to work out before either of them was ready to date any one else. I also didn't appreciate being relegated to third wheel status only an hour after arriving. If Mike wasn't into me, just be honest and tell me so I can go home - he didn't need to summon his ex over to run interference. I'm a big boy, I told him, I can take it.
"No, no, no, that's not it at all," Mike pleaded. "I really like you, it's just that Stabby and I are really good friends, so I value his opinion. I wanted him to meet you, too."
"Well, I think I'm gonna go. This is all a little too strange for me," I said as I stepped inside to retrieve my overnight bag. As I walked in, Mike closed the front door behind him and stood there, blocking it. I didn't notice at first, as I was intent on grabbing my shit and hauling ass back to Cleveland. As I turned to leave with my bag, there stood Mike, covering the only exit in sight. I steeled myself for a confrontation. Mike breathed a huge breath, looked me in the eye...
...and began sobbing uncontrollably.
I mean, huge, heaving, breath-stealing sobs. Gasping for air, ohmigod, this guy is gonna fucking die on me and I'm gonna go to jail for no reason sobs. This 30+ year old man was absolutely inconsolable. I stood there with no clue of what to do. I finally asked him what the problem was.
"I DON'T WANT YOU TO LEAAAAAAAAAAAVE!" Sob, sob, choke, sob.
I apologized, but said I really think it was for the best if I went home. He nodded, sobbing all the while and opened the door for me. He stood on his porch, tears still streaming down his face as I started my engine and almost peeled out in my haste to leave. I did not look back.
Fast-forward five years later. I'd been living in San Diego for about a year and had become fast friends with Rob. Rob and I spent many hours telling each other our gay dating horror stories and one of his favorites was the story of Mike and Stabby. He must have made me tell him and his friends that story a hundred times. Now, Rob is a friendly guy, always introducing me to new people, fresh meat in town, what have you. One day he introduces me to a guy who just moved to San Diego and I politely say "hello".
"Oh, we've met before," the new guy says.
"Really? Where? I'm sorry I don't recall."
"Oh, it was very briefly, no worries." Fine, no worries, then! I didn't think anything of it.
A week later, Rob and his new friend want to meet me out at our favorite watering hole, Numbers. Hey, it's Friday, why not? We meet at the bar and talk about our favorite subject, men. And as he always ended up doing with his new friends, Rob asked me to tell his new friend my Mike & Stabby horror story. I'm a ham, so sure. I tell the whole sordid tale, punctuating the sobs with gusto, imitating Stabby's psychotic stare, regaling how they were both out of their goddamn fucking gourds. Rob is almost crying with laughter, but his new friend is slightly less than amused. Thick me, I think he's just a tough audience.
Rob takes a minute to catch his breath from laughing and with an evil glint in his eye asks me, "So, where did you say this guy stabbed the Mike guy again?"
"On his left tri.."
As I was speaking, Rob lifted up the new guy's left arm to reveal a familiar scar running along the tricep.
The "new" guy let Rob hold his scarred arm up in this position until the wave of recognition finally washed over my face, leaving me slack-jawed and speechless.
"Good to see you again," Mike deadpanned.
And that is why my friend Rob is a dick.