Nancy wanted to know how my old boyfriends got their nicknames.
Bad Matt got his nickname because his name was Matt and he was not nice to me.
Good Matt got his nickname because his name was, oddly enough, also Matt, and he treated me VERY very well. He was, and is, a wonderful person. 🙂
To differentiate between the Matts, I gave them each a superlative. No confusion anymore. I never refer to either of them without the superlative anymore.
Chad-the-Ice-Rinser. Oh, my. Where to begin.
I met Chad about 3 weeks after college graduation at Ron Harris’s 50th birthday party. He was the flight instructor for the flying lesson that Ron’s then-girlfriend (!) bought him for his birthday. We were at the old O’Charley’s on University. Chad was very cute. Not a tall guy — like 5’9″, MAYBE, blond, and he always looked like he had just been told a very dirty joke. His skin was always oddly pink.
Anyway. I invited him to several singles outings that we were having on occasion with the biotech company I worked for, so he went bowling with us, dancing with us, whatever. He was VERY shy, so he’d never talk to anyone other than me, really, but he never said no to these outings. And then he started asking me out. What the hell, he was cute, OK. And he had gone to school in North Dakota and was originally from Iowa, so he had the midwest accent (that Good Matt had) that I found so endearing. So we started dating.
He had weird habits. If I got him a glass of water, he’d thank me for it, get up, go back into the kitchen, dump it out, and refill it. When questioned, his usual answer was that ice straight out of the freezer “tasted funny,” so he needed to rinse it off. Uh, okay.
When he was finished with his glass of water and wanted it either removed or refilled, he would just sit there and shake it at me.
Food on his plate could not touch.
He said, “Holy Smokes” a lot.
When he entered a home, he would always immediately remove his shoes, and line them up very carefully against the wall nearest the door.
Every time he passed a mirror, he’d use his right hand and run his fingers through his bangs to adjust his hair. Twice. ALWAYS. Even if he hadn’t looked in the mirror.
When he got into a car, he’d always bang the sides of his feet against the doorjamb on the way in. A habit from living in snowy country, I guess, but THIS WAS ALABAMA.
He owned a 1984 Z car that lived in a barn somewhere in Iowa with a cover over it. Mint condition, less than 20K miles on it, and he wouldn’t drive it so that it would keep its value. Um, dude? It’s no value to anyone if you leave it IN A BARN.
He made very very little money as a flight instructor, believe it or not. Somewhere around $11K a year. I do not know how he lived on it. But I always paid for everything. That’s how he could afford to have a girlfriend.
He was continuously telling me that I needed to lose weight. I was probably skinnier than I have been since I had mono, so I did NOT need to lose weight.
He started being unwilling to go anywhere that involved my friends. And he wouldn’t let me meet his friends, except for his roommates. He didn’t like that I was trying out for plays. He refused to come see “A Few Good Men” because I was the only woman in it and he was jealous of the time I was spending with all the guys.
And he’d leave town without telling me. He’d be gone for a weekend, and then not understand why this pissed me off when he’d come back. He’d claim that he didn’t have money to call me. I had an 800-number that went straight to my desk at work, so this was total bullshit.
Did I break up with him the first time this happened? No. I didn’t. Or the second. Or the third, when I discovered he was visiting his “cousin,” Shelly, in Atlanta. I. Was. So. STUPID.
I tried breaking up with him twice, but both times he came crawling back to me, telling me he’d start treating me better, and both times I believed him. He was cute. How could he not be honest?
So I moved out of my parents’ house the year after graduation. I got an apartment by myself that was close to work, and affordable. I gave Chad a key.
He came to visit. I got him a glass of water. He thanked me, got up, dumped it, refilled it, drank it, and shook his glass at me.
The next time he left town without telling me where he was going, I called his roommate. He didn’t know where Chad had gone, either, but he knew that Chad had a student on Monday at the flight school, so Chad would be back.
I looked in the newspaper classifieds, under Pets for Sale. Found a gray and white kitten, 10 weeks old, for sale for $20. Called my friend Kelli, and she went with me to get the kitten. I then left my apartment, and went over to my parents’ house (they were out of town) to stay for the rest of the weekend with the kitten. I was so mad, let him find ME when he got back, dammit.
I got a call that night, when Chad got back into town. He had called my apartment, and not finding me there, called my parents’ house.
“Hi, I’m back.”
“What’d you do today?”
“I got a cat.”
“I’m allergic to cats.”
“Yeah, I know.”
I had my locks changed. I went to the office of the apartment complex and acted like I was afraid of him, but mostly it was just that I didn’t want him to have access to any of my stuff if I wasn’t there. Because I was DONE, even though I didn’t have the ovaries to truly get rid of him on my own.
Chad lasted about another month. My kitten, who my mother helped name “Tango,” as in “It takes two to tango,” would snuggle up on top of Chad’s shoes every time he came over. Which would of course make the cat hair and dander go down into the shoes. Which made him itch. Ha ha ha.
Chad got so he couldn’t breathe at my apartment, which was just fine with me. I couldn’t get rid of him myself, so I used my cat. And I’m not sorry.
Called Jerry. “So, I got a cat.” Jerry’s response was funny. “Oh. OH! You got a CAT!” He knew exactly what that meant.
Chad left in mid-July, 1996, and moved to Illinois. Jerry and I started dating in mid-August, and were engaged in February. Chad called shortly after that — to the 800-number at my desk, which I KNEW he had known but chose not to use while we were dating — because he had heard about it, and was upset that I would be engaged so fast. I told him that I had just met the right person who treated me the way I should be treated, and we didn’t see any need to wait, especially not on Chad’s account. And that I hoped that he would either learn how to treat a woman or find a woman that didn’t mind being treated like shit.
Jerry and I had been married a year when my phone rang at 5:30 in the afternoon as I was getting ready to go home for the day. I thought it was the annoying researcher from Irvine, but it was Chad. He wanted to see how the marriage was going.
“The marriage is fantastic. And please do not ever call me again.” And, to his credit, he hasn’t.
He was a pilot for TWA for a while. I have no idea what he’s doing now. I wonder on occasion, but I really don’t want to have any contact with him ever again.
So why did I choose that particular nickname for him? Because Chad-the-Ice-Rinser pretty much sums it up. You can tell what kind of a person he is just by that single behavior. I am not proud that I wasted a year of my life on the asshole, but I did learn a lot from the experience. And I guess that’s a good thing.
Like I said on my survey the other day, I wouldn’t go back to change it. It made me a better person, and it made me realize just what a treasure Jerry is. I love the man I married, with every fiber of my being.