I'd gone out on three dates with the lawyer from Chelsea before I finally realized she wasn't over her ex. During our first phone call, she mentioned that she liked my picture because my eyes were the same shade of blue as her ex-boyfriend's. I didn't have the heart or desire to tell her my eyes are green, but the mention of an ex five minutes into a conversation with a potential blind date was strike one. On our first date, she mentioned that her ex-boyfriend lives around the corner from the cafe at which she suggested we meet. Coincidence? Probably not. Strike two. On our second date, she not so subtly worked into the conversation that her ex-boyfriend is a banker when the subject of the financial crisis came up. I was kind of liking her a little by then, so I considered that a foul tip. She was still alive. By our third date, she was telling me how her ex-boyfriend loved Chinese food as we shared a plate of vegetable dumplings. Swing and a miss. She was down on strikes. We left the restaurant and I ended our evening together telling her I had to wake up early the next morning.
"On Christmas Day?" she asked.
"I've got some work to take care of," I told her, hoping she'd get the hint.
"Okay, well call me if you get done early. Maybe we can catch a movie."
Part of me wanted to say, "Yeah, sure," and then just fade away into the distance, never to see her again, while she asked her friends why all guys sucked and never called when they said they would. I thought for sure that her ex would either be in or would have been somehow involved in the making of the movie she'd wind up picking. Instead, I decided to be honest.
"I like you, but it seems to me that you're not over your ex," I told her.
"How could you possibly know anything about me and my ex?" she asked angrily.
"You mentioned him during our first phone call and on every one of our dates. It's obvious you still think about him a lot."
Then it started to get ugly.
"So you're keeping track of everything I say?" she asked.
"Just the stuff about my ex-boyfriend, huh? You clearly don't have any exes," she insisted.
"Actually, I do. I just don't mention them on dates."
"I don't see how you can judge someone for having a past."
"I'm not judging you. I was dating you to get to know you, not your ex."
"Why do you have to be so jealous and insecure?" she demanded to know.
I took a deep breath and wondered how I wound up being the one who needed to defend himself against an accusation of being mentally unbalanced.
"If I was jealous, wouldn't I be the one to keep bringing him up? With all due respect, you're the one that can't seem to have a conversation without mentioning him."
"You know what? Then don't call me!" she said before jumping into a cab.
I'm sure the Sikh cab driver spent the entire drive home listening to how her ex-boyfriend loves taking taxis, or wearing turbans.