So here’s how my fan devotion usually works: I fall in love with a band during a live performance, and then I dedicate myself to being at EVERY show that band plays, because I’m terrified they will eventually get to big to play the small, local clubs anymore and a) tour a lot b) move to LA or NYC and c) play shows WAY out of my price range.
Thinking about this reminded me of a story about how I used to follow a particular band around Seattle (I swear to you, I am not talking about The Posies – this time, anyway), and coincidentally, I discovered after a few shows that this guy I had a giant crush on in High School was in the band. Remembering him to be cool as well as cute, I struck up a conversation and we began having friendly drinks at every show after the set was over…which was awesome, because at the time I was single, and so was he. Awesome, that is, until I mentioned to him that I was divorced.
“Divorced? Really. Huh.”
Having just asked for my phone number, he was still holding the paper in his hand when he said it. Then he crumpled it up and put it in his pocket, and I knew he would never use it. And sure enough, he didn’t. The next time I saw him, instead of being friendly, he decided to just lay on the insults.
“Don’t you ever go to any other shows? You can’t just be going to see this one band, right? That’s pretty stupid. Did you even look at what else was playing tonight?”
There were a bunch of other things he said after that, but it didn’t matter because everything sounded like, “YOU ARE A LOSER AND THEREFORE UNDESIRABLE TO ME.”
To be fair, it’s possible that he changed his mind about getting my digits for some completely different reason. Maybe he just had a lot going on at the time. Maybe he chickened out right after I handed it to him. Maybe he thought I was a psycho hose beast. I don’t know — I only know what I heard.
“Divorced? Really. Huh.”
Fortunately he eventually quit that band, so I was saved the embarrassment of feeling like a jilted stalker while still being able to enjoy what I had originally been so enamored of. And of course I know NOW that my divorce was actually one of the best things that has ever happened to me, but at the time. Geez. At the time I felt raw and exposed and hurt. And I will never forget the way that it made me feel like a failure. (And also like I had been transported back to Victorian times, and marked as a “ruined woman.”)
That was the first time a comment had made me feel like that, and I wish I could say it was the last, but it wasn’t. All I can tell you was that I grew a thicker skin as I got older, and now I’m all, “You know what? F that guy. He’s an asshole.”
The idea that divorce has ruined you in some way is, of course, completely ridiculous. But when you’re in the moment, fresh out of trauma of it, you do totally feel like you’ve done something wrong. If only you’d tried harder. If only you were more honest. If only you’d been a better cook. If only you’d been more understanding. If only you’d been thinner. If. If. If.
You ask yourself a million questions searching for the answers, but sometimes there just aren’t any. And sometimes it’s as simple as, “We weren’t meant to be together.” A revelation that becomes clearer to me every day, especially since I’m now with someone who I feel completely at home with.
And 11 years later, I know if some guy said something like that to me NOW, I’d write him off as a jerk without a second thought — okay, maybe after I threw a drink on him, just for dramatic effect.