In case I haven’t stated it already, working in retail pharmacy was MY FAVORITE job. Days were all different, and I was constantly learning, meeting new people and adjusting to a constantly changing work environment. Unfortunately, retail pharmacy techs are some of the most underpaid people on the planet, and I had to move up or go broke.
One of my friends, Megan* is 25 and a pharmacist. This translates to “She is wicked smart, and also makes a lot of money. She wins at life.” However, she’s wicked particular in her standards for guys, and hasn’t dated a lot.
A couple of weekends ago, I used my freak ear infection as an excuse to go out with some of my former pharmacy coworkers for some pampering and girl time. I met up with Megan and our mutual friend Jane* for dinner and pedis.
Right away, we could tell that something was up with Megan. she was practically giddy with excitement, and we were barely on our way to our destination when she spilled the beans.
“I have a new boyfriend!” she gushed, her eyes sparkling. Being the typical female friends we are, we demanded all the details and threatened to get her drunk if she wasn’t forthcoming.
They’d been dating for a little over a month, and the change from “dating” to “relationship” had occurred when, in conversation, he introduced her as his girlfriend. They had been intimate, which for Megan was a huge step. Jane and I were over-the-moon for her, and practically getting ready to pick out their wedding china.
“There’s just this one thing, guys…” Megan started, uncertainly.
“He sucks at keeping his phone on him. Like, I’ll text him and not hear back for hours, if not days. He usually leaves it in the car when he goes golfing or to watch a football game or something, but he’s left it there overnight too… Is that normal?”
Jane and I exchanged worried glances, before assuring her that, yes, that’s normal… Guys aren’t tethered to their phones the way we are, etc. The rest of our girltime passed without a hitch, with margaritas and off-key renditions of “Billionaire” on the way home.
Army Boy had offered to meet me at Jane’s apartment, which is a few blocks down the road from our house, just in case we decided to have any after-pedi cocktails. When he arrived, we were sprawled on Jane’s couch, admiring our newly artistic toes, and giggling the way girls do when they’ve had some time off from domesticity.
“Guess whaaaaat, Army Boy…” I teased.
“Oh gee, what,” he replied, ever the good sport.
“Megan has a booooyyyyfriend.” Commence girly squee-ing from the females present (and possibly from Jane’s boyfriend who tends to be a lovable smartass**)
We noticed Megan checking her phone again.
“Was he supposed to get in touch tonite?” I asked gently.
“Well, I let him know that I’d be free after dinner with you guys, but he said he was busy and he’d text me,” she explained.
We all looked at each other, thinking the same thing. It was 11:00pm. He wasn’t going to text that night. The question was how to let Megan know that without letting on that her boyfriend was a total douchenozzle.
“It sounds like he’s not that into you,” Army Boy, ever the realist, offered. He earned himself a punch in the arm.
“We don’t SAY that, babe,” I muttered between clenched teeth.
With the lubrication of a cocktail, more of the story came out. Meg was so excited about this new relationship, but afraid to “be a pest,” so she was only texting him about once a day. Sometimes he’d reply, sometimes he wouldn’t. Something was clearly wrong.
“Listen Meg,” I offered. “A: He’s your boyfriend. You have a right to expect communication from him. B: You hold the power in this relationship. If he wants sexytimes, he needs to pursue you.”
“Absolutely,” Jane’s Boyfriend agreed. “Will you promise us that you won’t text him tonight, and will wait until 5pm tomorrow? If you don’t hear from him by then, you have our permission to call and ask what his deal is.”
“Okaaaay…” Meg tentatively agreed. “Guys, now I’m worried….”
“You have nothing to worry about, “Jane said firmly. “You’re keeping him in line.”
The next day, at 5:30, I texted Jane to see if she’d gotten a status report on the situation. She forwarded a text from Meg, saying “I broke down and texted him at 4:30… he said he was just getting a lot of sleep this weekend.”
“Oh crap.” I responded back.
“I know, who even uses the “sleeping” excuse anymore?!” she replied.
Here’s the problem: How do you tell a girlfriend when the douche she’s dating is exhibiting typical douchey behavior? I know that, at times, I was particularly stubborn when people were naysayers about my bad taste in men. Sometimes, I deliberately put myself in stupid situations because I needed to actually experience what I was being warned about. (See: confronting cheating ex in the campus café when he was “sleeping”… yeah, with a leggy, busty blonde.) Though you can advise your friend on troubling behavior, the final decision will always lie with her. We all deal with pain and confusion the way that works best for us, whether it’s avoiding it or meeting it head-on.
To Be Continued…
* Names have been changed.
**- not to be confused with an “ass-tastic smartass,” which is a very different can of worms.