“I can certainly try” is a Bunch of Linguistic Bullshit (Part 1)

“Tears on your pillow will dry and you will learn

Just how to love again

Oh my weeping willow

Let your leaves fall and return

Oh darling the seasons are your friend

Oh it won’t be long you will grow strong

Up up and away

He’s but a falling leaf”— Sia “Death by Chocolate”

When last we left our dashing heroine, she was plucking up the courage to tell Five how his inability to make firm plans was unacceptable behavior. Lucky for her, she didn’t have to! The very next day Five, of his own accord, texted her with plans for later that week. Things were looking up for the plucky young lady of our story…

…or were they…

The night of their big plans arrived. She waited impatiently for Five, not quite a beau, but more than a friend, to get off work. And she waited some more. The tone of his messages became less certain and fear crept into her heart. The certain plans weren’t so certain after all.

When Five, our unreliable yet adorable romantic lead, finally got off work, he once again cancelled his plans with our unlucky heroin. He was full of remorse, confessing that he really wanted to see her, and not just for the great sex. She was wonderful to him and he declared that he was quite fond of her. “When is the next night that you are free?” he texted.

“Saturday,” was all she replied.

“I have to work Saturday night. Would you spend the night with me? You could come over whenever I get off work and stay the night, just to cuddle and sleep.”

“I can do that.”

Our heroine’s heart was uplifted. It was worth the cancelled date to learn that he was fond of her. That she was wonderful to him. That he wanted more than just sex from her. It felt like their relationship was moving from just physical intimacy to something more.

All of the pieces fell delightfully into place for our leading lady as she negotiated the demands of truly being able to leave her house overnight. Her mother went to Saturday night mass so she didn’t have to pick the kids up before nine on Sunday. Her friend and neighbor agreed to let the dogs out in the morning. And Five was cut four hours early from his shift, so they had a whole evening to themselves. This, of course, necessitated a night time visit to let the dogs out, but her friend was happy to oblige. Dinner was followed by a movie which was followed by fantastic sex and restless sleep.

It seemed like things were finally coming together for our pair of misaligned lovers.

…or were they…

In the morning our nervous, but nonetheless determined, leading lady tried to tell Five that she wanted to see him more often. It came out very wrong, but, with his head resting above her racing heart, Five seemed to understand.

He replied, “I want to see you more too, but I can’t always say yes.”

She dressed quickly and left shorty after that. As she walked out into the sunshine, she had the sad feeling that she would never see him again.

In the six days that followed, Five made no attempts to see our increasingly despondent heroine. He texted less than 50 words to her. She made a decision.

Our heroine texted, “Last week you wanted to see me and said that I was wonderful to you. This week you’ve said less than 50 words to me. It’s pretty confusing. As much as I like you when we’re talking or spending time together, I don’t like being treated this way. If you want to have a conversation about things and see if we can make them work, that would be cool. If not, we can just say ‘Thanks for the memories’ and go our separate ways.”

Twenty-four hours passed and he didn’t reply. As she deleted his messages from her phone, she felt a wight lifted from her shoulders. She felt light and capable of tackling the obligations she’d been shirking. Our heroine opened and addressed all the mail that her anxiety had kept pushing aside. She cleaned the house, finished reading that book, and even made some art.

As free as a house elf with a sock, our heroine crawled satisfiedly into bed that night. Finally, still manless, but feeling better, things were looking up for our heroine.

…or were they…

Several hours later, the slumber of our peaceful heroine was interrupted by the ping of a text message. It was Five. He’d thought long and hard about how to respond to her message. He’d decided that, in the future, he’d like things to stay exactly the way they were even though he realized it’s not fair to her.

She told him how his behavior triggered her PTSD, but with a little additional time and attention from him, they could continue to see each other.

Five responded with his famous line: he can certainly try. But, he’s busy. And besides, if things got serious, he wasn’t sure that he’d be okay with the fact that she has kids. And honestly, he thought she deserved better.

Incredibly angry at having the children he knew about before swiping right on her profile used in such a way, our heroine laid it on the line. “Five, I think it’d be best for you to just plainly and honesty say what you want from me. Then, I can tell you if I’m comfortable with that or what would have to change for me to be comfortable.”

“I don’t know what it is that I want from you. That’s what I don’t think is fair. I don’t want to string you along for anything. I enjoy spending time with you when I can. We have fun. You’re intelligent and interesting. The sex is great. You’re always so sweet to me. I just know anything above like casual dating is just too much for me.”

“Who knew being fun, intelligent, interesting, sweet, and good in bed wouldn’t be enough to pull a boyfriend in 2017? Things sure have changed in the 15 years I was off the market.” Sarcasm doesn’t come across well via text message, but if Five, our clueless love interest was half as smart as he claimed to her, he would know. Had he known our heroine at all, he would also have known this kind of sarcasm was not to be taken lightly. “So you just want to be able to randomly pop up in my life, spend an evening together, and disappear?”

Faced with bald honesty, Five had very little recourse. “Well it sounds awful when you phrase it like that. I don’t want to disappear. I just don’t have a lot of time. It’s a problem with all of my friends.”

Our heroine had heard enough. In those few sentences she realized that Five did not value truth. Five did not take responsibility for his own behavior. Five treated all his friends badly. And worst, Five had no concept of what she was sacrificing to make time for him. How dare a single man with no family, without even a fish to care for, who rents a room, and makes money by the seat of his pants have the nerve to tell a single mom of two with a house, a career, and two dogs that he is too busy to care for the people in his life.

“What I need from you,” she messaged with finality, “even if we just casually date, is for you to not disappear. And not in an ‘I can certainly try’ way.”

Five replied only with silence.

…Audiences should tune in soon for analysis directly from our story’s heroine and choose your own adventure style alternate endings…

…skip the analysis and go directly to Act II

7 thoughts on ““I can certainly try” is a Bunch of Linguistic Bullshit (Part 1)

  1. Hi- interesting. As far as I can see you started off already upset with his behaviour. He’s contacted you twice, entirely on terms that suit himself and not in response to you. He makes arrangements revolving entirely around his work (doesn’t he have days off?) and you have allowed him to cancel, rearrange at short notice to suit him, change to accommodate his short shift, and even change from ‘cuddle only’ to ‘sex’. (What a sacrifice for him to make!). In this narrative, you have explained to him five or six times that his behaviour is hurtful and yet he’s made it quite clear that he doesn’t care and has no intention of changing his behaviour. We always talk about looking at a narcissist’ s behaviour and not his words; your words may say unacceptable but your behaviour is clearly telling him he can get away with treating you with gross disrespect. Sorry, rereading this I sound very harsh but please, think again!


    1. You’re right, of course 🙂 I’m done with him and it feels good to be done. I don’t know if he’s a narcissist, but I don’t think he’s capable of having any kind of relationships with people. He seems to know it too. I’ll write more about what I learned about myself soon, I’m just having trouble getting it organized so it’s taking a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

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