Facing The Pain Of Being Stood-Up
This Is The Face Of Stood-Up Pain:
WRITER'S NOTE: this hub was inspired by fellow hub writer and friend, JEAN BAKULA. I promised that I would give her credit. Thanks, Jean!" (Kenneth Avery).
"Seven o' clock? Is that what time I am to pick you up?" "Great! And I want you to know that I am so looking forward to seeing you. Bye," fatal words spoken by an excited single man who doesn't realize in the least that in a few short hours, his world will cave in like a sandcastle built by kids on some beach in Panama City, Florida.
The excited man's name is Harry. Last names aren't important. He works for the MetLife Insurance Company on Fifth Avenue, New York City as a claims adjuster. Harry is happily-single. He loves the single life. No one to answer to. Comes and goes as he pleases. Does what he wants. What could be better?
Lately, Harry has been secretly flirting, chatting, and laughing with a beautiful girl named, Shelly, last name are still not important, who works in his office at MetLife Insurace Company as a paralegal. Shelly is everything a single man desires. Beautiful high-lighted, shoulder-length hair, perfect skin, a gorgeous smile, full red lips, deep, mysterious blue eyes and a figure that Marilyn Monroe would have killed for. Shelly is naturally-beautiful. And likes Harry, for who knows why. They chat in secret for the office manager frowns on coworkers seeing each other in a social setting, so they keep their simmering attraction on the "down low." For now.
In the weeks past, Harry has mustered up the nerve to ask Shelly, the office bomb shell out on a date. And again, for some mysterious reason, she accepted without being threatened or being conned by a "I got six months to live" story. Shelly is actually excited about the idea of seeing Harry in a social setting. Forget the office manager. Shelly thinks to herself. I can do what I want. I am a woman of 2011--strong, independent, single, pretty and can have any man I want. And she is right on all counts. Harry sure can pick the ladies. That's for sure.
In Harry's $650.00-a-month apartment on 8th Avenue, New York City, of course, Harry is pacing the hardwood floors--anxious to see Shelly somewhere besides in the office. It's hours before he is even to get ready. Factually, it is only 12 noon. Harry phoned Shelly about 9:30 a.m., disturbed her sleep, just to find out what time he was to pick her up tonight. Harry is a good planner. He has to have good planning skills for his job as an insurance adjuster for MetLife Insurance. Harry tires of pacing the hardwood floors. "What's on the television? Let's see, ESPN U, yeah, bet my team, The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are playing," Harry says in some awkward excitement. Why he said this about Rutgers is a mystery. Harry didn't attend Rutgers, he attended Brown University for his bachelor's degree in business. Some, in his office, say in confidential terms, that Harry is a bit flighty for a man.
"Drats," Harry says as he notices his digital clock (from KMart) on his clear glass coffee table that his Aunt Jean gave him for Christmas last year. "Hours, I hate hours, before I can get ready for my date with gorgeous Shelly," he complains as his feet and hands tap out a nervous rhythm on the arms of his couch as he is reclining to watch Penn State play Colgate on ESPN U's "College Game of The Week," he likes Lee Corso, one of the Game Day analysts. He cannot stand Kirk Herbstreit, for how his hair is always in place and he beams that face smile to the camera. But Harry endures until 2:30 p.m. and when he cannot stand the waiting any longer, he says, "Okay. I figure that Shelly will want to look perfect for me, so I will start now getting ready for I want to look perfect for Shelly." And with that sudden rationalization, Harry heads to the bathroom.
Harry takes two-hour, hot showers. Not just to cleanse his body, but to cleanse his pores that may have stored up some bodily poison or sweat that wasn't discarded from his body. As he showers, Harry sings, "Get Down Tonight," by KC and The Sunshine Band and "Stayin' Alive," by The Bee Gees. He still loves Disco although its been dead for many years. As he turns the shower off, Harry now prepares to dry himself with three fluffy towels. He has an anxiety problem with wetness, a problem that he uncovered last year in some mandatory therapy sessions promoted by MetLife to make sure that their employees were socially stable. Harry is one of the lucky ones. Having worries about wetness was his only point of mental weakness. Other than that, he is a mental giant.
With his shaving completed (with a Gillette Fusion razor), he ponders which of his colonges for men to use when he picks up Shelly. "Lettttt's see now. Hmmm, okay. Stetson, the cologne for men. Yeah, that will make her sit up and take notice," Harry says to himself as he splashes his chest and neck area with this fine cologne. The directions on the Stetson bottle said 'a drop of two,' but Harry is a 'social animal,' and is sparing no detail to look and smell perfect for his "night in Heaven," with Shelly.
While driving to Shelly's uptown apartment on 16th Avenue, 202 Living Street, New York City, he hums along with a song on his XM Radio, "It Just Might Be You," by legendary songwriter, Stephen Bishop. Harry's heart pounds. He takes Bishop's song as a sign from God that Shelly is 'the one' for him even before they have their first date. Harry checks his face in the rear view mirror of his 2009 Camry, to see if he has any hair in his nose, a turn-off for any girl who is out on date. And Harry would just die if Shelly were to notice some nasal hair jutting out of his nostrils.
"Well, heart, you can slow down. We are here," Harry says with a tremble in his voice. "Shelly's apartment building. I am so excited I could faint," he states as he jobs up the 27 steps leading to the front door of the apartment building where Shelly resides.
Harry enters the front door. The doorman tips his hat to Harry and smiles as Harry walks briskly to Shelly's apartment, 202, just down the hall. Just like she described it to him at work. Harry's chest is actually bursting with excitement. He can just see Shelly's icy-blue eyes, her beautiful high-lighted blond hair. "I even bet she smells fabulous," Harry giggles like a sixteen-year-old boy on his date to the junior prom.
"This is it. Be calm, Harry," Harry says coaching himself up for this monumental occasion. His index finger on his left hand trembles as he pushes the doorbell. "There! I did it," he says to himself shifting back and forth from one foot to the other and looking at his wristwatch. Harry, smiling and looking up and down the hall, carefully puts his ear to the door of Shelly's apartment to see if he can hear her dainty feet coming to the door. Nothing. Dead silence. Harry feels a twinge of fear, but quickly ignores it. He knows Shelly well enough that she would be home. She just talked to him at 9:30 this morning. And agreed that seven-o-clock would be great to pick her up. Harry's index finger on his left hand trembles even more as he pushes the door bell again. Faith can play tricks on a man. This time, Harry actually thought he heard Shelly's dainty little feet running to the door. Nope. Nothing. Still dead silence. (nice name for a comeback of Anthony Michael Hall's Dead Zone show that USA cancelled). The time is now, according to Harry's Timex wristwatch, 7:15 p.m. And no Shelly. This process of Harry's index finger on his left hand (now shaking) and pushing Shelly's door bell continues for another 20 minutes with the same results. Nothing. No Shelly. No rats. No dice. No sense in doing this. It is now 7:40 p.m. and Harry, who has tried very hard to not admit the obvious. The hurtful. The cold fact, has given in to . . .'SHELLY HAS STOOD HIM UP.'
Harry stands motionless. Looks down at the expensive carpeting on the hallway floor. He hears the heavy footsteps of the hefty door man as he approaches him. "Got a problem, fella?" Nick, the door man asks in his finest Brooklyn accent. "Uh, no, sir. Not really a problem, just . . ." Harry is now interrupted by Nick, "Then what are you doing hanging around Shelly's apartment door, huh? Maybe I needs to call da cops," he threatens. "Oh, no sir. That won't be necessary. I was here to pick her up for a date. That's all," Harry says hoping the truth will set him free.
Nick the door man lets out a loud, horse laugh that continues for more than five minutes. Nick bends over holding his stomach he is laughing so hard. Not chuckling. No snickering. But harsh horse laughing. Humiliation is more like it. Harry is wondering what is so funny and asks, "Sir, may I ask what is so funny?"
"You, buddy. You look so stupid standing there waiting for my friend, Shelly, to come to the door. Wy' my foolish buddy, she left about 6:45 this evening. She even threw me a kiss as she smiled 'that' smile. You know 'that' smile," Nick explains still holding back his laughter.
"Gone? You mean, uh, Shelly---is---gone?" Harry asks in unbelief and now in denial that he has been stood-up. Harry lowers his head and accepts this cruel fact of life. Shelly stood him up. That's all it was. A stand-up. No worries. Harry thinks in his rejected, shattered mind.
"Yeep, buddy. Shelly is G--O---N---E," Nick says. But Harry wonders why does people who kick you when you are down just have to spell-out by letters what hurts the most.
WRITER'S NOTE: This painful, short story was, of course, fictitious. But the plot of this hurtful fantasy is a reality to thousands of good souls each day and night of the week. The rest of my article is intended to be of help to those men and women (mostly men) who get stood-up for no apparent reason. Thanks and please continue to read. (Kenneth Avery).
Okay. It's happened. It's dawned on you. You have been stood-up
this is what is happening to you now.
- Your mind is racing like an Indy race car with thoughts such as: Awww, she's being fashionably-late, her mother wanted her to bring her some groceries, and she must have broken a nail.
- Your self-image, ego, and self-esteem are out in the open--exposed to the humiliation that is face-to-face with you. You have been stood-up. You now feel like a fool, a clown dressed in a three-piece suit holding a dozen roses in your left hand.
- You question the fact that your life was meant to be, and not a mistake.
- You wonder, still trying to not admit you were stood-up, about maybe she, your date who is long-gone, is just playing with you to see how you would react. You, my friend, are grasping for straws. Better be getting a grip. Now. For it will be worse before it gets better.
The following things are what you do to save face, your dignity
- When you admit that you have been stood-up, you check around your disappearing date's door to see if anyone has witnessed this social travesty. You look quickly up and down the road or sidewalk to make sure that no one has seen you reduced from a man to a pile of useless Jello.
- You make yourself smile, grin, and laugh. You could easily win an Oscar for the act you are doing now of a man, although stood-up, humiliated, degraded, is still a strong man. A man who doesn't let pain near him.
- You pretend to be an old time movie star who was used to being stood-up, but you do a bad Buster Keeton. You are more of Moe Howard type. Moe, of the famous Three Stooges.
- You drive around to settle you head, but every girl you see is HER, the girl who stood you up. Settle down, Jack. You are suffering from "Stood-Up Hallucinations," a symptom that follows the shame of being stood-up.
- If you were a girl who has just been stood-up, you would call up a few girl friends, have a girls only party with ice cream eating, drinking Tequila shots, doing hairstyles, and talking it out until dawn, but my foolish friend, you are not a girl. You are a broken-hearted man who trusted too much. But you will, in time, live it down.
- After you realize what a fool you have been, you drive quickly back to your apartment in hopes no one seen you at this girl's apartment. You spend the entire weekend at home--not talking to friends on the phone, well except the pizza place where you ordered $50.00-worth of sausage pizza's for eating cures the "stood up blues," and you engross yourself with all the channels of ESPN. This is how you are going to live from now on. You think to yourself as Sunday morning comes. And Sunday goes slowly by. You need to shave and shower.
- Monday comes, after a sleepless Sunday night, and you silently creep into the office hoping that your 'Shelly' is out sick or has been fired. Anything to keep you from seeing her. And you pray to God that your buddies in the office all went out of town the weekend and did't hear of your appearance in the "Fool's Parade."
These things are what YOU NEED to do . . .after the fact of being stood-up seeps into your mind:
- Laugh like a wild dog. Run and leap like a Russian ballet dancer. Say to strangers, "Guess what? I have been stood-up by a gorgeous girl! I am the happiest man in the world." People hearing this will look at each other and be amazed at your mental toughness.
- Instantly, go by or call all of your buddies at work, gal pals too, and just hit them with the news of you being made a fool of by this 'Shelly' or whatever her name is. And that you are in the mood for a toga party at the local VFW Hall and you want to tear up the town and have the night of your life. Your buddies, gal pals too, will ask, "Who is this?" And after you tell them who you really are, they will not ask many tough questions about you getting stood-up, but they will all be very sympathetic toward you. And your cute gal pals will all want to nurture you back to good mental health. Girls are very competitive with each other, and your gal pals are all secretly wanting to be asked out by you so the other girl who stood you up will feel like moving to Puerto Rico and changing her name.
- Buy yourself a new car, suit, shoes. Treating yourself soon, will be the quicker you recover from being stood-up. And talk about feeling great. This will do it for you.
- Realize, right away, that by being stood-up, this girl who hurt you has actually did you a great favor. She might have been too clingy and wanted you to marry her after two dates. This leaves the market for new girls wide-open. Take in the fresh air of single life. You are fine.
- And when you see the girl who stood you up, in public with another guy, just grin, walk up, smile and say, "Hi, I'm the guy you stood-up last week. I am doing great. And I have learned that I am a far-better judge of girls that your date here," and leave. The new date the girl is with, will soon have some questions about what she did to you and if he has a brain at all, he is gone too.
Now that you have read my ways to deal with the pain of being stood-up, don't you feel better? Don't you feel more empowered at just knowing how to handle the heart and soul-crushing moment of being stood-up? Don't you feel more confident as a man? You should. No inconsiderate, insensitive woman will ever make you look like a fool again.
I hate to sound self-absorbed, but aren't you glad that I wrote this story just for you?