Wednesday, May 13, 2009

QUESTIONABLE CHOICES

Did you ever love someone but not like them? Perhaps it is not love at all but lust. I think not in this case but am not sure. I loved Phil but could not for the life of me "like" him when we were around other people.


Phil came to Florida as part of the start up unit of a new semiconductor plant. I was working a few days a week as a cocktail waitress in a bar that was part of a major restaurant. Most of my customers were people waiting for a table to dine. At the same time, I was working full time for a bank. In those days banks were notoriously poor paying, thus two jobs.


Phil came in every night for dinner. He was quiet and stayed to himself, contemplating his before dinner scotch. He was very good looking with crisp reddish hair, even features and startling green eyes. Some people just look sweet and Phil was one of those. He had a face Norman Rockwell would have loved and he really intrigued me. I made the first move and soon he was coming in just to talk to me, often missing dinner.


We started dating and I was very impressed with his sweetness and vulnerability. He had my heart. We had been dating a long time , always solo, just happy to be together. Then one evening I met the "other" Phil. He came along almost like a fifth person on a double date with a good friend of mine and her husband.


The "other" Phil was arrogant and sarcastic. He came out when there was an audience. He seemed to love shocking people with his rudeness. I was stunned by the transformation. Very little was off limits if it would raise eyebrows. Totally without civility summed him up. Unrecognizable from the guy I had grown to love. My friends did not hide their dislike of him and often shook their heads that I continued to be with him. However whenever we were alone, the other Phil came out totally apologetic, begging forgiveness and was the perfectly lovable, sweet guy I had first met. He treated me like a princess.


We started doubling with Rod and Julie. Rod worked for Phil and he was dating Julie, a Palm Beach Socialite. Julie was one of those people who was accomplished at what ever she did either by natural talent or via expensive lessons. Water skiing, tennis, dancing, horse back riding, you name it. She just bested everyone. Rod was fine with this for he adored her but it killed Phil. He had to be the best and to be beaten by a girl---? There was tension between them but she loved Rod so she put up with Phil.

One night Julie invited us to dinner at her home on the ocean in Palm Beach. It was a beautiful house that had a very open floor plan with floor to ceiling windows looking out at the ocean from the great room. I felt a little like I was in a museum with all the marble and statues.

We met Julie's mother who spoke to the help arranging our dinner. She addressed the help in various languages. I recognized a bit of Spanish, a bit of French and something unknown to me. Julie said her mother hired help of all different nationalities that could only speak their native languages. Julie and her family were multilingual so they could speak to all the help but the help could not speak to each other. Not a very trusting family.


Phil had kept his mouth shut around Julie's mother and when she left us alone, I was almost breathing easy. Then the four of us sat at the table. Julie pointed to a bell and said if we needed anything to ring the bell which would bring the help. Phil picked it up immediately and rang it. A uniformed woman scurried out and looked quizzically at Julie. Phil just looked blank and said"Oops" and Julie dismissed her. The woman disappeared so Phil picked up the bell and rang it again. Again the quizzical looks and again "Oops."

This was not cute and Phil did not mean to be cute, he wanted to shock. By now I am really embarrassed by his juvenile behavior and I had kicked him sharply under the table. Yet he did it again. He was feeding on our discomfort. This time Julie glared at him and took the bell away. I was relieved but it became an icy, uncomfortable meal for all except Phil who was enjoying himself.


We are not talking about a teenager here but a successful yuppie in his thirties. This was only one small example of his boorishness. His rudeness was often jaw dropping. He lived to offend. I think I understand women who continue to live with an abusive man. Their sweet side seems so much more sweet when compared to the brutish side. I guess had we lived alone on an island, we would be together today, but in the real world, it just couldn't work.


Today I wonder if he might have suffered with DID (multiple personalities) but since he was aware of both sides of his personality, I doubt it. He did cast a huge shadow over my confidence in making good choices for a long time.


6 comments :

  1. Did you ever try to like/love a person because someone else thought they were the perfect choice for you?

    My parents had tried that. But hard as I tried, there was no spark, a good man, clean lifestyle. Friends, maybe, life partner--no way.

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  2. Weird that he was so different around other people and that he got a kick out making them uncomfortable. I did go out with a guy that made an obnoxious scene in a nice restaurant as an experiment in live art. I didn’t get it.

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  3. Nitwit,
    You know, I probably could have done a lot better if I had let someone else pick. My grandmother was in an arranged marriage and she said she fell in love with him about the 3rd child. When all the fire is gone, it would be nice to have someone you enjoyed talking to who had similar interests.
    However, don't believe arraanged marriages will ever make a come back.

    Jewels,
    He sounds almost as much fun as my guy. Live art huh? Sounds like he had a bit of Phil's need to shock.
    We are both lucky.

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  4. I don't think I've ever had an experience quite like the one you describe. Phil probably did have some kind of personality disorder. What a shame, and particularly since it made you doubt yourself.

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  5. robin,
    The next guy I thought was cool was the pimp want-a-be. Can I pick them or what? Luckily time heals and lessons get learned.
    Hope you and your brother had a wonderful Birthday.

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  6. Oh, my. Yes, I have met and been around people like him. It helps if they respond to a kick under the table, but he was so childish. His development was definitely arrested somewhere along the way. Hope you wised up and left him in short order.
    I know how hard it is when they are so nice when you are with only them. You keep hoping they will change.

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