I would never let a man ruin my life.
But they sure can ruin my favorite places.
For instance, there's a Mexican restaurant near me that has the best fish tacos in the city. The tacos are never soggy, they don't skimp on the guacamole, and there's nothing freaky under the fry batter.
If I could marry those fish tacos, I would.
Unfortunately, the romance of the restaurant has been ruined ever since my last boyfriend and I had the Breakup Talk there.
It's a decision I deeply regret. I should have protected the tacos.
So I made a conscious effort to go back there with a girlfriend a couple of weeks later, to reverse the transformation from the Place My Boyfriend and I Broke Up back to the Home of the Insane Fish Tacos.
Everything was going to plan, I could feel the bad juju dissolving like salt on a margarita glass, and at the end of dinner, I signed our check with an optimistic flourish.
Until our waiter asked for my phone number.
Flattering, but awkward. And worse? I gave it to him.
What was I thinking? Well, to be honest, he was hot and had an accent, so thinking was difficult - but I knew nothing about him, I wasn't going to date him. I was just vulnerable!
Clearly it's still the Place My Boyfriend and I Broke Up, and if you take me there, ply me with tequila, and tell me I'm pretty, I'm either going to cry or make out with you.
The guy did text me, and I declined.
So now I definitely can never go back.
Adios, Baja Fish Tacos of my dreams. I'll see you in take-out.
Even the places with good memories of my ex - especially those places - are ruined, like our favorite brunch spot. We spent so many sunny Saturdays sitting outside with Pip, we befriended a waitress, Taylor. I could've given up the lobster egg scramble, but I couldn't give up Taylor, with her excellent service, cool side-gig playing rock cello, and fabulous lipstick colors.
Do you know how hard it is to find the right red?
So I decided to rechristen it as a dinner spot. The different lighting and menu worked in my favor as I waited for my friend to arrive, but then Taylor stopped to say hi and asked how my boyfriend was doing.
I told her we broke up, but that "I'm getting custody of you in the divorce."
Truth be told, I'm lucky to have created enough good memories with someone to leave my surroundings a little altered. Past loves are allowed to ruin restaurants; they've earned that.
And I'm on a diet anyway.
But now a random man is messing with my gym, and that's unacceptable.
As you may recall, I fought for this gym membership. I worked out all summer, lost fifteen pounds, and paid enough each month to break a sweat just looking at my bank account. The perk that makes this gym worthwhile is its rooftop pool. It's my reward, my oasis, my Happy Place.
But last week, a middle-aged man in the pool chair beside me struck up some friendly small-chat, and I obliged, as I would any polite stranger. And what does he do?
Gets my e-mail address from my website and sends me sex poetry about me.
It was not flattering; it was explicit, deluded, and disturbing.
And, in my professional opinion, very poorly written. Buddy, if you're reading this, try journaling to build your skills, and keep reading.
I was devastated to have my Happy Place turned into the Place Where Some Creep Imagined Me Naked, but then autumn arrived.
Sir, consider yourself saved by the bell. Because next summer, I won't be so nice. The communal pool is not your Lady Hunting Ground or open-mike night for your Perv Poetry Slam. Mess with me again, and see it become the Place a Five-Foot-Five Woman Told You Off and Made You Cry in Public.
You've got a second chance to stay out of my way.
Don't ruin it.