A Messy Situation

After a relationship of eight years, I broke it off with my girlfriend and moved to Chicago from a small city in Michigan. On the rebound and eager to begin dating the "big city women," I quickly noticed that one of my co-workers at my new job, Emily, had taken a liking to me. She was a bright, fairly good-looking woman about my age with a great sense of humor and a very outgoing personality. She also tended toward being the "earth mother" type with no makeup, long, straight hair parted in the middle, granny dresses, Birkenstocks, the whole shtick, which didn't jibe with my ideal fantasy woman, but I had developed a major yearning for some female company after being without it for several weeks. So, when Emily invited me to her apartment for a spaghetti dinner (meatless sauce, of course) on the coming Friday evening, I instantly accepted. After work on Friday, I dashed home to shower and shave, and then rode the "el" up to Emily's neighborhood. I found her apartment building and she buzzed me in to her tiny studio. Emily's spaghetti was good, and the Chianti she plied me with was cheap but plentiful. After dinner, her nonverbals made it crystal-clear that Emily wanted our evening to rapidly progress to the "dessert course." We moved from the table onto her futon, where some preliminary action quickly developed into mutual disrobing, followed by, to put it delicately, some mutual oral gratification. However, something just wasn't at all right. The room was lighted by only a couple of candles, so I couldn't really see what I was getting into, so to speak. Making the excuse that I needed to empty my bladder, I got up from the futon and entered Emily's tiny bathroom. When I turned on the light, I came close to losing my dinner because my mouth was ringed in red, and it wasn't spaghetti sauce, either. I'm a fairly broad-minded guy, but earning my red wings had never been among my life's goals. As spaghetti and Chianti churned, I splashed my face with water and rinsed out my mouth. When I spit the water into the sink, it looked like I was a hemophiliac with the world's most advanced case of gingivitis. The crowning event of an already grossed-out evening took place as I watched an enormous cockroach crawl slowly across Emily's toothbrush and leave a couple of "calling cards" on the bristles. My dinner date with Emily was definitely finito. Even by candlelight, Emily could tell by the expression on my face that the "dessert" she served hadn't been to my liking. She was embarrassed to the point of mortification, but tried to make things better by telling me I was so hot she couldn't keep herself from throwing herself at me despite it being "her time of the month." While throwing my clothes on, I tried to be as nonchalant as possible, making excuses about being, er, "bushed" after a long week, drinking a bit too much Chianti, etc. etc., ad nauseam, and I do mean nauseam. All weekend, I squirmed about the awkwardness of having to see Emily at work the following Monday, until I thought about how SHE must be feeling. Sure enough, our paths crossed on Monday morning. Emily's face turned all blotchy white and purple, and she looked everywhere but at me as she choked out a weak "Hi". I worked with her for two more years, but we didn't exchange more than ten words the entire time. Our co-workers must have wondered why Emily and I had suddenly become invisible to each other. And that is how I learned, among other things, that dating co-workers can lead to a "messy situation."

— David, 33

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