Exes in the Inbox: Part 2

Noah is always teasing me about the sheer multitude of my exes.

But I really should explain.

I date lots of different kinds of people, but I know exactly what I'm looking for. Does that make sense? What I mean is that I'll know in a matter of weeks if you're it, but I'll almost never know when I first see you because you all look different. This means that I will try on a lot of people, take a spin in the mirror, and know pretty quickly if they're to be placed back on the rack or brought to the counter. This turns a lot of men of my acquaintance into go-backs, but these aren't bad dudes, they're just not for me. Not like that.

Now I'm a pretty good judge of character (no quips, please), so most of these dudes are actually seriously solid people--and as much as I know I wont be able to stand to date them, I'm usually pretty positive that I don't want them extricated from my life either. This is the situation that creates a pretty severe semantics problem, one I oh-so-cleverly solved in San Francisco. While I can count on one hand the number of Boyfriends I've had, I will casually call most of these men my exes. 

Why? Because they are. They are ex-paramours and ex-fuck buddies and ex-lovers, and since I probably hopped into bed with them within a matter of hours or days, the friendship portion of the relationship was likely just starting to get good by the time I decided I didn't really want to sleep with them anymore. So, I usually just remove the nakedness from the situation and carry on.

This would often present a small problem in the arena of introductions, specifically when upon seeing us out together people ask the seemingly innocent question: "How do you guys know each other?" This was met too many times with my ums and ahhs while I searched my head for some sort of artful way to describe what happened in a few words and I got sick of it. Now I'll just head the question off at the pass, drop the qualifier, call them my ex, and call it a night. I feel like this way it's honest about where we came from and respectful of where we are now. It also makes it pretty clear that there are parts of our relationship that are squarely in the past. The naked part, generally.

It used to be so simple--I had my friends, my currents, my exes, and then on down the line were some re-runs and backburners. And then I tried monogamy. For the first time.

And it was weird because mid my one-and-only adventure in monogamy one of my exes, my favorite ex, was trying monogamy, too. Trying and succeeding I might add, so much so that he proposed to and later married her. And then one day there he was in my inbox explaining to me after months of silence the reason for the silence, about how his new wife had given him an ultimatum before their wedding: that it was me or her. He obviously chose her.

I read it through several times and was devastated and sad and pissed and confused. So confused in fact that I called Chase to explain to him what had happened, and I got even more pissed when I heard the relief in his voice. You see, the object of my monogamy hated every last one of my exes, but especially my favorite three in Seattle of which this ex, Mark, was one. Chase had asked me more than once why I continued to hang out with them and screamed at me when I wouldn't stop. I defended my relationships with them to him so many times until, that is, Mark's letter came and I thought, "This is one of my best friends. He's smarter than me and older than me and has more experience at this. This must be what monogamy looks like." I stopped fighting for the rest of them after that.

I called Woody, my current favorite ex (no quips, please), within days of breaking up with Chase. I missed him terribly, and I do right now, and I tell him this often. I'm so glad to have him back even if he is clothed and far away.

But there are more.

And I miss them.

And I've been thinking that maybe it's my turn to be the Ex in the Inbox that inspires shock and surprise, and I'm hoping that a few of the olive branches I extend will returned in kind.

Stay tuned.

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