You know how you have that checklist for your ideal man? After dating for 15 years, I’ve gotten pretty specific in what I’m looking for. And I consider myself lucky if the guy on the other side of the table checks off any of these boxes, let alone most of them.
I met Michael on Bumble, and before I ever even spoke to him I was extremely interested. His profile revealed that he was a good looking, thirtysomething entrepreneur who had traveled the world and decided to settle down in Southern California and find someone real.
Well I’m fucking real, Michael. Sign me up.
I messaged Michael and we chatted a little back and forth before we exchanged numbers. The text conversation was easy, and once the conversation got going, those boxes on my list continued to be checked off one by one.
He was a millionaire who owned his own island. He was attractive, funny, and adventurous. And he wanted a woman to take care of and enjoy his retirement with.
At age 37? I could think of a few things to keep Michael busy in his retirement. I’m not a gold digger, but every woman likes a successful man.
Michael invited me out to a nice restaurant and I was beyond excited to meet him. I recognized him immediately—tall with a warm smile and all of the gentlemanly manners I’ve come to love from growing up in the South.
Dinner was amazing. The conversation flowed perfectly and we laughed the whole time. I told him about my Instagram “fame,” and he loved it, and thought I had potential to do big things. More boxes checked off.
Once dinner was over, he took me home and walked me to my door, kissed me on the cheek, and said he’d love to see me again soon.
We scheduled another date a couple of nights later for a few drinks, had the same great conversation and banter as the first night, and at the end of the night we kissed. I felt like this was something real, like I could see myself with this guy for a long time.
I went over to his an incredibly nice condo (as was expected) that weekend and we had a great night just enjoying each other’s company.
Then, finally, we had sex. So cliché, waiting until the third date, but I thought maybe that’s how it was supposed to be? The sex was good, nothing over the top exciting to write home about, but it was good. We both had fun and felt comfortable with each other.
That night, Michael gave me a “just because” gift. Not flowers or something he saw in the check-out line at Whole Foods that he thought I’d like—an Alexander McQueen bracelet. Holy shit! It was beautiful and clearly expensive, and I was totally surprised. I loved it.
Michael and I continued to see each other for a couple of weeks, and I noticed that when I wasn’t with him, I really didn’t miss him. I thought: Maybe that’s how a healthy relationship is supposed to be. One in which I’m not obsessing over what he’s doing or who he’s with. I felt comfortable and knew that I’d hear from him at some point that day and there was no need to wonder if he still liked me or not. Maybe this was what normal dating is supposed to be.
Or maybe something was off.
One night he invited me out to dinner somewhere really nice, and I decided to dress to kill. The top buttoned all the way to my neck, but I made sure to leave an extra button undone just to show off a little for him. He complimented the way I looked when he picked me up, kissed me, and we were off to the restaurant. While at the table, mid-conversation, Michael did something that left me almost speechless: he reached across the table and buttoned my top.
He buttoned my fucking top.
I was so shocked I couldn’t even say anything and just carried on conversation as normal. I literally had no idea what to even say. Who the hell do you think you are? I’m a 32-year-old woman with a great rack, I can display my cleavage if I so choose!
His gesture was stuck in my head the entire night, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. We went back to his condo, and I tried to let it go, but I couldn’t. I stayed the night and left early the next day. I agreed to see him one more time. I thought, “It’s not a big deal, but if it happens again, say something.”
Was it wrong that I wanted to check off the box of him appreciating my body?
We decided to spend the day at his place hanging out, lounging around. After we did watched a movie and had sex a couple times, he said he needed a few things from Whole Foods. So, like a real basic LA couple, we headed for the Whole Foods on Santa Monica. Halfway through shopping, Michael realized he needed more than a few things and grabbed a cart. I helped him grocery shop, and I decided to snag a bottle of water and a soup to go.
As I helped Michael load his cart full of groceries onto the conveyor belt, I placed my soup and water at the end of his purchase. As the cashier began ringing his items, Michael put the plastic divider between his things and my water and soup.
No fucking way, bro!
I have $15. I don’t care. I can buy my own soup and water but also, what the fuck, man? We just grocery shopped like the goddamn basic LA couple that does the fucking crossword in bed on Sundays and goes to game night with our boring couple friends, and you can’t throw my fucking soup and water in with your over $200 worth of stuff, Michael? You refuse to let me pay for anything when we go out to dinner and drinks but a bottle of water and soup is where you draw the line?
What the fuck?
I decided to slowly end things after that. I declined his next couple offers to go out, and he told me he understood and that there were no hard feelings. And that was that. But after a few days, he texted me asking for the bracelet back, which left me with a moral dilemma: When you give a gift, isn’t that the point—that it’s a gift?
Bad gift giver: check.
Either way, I’m not one to stand on principal, and I said that I was happy to return it. I asked if I should send it to him or let him know when I was home that day to stop by. But I certainly wasn’t going to go out of my way for this bullshit. And after I forgot to text him later that day, he messaged me the following morning saying he would be around if I was going to be home to stop by. Unfortunately, I hadn’t stopped my life so Michael could get my gift back, and I was busy and didn’t respond.
The next day he messaged again about the bracelet and I finally responded that I’d get it to him ASAP since it was clearly such an issue to him. I’d just been incredibly busy and not around. But we missed each other a few more times, and then shit got real:
Sad? Who are you Donald Trump? Damn dude. First of all, it was a fucking gift. Second, we’d agreed things were over and I’d been busy for the last 5 days. Thirdly, chill the fuck out!
I laughed it off and realized that I got out of this relationship before things got worse. Because Michael clearly has issues. I had a good laugh about the guy and what an asshole he was with my friends and moved on.
After Michael was tequila’d out of my system, I headed straight back on Bumble and went on with my life. Michael didn’t get to waste another minute of my time.
But you know what they say about 37-year-old retired guys with small dicks—they always come back for the last word. And about 3 weeks later this text message came through:
Hoe Tip: If you accept an expensive gift from a man, you have to know he’s trying to control you with his money.
I looked back at my entire interaction with Michael, and I realized how he controlled and influenced every part of the situation with his financial status. He wanted a woman to sit there and be pretty and belong to him. Chances are that up until he met me he’d been pretty successful at it. I felt stupid in hindsight for being so preoccupied with checking off my boxes that I failed to see the warning signs.
It’s easy to think you’re having a great time when the backdrop is somewhere nice. Fuck that. I need a man who checks of the box of respecting me as an independent woman.
And remember, gents: sometimes a cup of soup means more than an expensive piece of jewelry.