Life’s Work Blog

I was in Seattle last week pulling some of my personal belongings out of my condo to feather my Portland nest.  In the interim between planning this trip and executing, the place sold, so there’s that.  However, I decided just to do the day run anyway and make the next few weeks of my Portland life a little more plush.

I drove up with The Silver Fox, leaving at 7:15 in the morning.  It was one of those fantastic middle-aged mornings, where I woke up at 4:30 to pee and couldn’t go back to sleep.  So I went to a 6:00 spin class and was 15 minutes late for our 7:00 departure.  We counted the number of times Hello by Adele came on XM Radio on the trip up as a way of passing the time.

Three, if you were curious.

The trip was fast.

A little rain.

A little traffic.

But we arrived just before 10:30, so I’d put that squarely in the “Making Good Time” column…even though it took us 30 minutes to get from SeaTac to Seattle proper – 15% of our travel time to cover 7% of our trip’s distance.

It helps that we didn’t stop to pee.

Unless you ask The Fox, then he might say that the 10 minute Rest Area detour would be worth it. Continue reading “Life’s Work Blog”

Life’s Work Blog

The Sucks At Cheating Ex

Ok, time to set aside the procrastinating.

Well, not procrastinating, strictly speaking, although that’s certainly a big part of it.  The other thing that has been keeping the safety on for this entry is that I just don’t like the blog name that I’ve assigned this guy.

He’s not a bad guy.

Strictly speaking.

We were just totally different ends of the social behavior spectrum.

Totally.  You know it should be a sign when you enjoy the company of your boyfriend’s parents more than his company…well, I know it now, anyway.  Seriously, though…they are awesome fun.

But that name, The Sucks At Cheating Ex…I don’t like it.  Didn’t fit right.  But the longer I go referring to him as The Sucks At Cheating Ex, the longer it takes me to pull the trigger on polishing and posting this entry, well, the worse he looks.  It over-vilifies him, while I only intended it to be cheeky, since he will tell you that he never cheated.

Strictly speaking.

Although he did leave me for another man.  More on that later.  Yes, that reads as “moron”.  No entendres intended.

So, The Sucks At Cheating Ex needed to evolve in my mind.  It was a place holder name.  I was kicking around making it an acronym.


Maybe add an accent over the “E” to give it some flair.  He likes flair.

Saché.  Nah, too RuPaul-y.  Although, did eventually sashay away.

Sacha…maybe.  My only reluctance there is that my Little Buddy’s dog is named Sacha and well, that’s not fair to the dog – who is just wonderful.  Plus, if The Sucks At Cheating Ex ever found out, well, he’d default to insisting I was implying he was a dog.

He exhausts me with how seriously he takes himself.

Not that he’d ever actually find out.  I mean, who reads this drivel?



He and I are not socially linked, so I’m imagining that there’s some two or three degrees of separation magic happening here.  I seriously doubt he spends any time Googling me.  But one morning I wake up to a comment awaiting approval on a past post.  It’s from a WordPress user named…SucksAtCheatingEx and I think, “Oh, no…I hashtagged someone else’s handle!”

Nah, it was just him.

While we’re not linked socially, I do still have his phone number and email address and I know he still has my phone number.  But, no…he’d taken the time to create a WordPress profile and attempt a public whatever-you-would-call-it on my admittedly meager comment thread.

Uh-uh.  This is my house.  I approve what happens.  And, while I’m not opposed to a negative comment hitting my thread, it’s not going to be something more damaging to the poster than to me, who probably totally deserves it.


One of the things I do try to do on my blog is not call anyone out by name, good or bad.  If I would have approved his comment, which was basically him snarking that I don’t have a complete accounting of our six years together – boo hoo – well, approving that makes his profile name clickable and guess what?  Boy Genius used an email address to register for his butt hurt WordPress handle that has his, oh…actual name in it.

So, there goes your anonymity.

You’re welcome.  Not that you’re reading this.

Oh…just a thought…you could text me.

But the thing is, yeah, I didn’t like the name I had given him as a place holder and suddenly I was warming up to it because he was being so classically him.

Not that you know him at all.

Ok, maybe four of my Facebook friends know him, excluding my family…who I would very seriously doubt are would-be moles in this scenario…so four of you know him.

On the other hand, all of you know me, to some degree.  Knowing me and my wry sense of humor…it wouldn’t surprise you to learn as you read the blog post about a guy I lived with for like 18% of my life – at the time our relationship ended – turns out to be kind of the hero of his blog post.


What’s that called?  Burying the lede?  Lead?

Lede.  Thank you Google.

So, about that social spectrum I mentioned earlier.

We were just different.

It took us six years to figure it out.  Or admit it.  Whatever.  I was a pretty basic tee-shirt and jeans guy.  Where’s my beer?  An aspiring Portland Dirty Millionaire.  He…well, he was all sorts of things.

Just coming out.

A recovering fat kid.

Total Jan Brady.  And I don’t think I could go into the details…traumatic, yet…telling.

Fancy cocktails.

Complex…and he just took himself way more seriously than I take myself.  Likely because he needed others to take him seriously as he evolved into the man he is today.  His true identity.

He’s a brand.  I swear.  All that work, the gym, the diet, the socialization, the bling…all foundational work for creating the Sasha brand.

The grown up Sasha.

And truth be told, he’s a good guy.  My judgment may be questionable sometimes – yes, I did need that last drink that I crammed in right at closing time…if only because I could cram it in, don’t judge – but it isn’t so completely out of whack that I’d spend six years living with someone who was a terrible person.

The wrong person, sure, but not a terrible person.

I’d just started to figure that out and deal with bringing it to the front of my consciousness when he dumped me.  My mom, brother and I had taken a day trip to Spirit Mountain Casino and as we were driving, I mentioned to my mom that I didn’t think Sasha and I would be together much longer, but that I didn’t know what I was going to do about it.

I did nothing.

This was prior to me figuring out that no boyfriend was a better situation than the wrong boyfriend.

Hey, I never said I was perfect.  Far from it!  About as far from perfect as the last guy that woofed at me on Scruff was from me…I look real good from 6500 miles away, it seems.

So, there he was, dumping me.

On our sixth anniversary.

He’d given me an anniversary gift – another difference, he was big into gifts…symbols he like to call them, I am more the buy what I want when I want it type – and as I unwrapped it, discovered he’d bought me my first pair of what I call $300 jeans.  The brand was Seven For All Mankind.  I sat there holding a pair of jeans that I didn’t want – frankly, I don’t have a $300 ass, so Levi’s are always fine for me – while he stood there looking proud of himself.


“Get it?”

No…I didn’t get it.

“Because it’s our anniversary!”

Our sixth anniversary.  Really, it’s not like him to forget shit like that.  Symbols.

“We need to talk.  I met someone else.”

<blink, blink>

Get out.

An extreme oversimplification of what likely actually transpired, but I spent several months after that moment A) Hating him, B) Crying over a relationship that I knew was broken ending, and C) Wiping out brain cells at an alarming rate…so this is the paraphrased version of the conversation that survived in my mind.

It was a waiter.


But I definitely got that…waiters, bartenders, baristas…Xtopher likes being taken care of by hot hipsters, so I got that attraction.  But they aren’t people you leave a relationship for, they’re transitional people.

Unless you know a hot hipster bartender, barista or waiter who’s looking…definitely put us in touch!  I’m not in transition.

So, a bag he packs and drives off.

I assumed to his parents, but found out later that he had apparently done his best Felix Unger impression and shown up all my-boyfriend-threw-me-out-ish at the waiter’s place, who opened the door and said something along the lines of, “What are you doing here?”


And that’s why I actually named him The Sucks At Cheating Ex…cuz that didn’t exactly demonstrate a competency for the required adultering skill set.

Not that a decent person would be offended to be told they sucked at adultery, but here we are.  I don’t think he thought his offended posturing through very well.  Not that he cheated.

Strictly speaking.

Sue me, I was raised Catholic and went to Parochial Schools for a good deal of my education…so I totally had the “If you’ve committed the sin in your heart, you’ve as well as committed the sin” nonsense drilled into my head.

I feel like I missed an opportunity to say nun-sense in relation to my schooling.

So, by that rubric, I cheated every time I turned my head at the gym.

And I was not subtle.  Ergo, I sucked at it.

Clinton sucked at it, too, so we aren’t in terrible company, all us folk that suck at both fidelity and infidelity.

I even kissed another man once.  And being the cool guy that I am, completely failed to pull that move off.  But I sure didn’t leave, even if I didn’t know why I fought so hard to stay.


Well, hindsight and all that.

But you know what, for all of his foibles and all of the things that made us incompatible or just a shitshow of a match…we had fun.

For whatever he gained from our time together – survey of him probably says…nothing – I know there were some things that I wouldn’t have likely done without him in my life.

My first trip to Europe.

And the second.

I think there was even a third, but I might have been confusing one trip that seems too long for one excursion.  Traveling with him could have that never-ending feeling.

Picture it, two ill-matched mates traveling together.  Ugh.

First, there was the premise of getting a trip to Europe as a gift from freelance money he earned on a yearly project, about $2500.  The trip cost about…oh, $5k.  Do I bitch?  I don’t think I did, this was really a priceless memory for me that we made together.

Goddamnit.  Somewhere along the lines, I also picked up his sentimentality for symbolic gestures.

Second…man, he’s competitive.  That Jan Brady.  So, we’d be in the airport and they would start boarding the plane.  Do you ever notice that moments after the gate personnel explain that the plane will board in groups, right when they announce the first rows to board, that everyone gets up and rushes the gate?

Yeah, everyone but me.  And there’s Sasha worming his way through the crowd, jockeying for position, turning around and looking for me over his shoulder and expecting me to be behind him.  Raising his eyebrows like a stressed out mother dealing with a dimwitted or poorly trained child once he realized I wasn’t on his tail and giving his head a significant jerk in the direction of the gate.

Me:  <palms up>

We’re not getting anywhere any sooner or later than anyone else on the plane, so I preferred to board at my leisure and with a little more dignity than like someone with an urgent need in line for the ladies honey bucket at Sasquatch.

I had put a deadline on a rite of passage that I imposed on myself:  buying my first house by the time I was 30.

He was all for that.


He led the charge when it came to looking.  He had a Monday through Friday 9-5 type job, I worked retail.  Poorly managing a now defunct retail store at the time under the mantra of “If it doesn’t get done, I’ll just work more” instead of consistently holding each member of my staff accountable for producing.  So I was working six day weeks, 12 hour days.  He had to lead the charge, and he had the free time to do it.

Sure enough, he was the one who surprised me by picking me up at work for lunch one day with a picnic packed and we went and sat in front of this little cracker box house on North Kerby Street and ate.  Eventually running out of food and reasons not to go knock on the door and ask to look…and fell in love with the house.

Me for the fireplace and the wood floors.  And the tile floor in the kitchen.  And the tongue-in-groove wood panelling accenting one wall in the living room and running through the hallway.  It was perfect!

He fell in love with the potential the house had.

Oops.  Did I say that communication was our strong point?  Enabling, perhaps…communication, not so much.

But without his drive, I wouldn’t have closed on this house just  a few months past my arbitrary deadline.

Then we spent the next few years overspending on manifesting the house he envisioned on our spontaneous tour that rainy day back in 1998.  Damn my objections…I mean lack of vision.  Also manifesting a significant amount of debt, living the American dream and refinancing our house every few years.

Man, when I moved to Seattle and sold that house in 2006, I think I cleared about $7,000 on it.

But it was fabulous.

I’d cashed in my 401k to stubbornly remain in the house after he left…but it was fabulous.  We’re about ten years – give or take – post breakup and when I went by the house a few months back, there’s still touches that he envisioned and created himself on the outside of the house.

I’m sure he’d feel good and/or enjoy knowing that, mole-reader.

That was what spurred the conversation with my mother on that day trip to the casino, I had realized that he and I were just fundamentally different.  Sure, I enjoyed the cosmetic things that gave him pleasure, but for him those were not pleasure inducing items, they were symbols that validated his worthiness.

To him – and I frequently challenged him with this – it was better to look good than to be good.  There wasn’t a foundation of values in his life at the time as much as there was an assemblage of valuables.

But that’s just where he was.

The funny thing is, there’s actually a psychological term for this type of behavior…although it is more common in later life.

Shut up.

The Repair of Narcissistic Injury.

Basically, as people age, you start to see them wearing brighter clothes, more expensive labels, more jewelry…fancier cars.

Those ladies with the purple hats?

Mrs. Roper?

Everyone’s grandparents with the Cadillac?

Rings and brooches galore?

All that.


All to compensate for the loss of the natural beauty of our youth as we begin our age of decay.

Or you could call it Growing Old Disgracefully, as I like to.

There’s a G.O.D. to believe in…it’s damn near factual and usually tangible.

But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be an effective leveraging tool for younger people.  As folks struggle through the coming out phase of their life, it’s not unusual to see some people cope with this by using expensive accessories – cars, clothes, flamboyant gestures or affectations – to either draw the attention from what’s going on or validate it…somehow.  That’s a question that may have different answers for different individuals.

Look, I’m no psychologist.  I’m just riffing here…and, yes…that’s another blog.
perhaps the next blog post.  It’s good timing.

I think that’s what Sasha was doing and what I was doing tacitly just because I didn’t fight it more.  Ok, maybe I couldn’t have fought it more…but because I knew that if I didn’t acquiesce, the alternative was an earlier end to a weak relationship between two otherwise decent guys.


There were so many other great experiences that we had together, too.  I mentioned in an earlier blog post that he really helped up my fitness game.  That’s been a blessing and a curse over this last decade, but I have to say…I’m kind of a lazy person, so without his drive to pull me along to the gym, I doubt I would have been as passionate about the results I achieved after our breakup.  Once I stopped drinking to excess about it, that is.

In the end, looking back on a relationship that included world travel, home building and health and fitness…ok, and a huge amount of social drinking – and we were very social – you can’t really objectively call it a bad relationship.

Even if all that great stuff happened between two people who realized, subconsciously at first, that they were definitely on different trajectories in life.  I realized it, vocalized it and pushed it down.  Like I said, I wasn’t at the point emotionally where I could actually recognize that it’s ok to be alone.

His exit from the relationship certainly couldn’t be classified as graceful, but you know what I say about that?

At least he fucking did something.

He managed to bumble through something that realistically boils down to staying true to himself.  I’m positive that he didn’t realize it at the time, it was more wrapped up in being dickmatized by some hot waiter, but he didn’t sublimate his instinct into another expression or manifestation of our relationship.

No, *sadly* we were not the Portland trailblazers who started the whole open relationship or polyamorous relationship trend…thank god.  Unconsciously, I think he knew that the whole thing with the waiter – someone who was also very likely ill equipped to provide the material foundation, symbols if you will, for a relationship that Sasha needed at this point in his life – was just a shitty means to an end that was probably overdue in its arrival.

Like I said earlier, the bravery to take that kind of risk is kind of heroic regardless of execution.

But I do hope that his sense of appropriate timing has improved over the years.  Hehehe.

Hey, Sasha…you suck at cheating.  That’s a good thing.

The Sucks At Cheating Ex