Nota bene: This story initially appeared on Dbag Dating circa 2014 but was shortly removed due to the author’s fear of public scrutiny. It is now back, for she no longer has anything to lose. Just kidding! It’s back because it’s funny, ok? Also, because it has a new illustration by our resident Picasso, Kelcey Vossen!
I am a firm believer that there are two types of people in this world: those who bring out our best, most rational selves, and others who unleash our inner Girl, Interrupted, and I don’t mean that in a hot Angelina Jolie kind of way. If you have any desire to live to enjoy old age, I suggest that you stay away from the latter. This is a lesson I learned the hard way.
His name was Jam Jam, or at least that’s what he was referred to by his friends. We met at a group dinner in New York when I was about twenty-four and instantly got into a semi-flirtatious verbal dispute that was cut short when I cracked my head at Lavo Nightclub and had to be rushed to the hospital for emergency head staples. (Anesthesia-free, FYI. I’m a martyr.) I next saw him in London one year later: he invited me over and we re-ignited our love-hate spark over a bottle of vodka that made us pass out cold and transformed him into an insufferable prick the next morning. I left London with an unharmed skull yet a bruised ego, which seemed like a step in the right direction. Or so I thought.
Fast-forward four years. I was living in Paris and heading to London to ring in the New Year, when I saw Jam Jam’s name pop up on my Facebook feed. Eager to make a maximum number of mistakes over the course of three days, I informed him about my visit. He responded immediately, suggesting that we meet up on New Year’s Eve after our respective parties had wrapped.
Around 8:30am on January 1st, I had just passed out after a night of disco dancing in the basement of the Ace Hotel, when I was woken up by an incessant phone ring.
“Princess, wake up! Let’s have breakfast.”
Still drunk from the year 2013, I agreed. Thirty minutes later I descended down to the lobby in baggy blue jeans and cat-eye makeup from the night before. (Très Bardot, if I do say so myself.) To my surprise, the Jam Jam who greeted me was way hotter than the preppy finance guy I had remembered. Let’s just call him Jam Jam 2.0: tanned and scruffy with a wistful of colorful Ibiza bracelets, he exuded a distinct Burning Man vibe, which was curiously juxtaposed with an impeccably-cut navy three-piece suit.
Sensing my confusion, he explained his sartorial choice. “Sorry about that. I’m due at work at 11am.” It turned out that he had recently retired from his flourishing City career to follow his longtime passion for the restaurant industry, and was now putting in his dues as a maître d’ at an iconic Mayfair restaurant. I respect passions, so my attraction towards him amplified. In fact, I suddenly felt a strong urge to jump his bones over my steel-cut oats.
Alas, time was not on our side. Hearing that I was scheduled to head back to Paris that afternoon, Jam Jam encouraged me to stay. “It’s been so long. Why don’t you extent by a couple of days? You can have my guest bedroom and we can go to dinner tonight.”
The idea seemed brilliant. I returned to my room and informed my friend that she would be taking the Eurostar solo. She immediately deemed it a terrible decision and sent an Amber Alert to our group chat. No matter how much my friends tried to convince me that staying in London for a maître d’ self-nicknamed after a sugary condiment was a bad plan, it was too late – my mind was made up. The only part that I compromised on were my accommodations, agreeing to forgo Jam Jam’s guest room offer in favor of staying with my best friend and her fiancé at his family’s house in St John’s Wood. A few hours later, I was assigned his childhood bedroom. Le Mistake had officially begun.
That evening, an exhausted Jam Jam picked me up in a taxi. “Babe, I’m sorry. I cannot handle being around people anymore. Do you mind if we just order in?”
I was exhausted myself, so I didn’t mind. I particularly didn’t mind when I entered his South Kensington townhouse, one of those dream homes that probably cost five million pounds but somehow make you instantly feel cozy and at home thanks to warm lighting, an eclectic décor, and overflowing bookshelves. Jam Jam turned on some Cuban music and we ate our Lebanese takeout over a bottle of red wine while catching up on life over the past years.
Two hours into our dinner, I felt that familiar feeling that some people like to refer to as ‘butterflies’ but I have long learned to identify as an omen of trouble ahead. In retrospect, I attribute it to a strong case of PPSD – Post-Parisian Stress Disorder. After months of living a modest student life in Paris, I had forgotten what it was like to be inside of a normal home, let alone with a man who spoke English and didn’t smell like the inside of a garbage dispenser. Paris had ruined me and Jam Jam was about to pay.
Speaking of which: As I was starting to feel feelings, Jam Jam was beginning to fade away. He relocated to the couch.
“Come here,” he said, tapping the space next to him like I do to lure over my dog Chloe. I obediently perched myself next to him, trying not to fidget as stroked my arm and snored rhythmically into my ear. As it always happens when I’m running on little-to-no-sleep, the wheels of my overactive brain began turning. I was suddenly hit by a tide of thoughts. What was happening here? Was this the beginning of something? Could this be love? Would we start a long-distance relationship? Would I move to London? Would my babies have British accents?
While I was busy making plans for our future, Jam Jam was putting his own plans into fruition: his hands were gradually making his up way up my shirt, attempting to give me an upper body rub. Wait, what was he doing? Were we about to have sex? Did this mean I would spend the night? But how would I come back to St John’s Wood in the morning? I couldn’t just walk in during family breakfast like some shameless slut!
Completely unaware of my mental turbulence, Jam Jam had moved on to the lower part of my body and was quickly approaching the waistband of my jeans. Before I knew it, my zipper was coming undone. “Spend the night,” he whispered.
Suddenly, another tide of thoughts swept over me. Wait, what was I doing? Why would I sleep with a guy I liked right away? After all, who the hell wanted the cow if he could get the milk for a few chicken kabobs?
“No! I have to go. Please order me a taxi!” I declared. (I cannot recall why I couldn’t get my own cab, but I sure hope there was a damn good reason.)
“Sure, babe.” Calm as a cucumber, he picked up his phone and ordered an Uber, then started walking me towards the door.
It was then that a new and completely unprecedented wave hit. This one was called Crazy. I didn’t want to leave like that! I wanted Jam Jam to beg me to stay! How would I accomplish this? I would re-seduce him, of course!
I pushed him against the wall and smoldered him with a long, passionate kiss. “We still have a few minutes, let’s have some fun,” I murmured into his ear. Sixty seconds of clumsy, wall-bumping type of kissing later, I was lying on his 800-thread count Pratesi with my jeans by my side.
“Should I get a condom?” he whispered. “Yes,” I whispered back.
As he came out of the bathroom and slid on the rubber, another thought crossed my mind. “Did you cancel the Uber?” I asked. I assumed he had canceled it while getting the condom, or would at least do so now that I had reminded him.
With one hand still working on the condom, he picked up his phone with his free hand and quickly glanced at the screen. “No babe, it should be here in about five minutes.”
Suddenly, I was hit by a fresh emotional tide – this one was serious and it was called Rage.
“Are you kidding me? Were you expecting to fuck me for five minutes while the taxi waits downstairs? Are you out of your damn mind?” Lurching up, I began frantically putting on my pants. Jam Jam, who was still wearing the condom, was staring at me with a dumbstruck look on his face.
“That’s not what I meant..” He attempted to explain himself, but the chain of logic had been broken. I’m not sure if anyone has ever been in this predicament, but there’s nothing quite like arguing with a man while watching a condom slowly slide down his penis. With every second of my tirade, the rubber slipped lower and lower, finally making its way onto the bed. I had scared the condom off. It was fascinating.
“Wow, you’re crazy,” he told me, pulling on his boxers.
Suddenly, I did feel crazy. I also felt exhausted and defeated, not to mention upset about the outcome of the evening. We had been having the perfect night, and now it was ruined because of my indecisiveness. It was all my fault! (The 30-year old me would like to interrupt this program with an important message: NO. IT WAS NOT MY FAULT. HE SHOULD HAVE CANCELLED THE CAB.)
“Um, should we start over?” All I wanted now was to salvage the situation, to make it all go back to the way it had been an hour ago.
“I think we have had enough adventures. Let’s call it a night.”
I must have looked completely destroyed, because he halfheartedly promised to text me the next day to hang out. Grasping on to this last bit of hope, I headed home and called a friend in New York, who talked me off the ledge (or, rather, off my designated top bed bunk) until I finally passed out.
I woke up the next morning with that sinking feeling that I had fucked up, a notion that was immediately confirmed by my group chat. My friend took me on a therapeutic walk to Hyde Park and even treated me to a pity lunch at Cecconi’s, where she helped me concoct a humorous text to Jam Jam.
Three agonizing hours later, I got an ambiguous and distant response. Adding insult to injury, he told me he could’t hang out that night: “Sorry, I have an interview tomorrow morning and need to prepare.”
Suddenly, Crazy was back in business. What was this interview? Wasn’t being a maître d’ his dream job? What was this bullshit excuse? I deserved better! This all had to be a miscommunication! I had to speak to him in person!
And so, I picked up my phone and called him. As you may have predicted by now, he did not pick up. Seeing that he was still online, I then made a final, desperate attempt to catch his attention, sending him a text message that, even years later, I cannot recall without shuddering.
“We don’t need to go anywhere. I can come over.” Then, a second later: “In just a trench coat!”
I kid you not. It was like somebody else had hijacked my body. I can’t even explain where the trench coat idea had come from – the Burberry ads of Cara and Kate in Piccadilly Circus?
And so, there I was, on the first day of the new year, laying on the top bunk of my best friend’s fiancés childhood bedroom, begging a man nicknamed after a condiment to allow me to come over in nothing but a trench coat. I had officially hit rock bottom.
Measures had to be taken, and fast. I put on my running clothes and headed to Regent’s Park. It was a beautiful, cold night. The park was full of sane-looking people, presumably not in the habit of offering up nude house visits. As I ran, admiring London’s glistening lights in the distance, the madness slowly began to lift.
The next few days were spent self-medicating with copious amounts of ramen noodles and controlled amounts of Stella McCartney. By Sunday, I felt like myself again. Like a proud martyr returning from an emotional battlefield, I headed back to Paris, ready to kick the year off on a fresh note.
Two weeks later, on the Metro ride to work, I heard back from Jam Jam. Apparently, he had gotten the job.
To this day, I have great sympathy for situations in which people temporarily lose their sanity, which I like to refer to as Jam Jams. Oh, you started crying in the middle of a blow job while thinking about your ex? What a Jam Jam. You called an ex and cursed him out on his voicemail, after which you attempted to get the message removed by his service provider? That’s just a Jam Jam, honey. A moment of temporary insanity. That too shall pass.