Saturday, August 08, 2009

Cliff/Tori: Pulling my weight

Since I'm still not working (although I've stumbled onto some promising leads) I pass the time and help around the house by doing chores. I guess in theory I'm supposed to be splitting them with Mae, but she's kinda lazy, and gets indignant whenever I ask her to pitch in. Maybe she feels like Tori shouldn't be living at home, and this is her punishment.

Well, that's an irritating attitude. I didn't ask to live here, if I had my I'd be back home in my own place, which I kept tidy mostly be working a lot and being too tired at the end of the day to mess it up too much. I think I've been punished enough, and for no reason. But I can't really explain this to her. So what's a guy to do? I grin and bear it. And I bury my frustrations.

I'm thinking of taking up boxing just so I can have something to punch.

So one of my chores is to walk the family dog. Scruff. He's a big old English sheepdog, which might not have been a problem when I was a man and had a bit more size and strength (I never thought I was a particularly strong man until I started having trouble with heavy doors and tricky jars... urgh.) But now it's a bit of a chore to out-muscle this dog when he wants to go one way and I don't. That said, he's a very friendly dog, very sweet and affectionate... although the first time I met him he shoved his nose directly into my newly-female crotch.

So the other afternoon I was getting in from a promising interview just in time to have to walk him. It was hot out and I had changed into something a bit breezier, a gray tank top and no bra, with shorts. As I was struggling between holding the dog back with one arm and trying to pick up his poop with the other, I hear a voce behind me. "Tori? Hey! Where've you been?"

I turn and see a guy I don't recognize. I've looked at a lot of Tori's Facebook friends' profiles, but not all of them, and I couldn't recall the names of any of the ones I've seen anyway, off the top of my head, not the guys anyway. Mostly, they're dudes she went to school with that wanted to date her but had no berve (I sympathize,) or guys she did date at one point but stayed friends with. This guy looked like the latter. He was nicely dressed, smelled like aftershave. I braced myself and began to sweat.

"Hey... I've been... hanging around the house mostly, wasting the summer, looking for work. You?"

"I just got back from Texas. I thought you went to Europe?"

"No, that was just Raine and Sara. I did go to Maine..." I started stumbling my way through what I know of Tori's backstory. He asks me if I want to go to "that juice place we like." I said not right now, I'm walking the dog. He offers to join me.

Ugh. It was painful. I kept quiet and nodded along to his small talk, but had no idea who he was or what Tori's true relationship to him was. He didn't seem to act like they'd had sex or dated, but it felt like it was possible. I was very uncomfortable.

We got back to my place before long. I gave the dog a treat and he reiterated his offer for juice. Then he said a couple words that have been ringing in my ears ever since.

"My treat."

I shouldn't feel compelled to keep up too strongly with Tori's life and friends. If I end up liking them and getting along with them, on my own terms, I'll be fine, but I don't want to feel like because they are Tori's friends they deserve my company. So I've been dodging people like this guy since I arrived in Philadelphia. Then he said the words "my treat" and suddenly I was very thirsty for juice.

It's weird. Based almost purely on what I look like, people like this want to spend money to spend time with me. I didn't want to go with the guy, but if he was that eager to buy me some juice, I thought, what could the harm be in spending an afternoon with the guy?

So I went with him, a few blocks away from my place, being sure to memorize the route. He told me some anecdotes about people I'm supposed to know. I faked it as best as I could, but when I didn't laugh he asked what was up with me. I told him my mind was someplace else. Well, ain't that the truth.

He asked about my job, I said I left the hair salon because I didn't get along with my boss. He just looked at me like he was rolling his eyes (but wasn't literally) and thinking "Not again." I guess this is the type of pattern Tori has settled into. Which of course makes it damn frustrating to find work.

"Well," he says, "I'll let you know if I hear something." I thought that was nice, although I still had no idea who he was or what he could help me with. In any case, I accepted his offer, at least nominally.

I wasn't comfortable with the whole afternoon though. It felt too much like a date - not like it was really a date, but like he wanted it to be a date. I do believe guys and girls can hang out and not be romantic, I've had enough platonic female friends (read: girls who have rejected me) that I know this can be done. But few of them really looked like Tori. He kept looking at me with this expression I recognized from myself. Like a muted, buried desire. Like somewhere deep down in his brains he was wondering what he had to do to get with me.

It made me feel really weird. Really uncomfortable. But I couldn't do anything because he didn't make a move or anything, he just sat there, being... polite.

When I got home, I was rushing through the house to go to my computer and see exactly who it was I'd spent an hour and a half with, when I passed Mae in the kitchen. "Dude, were you just out like that?"

"Uh yeah, why?"

Then I paused. I hadn't bothered to put a bra on after dropping off the dog, and the tank top didn't offer much support. My boobs were swinging free and I hardly even noticed. But I bet that guy did. Fuck!!

So after going to my room and lying on the bed with my face buried in pillows for a while to look the guy up.

His name is Thom Weiss. According to his profile, he's in "Marketing" which is not terribly specific. Tori dated his older brother for a few months, and I guess they got along okay. So I can assume he hasn't seen Tori naked... but that doesn't mean he didn't want to. And now I think he really wants to.

Every day it seems like I find a new way to feel like an utter clod. I'm a mess.

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