Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How I Found A TrophyHusband, Part 1

When I Certainly Didn’t Deserve One and Didn’t Know Where to Look

I arrived at my residency program finally unencumbered by the messy relationship I’d been mucking around in for the previous, oh, seven years, and I was happy to be single. I was also happy to be starting residency. I was happy to be on antidepressants at last when I’d needed them for years. I was happy, happy, happy.

Which is not to say that I wasn’t looking.

In fact, I made up some guidelines for who I was looking for. I don’t remember them all, but I know they included:
  • No more than five years older or younger than me
  • Preferably not in the medical field
  • Smart(er than me)
Why these rules? I have no idea. I was pretty stupid when it came to relationships (see: Messy seven years). I knew this, and I guess I thought rules would help. But of course, being stupid, I made stupid rules.

The first time I remember talking to TH was at a party early in internship year. It was a dumb “Eighties” party—practically designed to make me feel my age, since I was having sex in the eighties, while these kids were still trading Pokemon cards—and he was wearing tight red jeans. Despite this, I thought he was pretty cute. I definitely have a type—the Jewish intellectual—and he fit the bill. He was also talkative (important since I’m not), funny, and had a cute butt. In addition, he had appealing crow’s feet and had lost enough hair to make me think he was closer in age to me than the rest of the interns.

I was six or seven years older than the people who’d gone straight through college and residency. I didn’t mind this per se, but I felt like it changed my prospects as far as romantic relationships went. Mostly in that I wasn’t so interested in people who’d had little life experience. (Hence the five-year rule, I guess.) So I flirted a bit with this apparently worldly-wise guy, until something he said made me realize that he must look a lot older than he was. When I finally asked him his age, I was alarmed to discover that he was seven years younger than I was. (Later I found out that it was actually six years; the party occurred in between our birthdays.) And I thought, well, rule him out!

Which turned out to be a good call, because when I eventually worked with him, I discovered that he was the most anxious, compulsive, unhappy, and insecure intern in our whole class. He was a mess. It wasn’t even clear that he was particularly smart, he was so lacking in self-confidence. When I would “run the list” of eligible guys in our program with my friends, I always rejected him out of hand.

So the year wore on. I was pretty busy, but I managed to go on a few dates. (Nothing worth describing.) I was horny, but really, I was still very happy. I was running, I loved my residency, I loved my new city, I loved my apartment. I had left my ex with the realization that I would truly rather be alone than be with the wrong person, and I was enjoying being alone.

Then one day toward the end of internship year, Mr. Tight Red Pants approached me.

“I keep seeing you running near my apartment,” he said.

“Yeah, I was training for a marathon,” I said.

“I’m looking for a running partner. Would you be interested?” he asked.

I stared at him for a few moments, trying to decide if this was a come-on. But he seemed genuine. And I could use a running partner—the person I’d trained for the marathon with had developed a hip fracture.

So I said yes. But I made it clear (very clear, according to him) that this was a Running Relationship Only.

What a stupid bitch I was.

To be continued.

19 comments:

E. said...

Huzzah! I'm very glad you're completing Esereth's assignment, and also extremely glad you're making this a two-parter because 1. it's so much more fun. I can't wait to find out what happens, and 2. I can more realistically envision actually completing Esereth's assignment if I don't have to tell the whole long, complex story in one post.

Dr. Mama, you are an inspiration. (And I want to hear all about TH's running outfit on your first "non"-date)

Mignon said...

Yes! I was thinking that too, E. Because "red jeans red jeans red jeans" just keeps running through my head. It's haunting. Red jeans?

I can't wait for part deux!

(Also, and completely aside, have you read The Tennis Partner? I've always wondered if it actually exists, because I think it was a completely absorbing book, but also I don't know a single other person that's ever even heard of it.)

Lisa said...

Well, you didn't ask me, but I read the Tennis Partner (if you mean Abraham Verghese's book).

Checking obsessively for part 2, since I also met my TH during residency and rejected him out of hand (he was an intern, I was R2 and I thought he was hyper and eager)...

meno said...

I've read "The Tennis Partner", and his other book, "My Own Country". Both are beautiful.

Looking forward to part II, as we often find what we are looking for where we are not looking. I did.

Sara said...

I've read both Verghese books as well, and enjoyed both immensely. Almost as much as I'm enjoying the story of how TrophyHusband was "found"! :)

Orange said...

Mr. Tight Red Pants? Wasn't he on Captain Kangaroo?

You, not talkative? I hadn't noticed. And are you telling us you weren't especially struck by TH's charming smile when you first met? I noticed that, not crow's feet.

I liked The Tennis Partner and of course—given my layperson's abiding love for infectious-diseases epidemiology—loved My Own Country. (Wow, what a thread hijack!) I await his third memoir.

Denise said...

Red jeans? Really?

I'll reserve judgment until I hear the rest.

thumbscre.ws said...

You know it's a highly-sweet, well-written post when it can temporarily make my mind whisper, "But wouldn't it be NICE to fall in love again someday?" Granted it only lasted for about ten seconds, but still... the prose equivalent of a Luna song (and THEY'RE banned from iTunes right now, so NO MORE ROMANTIC STUFF after Part Deux, missy).

Carolyn said...

I'm such a sucker for these kinds of stories and had been toying with the idea of writing mine. Looking forward to the continuation.

Menita said...

Red pants?
Wow.
You are one forgiving woman.
Or he was quite a runner. Can't wait for part 2.

Anonymous said...

Dear DM,
Sorry to get off track, but I've been meaning to ask you this for a long time. It's regarding study habits. You said somewhere in your blog that you finally learned how to study effectively and essentially aced everything you needed to get into med school, which I imagine includes rote memorization of an enormous volume of boring facts, as well as a few interesting ones. I'd like to, at your convenience, get more info on that offline. More specifically, what techniques you used. I've got a graduate degree in journalism and have been a working professional for eight years, but I hate it. I love medicine, but I suck at memorizing things such as anatomy, organic chemistry interactions, differential calculus formulas, etc. My e-mail follows: micaelab55@hotmail.com

Thank You,
Micaela

Cecily said...

Hanging. on. every. word.

Oh, by the way, I drink too much water. Like two gallons a day. But it's cause I'm thirsty, I swear. Heh. Does this mean we can't be friends?

Menita said...

Wait, wait, I second Micaela's request. Could you write an Excellent Simple Plan for studying?
My dissertation advisor would be most grateful, and I would be your maggot forever.
I'm about to buy a running bra. That should make you happy. Me. Running.

Anonymous said...

And to follow up on myself and Menita, as an fyi: I've tried flash cards, recitation out loud (alone and in front of someone), writing items over and over, enormous amounts of coffee, using acrostics, acronyms and self-abuse, not the fun kind.

I was a pre-veterinary medicine undergraduate major and so I had all the hard sciences and math (including optical physics and calculus), and I just couldn't master the subjects. I made Cs in most of those classes and my VCAT score and GRE math and science scores sucked (in math and science).

I realize everyone is a different type of learner, but I want to know what worked for you. How did you memorize the Kreb's cycle for your MCAT, for example? Or were you one of those lucky bastards who looked at a drawing and instinctively got it?

-Micaela

DoctorMama said...

OK, re the red jeans. I don't want to create too frightening a picture here. See, we were supposed to dress up in '80s fashions for this party. (I did not, what a surprise.) Now, I don't remember red jeans being big in the eighties, but I guess they were the craziest thing he had to wear. They looked something along the lines of these, though perhaps a little snugger.
As for why he had them in the first place, I asked him this today:

On Sep 7, 2006, at 8:54 AM, [DM] wrote:
What was the story behind the red jeans you had? When and why did you get them?

On Sep 7, 2006, at 8:56 AM, [TH] wrote:
Uh...no big story. Think I got them in a used clothes store when I was in medical school...just trying to be different in my own way, while being "indoctrinated."

On Sep 7, 2006, at 9:15 AM, [DM] wrote:
OK, thanks!
Carry on.

On Sep 7, 2006, at 9:32 AM, [TH] wrote:
You are scaring me.

On Sep 7, 2006, at 9:40 AM, [DM] wrote:
heh heh heh.

On Sep 7, 2006, at 9:42 AM, [TH] wrote:
Now I'm really scared...I was just sort of concerned before.

On Sep 7, 2006, at 9:55 AM, [DM] wrote:
Don't worry, my readers love you.

On Sep 7, 2006, at 9:42 AM, [TH] wrote:
Forget scared...I'm terrified. You'll have to tell me more later. I'm famous? Or notorious? They love ME, or loving READING about how funny I am?

(He is not allowed to read my blog, though he knows about it.)

ozma said...

Hm. Intellectual? Check. Neurotic and lacking in self confidence? Check. Jewish? Check. Fashion challenged? Check.

You have described my ideal man. Except I like to add: "Vast knowledge of U.S. foreign policy and/or some obscure body of knowledge. I accept a kind of Rainmanesque quality to this when necessary." Plus "Kinda sentimental and might get weepy."

Laura said...

you can't leave us hanging like this. i hope you will finish the story soon and i will be hanging around here waiting until you do.

realdoc said...

I have just found another doctor/mother sort of blog hurrah!
I like your debunking medical myths blog, may do something similar if that's OK

Anonymous said...

Oh DM you give me hope. Perpetually single and entering my mid-thirties (HOLY COW!) now a littler more optimistic about finding my own TH (ahem, minus the red jeans ;)

C.