Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Shut up and kiss ME!

In my decades -- yes, decades! -- of apartment living, I don't recall ever receiving a noise complaint from a neighbor (although there was the summer before last when the sputtering of my AC unit drove the woman living in the apartment below me crazy). Aside from the occasional all-out party, one of which I haven't thrown since I left New York City, I live under generally quiet circumstances. I keep my music and TV low enough so that the entire building doesn't know what's keeping me entertained, and I've always felt that the less said during sex the better.

But if I were guaranteed a complaint as priceless as the one someone slipped under my friend's door this morning, I'd be sure to pump up the volume on a regular basis. Here's what her sleepless neighbor had to say:

hi, pleace to meet you
please, don´t shout so strong when you make love!!! JA, and i´m living in 3 floor!!!
saturday night i couldn´t sleep hearing you and imaginanding what you were doing.
you´re very beautifull
my mail is...

First of all, it's nice to see that the art of writing a letter -- or even a note -- isn't totally lost. In this age of email, text messages and IM, I wouldn't expect any of my friends under 30 to own a pen, let alone a note pad. I was so impressed by my friend's unexpected missive that I forgot to ask all of the obvious questions. If you're reading this, love, please get back to me!

What's his name?

What kind of paper was the note written on? A sheet of notepad paper or just some scrap he found lying around?

What kind of pen/color ink did he use?

Was it folded and placed neatly in an envelope?

Does he have nice handwriting?

As I read and reread what this guy had written, I couldn't help but think that either he must be the most charming guy in Buenos Aires -- I especially love his slightly clumsy but totally passable English -- or a complete maniac. And if this is his way of coming on to the pretty girl he's seen in the elevator (yikes! he knows where she lives!), does he feel at all uncomfortable that he's caught her -- or rather, heard her -- in the act with another guy?

My friend took the bait, and sent him an email, apologizing for keeping him up at night. Maybe nothing will come of it, and my friend will spend the next few months wondering which guy staring at her in the elevator is the one who wrote the strange note. Or maybe her hook up with one guy will lead to love with another. It's not exactly the beginning of a story-book romance, but somehow, in Buenos Aires, it fits.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Why haven't I heard from you?

Anyone who has known me for any significant period of time knows that I hate to be ignored. I'm not talking about friends who never call or write, or one-night stands who pay no mind to my bunny-boiling proclivities, because, frankly, I rarely call, write or boil rodents. But when I do decide to reach out and touch someone, reciprocity is greatly appreciated. For me, few things are more frustrating than unanswered emails, unreturned text messages and snubbed phone calls. (Although, as I seldom ever pick up the phone to call anyone, the latter is rarely an issue.)

Lately, I've been getting that old cold shoulder a lot, and I'm not sure why. My inclination used to be to fire off an angry follow-up email or text; huff, puff and stew in the privacy of my own apartment; or simply delete them from Facebook, MSN and my life. But I must be growing up. Now I raise an eyebrow, shrug, and say to myself, "Well, that's that."

Before I go on, let me say that since I moved to Buenos Aires, I've grown accustomed to strange communication habits, most of which I've written about ad nauseum here, and won't bore you by listing them yet again. When it comes to emails and text messages, I divide them into three groups: 1) The informative message that doesn't require any response: "Hey, I'm meeting up with friends at Bar 6 tonight around 10. If you aren't doing anything, feel free to join." No answer, no problem!

2) The "tanto tiempo," long-time-no-see message. Basically, that's just me reconnecting with an old acquaintance -- or easing a guilty conscience and fulfilling my duty as a friend to say something, anything, at least once every eon or two. "What's up? Not much here. Well, hope you're well." Feel free to respond to these in a day, a week, a month, a year, never. Usually, after I've sent them, I forget about them.

3) The message that requires a timely response: "I've fallen and I can't get up! Help!"

Last weekend I sent an email to an acquaintance, someone I've known for about a year, although not very well. We flirt whenever we see each other, we've played tonsil hockey once or twice, and we've carried on occasional conversations via Facebook chat and email. It had been a while since I'd thought about him, and suddenly, he was on my mind, so I decided to drop him a few lines. They were in Spanish, but the gist was, "How are you? I'm good. Going to Australia soon. Do you want to get together before I leave?"

Nearly one week later, he hasn't responded. I know he received the message because I've seen him online. Part of me feels like sending him a follow-up email and asking, "Did you not respond because you are just too busy to write a few sentences, or because you are not interested in seeing me but can't find a polite way to say so (and in all honesty, I'd prefer silence to "I don't want to see you"), or because you don't really have any use for my presence in your life beyond being just another name in your list of one million Facebook friends?"

Of course, I'll never send that message. I won't have to. I might not see him before I leave for Australia, but even if he never responds to my email (and at this point, I have no reason to believe he will), eventually, I'll run into him somewhere. He'll offer that old porteño specialty -- "¡tanto tiempo!" -- and if I do decide to bring up the email, he'll come up with some lame excuse. Big sigh.

I don't think I'll be sending out any unsolicited emails or text messages for a while, though. It's too rough on the ego. I've already cut way back on Facebook chat and MSN because, frankly, I hate them both. I despise staring at a computer screen waiting for a response, and it annoys me even more when people just suddenly disappear without any warning or goodbye. Argentines do it all the time. I sometimes find myself wondering, "Was it something I said?" But usually I raise an eyebrow, shrug, and say to myself, "Well, that's that."

It might not be the most polite thing to do, exiting a conversation without waving goodbye, but I don't sweat it. Since I loathe "chatting" online anyway, and I hate goodbyes, it's a perfect opportunity not to have to do deal with either.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Would you dump someone for smoking?

Is it possible to become more sensitive to and intolerant of vile habits as one gets older? I think that's the effect that cigarette smoking is having on me in my middle age. I recently floated this idea past someone, and he pooh-poohed the notion out of hand.

Come to think of it, that someone was Marcelo, and his smoking habit actually played a minor role in my desire to expunge him from my life. It wasn't the fact that he smokes, which, despite my distaste for it, is still not a deal breaker. It was what it revealed about his personality. It annoyed me when he begged me to allow him to smoke in my apartment, which is strictly a smoke-free zone. And it infuriated me the two times he sneaked in a smoke in my bathroom. Our final night together, when he begged me to let him smoke in the bathroom, I knew in my heart that he wouldn't be coming back. Considering that Marcelo knew how I felt about smoking in my apartment, I saw it as another sign of his self-centeredness and overall lack of regard for my feelings. I couldn't wait for morning to come, so I could be rid of him for good.

Even after Marcelo began to take his smoking breaks on the balcony of my apartment and stopped throwing the butts onto the balcony below, I was still annoyed. He reeked of cigarette smoke all the time, and he always wanted to kiss me post-puff. If I had any desire to taste nicotine on my lips, why wouldn't I just take up smoking again myself?

Yes, you read that last part right. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I am no stranger to having the occasional cigarette. Though I've never been an official smoker, and I never indulged during regular business hours, cigarettes used to go very well after-dark with a cocktail in hand. But it's been two years since I've broken that habit, and as my intolerance grows, I find myself avoiding social situations (like house parties in the homes of smokers) where I know people will be lighting up in proximity to me.

Sometimes when my friends disappear for their long smoke breaks, I wonder what I'm missing. Like Jennifer Aniston in the episode of Friends in which she temporarily took up smoking to get ahead at work, I wonder what wheelin' and dealin' is going on in my absence. Then on Saturday night, I went up to the rooftop/smoking area of Dudui, one of my new favorite hangout bars in Buenos Aires, and I saw people, my friends included, shivering to the bones, braving the cold because they couldn't do without their nicotine fix.

That's when I realized once and for all that there's nothing glamorous about smoking. It's as anti-social and breeds desperation as much as any drug, and seeing all of those people sitting out in the cold, smelling like ashtrays, made me realize that it's not something I ever want to do again. I'm not judging those who light up. We all choose our poison -- mine happens to be whiskey. I'll roll my eyes when a dinner date interrupts a good conversation to go outside for a smoke, and I'll tell people to point their fag in another direction when their second-hand smoke blows in my direction. Otherwise, I'll deal with it. As long as they fire up outside of my home -- and don't expect me to kiss them after they have -- we're good. Though their lungs and hearts won't thank them tomorrow, that's between them and their primary care physicians.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Pilates Playlist -- More Gain for the Pain!

The unpredictable musical taste of Argentines continues to not cease to amaze me. I still jump for joy every time the DJ plays "Connection" by Elastica or "If We Ever Meet Again" by Timbaland featuring Katy Perry at Saturday night's Ambar La Fox party. I have regular flashbacks of hearing Keane's "The Lovers Are Losing" a couple of years ago while strolling down the aisles of the supermercado across the street from my apartment. And recently, the words "Toni Braxton" have creeped into at least two casual conversations with Buenos Aires porteños. So Beyoncé isn't the only R&B diva with a significant international rep? Who knew?

Lately, my pilates teacher has jumped on the shock-the-monkey (that'd be me) bandwagon, stimulating my eardrums while making my muscles sore. I look forward to my two classes a week with him not only because he works my ass off, or because the way he counts backwards and says, "Aflojo" (at ease), dragging out the vowels from here to eternity, makes me feel like I'm listening to Jane Fonda's Workout in Spanish.

The other thing I love about going to class has nothing to do with pilates at all. Aside from "cinco, cuatro, tres..." and "aflojo," I never know what I'm going to hear. Some days, it's Argentine folklore. Other days, it's a familiar voice that I can't quite pinpoint. Unfortunately, when I ask who it is, my instructor never has a clue. I could have sworn we were listening to Pulp the other day. I'm sure I heard something obscure by Van Morrison once or twice, and Spanish-language Christmas music. Last week, he even threw something that sounded a lot like Pat Boone's In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy or Paul Anka's Rock Swings into the mix. (Personally, I can't really tell them apart.)

His playlist also has included the bold, beautiful and instantly identifiable: Enya, Norah Jones (an apparent favorite among pilates teachers in BA), Sinead O'Connor's 2005 reggae album (Throw Down Your Arms), Sheryl Crow's 1996 self-titled album (which re-acquainted me with the long-forgotten greatness of "If It Makes You Happy"), the Beatles and the Stones. Thankfully, he seemingly has averted the Lady Gaga obssession that has afflicted every other porteño (make that every other human), and he's spared me la tortura of having to complete his fearsome abdominal routine while Shakira shrieks in my ears.

Today, I bonded with a fellow student, an Argentine who has spent time living in London and already had been promising to bring Florence and the Machine to class, over our shared love of mid-'90s Britpop: Suede, Blur, Pulp, Texas, the Verve, etc. All the great music is not exactly conducive to my concentrating on breathing -- out/in, out/in -- keeping my shoulders relaxed, and tightening my stomach muscles, but it sure makes an hour of extreme pain (and gain) go by a lot more quickly.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to sequence a hit album (Hint: It's okay to save the best for nearly last. It worked for Eminem!)

Years ago, I read an interesting quote from Bonnie Raitt, in which she shared some advice given to her by Don Was, who produced her 1989 breakthrough album, Nick of Time, and its two multi-platinum follow-ups, Luck of the Draw and Longing in Their Hearts. It went something like this: Never save the best for last. When you're ordering the songs on an album, put the three strongest ones first, because that might be as long as you have to pull in listeners. Most people never make it to the halfway mark. Was obviously didn't always follow his own golden rule: "Walk the Dinosaur," the biggest U.S. hit by his band Was (Not Was), is the 13th of 16 tracks on 1988's What Up, Dog? album. (Coming soon: a post on albums that need to be shorter.)

Still, I've thought about Was's theory over the years, and it popped back into my mind the other day after I read someone's status update on Facebook. He'd been listening to Kylie Minogue's latest album, Aphrodite, all day long, but had yet to make it past the third song. He just couldn't get enough of the "All the Lovers"/"Get Outta My Way"/"Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love Tonight)" combo. I can't relate (the latter two, in my humble opinion, are auto-pilot Kylie, good for a mindless spin under the strobelights and not much more), but a friend of mine, a huge Kylie fan who, like her, hails from Down Under, can -- sort of. Aphrodite has been in heavy rotation on his iPod from the moment he downloaded it, but he hasn't given it the attention it deserves because he can't get past "Closer," Track 4.

Yes, "Closer" is spectacular, and it demands repeat listens. But to stop there would be to miss the best of Aphrodite: the title song (Track 6), "Illusion" (7) and "Cupid Boy" (10). I understand where my friend was coming from because when I first started listening to Aphrodite, I couldn't get over "Closer" either, but eventually, I moved on -- and I'm glad I did. Now "Illusion" gets the repeat treatment, but I force myself to let it go, because what comes after "Illusion" is twice as good as what precedes it.

Yes, Was's theory holds water, but it doesn't apply to any great album, not even his own. Nick of Time gets off to a powerful start with the title track and "Thing Called Love," but way down at No. 7 is one of its best songs and its biggest pop single. "Have a Heart" is just as great as "Thing Called Love," if not quite in the extraordinary league of "Nick of Time," the contemplative, meditative title song that begins that album and which, in my opinion, would have served the album better as its denouement.

Several years before Bonnie met Don, the Smiths were mastering the art of album sequencing. Meat Is Murder, the iconic UK band's second studio album, begins with one of the best one-two musical punches I can think of: "The Headmaster Ritual" and "Russholme Ruffians." But what would Meat Is Murder be without "How Soon Is Now," perhaps the band's best-known song (Track 6), or the epic, six-minute, carnivore-bashing album-closing title track?

Even after he went solo with 1988's Viva Hate, Morrissey continued to launch his albums with a sonic blast: "Alsatian Cousin" on Viva Hate (his solo album with the most sentimental value to me), "You're Gonna Need Someone on Your Side" on Your Arsenal (the best Morrissey album to work out to), "Now My Heart Is Full" on Vauxhall and I (his most accomplished solo album). But stop at "Now My Heart Is Full" or "Spring-Heeled Jim" or "Billy Budd," Vauxhall's next two songs, and you'll miss "The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get" (Morrissey's biggest solo single in the U.S, Track 6), "Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning" (8), "Used to Be a Sweet Boy" (9) and "Speedway" (11).

Do you see where I'm coming from? Classic albums, like great works of literature, are riveting and engaging from front to back. They pull you in, pique your interest and keep you wondering what's coming next. It pays to listen to them all the way through.

Was's advice to Raitt is fine if you're looking at albums as a means to sell one or two singles, mere receptacles for the hits you hear on the radio. It's a very pre-Thriller approach to record making, because before Michael Jackson launched seven Top 10 hits from his landmark 1983 album, pop records were mostly considered to be collections of unrelated songs, and they rarely produced more than a couple of Top 10 singles. With cassettes ruling the world for most of the '80s, we were all at the mercy of album sequencing. The good stuff had to be easily accessible. If the only way for listeners to get to the songs they heard on the radio was via fast forwarding, burying the hits in the middle of an album might result in people who wanted instant listening gratification just buying the singles and skipping the album.

But since the days of CDs, and even more so in the downloading era, song sequencing is less important. There's no reason to listen to an album in any particular order. Eminem understands this, or he might not have made "Love the Way You Lie," his current No. 1 duet with Rihanna, Track 16 on Recovery. So did Madonna way back in 1994: "Take a Bow," her longest-running U.S. No. 1 single, was the final song on Bedtime Stories.

If you're going to record three incredible songs, why not go all the way? Spread out the wealth. Give us seven more that are so good, that even though we'll want to stop and listen to Track 3 for hours non-stop, we won't. Why? Because we'll be dying to hear what comes next.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Which would you prefer to live without: sound or vision?

It's a question we've all been asked, or asked ourselves, at some point, with most of us, I presume, opting to forego sound over vision. I'd probably save my eyesight, too, but for a major music aficionado like me, it would kill never again to hear David Bowie's "Sound And Vision," the Guess Who's "These Eyes," the Supremes "I Hear A Symphony," or any of my other favorite music. But if Beethoven could compose some of the most moving music of all time without the benefit of sound, I suppose I could find some way to continue to live a rich, full life without it.

But what if the two things at stake were less obvious? What if you had to choose between your sight and the health of your unborn child? That's the brain teaser currently torturing Angie and Jesse Hubbard on All My Children, in one of the most resonant and true-to-real-life storylines I've seen on a daytime soap in years.

For those who don't watch AMC regularly, here's the back story. Months ago, Dr. Angie Hubbard was exposed to a rare infection while treating a patient without the proper protective equipment. One effect of the infection is intermittent loss of vision that over time, in extreme cases, can result in permanent blindness. Following a self-diagnosis and a professional one, Angie began taking an experimental drug that seemed to be successfully fighting off the infection and restoring her eyesight. Then she was hit with both a miracle and a curse: She found out that she was pregnant. In her late forties, she's already facing a possibly difficult pregnancy due to her age, but the experimental drug poses a further threat to the unborn child.

Angie's choice: Continue to use the drug, terminate the pregnancy, and most likely retain her eyesight, or stop using the drug, carry the baby to term and live out her days in darkness because the damage done to her retinal cells over the course of eight months would be considerable and irreversible. She also could continue on the drug, carry the baby to term and most likely give birth to a baby with serious defects. It's a lose-lose situation: No matter what, she is going to lose something precious, and if she chooses to keep the baby, she may very well never see her own child.

One of the most difficult aspects of the decision is that it's very early in the pregnancy. There's still a chance that she could miscarry, or that she could still give birth to a child with defects since she's already been taking the drug while pregnant, meaning that she would have gone months without taking the drug, doing irreversible damage to her sight, for nothing.

The battle lines between Angie and Jesse are clearly drawn, giving another dimension to this terrific story. Jesse's priority is his wife. He'd prefer to save her sight, even if it means ending the pregnancy. Angie's concern is only for the baby. She'll deal with blindness later. I'm siding with Jesse on this one. But I'm a childless guy, so I don't know firsthand the power of parenthood -- or motherhood -- and how concern for a child can supercede everything else. That said, I can see where Angie is coming from, why a mother might choose her child over her sight. I'm not crazy about the slightly religious bent of the story: Angie feels that God must have a plan, and to mess with the baby's life would be to mess with God's plan. In other words, He will see them through.

It's an unfortunate point of view that could lead to a lifetime of disappointment, but it's just one misstep in an otherwise great soapy story arc. It's not just another baby tale, or a pregnant woman facing health risks. (Does any soap pregnancy ever go smoothly?) We've seen too many of those. This one involves the potential loss of a vital sense, a gift that we all take for granted but one that we're all terrified of losing, making it universal in its scope. The acting has been stellar -- Emmy winner Debbi Morgan, who plays Angie, will surely be up for another one next year  -- and the pacing feels right, not too slow, not too rushed. I'm glad more characters are being brought into the story, as it's been interesting to see their varied reactions. When Natalia, Jesse's daughter, suggested abortion, I was surprised by Angie's strong reaction against it. I felt that there was a bit of residual resentment in the way she snapped at Natalia (after all, that's the daughter Jesse had with another woman during the many years in which he was presumed dead), especially after the kids left, and Angie went on and on about what an incredible person Frankie, her son with Jesse, is, but didn't mention Natalia.

I have no idea where the writers are going. I'm sure abortion will not be a factor, nor do I think Angie will become permanently blind. In fact, I hope she doesn't -- not only because I love the character and hate to see her suffer, but because blindess in itself is something that has been done to death on soaps. I'm hoping for a diabolical twist that would render the infection a conspiracy (David Hayward?) and lead to Angie's giving birth to a healthy baby. Whatever the eventual outcome, after spending the last few years at the bottom of my must-view list, AMC is giving me reason to tune in again and making me think in the process.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Last night I did something I rarely ever do: I watched an Adam Sandler movie from beginning to end. In theory, I've got nothing against the guy. I find him likable enough, and Anger Management did make me laugh several times -- thanks, in most part, to Jack Nicholson -- but it seems like he always plays the same hapless fellow surrounded by raging lunatics. Grown Ups surprised me, though. Not because Sandler offered even the slightest variation on his alter-ego prototype. And not because Oscar-nominee Salma Hayek was playing his wife. Sandler has pretty good luck with leading ladies (Drew Barrymore, Emily Watson, Marisa Tomei), and next year he'll add two more great ones -- Jennifer Aniston and Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman -- to his collection in Just Go With It.

The reason for my extreme shock? You can put former Saturday Night Live-ers Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider in the same movie, and only the King of Queens himself, Kevin James, ends up being mildly, occasionally, amusing. Spade has played the aging, unlikely bachelor lothario one time too many, and Rock, in particular, apparently as bored as I was, didn't even seem to be trying. Come to think of it, in his movies, he rarely does, which might explain why his film career has never really lifted off. Where's that   out-of-control raging fervor that makes him such a laugh riot onstage? In Grown Ups, he all but faded into the background, as if he was slightly embarrassed to be there at all.

The plot was standard-issue male-bonding fare: Five childhood friends reconvene, with families in tow, for a weekend country retreat after the death of their old basketball coach, and hilarity -- if you consider slapstick violence, jokes about almost-jailbait hotties, and farting grandmas funny -- ensues. As I stifled a yawn, I continued watching, because I knew Steve Buscemi was coming up, and I wanted to see if he could make me laugh. He couldn't.

What did make me giggle was a scene that didn't involve the guys at all, but rather, the female costars (Hayek, Maria Bello and Maya Rudolph as the wives of Sandler, James and Rock, respectively) and a muscle-bound stud who talked like the king of queens high on helium. (Anyone who's walked up and down 8th Avenue in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon knows the type.) The bit about James and Bello's four-year-old son who was still breast feeding was humorous at first -- and it reminded me that if you are breast feeding a kid who can talk to you, it's incest -- but it quickly grew as stale and gross as the breast milk used in several sight gags.

Once Grown Ups was all over, I stared at the screen in disbelief. Not because I'd lost 102 minutes of my life forever, but because a movie like this can be a huge hit -- more than $150 million at the North American box office -- while a film like I Love You Phillip Morris gathers dust waiting for a U.S. release. It's already played in theaters all over Europe with good commercial results ($16.8 million, recouping its $15 million budget), and it's coming soon to Argentina. I'm still not sure why the U.S. is so afraid of Phillip Morris. Most of the gay sex is implied, and Ewan McGregor's fake crying aside, he and Jim Carrey give fine performances that might actually generate award-season buzz in a semi-weak year.

But of course, I wouldn't expect anything more from a country that preaches justice for all but rarely practices it. (Hopefully, this week's overturning of Proposition 8 is a sign of good things to come.) Two men in love is too hot to handle, but it's perfectly fine for audiences to ROTFL at a four year old sucking his mom's nipple while her friends look on in mock horror. How grown up.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Honesty, they say, is the best policy.

It's an old cliché that's pounded into our heads from the moment we are old enough to understand what it means. But how often do we heed its warning? We spend our days, our weeks, telling sweet little lies, usually without even realizing it, and when we do catch ourselves in the act, we rationalize that we are bending the truth to spare the feelings of someone else (and to save our own hides in the process).

"Oh no, that (hideous) dress doesn't make you look fat!"

"I love your hair!"

"What a cute baby!"

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman!"

"I love you, too!"

At some point, everyone says, "I love you," without really meaning it. Usually, it's either to get someone into bed, or to spare someone's feelings after he/she says, "I love you," first.

It's been more than a year since I've said, "I love you," in the romantic sense (and yes, I meant it, at the time). I'd like to think I've learned my lesson after all these years. Even when Marcelo uttered those dreaded words, "Te quiero," less than 24 hours after we re-entered each other's lives, I resisted the urge to say it back just to spare his feelings. When he asked me to be his boyfriend, practically pleading with me to do everything short of marrying him (wait, he asked me to do that, too!), I tried to change the subject.

But if I'd only resisted my still-powerful urge to people please. It was clear to me about a week into our renewed acquaintance that it wasn't going to work out. Though he had changed in some key ways, the old Marcelo occasionally reared his ugly/beautiful head. I should have come out and just told him those six magic words: "I'm just not that into you." Instead, I tried to spare his feelings. My friend Luciano told me that I should stop returning his calls and text messages. But how could I resort to a tactic that drives me insane when I'm on the receiving end?

So I started to lie. I began coming up with excuses why I couldn't see him. He continued to push, and every time I was able to avoid seeing him, I felt a sense of relief followed by dread. Would it work the next time? By mid week last week, I felt a little tickle in my throat, which for Marcelo's benefit, became the cold of the century. I was off the hook for several more days.

Then, on Sunday evening, after a bit of a tiff over his not returning several of my phone calls and text messages on Saturday night/Sunday morning, I agreed to meet up with him the following day. I spent all of Monday dreading the hour of his call (which was usually between 7 and 8pm), wishing there was some way I could get out of it. My friends invited me out to dinner, but I had to decline. I didn't want to blow Marcelo off.

In the end, he blew me off. It was the first day since we'd met again that he didn't call me. Late this afternoon, he finally called and left a message in which he complained about not having heard from me. What a strange time, I told myself as I didn't budge from the sofa to pick up the phone, for him to start playing tit for tat. I suspect he went out with his friends, got really drunk, and after waking up at 5pm, had to save face somehow. Part of me feels relieved because at least now I can let this one go without any guilt. Although I could have called him just as easily as he could have called me, I won't be the bad guy. We both made our choices, for whatever reason, and now we have to live with the consequences. For him, the consequence is that I won't be returning his call or any call he makes to me in the future. I'm done.

But why was I so afraid of being the bad guy with someone who'd screwed me over before? Anyone who follows this blog regularly know that most of the guys I've encountered in Buenos Aires have no problem being the bad guy. And if they do, they hide it very well. I'm not saying that Marcelo is a bad guy (though it wouldn't be entirely inaccurate), but he certainly isn't worth all of the effort I've been putting into sparing his feelings.

So another one bites the dust. Good bye and good riddance. But this time, what have I learned? Will I adopt the honesty policy once and for all the next time around? I hope so. But something tells me that ultimately, my need to not be the bad guy will win out again.

Stay tuned.