Welcome to Thatz Not Okay, a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Please send your questions (max: 200 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Thatz Not Okay."
For a short period of time I had a really intense emotional and physical relationship with a guy. The first times we had sex were all at his place. Eventually I invited him to my place where we spent a weekend in and out of bed. When he left I noticed that the condom wrappers were gone from the floor and also not in the trash can. I wouldn't have noticed but I wanted to purposefully leave one out for my ex to see when he walked our co-owned dogs. My ex cheated on me with a bunch of people, has treated me pretty badly since the break up, and brings his new girl friend over to my house when I'm not there even though I've asked him explicitly not to. The next time I was over at the new guy's place, after we had sex and he left the room, I realized the drawer where he keeps his unused condoms was open. I noticed that he had kept all of the used condom wrappers from when we had sex at his place and collected the ones from my place as well to keep in his drawer. Is that okay?
Do you realize that your complaint about him being creepy for saving condom wrappers is hindered by the fact that, earlier in the story, you also tried to save a condom wrapper? Remember? How you were put out he took the condom wrapper from your apartment because you had already earmarked it for your own uses?
First of all, a condom costs about 75 cents, so if you were committed to the "Oops-is-that-my-condom-wrapper-did-I-leave-my-condom-wrapper-out" stunt, you could have just gotten another one. No one's going to factcheck your passive-aggressive scheme:
This type of condom is dispensed from a machine thirty miles away from her nearest fuck buddy's house. And the wrapper is still warm, meaning it must have been placed here less than a minute ago. Also, it's taped to the middle of the television screen.
Secondly, the old leaving a condom out trick is for kids. (Not young kids.) You might as well have left your journal open to an entry reading "Man, more sex with a hot, thoughtful gentleman last night! Am I doing too much banging?" BOTH TRICKS ARE EQUALLY SUBTLE.
Yes, it's a little odd that a person would save the wrappers instead of throwing them away, like most people. But is it negatively impacting anyone involved? Unintentional sabotage of your bullshit scheme aside, probably not. (And it's much more sanitary than saving the condoms.)
You and I have no idea why this guy is amassing a treasure trove of jewel-toned condom wrappers. Maybe he's a sentimental type and was compiling a Scrapbook of Our Love to give you on your one year anniversary. ("The time I loved you on my living room couch....The time I loved you behind the dumpsters of your favorite Vietnamese restaurant"). Maybe he was going to use them to make a brightly colored holiday wreath. Maybe he was engineering a beautiful art installation about contraception. Maybe he's planning to pull the same trick you were, except that he's dreaming on a scale bigger than your ambition goes. Maybe one day, six years from now, his ex-girlfriend will open the door to her studio apartment and be buried under an avalanche of gold, purple, and turquoise Trojan wrappers.
Maybe he just fucking looooves condom wrappers.
Did you confront him about it? Say "Hey...any reason you're saving all our condom wrappers?" or "Hey...please stop saving all our condom wrappers," or "Hey, I know you stole some personal property from my home in the form of a condom wrapper, and I want you to know I've already called the police."
On that note, I wonder, too, how you were able to discern that all the wrappers you saw in his drawer were from your sexual encounters. Did the condoms have your name written on them? Do you have your own private line of condoms?
The main issue here is not that a guy you slept with a few times was a weirdo about keeping condom wrappers. It's that your relationship with your ex-boyfriend is insanely fucked up. He shouldn't be bringing people into your home without your permission. You shouldn't be laying clever traps for him.
At the end of the day, the guy you had a fling with is the dude with a drawer full of rainbow foil—haha, that's odd. You are the crazy girl he dated who used your relationship with him as a pawn in a twisted mind game with your ex.
Worst of all, now that you've moved on from that guy, you won't even be able to manipulate his emotions by leaving an empty condom wrapper out for him to find. He'd see it as just a spot of good fortune; like finding a wheat penny or a Beanie Baby or whatever else other men collect.
I am 35 and have never been in a romantic relationship. Over the years, I have gone on numerous dates but never connected with anyone. Otherwise, my life is great. I have a wide circle of friends, a close family, a fulfilling profession, and (because of the constant rejection) the time and resources to pursue other hobbies and interests. I would like to bury myself in work and give up on ever meeting someone. Yet I feel like I would also be giving up on a fundamental part of being human, connecting (emotionally, spiritually, physically – what have you) with another person. Given how I have already built my life alone, this almost guarantees (absent a reformable female burglar) a life of permanent bachelorhood. Having struck out for 15 years straight, I think it might be time to give up and embrace dying alone. Is that okay?
There's a difference between being alone and being lonely.
Being alone is great. You are the captain of your own catamaran. You are having hot dogs for dinner every night because hot dogs are your favorite. No one is accidentally on purpose leaving revenge-condom wrappers scattered around your apartment for you to find. Every night is like this.
It's much better to be happy alone than to force yourself into a marriage because it feels like you really should be married by now. You know who's not married? Oprah. Do we feel bad for Oprah because her life is unfulfilled?
We do not. Oprah's life is the ultimate single-person fantasy. Unlimited resources, unlimited cream couches, and, at the end of the day, she gets to fall asleep in the middle of the bed. A married Oprah would be less magic. A married Oprah would be Ellen.
Being lonely, on the other hand, sucks. So, before you dramatically shut the curtain on dating forever, make sure you're the former rather than the latter. Relationships aren't a one-trip salad bar. There an unlimited seafood buffet, and there are always more clams casino.
If you don't feel like dating anyone because you're happy being a party of one, that's great. Be prepared to have family and friends offer to set you up with people until you are no longer of marriageable age. (If you politely decline, be prepared for them to think you harbor a secret weird fetish.) When you do die, you will make someone's day by leaving your fortune to them.
(Incidentally, 35 is a bit early to embrace dying at all, never mind alone. Are you a caveman? An ovary? Maybe, for the time being, embrace living alone?)
If you're resigning yourself from dating because you just don't think you'll ever find anyone, stop being a drama queen. Apart from planning your death at 35, you sound normal and well adjusted, which is all most people want.
Unless you are Batman (which would explain your time and resource-draining "hobbies and interests" as well as your eagerness to enter into a relationship with a female cat burglar) your lifestyle probably does not prevent you from engaging in, at the very least, online dating. Make yourself a profile. Spring for one of the paid sites since you've got money to burn.
And if you're hoping to meet a female burglar, leave your window open, I guess? But be warned that any lady who scales your home to rob you is probably a crackhead.