Back in the early 2ooos, I moved to Montreal and went to Graduate School- it would become a defining moment of my 20s, in which i was simultaneously humbled and toughened up to meet the vicissitudes of life-which mostly included awful papers and extremely tedious seminars. If you’ve never been, Graduate School is a lot like joining the Marines-if the Marines were run by pasty middle aged men with inferiority complexes, and viscous women who never used upper case letters to sign their name, you know, because that would be oppressive. Only, unlike the Marines, graduate school tears students down to never build them up again into anything useful. It was around that time that I first met Evil Will.
Evil Will was sort of Unicorn in that he had just finished his Philosophy degree and had a job. I met him the graduate bar, and basically spent an entire night exchanging witty repartee with him over cocktails. At that time in my life, I was impressed with wit and sarcasm. We started hanging out, in that nebulous way that you do and then he invited me to go to his department holiday party with him-I declined. Even then, I was not so naive to believe that an entire night spent with a group of philosophy grad students and professors could ever be entertaining or fun. Evil Will promised that we’d have a good time, that he’d buy me drinks and we could sit in the back of the room and make fun of people dancing. Romantic right?
So I go with him, and he leaves me off with this graduate student, and I spend most of the night alone. I made a brief foray into light party banter with a group of grad students and professors-and made a joke about continental philosophy, which was not well received, and decided the only thing I could do was go hide upstairs in the regular bar and drink with my friends, since my night was turning out to be so shitty. I think I next saw Evil Will an hour later. Evil Will was mad that I had left the party-I was irritated that I had been left alone for so long, and confused as to what exactly the night was-was I hanging out with him? Was it a date? Why was he such a dick? As usual, I was worried about the wrong thing, what I should been worried about was the number for a cab company to go home-I guess this night is what you would call a “learning experience”". I told him I left because I didn’t know anyone. If I had been smart, I would have just taken the metro home, rather than staying there. But to be honest, both Will and I had been drinking. I’m not really sure how this next part happened-but it had to be one of the most awkward moments on date ever-so I was answering a question he had asked me-and I stuttered-then Will made fun of me for stuttering and I explained that I actually stutter, that it wasn’t some weird accident. Then he turns to me and says, “Oh, were you molested as a child?” I told him that he wasn’t funny, then he said to me, “Show me on the doll what daddy did to you.” At that point, I realized he was not a nice man at all, that he wasn’t witty or funny, but that he was just an asshole. Who makes jokes about sexual assault? Not anyone I am interested in knowing, that’s who.
It gets worse though, I see Will exchange numbers with the 19 year old door girl at the bar- I told him he was being an ass. He turns to me and says, “What can I say D? I’m a simple with simple needs.”
I have to say, I was shocked at Will-you know, because I liked him, because no guy had ever spoken to me in that way before-and to be fair-since. I have heard a lot of strange things on dates since then, but nobody has ever been that mean.
The next day, Evil Will emails me like nothing is wrong-in fact, if I remember correctly he addressed the email as “Hey D cups”yeah. gross. A few days later we had one of those quietly dramatic scenes at the grad pub he told me we really needed to talk, I told him I wasn’t interested in talking about anything, then I left in a dignified manner, only to slip on the ice on my way home and break my leg. I spent the next five months on crutches. Evil Will was the only person I knew with a car.
I still saw Evil Will after that, every once in a while. Of particular note was the night my friends managed to get me up the giant hill to the grad pub on crutches and the on the ice. The 19 year old door girl comes up to me and tells me how bad she feels for me on my crutches-that’s she had seen my slow perambulations around campus in the snow-like I was tiny fucking tim, and she says to me, “Whenever I see you, I feel much more than empathy for you, I feel sympathy.” Then she asks me about my friend, I feign ignorance, then she tells me that Evil Will had called her, that she had lost his number, and that when i saw him again, could I get him to call her?
So, horrible night with philosophy students, five months on crutches in -40 degrees, a life lesson on when to call a cab or take the freaking bus already. I honestly thought it would be the worst date I would ever have.