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Don't Rekindle Old Flames Because of Valentine's Day Blues

josh sabarra

Sorry, Trevor. Gay writer Josh Sabarra is tired of ghosts from the past haunting him every February.

Before last week, I would have bet every seasonal, heart-shaped box of See's chocolate in the U.S. that I'd never hear from Trevor again. After all, our final text exchange two years ago had been somewhat contentious, considering our disparate ideas of the phrase "meeting up." He thought our first date should take place in his bedroom; I pictured a restaurant.

"I don't know what you expect from online dating," he said, "but seven days of calls and messaging kind of get the first few dates out of the way. Welcome to the 2000s."

I certainly didn't need an education from Trevor -- I've always had a clear understanding of how the internet and smartphones can make a thin illusion of intimacy seem dangerously real -- and he obviously didn't need banter with someone who wasn't immediately willing to pack an overnight bag. He was far from the first misguided cad to cross my computer screen and hardly the last. What Trevor was, though, was one of a handful of former potential suitors to resurface of late, right in time for Valentine's Day.

"I'd love to see you this Tuesday night." The text came from an area code I didn't recognize.

"I'm sorry, I recently got a new phone; your number isn't showing up in my contacts." I replied with the most common excuse, never mind that it would fly right in the face of anyone who has ever heard the word "cloud." And I must have been in a really good mood to even respond, as I typically stick to a steadfast rule: Don't engage with anyone whose name has not been stored in my 128 gigabytes of digital memory space -- at least until I've done some digging and actually know who I'll be responding to.

"It's me, Trevor," he answered. He sent a photo as a reminder. "Don't break my heart and tell me you didn't keep my digits." Fortunately, I was able to spare him cardiac trouble with a little fib.

"Oh, of course," I said, "How are you?" I remained courteous regardless of the fact that he'd been less than respectful toward the end of our initial, weeklong online romance. I didn't really care how he was, but my fingers sometimes type faster than I'd like. Plus they're often more pleasant than my mouth.

"Eh, my life has really boring lately," Trevor lamented. "Not much dating action. I figured I'd see if you want to give it another go on Valentine's Day." By "it," I was fairly sure he meant the same quick bedroom tumble he'd wanted a couple of years back. How warming to think that he'd saved my information for the day when there were no new "matches" in his physical radius; Tinder and Grindr had to have come up short on geographically desirable players this past Thursday and Friday.

I refrained from answering him and went a step farther than I had originally: I blocked his number instead of simply deleting it. He'd obviously decided to flip through his modern-day "little black book" to secure adult companionship for the Hallmark holiday, charging back into my life uninvited, under the strange assumption that I might again consider "meeting up." Nope.

It was evident that Trevor's memory of our past exchanges was either not as negative as mine or that it flat-out didn't matter to him -- he just wanted to avoid being alone on February 14. Both could be true. Either way, he was clueless. If his life is currently so boring, Netflix will sort him out for less than $10 a month; he can leave me out of it.

Interestingly, Grant, Mark, and Stephen came out of the woodwork within the past couple of days as well. None was as odious as Trevor the first time around, but they'd all been nonstarters for one reason or another. And ye, each turned up with a similar eagerness to make plans for Valentine's Day. Can't they stay in and read? Enjoy a soothing face mask? Use the night to brush up on dating etiquette? I for one am going to be in a steaming bath with a Starbucks hot chocolate and a copy of Vanity Fair by 7 p.m. It has never once crossed my mind to exhume the ghosts of my dating past with whom I didn't click years ago. I'd rather soak.

JOSH SABARRA is the author of Porn Again: A Memoir. Find it on Amazon and in bookstores.

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