Watches

Before I had accepted the fact that I was destined to be weird, I tried to fit in. One of the ways to conceal my true identity would be pretending to have normal aspirations. A family, a house, a car and maybe even a golden retriever to top it off. Of course, I wouldn’t be a housewife because the times when housewives were respected are now long gone. People say it’s ok to stay at home and take care of the kids, but in reality, it’s a no-go. Only lazy women and failed men spend their days cleaning the house. So I would also be a career woman.

Since I was little I had this desire to exceed other people’s expectations. To be better at what these people wish they were good at. Not because of selfish reasons, but because I believed that would get people to like me. Little did I know it would actually cause the opposite reaction. But that feeling made me want the same things my friends wanted. Instead of choosing my own path, I would always follow in other people’s footsteps. That’s why I wanted to date someone rich. Because that’s what all of my friends wanted.

I met this guy. He was a douchebag. How do I know that? Because after our breakup I didn’t want to overdose on Ben & Jerry’s and even the thought of a buttery croissant made me feel sick. I didn’t want love. I just wanted to kill every male species I saw. What I also wanted to do, was to curl up in a corner and die. That’s how he made me feel.

Looking back on our relationship, though, I should have known. To make this story more comprehensible, I’m going to call my ex-boyfriend Dick. I remember what my dad said when he met him: “He looks like a guy who would roll up his sleeves only to show off his expensive watch.” Dick had a watch with an enormous chronograph and a leather strap. He was very proud of it because it had cost him 400 euros. Well, not him. His grandfather. According to Dick, all respectable men had an expensive watch. He had friends who would spend 800 euros on one. The cost of the watch determined your place in the hierarchy.

Dick was the kind of guy who would spend all of his money on parties and on clothes – things that other people would notice. He would joke about poor people and socialists, which to him meant basically the same thing. Sometimes when seeing a black person, he would joke about them too. He was the first person I met that came out for being a racist and a snob. For some idiotic reason, I found that refreshing, although I am neither of these things. That became clear after a month of dating.

When we went out, Dick never paid for the date. Sometimes we went Dutch, but mostly he borrowed some of my money. I think he still owes me 20 euros. But he would follow the protocol – open the door for me, pull out my chair, take off my coat. And then he would sit in the chair opposite of me and twist his arm in a way that would expose his watch. So that people would see that he was a respectable man. In spite of never paying for my drink.

After the separation, I started looking out for Dick types. The pretentious preppies that would go out of their way to make people think they were reputable, when, in fact, they were ordinary assholes. It was difficult for me not to discriminate people based on their income. Even before Dick, I had disliked rich

people. After him, the dislike only grew stronger. I based my judgment on beige pantaloons, blue sweaters, and watches. No one with these three components would come near me.

After a couple of months, my brother hosted this barbecue for his birthday. “Are any hot guys invited?” I asked and he shook his head. Usually, my brother could be trusted with these matters. He even knew my taste in boys. But this time, he slipped up. There was undeniably a hot guy present.

His blond hair was slicked back with gel – a hairstyle I usually hate. To be honest, this time was no exception, but I kind of overlooked it because of his radiant white smile. He could have been in a toothpaste commercial. His smile was creepy, but showed that he was very hygienic.

He had been the first person to arrive at the party, so there were just the two of us, while my brother was running around taking care of stuff. We got talking and he told me he was studying to become an engineer. I was surprised because he didn’t look like a smart person. Maybe it was because of the hair. He leaned towards me over the table and I felt my pulse begin to quicken. The body language said it all – he liked me. He showed off his teeth again and I was sold.

But then he reached out for his beer and his sleeve rose up to reveal his watch. It was massive. Even bigger than the one that Dick had. I stared at it for a good minute until I realized he was still talking to me. I looked up and smiled. ¨Sorry, I have to go help my brother,¨ I said. If only watches weren’t part of the criteria.

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