Dear You,

What happened? I ask myself and others — friends, my mother, colleagues, bartenders — what, the hell, happened? We were on a clear, but uncommitted and unlabeled (of course, because I lead my life with low expectations and a mantra of flexibility in hopes of only pleasing my surrounding peoples) path of mutual enjoyment. OR WERE WE? I am a mad woman, zooming down a rabbit hole of self-doubt, searching for answers and hating only myself; wrapped up and surrounded by empty pints of ice cream and Nutella, pushed away by my friends who no longer sympathize — I am alone. I cling to my Snuggie for relief — simultaneously cold and perspiring — unable to sleep at night as the blinding UV lights of my iPad mini and the incessant Google searches seep through my corneas: “He didn’t text back,” “Is he into me?” and “Best online dating sites.”

My neighbor Denise, the one who lives above me, the woman who you and I secretly mocked once for not knowing what Instagram was, she tells me to give it time: “He’s probably nervous. Look at you, why wouldn’t he be?! Let me tell you, it took my husband two years to plant a kiss on these lips!” she reassured me this afternoon at the mailbox. Two. Weeks. Denise. TWO WEEKS, I yell through tears and a mouthful of Pad Thai. I slammed the door in her face.

The memories and exchanges you and I share are etched into my mind — I could recount them in my sleep, and have dreamt often about you returning to me — and perhaps have pinpointed where I went wrong. I write today to apologize for those mistakes, and vow to move forward with a promise of self-improvement and awareness for your needs.

There was the time, after our second date of beers and spontaneous tacos, where I was too generous with the exclamation points the next day. “Hey, I had a great time last night!!!!” I cringe now to read that display of despicable immaturity, and apologize, as I later learned that overzealousness and “texting first” throws off men. As DonDon22 from Yahoo Answers wrote, “U made a mistake for texting him first. he should have been the first to text or call u, but since u did that first, u’ve brought ursef low b4 him.” DonDon22 is right.

There was that unusually warm Sunday afternoon, and you complimented my smile. I brushed it off and nervously swung into a stream-of-consciousness mess outlining my orthodontic history and the associated post-traumatic stress disorder. You chuckled your fake chuckle and we parted ways soon thereafter, somewhat abruptly. I apologize for not exuding my utmost confidence and accepting that compliment as it was, and I apologize further for bringing emotional baggage into the mix too early on in our journey. It must have frightened you.

And I want to say this, and I’m comfortable bringing it up: The last time I saw you, you remember we caught a weeknight show together, you looked really nice, and I was bloated — my face, my stomach, my legs, everything. No, don’t try to offset this one, we both knew it, and I could tell you were thinking about it the whole night. I’m not making excuses, but it was a tiring day and I had four slices of pizza for dinner followed by a bucket of frozen yogurt with cookie dough bits on top. I didn’t tell you that. I apologize — you deserve to look at a woman who is slender and consistent with her eating habits, not a hedonist. I vow to never suffer from bloat again if it will please you.

But, perhaps, above all of these deal-breaking mistakes, and do correct me if I’m wrong (or right!), there is something else happening in that handsome head of yours. You’ve thought about me extensively, maybe, and heart wrenchingly came to a conclusion – she’s just too good for me. She’s funny, she’s smart, she’s salaried with benefits — she’s perfect. Maybe you struggle to come up with an appropriate “next step” as I am always 50 steps ahead of you. The thought of reaching out, wondering what to say next, must be daunting; I can picture it now as you pace across your apartment and scream like a mad man, “WHAT WILL SHE THINK!? EVERYTHING SHE DOES BOTH AMAZES AND SILENCES ME!!”

I understand my actions have silenced both of us, which is why I was relieved to receive my ratings for Cosmo’s “Are You Intimidating?” quiz, as they affirmed my suspicions. The results read, alongside a picture of Mean Girls’ Regina George, “It’s great to have confidence in yourself, but by asserting your own superiority, you’re shutting off others and giving the wrong vibes.”

I apologize for shutting you off and giving the wrong vibes — next time I’ll play nice, just for you. I’ll listen and tell you I love your jokes, your body, your touch. Anything. Let’s start over and unravel back to the days of blank slates and Internet exchanges — I’m nicer there.

I want you to intimidate me — forever. Please text back to confirm.