"So I was fighting with my roommate this weekend."
"Why's that?" I asked as I flipped through the channels on TV.
"Well," his voice said through the earpiece of my cell phone, "I got my checks in the mail today, and my roommate gave them to me. But they were just in a box, so he said 'Why doesn't your bank FedEx your checks to you?' So I told him that they'd always sent them this way-"
"Me, too," I interrupted as I paused on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge on MTV.
"Yeah, so I told him I always got them that way, and he said 'The bank should FedEx them to you, because anybody could steal a box like that.' And I said 'Well, that's just the way my bank sends them to me.' Then he says 'Well, maybe your bank just doesn't want to spend the money to FedEx them to you because you're Hispanic.'"
"He said that?"I couldn't believe someone would say that to their roommate.
He laughed. "Yes."
"Out loud? To your face?"
"Yes, he did." He chuckled. "I know he didn't mean for it to come out like it did. He wasn't being mean, that's just the way he is."
"Wow. If I were you, I would've said something to him."
"Yeah, well, as the day went on, I got madder and madder, and the more I thought of it, the angrier I got. And when he left for Washington, DC, I was just thrilled to see him go."
"I still think you should've said something," I said.
"Wait. Listen. So he goes to DC, and my friend comes over with his girlfriend. And they want to stay the night. So I say 'you can take the couch, or you can take my roommate's bed.' Hoping, of course, that they'd take his bed because I know what they're gonna do. And, they took his bed. And I was pretty sure something went on. Then my friend calls me an hour after they leave and says 'You might want to wash your roommate's sheets. Because I cornholed Stephanie on his bed; She wanted some rough anal sex.'" He stopped to laugh out loud.
I, on the other end of line, was disgusted. "Why would you tell me this?" I said, the repulsion evident in my voice.
His laughter simmered. "Uh," he said, unsure, "because that's what happened. That's what he said."
"Yeah, but it's none of my business. And it's disgusting."
"Well, I thought it was funny."
"Yeah," I replied, "well, that makes one of us."
"Anyway," he continued, ignoring my nausea, "it was perfect. Because when I get mad at him, I like it to be so that he doesn't know I'm getting even with him."
I gave him only silence and let him continue.
"So, like, tomorrow, when he gets back and goes to bed in those sheets, I'm gonna know that my friend had sex in them and they weren't washed."
He laughed again, perhaps marveling at his own genius revenge. But I was too busy to laugh. I was busy judging him.
In the time it took him to tell me that story, the time it took him to explain his revenge techniques, I had decided he didn't play fair. I took that stupid story and made it into a tell-tale sign that he was nothing if not passive-aggressive, and that if he should ever get angry with me, he won't come to me and say it. He'll seek vindictive retaliation. And immediately, he was disqualified as a potential boyfriend.
Although I'm not proud of it, I do this all the time: I judge the type of flower a man brings to me. The width and length of his fingers. His height. How often he does or does not call.
Much like the age-old question of "Which came first, the chicken or the egg," I find myself wondering if I'm judging these men because I already don't like them and am looking for proof to validate my feelings, or if it's the judging that makes me not like them.
It is in this respect that I fear I will forever remain a single woman. I know that my ex was full of flaws, not the least of which being that he didn't want to get married, but I loved him nonetheless, so I'm sure that when the right guy comes along these things will be idiosyncrasies, not flaws. But will I judge a good guy to death before he gets the chance to even be the right guy?