The Italian Job: How Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Can Ruin a Relationship
Courting Disaster is Jackalope Ranch's weekly column of dating horror stories, observations, how-tos, and more by Katie Johnson. Names of ex-boyfriends, past hookups, and bad blind dates have been changed to protect the guilty.
Last week I told you about first time having sex. Spoiler alert: It was terrible. Nevertheless, my first boyfriend, Romeo, and I were committed to making it work.
Well, for another six weeks.
Sadly, as I would soon discover in many relationships to follow, once the sex began so did the countdown to our breakup. The more I got to know Romeo, the more I realized that he was bat-shit crazy. And not in a hot way. Ladies who make bad decisions, can I get a what, what?
Because we came from different countries, spoke different languages, and had entirely different upbringings -- I was raised on Lucky Charms and Saturday morning cartoons and he on handmade pasta and the Catholic Church -- I had naively mistook his neurotic compulsions for cultural idiosyncrasies in the early stages of relationship.
But eventually things began to unravel in the bedroom. As Jenny Lewis once sang, "The talking leads to touching and the touching leads to sex, and then there is no mystery left."
When we'd fall asleep, I'd lie awake wondering if it was normal for Italians to sleep fully clothed in tracksuits, wife beaters, jackets, socks -- really, everything but shoes. As though, at any moment of the night, they might wake up at a casting call for a Martin Scorsese film.
Hanging out around his flat, I'd question his neurotic tendencies to switch the lights on and off, to play the same songs on repeat a specific number of times, to make sure none of the foods on his plate touched and that no more than one dairy product was present at any given meal.
The cherry on top was when I had confided in my flatmates the details of our sexual encounters. From their furrowed brows and pitying looks, I pieced together that maybe it wasn't normal for a man to make a mad dash to the shower to wash off his sin the moment he ejaculated inside you, consequently leaving you to curl up in the fetal position and cuddle your shameful self.
But what did I know? I had nothing to compare it to. I had never had a boyfriend. I had never had sex. I had never watched porn, not that that anyone should be using that as an accurate play-by-play for real-life whoopie (I'm looking at you, gentlemen).
And as his nervous ticks wore on, my patience wore out. All of my propositions for change were met with the same rebuttal:
"Pizza and milk? How can you?!"
"Sleep without jacket? How can you?!"
"Sex with no shower? How can you?!"
But rather than realize the inevitable and end things right there, I went ahead and decided to do the next worst thing.
I decided to go on vacation with him.
Cue the worst romantic getaway in history. . .
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