There comes a time after every failed relationship where you have to step back onto the platform of life and wait for the dating train to arrive once again. It’s a complicated game in itself made only more complicated by the fact that you’ve been out of it for quite some time. Although the rules never really change, it’s always a shock to deal with the eccentric varieties that come your way. Even in today’s digital age where dating apps provide a pseudo buffer before you meet an individual or not, it’s always a leap when you’re meeting someone for a first date. Like the train system, there are many different types of guys to date and I am finding them all here on my short stay in Germany.
Take Robin Akhere. A mid-20s college student at the University of Munich. Smart, handsome, family-oriented, and apparently interested in me. We met via Tinder while I was in Munich over Easter weekend. The city was lively, but quiet as the state of Bavaria is highly religious. Not much was open save for a few of the more international clubs and the sultriest of clubs.
We never actually physically met which I thought was due to the fact that, being Catholic, he was spending the weekend with his family. This happened to be true and I put off a date until later the following week. When he blew me off there, I began to question his interest in me. Finally two weeks have gone by since our mutual right swipes and I ask him “So are you interested in meeting at all? I feel like I’m working over-time here and still getting only a fraction of the pay,” I text him out of frustration. His response was completely casual.
“To be honest I am dating someone else. I didn’t think that you wanted this to be exclusive,” came his short text. The pre-war me would have flown off the handle here. I would’ve shot back some nasty retort and blocked his number. Instead I let out a long sigh and replied, “That’s cool. Well you have my number if and when you’d like to meet,” I replied. He responded with some weak apology that I ignored. I wasn’t upset. I just wasn’t going to waste any more time fretting over a guy. I’d done that enough in my past. In a short text Robin had become the Commercial Train. The train that’s there for everyone to get on. That weekend I got back on the train back to base saying a silent good-bye to the man I’d never met.
“Chile…that’s a mess,” my best friend Wade told me via Facebook Messenger when I told him about it when I returned home.
“I know. The worst part is was he is a really nice guy. I just wish he had told me sooner,” I said pouring myself some Italian red and popping some popcorn.
“Well you still have his number right? Maybe you two can talk?” Wade suggested. I shrugged.
“Yeah. Maybe we can. I won’t put much effort into it honestly. What he’s been giving me he will now get in turn,” I said taking a sip.
The next type of guy in dating realm is the Missed Train. Jean Maik was definitely that train for me. We had met on a trip down to Brazil three years ago now. From our initial meeting at that café along the Copacabana beach, we instantly sparked. Things were great with us. He was gorgeous with his smooth tan skin, jet black curls, and toned physical. And his baritone when speaking to me in Portuguese was enough to make me melt.
Over the years we kept up constant contact. Even after I left Brazil and was in a relationship, we still maintained a good friendship. It wasn’t until after that relationship that we noticed that we actually felt something for one another. We knew so much about each other. It was easy to talk to him and he was now in the US for a foreign exchange student program just a few hours away from where I was stationed. But I was being moved to Germany. The agreement was that when he got here we would try, until I found out my unseemly PCS would change those plans. When I told him he let me know that we would still remain friends, but I felt like this was one let down too many for him. I had seen it in the way he looked at me now. I didn’t let him know this and I made my move over.
Shortly after the ordeal with Robin, I asked Jean to come with me to my unit’s ball that we will be having in June. When I asked him I could see by his pained expression that he wasn’t coming, even before he told me.
“Javari. I would love to come, but I don’t think it good. We can’t get it right. The distance…I finally move from Brazil and you move away. I don’t know. Maybe for another time I can come in Germany to meet you, but not then,” he said in his accented baritone. Again a moment where the emotional old me would have broken down into a fit of tears, I felt nothing. I sighed and told him that it was ok, but I knew there wouldn’t be a later for him to come. He wasn’t coming here and I would probably never see him again. We hadn’t talked since then.
“It’s like he was there and I could see him! I was running to catch him, but he just took off. Not even so much as an all aboard,” I told my friend Elijah.
“Listen Javari, I know. It’s crazy. You two would’ve been so good,” he said via Facebook messenger.
“Wow. Didn’t think you had turned into such an optimist over the weekend,” I mocked.
“Oh I haven’t. Fuck love. I just think it’s good that you’re over your handcar,” he said.
“My what?” I asked confused.
“Handcar. You know the relationship where something is there and you both put in effort but someone gets weak and stops leaving the other to over exert themselves. You are finally over your Handcar Relationship,” he explained. I knew exactly who he meant.
“More like a train wreck,” I said. When he didn’t answer I gave it some thought.
“You were talking about Korea, weren’t you?” I asked him remembering his last serious relationship.
“Michael, yes. We both were putting in the effort he got scared of himself or wherever we were going and then he bailed on me,” he answered. I felt for my friend. He rarely showed emotion towards guys and Michael was undoubtedly the reason why.
“I remember. Did you talk after?” I asked.
“A little, but you know when you break up with someone you aren’t really broken up with for another week or so. After that week though no we haven’t really talked,” he responded.
“Yeah. I call that the residual relationship phase. Believe it or not though that phase helps. You get to ask all the painful questions you might still be harboring from the relationship. You can see the scars on the other person and know you’re not hurting alone. It’s closure. I wouldn’t have been so down and out over Bryon if I had this phase,” I said solemnly.
“You managed though. You took a different route. Emotional Reformation. You healed on your own. Granted you don’t get out as clean as you do with your residual phase and you have scars, but you’re better once it heals,” he answered.
“Yeah. Post-war battle scars. Real sexy,” I laughed.
In the end it doesn’t matter if I don’t or can’t make things work with every guy I come in contact with. I know what I’m looking for and won’t settle for anything less. It’s the one thing that anyone who values love is looking for. I’m on the hunt for a special type of train--- a magic train. The one you can only catch from Platform 9 & ¾ . They one that would carry me away to a place so full of magic and wonder, that there could be no doubt that this is path I’m supposed to take. Love is its own type of magic after all and until it arrives at the platform I’ll be content waiting, trunk and owl to boot.
Comparing different types of dudes to trains and train stops
Different city trains (chaotic organization like NYC or subtle complexity of Atlanta)
Train wreck= Niko
Platform 9 & ¾ = guy I haven’t met yet
Commercial train= dating multiple guys other than me (Robin)
Missed train= Jean
Bullet Train= Donny
Handcar= Something is there and you both put in effort but someone gets weak and stops leaving the other to over exert themselves.