Blair: The orchid giver

This story never fails to crack me up. And remind me that no matter how rational we may appear, the right circumstances can turn anyone into a creeper.

This is one of the rare stories that doesn’t just involve me going on a date with someone, it concerns me having actually dated someone over a couple of months.

(Pause for reaction)

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In any event, here’s what went down between myself and Blair, who will forever be known as “Creepy Orchid Guy” as a result.  

In early 2016, I met Blair one weekend when I was out watching the NFL Playoffs with a gal pal. We swapped numbers, and he asked me out for dinner a few days later.

Cut to a month later, we’re heading towards Valentine’s Day. Now, being that we hadn’t officially DTR’d (Determined The Relationship. You're welcome) I made the executive decision to bring up this oh-so-awkward topic with him. He was open to the conversation, and we decided nothing fancy, just dinner and a movie.

There was no mention made of exchanging gifts, as I didn’t want him to feel like he was going to be forced to get me something. I already had planned to get him something—we were both USC fans, so I snagged a couple of tickets to a USC Basketball game—but that’s also because I’m a gift giver.

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So Valentine’s Day rolls around, and I show up to his apartment. We had dinner… which he cooked… And he opened his gift and was pleasantly surprised by the basketball tickets.

He looked at me and said “I’m sorry, I didn’t get you anything. I mean, I picked up this orchid for you when I was grocery shopping.”

I tried not to be disappointed because, after all, I had made it clear there was no expectation of gifts, but it was a little bit of a let-down. Also, it concerned me for future gift giving (i.e., my birthday was a month away).

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But I digress.

I accidentally left the orchid at his apartment and kept reminding myself to pick it up and bring it home, but somehow it never clicked in my brain, so for the next few weeks, the orchid was still at his apartment, where he was taking care of it.

Three weeks later, I’d made some additional discoveries about Blair’s personality that made it clear to me we should not continue to see one another. I’m not going to go into it, but suffice to say, while Blair was not a bad guy, he was probably not someone with whom I wanted to continue socializing.

What did I discover? Here’s a quick rundown:

  • He was a stage-five clinger
  • He lied about several vital facts regarding his divorce, including the fact he was still in frequent contact with his “ex-wife.” (I was never fully certain he was actually getting a divorce)
  • I’m pretty sure he’s a homophobe (no, I'm not digging deeper into how I discovered this. Suffice to say, I had ample proof to justify my belief this was true.)

So, after almost two months of dating, and a decidedly lacking-in-drama break-up phone call, we broke up. (No ghosting for this girl. Ghosting is bullshit. Period.)

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Or at least, I thought we did.

The next morning, I was in the midst of my morning commute when my phone rings. It’s Blair. I declined to take the call, feeling he and I had covered everything I needed to cover, and that was that.

He left a voicemail. Basically, it boiled down to him having a few questions regarding our break-up, and he wanted to discuss them with me. He ended the call with a polite, “please call me back when it’s a good time.”

Now, I will admit it crossed my mind that I did not want to call him back. But, in the interests of keeping what teeny-tiny bit of good dating karma I earned due to actually speaking with him to end things, and not just ghosting him, I decided I’d return his call.

However, that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to be strategic and a little selfish as to when I was going to call him back.

For starters, I wasn’t going to call him back at 8:15 am and potentially ruin my workday. Then, I had meetings until lunch that would require focus. And I wasn’t going to call him back during the afternoon when I had to get my actual work done. Finally, I had plans to go shopping and get dinner with a friend after work. In reality, Blair would have to wait until I got home that night to get his call returned.

Blair proceeded to call me 15 times before lunch. And then another 15 times after lunch. And then 10 more times after work until I got home at 8pm. He didn’t leave any messages.

Forty phone calls. In 12 hours.

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And one text message. “Please call me.”

I was not in the mood to be very kind when I returned his phone call. I mean, I really wasn’t even inclined to return his call at that point.

But again, karma. (I'm a big believer in Karma.)

So I called him back. He was WASTED. Completely wasted. Like, slurring his words. But he managed to cobble together enough that I understood him to be accusing me of cheating on him.

In so many words, I told him to go fuck himself and hung up the phone.

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The next morning, I got a text from Blair.

I mean seriously. This guy.

“So I apologize for the drunk call. Just trying to get an understanding of what I did wrong to make us not work out. That’s all. Not trying to harp on this, just want to understand. Understand you have your own priorities. Just trying to get closure if that is the case. I thought we had something special in the weeks we spent together. Prove me wrong and I will move on. I am sad things did not work out with us.”

I opted not to reply to him. And I’ll spare you any sanctimonious present day replies to him that I could concoct. Suffice to say, I think my silence proved him wrong.

And I’m 99.9999999% certain that he’s ok with that at this point.

By the next day, Thursday, his texts were deleted from my phone (but the screenshot I used to send to my friends to share his overzealous conversation was saved for a bit longer). As far as I was concerned, it was over and done with.

I got through the end of the week, and the weekend, and then it was back to the office bright and early Monday morning.

Note: I was five days away from leaving for a two-week vacation to Italy for my 34th birthday. So I was in a fantastic mood.

I’m working away in my cubicle, checking emails, compiling my reports from the weekend, all with my headphones in and my music on. It was easier to concentrate this way.

That morning I kept my music on low-ish, just in case someone needed something from me. Also, I was waiting for several shipments of custom swag that we had ordered for some upcoming events and was hoping FedEx would show up early.

So when I saw my co-worker in the cube across from mine look at the reception area, and say “Can I help you with something?” I perked up, thinking maybe it was FedEx.

Through my headphones, I heard “blah, blah, blah, Ashley.”

Yes! FedEx was here with my stuff!

I pop up and say “I’m Ashley, right here!” And I turn the corner from my cube. And I stop dead in my tracks. In fact, I think my heels skidded a little, to be honest.

It’s Blair. In my office. Smiling. With an orchid in his hand. The orchid he purchased for me on Valentine’s Day.

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“Heyyy, Blair…,” I said cautiously. “Can I help you with something?”

I don’t think that was the greeting he was looking for, but I feel it was a lot more polite and friendly than it could have been. What the fuck was he doing showing up at my OFFICE??!?

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I honestly did my best not to freak out, but this was seriously disturbing, IMO.

He tentatively stepped towards me and held out the orchid.

“Well, I just wanted to stop by and make sure you got this. I mean, I bought it for you and wanted to make sure you had it. That’s all.”

Pretty sure my face looked something like this:

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I mean, just think of the vibes coming off of it.

To discontinue this incredibly awkward situation, I reached out and took the orchid from his shaking hands.

“Um, thanks. I appreciate you bringing it by.”

I stepped away and went around the corner to put the bad-juju orchid on my desk. My co-worker in the cube across from me was going on about how sweet it was that he stopped by (I should note, she didn’t know he and I had broken up) to give me that for my desk.

I was trying to not-so-subtly indicate to her that I needed her to stop talking to him and this wasn’t a good situation.

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I came back around the corner and looked at Blair and said: Did you need anything else?”

He looked crestfallen but said, “No, I just wanted to drop that off for you.”

I replied “Ok, well, thanks. Take care.”

And I walked back around the corner and sat down at my desk.

The next hour was spent with various co-workers sharing the story of our breakup, sharing the story of what happened for those who weren’t in the office yet, and addressing the following questions:

  1. What the fuck?
  2. How the hell did he know where the office was?
  3. Why on earth would he have thought this was a good idea?

The answers we came up with:

  1. This was seriously weird and creepy. The WTF factor was at a level of "we don’t even know what."
  2. We concluded because he knew my company’s name, he likely looked up the address and thought this would be a good idea.
  3. Some of my male co-workers said this was his attempt at a final face-to-face, to see if it might cause me to change my mind about the situation and rethink my stance on our break up. Epic fail.

In the end, I tried to pawn the orchid off on anyone in my office who would take it. There was no one interested. Here's proof from my Instagram

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I ended up leaving the orchid behind when I went on my two-week trip, reminding all of my coworkers that if they saw it and it looked like it was dying, they were NOT to water it.

I got back, and it took another month and a half for that fucker to die.

If I learned anything from this, it’s to stop ignoring red flags, like stories that don’t add up, and stage five clinging by a man in his mid-40s.

If I haven't already made it clear, I’m not always the best at reading signs.

But show up at my office with a three-week-old orchid over a week after we break up? Even I can read the creepy on that one.  

Ashley Ragland