Believe it or not, it’s been thirteen years since the publication of Brett Easton Ellis’ “American Psycho.” When I bought the book I was still living in Australia and it was covered in plastic wrapping and carried a graphic violence warning. All the things that shocked us in “American Psycho” have since become reality—extreme corporate greed, objectifying people to the point that they cease to appear human and even savagely beating the homeless have become so commonplace they are almost outré. Ah, the quaint days of the 90’s, when satirical savagery was still considered worthy of special packaging… Years after “Clockwork Orange,” but way back before the Internet could show you a video so disturbing you longed to bathe your eyes in Lysol.
In my experience with American men (which since my separation has become fairly extensive) I don’t believe I’ve encountered a true sociopath. Sure there have been dudes that didn’t behave as I wanted them to, or were a tad cruel, or distracted or even disrespectful. But they didn’t present as guys who had tortured animals as children, or harbored an empty space where people’s heart is usually located. I have often picked up the pieces with both male and female friends, as they shuddered and cried through the realization that someone had misled them with fake empathy. I have not attracted those types… until now.
I met Yves (obviously not even close to his real name) on Tinder, and frankly any time you meet someone on the hook-up app, and don’t get chopped up in pieces and incinerated, it’s a win. We met in the Valley, and he was even sexier than his pictures. He was only half an inch taller than me, but he was a god. He was European, and was charming and quite funny. He laughed at my jokes, and even his laugh had an accent. He also paid for dinner- and it’s been at least six months since anyone had- so needless to say I was DTF.
My first clue that I was dealing with New School Patrick Bateman was when I asked him at the bar if he’d ever had a broken heart. He seemed baffled by the question. “Um…no.” He was 35 years old. #sociopath
Then there was the latest model Lexus he retrieved from valet, and after I followed him home, the über-expensive furnishings in his apartment. Everything was modern, gray and immaculate. There was a piece of paper and some kind of straw basket on his coffee table that weren’t quite symmetrical.
“Excuse the mess,” he said.
“What mess?” I asked, mentally wondering what he’d make of my kids’ wet, dirty socks that at this very moment were probably collecting mold on the floor in their room. Must put those in the dryer…
I noticed a plethora of inspirational quotes on the walls, along with a Louise Hay desk calendar, and a white board with more positive palaver. I wouldn’t normally see these as palaver, but couldn’t help noticing that he never offered me a water, or a tea, or a coffee or any of the things humans have been known to present to others that they may or may not be sleeping with shortly. He also made no move to start anything, and sat opposite me, chatting distractedly about himself, while intermittently tapping on his iPhone (who knows, he was probably swiping chicks on Tinder.) He admitted he was in therapy, and seeing a life coach, but I was starting to get the idea he had retained these people to try and teach him how to emulate the way humans behave.
I realized that if Patrick Bateman were around today, he would have his head constantly in his device. Just like this guy.
I got up to go home, as he seemed unwilling to make the first move. I was simultaneously peeved (“Maybe he’s not into me”) and relieved (“There’s something creepy about this guy that may not even be worth getting laid.”) It turned out I was only wrong on the first score, since when I got to the door, he managed to put down his phone, and made a fairly aggressive first move. Game on.
He pushed me upstairs to his bedroom, which was equally worthy of a front-page story in Elle Décor. As I mounted the stairs I kept saying “There’s something off about this…” but I was also so obviously turned on, that he chose to ignore it. I noticed he was dressed with such perfect-contemplated-casual-hipster-with-money style, that I would have assumed he were gay, if he wasn’t already doing the things to me he was doing. The giant low Japanese style bed was framed by more inspirational quotes, and everything still had that eerie grey order. But those lips, the dominating touch as he bent me over the original Miles Van Der Rohe chair…
After we had been at it for a while, he realized there was a little blood on the condom and completely freaked out.
“Might be the tail end of my period…” I said, with no trace of embarrassment. (This is why I am likely going to become a certified sex coach soon, as I have zero hang-ups about bodily fluids, and believe I can teach women to be more orgasmic by developing same.) “Does that freak you out?” I asked redundantly, looking at his dwindled to nothing erection.
“It’s just… the white sheets,” he replied.
I was fairly clear he didn’t want me to spend the night but I wasn’t about to ask his permission. “Can I take a shower?” I asked instead, and it was there in his bathroom that I used all of his incredible organic hair and face and body products. I came back to bed all delicious and he was napping, so I fell asleep (I brought a taupe colored towel in case his sheets were in jeopardy) and later in the middle of the night, I woke up next to his Adonis sleeping face and once more was able to separate the man from his equipment, doing what was necessary to put myself in a good mood for parenting the following day. He made hardly a sound, but I made enough noise for both of us, and he seemed to enjoy himself, but he was impossible to read, so who knows?
In the morning, it became easy to read him. He wanted me gone, and fast. First he lied about parking across the street.
“Wake up you have to move your car, they do street cleaning today.”
“No they don’t, I read the signs,” I mumbled half-asleep, before I caught the hint and wondered how many times he had used that line to get rid of women he wanted gone.
“I have to start my day- I was supposed to do a list for my life coach and I haven’t done it.”
Sure, buddy, whatever you say. I got up blearily and got dressed, finding him downstairs working intently on his Mac. I walked over to his front door and waited, but it appeared he could not muster the energy to put down his computer, stand up and walk me out. I had mentioned the night before that I had found a great natural, aluminum free deodorant but that it cost thirty bucks. It was the first I’d seen him register any emotion. Now he looked up distractedly and said, “Make sure you text me the name of that deodorant, I’m going to buy it.”