I thought about not putting up the website because it would make me look like a fool to have been used the way I was. But when you’ve let yourself be played for a fool, you have to be okay with looking like a fool. It’s a variant of If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. And besides, I’m not often a fool, so it’s not too hard to admit it when it does happen.

The website also portrays me as a victim. Some people like being seen as a victim, but I do not because it makes me look weak. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell the story without being seen that way. It sure is one hot kitchen...


The story contains the classic elements of greed, deceit, self-absorption, and the self-serving abuse of power by those in highly-paid secure jobs. There are a lot of personal details, but they’re all relevant and they were all said in the kind of public places where there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Most of the things I’ll say about her are bad. But there are some good things about her, too—her family is important to her and she works hard—but those things aren’t relevant to my story. I’ll leave it for someone else to tell that story...


If you find all this to be tasteless and mean-spirited on my part, then you haven’t understood. Thematically, it’s the kind of thing I’ve been thinking about and writing about for years, but this time it’s based on a very different experience. It’s more along the lines of a case study of someone whom I once loved as a friend but who ended up as merely a point of intellectual curiosity, and of how the one thing turned into the other.

For me, that was a very painful metamorphosis. Playing back all those memories, thinking about them again and again until I finally understood...there was not a shred of joy in any of that. It absolutely broke my heart. Not in the way of lovers, but in the way of friends. I’d never known that feeling before, but I suspect that if you live long enough, you’ll eventually come to know all feelings.


Note: I want to explain my use of the word friendship. For example, even though she and I never had a real friendship, I use the term our friendship simply to economize on words. In a real friendship, there is a commonality of some kind of feeling, of some kind of liking, that each person has for the other. But what she and I really had was a relationship that consisted of five things: the friendship I felt for her, the attention I gave her, the money I spent on her, her desire for attention, and her desire for money. It’s simple, really, but it took me a long time to see the reality of it because it wasn’t like anything I’d ever seen before. Several people who know both her and me, as well as several who know just me, had told me all along that she was just using me.


I know what you’re thinking.
Sex. Whenever a story involves a man and a woman, people always think it’s about sex. Sometimes even the other person doesn’t know when it’s not about sex. Often it is about sex, but this time it isn’t. For half the time I knew her, I was dating one woman or another; for six months that woman was Alma (there’s more on her to come). For a quarter of the time she knew me, she was dating one man or another. If I’d just wanted to sleep with her, I would’ve busted a move on her upfront, and if it hadn’t worked out, that would’ve been the end of things between us; but then again, I never just want to sleep with a woman. And if at some point in our friendship I’d wanted to sleep with her in addition to being a friend to her, I would’ve busted a move on her then, and if it hadn’t worked out, we could still have been friends for the same reasons we’d always been friends.

But for me it was about the feeling I call
warmth. Whenever I was with her, there was this happy little humming going on in the background. It moved through me, and I felt good in a quiet and peaceful way. That was the warmth. I’d look at her face then, listen to her voice, and I’d feel warm. I wonder why she thought I spent all that time with her...



This information sets the stage for understanding the events of the critical timeline.
Overview


In order to understand Ms. Lopez, you have to first understand the concept of the
femme fatale and what there was in her past and in her values that caused her think of herself as such a woman. It’s central to how she views herself and to how she feels others view her, and it goes a long way toward explaining her self-absorption and her reason for filing a complaint against me.
Femme Fatale?


These are the events preceding the end of our friendship and of my time at BCBSA.

Critical Timeline


By this point, you’re probably thinking
Almost everything he’s said about her is negative. How could he possibly have felt that kind of warmth for her? Well, I’ve asked myself that question many times, and I simply don’t know the answer. I suppose it was simply that I wanted to believe in her friendship. Just as she wanted to believe that each of her boyfriends, the men to whom she gave her body, wanted her for more than just that, so, too, I wanted to believe that she, a woman to whom I gave so much attention and money, wanted me for more than just that. We were each beguiled by the pretense of what it was that we wanted. She was fooled by empty compliments and false promises, and I was fooled by a pretend friendship. The difference between us is that she will continue to easily be fooled by those same things, coming either from new men or from those who’ve already fooled her once, whereas I will be fooled again only with great difficulty. Cue The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again...


These are my favorite memories of our time together. I wonder what hers are...
Memories


These are some of my larger thoughts on all this. They tend to be more abstract, more in the way of reflections.

Observations


These were our lunchtime haunts.
The Restaurants