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Ex marks the spot

I am not good with exes. In fact, I’ve been known to be downright awkward. I envy people who can be cool around someone they’ve dated, but I accepted long ago I will never be one of those people.

It took a long time for me to be comfortable around anyone who had once seen me naked; in fact it took a year in a relatively small English-speaking community in Korea to force the issue. In university, I actually hid in a bathroom for 20 minutes to avoid seeing a former hookup; in Korea I would have been a social pariah if I did that. Instead, I would play poker with them every Sunday (and try my best to be gracious when I took their money). Oddly enough, some of them are now among my closest friends.

I still don’t really know what to say to the dudes I actually dated. I ran into one such dude recently, and I ended up avoiding him the whole time, somewhat intentionally. Part of it stems from embarrassment: I didn’t handle our parting well. I was a bit of an asshole when I ended things, and I always feel awkward around the guys I chose to part ways with. That’s not to say I’m less awkward around the ones who decided they didn’t want to date me. I am just as uncomfortable around them, but it’s more of a ‘why wasn’t I good enough’ internal discomfort than an ‘I feel so guilty just looking at your face’ kind of thing. Maybe it goes into my need to be likable, my approval-seeking ways – you must like me, right? That’s why you’re here, reading this. Please say you like me. Whoops, got a little off track there. Regardless of the psychology of Steph behind it, at 31 you may still find me hiding in bathrooms, because that (for me) is adulthood.

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