A few months back, Zoe Kravitz was a guest on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The story she shares, unfolds itself in between the witty banter of Jimmy and Zoe, revealing that after one date with a guy, he asks to leave her his pet Gary, a 30-pound African Giant Tortoise, while he goes on a trip. A lot was left unexplained and one week led to several weeks—a month with ambiguity and an eventual pet turtle! The guy never asked for the turtle to be returned and in fact ends up asking her on a second date (still with no explanation about Gary the tortoise), of which she goes on–mostly for understanding about the GIANT pet she’s had for weeks. Not only was there zero explanation, but this date left her in an even bigger state of confusion due to nothing addressed about the turtle! I’m sure this story was hyperbolic for storytelling sake and for TV sake, but just the same, it is a tale about the lack of clarity found in dating that is far too common for all of us. When I watched the show, I thought to myself, “God, even the gorgeous Zoe has had to date guys that are so perplexing!”
I’ve had my share of guys leaving behind proverbial tortoises for me to keep for them. What I mean is— equally befuddling mysteries for me to solve on my own.
Is it a date or a meeting? Is this just sex or a romance? Is this a romance or a friendship? Is this a friendship or would you like to be my non sexual stand-in boyfriend or I your girlfriend?
God, the confusion ensues.
However, recently, I had a giant tortoise sized LACK of clarity.
It all started where every “love” story starts these days. Tinder. I didn’t think much of his pictures, but sometimes when I’m bored I’ll say yes to all beards. It’s slim pickings when you live abroad, and when you have mountain man taste in the middle of Asia, your acceptance level gets a bit experimental. He messaged me casually with a hint of flirtation,
I’m not quite sure why I messaged him back, but I did and we ended up keeping a relatively witty banter. All of these messages led to one day where we spent the entire day messaging, divulging loads of common interests and passions. He was all the things! He said things like, “I don’t understand how someone can’t be a feminist,” similar Netflix queus, matching podcast playlists , memorized Girls quotes to swap, and he knew just about everything there is to know about anything. I was in sapio-sexual (sexual attraction to intellect) heaven.
The excitement about our connection quickly burned and faded when weeks, turned to months of him continuing to message daily without making any plans to meet. What was he hiding? Maybe he wasn’t actually into me? The clarity began to be more and more elusive and doubts of this connection crept in. So I demanded some kind of define- the-relationship terms, but instead I received YouTube clips of dramatic prose of indie romantic whimsy and his hopes of love found somewhere, but I still wasn’t sure where that left him and I— and why he wouldn’t meet me!
We eventually met! He was a lot better looking in person than I imagined, and he had the tone of voice that any girl would swoon over. The entire date ended up being sporadic, unplanned, but despite that we ended the night giggling and having a great time. When we parted ways he invited me to meet him and his friends camping the following weekend.
The status of us or our time together was again still very unclear, but I went on ignoring my lack of understanding because perhaps it was too premature to demand– I mean we had only just met once. Maybe one more meeting would bring the clarity I was left without.
After numerous anxiety attacks. Self talks. Lots of wine. Four hours of travel and 50 dollars later, I made my way to his camping trip. I had to face him and his friend alone. There they were, warm, friendly, and boyish. As the day turned to evening, and his pal chatted my ear off, while he spoke no more than three sentences to me— I began to question what I was doing there. He acted as if he’d just met me, not messaged me everyday for four months. I was waiting for some kind of light-bulb to come from him; maybe some kind of an explanation from him. I went to sleep thinking, I’d pull him aside the next day. So I woke up the next morning early, invigorated by my plan, and ready to figure out what the hell was going on. I slipped out of my tent expecting the other two to be up cooking breakfast, but everyone was still asleep.
I went on a walk and returned and his friend was gone, but he was still sleeping. It was almost noon!
I went to eat and walked around the island.
1:30pm, checked in and he was still asleep.
3pm came around, and I thought surely he’d be awake— but sure enough he was still asleep. I packed my tent and thought to myself, “if he doesn’t wake up in twenty minutes, I’ll just leave.”
I ran into his friend who was equally unsure of what to do about his friend. He was laying asleep till 4pm. This guy was snuffed out and missing his entire camping trip. The great big trip I thought would resolve all my clarity was a snoozefest for this guy– literally! His friend with seemingly very little courage to do it on his own, asked if I’d help him wake this guy up. We attempted without any success. And as I watched him laying there, snoring away, I found the massive clarity I’d been looking for the entire time from him.
My dignity. I had realized I’d lost a bit of it while waiting for this guy to decide on me while I made it clear what I wanted. I had traveled and paid money to come meet this guy who had snored the entire day away, and I had waited for him! I then made up my mind, that it was time I made up a decision for the both of us and provide my own clarity. I swiftly grabbed my bags, exchanged niceties with his friend, and said my goodbyes. This unclear Tinder fairy tale was finished.
As for that African Giant Tortoise Zoe had? She ended up going back to that guy’s place after their second date. She looked around his home realizing, this isn’t a place appropriate for a giant turtle, and looking at the time she realized she had to get back and feed her now beloved pet tortoise. So with that, she said her goodbyes, and when the guy asked why she had to go, she explains. “I have go feed my pet turtle.” It was hers, and she was done waiting for an explanation from this guy— she made one for herself.