Reading time: 8min.

by Michael Lee

My American horror story

Picture the scene, underneath the lurching trees decorated with flicking colourful lights as festive music plays in the distance. The sound of laughter irradiating from adoring children lingers on that tinted chilly evening as they would scream excitedly from atop the Ferris Wheel overlooking a beautifully lit London basking in the magic and wonderment that is Winter Wonderland. ‘’You’re a bit too affectionate’’ Marcus snapped at me, this was also the setting of my second date with Marcus, a 28-year-old American from Michigan and currently a IT consultant working in the UK. I was literally on a date with the modern day version of Scrooge, this was my Christmas Carol nightmare, or should I say, my very own American horror story.

What felt like the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future hovering over my shoulder, there was a spine chilling aghast haunting me that frosty darkened evening. But what had happened? What had happened to the fun loving, smiley, happy and not to mention affectionate person I had an incredible first date with only a few days ago? When did my date who was all over me like a bad rash a mere few days ago transform into the miserable and frigid Grinch I had before me? I suppose it didn’t help that I was 20 minutes late to the date ‘’I was going to go, I thought you had stood me up’’ he remarked with a stern look etched on his face, as I apologised profusely for my late arrival. After a dozen apologises and battering of the eyelids we finally make our way inside Winter Wonderland and towards the Christmas market stalls which was dazzled with an array of festive decorations, food, drinks and hand crafted goods. We made our way to the bar area where I sampled a glass of Mulled wine which Marcus had brought me, feeling the social pressure to conform and not act weird or peculiar I drank the Mulled wine with anxious hesitation as I immediately regretted my decision to try and impress the clearly unimpressed American before me. The Mulled wine was without a doubt the most horrendous thing I have ever had the displeasure of putting in my mouth, and believe me I have had a lot of gross things go down my throat, Marcus’s tongue being one of them.

Marcus actually seemed rather offended that I did not drink the Mulled wine, being made to feel silly, guilty and ashamed would later become a common trend I would later discover. We made our way across Winter Wonderland where the irony is we didn’t even go on a single ride that evening, instead we held hands and toddled along engrossed in conversation, mostly with him doing the talking and me doing the listening before leaving the park all together and making our way to a coffee shop. ‘’Do you have any jumpers without skulls on them’’ Marcus uttered with a judgemental and snobbish snare as I sat there wearing my skull jumper. I innocently sipped my tea and remarked ‘’yes plenty’’ in a defiant manner as if I was being ridiculed and attacked for embracing my individuality and not conforming to that of a social role that was expected by the likes of Marcus and the self-confessed ‘elite’. My date sat before me had a very dark and self-destructive secret that I was later to discover, on the surface he was everyone’s happy go lucky buddy whom everyone adored, he was the social butterfly amongst his peers often drinking and socialising with his fellow social climbers, yet beneath the countless expensive bottles of wine and pompous restaurants he was an insecure, self-loathing, self-absorbed, miserable excuse of a human being whom desperately hated and despised himself.

His weight and body was a huge insecurity for him, piling on the pounds with his excessive binge and compulsive overeating and alcoholic drinking as another empty bottle of wine lay dormant on his living room floor. So I found it rather ironic that the social climber that craved status and attention would have so little love for himself, this was one of many warning signs for me and quite frankly I should have escaped while I still had the chance. He was due to fly back home to Michigan for the Christmas holidays but via text we kept in contact, they say distance makes the heart grow fonder and in my case it did. I was excited to see him as I made my way to the airport terminal gate to meet him upon his return, I pictured a scene from the romantic British comedy ‘Love Actually’ but instead I get an awkward hug from a fat, sweaty and miserable American with terribly messy greasy hair, a bad case of body odour, jet lag and a stern looked etched on his sagging face. Certainty not the romantic American dream I had in mind.

We made our way back to his where we ventured into the bedroom, supposedly where the ‘magic’ happens. Sexually it was awkward; imagine a podgy, beer bellied blob laying unattractively with its legs spread out on the bed resembling Danny DeVito’s portrayal of the classic Batman villain Penguin naked, that was Marcus, so to say the physical interaction lacked passion was truly an understatement, in fact it was rather bizarre. Marcus liked to engage in fetish role-play, his kink? Being told he was a ‘fat bastard’ in an aggressive manner while pretending to have invisible food shoved down his mouth (and no, I am not making this up). This would end with a depressed blubbing lard at the edge of the bed, feeling horrendous and ashamed after the ‘high’ of having make-believe food forced down his throat.

Skip forward two months later and It was a normal morning where we awoke in his house one eventful January morning when during our routine breakfast in a local establishment he suddenly proclaimed that he was looking for someone who was his ‘equal’. According to him the fact I still lived at home was the final nail in the coffin to this disaster of a relationship. The smugness oozed from his chubby, gloating cheeks as he admitted that he had been thinking these deep and profound thoughts for a couple of weeks now, though he still managed to get a blow job the morning before dumping me, sly very sly. The fact his small mushroom sized penis with extremely big bush even managed to garner any kind of attention still leaves me stunned and flabbergasted to this very day. Basking in his superiority with his earth shattering announcement as his bulging stomach sat perched across from me I couldn’t help but just sit there in stunned silence as he mumbled some nonsense about how I was the nicest guy he had ever met and that it had been a good few months together, he was probably just doing his best at damage control to make me feel somewhat better. We sat there in dampened silence and all I could think of was ‘’Damn, now I’ve got to change my Facebook status back to single, how embarrassing’’ after proclaiming to the social media world only a week prior that I was in a relationship, oh the shame.

With an uncomfortable and awkward silence, we plodded back to his where I gathered my belongings and quickly left his life just as quickly as I had foolishly entered. There were small streaks of tears flowing down my checks but only for a mere few moments as my final words to him ‘’Goodbye Marcus’’ left my mouth. By the time I walked the few minutes to the train station I was over him, just like a puff of smoke he had disappeared, and just like a bad nightmare I had awoken and he was gone, my American horror story had finally come to an end.