In Bad Taste: What My Worst Relationships Taught Me

by: Bobby Crowley 

Warning: Some of these stories may seem familiar to you, you may feel a kinship with one of the characters. Don’t worry, it probably is you.

I have the WORST taste. I’m not talking mysterious bad boys with a dark edge that I date for a chance to “fix” them. I don’t swoon for the girls with daddy issues just deep enough to land them a starring role on the next “Girls Gone Wild”, no judgement, seriously. No, my “taste” (if you can call it that) tends to lead me into the most awkward and impossible situations imaginable. Let’s start from the beginning.  On second thought, let’s fast forward a bit.

The first boy I was ever REALLY romantically interested in was new. I believe this was in the third grade. He and his brothers transferred homes from a country outside of the United States. His name was, let’s say it was Joseph. Joseph, or Joe as he wasn’t called had, issues. I met him in elementary school and we hit it off immediately, as much a children can “hit it off.” I remember our marriage, it was a beautiful ceremony on the school playground right by the spider dome and we professed our eternally persisting love for each other. I believe he used the words, “I love you more than Britney Spears.” I mean really, how was a girl not to swoon?


I learned later that I didn’t really know much about Joe before our marriage and there was a lot I had yet to learn about him, including his supposed homicidal tendencies and drug habits. I say supposed for two reasons, he was a young kid who liked to impress and shock his little lady (me) and it also sounds less like I have an affinity for murderers.  He punched huge dents into our metal lockers, scared the shit out of our teachers, and ended up getting expelled for drug use on school grounds, in the 7th grade. Needless to say, we didn’t last very long. This was my first, I repeat, first encounter with romance. This was where it all began. I believed I could only go up from there. Silly Barb.

Other than a few rag-tag crushes, my “deeper” feelings were not tapped into until my sophomore year of high school. This was not a good year for me. I was recovering from personal shit including family loss and a recently quit addiction to blades. Fortunately, I was able to project all of my conflicting emotions and daddy issues into an intense crush, on my English teacher. Who was married.  Happily.  With three children. I wanted unavailable and I got it. Now, I can look back on my decisions and dissect them in a healthy and pretentious way. Then, I fell head first down a tunnel of delusions and fantasies fit for a king.

I, of course, never did anything about all of this, for two reasons. I didn’t want to actually attempt to have something real with anyone, hence my horrendous choice. I also really didn’t have a choice– like I said, happily married. The major motivations behind my horrible taste as a girl were made clear to me only after high school, when I realized something vital about myself. Moving on to one of the most pivotal and devastating relationships of my life.

Lily was my best friend for over 5 years. Lily helped me through my physical, emotional, and paternal issues. Lily was goofy, hilarious, incredibly talented, and beautiful. I loved her, more than I knew. See, I hadn’t realized that my intimacy issues were in part due to the fact that I didn’t really like guys all that much, or as much as I liked girls. In fact, I didn’t admit to myself that I was in love with Lily until months after all ties between us were cut. Five years of sleepovers, intense conversations, joking around, and a closeness I had never experienced with anyone before turned into a very intense and unequivocal love. When she entered the world of heterosexual sex, I was taken aback. The Lily I loved was never really the type to have meaningless sex (NO judgement there) or cheat on her boyfriend and lie to me about it (judgement). Suddenly, she was that person.

The day I confronted her about the parallel universe she had constructed for my eyes only to keep me from the truth, she spat it back into my face and told me I was a horrible friend and she no longer cared for me. She only wanted her boyfriend, the one she cheated on her previous boyfriend with– the one who went to jail, the one she cheated on while he was in jail. Him. She chose him. All of the glass shattered around me like in my favorite episode of How I Met Your Mother, but not so comical. It took me a long time to see past her lies and realize that I was holding onto her so tightly as a best friend because I couldn’t let go of my first love. Needless to say, the end of this relationship bred a whole new nest of issues within me that led to even more non-relationships complete with delusions and bad endings.

Since high school, my horrible taste has escalated. I think somehow adding genders to my romantic pool made my selections even more ludicrous and abysmal. I’ve “fallen for” the unavailable, uninterested, uncaring, and just plain unloveable by anyone’s standards other than my own. I’ve had feelings for all of the worst types of people from extremely heterosexual and extremely close friends to people in long-term, long-distance, long-lasting relationships. I’ve liked bisexuals who turned out to be heterosexuals and transmen who turned out to be gay. I’ve fallen for happily married men, twice my age, with children (yes, again) and girls in relationships who tell me they have feelings for me the same week they propose to save the relationship they are already in. Needless to say, my taste hasn’t exactly improved.

So what’s the point of telling these stories?  I’ve learned something through my experiences and the experiences of others. All of these horrible stories I have shaped me and prepared me for the day when I find someone who’s less shitty and less willing to screw me over. Every time I have a bad experience, it will make the next good one that much better. Plus, these aren’t horrible mistakes I’m making, these are wonderful stories to be told. I mean, I am a writer so bring on the frogs.

Bobby Crowley is a Queer woman with a love for all that is fabulous. She is currently working on her Creative Writing degree at Loyola University where she is also on the board of Advocate and a writer for the alt. magazine LUChameleon. She is in love with Andrea Gibson, her labradaniel puppies, and singing loudly in the shower.

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