What I Learned From Googling the Guy Who Wouldn't Take No for an Answer 24 Years Ago

by Christie Tate

Image via Pixabay

Image via Pixabay

I Google him thinking there's no way I'll find him after all these years. Surely he's been swallowed up by anonymity or the criminal justice system.

Nope. Google returns a list of links, each with his name next to a medical practice in the suburbs. His name is not common, and I knew him when he was pre-med, so it's most likely him.

I click on the first name and watch as the page loads. I scooch to the end of my chair and lean into my monitor. Now, I can't wait to see his face. How long has it been? 20 years? Actually, 24.

I pray that the passage of time had eroded his strong jawline. I'll also admit this: I want him to look like a creepy old man — greasy, beady eyes, vaguely pedophilic. If he's not in jail or court-ordered rehab, then he should at least be forced to walk the planet stripped of his former good looks. That's called poetic justice.

The image loads slowly. A full head of sandy blonde hair appears at the top of the screen. So much for my hope that he'd gone bald.

While I wait for his face to show up, I note that he's an endocrinologist. Specializes in lipid disorders. Bully for him. When I'm done with his face, I'll look that up and make up Freudian stories about why someone like him would be drawn to lipid disorders. 

His forehead and eyes show up below his Chuck Woolery hairline. I remember those eyes. Back in college, I read them as intense and ambitious. At the party where he pinned my arms at my sides so he could feel up my shirt without consent they seemed menacing, dark, and predatory. I was 19 years old and drunk on the notion of dating a future doctor and four cups of Everclear-spiked punch.

Were there signs I ignored? Probably. I mistook his malice for ambition, his misogyny for awkwardness. Plus, he didn't drink so I thought he was up-standing. The only other guys I knew who didn't drink were saving "it" for marriage and spending Wednesday nights at Bible study.

The rest of the picture loads. There's that jawline! How I'd admired that in the psychology class we took together. There's that smug-ass grin that I'm positive hides a seething hostility toward women.

Read more: Google Officially Knows Far Too Much About My Vagina

Maybe it's unfair to assume he hasn't changed. Maybe he went to sexual addiction counseling and did a fearless and searching moral inventory of himself. Maybe he collects sexual sobriety coins, has a sponsor, and avoids sexually tempting TV shows. It's possible he tried to track me down to make amends for that night but held back because his sponsor told him to leave me the fuck alone.

More likely he has a boat, a wife, and a propane grill. I don't let myself imagine he has a daughter, though I'm hardly consoled by the thought of him raising boys who share his interest in golf, science, and sexual domination of women.

I lean in close to his picture. He doesn't look handsome anymore. His eyes are dull and lifeless — there is no light shining in them. I click off the page and send his image back to the ether.

I'm not triggered. Not exactly. But I don't want to spend any more time thinking about him and his stupid lifeless eyes. Because you know who has a light in her eyes? Me. That's right. My spirit shines through my eyes. I've done my work — 20 plus years of therapy and recovery. I'm no longer a young girl dazzled by the prospect doctor's white coat or an invitation to an epic fraternity party. Thank God I've grown up.

I open Google again. This time I type in my own name and see a new list of links. This time it's my name that's in bold. I see traces of the life I've built, stories I've told, and imprints I've made. This is exactly where my energy belongs: to me and the people I love and who deserve my attention. This is moving forward.

 

Christie Tate is a lawyer, writer, and mother in Chicago. She's a regular contributor to Mom.Me and the What to Expect When You're Expecting blog. She's working on a memoir about her experiences in group therapy — she hopes it will be for sale one day on the Costco book table. Find her on Twitter, Facebook and her blog, Outlaw Mama.