My time spent on Match.com brought me two dates. These dates did not come easily or flippantly; they came after many strange messages, strange pictures, strange disappearances by men I had been pleasantly texting, and just an all-around strange feeling. Cyber bar, cyber coffeehouse, cyber speed dating? What have I gotten myself into?
I do remember actually being really excited about my texting conversations with Mike and Dan. So much so that I would often carry my phone around even while doing things like yard work, placing it on the bench near where I was mulching or trimming bushes. But it was tough to keep up with two different conversations, very different, where is my notebook where I keep my notes that help me keep track of who is who???
I can honestly say that I don’t remember much of the content of the texts or why they were so compelling. One thing that I do remember is that Mike had no kids (I count this as a strike against him because dating a single mom of three may present a world that he just cannot comprehend and conversely, having no kids is a world that I had gratefully left behind). But I’m going to try to keep an open mind. Who knows?
And one thing that I remember about Dan is that I commented about the challenges of keeping up with yard work. He reminded me of how lucky I was to have it. He said that he had once had it, he had once complained about it too, but he missed it now that it was gone. Hmm…I wonder what that is all about…?
Nothing hot or heavy or even slightly intimate was implicit, embedded, or even implied in these texting conversations. Likely the texting brought me more of a dating distraction than anything else- a slight fear that these gentlemen might disappear and a huge sense of hope that they might not. Perhaps it was plain old desperation, whatever. Anyway, I set dates-with both of them. Look at me go-so risqué!!
Mike and I agreed to meet on Saturday for lunch at a picnic bench in Baker Park. Romantic, right? What was even more romantic is that he offered to prepare and bring food. “I love to cook and am so excited about having somebody to share with.” Wow. I said I’d bring the drinks. How exhilarating!!
I floated on this exhilaration until Saturday morning arrived, even forgetting about his first strike. Then I became nervous. This would be my first legitimate date in 20 years!
Well, unless you count the shitshow of a dinner “date,” about a year before, with an old boyfriend. I got drunk, let him take me home, and…well, that went nowhere good. Dorothy, you are not in the Emerald City, aka Greenville, home of the Pirates, anymore. Grow up. Dang it. Not did that get me anything good, if you know what I mean. And double dang it because it did earn me an extra week or two stuck with gray roots because I was so sick about it the next day that I forgot about my hair coloring appointment. Surprise, surprise. But I digress…
Back to first date prep. I carefully selected the mixers for the vodka, the appropriate cups for practicing discretion, and my outfit. I wanted to make things special.
I arrived and sat on an open park bench in Baker Park on Culler Lake a few minutes before noon. I looked left, I looked right, awaiting the arrival of the ginger (the only distinguishing physical trait I had for identification), then I spotted him and waved. He came over to me. Do I shake hands? Do I hug him? Do I keep my hands to myself? This is tough. I hugged him, which he seemed to appreciate. Maybe he was just as awkward as me?
My first impression? Wholesome. Handsome. Wholesome. I wonder what his first impression was of me…
We began unpacking our offerings while chit chatting, getting to know each other a bit. He unpacked the makings for fajitas (yum) along with some side salads, while I unpacked the booze. I “oh and ah” over his gourmet spread. Juxtaposing my compliments, he muses, after I ask what mixer he enjoys with vodka, “Oh my. Is it ok to drink so early in the day? And here?”
I am almost never at a loss for words. Obviously, I have a lot to say and I find all kinds of ways to say it, but at this moment, it was everything I could do to not allow my jaw to drop, dumbfounded. I finally recaptured my voice and said, “It is 5 o’clock somewhere,” and began pouring the drinks. Mix master Dorothy.
We continued talking and the conversation came around to kids. He spoke about how he never wanted any but really, truly loved his nephews. He loved to play with them and then he loved to watch them go home. This, of course, reminded me of strike one. But then he asked about mine, “Oh, you have two boys. Are they Boy Scouts? I grew up in Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout.”
Of course you did. Wholesome.
Now I have nothing against the Boy Scouts. They are, I am sure, great people. I admire their sense of adventure, their sense of community, and their ability to be like MacGyver. But I still subscribe to the stereotypes from growing up, encouraging me to steer clear of the Boy Scouts because they weren’t going to get me beer and they weren’t going to convince me to go skinny dipping.
Maybe I need a bit more wholesomeness in my life. Maybe I need to stop subscribing to silly stereotypes. But I would need to make those kinds of a transitions slowly and this was all just moving way too quickly for me.
Just like that, strike three, you’re out. And we were only 20 minutes in.
Yet I don’t know how to gracefully and kindly get out of this date. He is a kind man, but we are not a good match. So I suffered through another two hours of boringness. I realized that I will have to come up with a better plan of escape for next time. After all, no need to wallow in this disappointment, Dan was on deck for Wednesday night.
Mike texted me very nicely the next day, “I really enjoyed our date. I would like to go out again.” How can we have seen this so differently? It took me an hour or two, riddled with guilt and regret, to finally respond with, “Thank you so much. What a lovely day and a lovely meal. I don’t think I’m in a place to continue with this.” What do you say when you don’t want to go out again? This feels too much like work. The wheelbarrow was feeling heavy. Well, thankfully I didn’t have to worry about any of that again for a while.
So I leave those of you who were hoping to hear more about how “ladies like sex too” feeling disappointed. Believe me, I was too. Stay tuned…