Part Five–And So It Begins
My first full message on Match.com, beyond a word and an emoticon, was from a guy who was in real estate. I’ll refer to him as For Sale or Lease. I showed Zippy the photos on For Sale or Lease’s profile. “I did two real estate deals with him in the ’90s before he went to work for the CIA,” Zippy said. “You met him.”
“I did?” I asked. I had absolutely no recall of this.
“He’s decent,” Zippy said. “Go for it.”
Even though For Sale or Lease had been given the Zippy Seal of Approval which, let’s face it, is completely weird coming from your ex-husband, I continued to be freaked out about this whole dating business mostly because I’m an introvert by nature and meeting new people is not well within my comfort zone. As I tell my kids, I like people, but not that much. However, in order to get to know a person, you actually have to let them get to know you. So over the course of the next month, I did my best to share careful slivers of my life with For Sale or Lease. We messaged one another a dozen times, texted frequently, and also talked on the phone. We bantered easily, we had similar interests, and I gradually started to open up a little bit about myself. Like how I was the only woman in my fantasy football league. And that in my 20s I took tap dance lessons with little success, although I really enjoyed the Shuffle Off to Buffalo step. And, most importantly, my favorite band is the Meat Puppets.
However, because both of our work schedules were busy and he had a 50/50 custody arrangement that further limited his time, we weren’t successful at scheduling anything in advance. One night he asked me out on the fly but I wasn’t feeling well and I had to take a pass. OK, truth be told, I could have mustered up the effort but I was still uncomfortable about meeting a complete stranger even if he wasn’t quite a complete stranger since I’d apparently met him years before.
A week later, within days after the 2016 presidential election, he sent me a text explaining that he had suddenly moved and that his life had become “quite complicated” although he wanted me to know that “you certainly sound like somebody that I/we could connect to.” I still wonder about his knotty circumstances. And who “we” was. And if he’d signed on with the CIA again. Whatever the case, I experienced my first dating fail. Count this one as Dead End #1.
When I told one of my single friends what happened, she said, “Oh honey, six texts total between you and a date or nothing.” Lesson learned.
So when a man I’ll refer to as Precious Metals–he was in the gold and silver business–reached out to me, I didn’t hesitate to quickly arrange a coffee with him. He was very tall–around 6’4″–and 59 years old, which was at least 10 years older than his photos were and his stamina was about 20 years beyond that. Precious Metals yawned throughout our time together at a hotel restaurant that I selected because it was a block away from my office and my co-workers and I often went to the restaurant for lunch. I knew most of the staff and that gave me a modicum of comfort in case Precious Metals was a very tired serial killer. I’d also made an arrangement with Zippy to text him periodically and keep him apprised of my whereabouts.
Precious Metals was nice but our conversation was awkward and strained because, well, we just didn’t connect. But I learned that he played tennis, liked coffee, and was something of a glass-full guy. For instance, about online dating, his view was much more positive than mine. He told me, “I see all those people on the site and it gives me hope that I’ll click with one of them.” I wasn’t one of them.
In the parking lot after our coffee, he bent over and hugged me, which I was not expecting. “Ohhh,” I gasped as I knocked his nose with my head and stiffly patted his shoulder blades.
“You have a lot of energy,” he told me. This was not a quality that he was looking for.
Before driving home, I texted Zippy, “And therein we have Dead End #2.”
A week later, a handsome engineer asked me out for drinks at a bar near Zippy’s house. Again, I kept Zippy in the text loop so that if I went missing, at least there was a digital trail that would point toward the source of my demise. Permit me to introduce you to Sir Dates-A-Lot who started nearly every story with, “That reminds me of a girl I went out with in (insert name of major city) … ” He had never married so he had 30+ years of dating history. Sir Dates-A-Lot was athletic, smart, and not at all interested in me from the get-go. At first glance, he looked me square in the chest. There’s just not much there there so, consequently, there would be no, “That reminds me of a girl I went out with in Phoenix … ” We had a pleasant and blessedly brief time together that included Cobb salads, beer, and a discussion about pet therapy turkeys. Afterwards, in my car, I texted Zippy an update. For those keeping track at home: Dead End #3.
Next time: Part Six–I’ll Drink Your Milkshake but I Will Not Count Your Beers