Part Seven–Hello 2017 and a Clean Dating Slate–Wait, Never Mind–It’s the Same Old, Same Old
I generally dated one man at a time because, for one, it’s not like I had suitors lined up around the block and, for two, I didn’t have a lot of extra time and energy. I was coming off a running injury that had sidelined me for 15 months and, when I wasn’t working, I was training for a series of races. Also, I’m really happy sitting at home and watching Netflix with my dog.
But at the beginning of the new year, I hit a bonanza when I was in communication with multiple men who had like first names: two Steves, two Jeffs, a John and a Jon, and two Jims. Recently I read that some daters use Word documents and Excel spreadsheets to compile contact information, profile pictures, stock responses and rejections, as well as topics of conversation. I had no such system to keep track of the same-named other than I differentiated them in my phone contacts list in the following way: Original Match.com Steve and Other Match.com Steve. Uh yeah, so it’s doubtful that my method will be adopted as the online dating version of the Dewey Decimal System because there are a few obvious flaws, namely the need to rely on memory to remember which Steve had contacted me first. Who knows? Not me.
Nevertheless, my first date of 2017 was with one of the Steves, a lighting engineer who I’ll dub Mr. Didn’t Light Up My Life. We arranged to meet for coffee. I arrived first and soon learned that I had inadvertently given him the wrong address. He called me from the parking lot of an office building on 7th Street to get the correct location of the coffee house on 7th Avenue. I apologized profusely. He sounded annoyed. I felt badly but hey, at least my mistake was between the 7s, two streets that are just one mile and about three minutes apart, and not 70th Street and 70th Avenue, which are separated by 17 long miles.
After the call, I sat outside on the coffee house patio and looked hard at every man who walked by, trying to determine if that guy or this guy was Mr. Didn’t Light Up My Life. On prior dates I sometimes had moments of uncertainty about whether or not a man who walked into a restaurant was indeed the man who I was supposed to meet because profile photos and real life don’t necessarily line up. But when Mr. Didn’t Light Up My Life arrived, he looked exactly the same on his page as he did in reality. It appeared that he was even wearing the identical clothes, including the black leather jacket and Doc Martens. He was yet another tall man, on the slim side, and sported a fair amount of tattoos that peeked above his shirt collar and below his jacket cuffs. In our initial messaging, he’d been impressed that I recognized celebrity tattoo artist Oliver Peck standing next to Mr. Didn’t Light Up My Life in one of his Match.com profile photos. Shout out to all the single people who watch Ink Master on Friday nights!
We went inside to order. Before our coffees were even handed to us, Mr. Didn’t Light Up My Life launched into tales about his world travels, raucous childhood, work, and his kids. In fact, for the entire date, he talked and talked and talked and talked. On several occasions he even stood up and pantomimed sections of his stories, his long arms in perpetual motion for emphasis. He looked a bit like a steampunk pterodactyl. His regaling went on for almost three hours. He was nice enough and he was entertaining for sure but I don’t recall him asking a single question of me. The date felt less like a chance to get to know one another and more like an opportunity for him to test out his stand up material on a captive audience of 1.5. That’d be me and an old, overweight, laboriously breathing pug that was laying underneath a nearby table on the coffee house patio.
Finally, after he wrapped up a trifecta of stories about visiting his mom’s family in Scotland, during which he drank so much Scotch whisky that all the tales ended up with him passing out, he said that he needed to go home and work on a school project with his son. He walked me to my car and we exchanged an awkward hug, his shoulder knocking my eyeglasses catawampus. Until I’d started dating again, I hadn’t realized how many ways a hug could go wrong.
“Let’s get together again,” he told me.
“Sure,” I said.
But a few days later, after several message exchanges, he sent word that while he enjoyed meeting me, there clearly wasn’t a spark between us. Apparently it took nearly three hours of our time and a couple more days for him to figure out that he was Dead End #5 for me.
Next Time: Part Eight–I’ll Admit It: I’ve Had Karma Coming from Way Back