The 42 Year Old

Forty-two is a little out of my usual dating range, but he seemed like my type.  This was my first date from an online service.  He drove 2.5 hours to have lunch with me.  I wasn’t sure if that was normal.  We met at an Indian Restaurant.  It was cozy, quiet and the lighting was dim.  We had talked music over the phone.  Music was his main interest.

In person, we did not talk music. 

He said I looked just like my picture and asked if I thought he did too.  I said, “Yeah, I guess.”  But, he didn’t.  The pictures were taken when he was tan and happy with himself.  An industrial engineer was his profession, but he was working on his family’s small business of renting summer cabins in nowheresville. 

He wanted to know what I was looking for?

“Nothing. I’m not looking for anything.”  Hearing the words out of my mouth even surprised myself. 

I wasn’t looking for anything, not anything specific.  I was seeing what the world had to offer me.  There are many possible outcomes for my life, various life styles to be enjoyed.  Unhappiness comes from wanting your life different.  I already had happiness:  things are what they are. 

He wanted a companion but nothing serious now because he wasn’t sure if he wanted kids anymore.  He was married once, he wanted to find that again. 

He married in his 20s and divorced in his early 30s.  Divorced because she cheated on him with one of their close friends.  The tale was told with a practiced pout that surely wins record amounts of sympathy with other women.  He continued: it wasn’t all her fault; he had made mistakes in the relationship too (blame yourself – check).

I said, “I bet you’ve had to tell that story a lot.”

I felt guilty he had driven so far.  But, he didn’t mind the drive.  It was about the same as the two hours he drove yesterday to meet a friend, which I suspect wasn’t a friend.  I paid for lunch and took him to a historical/art museum. 

As I handed my debit card to the waiter, The 42 Year Old said, “This has never happened before.”  How sad.  I imagine he has traveled thousands of miles meeting women, searching, telling his heavy-hearted story.  It’s a shame we can’t wipe the slate clean – make a fresh start.

We walked around the antiques, paintings and sculptures.  He kept intentionally bumping into me, but I didn’t find it charming since he was 6 foot 3. I dodged a kiss when we said good-bye.  He got me on the cheek instead of the lips. 

The 42 Year Old removed his profile shortly after.  It makes me wonder what I’m really looking for on a dating site, Facebook or a blog.  Am I searching for real connections? Or, am I just here to share my melancholy stories with strangers?

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The Christian Handyman

It’s a Monday night and I’m having a beer at one of my regular spots.  I’m with two friends (a couple) and we are at ease together.  It is just after the holidays on a snowy January evening.  I’m wearing a yellow scarf.  My friends tease me that a guy is watching me.  I didn’t even look.

As we are leaving, a hand touches my elbow in the doorway.  It was him.  Wearing a clean white T-shirt, jeans and work boots he looked lean and mature, with healthy glow.  He just finished a home repair job and he had not been home yet.  “I saw you and I couldn’t let you walk out of here without talking to you first.”  I gave him my number and agreed to go out with him. 

He called the next day.

We made plans to meet when he got off work, for coffee.  I was looking forward to it.  Besides, I own an old home and a handyman could come in, well…handy. 

He showed up early.  He was waiting for me.

We ordered fancy coffee drinks and took a seat.   Five feet from our table was a woman reading a book, correction, pretending to read a book.  There were 3 of us on this coffee date. 

He starts, “So, how old are you?”

        I’m 32.

“Wow, I’m surprised, I thought you were younger than that.” (Strike one)

        He was 36.

“So, have you ever been married? “

        I glanced at the woman pretending to read, her eyes were frozen in one spot on the page.

        No.

“Have you ever been divorced?”

        I noticed on his wrist a big leather band with a silver cross.

        No.

“Do you feel pressure to get married, it seems like everyone our age is married.”

        Geeze, you sound like my mom.

“Your parents want you to get married too?  Mine bother me all the time about grand kids.”

        I was just kidding, my parents are cool; they never bother me about it.

“Are you dating anyone else?”

        No.

“Really?!  I’m surprised someone as pretty as you is single. You’re not seeing anyone? Even casually?”  (He glances at me skeptically)

        Nope.  (Strike 2)

“Where do you go to church?”

        I don’t attend regularly.

“That’s OK.”

He wanted to cook for me at his house, so I agreed to a second date.  He sent me a text:  Date on Saturday or Sunday evening?  I replied, “Saturday is best for me.”  But, he insists on Sunday because his favorite talk radio show is Sunday night.  He never misses it.  He wants us to listen while he cooks me dinner.  I cannot think of anything, anything more boring than talk radio.  I told him I couldn’t possibly meet on Sunday. (talk radio-Strike 3).

The next phone call from him was odd and short.  He had met a friend of mine while hiking alone.  He wanted to know if I had talked to my friend since then.  I had not.  I, of course, contacted my friend shortly after. 

Maybe wolves don’t wear sheep’s clothes like the fairy tales had warned us; maybe they wear clean white T-shirts.

It turned out The Christian Handyman had been hiking in the woods with his girlfriend.

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The OCD Guy

I sorted through 1000 online profiles and I found The OCD Guy.  The first email from him was interesting and seemed like he wrote it just for me.  I emailed back.  The second email was a cut-and-paste of his first.  Evidently, he had written that email for me and every other woman on the web.  As evidence of my lack of judgment, I emailed him again.  He invited me to have a “torrid summer romance” with him.  I look up the word torrid, it means:  hot, uncomfortable and full of difficulty (not a pretty picture).  I told him I would have to meet him before a decision could be made.  I had to see if I liked his mojo.

He was a prolific emailer and in email #23 he mentioned he was out-of-town, in Rhode Island.  I responded with a joke:  “ I didn’t know people actually went to Rhode Island.  Are you there for work?”  He informs me, “Not work…I have OCD and I fly to Rhode Island to see a specialist.”  He’s had OCD since he was just a few years old and he stated it interferes with his life.  I immediately start researching OCD on the Internet.  I begin hoping he is not a hoarder. 

The emails continue.  He asked me to send him a naked picture of myself.  I declined.  I found this mildly offensive but I like that in a man.  I ask him if he wants to meet for dinner.  The day of our date, he cancels.  He insists it is a work emergency, a video shoot that had to have a nighttime street scene in the background.  He pleads my forgiveness and insists he will do whatever it takes to make it up to me.  Rescheduling proves difficult because he doesn’t have a cell phone. 

At the start of what I can tell will be a lengthy IM; I suggest we talk on the phone instead.  He calls.  It turns out he doesn’t keep a cell because they can’t be laundered.  His particular brand of OCD concerns the cleanliness of his person.  On the plus side, he keeps a very neat home.  But, he also has trouble with public restrooms (who doesn’t) and restaurants.  So I ask, “You can’t eat at a restaurant but you can have sex with someone?”  This is correct and that is exactly what he’s looking for. 

He wants someone who is:

            His best friend

            Monogamous

            Available to him often for sex

            She can date other people

            She has to tell him if she makes-out with someone

            She has to warn him ahead of time of plans to have sex with someone else

            She has to want a casual relationship

My response, “You want a woman to do ALL that and you plan to offer NOTHING in return?”

He admitted, “Yes, it does seem a little unfair, but some women are looking for that.” 

I’m thinking, “Who? Who is looking for that?”

He changed the topic of conversation back to the naked photo text.

 As we got off the phone, he said, “You have given me a lot of thinking to do.”

After that, I didn’t try to reschedule again. 

But I wonder, is this just Natural Selection at work?  Are his particular genetic characteristics keeping him single for a reason.  And if so, how did I end up in this band of misfits?  Perhaps, my own personal habits and list of “wants” are just as unreasonable and inflexible as that of The OCD Guy.

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The Former Co-worker

My work place is like many, where being single is treated like an unfortunate happenstance.  When you are first employed somewhere, the married women (like a team) start racking their brains for all the single men they can think of to fix you up with.  I found myself in this situation a few years ago.  They pinned my hopes on a single man in the building.  The team had a strategy to drop hints to us about the other.  We were both fooled into thinking the other was crazy for us.  Before we knew it, our first date was scheduled. 

We made plans for dinner over the phone.  He said in a very gracious, manly way “You can pick anyplace.  What is your favorite place?”  I suggested sushi – it is my favorite.  His voice lost enthusiasm, “I didn’t think you were going to say that.”  I offered to pick another place, but he insisted, he had, after all, told me to pick anyplace

We arrived at the restaurant.  He was cute, kind of nerdy and from a small town.  He found some chicken on the menu to order.  Everybody likes the teriyaki chicken.  I ordered a sushi roll – the rainbow roll.  I started asking him how he knew he didn’t like sushi, if he’d never tried it.  I pressed on, offering him a piece.  I didn’t let it go.  This was a bad move on a first date.  You see, on a first date we all want to seem easy-going and not as a person who’s riddled with irrational fear.  He agreed to try it. 

It was a big piece of rainbow roll. He began chewing.  His head cocked to the side and he kept chewing.  A grimace.  Still chewing. Attempts to swallow.  A tear rolled down his left cheek.  More swallowing.  When done, he exhaled like he had just survived a close call.

“How was it?” I asked. 

Very convincingly, he said, “Not that bad.” 

“Really?  I saw a tear”, with my finger, I traced an imaginary tear down my cheek. 

“Oh, you saw that?”

“Yeah.”  I said.

We talked on the phone about making another dinner date.  He left me a darling “thinking of you” card with kittens drinking a bowl of milk on the cover.  I was optimistic.  Perhaps, I could learn to adapt to a chicken and potatoes lifestyle.  Perhaps, I could stop encouraging him to try new things.  Perhaps, it was my imagination and I hadn’t actually made him cry on our first date. 

But, there was something about his dislike for sushi before giving it a try, it didn’t sit well with me.  And, there was also that tear…

The Former Co-worker and I slipped apart in a way that was almost unnoticeable, effortless.

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The Canadian

Another gem from the online treasure trove.  The warning signs were there from the start.  He canceled our first coffee date at 2am Sunday, the day of our first meeting.  His reason:  he went out with a girl on Saturday night that he liked and “…he couldn’t have two things happening at once.”  I replied, “No worries and no hard feelings”.  I was rather pleased with myself for being so mature. 

 He contacted me almost two weeks later via Facebook.  The romance had fizzled with his other.  I agreed to meet for coffee.  My first impression: shorter than anticipated and a big nose.  It always amazes me how photos are so inaccurate.  They can distort time (some people look older, younger), height, weight and amount of friends or hair.  But, regardless of appearances, the conversation flowed easily.  Coffee turned into beer, beers turned into pizza.  I enjoyed his zest for family and hockey.  The possibilities were endless.

He had a funny conversation pattern that really confused me:  interjecting odd, off-topic comments.  I would mention working on my yard and he would say, “At least you weren’t ripping tiles off your roof.”  What?  I inquired if he had done that, his response, “No, thank goodness.” 

Over the next month, we saw each other on the weekends.  He met some of my friends and he was beginning to grow on me.  But, something else was beginning to grow too.  He was growing a beard.  No, not a beard, he already had a scruff on his face. Only one patch of hair, just below his bottom lip was getting longer by the weeks.  I think it’s called a soul patch?  After several weeks, a few, long, reddish tinged hairs were sticking almost straight out – reaching for me. 

 After dinner and cocktails at my house, we found ourselves saying “good-byes” at the front door.  He put his arm around my waist and pulled me close to him.  He leaned in and kissed me.  The hairs of his soul patch went right into my mouth!  I tried to ignore them but my lips were frozen.  He stepped back and looked at me.  I said, “That was really awkward.” 

After a few text messages, The Canadian and I parted ways.

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The Twilight Fanatic

This most recent dating debacle was what prompted two separate friends to speak the words, “You should start a blog”.  The debacle ended abruptly about 3 days ago.   I dated him for 4 weekends in a row – I consider that marginally successful.  On the first date, I should have known better, but hindsight is 20/20. 

Date #1

He chose a nice restaurant and told me, “You look great”.  He ordered beer and I ordered wine.  We took a long time to order the food because we were discussing our choices.  The discussion followed the usual path of  work, # of siblings, living situations, places we would like to visit and recent movies we have seen.  He asked me if I had seen the movie “Twilight” and I had not.  He said my eyes looked yellow like the good vampires.  The conversation flowed into why he liked the movie’s theme, the entire story line, and the details of the up-coming 3rd Twilight movie.  When he was 10 minutes into the story line of the first movie – I laughed in to my wine glass.  He wanted to know if I thought he was funny.  He insisted he wasn’t obsessed with the movie, he just really liked it and he was trying to show me his sensitive side. 

Date #2

Early dinner, we both had to catch up at work that night.  During the date he asked me if I had looked up his favorite band, yet.  The band is called “Muse”.  I had not.  It was a rather unmemorable meal.  I should have known then but I am forever optimistic.

Date #3

We had dinner near my house at a restaurant known for their up-scale pizza and wine.  We sat on the outdoor patio.  It was warm.  The couple next to us was eavesdropping, this made me uncomfortable, they stayed the entire time.  He brought a movie for us to watch afterwards, Twilight.  As we watched the movie, I was filled-in on the details from the book that the movie left out.  He pointed out the author in a scene, she was an extra.  I nodded-off for ten minutes during the movie.  We kissed goodnight at the door, no fireworks.

Date #4

I met him at his house.  He was watching a movie and he was in the middle of it. We watched 20 minutes of Cameron Diaz making out with some guy she just met.  He asked if I had looked up his favorite band yet.  I had not.  He muted the movie and turned the music on loud, he skipped around on the CD telling me his degree of liking for each song.  I wasn’t interested.  He said he heard about this band from an article about the woman who wrote “Twilight”.  I was interested.  He said she listened to the band as she wrote the books. We had dinner at a dive piano bar, it was very 80’s.  During the meal, I asked him how long he was going to stay in his house.  He said he was going to sell it when he met someone.  This was because the house didn’t have a bedroom downstairs and he wanted a ground floor bedroom for the baby.

We went back to his house and he wanted to watch another movie. We held hands and exchanged some little kisses.  We were watching “The Devil Wore Prada”, I had never seen it.   Finally, the “big” kiss came.  The moment before the kiss, he detached his lips from mine and it was only tongue – circling and scraping my teeth both top and bottom.  I instantly thought, “This is why he is single.”   Followed by, “How will I get the f*** out of here?”   I reflexively pulled away.  He looked at me with the most endearing eyes, put his hand on my chin, put his thumb on my upper lip and wiped away the spit.  At that moment, I died a little inside.

But, I’m forever the optimist.  So, I rationalized it as the “first big kiss awkwardness”.  Round two was more of the same.  Apparently, lips don’t need to touch and the tongue should brush against the teeth.  I’ve read articles over the years in magazines like, Glamor, that suggested ways to gently “coach” your man sexually.  I told him, “Don’t kiss so hard…I like soft kisses” in a very sweet voice.  It does not work.  Did I mention he bit my neck a little?  After all the talk about vampires, I found this rather alarming.

3 days ago

I had been too busy during the week to return his call.  It was my last week of grad classes and work was draining. I turned my last paper in on Thursday and called him back.  I knew what question was coming and I told him I was staying in this weekend.   His voice sounded tense.  The questions began:  Did I want a serious relationship? Was I seeing other people?  When was the last time I went out with someone else?  Did I plan on seeing other people?  How did I feel about him?  For all my answers, came more questions.  Not everything he was saying was making sense to me and I told him I had to go.  I spent about 30 stress relieving minutes in my flower bed and went back inside.  I had a missed call and 5 text messages, all from The Twilight Fanatic.  The first text began:  “I’m going to tell you how I feel and it is probably going to take a few texts” (geeze).  The 5th message ended with:  “…if you are interested call me, if I don’t hear from you I hope you have a nice life” (or something to that effect). 

In that last text, he gave me an “out” and I took it.  I haven’t heard from The Twilight Fanatic since.

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A typical situation…

I find myself in what I believe to be a typical situation.  I’m 32, single, homeowner, career, working on a masters degree, I have friends, healthy relationships with my family, I’m neat, fun, sociable…oh yeah, did I mention I was single? 

I’ve had boyfriends in the past but during the last two years my judgement seems to be…off. 

Sympathetic co-workers have tried to fix me up – I dated the IT guy at work for a little while.  Friends and husbands of friends have tried to fix me up.  I have met numerous single men on my own and have recently tried online dating (which is very entertaining).  So, these are my tales of many frogs.  I’ll use nick-names instead of real names, not to belittle the men, but because it would be harsh to use their real names.

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