A date. Is it a meeting for a drink? Dinner? A Movie? Perhaps. But my new policy is to have a Prate before the date. What is a Prate you might ask? It is a pre-date. An pre-interview. A test drive. I am becoming too bitter and cynical in my dating life to risk another let down. So in order to avoid this, I have determined that a prate is my first line of defense. It isn't enough to to just exchange emails anymore with a potential date. No, now they must talk to me on the phone before I set a date to meet them in person. I will not risk becoming so cynical that I barricade myself in the house, collect newspapers and cats and end up the star of a hoarding reality show. Preventive measures will protect my fragile psyche from delving deeper into despair.
First line of defense - a phone call. You can learn a lot by just a brief phone call. Sadly, my prate this time was not brief. But I did learn a lot.
Mike had winked at me on Match.com. Normally I would ignore this incredibly passive way of saying 'Hey, I am sort of interested in you but am either too wussy or too lazy to actually send you an email'. But Mike looked sort of nice in his photo. I perused his profile. He is from my home state of Delaware and still lives there. He has traveled a lot, has kids and seems normal enough. I decide to email him. I fill my email with some inane chit chat. He responds almost immediately and very enthusiastically. In his first email to me, he suggest we get together and gives me his phone number. He asks me to call that evening. He is REALLY enthusiastic. I am already feeling the little red flags go up. I tell him he'll have to wait to speak to me.
So a night later I call Mike. But not before getting a total of four more emails from him. Four more! What the hell is wrong with this man? Now of course, if this was a guy I really liked, four more emails would be adorable and completely acceptable. But from a match.com stranger this obsessive emailing is just plain creepy. But yet I prate. I call Mike. He is SO happy I called. He tells me so several times in the first five minutes. I can't get a word in. And what is that I am hearing? That noise that is hurting my ears. Oh.....the Delaware accent. The sound of it is hurting my ears. Can I listen to that in person? Can I listen to that for the rest of this phone call? Yes, I will move past that and listen. And listen I do.
Mike tells me how great it is that we have so much in common. Besides both of us being from the First State, I am not sure what he is talking about. Well, he informs me we both like to read and we both like DisneyWorld. Wow, you are right Mike, those two things are so unique that it is lucky we found each other. Mike asks me a series of questions about my separation. So, although I really don't care, I feel obligated to ask about his. Big mistake. Mike's wife cheated on him and left him for that man. But according to Mike he is TOTALLY ok emotionally. He is ready to move on. He is ready to find love. He is sounding a wee bit desperate I ask him how long he has been separated. Two months he says. Two months? But he assures me is totally over the hurt, pain, humiliation and shame that he felt when he found out his wife was cheating. He is really past the fact that during their marriage counseling, he discovered that his wife had hired a divorce attorney. He is emotionally ready to move on. My desperation to get off the call is palpable.
Red flags waving, I mention that I have to get off the phone. But before I do, Mike wants to know if we can set up a date this week and next week. Yes, Mike why not set up two dates before we even meet? I politely decline. I want to tell Mike that perhaps dating is not where he should be now. I want to give him the name of a good therapist. I want to get off the phone. But there is Mike on the other end telling me how much he thinks we connected and how emotionally stable he is. I tell Mike is was a pleasure talking with him and good night.
The Prate worked. I will not go out with Mike. I will not risk his stalking. I will not be his therapist. But I will prate some more. Dating in your pajamas on the couch while playing scrabble on my computer....how much better does it get? But seriously, I would like to go out on a normal date. But in order to keep me sane prating may have to be my dating for a while. And I will do it with vigor because after all I am 43 and single.