Friday, June 29, 2012

Who are you?

Blind dates.  Back in the stone ages, before I got married, blind dates were internet dating.  Of course without the pre-date emailing and texting or the ability to pour over pictures and inane answers to ridiculous questions posted on your potential dates profile.  But blind dates were just as terrifying.  Lots of times, there was only one incredibly awkward phone call prior to setting a meeting time.  All the information given about your potential date was that he was single, nice and prefect for you. Hence the blind part of the blind date.  Invariably you and your date did not jibe and the only think you had in common was that you were both single.  But before the date happened one thing that was for certain was that your blind date knew the person who set you both up.  This means that you were sure this person existed as they were promoted.  In the world of internet dating it would seem this would be true, but the fact is that anyone can create a dating profile with whatever photos and stats they want and lure you in.  Why people would do this is still beyond me but they do and I have experienced it.

Trolling any internet dating site is a surreal experience.  I do a lot of online shopping for things such as handbags, shoes and clothing.  It is a job shopping online.  You have to imagine what the product will look like on you.  Will it flatter?  Will it fit?  Will it make you feel insecure and stupid?  The same rings true for online dating.  You peruse the site, looking at pictures, reading bios and wondering, how will this guy look on you?  Then you have to take the plunge and possibly send a message to start the buying process.  But every once in a while a purchase finds you first.  That is what happened to me this time.

I received a message for a man a few years younger than me.  It was a sexy forthright message.  He told me he wanted to know more about me and asked me to dinner.  But he lived in New York City and I do not.  I responded that I was intrigued but that I thought we had a geographical issue.  He assured me that he comes to Philadelphia a lot for work.  After a few emails we exchanged phone numbers.  We spoke on the phone.  His voice was sexy.  His personality was sexy.  He seemed strong, self assured, commanding.  I was definitely interested.  We made a plan for when he came to Philly which was the following weekend.  While the plan included a restaurant in a hotel, time was never discussed.  Because he was so smooth on the phone I did not realize this until we had hung up.  I texted him to get a time and he said he would let me know as soon as he knew what time he was getting into Philly.  Fair enough.

We continued to talk on the phone up until the the day of the date.  According to this man, we will call Robert because that is the name he gave me, he is a successful attorney who works  in Philly and NYC and owns a house on Shelter Island.  He has never been married, has no kids but wants all of that.  He is suave, sophisticated and totally engaging.  And he is interested in me.  Wait a minute.  Why is he interested in me.  I am 43, single mother who lives in the burbs and drives her kids to soccer and baseball games.  Are there no appropriate women for Robert in NYC?  But then again, it is me we are talking about.  I let that one slide.

The date day arrives.  Robert calls to say he is leaving NYC around 11am and will text when he arrives.  The day moves forward.  I stress about what I will wear, how I will do my hair etc.  Now it is 5pm and I have heard nothing from Robert.  I text him.  I hear nothing.  It is now 6pm.  I am pretty sure I have been stood up.  I am pretty sure he is not who he says he is and therefore cannot meet me.  I am pretty sure he is dead because really that is the only reason to stand someone like me up. Nothing.  7pm and I am on my second glass of wine and I finally get a text from him.  His father fell down a flight of stairs.  He is at the ER with his mother.  He will call soon.  Now I feel terrible.  All those thoughts I was thinking about him just blowing me off and here this poor man was dealing with his father's injury.  Of course I tell him not to worry.  We can reschedule.

Two days later I hear from Robert.  His father is ok.  He had a cardiac episode.  But Robert wants to reschedule.  I am game.  Sexy, sophisticated, educated and loves his family.  The complete package, right?  Robert says he will be in Philly all week on business and is staying at a very fancy hotel.  I could come by, catch a drink, dinner and see what happens.  Absolutely I say.  We pick a night.  The day of the date arrives.  He calls in the morning to make sure we are still on.  Of course we are, I think I am already in love.  But once again no time for this dinner is set.  I am starting to hear that saying in my head.  How does it go?  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, I am a complete idiot.  Something like that.  5pm  I receive a text that he is 'stuck in a meeting in KOP and will call @ 7'.  KOP.  KOP!  For those of you outside the Philadelphia metro area, KOP stands for King Of Prussia which is basically a city eclipsed by a giant mall.  But only locals call it KOP.  Who the hell is this guy?  I am pretty sure he is not from New York.  I am now pretty sure he is not an attorney. I am definitely sure he does not look as good as the pictures on his dating profile. I bet he doesn't even have a father.  And if he does have a father, I bet he lives in a ranch house.

But the question then remains.  Why?  Are there men out there who get off on talking to a woman on the phone, planning dates and then bailing on them.  Is that some weird fetish that I have yet to discover?  Men who plan dates they never intend of going on.   I text Robert back.  No thank you.  We are done before we started.  I want to ask him a series of questions but then I really don't want to know the answers, do I?  I am pretty sure I don't.

Online dating is shopping.  I love the shoes I have found on Zappos.  I purchase the shoes and much to my delight, they arrive the next day.  But then when I take them out, I am dismayed.  The color is not the same as it seemed on my computer.  The heel is far shorter that I thought it would be.  And it is far too small, squeezing the hell out of my toes and annoying me.  The same is true for online dating.  You just cannot be sure what will show up at your door.  But since I just made a return, the lure of shopping drags me back in.  I will peruse the sites, make another purchase and hope for a better fit.  After all, I am 43 and single.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chicken wings and a hug

I bit the bullet.  Again.  Why oh why do I do it?  Haven't I learned my lesson?  Going out with men I meet online never ends well and yet I keep doing it.  Why?  Well because every time I tell someone about my dating disasters they tell me that either they or someone they know met their spouse online.  I swear I must be on the wrong Internet because none of these men I have gone out with could be my next spouse.  But these success stories are what keep me going.  And so once again I find myself sitting at a bar waiting for a man I have only conversed with online.

His screen name is The Love Doctor which does not bode well.  But he is Jewish and a doctor so my mother would be happy.  He is also semi-funny in his emails which is also enticing.  He was married, has kids and seems to be employed.  My standards have dropped but he fills the minimum requirements.  I agree to meet him at a local watering hole on a Friday evening.  He works late, so it is after 9pm when we meet.  I am already tired which is not a good start.

In arrives the Love Doctor.  And I only call him that because he actually calls himself that.  He refers to himself in the third person as The Love Doctor.  Oh dear God, this is already so very awful.  He is not an M.D. but a Ph.D.,  which is fine except he is actually a couples therapist.  He is a couples therapist who is going through a divorce.  He does not seem to see the irony when I bring it up.  Sigh.  Dr. Love sits down at the bar with me and immediately orders a plate of hot wings.  Are you kidding me?

There are several kinds of foods you should not eat on a first date.  Soup is no good because of the slurping.  Caesar salad has too much garlic.  Spaghetti with red sauce can get sloppy. And chicken wings.  Hot, spicy chicken wings are a huge no no for a first date or a second date and possibly a third date.  The sauce gets everywhere, there is no graceful way to eat them, and the effect they leave on your breath does not entice a first kiss.  But clearly Dr. Love does not know these rules.

While he regales me with desperately awful stories of marriage counseling, Dr. Love consumes his wings.  I can't tear my eyes away.  He doesn't nibble or even munch.  No, Dr. Love shoves the entire wing in his mouth, slurps, sucks and grunts as he rips the meat from the wing and then with a sickening sucking noise, he pulls the cleaned off bone out of his mouth.  I nearly vomit.  Is this his form of seduction?  I have no idea what he is saying at this point because all I can hear is the gnashing and snarling as he devours the wings.  I can only see the sauce dripping down his chin.  I can't turn away.  It is horrifying and at the same time fascinating.  Thankfully there are only a dozen wings because any more and I might lose my beer that I just sucked down.  He prattles on about his tough life as a single parent.  Yeah, babe, been there, doing that.  I  need to leave.  I make it clear I am very, very done and Dr. Love pays.

We walk out of the bar.  I can smell his steamy, spicy chicken wing breath as we walk toward the parking lot.  Oh good, our cars are parked next to each other.  He leers at me.  I can see bits of spicy sauce on his teeth.  I smile and tell him that it was very nice to meet me.  He asks if I live nearby.  Oh no, Dr. Love, we are not going there.  I deflect, lean in and hug him.  He hugs me too and says sadly, 'Oh, just a hug?'  Yes Dr. Love, I don't need your medical attention.  I climb in my car and speed off.

Dr. Love wasn't a bad man.  He was an incredibly dull man who mentioned that he doesn't have time to date.  Then what the hell was he doing out with me?  Did he really think he would seduce me with his wing eating skills and then have sex with me in my car?  I think he actually did.  That was never going to happen, with or without the wings.  Poor Dr. Love, I think I will send him a note about his first date etiquette.  Or not.  I think I will instill a no food policy on first dates.  It may save me and my potential suitor a lot of heartache.  Because I will go out again.   And I will not allow food.  After all I am 43 and single.