Bachelors #1, Bachelor #2, Bachelor #…Whoops

RomanceThe Spin Cycle this week is about dating.  My dating days are far behind me, thank goodness.  However, I’ve done my share of it, and I’ve written about it.  In fact, I can’t think of anything else to say about the subject top that post, so I hope all of my long-time readers will forgive me if I re-post my little ditty on the trials and tribulations joys of internet dating.

In 1997, after my relationship with The Young One’s father limped to an end and we did the “let’s be friends” thing (which we have, quite successfully) I decided after nearly 16 years of long-term, exclusive relationships it was time for me to play the field a bit.  Unfortunately, it had been so long since I’d actually dated I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it.  Hanging out in bars wasn’t going to cut it – I’d had my fill of that in the year before I married the first time – and there was the fact I had three kids at home and worked full-time.  I was pretty sure I could make time for dates on Friday or Saturday nights, I was just worried about how to meet people to date.

Oddly enough, it was The Young One’s father who came to the rescue.  Just as anxious to get on with his life and a bit more computer savvy (at least when it came to the opposite sex, but then again, he’s a man), he’d already dipped his toes into the waters of internet dating and found them to be just fine.  So, I asked a few questions, which he answered, and before I knew it I was back on the meat market.

Now, you’ve got to understand this was over 10 years ago – Match.com was in it’s infancy (in fact, it was free in those days and yes, I had a profile – I even met a pretty nice guy through the site) and eHarmony hadn’t even been conceived.  Most people put ads on various online bulletin boards, and that’s how I started.  You also have to realize that Google was very, very new (and therefore not the powerhouse it is now), search engines were far more numerous (and far more inaccurate), and you couldn’t just do a search for something like “rules of internet dating” and find 4 million websites dealing with how to safely meet and date people online.  It was pretty much a “learn as you go” process and brother, did I go and learn.  Very quickly.

But all of that is for another post.  For now, I’ll just tell you about My Four Most Memorable Internet Dates.  Because honey, I’ll never EVER forget them.

#1 – Cyrano de Bergerac I think out of all my internet dates, this one was the most disappointing.  I exchanged emails with Cyrano for over two weeks before we decided to meet for dinner. I was so excited to meet him – our email exchanges had been marvelous.  He was intelligent.  He was eloquent.  He was sensitive.  He was charming.  He was very, very witty.

He was a goddamn fraud.

We met for dinner at a restaurant halfway between his place and my apartment; good neutral ground. Okay, so he never told me about his Popeye-esque forearms, but that didn’t bother me in the least – I’m sure I’d downplayed the size of my ass.  But we sat down to order and…he said nothing.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Bupkis.  I dealt every conversational gambit I had in my hand, and was met with monosyllables followed by eerie silence.  I’ve never sat through a meal that dragged on the way that one did.

And at the end, he paid the check, looked me dead in they eye and said, “So, do you want to go back to my place?”

Uh…no.  I went home.  I never emailed him again, and he never emailed me again.  I don’t know about him, but I wasn’t sorry in the least.

#2 – The Stock Broker He was a little pompous and self-important to begin with, but we really had a lot of common interests.  I enjoyed our correspondence.  And, I have to admit, after 16 years of what couldn’t quite be described as penury (but wasn’t far from it), I was not going to turn down a date with a real, live stock broker.  With whom I apparently had a lot in common.

We decided to meet at an “English pub” not too far from my workplace because I’d recently become enamored with Black Velvets – like a Black and Tan, only with hard pear cider instead of Harp’s lager – and because he wanted to see if their Shepherd’s Pie was “authentic.”  *sigh*  Yeah, I should have realized then, but I’m nothing if not optimistic.

We’d no sooner sat down and ordered dinner when he apparently decided we’d dispensed with enough pleasantries, thank you very much, and began to plan, in great detail, our next date – which included sex.  And more sex.  And nothing but sex.  When I asked him, “Don’t you think we should get to know each other a little better before we discuss that?” he looked me dead in the eye and replied, “We’ve already gotten all of that out of the way.”

I did NOT wait for my beef and Yorkshire pudding.  I don’t care how authentic it was.

#3 – Hair Club for Men This date is memorable for so many reasons.  Our email exchanges had gone pretty well – ten or twelve years older than me (or so I thought), he was suave, sophisticated and experienced.  While we didn’t share the immediate chemistry I’d felt with Cyrano, our correspondence was such that I believed we might be able to develop something more than just friendship, and his maturity intrigued me, especially since I was older than both The Ex and The Young One’s father.

I’m afraid I embarrassed myself a tad when we met for lunch, because although he was waiting for me at the hostess’ station of the restaurant, in plain view, I kept looking around.  You see, he was at least twenty years older and 50 pounds heavier than the picture he’d provided.  And he had something that resembled a dead wombat on his head – it took me a few minutes to realize it was a toupeé.  I must have recovered really well, though, because he was every bit as charming as I’d anticipated as we sat down to lunch and I really enjoyed myself.  I was quite willing to meet him for another date when he suggested it.

Until the check came, at which point he looked me dead in the eye and asked me if I minded going dutch, because his wife controlled their expenses and he didn’t want her to see anything suspicious.

Back to the drawing board.

#4 The Really Creepy Old Perv There’s just no other way to describe this guy.  Nothing he told me about himself was true – not his age, not his looks, not his marital status, not his motive.  Nothing.  I went to the restaurant to meet him – mercifully at lunch, so I had my job as an excuse to flee the premises as quickly as possible – only to find a man in his early seventies rather than his mid-forties.  Nor was he interested in maintaining any sort of pretense once he had me at the table with him.  He was very straight-forward, I have to give him that.

It was the only thing he was getting.

Because he looked me dead in the eye and announced he and a very close friend (who was the same age) were interested in the occasional-yet-regular threesome with a young, attractive woman.  They were prepared to pay handsomely.  I was prepared to run like my life depended upon it.

And I did.

I don’t want you to get me wrong – I had a blast during the 18 months I dated via the internet and met a couple of really great guys.  Most people out there are just who they say they are – perfectly normal individuals with varied interests and lifestyles.  I really believe you can meet the person of your dreams that way.

I also know I’m not the only person out there with blind date horror stories.  What’s yours?

The Chemist

ChemistryI knew my bloggy friends weren’t going to let me off the hook when I posted seven things about me last week, and I wasn’t disappointed.

So here’s the story.

I’ve written before about some of my more horrifying interesting experiences with internet dating.  Re-reading it (which was fun, actually) I see I did mention that I met a couple of nice guys.  The Chemist was one of them.

The Chemist was very cute, very sweet, very smart and very, very naïve.  Not only did he have PhD in chemistry, his first degree was in Byzantine History.  That tickled me to no end – it still does.  It was just so…arcane.  A couple of years younger than me, he’d never been married or had children; indeed, he’d spent his entire adult life in the hallowed halls of higher learning ivory towers universities.  Don’t get me wrong – I have the utmost respect for anyone with a college education, especially a PhD, but he was 33 years old when I met him and had never done anything but go to school.

When we met via the infant Match.com, he’d only completed his doctorate the year before and had accepted a research position at OU in Norman, Oklahoma, about a 4-hour drive from my Dallas residence.  Moving to the heart of the Bible Belt (from Canada) was an interesting experience for him, because he was a rampant liberal…a fact that probably doomed the whole thing from the get-go; I don’t think he could quite reconcile his liking for me with the fact many of my family are members of the NRA and they all vote Republican (hey, don’t judge – I’m from Texas, after all).  And while my politics as well as my stance on the Second Amendment have changed somewhat over the last 15 years, that wasn’t the only thing that kept the relationship from being something more serious.  We were just too different.

Anyhoo, we dated for five months.  On the weekends the kids were with their father, I drove up to Norman to see him; on the weekends the kids were with me, he drove down to Dallas to visit with us.   It was during one of those trips to Norman – the weekend of the Texas-OU game, as a matter of fact – that we found ourselves in the deserted chemistry lab at the university, checking up on an experiment he was in the midst of.

Let’s just say that experiment wasn’t the only chemistry going on.

He did not have an ulterior motive in taking me to the lab – I initiated it.  He was extremely cautious by nature and would never have thought of it.  We didn’t date much longer after that, although I don’t think our little adventure in the workplace had anything to do with it.  I think it was more that my situation frightened him; I was, after all, a divorced mother of three (and a struggling one, at that).  Nor could I have any more children; I’d had a tubal when The Young One was born.  I think, too, that if he had decided to take the step to make our relationship a serious, committed one that I would have probably gone along with it – like a lot of single mothers, I worried about finding the right man to bring into the lives of my kids, and The Chemist was a genuinely nice guy who would have taken his responsibilities as a step-father very seriously.  Looking back, I realize he took everything very seriously and we’d probably have killed each other if we’d try to make a go of it.  I just can’t take life that seriously – I can’t take anything very seriously.

So when he stopped calling and emailing (we spoke on the phone and emailed every day for the five or so months we were involved) it didn’t take me long to see the writing on the wall.  It was upsetting, sure, but it was more the manner in which he handled it that bothered me; it was such a cowardly thing to do.  What was wrong with saying, to my face, “I really, really like you but I don’t want a ready-made family”?  It would have been perfectly reasonable, and I’d have accepted it.  Surely, after five months, he could see I wasn’t a drama queen and would have let him go with a hug and a “good luck – I’m so glad I got to know you.”  Because that’s what would have happened.

I don’t believe in fate or karma or destiny, but things like this usually happen for the best – or at least they seem to.  After The Chemist, I decided to give up dating and pretty much give up on men in general.  And that was my frame of mind, just a few months later, when I met Beloved.

The rest, as they say, is history.