Man Purse

This week I received my results from 23&Me; specifically they provided the raw data to me, and I opted to have another company interpret it for $5. Some things I already knew about, including my green eyes, inability to do anything except burn in the sun, and my dislike of bitter foods. The tests also confirmed I’m three times more likely than the general public to get lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma. The kicker was the gene that makes me unable to learn from my mistakes repeatedly showed up. I was like, “Hey, 23&Me, get outta my dating life!”

Back in 2006 I was using Plenty of Fish for dating. As per the usual, I was getting messages from men who did not seem to be matches at all – they were just looking for a piece of ass and they couldn’t write a complete sentence to save their lives. Then I got a message from a guy that was an entire paragraph, showcasing his correct use of punctuation and grammar.

All of the advice columns I read about internet dating now suggest that before you trade too many messages, make a date and meet each other – that way you’re not entirely emotionally invested, and there is still a lot to learn about the other person through face-to-face interaction. Well, I did not adhere to that rule at all. I replied, then he replied, then I replied, then he replied, and so on, each message getting longer and longer. Then we talked on the phone a few times, and it seemed like it was an easy flow of conversation. Then we made the date.

I was  kind of excited because he was a bit of a traveler like me, he told me he was a massage therapist, and he looked handsome in his pictures, with surfer curly hair and big blue eyes. I mean, c’mon – a massage therapist, AND tall (6’1″) AND cute? It sounded like I hit the internet dating jackpot.

I picked my favorite place, The Blue Nile, one of the only Ethiopian restaurants in the Phoenix area, now permanently shuttered. I figured it wasn’t expensive and we’d be able to eat with our hands. I was salivating at the idea that he would actually pass the exotic food test, and I was mentally picking out curtains for when we moved in together.

So I was waiting in the parking lot for a few minutes and I got a text message from him that he was running late, but he would be there in about 20 minutes. This was at a time when everyone was using a flip phone and texting took forever because we all had to use the number keypads to choose the letters we wanted, and there were no shortcuts. I told him it was okay, and to stop texting and concentrate on driving.

When he arrived, he confessed he was late because his bus was late. If you don’t already know it, no one in Phoenix rides the bus. It’s a very spread out city and no one wants to transfer four times just to get to a location. So I was quite startled to find out that he didn’t have a car. The first thing that crossed my mind was, “Great, it’s all up to me to haul him around.” His attire for the date was less than impressive. He told me that he had spent time in Hawaii, so his attire matched that story, but the Hawaiian-print shirt had a 10″ slice across the front, and he was wearing a cross-body purse that was red cloth printed with black batik flowers. It was definitely a purse and not a messenger bag.

We went in to the restaurant and started learning more about each other while waiting for the food. My style is to make jokes because I dearly like to laugh. However, every time I said something witty, instead of playing along, he would stop, stare at me intensely and ask me what I meant. Every time I joked, I would have to explain it. Do you know how NOT funny that is? Also, he admitted he wasn’t actually currently employed and had just graduated from massage therapy school, so he wanted to pick up clients just by word of mouth. Oh, and he was sleeping on someone’s couch. Oh, and when he lived in Hawaii, his chest was temporarily pierced so that he could do the body suspension until either the cords broke or his skin ripped. Oh, and he walked over hot coals. (Okay, that last bit was cool, but it wasn’t enough to cancel out the rest.) So to recap: no car, no job, no place to live, no sense of humor, a cut up shirt and a man purse.

By the time dinner ended, it felt like the longest date ever. When the server dropped the check, Man Purse stared at it and said over and over, “Gosh, I wonder what my half is?” The entire meal for the two of us was $20. I took pity on him and grabbed the tray and slapped down $25 in cash and said it was my treat. He got a hug from me in the parking lot. I didn’t even offer to give him a ride home.

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