When I moved to Phoenix in 2003, I didn’t know anyone. Not a single person. I also didn’t have a place to live or a job, but thankfully I did have some money in savings, so those two things kinda took care of themselves. Creating a new circle of friends was a huge challenge, though. The first job I landed was as a traveling trainer; I flew to cities all over the U.S. to train loan officers and processors on the new software that was being implemented for a large mortgage company. This meant that sometimes I would only be in Phoenix for 20-48 hours total before I had to fly out again – long enough to do laundry and repack. I also didn’t know my way around Phoenix at all – this was long before cell phones were able to navigate and navigational systems were hugely expensive. I thought the perfect way to juggle all of this was to go on dates.
My reasoning was this: 1) I could meet a lot of people; 2) It would force me to learn the city; 3) I wouldn’t have to buy groceries that might spoil while I’m on the road. I used LavaLife to shop for men and make plans for when I’d be back in Phoenix. I booked breakfast, lunch and dinner dates. Occasionally – rarely – some of them got second dates.
One that did was Don Juan. He was a slick Mexican guy with a BMW, and turned out to be my introduction into the world of “Netflix and chill” before it was a thing. He was soft-spoken and had the appearance of a teddy bear. Make no mistake, though – he was dirty, dirty, dirty. But it got a little old being FWB, because I wanted to get out and actually do stuff in my new city. One of the few nights we were out I was driving and flashed my lights at a driver who forgot to turn his lights on, and Don Juan yelled at me, saying “Guera (pronounced “wetta”), don’t flash your lights! Are you trying to get us killed?? That’s a gang signal!” Most of the areas in Phoenix cleaned up a lot by the time I moved there, so I didn’t immediately see why he was so freaked out. However, from that point forward, I could always hear his voice in the back of my head when I reached for my lights to flash them at another unaware driver.
Another was Earl. I had a soft spot for Earl because he was a ginger, he had a deep voice and a sarcastic sense of humor. We only went out a few times because he was another one who told me I must be a big whore because I went on lots of dates. I get a little bucky when I am accused of something like that – what’s wrong with going on dates? I didn’t even hug most of them, much less share my bed. However, I did file away his occupation in my memory bank, because a year later I got him to make a job offer to a friend.
There was one week that I had three dates with three different guys from Minnesota. The first one was a hockey player from Minnesota. You’d think that we would have a lot to talk about because of some common interests…but NO. He was not a big talker. We found out on the date that we actually had a mutual acquaintance in Phoenix, but that conversation didn’t go far either. He asked how I knew her, I asked how he knew her, and that was that. He had pretty hair and pretty eyes, and I’m thinking he was used to skating by on his looks. Ha ha – SKATING! I didn’t even mean to make that funny.
The second guy from Minnesota invited me over to his place for dinner. However, dinner was really just “Netflix and chill” while his black lab threw himself enthusiastically into the pool in the back yard over and over. (His neighbor thought that HE was doing belly flops into the pool.) There was no dinner in the deal.
The third guy from Minnesota met up with me for a date that Saturday night. This one was a good one. We met in August of 2004. He was tall, handsome, had a deep voice and was very, very calm. We entered into an arrangement where we would meet up for a dinner on a Saturday night whenever we were both home (he traveled a lot for work too), so he became Mr. Saturday Night. Though it was not a traditional love match, we kept in touch for years and would meet up every once in a while because we were so comfortable with each other. Oh, and we dearly loved to laugh! We would laugh for hours. He told me that I would always have a special place in his heart, and I told him the same. I took him to an event without knowing it would be the last time I would see him, because if I had, I would have wished him well. Mr. Saturday Night decided to let go of his past relationship with an emotionally abusive alcoholic and open himself up again to finding love. There was no space for me because I was the transitional person. I will always be grateful to him for being accepting of me, twisted wigs and twisted humor and all, especially since I have encountered so many men who have not been able to live with what was hiding under the prosthetic. I know that he was successful in finding his match because he sent me a note on Facebook telling me he was taking her to Minnesota to meet his family; I took it to mean that he was closing the door forever.
I learned many things on these 100 dates:
- There are a lot of McRoads in Phoenix: McKellips, McClintock, McDowell, etc. Makes it difficult to navigate with only a paper, accordioned map.
- Being nervous adds no value. After going through so many first dates, it’s really tough to make me get stage fright.
- People from California tend to not be reliable because they make plans and break them if something better comes along or they are very late. Be prepared to hear about how great California is repeatedly.
- Internet dating is still blind dating. No one has screened the other person for you, though – you are on your own in that department. I’m not even certain that all of them were unmarried at that time even if they claimed it to be true.
- Guys who say over and over again that they are nice guys and complain about not getting any dates is a red flag; usually the guys that claim this don’t actually like women, but rather just see us as these things that can service them.
- “Netflix and chill” is appropriate after, say, four months together, but not four minutes or four hours. I still wanna go on real dates.