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Valentine’s Day is 80% Off

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I’m going to do a little update on Walks with Wood (https://thesickandthedating.com/2015/06/10/hello-world/) because as I stated before, I snoop to keep track of exes. Though he and I no longer live in the same state, he did try to contact me out of the blue at the end of March of 2015 because he wanted sympathy for driving drunk without his seat belt and crashing his car (and his head in the process).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Diamond Dust Necklace (I’m assuming. He claimed he spent “a lot” on it.) WwW gave it to me on Feb. 11, 2015.

So this is their post confirming one year:

WWWandOphelia

The last time we saw each other was February 28th when he showed up late and drunk. Either Ophelia has no idea there was an overlap, or she has forgiven him because he is a project to fix. Either way she has not had it easy; he told me his friends assumed that I was ugly without even meeting me. That didn’t exactly endear them (or him) to me. Maybe they are kinder to her because she was already part of the circle.

In other news, Walgreen’s has all of their candy on deep discount. Unfortunately, just like my love life, I am being forced to clean up my diet before it maims or kills me, so no sugar, soy, gluten or dairy. Welcome to February 15th, where the chocolate is 80% off, and so are the relationships.

The Unbearable Lightness of Saying No

I wish that saying “no” to suitors was taken seriously.

I feel like I should rename the Quiz Master to Mr. Up Your Ass. (https://thesickandthedating.com/2015/10/29/whats-going-on-with-your-face/) Like clockwork, he has contacted me on all of the major holidays; I fully expect a message wishing me a happy new year even though I had to resort to telling him to knock it off when he persisted.

I don’t like resorting to being blunt or nasty, but even more than that, I hate being cornered, forced, coerced or manipulated into agreeing to something that I truly have no desire to take part in.

Many years ago, a co-worker and I were having a casual conversation about dating and attraction. He said that when it came to women, even if they were shaking their tail feathers at him, he really had to be hit over the head with a mallet for a woman to get the message through to him that she was interested in him. After being told in no uncertain terms that she desired him, it was his green light to go.

It is his voice that I hear when I say “no.” Because he said he had to be hit over the head to get the message, I no longer hesitate to pull that out of my stash of tools.

I signed up for the site datemyschool.com a year and a half ago in Phoenix while I was still getting surgeries and there was a better possibility that I could eventually resume normal activities. I had a conversation going with a guy down in Tuscon for about a month, but I got the overwhelming feeling that he would try to go back to his ex and reconcile. His profile disappeared and since it was abrupt, I’m pretty sure I called it right. I didn’t have any communications with anyone else.

A year ago I received this huge message that was obviously copied and pasted. It started with, “Hello Sweetie!!!!!….how are you today?….i just want you to know that I am soo intrest in you…” and so forth. After about the fourth sentence I stopped reading. He was going on and on and on and on about himself. There was nothing in there to indicate that he actually read about me and wanted to discuss whatever it was he thought would make us a good match.

Yesterday I received the EXACT SAME message from this guy. This is a clear red flag to me that he’s not going to be easy to communicate with because he is obsessed with telling women all about himself, and does not seem to care that he is copying and pasting and sending the message to the same people repeatedly. He also didn’t want an actual back-and-forth conversation.

Yesterday I was also interviewed for a rare disease podcast. My interviewer, Danny, asked me if I ever used my disease as an excuse not to date anyone. At the time, my answer was no. Today my answer is yes.

Here is our exchange. I was trying to be nice, to subtly send dude on his way.

Me:  Hi. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I am currently going through a health crisis and so cannot travel. I wish you luck in your quest.

Him:  hello thanks for your msg .. hope you are doing good .. well i dont have any problem .. i can travel to meet you . but i 1st want to get to know you well .. so plz let me know how you feel ok ?

Okay, so he missed the message about the fact that I’m going through some major health issues. I decided to try another tactic.

Me: Thanks for your well wishes. I don’t feel well enough to carry on a long-distance relationship. Right now I have to concentrate on doctor appointments and rest.

Him: hello hope you are doing good there ?.. yes Oregon, Roseburg is where i live now… but i enjoy travel to anywhere, so I am willing to relocate so you don’t have to worry about the distance at all… but for now i just want to get to know you well i think that’s the best start…

Nope. Ignored my reply about not wanting to carry on a long-distance relationship. Well, that and he keeps asking me if I am doing good. Um, no, Bubba Gump, there is nothing in my replies that everything is just peachy. So….

Me: I’m telling you in the nicest way possible “no.” No means no. You are putting more stress on me by ignoring what I am saying, and when I get stressed, I feel even worse. Stop now. [My blood pressure is up at this point.]

Him: ok im sorry .. thanks

In his big, long monologue that he sent to me twice, he had some line in there saying, “I am not the jealous type but I do believe in being honest and you have to earn the trust of others. I have been burned in the past so my heart is fragile, so handle with care.”

I don’t see anything in his actions that indicate he is fragile. On the contrary, he completely bulldozes my replies and continues on his merry way. This DOES ring of the jealous type too – he feels entitled (to whatever is in his circle, be it a woman or whatever), and that immediately eliminates trust. He wants attention, he wants it now, he wants it on his terms.

What happens when men don’t accept “no” as an answer? Guys like this one thrive in our community, ordered by a court to keep a distance of 10 blocks away from his target at all times and pay her restitution of $9,000. He also got a restraining order placed on him for 5 years. Seriously, what does a restraining order and parole do? They certainly don’t stop him from killing her, if he decides that’s a solution for being spurned. I don’t see anything indicating he’s been ordered to take meds or go to counseling, but he’s obviously unstable. So basically he’s been told that this behavior is not very nice, and he’s been sent on his way with a pat on his head. Now he’s sitting at home and obsessing over how he’s going to try to get around the restraining order – I mean, if she receives a severed goat’s head with no return address, she won’t really know it’s from him, right?

http://www.startribune.com/the-stalker-of-the-current-s-mary-lucia-receives-probation-and-five-year-restraining-order/363852911/

Let’s change our dialogue. Let’s stop saying that women must have done something or worn something to invite violence against them. It is not criminal just to be a woman. It’s not criminal to turn down the advances of a man.

 

A Prayer Before Dating

Today, a good friend posted a surprising quote from her Christmas Eve church service: “Lord, touch us where we need to be touched.”

Amen to that!!! I mean, that’s almost exactly, word-for-word, the prayer I say before each date. Well, okay, mine is a little more elaborate: “Lord, please let him have clean teeth, pleasant breath, an unsloppy kiss, magic hands, a great personality and recently bathed bits.”

This holiday is a bit rough. First, I’m no longer in Arizona and gathering with friends to feed ourselves silly and play games like Cards Against Humanity. They are all my “other” family. I have hosted as few as one and as many as ten friends at my house, depending on if they had already been extended an invitation or they had family in the area. I have always made sure they had presents under the tree. I try not to think about this or any aspect of my former life, because it inevitably causes tears.

There is also a gap with our sister passing in July. Her absence also brings tears. This is the first time in about 23 years that I, my other sister and our half-brother are in the same city around Christmastime, and it would have been perfect to have our oldest sister here too. We are still scattering a bit – our brother is heading back to Wisconsin to be with his girlfriend and her family for the holiday. I wonder if we will all ever be in sync; none of us has experience in how to act like siblings as adults living in the same area, and I watch friends who have mastered this skill with envy.

And of course, there is no soul mate under the tree. Santa baby, what the hell???? It’s too soon for me to be able to tell if the person I recently met is a match; we have a few strikes, including my inability to drive, our distance (50 minutes on a good day) and his recent purchase of a puppy (since I’m deathly allergic). He has a good heart, though. Right now we are enjoying each others’ company.

This is a difficult holiday for a lot of my friends who are struggling with illness, loneliness, isolation or job loss. I don’t have any words of wisdom to pass along. All we can do is get through the next week. Maybe what we have wished for this Christmas – a job paying a living wage, gatherings with friends, a loving partner – will show up, but just a little late.

Below is a picture from my house in Phoenix when I had two living rooms and decorated two Christmas trees. Again, tears. God, I loved that house and the life I made in Phoenix. But happy holidays to you, wherever you may be.

2ChristmasTrees

Hope for the Hopeless

I had a date yesterday.

We met on OKCupid. He complained that women weren’t responding to his attempts to start conversations. I complained that men were opening with sexual demands. I’ll call him Nashville, since he is from Tennessee and still has quite a pronounced twang to his speech (which I think is adorable).

First we were chatting through messages on OKCupid. Then we graduated to texting on our phones. Though I haven’t asked him, he must have wondered if I was being flaky because I didn’t start texting right away, but I was worn out from a couple of doctor appointments. Then we graduated to actually talking on the phone; the first time we talked we were on for 3.5 hours, then we got on later in the evening and chatted for another 3.5 hours. Then we made a date.

It was just supposed to be a lunch date, and really just a coffee date, no food involved. I picked a spot two blocks from my apartment. We walked from my place, and luckily I didn’t end up getting the droopy face by the time we got back to my flat. Nashville asked if I had any plans for the remainder of the day, and if not, would I like to do dinner as well? I was totally game since we seemed to be getting on so well. We got comfortable in my little shoe box flat – he on the couch and I laying flat on my bed – and we spent the afternoon watching music videos from the ’80’s. Wham!, David Bowie, Scorpions, Psychedelic Furs and Def Leppard all got heavy play.

Nashville and I bundled back up and walked two blocks to a pizza place where we had the most flavorful pie we agreed we’ve had in a long time. Then we went back to my little flat and made out for about an hour. Nashville and I had a very frank conversation about how neither one of us wanted to immediately jump into having sex because we both had a history of picking partners who were a poor match for our values and lifestyles. He also asked if he could see me with my wig off, but immediately my sphincter tightened up and I asked if we could wait for a later date (it’s like being doused with cold water from what I understand, seeing me like that). I wanted to hang onto some of the attraction in case Nashville decided he couldn’t handle my baldness after all because I don’t want every dating experience to be colored by my need for wigs.

When it was time for him to leave, Nashville and I discussed his work schedule and agreed that we both wanted to see the other person again as soon as we could figure out a time, which will be next week.

I’m realistic about my challenges. He is getting a puppy on December 27th – something he already planned and paid for – but he knows I’m deathly allergic. Nashville also voiced concern about having to commute to my place and the fact that I’m not able to share in the burden of driving back and forth. He lives about 50 minutes north of me. Driving that in winter weather will probably stretch that to more like 90 minutes. But we also have some things going for us, including our age and desire to have a mutually respectful relationship, and neither of us has children. Nashville also doesn’t mind that I swear like a truck driver and it seems he has been raised right – he sees women as his equal, not princesses on pedestals and not second-class citizens either.

We traded texts this morning. Nashville said, “I really like you.” I wrote back, “I really like you too.” I meant it, too. I said it without hesitation and reservation.

European Vacation

I’ve been able to make three trips to Europe thanks to the generosity of my friends who live in the U.K. – I met C. when he was a foreign exchange student at the university we attended in 1992-1993. C. has always been really good about keeping in touch with me, so our friendship has weathered 23 years with an ocean separating us. He and his family have graciously played host and tour guide every time.

The first time I was there, C. was still a bachelor, and he and his father shared the house in which C. grew up. Unfortunately C. was not able to request time off from work, so his father A. was my tour guide. A. was a charming Welshman who liked one particular pub, so every day, we went to The Cricketers Pub.

It was mostly older, retired folks gathering midday for their whiskey and beer, but I became acquainted with two men who were a bit closer to me in age. One was Michael; I remember he wore a blue and tan sweater and blushed like a choir boy, and I’m thinking he was in his mid-30s. The other was Barry, who was around age 45, and had an unfortunate run-in with burgundy hair dye that he had hoped would make him look younger, but instead gave him an unnatural purple halo. The other regulars at the pub teased him mercilessly.

While the older patrons and I chatted, I tried to draw Michael into the conversation, but with my brash American loudness, I think I might have been too much of a bulldozer for him. However, I discovered that I unknowingly caught Barry’s eye.

The next day we entered The Cricketers, the barkeep held up an envelope and sang out gleefully, “I have a note for you!” That set all of the elder patrons into squawks and chirps – it seems it was the topic of the pub, something to break up the mundane. It was a love note from Barry. He was requesting the pleasure of my company if I had time during my holiday to join him for dinner.

I left A. at his table and went to a shop to purchase blank notes to reply back. When I returned I sat with A.’s cronies and I wrote back to him that I was flattered, but I had a boyfriend and wasn’t available to date, and wished him well. I think the elders were hoping for a little more juiciness. I left the note with the barkeep.

The next day we returned to the pub, and the barkeep waved me over for another note. Barry said he understood that I was not available, but wondered if we could at least be pen pals. I left another note with my address. I did receive a few letters after I returned back to the states, but did not keep up correspondence on my end, so that was the end of that.

By the time I took my second trip, I had relocated to Arizona and had been working at a large international bank for three years. I worked in the tech area, which in 2006 was still greatly dominated by men. I managed to become acquainted with a woman in my area, S. (Her brother is the one that set me up with his work buddy who was still married and tried to assault me on our date.) We became closer when I changed from wearing blonde wigs to dark red ones; she walked past my cubicle and said, “Oh, that one girl is gone, and they hired another one with the same name.” Nope, I was the same person, just a different wig – but that’s hilarious and something she will never live down.

By the time I made it over for this visit, C. had gotten married to his wife E. and they had a little girl together, K.. C. encouraged us to go to the town center and see some live music or whatever entertainment we could find – the next day was a bank holiday, so he expected everyone to be out, even though it was a Sunday evening. He dropped S. and I off and told us to call when we were ready to come home.

We walked up and down the center, but it was very quiet, and most places were closed. We happened upon an old church that had been re-purposed as a bar; we asked the doorman if it was worth paying a cover to enter. He looked us up and down, told us we were too posh for the bug eating contest that was happening, and suggested we try to find a particular jazz bar.

We walked up and down that street and couldn’t find the jazz bar for about an hour until we realized it was closed for the evening. S. and I ended up at a pub, bought one rum & coke (no ice, of course, because Brits do not put ice in their beverages) and then called C. to pick us up. When C. got there he had a loaf of stale bread with him; he said he wanted to feed the ducks and geese while we were down there. C. pulled into a spot by the river and we grabbed the bread and ran down to the edge. By that time we were thoroughly cold and jetlagged, so instead of tearing off nice little hunks to feed the birds at 11 pm local time, we heaved the whole loaf into the river with a loud ker-plunk that sounded like an alligator made a landing. We were ready for that day and night to be over.

During the 2006 trip we also all hopped on a plane to visit C.’s friend J. in the Czech Republic. We planned it so C., his wife E., their daughter K., C.’s dad A., S. and I could spend some time in Prague in addition to being hosted by J. and her little family at their house.

By that time, A. was elderly and had to be pushed around in a wheelchair – no more pub hopping with him. My friends suggested that S. and I run around Prague on our own since it was our first time in that city, and we could meet up later in the restaurant below our hotel.

S. and I signed up for a tour of the palace grounds and cathedral, as we figured it would be a good introduction to some remarkable history. We bought our tickets and sat in a little bus that would take us to our starting point. After we sat, a man with four henchmen entered and sat directly behind me. They all stared openly at me; the main guy leaned forward and asked me where I was from, visibly trying to turn on the charm. I told him I was from the U.S. He smiled and told me he was from Jordan. Then the men rearranged themselves in the bus seats so we were surrounded on all sides. S. and I gave each other side eyes.

When we arrived at the palace gate to start the tour, S. and I lost all of our cool points because we started swooning over the guards. At one point she and I ran over to one who was standing still as a statue and we both attempted selfies without being too invasive. S.’s picture of the guard was of one eyeball and eyebrow, and my picture was of his very perfect lips and cleft chin. We didn’t feel bad about missing our own faces because he was so handsome. Our tour was timed perfectly because we actually got to see the changing of the guard as well.

Our tour guide was a very short German woman who gave the tour in German and English. At that point I remembered enough German to understand what she was saying.

The Jordanian man and his bodyguards became more bold with me. I’m not sure if he was fascinated because I looked to have green eyes and red hair, but he was convinced I was going to be his next wife. The bodyguards started snapping photos of him standing near me. Imagine if you can a very serious Jordanian man photobombing me to make it look like we were together.

S. and I were creeped out. We tried to stay close to the tiny tour guide, but as stern as she was, we knew she wouldn’t be able to physically help us if the bodyguards decided to snatch me. Susan and I linked elbows and kept moving out of the way of the men. Eventually they tired of the cat and mouse game and started mocking us and imitating us with our arms clasped together.

At the end of the tour, the Jordanian man confronted the tour guide and demanded a refund because he wasn’t allowed to enter a particular room in the cathedral. It ended with him being completely nasty to the guide but finally giving up his demand. After that he turned to me and put on his charm and asked if I enjoyed the tour as if he hadn’t at all been unpleasant seconds before. I simply said “yes” and S. and I linked arms again and took off. No one came after us, so we figured he gave up.

At the end of the day we all met up at the restaurant for some goulash. S. and I were sitting next to the window, and who did we spot? The Jordanian guy with the body guards – they were walking down the sidewalk towards the city center. S. and I immediately dove under the table. Our friends were completely flabbergasted and convinced we had lost our marbles. After peeking a number of times, we climbed back up and told our tale. Luckily, we didn’t see that guy any time after that.

S. and I tried to go clubbing in Prague. We left the rest of our friends at the hotel and went to a place that J.’s daughter recommended. We had to take an elevator to the top floor of a building to get to the club. When we arrived, no one was there, and it was approximately 10:30 at night. The doormen gave us wristbands and said we could leave and come back later when it was much busier. We did, but it hadn’t improved when we returned. S. and I decided we just wanted to dance, so we did. Out of the shadows men converged on the outer edge of the dance floor, basically forming a circle around S. and I as we were dancing. After about four songs we got creeped out and decided to give up and go back to the hotel.

After we returned to England, E. and her daughter K. brought us to London for another mini trip. We were one stop away from the infamous Leicester Square. E. encouraged us to go out to the clubs while she and K. stayed back at the hotel. We went to the square and received many solicitations for the various nightclubs, and we finally settled on one. It was the same as in Prague! Hardly no one was there, and when we decided to say screw it and take over the floor, men came out of the shadows and stood around us in a circle while we danced. That was the final straw. S. and I headed back to the hotel.

When we returned to the town where C., E., K. and A. lived, C. offered to drop us off again in the center for one last night out. We turned it down. S. and I agreed that we were not meant to have wild nights out on that trip, no matter how hard we tried.

I returned to England in July of 2012, three weeks before the Olympics. By that time, C. and E. added a son to the family, J. Little J. was young enough that that trip had to be planned around the needs of the family, so there was no chance of me venturing out for some clubbing. At that time I was more fit than I had been in decades. It’s too bad I couldn’t go out and become acquainted with some British future husband(s). It may have been my last European holiday.

Vacations overseas never turn out like they do in the movies, that’s for sure.

The Dog Days of Dating

I’ve got two accounts going, one on OKCupid and one on Match. After making one acquaintance and laughing about my crazy exchanges, it really drove home the fact that I am likely expecting too much from one and too little from the other (Match is supposedly where the more serious people go to look for love). So I changed the first line of my OKCupid profile to say, “I’m not looking for a hookup.” I also removed some items and added some more to dumb it down. For instance, my introductory paragraph has bullet points and includes, “I’m a feminist. This includes the concept that no means no” and “I don’t believe in organized religion.” Further down for the section that starts with, “I spend a lot of time thinking about” I finished it with “equality, healthcare, social justice, cats and dogs and why I can’t have them, and how much I want pizza.” Lastly, in the section that begins with, “You should message me if” I entered “- You are a non-smoker (of all things); – You really are single, not looking for a third in your threesome or looking for someone “discreet” so you can cheat on your wife. C’mon, it’s NOT complicated – you just wanna catch you some strange, let’s call it what it is; – We live in the same country. Please, no penis pictures. Seriously.”

So the first message I get after my revisions is from a guy with one photo where he looks like a total mouth breather, 34:
Him: How are you doing today? I would love to talk with you more. You are very beautiful by the way 🙂
Me: Hi, thanks. What would you like to chat about? What style of literature do you normally read?
Him: I read all sorts of books. What are you doing today?
Me: Today is laundry. If you are going to say “Let’s do something,” I have to warn you – I can only be upright for about 30 minutes, tops. We could probably do a high five on the sidewalk. 🙂
Him: Why only upright for 30 min?
Me: Super rare brain disease.
Him: Well we could have fun lying down? Lol
Me: Nope, not looking for a hookup. That was just a line about wanting to chat, huh?
Him: Why no sex
Me: Am I just here on this earth to fulfill every man’s fantasy and whim? No. You want to stick your dick in me without treating me like a fellow human being with value. I’m not interested. After that he blocked me. I am just going to assume it’s because he’s trying to stop himself from making the same stupid mistake again because he won’t remember soliciting me for exactly the same thing I specifically said I didn’t want.

Man, 50, lives 80 miles away:
Him: you want to take me out to lunch your treat
Me: Aerosmith, “Dream On.” It’s my song gift to you.
I blocked him. I didn’t have the energy to educate him on how to score.

Man, 39, local:
Him: Wow…..you are absolutely gorgeouz!! I wish I was your type.
Me: Thanks. So why aren’t you my type? Would you be mean to me, or try to send me inappropriate pictures? Or rub your cats in my face and send me into anaphylactic shock? (He has a couple.)
Him: None of the above…I’d actually treat u like a queen….but I’m sure my cats would cause an issue……hence..not ur type??
Me: Yeah – I looooove cats (and dogs), but have to take four meds and only hang out for two hours, tops. Maybe in my next life I can have pets. 😦 So best wishes to you in your search!
Him: Well….I could always,come over…undress and.hang out. No cat then. 🙂
Me: Would it surprise you to know that’s not the first time I’ve heard that offer?
Him: No….but I’m sure I’m not gonna be the first you say yes to though…
Me: Well, that got weird.
Him: Lol….how so?
Me: It’s never fun to be on the receiving end of implied sluttery.
Him: Oh…no…I was implying the opposite my dear. That you have yet to accept an offer…
Although I’d dig being the first….
After 8 hours:
Guess not
I didn’t bother responding. How would you respond if he acted the exact same way he claimed he wasn’t acting? It boggles the mind.

Kid, 26, 80 miles away:
Him: Hi you’re sexy
(I’m marginally impressed that he knows the proper usage of “you’re” but not enough to reply)

Man, 48, local:
Him (obvious copy and paste without reading anything about me): I am a single father, a bit shy at first. New to the dating scene. I actually look forward to just meeting and getting to know someone, I want that someone to enjoy my company as much as I enjoy theirs. I do not like to play games, I like honest and sincere people Have a blessed Day…
Me: Hi, honesty and sincerity are great. Is your work winding down for the winter, or do you stay busy with projects?
Him: am off work for Now … How Are you doing ? would you like to txt me .. i don’t get don’t the site that much ….. what’s your name Beautiful
Me (cringing at being called “Beautiful” – not at all sincere – and the “blessed day” already rubbed me wrong): I’ve had a few stalkers, not comfortable with immediately giving out my cell.
Him: I understand How you feel … i can see you real an honest and open minded woman … and that what i want in my woman … what do you like doing sweet woman
With only 45% of our answers being marginally close and 70% flat-out enemies, I am going to let him pass me by.

Then I got a message from a man, 30, and in the U.K., and I immediately went on high alert:
Him: hello how are you today?
Me: I’m okay, how are you?
Him: im doing well thank you
just back home from work
i ve had a long day
Me: Ah, you’re working late!
Him: a little bit but have u seen that im living in england and im just having a trip soon to MN and lookining for friends and maybe more….
Me (really, really frustrated at this point): Ah. I’m not open to a hookup or a long distance romance. I’ve got a lot going on with my health right now.
Him: what are u looking for in here ?
Me: I’m looking for a long term relationship. What about you?
Him: im same really just its not easy o meet the right one
After this, I decided to put away my baseball bat before I smashed my computer to bits and give him a chance. We actually had decent conversation and it seems like he is sincere, but obviously I don’t know him at all, so I’m still on guard.

Man, 38, Philadelphia:
Him: hi how r u
Me: I’m fine.
Him: Don’t let the distance fool u I get to fly for free
Me: So, whose photo are you using for this site?
Crickets. I did a reverse Google image search and found that he had downloaded some photos from a bodybuilder’s site who was in the UK competing at the same time we were chatting.

Lastly, I got a message from someone that I knew 24 years ago. My gut reaction was to say “CRAP!!!!” because I’ve never lived in a city long enough to have my past come back to me like that. Now that I’m back in my old stomping grounds, I have to reconcile concepts like my family being fully aware of my dating life, and for previously-known people to find me again. I asked this guy about what his experience has been on OKCupid, and he said he’s had bad luck. I commiserated with him and told him that a lot of guys were just approaching me for sex, and he said he was getting the same thing from the ladies. (Really???? Man, I have a hard time believing that. I mean there’s always going to be the ones who have been married for 20 years and want some action, but I don’t think that’s all of us. Maybe I’m naiive.) He told me that not all men were just looking for sex. I then reminded him that he messaged me out of the blue about 2 years ago on Facebook to tell me that he was horny after we hadn’t talked for 20 years. His reaction was, “Oh, sorry about that – I must have been a little drunk.”

The quest continues!

 

 

Cupcake or Cesspool?

I reactivated my profile on OKCupid in a fit of…well, frustration, loneliness and boredom, I suppose. I hate being stuck in my apartment. I used to travel extensively, host happy hours, go to art and music festivals, take swing dancing lessons and volunteer. I know it’s possible to find someone who has the same interests, especially since it’s so easy to connect with shop for people over the internet. I’m not looking for someone to be my sole source of entertainment and am trying to keep an open mind because of my unique situation. But I’m also reminded of why a lot of these guys have been on the site for over a year, or two, or four – because they can’t act like normal human beings.

Following are some of the exchanges I’ve had, word-for-word, in the last 24 hours.

First there’s the one who was born the year I graduated high school:

23-Year-Old Guy: Your really cute! 🙂 How are you?
Me: Thank you, you’re really cute too – but I’m much older than you!
Him: That’s fine with me! Are you okay with it?
Me: Well, I am kind of laughing – when I was 22 I was dating a 48-year-old. Now that the roles are reversed, I’m not so sure about it.
Him: So where do you work?
Me: I don’t work because I’m dealing with some major health issues.
Him: So you dated an old man when you were young? LOL
Me: I did! He was pretty wealthy so I joked that he was my sugar daddy, but I only let him buy me dinners.
Him: Haha your kinky! So how was the sex?
Me: What??? Why would you say I’m kinky?
Him: Did you guys have sex?

At this point I let this conversation drop. I’m still not sure how letting someone buy me dinner translates to kinkiness, but I didn’t feel like I had the patience to find out.

So here’s one from someone who is clearly going to try to scam me out of my life savings:

45-year-old Man from Louisiana (supposedly):
Him: Hello, how are doing today
I am Kelly William from United State and you
like to get acquaintance with you

Blocked. It’s obvious there’s some Google Translate going on there.

Here’s a quick one from California:

25-Year-Old Guy: Your a sexy gorgeous mama! 😉 U got kik?

<sigh> No, little boy, I don’t. I’ve got OKCupid and I don’t want to see your penis.

This one claims to be currently in the U.K., working on a film project, but due back in two weeks:

43-Year-Old Man: What are you looking for on this site? As for me I’m looking for a relationship that will lead to marriage.
Me: I would like a serious relationship too, but only with someone who is truly a match.
Him: Yeah you are right we can get to meet soon, what are you looking for in a woman? As for me am looking for honesty and a GOD fearing woman, a woman that is caring and knows how to treat her man right.
Me: We are going to seriously clash on religion. I don’t believe in religion or “God.”
Him: Thats okay. When I get back we can meet. Where do you live?

Um, no, Stranger Danger – go back to your 1950’s household. There’s a FetLife group for that and I’m not in it. I’m also not looking for a woman.

How could I possibly turn the next one down? He’s very determined:

44-Year-Old Man in California: Your attractive looking and I’m interested in you. I am willing to relocate.
Me: Thank you, although we would clash on religion. (Another bible thumper.)
Him: I would go to your church with you.
Me: I don’t believe in religion or church. (WTH, man, read my profile! I spell it out.)
Him: I would shovel snow for you. I would buy a snowblower for you.
Me: That’s not necessary, I don’t have to take care of snow removal.
Him: We could go to dinner out or we could order pizza.
Me: Is dating difficult in your area?
Him: Yes

Clearly, Creeptastic Man.

And then there’s the one who can’t figure out why he’s bored and lonely:

41-Year-Old Guy: Hi
Me: Hi
Him: I’m bored and lonely.
Me: Have you heard of MeetUp? They have events every day, lots to choose from.
Him: Where do you work?
Me: I don’t work, I am dealing with some major health issues.
Him: Can I come over? I’m bored and lonely.
Me: No, we don’t know each other so I wouldn’t be comfortable with that.
Two days later:
Him: Hi
Me: Hi
Him: Where do you work?
Me: I don’t work right now, I’m not well enough.
Him: Oh yeah. Can I come over?
Three days later:
Him: Hi
Me: Hi
Him: Where do you work?

<SIGH>

So here’s my take on OKCupid: The cupcake part of it is that it’s packaged to be very cute and friendly, like your very own serving of happiness topped with sugary frosting and sprinkles. The algorithm gives you the probability of being a match with someone according to your likes, dislikes and answers to hundreds of questions. I don’t think I’m alone when I see someone actually has a 90% or higher compatibility score with me and I get a little jolt of hope. The cesspool part is that all of these guys don’t know the difference between your and you’re (and I’m pretty sure yore would blow their minds), there’s money scammers, desperate men who are offering to relocate without actually meeting in person first, boys who want to talk about and show off their penises, and bulldozers who WILL MAKE YOU FIND RELIGION. I keep hearing about these fabled people who met their spouses online, but how did they get past the creepy, stinky cesspool??

I added another paragraph to my profile that states:
“If you are going to hit me up to chat, you’ll have more success if you talk about our common interests. If you just say “hello,” or you copy and paste a standard message that obviously is sent to everyone you contact, or you want to talk about your penis, I’m already not interested. No, really, put that away.”

And since I signed in for a few seconds to copy that paragraph, I got five new messages saying “Hi” – and that’s all.

<SIGH>

The Broad Squad

CutBanana

The internet is a fantastic invention and I don’t know what I would do without it in my life at this point. I use it to search for rare health cases and symptoms like mine. I use it to communicate with my friends around the world. I watch movies and TV shows via four different streaming services while my laptop is propped over me at a tilt. I’m talking to you stranger dangers, for Pete’s sake.

One of the first ways the internet was initially used for “evil” was that producers and distributors suddenly realized how they could reach a much larger audience to pander their porn.

Another is that it is super, super easy to create a profile and an entire backstory for a person that is not at all based in truth.

Hulu has every episode for the show “Catfish: The TV Show,” produced and distributed by MTV. I was a fan of the movie, and now that I have loads of time on my hands, I am watching that show like I’m loading it up on an IV leading directly to my veins. The movie “Catfish” was made because a guy in his mid-20’s, Nev (pronounced “neev”) started an online romance with a woman long distance, and his brother and their friend taped the progress of his relationship. He is a good looking guy (dark hair and eyes, strong jaw, lovely constant 5 o’clock shadow), and the woman he thought he was talking to was gorgeous with caramel-colored hair and big turquoise eyes. Thought. Nev was crushed and confused when his journey that ended with him meeting this mystery person face-to-face. This is not how he imagined his fairy-tale story would end. Turns out the woman was a middle-aged housewife with special-needs kids who wanted to momentarily escape from her life.

Now Nev’s mission is to help others facing the same dilemma. People write to him because they have been carrying on long distance internet romances with someone who they aren’t sure is being truthful about their appearance, their job, their marital status, their gender, their location, their offspring, their names…you get the idea. “Catfish” is no longer a subject – it’s also a verb.

So, have you been catfished?

Internet dating sucks. I’ve said it many times and I’m sure I will again. At the very least, people don’t like to post their recent pictures, usually because their weight has changed from when they were 17. I get it – I would rather people see me at my best too. I actually haven’t taken any pictures of myself for the past few years because bed rest has not been kind. But I have never lied about my marital or relationship status, the city where I live, my age, my name, my gender, or any other item you can dream up. I don’t tell men up front that I’m bald, but those same men also don’t tell me if they have a 4″ dick that is bent at a right angle.

A good friend I’ll call Svetlana is still braving internet dating, and I am presenting you with just one of her stories with her permission. She had closed down a profile after feeling disgusted and defeated by the men who approached her, but she stayed in touch with a few, including one I’ll call Fernando. Up to this point she has not met him. Fernando had finally asked her out on a date, but Svetlana hadn’t had a chance to accept or decline; instead, she received this message:

Hello Svetlana, I am the girlfriend of Fernando and I don’t think you know anything about it. Since July I live in Germany. 10 days ago I came to his sister’s home in Skokie to visit him for a week, just yesterday I came home. I had seen in his phone and the text messages that he sent to you (unfortunately you are not the only one with who he communicate, at the same day another woman probably from Brasil because it was in Portugese language got from him a love message the same words that he said to me words that he said to me a lot of time, I know that because my friend translated it)…so sad because at that time I was with him, what he would do is ruthless,phony and disrespect. He used me just for his advantage and benefits, he needs european passport to stay legally in Europe and after that study in Amsterdam. He asked me to marry him, now I understand that he wanted just passport and then just cold bloody leave me for another woman. Now I know that he is just liar and cheater, he promised me never to hurt me because my ex boyfriend did it and he knew whats happened in the past to me. I am very angry, disappointed and upset what he did to me, everybody helped and like him cause he looks as innocent and lyal person but he is not like that…unfortunately not! I release my self from him. Why I send you this message? because I want to warn you, no woman deserves this pain. He promised me not to dating you when we stay together but I don’t want to share my life with somebody like him. So enjoy his company.”

First and foremost, Svetlana felt like this took a lot of courage for this woman to reach out to her and warn her. Svetlana has done the same thing when she has discovered men who have been lying and cheating, but sadly, she has had vitriol thrown back at her – other women calling her a slut, whore, desperate, and any other derogatory name you can think of. Second, she responded to the woman and thanked her for warning her, because she wanted nothing to do with men who conduct themselves in this manner. Third, she felt immense relief because this woman did not treat her badly, especially since she had not knowingly become one of many other women he was working on.

How would you react if someone contacted you to warn you that the person with whom you were conversing with or in a relationship with was being duplicitous or dishonest? Would you listen to them rationally, or would you call them names and try to shame them for telling the truth?

Svetlana suggested that she could send a message to Fernando saying, “You think you’re so clever, don’t you?” But really, I thought it would leave much less room for him to wiggle out of if she asked him when he’s planning on moving and who he is going to marry in order to get the proper passport. She did and then blocked him.

My wish is that women would stop buying into this theory and practice that we should compete against each other for the attention of men. Every woman Svetlana warned should have thanked her and cut off all ties to the liars rather than turn against her. I would love to start up a Broad Squad, where we take the time to research things like marital status, number of offspring, jobs, cities, etc., using our favorite tool, the internet (because I can’t very well drive around in disguise and take pictures). Then we warn each other. Then we believe what the other women are saying with proof to back it up. Look, I know we don’t want to think the man who is sticking his dick in us and saying very pretty words could possibly be saying the same to other women, but it’s time for the women to stop hating other women for the lying that men do. And it’s time for men to change their internal recordings from “that bitch messed up my plan, now I have to find new victims” to “I’m sorry, and I will never be a shit again.” Really, wouldn’t we all be happier if we were trying to be our best selves?

The Ex from Tex(as)

You know that saying about how you shouldn’t take a dip in the company pool when it comes to dating? (Or maybe the more succinct way of putting that is not to shit where you eat.) Well, I’ve broken that rule many, many times. How are we as adults supposed to meet anyone? And my field was traditionally dominated by men, so it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

I was in the same extremely small department at a large bank (280,000 employees worldwide) for nine of my eleven years with the same employer, and I saw a lot of changes in personnel and practices. My seat was in Arizona; my boss was in California, her boss was in Texas, and we had team members in Mumbai, India. It was decided that our group would add two more people in Texas to take calls from managers and give it the very important name of Escalation Desk so as to give the impression that fires would be lit under the people handling time-sensitive problems. We added these two people at a time that I was doing the work of 2-3 people and another co-worker, also in Arizona, was being pulled to perform special projects.

One of the two people was Mr. Texas. He and another woman were located in our Texas office, and for almost a year, they sat idle because managers weren’t calling in for expedited assistance. After my Arizona teammate and I consistently asked for overtime to complete our work, the boss decided it was time to train the Texas people in our jobs. That was how I met Mr. Texas.

He was infuriating because he was not the type of person to offer help – he preferred to just sit at his desk and do nothing. When we would have our weekly phone-in meetings, he would not participate, and if he was forced to answer questions, Mr. Texas always sounded like we were disturbing his nap.

My work group was pretty relaxed, and it was not rare for us to spill some personal info on our conference calls. We also traded pictures of volunteering and life events. When I finally saw a picture of Mr. Texas, he didn’t look anything like what I thought he would (though I don’t know what I expected at that point). He is about 6’4″, very muscular, and very tan. After he heard some of the team members tease me about my dating woes, Mr. Texas started privately conversing with me on the company instant messenger. We had quite a few “Me too!” revelations about our dating experiences. Eventually we traded phone numbers and started talking and texting during our off hours.

I still remember the first phone call. It was awkward as hell. Here I was talking to this co-worker who drove me crazy with his laziness. I’m not even sure if he picked up on that about me, or if he did, if he actively chose to disregard it because chasing a piece of ass was more important. Obviously I didn’t let that stop me either – I love tall men, especially handsome ones.

We graduated to sexting and hot and heavy phone sessions. I miss those days! It was like making out, or as close as two people could get to that while a whole state separated us. Mr. Texas and I planned our first encounter, which involved him flying over to Arizona and us getting a hotel room (because I had a roommate). At some point it was revealed to me that when he was 15, he and his friends were stupid – they were playing jumping on and off trains, and wouldn’t you know it, his leg got caught under a train. Mr. Texas only had about 4 inches left of his right femur and wore a very long prosthetic that strapped around his hips. He walks very stiff legged because he does not have enough of his femur left to maneuver a leg with a working knee joint.

Mr. Texas and I had a great first weekend together. It was not a hindrance at all that he was missing a leg, because it actually made room for me if I wanted to get my face in his junk. He was very muscular because he was a serious weightlifter. Mr. Texas’ skin felt just like what I imagined one of those hunks in a beefcake calendar would. I was still very self-conscious about my lack of hair, so he never saw me with my wig off, but the fact that two people with prosthetics actually hooked up was hilarious to me. The only time I had to look away for fear of cracking up was when he got up in the middle of the night to pee. Mr. Texas did not strap on his leg just to go a short distance to the bathroom, but instead he hopped there. Imagine this if you can, but this 6’4″ guy was hopping on one massive tree trunk leg across the room to the toilet. I guessed that he kept on his tighty whitey underwear expressly for the same reason women wear sport bras when they are active – his choice of underwear probably kept his dick and balls from bouncing around.

I made the trek to his state the next visit. He has a very large white cat with some black patches named Sugar, and of course I’m deathly allergic, so we got a hotel room. At the end of my visit, we sat on his couch and watched some TV to kill time in between having to check out of the hotel and go to the airport. I had my head in his lap, gasping and growing hives like weeds all over my face and neck. Sugar came over and at first tried to “clean” my hair (my wig!), and when she started getting frustrated by the long fibers, she completely sat on my head. Mr. Texas thought it was rip-roaring funny and refused to shoo her off of my head. By the time we left for the airport, I had looked like I was punched in both eyes and I was snotting copiously, which wasn’t at all attractive.

We took turns visiting each other, alternating who paid for the plane ticket and who paid for the hotel. It was harder to be snappy with him at work because we had been intimate, though I tried hard to remain neutral if someone else in the work group would fight with him. We even talked marriage; he’s never been married, and neither have I, but it was something we discussed as a possibility for us down the road. Mr. Texas was twelve years older than me and held onto this idealized wedding for about thirty years. I remember it had something to do with having twelve groomsmen and twelve bridesmaids, and he wanted the ceremony to be in his parents’ church (which also happened to be where Chuck Norris would attend) – they were hardcore southern Baptists.

Unfortunately, I started feeling like he wasn’t emotionally invested in me. He seemed uninterested in my life away from work and didn’t have much to say to me when we weren’t banging. Mr. Texas also used to complain that the claim “spiritual but not religious” was not a valid belief system; you either attended church or you didn’t – and I didn’t! That shot his big church wedding to pieces.

So one week when I felt like a single woman anyway because of his disinterest, I called it off. Unfortunately, two days later the bank laid him off.

I didn’t hear from him for a couple of years, but then he started texting me again. This time around I know there is no emotional connection at all, he just likes talking about his penis and where he’s going to put it. Mr. Texas also sends pictures of his fat sassy cat Sugar, sometimes even videos of her purring, always signing off by saying that he’d like to pet my kitty. In a way it’s flattering, but in another way it’s exhausting. He doesn’t have any concept at all of what I’m going through. I can’t get excited about Mr. Texas and his dirty talk when my abdomen feels like it’s being stabbed for six hours straight.

What I wouldn’t give to be able to fly to a lover again.