We’ve Got a Live One Here

Just as a reminder, this is the very first few lines of my slimmed-down, to-the-point profile:

*******I’M ALLERGIC TO:********

– Hookups, FWB, DTF

Got a message from a guy with a picture of a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
Him: Interested in something casual?
Me: In the first line of my profile, I said I’m not into FWB or DTF.
Him:  Okay. I just found you attractive and wanted to make sure I wasn’t an exception. I will leave you alone.

Did you catch that? I’m not sure if he thought he could be the exception because he found me attractive (is it too much to ask that every man who wants to bang me finds me at least moderately attractive?), or if he thought waving his penis as bait was going to change my mind, because so many men don’t think to do that?

This also seems to be a case of, “Oh, you don’t really mean ‘no.’ I mean, there’s no way you could actually know what you want, because you haven’t met my penis yet.”

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Creeper

I’ve been on an opera kick this week. Puccini is my absolute favorite composer, so I’ve had that station going all week while I have read articles, organized my taxes, and for the first time have colored in my “adult coloring book.” I’m a little slow on trends sometimes.

I often don’t understand the meaning of the songs because who here speaks fluent Italian? Not I. But it certainly adds a little flavor to my tasks. Also, it’s the funniest thing to run across some slow-motion films of dogs wiping out in the sand or attempting and failing to catch treats or toys in their mouths – so dramatic when Maria Callas is wailing!

I was feeling very passionately that my OKCupid profile needed another revamp. Guys don’t care what I’m doing with my life or which books I’ve read or if I know all of the cool places to eat. They just want to know if I will go hunting and fishing with them (welcome to Minnesota) and if I can hook my ankles behind my ears. So I took all that crap out. This is what my profile says now:

MY SELF-SUMMARY
*******I’M ALLERGIC TO:********

– Hookups, FWB, DTF
– Threesomes, foursomes or moresomes
– All animals furred or feathered (even “hypoallergenic” animals), though I love them
– Misogynistic behavior
– Bad behavior and excuses
– Cheaters, liars, thieves
– Poor dental hygiene
– Conspiracy theorists
– Stalkers
– Contemporary country music, rap
– Republicans
– Being called “cutie”
– Organized religion or prayer

The most private thing I’m willing to admit

I don’t get out as much as I would like to because of some major health issues.

You should message me if

– You are a non-smoker (of all things) and don’t use chew/snuff (ever)
– We live in the same country; my preference is to connect with someone in the same metro area because I dislike long distance relationships.
– You know and use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.
– You would like me to proofread your profile for grammar, spelling and punctuation errors.

Almost immediately after posting these bullet points, a guy hit me up and said I was hilarious, and unfortunately, he was a hardcore Catholic and a Republican – but he really appreciated my sense of humor. We ended up having a really good chat through the site. He talked about his daughters, and how one of them was living with him as well as a nearly 2-year-old grandson. We chatted about the intricacies of finding and keeping a job that could pay the bills without the need to add another job. We talked a little bit about my disease and how it affected my ability to be social.

In all, a respectful, flowing conversation happened. Then I got an unexpected but very welcome call from my close friend in Arizona, and told the guy that I couldn’t chat because of the phone call. He said that was fine and posted his number, and I replied back with mine. He asked if I would be interested in a date. I thought what the hell, if we get along, we both could include each other in our circle of friends.

My call with my friend was pretty lively. She told me about the difficulties she had with men she had dated (or really, had minimal contact with) who kept calling and texting, even though she wasn’t interested and told them so. She told me how one had briefly been a professional MMA fighter, and took it upon himself to put her in a choke hold and then forced her to the floor. Another was a guy who couldn’t seem to accept the fact that she had gotten into a relationship with someone else instead of him, and even agreed to a double date so my friend could introduce him to our other friend – until he realized that my friend was also bringing her boyfriend.

My advice was that she must use small words and tell them why she is cutting them off, and then cut them off. First, they are not respecting her boundaries, and she does not owe them anything. Second, she needs to get her mind out of the space where women are required to be people pleasers and make sure they don’t anger men. That anger rears its ugly head when men think they are simply entitled to women’s bodies. How dare we reject them?

After we ended our call, I texted the dude and apologized for taking longer than I had planned. He called me “cutie” with a smiley face, just to piss me off. The next thing he did was tell me how beautiful my eyes are. I thanked him and told him I appreciated his complement, but I put more value in values than I do appearance. We discussed options for activities where I wouldn’t be up and out for too long (hopefully longer than a high five).

And then Hidden Creeper came out.

I was trying to discuss meeting places with him, and he kept talking about my appearance and how “cute” I am and that he just couldn’t help it. Then he asked me if he could kiss me.

In my head I was saying, “Hold on there, buddy – where in the hell did this come from, Mr. I’m-a-Hardcore-Catholic?” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that him talking about kissing me is his code for testing me to see if he can go balls deep. It happens all of the time.

I told him that if we both felt attracted to the other person, then sure, we can have a smooch. But I also told him that I didn’t want to discuss it further, because it has been my experience that if all you do is talk about what you want to do with the other person once you have entered their personal space, and then you actually meet, it doesn’t end well. Sometimes there’s no attraction from one or both parties. but then they feel obligated to ______ because it was talked about. I told him that I wanted to make sure we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.

He replied with, “Ok sounds good” and then stopped texting me. So I still have no idea if this date is going to happen, but my guess is that it won’t.

I feel the change in personality happened as soon as we started communicating off of OKCupid and that is because he knows I could easily block him there and he would have no idea how find me. Luckily I can push his calls and texts to spam if I get some on my cell, but he doesn’t know that. I just feel sorry for his daughters. He revealed to me that his oldest daughter moved back in with him because she’s 24, has a 2-year-old, is kind of lost, and the baby’s daddy is an asshole who took off. I want to shake him and say, “He took off because you didn’t teach your daughter how to value herself, or she may never have let him in in the first place.”

Being able to look at everything and process it in a much healthier way than I have in the past is my present to myself. I’m not perfect, but I’m getting better. I wish everyone else luck, would like to remind you that it sometimes takes effort to get on the right track, and keep holding yourself and other people accountable.

Modern Love: It’s Not Only Me

In early 2008, shortly after I had knee surgery, I let a new friend talk me into hitting the bars in Tempe to go dancing. It was laparoscopic surgery so it was pretty non-invasive, but I had all kinds of problems. They had already taken 2 litres of fluid off of it over the course of 3 visits, and then when I had too much fluid taken away, I had to have non-chicken-based synovial fluid injected in (I’m allergic to raw eggs). It took me an entire year to be able to straighten out my leg, even after five months of physical therapy.

Anyway, I digress; I went out for a night of dancing. Already I felt much older than everyone else at 34, when most of the crowd was 21-23, including my friend. Let me tell you, those young boys were not shy! One guy was just about stripped down from the waist up and he decided he was going to bump and grind all over my booty. I had to tell him to calm the fuck down because of my bad knee, so he just decided to hold onto my hips tighter while he pretended to bang me from behind.

I finally got away from him and had about two songs before a tall, lanky, tipsy drunk young man started dancing on me. I had an even harder time with him! He kept banging into my knee. After a while, I had enough. I convinced my friend it was time to go.

I didn’t know my friend did this, but she would read the “Missed Connections” portion of Craigslist for entertainment. She called me one night and said, “Holy crap, C., this is you!!”

Sure enough, a guy, aged 24, considered me a “missed connection” – meaning I didn’t give him my phone number when I headed out, basically. In the ad he wrote about how he “protected” my knee from everyone else. (Drunkass, you did no such thing.) I emailed him back and we traded a few emails, but I couldn’t pretend to be very interested. He was still at the binge-drinking phase.

The very first episode I listened to on Modern Love: The Podcast had to do with one woman’s experience with the “Missed Connections” section. It’s a short piece, especially if you just listen to the story and not the interview afterwards.

https://www.wbur.org/2016/01/20/missed-connection-modern-love

Time’s “Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Men, Backed By Research”

By Eric Barker (writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.)

Scientific studies show:

— Being too rich and good-looking can actually hurt a man. Then again, marriage may be a bad deal for handsome guys.

— You can predict how many women a man has slept with by how funny he is.

— Yes, most TV commercials make men look like morons.

— Companies pay women more if a male CEO has a daughter.

— Poor and hungry men prefer heavier women. Rich and full guys like skinny girls.

— Attractive TV anchors make men unable to remember the news.

— What’s the chance that a man’s kids are not really his, biologically?

— Punching things does make men feel better.

— If men’s jobs didn’t affect their ability to attract women they’d be far less ambitious.

— Men fake orgasms too.

 

The first item that caught my eye was the second on the list, predicting how many women a guy has banged according to how funny he is. Testify! But what is harder to match up is the type of humor. I deeply value humor, but I’m a snob. I can’t watch The Simpsons or Family Guy. I just can’t. Even if the satire might be something I admire, I can’t relate to cartoons with moving mouths. I was cured of that by age 10.

Second item of note: Attractive TV anchors. I mean, we’ve all seen the “naked news” spots, right? Usually it’s the damn Russians putting porn stars in front of a camera. Apparently, they don’t have to be naked for dudes to lose their minds.

Third item of note: If men’s jobs didn’t affect their ability to attract women, they’d be far less ambitious. I know some guys who are there already. They are not currently camping out in my bed, nor will it be likely that they will. I have never gone around with the attitude of “I’m lazy” but I’ve heard so many men say that. More importantly, after they say it, they demonstrate it. I believe them, I have no grand illusions of changing them, and they need to stay far away from me.

I was hit up on OKCupid last night by the I’m-separated-but-probably-going-back-to-my-wife-and-kids guy. He got a new screen name.
Him: Still horny?
Me: You got a new screen name and you ghosted me. (I wanted to say, “No, fucker, I have a new hole in my ass, and not by choice.” This whole bedsore thing is really cramping my style.)
Him: I got fooled into giving my phone number out to women who live in Russia and the Philippines so I decided to start new
Did you meet someone
Me: Doesn’t matter if I did or not. No one wants to hear they are a consolation prize.
Him: just asking
Me: No you weren’t. You were trying to make a bootie call, I am just not picking up.
Him: sorry just asking

Oh, yes, he’s just so innocent! He disappeared after November and he thinks the best, most innocuous way to greet me is “Still horny?” No wonder he has only slept with 4 people in his 39 years. (I was number 4.) I sure hope his wife lets him come back home soon. I’m done raising him.

‘Scuse me, I’m off to find my poor and hungry guy, I hear they like big asses on their ladies.

 

Can You Hear Me Now?

I recorded a 20-minute interview with Daniel (“Danny”) Levine about this blog and this crazy life. I’ve only been here for six months and already the Minnesota accent is creeping back in. There were a couple of times where the sound dropped, but you get the general idea.

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.

 

To Date or Not To Date, That Is the Question

I hear this sentiment often from fellow “spoonies”: They have given up on dating. They enjoy my stories (thanks, I try!), but they are not putting themselves out there in the dating pool. And why should they? It’s tough. You’re naked and vulnerable and your waves of pain crash into your body so that you can barely stay afloat. You get tired sometimes – exhausted, really – of paddling just to keep your head above water.

But to borrow from Mindy Kaling’s new book Why Not Me?, all I can say is, why not me?

This song from Andrew McMahon reminds me of my teenage years. I didn’t actually go on my first date until a week before I graduated high school, when I was already 18. I was a late bloomer. But I felt free, and I couldn’t wait to live my life and choose my own adventure.

When I finally did get into dating, it was just how I imagined it would be. And by “it,” I really mean the men. The kissing, the making out, the talking about nothing and everything, felt just like I thought it would. I felt passion and I felt heartbreak. I felt excitement. Sometimes I felt like I was on fire.

It has been a very long time – possibly a decade, if I think about it – since I have had a love who freely returned love to me and wasn’t afraid to say it. Though this rare disease has eaten away all of my supposed “good years,” when I am finally relaxed and confident in my own body, I’m not ready to give up. I still think I can have the same feelings I did at 18, even if I can no longer stay out till the wee hours of the morning with groups of people I’ve just met, and then crash on a random couch or floor or bed and trade secrets with a man who is enchanted with my eyes and just wants to hold me and see a little of my soul.

So, man whom I don’t know yet, I’ll meet you at the high dive. Take the leap with me. I promise that I’m worth it.

 

Caught Between a Rock and a Short Bus

The problem with losing every hair on your body, or very nearly (because my big toes are always the last to shed), is that you have to find a way to define your facial features but still blend in with the rest of civilization. My eyebrow tattoos were last touched up almost two years ago and were fading and turning a pinkish hue of tan, prompting me to color over them with a combination of pencil and powder. This is not a durable solution, though. I still have really oily skin like a teenager and usually within an hour, if I go to push my wig bangs out of my eyes, I end up schmearing my eyebrows in the process, so I look like a crazed devil.

It took me a while to find a permanent makeup artist in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area – first because there don’t seem to be many at all, which I blame on everyone being a tree hugger and shouting from the rooftops how “natural” they are; second, because I don’t want to get just anyone to ink my face. I finally found someone who seemed to use the methods that I was familiar with to give me the most natural-looking brows possible, who also has a decade of experience under her belt.

The ride out there via Metro Mobility (http://www.metrotransit.org/metro-mobility if you’re curious) was pretty uneventful despite the dispatch center’s computers being down – everyone just made do. My driver was on time and there was only one other lady on the bus. The ride back, however, was a little more interesting.

The woman who was our driver for the trip back was very, very nice and good-natured. Unfortunately, I realized that she was used to a certain clientele because she was talking to me as if I was deaf instead of mostly blind. She was shouting, actually, and using small words. I was only the second rider on and she had to pick up four more people before she could start dropping us off. For most of the ride I was the only female on the bus. My trip lasted almost two hours.

By the time it was my turn to get dropped off, I was mostly blind. The last passenger we picked up was an elderly lady who seemed pleasant enough when she boarded, but when the driver went to escort her to her seat and strap her in, the woman refused to sit down. I could immediately feel the tension ripple through all of us. We had been on for quite a while, someone in the group wasn’t really big on bathing and we were in that odd space of being too hot or too cold on a winter day trapped in our layers of clothes and dependent upon the driver to run the bus’s heater. We were all individually and collectively ready to pounce on the woman if she didn’t cooperate. Luckily we didn’t have to, the driver distracted her by saying she was carrying a lovely bag; the woman was still confused by the seat belt the driver was hooking up for her (“What in the world are you doing??”). So when the driver was required to escort me to my front door, she just kinda did an “Okayareyougood?Ineedtogoincaseshedecidestoescape.”

I discovered that while I was out getting my eyebrows put back on my face that the financial coordinator from Johns Hopkins had called to tell me that medical assistance didn’t have any record of my request to be seen at JH. Since I had had four separate conversations with the company in charge of my Medicaid and they had actually called the PCP who was supposed to submit the request, I knew that was not correct. I spent another hour on the phone trying to find out who had ignored the notes and faxes on my file that I had sent in myself; I had to leave another message for the financial coordinator to ask her to try again. I really don’t want to piss her off because she is the first person I’ll deal with at Johns Hopkins, so what she does or doesn’t do is going to greatly influence my time there.

The eyebrows, the special request for medical assistance, the stuff that fills my days now instead of a job and trying to plan my next social event, is not anything that normal people can relate to. How can I explain it? I can’t even summarize it all in a sentence or two.

I also had messages waiting for me from two men – one from OKCupid, and one from Match. They are actually both ten years younger than me and seem to be very physically active. I’ve traded messages with them before so I have a somewhat superficial handle on their personalities. I instantly developed anxiety when I saw their messages. One made it very clear to me that he is a fair weather friend; I told him that I thought he would be a fun person to know, but he would become bored with me because I can’t go out and do things like he does. He responded by saying that I should contact him when I’m “better.” Well, there were only about two weeks between his last message and today’s, so this just proves to me that he thinks I’ve got the equivalent of a cold. The other one suggested meeting up in our last exchange. I told him that it had to be in my neighborhood and within walking distance for me, and then he didn’t respond for a little over a week. Today he indicated I should call/text so we can meet up. Does that mean he’s okay with my circumstances, or that he’s hoping that it’s not as bad as I am saying? I’m trying not to let my self-doubt rule, but now I’m fighting the urge to crawl under my blankets and overdose on emo music.

How do I explain having to use the short bus? And dammit, now I have to wait another week to even try to go on a fly-by date with the second guy because my tattoos need time to heal. Right now they look like two greasy, dark, flat caterpillars have been smashed on my forehead because I have to keep them moist with ointment. If I keep throwing these obstacles at him, am I driving away a good date?

Tonight’s music selection reminds me of Heath Ledger every time I hear it (a la 10 “Things I Hate About You”). It makes me sad because I remember thinking that when I saw him in it, I was convinced he was very quickly going to become a star and would be easily recognized – and he did.

 

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!

 

 

Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

When I was 21, I worked two jobs with the goal of saving up enough cash to travel for a while. I also wanted to pick a new place to live, but I wasn’t sure where. My best friend and I packed up my car, converted most of our cash to traveler’s checks, borrowed my dad’s 6-person tent and took off. We stayed for a month on Mackinac Island to earn some more cash. After that, we cut across Canada and started at Niagara Falls and camped our way down the entire east coast. It was my first encounter with the ocean.

I almost set up residence in Hilton Head Island, but I kept seeing all of the hurricane evacuation signs and they freaked me out. As we looped back up and cut through Tennessee, I considered Nashville, but then I figured all of the country music would make me want to jump off a tall building. Later we cut back through Missouri and headed to the southwest, and I finally ran out of money in Albuquerque, so there I stayed. Within a short amount of time I landed two jobs and a place to live. My friend opted to go to the Everglades in Florida to live and work.

A year later, she made her way back to New Mexico, and I was happy to have a good friend so close after floundering for a year with trying to make friends. We decided to take on dating together. Back in 1996, the best way to meet the opposite sex besides getting tanked at a bar was either posting or answering personal ads published in newspapers. Let me take just a little time out and post an ad that I found, clipped and saved for these almost 20 years:

SPM, 31, seeking female amputee, age 18-99, for romance. Your beauty and grace astounds me. Box ID 23394.

Talk about a fetish!

My friend and I placed an ad saying something to the effect that we were looking for double dates. The ad was free, but to initiate a call to someone is where the fee kicked in. We got a couple of bites but they were from men who didn’t have single buddies. One was a guy I will call Bear; he had a really deep voice and was very articulate, so after talking to him we agreed on a date.

Bear was tall, 6’2, with glasses and a bookish manner – or if you prefer, he was geeky or nerdy in general. Our first date was right after Christmas that year. Immediately, we hit it off. We hardly spent any days apart and were on the phone constantly. I remember telling him one time that I couldn’t get close enough – I wished that I could crawl under his skin and live there.

A month after we started dating, we were at a restaurant eating dinner in the middle of some serious winter weather. We looked around the place and noted all of the kids having meltdowns and said, “I’m so glad we don’t have kids.” Bear then said, “Why don’t we go to Las Vegas?” We both had never been and Bear liked to play blackjack. He revealed that he had saved up a wad of cash (something like $600, which was a pretty good chunk in early 1997) and decided he wanted to use it to take a short trip with me. We ran to our respective places and quickly packed backpacks and called for tickets. We didn’t even take time to book a hotel.

When we arrived, we realized our mistake – it was the electronics convention, and EVERY hotel room was booked. However, our chain smoking cabby with the biggest, flashiest earrings told us that the Happi Inn was a sure thing – she always took people there for situations like these. Sure enough, they had a room. And what a room it was! Mirror on the ceiling, garish orange bedding with a bed sagging horribly in the middle, one TV station and cockroaches in the bathroom. We were also being price gouged because of the convention, $80 for the night. We did the best we could because we were flying out the next day.

It was a fun day. We played slots, and Bear got three blackjacks in a row, which was noticed by the pit boss, and we were rewarded with two tickets to the Ceaser’s Palace buffet. We took many pictures around the strip and visited M&M World. We even saw our first Cirque du Soleil show, “Mystere.” It was a fun little trip…or so we thought, until we tried to fly back. Because of snow storms all over the U.S., we couldn’t get a flight home until the next day at 1 p.m. I left a message on the work answering machine to tell everyone I was momentarily stranded and that I would be back to work Tuesday. The managers didn’t think to check the messages when I didn’t show up to work Monday morning, and they were in the process of calling the police to do a wellness check on me when I called in to make sure they got my message.

It didn’t take long for Bear and I to move in together. He was my first love (though he had had other loves before me). I loved him deeply. He was a patron of the arts. He wrote me love letters. He talked about the future.

However, there were problems at his workplace, and he decided to try to land a job closer to the Midwest or east coast. He almost took a job in Allentown, PA, but decided to take an offer in Cincinnati, OH instead. It was still early in our relationship and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, so I moved with him. I figured I would get a job after we relocated. We rented an apartment on a short lease without seeing it first on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River.

Shortly after we moved to yet another city where I didn’t know anyone else, Bear told me to make my own friends because he wasn’t going to be my entertainment. So I did. First I went out a few times and partied with a lady I met while working a temp job as a proofreader. Later I partied a lot with the people who worked with me at the large law firm. It seemed that his declaration was the turning point in our relationship, and nothing was ever the same after that.

Bear also became somewhat addicted to the internet. His nerd side was strong – his mind was blown with the potential the internet held at that point – and that meant that he was on it constantly. Part of the problem was that resources were available that never had been before, like being able to buy video games that weren’t always sold in the immediate vicinity. Oh, and the porn…

So the problem was that money that was supposed to go for rent was being used up by video games and porn. I was unhappy because there were a few times when Bear would blow his portion of the rent on games and I would have to pay for everything. He also spent money and time on porn instead of joining me. There were so many times I would beg him to come to bed, and he would refuse. I felt ugly and undesirable. Since I was living with a nerd, I was becoming more computer and internet savvy myself. I started to go to chat rooms, and then I began talking to men in private chat sessions.

My first trip to Europe was in May of 1999. I was visiting a university friend who lives in England for ten days. I had been saving and saving, knowing that even though I had a free place to stay, there would still be lots of expenses. A week before leaving, Bear revealed to me that he didn’t have the rent money again because he had purchased video games. I was absolutely furious. Like a true daughter of an alcoholic, my brain went into dissociation mode and I completely forgot what Bear’s face looked like. In fact, when he picked me up from the airport at the end of my trip with a fist full of flowers, I walked straight past him like he was a stranger – he had to call out my name and grab my arm.

A few weeks later I met up with one of the men from the chats while Bear was working. I was so eager that I failed to properly turn off the computer, so the message box was still there for Bear to see when he got home from work and the house was empty. Of course he read it, all of it. When I got home, he was sitting on the edge of our bed, looking absolutely crushed.

We broke up but continued to live in the same apartment and sleep in the same bed because we were still obligated to the lease we signed. Luckily it ran its course within two months and we could move on. We actually stayed friendly through the breakup – he helped me move into my new apartment, and he joined me at a friend’s house for Thanksgiving (my friend’s mom introduced us as, “This is Kiwi and this is Bear and they were dating and now they’re not, so I don’t know”).

Bear later went on to marry one of our mutual friends and have two sons – the two sons we used to discuss when we were a couple and talking about our future. He even named them the names he had picked out then.

Today I had a chance to trade messages with him and catch up. Bear is now divorced and in a relationship with another woman, and his sons have adjusted well to the major shift in the household. We exchanged information about our families and friends. I also sincerely apologized for cheating on him, acknowledging that I did not have the best tools at age 25-26 to deal with my anger and disappointment, and I hurt him deeply. He very graciously told me that it was forgiven and forgotten. I cried big, fat tears.