I Know You Don’t Mean It

After I told the Go Stand In The Corner guy that I didn’t want to be his fantasy chat friend on Fet, he still tried to draw me in with more messages. So in the vein of Lin-Manuel, no means no means no means no means no…….well, anyway.

[Break for making arrangements to get the compounded medication to control my hives. I have to try one week of pills to see if I’m going to be allergic to the vegetable-based capsule they use for the powder. Total for 14 pills: $38. Not covered by Medicaid.]

Then I get another gem in my FetLife inbox, completely out of the blue, from a guy I’ve never had any contact with before in a town that is about an hour and a half south of Minneapolis:

Hey there beautiful. I just thought I would send you a text and tell you that you’re one great looking woman. In my eyes bald women are beautiful as I am bald myself. I know you say that you have health problems right now but I still wish that we could talk and hopefully meet as I will come to you as long as you let me. You seem like the type of woman that knows what she wants and I’m the type of guy that also knows what I want and that is you. I’m a gentleman that works too much but also enjoys beautiful women As You Are. I’m serious about meeting you as I would like to meet you now today tomorrow Sunday soon as possible as I don’t want no one else to steal you away from me. Give me a shout out if you’re interested in talking and we can go from there.

So, this is what my profile says:

I relocated from Phoenix back to my home state to be closer to family so they can take care of me during a serious health crisis. Feel free to message me but be aware that I cannot do any socializing of any variety right now. Respect my boundaries.

Now, is there anything in there that says, “Except you, guy. You know absolutely nothing about me including whether I even drink coffee but you know you’re going to make me happy for the rest of my life because you want to do dirty things to my bald head.”????

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Please, Sir, May I Have Some More?

My parents’ generation were the product of parents who lived through the Great Depression. My grandparents had to be creative with their resources; the flour companies started making pretty prints on their flour sacks once they figured out that mothers across America were using the sacks to make dresses. Re-purposing so that nothing went to waste, our grandparents were also guilty of turning their yards and barns into trash heaps. They were fearful of throwing anything away in case it would be needed in the future.

My parents’ generation, the baby boomer generation, turned around and said to their kids, “I’m going to give you everything I didn’t have,” which really meant that they wanted their kids to have new stuff. This started a trend of some of my classmates actually having cars being purchased for them, or having college tuition being paid for them, and by middle class – not wealthy – parents. Credit cards also started circulating heavily and regulations became non-existent, making it incredibly easy to rack up debt.

Now my peers are struggling to make ends meet and are in debt up to their ears while still providing cars and tuition and pocket-sized computers to their children as if they are staples, not privileges.

There’s a lot of talk about going back to basics and scaling back, while also teaching our children about how to manage money and understanding the consequences of debt.

I’m in a different kind of quandary, however. I need to figure out how to be poor. I mean really, really poor, in the current system – not what it was, and not what we wish it would be.

Back in 1995 when I took the road trip around the U.S. to pick a new place to live and ran out of money and said, “Okay, Albuquerque!”, I was poor. I landed with $100 and slept on someone’s futon for a month. But I was also able-bodied and picked up two jobs and moved into an apartment within a few weeks. I still had times where I lived off of $10 a week for groceries, but this is a little different. This is finite.

I sat down with the financial planner at my bank and figured out the rest of my bills for this year. However, I’m really stressing about my bed. It’s sagging and I can feel the springs poking through even with a thick foam topper – really bad for my fibromyalgia – and it’s only a year and a half old, and I’ve worn through it because I’m in bed for about 20-22 hours every day. Sleep Number is running a sale right now through September 11th and I could replace this bed for about $1100 including their least expensive base, and that would take care of the springs issue and would probably last 6-10 years. Do I buy it? Or does buying it now put me that much closer to eviction next year? If I’m evicted, what am I going to do with the bed? If I get housing at some point down the line, I’m going to need it again, uncontaminated by mold/dust/dander because of my mast cell disease.

I’ve had alopecia since the age of 3, and I lost my hair completely 14 years ago. There is a 30% off sale going on right now, which would give me a considerable discount on the wig I usually wear. Should I get that instead of a bed (it’s much less expensive)? Should I just give up on wigs now anyway because if I’m evicted next year for non-payment I won’t be able to afford them anyway and I don’t deserve to be so vain?

I have enough in my account to get me through to November of 2017. I’m a worrier by nature. All I can think about is, what am I going to do if I get turned down for disability? I mean, I hope the disability hearing happens by November 2017, because I filed for it in February 2016, and they are running 18-22 months behind (but just in case I have my senator flagging this case as “congressional interest”). Priority housing is given to people who are verified as disabled or who have children; if I am not verified as disabled (because I don’t have a diagnosis) and I don’t have children, I won’t have enough “points” to qualify for housing. All of my friends and family have pets and I’m deathly allergic, so moving in with them is not an option.

I’m concerned about both my mom’s health and my mom and step-dad’s financial stability, and my step-mom’s husband’s health and their financial stability. I’m concerned about my sister’s health and her family’s financial well-being. I’m concerned about my brother’s brand new baby who is due in the next few weeks and his little family’s financial stability. I recognize that they all have grave concerns of their own while they try to shield me from them and simultaneously try to take care of me. Certainly none of them can afford to pay for another adult’s living expenses.

I receive notices from friends telling me that I should support certain causes. I’ve said repeatedly that I don’t have any income and I won’t for at least another year, if at all, but they take “income” to mean working income. They just assume that I receive disability, even though I’ve said repeatedly and clearly that I’ve been turned down for disability numerous times. It wears me out to worry about being homeless, and I’m pretty overwhelmed by all the stuff I have to do to further my own cause since all of the offers of help were not really followed up on except by a select few, and it’s humiliating that I have to repeat myself to be heard.

This weekend I had a former fuck buddy hit me up out of the blue after years of silence to try to give me shit about moving back to my home state, mocking me about my claim that I was done with snow and cold when I moved to Arizona in 2003. I told him that I was pretty fucking sick and had stumped 54 doctors so far and could no longer live without assistance; he said he was working on three hangovers and he was sorry I was sick. He loves to talk about how he’s tired of welfare assholes, and I’m sure he thinks I’m one now too. We can’t even really have a conversation with each other anymore because in his eyes as well as in the view of the government, I have no value.

So where is the class that teaches me to navigate being homeless on the streets in a snow state? Do I get a free map to all of the soup kitchens? Where’s the best place to stash my cart outside while I warm up and surf the net in the library? How do I make a shank?

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.

 

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>