In which I cast into the past and snag a barracuda

So last weekend and early this week was a whirlwind of online dating drama, but things have since mellowed, which is cool only it doesn’t provide much in the way of fodder for this here blog.

To remedy that allow me to turn back the clock, to when I first started online dating, signing up pretty much on a whim and plopping down a whole year’s subscription on eHarmony — why not just a six months, or only three even, just to test the waters? Why? Ah, well. Matters not now. Nothing to be done about it.

This particular cast into the past lands us firmly at the end of October, just before Halloween, the most Generation X of all the holidays in my humble but masterfully astute opinion — do not question my author-a-tie! In fact, it was exactly the 30th of the month, when I was first matched with the first woman I would ever date via any online service — I was on yahoo singles (or whatever it is) briefly during my separation but had no luck with it, unlike my ex but that’s a whole other gripe. Anyhoo… back to my online first, the woman who popped my online dating cherry. Let’s call her, oh, say ….Lydia.

Lydia was anything but a tatooed lady — trust me I had ample access and time to investigate — but she was very cool all the same. Or so I thought. What snagged me was how much we had in common in terms of movies and a penchant for reading and TV. Also, she was quite witty, at least at first. Plenty of witty banter  via eHarmony email, which Lydia suggested we abandoned for regular email since being eHarmony wasn’t very, in her words, “work friendly,” by which I now understand her to mean that she was at least slightly embarrassed to be utilizing. I wonder, is she still? Meh. Hardly matters now, does it.

What followed was a barrage of emails, at first, and then chatting via gmail chat. The more we communicated the more we seemed to click. Finally, Lydia suggested we meet. I was all for that. I suggested either Royal Oak or Ferndale as there is much to do  in both places. She put the kibosh on both. “No Royal Oak. No Ferndale,” she insisted. Fine by me although I was more than a bit curious as to why. What was wrong with these places? I supposed I would find out in time. Instead, we met at a bar in Troy, little neighborhood place. We had  drink and talked, and were comfortable enough to order some food. We talked some more. And it seemed to me that the more we talked the more we seemed to click. I was excited to hit it off with someone so quickly. I had been more than tad skeptical of the whole process, and not willing to get my hopes up. But I was wrong. This chick was cool.

And then… Well, apparently for our second date I was not nearly Johnny-on-the-spot enough for her likingI was chastized via chat for not asking her out in the right way, in the right time. Would we have ever gone out had she not suggested it? Fuck if I knew. I was instructed that I needed to ask her out early in the week so that she could properly plan her week and weekends. And fuck me if I didn’t agree. Anyone I told this too insisted it was a red flag. And I did not deny it but for some reason I ignored the warnings.

So we went out on a few more dates through November, leading up to her birthday, for which I decided to get her something. Nothing serious, something fun. I got her days of the week underpants because we both liked the movie “When Harry Met Sally”. I did not expect her to ever even wear them. Also, I got her Reese’s Peanutbutter Cups because chocolate and peanutbutter are her favorite. And a little convertible Hot Wheels car because we’d had a joke — she’d asked me what I was getting her for her bday, and I said, nothing big, just a car. She requested a convertible. There was also a card and a collection of short stories that I hoped she might like, “Bad Behavior”, by Mary Gaitskill. She seemed to like the gifts all around.

Things progressed into December and we actually spent part of Christmas Day together. I introduced her to my brother and his partner. They seemed to like her. My birthday came up and she got me two seasons of SCRUBS on DVD. And we made plans to spend New Year’s Eve together, which we did. I made her dinner, homemade pasta and meatballs, a salad, some wine, a dessert. By New Year’s Day she was done with me. It was clear. She just wouldn’t or couldn’t say it. And for some reason I hung around. Still not sure why.

There were plenty of other red flags and drama and gipes I’d love to expound upon. But I’ll get into those next time. I’m tired.

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You tell me….

Previously I had stated that I would not blog about any relationship that was currently open, on-going, had potential to go somewhere, I would only blog about those that were closed, dead, finito. I was working up to some that hit the skids some time back, but I’ve got a more recent occurrence I’d like to blather about, if you don’t mind.

So shall we….

In a recent post I explained that a big turn on for me is a sense of humor. I love it. This means not only being able to engage in witty banter but also being able to get/take a joke, most of the time. I know that jokes don’t always go over well, if at all. It’s the nature of the beast. And sometimes they can even hurt and offend. But when that happens one should be at least willing to hear an explanation and/or an apology.

Where am I going with this?

I’m glad you asked.

Last night I had a date with this woman I’d met via OkCupid. Let’s call her ….Rita, okay. Rita and I had already met briefly a week prior and decided that we liked each other enough to try for an actual date. During the past week we had exchanged text messages from time to time, many of which were flirty and jokey in manner, although eventually she told me that she hated texting. Fine. No biggie. Although part of me thought — here come the rules. Still, she said it was fine to text her anytime she just wasn’ that into it, so naturally I not only backed off I told her I’d be glad to call and talk sometime if she preferred, just let me know when would be the best time. She never got back to me on that. In any case, I was looking forward to meeting her again. She was (probably still is too) smart and clever, funny, accomplished, and quite attractive — I’ve never seen eyes that blue before ,I’m telling you.

So Saturday comes and I’ve got some things to attend to during the day. Well, while I’m out I get a text saying that she can’t make it, she’s run into some difficulties with her kids. I was disappointed for sure, but totally understood. I know how it can be with kids, and she has two, plus recently divorced and essentially a single mom. So I texted her back and told her not to worry about it all. And that maybe we could meet another time, if she wanted — not assuming that she wanted, as she may simply have changed her mind about me for whatever reason.

Well, then a funny thing occurred to me and I texted it to her. I texted that I had to make a confession. That I was actually kind of relieved that she’d cancelled as I’d accidentally pulled a Peter Brady and booked two dates for the same night and at my age did not have the energy to run back and forth between two women. I added to the text a wink 😉 and the explicit explanation that it was a joke. Just to be sure.

Rita did NOT get the joke. Her response seemed to indicate that she was serious, although initially I thought she was joking back. She was not. I explained again that it was a joke, that I had not booked two dates, that I would not do that, not for the same night anyway. I apologized if it was ill-advised. I tried to call her, thinking that maybe this required a verbal explanation and even apology. She would not answer. She would not take my call, despite my pleas. She was convinced that I was a playa and trying to purposely hurt her, that this was typical of the men on OkCupid. I told her  (via text) that I did not mean to hurt her. She texted back: I said tried. You did not hurt me. I am stronger than that. Well, clearly I had at least truck a nerve and I felt badly and wanted to understand it, but she was not allowing it.

Finally, I asked her how my joke was any different than when she said, at our initial meeting, that she needed me to go because she had other candidates to interview, which I thought was quite funny. She responded with: Please, no more texts. So I obliged.

For a moment, I considered getting online and emailing her via the site to try and explain but in the end I opted not to. I texted a female friend and asked her opinion, which was that it was total drama and to take it as a red flag and to run. So I decided to do just that. I eradicated her electronic footprint from my life, blocking her on OkCupid, deleting our correspondences and removing her from my cell phone. I do not need that kind of crap in my life. And I will not be manipulated by that kind of emotional terrorism.

Since this incident I have received confirmation from at least two other women that Rita’s reaction was troubling at best, and disturbing at worst, and definitely more than reason enough to have nothing to do with her anymore. It was suggested to me that I tell her to leave me alone but I think a non-response is the best one. It was also suggested to me that it would not be surprising if she actually contacted me at some point. I doubt that, but we’ll see.

What do people think? Was my joke funny? Out of line? Ill-advised? Hurtful? Cruel? Harmless? And if it was a bad joke should I have been at least afforded opportunity to explain and apologize or whatever? Do chime in. Enquiring minds want to know. So do I.

I beginning to believe that online dating sites are receptacles for bat-shit crazy women. Maybe men too, I don’t know. You tell me.

Back to work

It’s been a busy month and a half.

Since the beginning of September I have taken two road trips. The first to Indiana to visit my brother and his family — daughter Addy came along on that one. The second was over Labor Day weekend to visit my relatives in West Virginia, a solo trip. Then I moved out of my apartment and back in with my folks. And, I collected my final unemployment check, not because my stipend had run out but because I started a new job. I was on unemployment for only 8 weeks. Don’t think I don’t know how lucky I am, especially when you consider all the people who have been out of work for months and and years, especially here in Michigan. I got lucky, I know it.

Speaking of my job, it is pretty cool. I’m not going to name the place, though. It’s an office job with all the Dilbert-esque accouterments that that entails, like cubes and copy machines and daily meetings, but the people are really cool. I like it there. Hey, we get free slushies (made from Faygo) and popcorn daily. Coffee too. This week’s slushy flavors are Lemonade and Rock n Rye. Last week it was Grape and Red Pop.

Recently JenX67 posted on her blog an entry that is, in part, about Generation X in the work place. My office is full of GenXers. I’d say mostly GenXers, from what I can gather. But there are plenty of Gen Yers/Millennials as well. In fact, my immediate supervisor is one. He’s maybe 24 or 25 years old. I heard someone ask him where he went to high school and he said Fitzgerald, graduated in 2006. I stood up at my cube and, speaking over the half-wall, said, “Hey. I went there.”

“What?” he said. “You taught there?”

I said, “No. I graduated from Fitz…twenty years before you did.” I graduated in 1986. He laughed.

My supervisor is very cool, very hip. And very good at his job. I like him a lot. I was asked by someone if it bothered me to be “taking orders” from someone so much younger than myself. But you know, it doesn’t. I could really care less. I’m there to work and to learn and he has plenty to teach, so my ears are wide open. You know, I think I’d rather have this young guy than some aging Babyboomer. At least with my boss I don’t have to listen to droning nostalgia about the 60s or The Beatles or anything like that. My boss digs JZ.

In my immediate area there a few other  GenXers. And few a Gen Yers as well.

The other day 0ur supervisor, in response to something someone else said, replied, “Awesome blossom.” He said he didn’t know why he said it.

I asked him if he was referring to the 80s TV show “Blossom.” The other GenXer’s near me just laughed and said that could not possibly be the case, he, our boss, was way too young. I’m pretty sure he didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. Although strangely enough he was singing that Sade “Smooth Operator” today. So….

Maybe this is an opportunity to blog about GenX in the workplace. Gen Y too for that matter. We’ll see. I’ll be working long hours soon, 10 to 12 hours a day some day. This new schedule means I don’t see my daughter as much. She stays with her mom more, not an ideal situation or one that I want but one has to do what one has to do. Addy and I will just have to make the time we do have together count.

“thirtysomething”

I know, I know. I’m not thirtysomething. I’m fortysomething. I barely remember my thirtysomethings. But I do remember the show “thirtysomething”, which I have been watching  again recently. Well, not so much watching as listening to, on Hulu where all 4 seasons (85 one-hour episodes in all) are currently available while I’m  at work, because my job is so mundane and routine I need something to get me through the day. Of course, that won’t be a problem for long, will it now.

I’m actually watching/listening to an episode right now, although I’m not at work. Episode 19 of season 3. It’s the one where Hope, oh so  perfect Hope, is beginning to be attracted to this guy John that she’ s working with to kill a community trash incinerator. Of course, Michael is so into  his career at DAA, the advertising agency, he does not really notice what is going on.

Anyhoo… I remember really digging this show when it first aired in the 80s, even though it was about a bunch of whiny yuppy Boomers. But I don’t think I really understood it then. How could? I was in my early twenties. What did I know? Not like I do now, now that I’ve become a parent,have  been married, and am now divorced. It really hits home, sometimes a bit too sharply. But I can’t stop watching it.

In contrast, Generation X has it’s own mid-life TV show in Parenthood, which in some ways is a better show, but I’m probably biased.

No music….

….please!

One of the real bummers of my current circumstances, i.e. getting divorced, is that I can no longer enjoy music. In fact, I can barely stand it.

I’ve always lived with the notion that music can be a comfort and cathartic, especially when you’re down, but for me right now it is just painful. It is the emotional equivalent of chewing on tinfoil.

Of course, I’ve never been a music connoisseur, but I’ve always  liked music, like anyone else. So to suddenly have it be a source of discomfort rather than pleasure is disheartening to say the least.

This is especially a problem for me at work, because I have a job where I sit at my computer all day and listening to music is one of the ways that helps you pass the time. But as stated above I can’t do that. Instead, I listen to TV shows online. I’m not so sure that listening to TV shows provides comfort as much as it is simply a distraction, which isn’t bad except there isn’t real joy in it, you know.

I do get some semblance of joy from reading still, thank God! Don’ t  know what I would do if I couldn’t read. I read all the time, somteimes several books simultaneously. But I can’t read while I’m working.

Writing helps but in a different way. It isn’t so much about joy or distraction as it is about making order of chaos. It is helpful to write, to shape the ides, to reconsider and rewrite.

Why am I not doing this for a live, you might ask?

Good fucking question. Why not indeed?

Day after tomorrow angst

Does anyone else remember that made-for-tv movie The Day After about nuclear holocaust?

I do. And it scared the shit out of me. I’m not sure if the fear of nuclear war was there in my head before I saw it but once I did it was an ever-present angst.

Well, discovered a book which is a kind of memoir about growing up with that particular angst. It’s called The Day After The Day After: My Atomic Angst.

I’m guessing I’ll be able to identify. Just a little bit…