I promised a (new) friend

I don’t write much these days, which is no revelation, but I promised a friend that I would start again, a little every day.

She’s actually a new friend. I met her online. That’s right on an online dating site and we are actually friends.

Question: Does this conflict with my rule that I do not write about any woman I have dated until I’m certain there is no longer a chance of any romantic involvement?

We are just friends after all. Yes, we did meet via an online dating site. And yes, we did go out a couple of times, but neither time was what one would classify as a date. When I suggested a real date is when she – we’ll call her Casey – told me that there was another guy that she’d met only just before meeting me and that while I was interesting and attractive to her and definitely someone she would consider dating she felt compelled to pursue this other relationship. But, she did enjoy meeting me and talking with me and hoped that we could possibly pursue a friendship.

Yeah, right. Sure. Whatever. That’s what I thought at the time. This sort of thing has happened before. It’s a standard brush off, because people don’t mean it when they say they want to try to be friends. That is what I have experienced, and as such I usually just move on. But that was not the case this time. It took some time to figure it out but Casey was/is genuine. And we are now friends. And I’m quite pleased with the friendship – it strikes me to have potential to be one of the more significant relationships in my life, at least for now but I sense there is a future there as well, whatever that might be.

But here is the rub —  no not that kind of rub; get your mind out of the freaking gutter – the guy she “brushed me off” for is now out of the picture, or so it would seem. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that he’s currently exiting the picture, but not quite gone. So what does this mean?

Question a la When Harry Met Sally: Can a man and woman really be friends?

I don’t know. I don’t know that anyone knows. I’m not even so sure that it really matters.

I find that I have adjusted my perspective when it comes to “meeting people” now. In this way; before I had expectations, too many – I’d find myself futurizing (is that even a word?) about a relationship before it even had a chance to really begin. And that was always bad. Or it turned out badly in any case. So now, I try – as much as is possible – to simply be open to experiencing a relationship with a new person, and simply letting it be whatever it is going to be – friendship, romantic, etc. At least this way you can be sure that whatever it turns into it is genuine, or as close to it as possible, rather than something that one or the other or both people orchestrated, which seems so… phony, and ultimately sad.

Anyhoo…I promised Casey I would write. And there, I did.

Up with People on her way to Toledo

Though  it’s been awhile since I last posted it’s not for lack of material. I’ve simply been too busy. With work. And a Memorial Day weekend vacation. And if you think being married and raising a kid takes up time try being divorced and doing it — seems to be even more time-consuming, not to mention stressful. Anyhoo…

The night before I headed down to West Virginia for Memorial Day weekend to visit relatives, I spoke with a woman that I met on eHarmony…or was it OkCupid. I can’t recall now. I do remember that she contacted me and things progressed rather quickly, communication-wise. Long story short — next thing I knew I was talking on the phone with this chick, Vivian we’ll call her (although why I’m bothering with an alias I have not a fucking clue; zero chance we’ll talk again much less anything developing, and I don’t know her last name, but still….), while she was packing up to head to Toledo for the weekend, a bit of coincidence since I was heading in that direction, though ultimately father south.

It wasn’t my idea. She texted me, saying something akin to “Wanna call and keep me company on my drive to Toledo?” How could I resist, right? Why I didn’t it still a mystery to me. I’d been working long days and had planned to wake up early for my 7-8 hour drive to Wild Wonderful West Virginia. But I did….

And almost immediately I knew it was a mistake. I knew this woman I and did not click, were not going to click, were simply not click-able. Why? Well, I’m sure the reasons are varied and complex, but to simplify things — she was just freakin’ annoying.

Now, don’t get wrong. I can appreciate someone with a positive attitude about life, especially in face of adversity. It’s impressive….to a point. And then it just becomes and obvious facade, an act, and you got to wonder who it’s for exactly. Them or the rest of the world. Who knows? Who cares?

But hey, people should be allowed to adopt whatever phony persona they like, right.

What was more annoying than that was the patronizing pity because. To wit: “I’m sorry you’re unhappy.”

To which I retorted: “I’m not unhappy.”

Confused silence. Followed by: “Um…okay…if you say so.”

“I did.”

“Did what?”

“Say so.”

More silence.Then Vivian transitioned into the positive lessons she’d learned from her failed marriage and ugly divorce. She didn’t say what she learned exactly. And being curious/skeptical by nature, I asked. “What did you learn?”

Her response was an awkward mash-up of cliches and platitudes and half-vague sentiments that amounted to little in my opinion. But who knows what passes for wisdom for some people. She then asked me what I’d learned.

After considering for a moment, I said, “Well, I learned that people are essentially selfish and self-serving. And they will do most anything to get what they want/need. Others be damned.”

Again I got the patronizing pity. “I’m sorry.”

“Why?”

“Well, because….that sucks.”

How astute, I thought, but did not say so.

From there she proved my assertion that people are selfish even after disagreeing with it by dominating the conversation, barely allowing me to get a word in edgewise. She yammered on about:

  • The books she was going to write, entitled something like The Horror and the Humor, about her marriage and divorce and ex blah blah blah. I wanted to tell her that it sounded terrifyingly bad, but I was in a charitable mood, as much as I am capable of such a thing.
  • How her step-sons loved her and loathed their mother. Apparently, they pleaded with her to move back to Michigan to be near them blah blah blah. I didn’t have the heart to refute this delusion, even if I had she wouldn’t shut up long enough to allow it. Despite what any step-kids says to their step-parent they will never stop pining for their shitty parents’ love and acceptance. Trust me. I’ve seen this twisted pathology play itself out first hand.
  • Her job — I forget what she did.
  • Her family — drawing a blank on the details here a well.

Truth is after awhile it just became noise, and I tuned it out. I was tired and just wanted to get to bed so I could get up and get in my car and drive to West Virginia in the morning.

Driving long distances is therapeutic. For me anyway.

Should I be annoyed….

…by this response on eHarmony from a woman I contacted?

Hi Chris, wanted to send you a note as I find your profile very humorous and appealing. But I am pursuing a relationship and have shut down matches.
If my situation changes I will seek you out. Chances are you will be snapped up.
Best of luck to you,

I mean, yeah, sure, it’s complimentary, but really why respond at all? That’s what most people do. That’s what I do.

Would you rather get no response or response such as this?

Perhaps I’ve become too sensitive, or even grown paranoid? I don’t know. All I know is that this irked me. Makes me wonder why she felt the need to respond as such. I guess it felt a bit patronizing, as if I needed her assurances or something. As if….pffft.

Anyhoo….

Lydia’s Rules

My previous post was about the first woman that I ever dated via an online site. I called her Lydia.

The thing about Lydia — she had a lot of rules, or so it seemed to me.

As stated in my previous post, the first sign of this fetish reared it’s neurotic, anal-retentive, control-freak head shorty after our first date when I did not — and I roughly paraphrase — ask her out in the proper way at the appropriate time. I got quite the tongue lashing over this point, and not the good kind either — Lydia’s tongue was not pierced, though quite effective all the same…oh, no he didn’t! ….oh yeth he did <snap>! Why I didn’t run quickly in the other direction, as most everyone agreed that I should, I do not know. In any case, lesson learned.

Example: when another online connection (this one via OkCupid) went ballistic on me over a simply joke via text, I cut off all connection toot sweet.

General rule of thumb: anyone you meet via an online dating site is severally damaged and should be considered at least an emotional/psychological threat until proven otherwise.

Another one of Lydia’s rules — no talking while watching TV or a movie. And I mean none. Now, anyone who knows me knows that is about as possible for me as sneezing with my eyes open. Shit ain’t going to happen. And didn’t. Which eventually earned me a : “Don’t you ever just shut up and watch the movie?”

If I were to ever meet her family there was plenty I could not say and could not do. One thing in particular was I could not denigrate, criticize or otherwise speak ill of the University of Michigan, especially the football program, because her brother was such a big, serious fan. Apparently he was one of those pretentious pussy UofM fans that simply can’t comprehend, much less abide, that someone might not be a blue and maize fan. Again, this was not going to happen I went to Eastern Michigan In Ypsilanti, a stoner’s throw away from the blue and gold heaven, and not as a stepping stone to The UofM either. So by definition I was not a fan and prone to knock the place a form of penis envy. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to needle this wolverine-loving prick because I never met her family. And I feel all empty inside because of it too.

According to Lydia’s rules I was not allowed to ever complain or gripe about my ex or the results of my divorce but she could bitch to high heaven about anything under the sun that happen to put her panties in a bunch. And trust me her panties were plenty bunched much of the time.

Also according to Lydia I was an idiot,  a fact that she pointed out at every opportunity. It began a a kind of joke, a sarcastic quip, but eventually it simply stopped being funny. You know, like when a little kid tells you the same joke over and over again and expects you to laugh but you just can’t because it’s not funny anymore. Well, in addition to this standard tag line of Lydia’s losing it’s humorous appeal, it simply seemed mean. I politely suggested one night that she might want to come up some new material. She did not take it well.

I remember saying to her one time while we were at dinner, “You have a lot of rules, you know that” I was only half serious. Still, it was true. And she glommed onto that statement and threw it back at me eventually. Franky, I think she was constantly parsing my words for later ammo.

It always seemed as if she was looking for reason for to skuttle the relationship from the get go.

I have to see if I can stand your company….

I have to figure out if you’re cheap….

I have to know if you’re smart enough…

I have to decide if your suitable to introduce to my family…friends…etc.

and on and on.

I kind of felt like science experiment to this woman. He approach to a relationship was very… I don’t know…very not just analytical, but cold and calculating, almost sociopathic. Not that ever felt in danger or anything. Although perhaps I should have. Hmm.

In the end, I think there was something fundamentally sad about Lydia and her little life in her little condo that she’d been living in, alone, for going on 8 years, even though when she bought it she figured she’d only be there 3 or 4 tops. I remember her telling me that when she bought the place there had been some conversation with someone about her future in the place, to which she replied: “If I’m still living here in 7 years, kill me, please.” And I remember thinking, lady, in a lot ways you’re already dead.

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.

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.

Now what…?

I started this post last night but I was sipping Johnny Walker Red and things kind of spiraled out of control  weeeeeee…… So why don’t we try this again, shall we….

I realize that I have been derelict in my blogging duties, mildly disappointing at least 3 or even 4 semi-faithful readers on a random basis, but what can I tell you… I have a job dammit, that’s what.

I was going to blog about my new job, which is pretty interesting actually. I work with some cool people. Plus, we get free slushies and popcorn. Grape is my favorite. However, despite these fascinating facet I haven’t managed to muster the enthusiasm to post much about it. Perhaps it is just work after all.

But then this weekend I wondered if it might possibly be worthwhile to blog about my recent online dating experiences. No one has ever done that before, right. It’ll be gold, I tell you. Gold! Or at least Gabby Hayes big.

Anyhoo….

Of course, like most people who don’t have their head up their butt, I was familiar with the concept of online dating but also I suppose like many people I was reluctant to try it, never mind that I know of at least three people who met their current spouses online and are quite happy. Perhaps it had more to do with the fact that in the wake of my divorce I was still pretty raw and simply not ready to date at all. I needed time.

Flash forward: a little more than a year after my divorce was official. I didn’t even put that much though into it. I just happened to be kicking around online and I was feeling pretty good — I had a new job after being unemployed only two months, quit an accomplishment I thought in this economy and job market, especially here in Michigan, and since I’d moved back in with my parents in order to help them out (they are in their 80s) as well afford me the opportunity to save some money so that I might buy my own house one day (ex got that in the divorce), which is the best way for me to get back more equal time with my daughter — and I thought why not check it out.

So I did.

But there are so many sites to choose from.

eHarmony

Match.com

AdultFriendFinder.com – Yikes!

POF (Plenty of Fish)

Are you interesed (via facebook)

Which to choose?

It was quite a dilemma.

How did I resolve it?

Tune in next episode and find out.

Don’t you fucking hate cliffhangers?