How I spent Sunday or defining “let’s be friends”

Continuing with the story of my weekend (my first date story here)…

Friday morning, a friend (the one who’s also exploring online dating) emailed to ask if I’d be interested in going to the baseball game with her on Sunday. A guy she’d been out with a few times invited her and “a friend” to the game – she’d expressed to him that she’d like to just be friends, and she’d told me a couple of times that I might be a better fit for him since they didn’t seem to connect. Let’s continue to call him Insurance Guy.

I’m not a huge baseball fan. Hell, I’m not a sports fan. But the invite to spend time with my friend, enjoy a game (and a few beers) from a suite, and possibly meet someone who might be a match seemed like a good idea. I agreed.

On the drive to the stadium, she filled me in – Insurance Guy is a nice guy, owns a successful business, has been divorced for eight years, just ended a six-year relationship, but just not into running (she’s a marathoner). The lack of his willingness to run 26 miles was a deal breaker for her. Of course, she thought I might be compatible.

Side note: While my bar is set at an average level for dating (unless you live in your parent’s basement and are unemployed and think you’re invisible and play D&D all day…), my criteria include a few more things other than “does not run marathons.”

We laughed and talked about our online dating experiences on the way to the stadium. I filled her in on my date with B. She told me that she and Insurance Guy had dinner the night before with two other couples. The dinner reaffirmed that she thought of him as a friend, and nothing more. She said she gave him the friends talk – again – the night before the game.

As soon as we entered the suite, I knew there was a problem. Insurance Guy light up when he saw my friend. He rushed over to her, hugged her, rubbed her back in a more-than-friendly way, and led her further into the room. I realized that this dude wasn’t getting the “friends” thing.

I stayed close to my friend throughout the couple of hours we were at the game. We separated ourselves from the rest of the attendees, including Insurance Guy. But there was no escaping him.

At one point, my friend and I were sitting just outside the suite. She was sitting as far away as possible from Insurance Guy;  I was closer to the suite door. Insurance Guy leaned in as far as he could to try to get in front of my friend. Instead he was totally in my personal space, his big head far too close to mine. He was trying to convince my friend to go for a walk with him. Not happening.

Insurance Guy was weird. He was entirely insincere. He made really bad jokes and had a super annoying laugh (and he laughed at his own jokes, a lot). For example, at least four times in the couple of hours we were there, he “joked” about the “touchdowns” during the baseball game. And then he laughed hysterically. We get it, dude, and it still isn’t funny.

He also sent his “friends” in the suite out into the stadium to buy him microbrews. Seems he is too good to drink the local fave national beer, which was stocked in the suite fridge. Even more disturbing, he didn’t offer my friend or me the better beer. Nope, we were left with drinking the beer in the suite – the beer he wouldn’t drink. Insurance Guy also kept talking about money – “ordering pizza here cost me $42 for one large pie” and “That 6-pack of soda was $18.” Who the F- cares, dude? If money is an issue, don’t do the suite thing.

The guys he invited to the suite were super creepy, too. One guy, a beer-bellied middle-aged balding guy, kept making reference to what a jerk he thinks the star player is. “He walks around like he has a 12-inch dick,” beer-belly kept saying – at least five times he referenced the player’s manhood. Jealous much?

My friend and I couldn’t wait to leave. Luckily, she told him we had to leave by 3, which left us only a few hours to “enjoy” the suite. Insurance Guy hugged both of us before we left – lingering way too long when he hugged my friend. On the walk to the car, I told her that Insurance Guy wasn’t on the same “friends” page, and that I thought she needed to be super aggressive with letting this guy go.

The afternoon didn’t go quite as planned, but I continued my weekend streak of laughing and smiling – albeit for different reasons than my date with B. Cross Insurance Guy off my friend’s dating list – and mine.

Coming soon: a few more thoughts about B.

First date with B

What a ridiculously fantastic weekend! I’m exhausted from laughing and smiling and good conversation and…fun.

Friday, Ethan tested for his next taekwondo belt. He did great and will be receiving his high purple belt this week. I also met with the school system about transitioning Lauren to a speech program in the fall. She’s been tested and qualifies for a special group two days a week.

But then…

Saturday was the big first date with B. I wasn’t really nervous, but more anxious. I prepared thought starter questions, in case our conversation lulled. I researched the restaurant at which we were meeting to make sure I would be dressed appropriately and to get a sense of the wine list. I checked out a few different routes to get there, since there was a baseball game and traffic was sure to be a mess.

Sporting dressy denim, a black sweater (too low-cut? Major cleavage debates happened in my head before I decided a little peak of one – two? – of my best assets was probably okay), a bright turquoise scarf (he said he favors jewel tones), and black and pewter ballet flats (I suspected he might not be too tall so heels were a no), I set off for the restaurant. In my inability to ever be late, I arrived almost 20 minutes early. I drove around the neighborhood for a while before finding a spot in the small parking lot.

I surfed Facebook for a while. Called my sister to talk about my niece’s prom that night. Listened to empowering music. And tried not to sweat (40 degrees but air conditioning blazing).

About 10 minutes before we were supposed to meet, he called. “Dammit!” I thought as I looked at his name on my phone. “He’s standing me up. I knew it was too good to be true!”

I debated letting the call roll to voicemail, but decided to answer it. His voice was slightly higher than normal. He was obviously uncomfortable.

“You won’t believe this…” he began. “I am so excited to meet you, so looking forward to tonight…” Turns out, he locked himself out of the house. Keys in the kitchen. No way in. I laughed (maybe too much, too long), told him it was okay, and that I’d see him soon. (He finally got into the house by shimmying a window in the sun porch and unlocking the back door.)

I texted with a friend, filling her in on what was happening. “I’m sure he’s dying!” she wrote. Instantly, I realized that he was probably ridiculously embarrassed. It wasn’t long before B called again. He was at the restaurant. I told him that I was parked in the lot across the street and I’d meet him in a minute.

As I walked through the lot, I texted my friend to let her know he arrived. I looked up, and he was walking across the street toward me.

He looked slightly different from his photos, but not too different. His dark curly hair was a little longer. Great smile. Intense but very kind and gentle eyes. He was dressed well – denim, white button down shirt, tan blazer. Exactly the kind of look I find wildly attractive – casual, cool, smart.

He told me there was a bit of a wait for our table and asked if I would mind having a drink at the bar first. Um…no…drink would be great. We went upstairs to the bar and he ordered a couple of glasses of wine. We stood and talked for about 15 minutes. Any initial meeting with someone new, even if it isn’t a “date,” is a little awkward – getting into the conversation groove, sizing up and drinking in the other person, finding the right amount of eye contact, absorbing the new environment.

We talked and laughed and soon the awkwardness was gone. A couple offered us their seats at the bar, and we continued talking until our table was ready. We talked, and laughed, and smiled, and had fun for two hours before we decided we probably should order dinner. We talked about everything – our childhoods, our kids, our careers (very similar career experiences), our interests. He complimented me appropriately (not too much, not too little, very sincere). It was nice. There weren’t many conversation lulls.

When dinner came, we both eyed the other’s dish and agreed to sample each other’s. Sharing food, not something I usually do – especially someone I just met. But it was comfortable and seemed right and the swordfish looked amazing (and it was). Conversation continued. We talked for another two and a half hours before we felt pressured to leave (we were the last ones in the restaurant and lights were starting to turn on, chairs were being moved, tables set for the next day).

B walked me back to my car. We stood in the cool night, awkwardness back between us. It was that part of the night when things could go several different ways, and you don’t know which way it’ll go because you can’t read the other person’s mind, and you kind of know want YOU want to do, and you’re trying to read the other person… He was staring at me, and me at him. I broke eye contact and smiled, looking down. “God, I suck at this,” I thought, smiling.

We talked about how much fun we had, and agreed that we wanted to see each other again. And then he leaned in for a hug. It was nice, the feel of his arms, and a little awkward because it was our first physical contact – how close, how tight, which way to move your head – all awkward that first time. He kissed my cheek. We said good night. I drove home.

He sent me an email about 20 minutes after I got home, thanking me for a great night and reiterated that he wants to see me again. I fell asleep (HOURS later) still smiling.

Side note: I have incredible friends. While many people IRL didn’t know about this date, a few did and the text messages, FB messages, phone calls, and emails I received before, during and after the date were much-needed and very appreciated. Knowing that there are people rooting for you, people who have your back, people who love you so much that they want to just see you happy – it’s truly amazing. XOXO

Coming soon: How I spent my Sunday (another online dating story) and Things were good with B but…

James: how NOT to sell yourself via online dating

It happened today. I received a message from the most stereotypical man on an online dating site EVER.

According to his profile and the message he sent to me:

James is unemployed. James lives in his parents’ basement. James dropped out of a two-year college. James is still married, but going through a divorce. James thinks he can turn invisible. James doesn’t like tattoos on women, but loves when they have piercings “down there.” James lists his hobby as playing on the computer all day. James plays D&D 15-plus hours a day.

James has a couple of photos with his profile. One features him wearing his “fancy” tie dyed tee-shirt. Another features James eating cake – such a large piece of cake that the food is obstructing his face.

James seems like kind of a loser.

This guy can’t be for real, can he? I mean, how is THIS information persuasive? He’s honest – sure, but how are any of these things selling points for a potential relationship? And what, in my profile, urged him to contact me? (Note to self: reread and edit profile ASAP.)

Relatedly (sort of), I’m meeting B – in person – tomorrow. I’m overcome with a million (conflicting) emotions about my first date since 1995. I can do this without making an ass of myself, right?

First phone call

Note: This is another entry about online dating. But that’s kinda the biggest thing going on right now. The kids are both doing really well – except for Lauren’s horrific bout of the “terrible twos.” Job is good, the semester is coming to a close, and I’m on the schedule to teach four classes in the fall.

So, about this online dating thing…

Written last night:

Is it wrong to have downed two shots of vodka minutes before he’s supposed to call?

I’m nervous. Really nervous and I DON’T get nervous.

It’s just been so long since I’ve TALKED to a boy…

Nervous. Three minutes to go….

What if he’s a complete dolt? What if I am a complete idiot? I shouldn’t have taken those shots. But maybe they’ll give me the courage I need to actually have a conversation. Please don’t let me sound drunk (I don’t feel drunk, but don’t let me slur or say anything completely stupid…)

Why am I so damned nervous? It’s a fucking phone call! It goes well or it doesn’t. And if it doesn’t, it’s just a matter of “click” – hanging up.

Two minutes left until he calls… I’m hot, really hot, like hot-flash hot. I took off my fleece five minutes ago, but I’m sweating. Gross. Why am I so hot? Breathe, dammit!

One minute to go… Wonder how punctual he’ll be? Will he call exactly at 8? Or a few minutes after? How should I answer the phone? Why do I care? I need to act like I don’t care. Be nonchalant. Have at least some semblance of being cool, like “whatever, dude.” Oh, no, not that casual…

I’m walking to the front door. I don’t want to be sitting, waiting, staring at my phone when it rings. At least this way, I’ll have to walk to it – maybe get it by the third ring. Geez, Jax! Stop playing games. Just be yourself!

Oh my God. A BOY, no a MAN, is calling me in a few seconds. My eyes are on the clock, my fingers continue to type.

It’s 8. And… RIIINNNNGGG!

________________________________

B and I talked for two hours. TWO HOURS. The time flew by as we talked about everything and anything. It seemed like 30 minutes, not two hours. Questions were answered, laughs were shared, inappropriate and possibly questionable stories were told. Talking to him was easy, natural, fun.

We’d been “talking” by email for weeks, but this was the first time I heard his voice. It wasn’t quite what I imagined, but it was nice. Really nice. There was only one pause in the conversation around the one-hour mark – we acknowledged the awkward silence, laughed, and moved on.

He ended the conversation like this:

“This is the time, when if we were face-to-face, I’d take your hands, look into your eyes and tell you that I had a wonderful time talking to you tonight. I’d walk you to your door, and I’d be totally awkward standing there. Then I’d go for a hug. We can continue talking by phone or we can actually meet. Your decision, but I know what I’d like.”

(Yeah, it’s been a while since someone has said something nice like this to me. A long while. I can’t even remember when…)

B and I are making plans to meet this weekend, face-to-face, for reals.

On a related note, one of my mom friends is also doing the online dating thing on a different site (then we can compare notes – it’s been brilliant, actually). She went on a date last week with a nice man (I’ll call him “insurance guy”). He wasn’t right for her, but she thinks we’d hit it off. She sent me insurance guy’s online profile, and he appears…decent, interesting even. Maybe I’ll let her set me up with him… I understand this dating-as-an-adult thing is a trial-and-error process – I should keep all options open.

Heart

EDITED TO ADD: Just noticed this is my 100th post to Mommy’s Little Blog. I’m so glad that this milestone is on a positive note. To look back at the last 99 posts, and to think about how many emotions I’ve gone through, I like the happy me. I think I’ll (try to) keep her.

———————

Grading papers while drinking my third coffee of the morning. Contrary to having too much caffeine and too little sleep, I feel a wonderful sense of peace and calm and happiness today. I wish there was a way to bottle this feeling and hold onto it forever.

– My Facebook status this morning

 Over the past few weeks, I’ve had some delightful email conversations with a (seemingly) nice man from the dating site. It’s all been limited to emails and messages, and I’m okay with that right now. (Although I think I’ll give him my phone number. I want to hear his voice.)

I’m happy.

We’ve had very serious conversations – like what happened to Mike (since his obit comes up really high in a search of my name) and why his marriage ended and the relationship with his ex. And we’ve had some light conversations, like our favorite colors and his artwork and my vacuum cleaner obsession. I’ve laughed out loud and smiled a lot.

I can FEEL my heart again. Like literally, physically FEEL my heart beating in my chest. Every second for the last couple of days, I’ve been extremely conscious of my heart – like it’s reminding me that it’s there and alive…and ready.

(I haven’t felt this way in a million years – or as someone on one of the widow boards pointed out, “since last century.”)

I’m very careful and very guarded. I’m not jumping into anything or reading too much into things. I’m certainly not going to rush anything. I have a lot of baggage – and so does he.

But to KNOW that I can feel this way…it’s the most amazing thing in the world. And I like it.

PS – I’m continuing to “practice” on a few other guys on the site. Still think my online flirting skills need help – badly. But after taking the M-B personality test, I think it’s just how I’m made – with sucky flirting/mating skills. It actually explains a lot that I’m just wired this way… Explains, but doesn’t help.